Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Indigo's 30-Day Challenge #1

Each Month for the next 12-months I am going to challenge myself (and anyone else who wants to participate) in a 30-day challenge. Each month there will be a new theme worked around one of the basic elements of photography. I’ll post a daily photo at SMUGMUG. Plus once each week I’ll post one here. You may post pictures as often as you like on the Facebook Challenge Wall and I encourage other participants to critique what is posted. Each month I will select my favorite picture and give a small prize.

I know life gets busy. If you want to join in you don’t have to participate in each monthly challenge. I am requesting that the pictures you submit are taken during that month. It may be confusing, but the first challenge will go from March 22th thru April 30th.

Month #1
So, You Want To Be A Photographer?

I’ve been reading various blogs and the best advice I’ve found is the most simple. Get to know your camera and take it everywhere you go.

This month my goal is to take my camera everywhere I go for 30+ days. That is all I am asking you to do. Well, and hopefully, take some pictures.

If you want, like me, you can challenge yourself to shoot only on manual. I use the automatic mode 75% of the time, but I want to get comfortable with selecting the ISO, F-stop, and shutter speed. I want to experience what my camera is capable of. I will most likely use auto focus all the time. I will play with all the settings to see what they do and learn the best way to utilize them.

I think this is a great way to begin.

  The image at the top was one of the first pictures I took using my new camera. When El Jay came home from school that day he gave me the red chili and this Spring blossom. I played with both in Photo Shop. Perhaps, I should challenge myself to shoot a few pictures that I plan to post SOOC. I may take the new camera back, because it appears to have a few dust spots on the sensor.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Oh... Look.... It's SO Sparkly!

Being an adult with ADHD people who know me joke that it just takes a little sparkle to gain my attention and.... I am off following something else. So, you would've thought the theme for Wk 12 would've caught my attention.... Right....?

The theme for WK 12 of the M4H 52 WK Challenge was {SPARKLE}. I have to admit that as the weeks have gone by I've gotten less excited about doing this challenge--but I think that would be the case with any challenge. You know, a little bling.... a little glitz and the sparkle catches my attention and I am gone.  I have started my own on-going 30-day photography challenge (I'll have a theme or challenge for 30-days at a time and at the end of the 30-days, I'll start a new 30-day challenge with a new theme....more info to come soon!) This way I will challenge myself to grow in the areas I need to grow. I'll continue to post almost daily at the SMUGMUG Daily Forum and to follow along with the My Four Hens or other challenges when I feel inspired.

It seems that each week I struggle to get a photog for the M4H challenge. I did not have the {SPARKLE} image until Sunday morning, March 25. I was walking along Rt 66 in Nobhill, making images of old hotel signs and I noticed that if I positioned the camera just right a ray of sun would shoot thru a pinhole sized crack in this sign..... creating a spectacular sunburst. My mind said, "EWWW.... sparkly!" The pigeons add some interest, along with the various textures and the sky. If you considering the theme is Sparkle, and you associate Sparkle to things more glamorous,then  this one small sunburst  coming thru a beat-up, no longer useful, pigeon roost sign is a huge contrast to true bling.... Perhaps the message is that no matter how bad things are, there will always be sunshine on a new day.

Here are a few more images from my stroll down Central Ave/Rt 66.....

Monday, March 19, 2012

Growing...... Growing......

For two weeks I have been planning to  post pictures and write a blog about my birthday. I already told most of the birthday story--I turned 50. The boys fixed me breakfast in bed! I got some gifts. It was a quiet day. I bought a cake. I put fifty candles on it and took over 100 pictures. Below is my favorite picture.  Yep, that is really me in the background blowing out the candles. I used a mirror and hand held the camera while I tried to blow the candles all out.

Every year around my birthday I write in my journal about the year that is over and about my goals for the new year. I wrote a lot and even broke it all down into categories and set dates, etc.... I'm not going to paste that here. Instead, I'll share what I just wrote for my Web Design class. It ends with my trying to decide what to name the website/webpages I will design for  my final project. I'd love to hear your suggestions and get some input, you can reach me at 
Thanks, *~Tina

Mid-semester Report Assignment  
 Growing Your Small Business With Tina Gardner

This semester my favorite class is a Web Design class. I am really enjoying the class. I’ve done some HTML in the past, not a lot, but enough to feel comfortable with it. In class, my memory is being refreshed and I’m learning some HTML that is new. I’d like to say this is an easy class and that I am doing well in it, but as of right now, my grades are lower than I’d like them to be (around a B-.) I don’t feel there is any one thing I am struggling with. I just need to be more focused and not miss any more classes. I need the class or lab time to work out the codes. The professor, Todd Winge, is knowledgeable and is very willing to help me with the HTML both in and out of class and that has helped me a lot. I am looking forward to using the knowledge I now have, during the second half of the semester to create my own website and link it to my web pages and blogs. I want to be able to do web design and create web pages, not only for myself, but for future employers or clients.
I have many school and business related goals right now that are closely related. I’ve been setting my photography business up legally this semester, blogging more, doing brand design and building my portfolio. I call my business Indigo Studios. I feel that for now, I can combine my photography with my fiber arts, quilting and crafts, thus I used the word Studios. My business will encompass my photography (Indigo Studios), The Quilt Whisperer, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bras and El Jay Rey and Mom Productions. I already have blogs and Facebook pages for three of those and an Etsy site.
I will use the main page of my web site as the Go-To place for potential clients or employers to go to to see what I can do for them. On that page they will find links to my bio, and blogs and other social media connected to Indigo Studios, The Quilt Whisperer, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bras, El Jay Rey and Mom Productions. In creating this website or webpages I will also be making a leap into the ever changing world of social media and small business consulting. I hope to feel confident enough in my knowledge to include a blog about business related things like small business incubating, grant writing and social media. I plan to call myself a small business and social media consultant. I haven’t decided if this business will be part of Indigo Studios or if I will give it another name. I think that for the web design class  I will simplify the name by using only my last name, Gardner. Or Gardner Something. Perhaps a play on the last name Gardner and Growing businesses?
Part of my web design goal for each business or blog is to create a unique looking logo and branding that gives them each their own feel. I have a basic look for each blog already, but want to give each one finishing touches that look sharp, eye catching and professional. I want to show potential clients that I am diverse. As for the main website, I am not sure exactly what I want it to look like. This page will be the website for a business offering information and consultation to people wanting to either start a small business or set up various social media sites for an existing business. It may be the first example of my work that someone will see. It needs to be very professional, simple and informative. I am considering a neutral, linen looking background, because my other sites have their own colors—indigo blue for Indigo Studios, pink for the Sisterhood, a muted variety of 30’s looking prints for the Quilt Whisperer, orange and greens for El Jay Rey and Mom Productions. However, if I use a play on the name Gardner and growing businesses for naming the main page, I may consider colors and items matching that theme. I’m excited to get to work on my project and can’t wait to see the final outcome.
What I know with any certainty is that I have a lot of work ahead of me before the web site, web pages and other links are up and running and ready to show the world.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Indigo is Melancholy Blue

I don't even know what week it is in the My Four Hens Challenge. The theme was blue. I didn't get any blue images, but I'll share my favorite three.

 I really am feeling blue. It has been a rough month and it's just barely half over. However.... I got good news today and I may go buy my new camera this week. Although my budget is only $500 and that means bottom of the line Canon Rebel. BUT it isn't as much the camera (and I do have an awesome lens) as it is the eye behind the camera and post processing.... and I know I have the eye and the ability. I just need to believe more in myself and make that leap into the unknown world of being a professional.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


 The word SPRING conjures up so many images and I think I'll come back and blog  more about things that are SPRING when it is officially Spring. However, today, I am writing this blog to post an image I am entering in the March Challenge, which is titled SPRING. I captured this image while on a walk with El Jay. There were 20 or so of these sparrows sitting on a tall bush, behind a wall, and I could barely see them. I had the camera on sports mode because I had been taking action shots of El Jay on his scooter, which was a good thing, as I was able to fire off several shots as the birds took flight.

Monday, March 12, 2012


The theme for Week 10 (42 more to go?) of the M4H Challenge was PERSONALITY. I didn't take any people pix, however Shredder Cat had kept getting in the way of a FOTO Shoot with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Bras. And as I PURRused the images I decided he had the PURRfect PURRsonality.

Picture of Shredder seeking attention: 
Picture of Shredder Cat looking at bra:  

And.... my entry for Week Ten {PURRsonality} is a collage, because you really can't show a range of emotion and personality with just one image (especially if.... the cat was sleeping.)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Challenge Theme: Color {9/44}

 TODAY is the only day of the year that is a pun (March 4th....March Forth!) Today is my 50th birthday. I'll admit that each year on my birthday, being a single mom with no real friends and only three of my boys living here, I struggle. It isn't really about getting a year older. I can't stop the clock and aging is a slow process, so I am basically the same person today that I was yesterday. Right? Birthday's are just lonely. Even with 400 FB "friends" wishing me a happy bithday.... they are still very lonely days for me.

Normally, I am the first one up each morning and I enjoy my quiet time. I got enough hints last night to know that the boys were planning to fix me breakfast in bed, so I stayed in bed and waited for breakfast. They fed me waffles and bacon and scrambled eggs. They bought me a waffle maker for my birthday gift, which, truthfully, is not something I would have ever bought, but the older boys have good memories of their dad fixing them waffles on Sunday mornings. Their dad loves waffles. They also bought me a set of cutting boards, which again is not something I thought I needed, so with both gifts, I smiled and tried to be gracious. Mom's do that a lot. I am Grateful that they enjoyed spending the $$$ I gave them for my gift.....  When it comes to gifts my mom was hard to please and I've never wanted to be that way. I think I have become my mom though. I remember once while shopping with my dad for a gift for Mom, he said, "Never get your mom clothes--they won't fit. Never get your mom something practical--like a toaster. She likes books--but you have to know what she has read and what she is reading. That leaves what?" (She got fluffy red slippers a lot, White Shoulders perfume and jewelry.)

The M4H's Challenge theme this week is COLOR. I took the easy way out again this week. While at the fabric store I got this picture of spools of thread. The camera was hand held without a flash, but I like the soft focus and muted--yet still bright--colors. I like the one spool being out of place. I would be that spool, except I would be indigo blue. Which spool/color would you be?

This week would also have been my 10th anniversary for my 2nd marriage. The marriage officially ended in 2006, but I felt the need to create a picture or card to commemorate , not really THAT day, but that ten years later we were all finally free and safe. The picture below is a picture taken by my nephew, Cory, on my wedding day. I have cropped it and turned it B&W. It isn't the greatest quality, but the message has to do with the little groom being face first in the frosting, and the bride managed to stay standing, Victorious and Independent.  It was an extremely abusive marriage. My children and I faced him this year in court. He will never be free to hurt anyone again. As a family we survived and together we will heal and move forward. 

It is time now to CELEBRATE life.

No, it is really time to clean the kitchen.