Gangsta Wrappa!

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This shirt was made for me. I’m the weirdo who loves to wrap come Christmas time, even volunteering to do others’.

I think I’ve got a pretty good system going, so I thought I’d share with you guys!

12/4: Wrapping

12/3: DIY Spa Ornament

I know I said I’d be posting the DIY photoshoot workspace today, but I’m going to save it for later so I can feature someone special 🙂

Today’s Shine Bright idea is a DIY Spa Ornament!

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Aromatic Mint and Ginger soothing salts to melt away the coldest winter blues. Use the salts in a hot bath and then hang the ornament on your tree!

Nine of them for under $20 and made within an hour!

Bonus gift box too!

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Enjoy 🙂

12/2: 3 DIY Tripods

If you love DIY projects and saving money, I’ve got you covered!

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Three options to remember this holiday season when the group photo comes up: toilet paper, clothespins and business cards. Impress everyone with your MacGyver skills 😉

3 DIY Tripod Tutorials

Tomorrow I’m going to show you how to DIY a table top photo studio, so don’t put away that tripod just yet.

Body Art

 I’m a huge fan of tattoos and have two myself. I think it’s absolutely rad to boast your inspiration, favorite memories and tributes right there on your body. To be able to look down in a moment of weakness and see something that will give you strength and push you forward? That is awesome. Not all tattoos are created equal – those that are tattooed while drunk in Vegas may not have so much meaning – but when an artist can portray what you want, it’s magic.

Bobby had some more work done on his newest piece this weekend, and I jumped at the opportunity to photograph it.

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My husband is a huge fan of this painting called “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. Instead of simply getting the painting, he asked his artist, Raquel, to add the twist of a zombie apocalypse – mixing classic with modern in an epic work of art.

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He’s spent a total of 15 hours in the chair at Broken Clover Tattoo, watching his imagination come to life.

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I absolutely love that his artist is female. She truly has an eye and is incredibly good at what she does.

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She’s also fun to watch in that she’s meticulous and careful, thoughtful in what she does with that needle.

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And she clearly enjoys her work – a mark of a good artist, doing what she loves because she loves it, not for fame or fortune. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see her making big bucks in the future!

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I wanted to make this post as much about her as it is about her work because art is often a reflection of the artists themselves. This certainly holds true for me and the photos I take.

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This is my favorite shot from the 4-hour session. I haven’t figured out why quite yet, but it definitely speaks to me.

My New Views ~

It turns out the desert is not deserted, and is actually quite beautiful. I finally explored the area beyond our backyard and caught some of its beauty on camera.

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I’m used to the lush green of NW Oregon, where there are enough trees around to make one feel borderline claustrophobic. Here in Arizona, there is space.

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Until I arrived, I didn’t realize how much I missed the huge expanse of open sky that dominates the southern US. My thirst for change and different scenery is quenched – for now.

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This area of Arizona does see plenty of rain, but only during Monsoon Season when violent rain and thunderstorms plague the mountains and valleys below. The rest of the year (or so I hear) is pretty dry. In fact, it’s not as desert-y as I expected: there are lots of little reminders of home!

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I don’t have to look far to see the sun burst through a colorful tree – this beauty is just beyond our temporary backyard. I wonder if it will ever lose its leaves?

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There are even a few pine trees (Pinyon Pines) to make me nostalgic for home. It’s been nice to see these pine trees here this holiday season; they are everywhere in Oregon, especially around Christmas. The smell, the cones, the needles everywhere – it all reminds me of going to a tree farm and picking out the perfect tree to bring home and decorate with memories. A very popular tradition in Oregon that is nearly impossible here in Arizona.

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There’s nothing like a little taste of home, no matter how simple and small it may be 🙂

June Photo Challenge: Day 15

Raindrops

Since this Oregonian summer has gotten off to such an unusually dry start, my mom and I have been tending more to the garden – which means creating our own rain!

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I’ve always found scenes like this fascinating. Nature truly does it best!

I got inspired after capturing the photo of the Marigolds so I went in search of more garden beauty and found this beautiful pastel Nasturtium. Did you know their name literally means “nose-twister”? They’re also edible and a great source of Vitamin C and Lutein! More on that here. My grandma likes to grow these and put them in her salads so they must be good! Maybe it’s time for me to try them.

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I think they’re too pretty to eat!

P.S. Remember how in my post about Macro photography, I mentioned using a lens with more zoom? I took these with that other lens and loved the results!

June Photo Challenge: Day 10

Before we get to the challenge I just want to say, sorry about the delay in posts. I promise I’m actually participating in the challenge, road tripping just put a couple time kinks into the timing. 🙂

Anyways, todays challenge is Macro Photography! Macro refers to a subject that is photographed to be larger than life-size with as much detail as possible. To get these photos, I use an 18-55mm lens, zoomed in all the way to 55mm. The trick is to zoom in on your subject, that way you can appear to be extremely close without being so close that your camera can’t focus. Also, the more you zoom in on a subject, the more the background of your photo will “compress”, making it appear closer. This can create a really cool effect. We’ll get into more detail on that when I post tips and tricks for photography in July! Send in your requests 🙂

Macro photography is a great place to start out if you’re looking to improve your photography skills. All of these photos were taken in my backyard, with the basic lens included in my camera package. No special equipment necessary! Just look closely for detail and you will find great photographs waiting to be captured.

Here are some examples:

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I love getting close enough to see the fur and baby spines on rose buds. Did you know that Portland is known as the City of Roses? Of course I had to include a rose photo!

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Right now this little bud is smaller than the tip of my pinky, but in a week or so it will be a full-grown tomato!

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Fruit always makes the perfect subject and is a great place to start exploring your macro photography skills! I used my hand in this one to give a little size comparison.

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This is my favorite photo from this series – I’d never seen a cricket’s eyes until this morning! I would never have seen this little guy had I not been looking closely at a rose for detail shots. It’s truly amazing how many cool things there are to see in this world, and so simple too! This was a great reminder for me to slow down and observe the world around me.

I hope you feel inspired to try your hand at Macro photography and I’d love to see your work!