My Blog List

Friday, December 31, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Peace On Earth

May the joy and hope of the season be with you and your families through the coming year.


PS:  This is Pammy, my favorite

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holy Holodeck and Only In Baltimore

Well one day last week I was noodling around online and found out about this new game for some new gaming system that's supposed to be the end all be all.  In this game, you can place yourself in a movie and become part of the action, For example you or some avatar of you could take the place of Vivien Leigh in Gone With Wind.  My, my did  Startrek  predict the future of what. First we have cell phones, then e readers and now the holodeck.  What's next, will we soon be beamed up?  Or, are we going to be treated to sove version of  George Orwell's feelie? I'm placing my money on the feelie.

Now there were two five alarm fires in downtown Baltimore with twenty four hours. Makes you wonder doesn't it.  The first fire was in the historic red light district known as block.  It started in some strip club and moved quickly into the Gaiety Book and Sexual Accoutrement Store.  Now if you were a college educated, female television reporter with more than one year's on air experience, standing at the scene, microphone in hand, how would you pronounce the name of that book store?

If you guessed that she pronounced it like an adjective describing the alternative lifestyle choice of a guy named "Eddie," you would be correct.  Yep she stood right there and said, I kid you not, "The the fire has engulfed the whole Gay Eddie bookstore."  At first I thought she just made a mistake, but no folks she went on to talk about the historic Gay Eddie several times.  I thought I'd have hysterics.

And wouldn't you know there were so many helpful guys out there at the scene rushing to give aid and comfort to the strippers and pole dancers fleeing the flames in their tasteful costumes. And they said chivalry was dead..  Warms the heart it does.

Monday, December 6, 2010

In Which I Called the Cops

I wanted to post this picture with a heading like "the kid's are alright," or "we are family, I've got all my sisters with me." But when I was sitting up in my office I heard seven rifle shots.  The redneck assholes are luring them in and then shooting them in the headlights. That's why they're terrified. Shooting dear in the headlights is against the law. So I called the law and I will everytime they do this.

I don't have anything against the legitimate hunters. I've seen what starving looks like and a clean shot beats that anyway you want to talk about it.  But to lure them in and then shoot them in the headlights. There are no words to describe how I hate those losers.  So the girls are not alright, but we keep keeping on.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hi There Ya'll

I was told on another blog that some folks have been visiting and not saying howdy. Well that's all right, but if you see anything you really like, maybe you could sort of say how do.  I don't bite and the people who comment regularly are really great (Some of them are from California, but we know they can't help living where they do and don't hold it against them.  Just kidding, I'd kill to live in California.) Anyway, whether you comment or not, I'm glad you stopped by.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Say A Little Prayer

Ok guys my friend, who is probably the kindest person on the planet is having a double mastectomy tomorrow. She is a reike equine massage therapist and an animal communicator who has made me understand where Kitt is coming from and has made Kitt understand me. I know this is a little who who for you guys out west. But understand this woman is probably the kindest person I have ever met and she is going under the knife tomorrow.

This is Kitt, so happy to see her. Sometimes I get jealous because Kitt loves her, but she is an amazing person and needs all of our good wishes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Light

Ok, I know it's December and I'm late with this, but sometimes in November, if you're really lucky, the golden light is amazing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tralala Lala La

Well, aren't I in the best old holiday mood.  All of my presents are bought, yeah Black Friday. My Christmas cards are designed and ordered and my last wedding is processed and out the door.  Here's me tap dancing around the house. I watched HGTV tonight, and am filled with all sorts of decorating ideas. Stanley Steamer is coming on the 18th and next Saturday, I'm interviewing cleaning help.  Tis the season to be jolly.

I have only a few niggling things left to do.  I have to decrap and declutter, so that cleaners can clean and next Sunday, I have to out and shoot one more horse and rider job. The client wouldn't understand that everybody, horses and humans alike, are going to look a whole lot better in April than they will in the beginning of December, but oh well, compared to the past two months, that's nothing.

Oh yes, here are books, I'm going to be discussing:

1. The Wilder Sisters - One of my all time favorites. If you western gals haven't read it, curl up with it when the winter winds blow.

2.  The Lady of Hay - It starts slow, but after it gets going, it's a real page turner.

3.  Drop Dead Divas - This is drop dead funny.  Just the thing to cure a bad case of the Januaries.

So as I head off to bed, with visions of hurricane vases filled with bay leaves, cranberries and white floating candles; and other vases filled with twigs spray painted gold and ribbons everywhere, I bid you all a good night.

PS:  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Well Here's How I Became the Unrepentant Sort that I Am

Back int the day when I was fourteen and an avid rider, I begged and begged to go to a summer camp where the emphasis was on equitation.  My parents finally relented, so off I went.  After the usual milling around, getting settled in my cabin, and meeting my roommates for the summer, our cabin counselor arrived. She who will be forever remembered as the SS, was a serious sophomore at some prestigious east coast women's college. She gathered us all together and informed us that every evening she would be reading us a book  and dismissed us to decide what we wanted to hear.

So out we went to decide.  Right off the bat we realized that the racier romances that were beginning to flood the bookstore shelves would probably not be the thing to ask for. Not that we, being very good girls, had ever read one, or spent endless hours speculating with out friends, about that descriptive adjective, the "throbbing manhood," that seemed to appear on every other page, oh not us.  So that genre being dismissed, we marched off to the camp library to find something. And find something we did, Anya Seton's "Katherine," probably the most beloved book of a whole generation of girls.

We picked it up and scurried back to the SS with our choice.  She looked at it with shocked horror.  It was though we had given her a copy of "Love's Throbbing Body Parts," or some other racy romance.  Since we were incapable of choosing a book, she would have to do it for us.  So what do you think she chose, since we had selected, "Katherine?"  If you guessed "Pride and Prejudice" or "Jane Eyre," or even "War and Peace," you would be wrong.

What she chose, and what we were treated to all summer long was Joseph Conrad's "The Heart of Darkness." I kid you not, we had to lie there like trapped rats listening to the most boring depressing book ever written. The book that makes "The Mayor of Casterbridge," look scintillating. It was then and there I decided that just because a book was popular or interesting did not make it trash. And just because it was boring and stupid did not make it wonderful.

In hindsight, I decided that she probably had to read it, or do some sort of paper on it, and decided to kill two birds with one stone. Because I can't imagine anyone wanting to read that for any other reason

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Lapse in My Planned Blogs

I planned a really funny post about how I got this way. You're just going to have to wait. It's coming, I promise and it's all true. However, some of you may remember that I used to say, "that I feed them all from the tall to the small." Well the medium sized came up to my feeding bins tonight. A family  of raccoons. They looked great and they were afraid of me.  A good sign. That means they aren't rabid. Tommy is furious and I'm not. They look wonderful. I don't know what it says about me, but it pleases me that the wild things know that they have a meal and a safe haven with me.

I saw the deer, who were milling around like a group of juvenile delinquents when I got home from work and I told them, "You guys have to stand back until I'm done," and they did.  And then I called out, "OK girlie's and fawns come and get it." I peaked over my shoulder as I was walking away and they slowly came out and began to eat.

I can't hate the raccoons. I don't know what this says about me. But, I just love it that the wild things know that they are save with me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Now For The Light Side

I decided that it would be nice to talk about something that nothing to do with my insane life. So I decided to talk about what I'm reading now. I am a voracious reader and I have recently read several books that I just love.

Well, here's going to be a huge shock, I'm sure. None of them are weighty, intellectual tomes, currently reviewed by the New York Times. Before we get started on this, there's something you need to know about me.  When I was a junior in college, after slogging through James Joyce's Ulysses. I said to my roommates, "this is stupid in the extreme" and then I tossed it out the dorm room window.  Later as a twenty something, standing in front of a huge, and I do mean huge, painting that looked like a Chimp did it, at the Museum of Modern Art, "I turned and said to my humiliated friend, "I swear MG, I've been looking at this thing over a good half an hour and I still can't find the poodle in the picture."

I'm a declasse, plebeian jerk.  I like music to have a melody line, I like fiction to have a plot. I like films to have something other than gratuitous sex and violence to recommend them. Art should make you feel something. You should walk away changed in some way. I'm also an unapologetic southern gal, although the sight of grits makes me want to puke. I also prefer Quarter Horses to Thoroughbreds and if after reading this, you'd like to know what I like stay tuned,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Bond

OK, my friend, Ms. D is going to email me and say,"Maia how many time do I have to tell you, you can't say these things about your relatives and clients. Oh well and then I'll think to myself, your right and thenI'll delete this and walk away. But for now, here goes. I was privileged to photograph a woman who has cancer, who is dear and sweet and loves her horses. And you know what her horse love her back. To watch and photograph the dynamics between them was a privilege.  I couldn't make her look like a super model, OK, Ms. D, this won't be up long. She has cancer and she looks like she had cancer, and there was nothing I could do, that wouldn't diminish what I saw. Here is a shining example of true love. I hope some of you see it before I get quilted into getting rid of it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sometimes Things Happen For A Reason

I overslept today.  I shut off the alarm and went right back to sleep. Yikes. I woke up at 6:00. Oh crap, there's no time to do anything but throw on my clothes, thank God I iron and get everything ready the night before, and fly out the door. There was a line of cars going down this narrow windy road I have to go down.  Double crap. I get to the bottom and there all sorts of lights flashing and I'm turned away.  Obviously BGE is doing their thing, again. Thriple crap, I now have to scoot ten miles out of my way and am an hour late.  Could this get any worse? 

As a matter of fact it could.  It wasn't BGE down at the base of the hill it was several ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars.  There was a multicar pile up, complete with several fatalities.  If I had gotten up on time, I probably would have been part of it. It makes me think, it does.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where I Am and Why I've Been Absent

OK, guys here I am. Well, I have to process and deliver my niece's wedding pictures. So what's so wrong with that. Except I have to process and deliver a client's shots. Well she's going to have a double mastectomy on December 3rd. Well she wins, except that my services won big time and I have to shoot and deliver for the winner. And then I have to cook and clean every day and show up for work. And I get up at 5:00 am and deliver at work. And I don't know what to do.  By the time I've gotten up at the crack of dawn, shown up at work, and then come home and cleaned and cooked, I'm toast. But yet I still have to deliver, tile the basement, deal with my niece's issues and keep on keeping on. I have no time for you guys and it breaks my heart. Oh yes, the deer still depend on me. And I can't let them down. Maybe next year things will be different.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Can I Do It?

These are the questions that haunt the creative professional when you get to a certain level. Are the shots that were perfection a fluke? Can I produce this kind of quality consistently? Am I qualified to do this job? For those of you who took the class and now think you can produce, when you never have had to on demand, within a specific time frame, I think you probably can.  It depends on what you ask of yourself and what your client demands.  I have now been asked to produce for the millionaires, and I don't mind telling you I'm scared s'less.  Who knows? I've tried my damnedest and I've succeeded.  But guys, I've been invited to produce at a whole different level and it, at the same time, thrills me more than you can know, and scares the dickens out of me. Can I do it? I think so. But the neurotic little piece of me is whispering in my ear "who do you think you are? You piker, you."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Update

OK, here's what happened last night.

I'm pretty sure none of you are southern enough to understand the word, piss ant, as in a little nothing who thinks they are something.

So here's who won my piss ant award. There were a gaggle of lumpy teenage girls who came up to my candy bowl. They arrived at the same time two seven year old's did. I said in a loud voice, "all of those who are here and are under ten years old get to choose first." One of the lumpy teens smacked a little girl away in order to grab the candy. She wins hands down. This amazes me. Oh well, it's nothing compared  to what comes next.

The Maia's tarted up pole dancer award goes to: There was a sixteen or seventeen year old floozie who had this outfit on and I kid you not, Daisy Duke short shorts, where half of her butt was hanging out, a crop top, that left nothing to the imagination, and stiletto heel, knee high leather boots.

Gentle readers, when I first saw this nastiness, I thought, what did you do to your parents?  Did you stick socks in their mouths, swaddle them in duck tape and then shove them in a closet? And then I thought, "ooh la la, were you the young lady, I saw stopping cars on Howard Street.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween - Booo

Halloween is a huge deal in my neighborhood.  We get hundreds and I do mean hundreds of trick or treaters and I give out candy to them all from the tall to the small.  Talking about the tall, I realize that I was a teenager in the early neolithic, but somehow back in the day, hulking teenagers did not leave the cave dressed as demented elves or pole dancing angels, determined to grab up as much candy as they could shove into a pillowcase.  What ever happened to zits and not wanting to be fat.  You should see them, I swear, some of them would knock over a five year old just to get their grabby hands into my cauldron of cheap candy. 

Oh well it is fun.  I sit outside by my fire ring and get a huge kick out of the little guys. My all time favorites, were two brothers, maybe four and two years old who came up in adorable grey costumes, complete with cute grey ears. 

 "Oh my are you guys bunnies?" I asked.

"No mam," the oldest one explained in all seriousness, "We be mousies."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The New Computer Comes Today

My computer croaked on Saturday and I do mean croaked.  I spent a wonderful two hours with a tech support person in India (It still astounds me that there are no Americans who can do tech support, but that's a whole different story.  Actually it's more like a rant.) only to find that the motherboard, whatever that is, had, as they say, bought the farm.  I hadn't backed up my most recent job, so that meant a frantic phone call to the client, explaining why there shots are going to be late, and hours and hours of work redoing what I had already done.

So, I'm now the proud owner of a new computer which I was assured would come today. And to make it even more fun, the new computer has Windows 7 and all of my software, including Photoshop is for Windows Vista. I was planning on buying Photoshop CS5, just not at the same time as new machine.

Yeah it's here and I going to set it up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Heavens to Mergatroid It Was A Day on Howard Street

Well, yesterday I said nothing much had happened.  Well... today made up for that in spades.

First up we have a young man who obviously forgot to use the restroom before starting out on his morning's activities.  Oh but why worry when there's a convenient parking lot right off Howard Street.  So didn't he unzip his pants and start to take them off as he proceeded down the sidewalk.  Now gentle readers, I know that I am your official Howard Street observer, but there some things that even I don't care to observe; and bodily functions are right up there at the top of my list.  But not so for one of the younger staff members who shrieked, eww, OMG he's doing a number which rhymes with ewe. This should have been the tip off that we were in for one of those days.

Next up was the domestic dispute. A man and a woman were walking down the sidewalk in the middle of some kind of altercation. He was loudly shouting at her and punching her in the arm for emphasis.  She, on the other hand was saying nothing, just walking with her head down.  Suddenly, she stopped, hauled off and decked him. Decked him to the point that he fell to the sidewalk. She then proceeded to give him a few swift kicks, before walking away. And all of this was accomplished without her saying a word.  I guess silence is golden, as in the golden glove boxing championship.

They say good things happen in threes. Well so do weirdos.  Last but certainly not least we had an elderly gentleman out for his afternoon constitutional.  He was nattily attired in an open hospital gown and booties. He was smoking a cigarette and pushing himself backwards in his wheelchair down the middle of the street.

Does life get any more interesting.  Stay tuned, something's bound to happen,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Big Time Computer Problems

Hi guys:

I'm having huge time computer problems. My internet conection is toast and my database manager hubby is working himself to death trying to fix the problem.  I miss you guys more than you can know. I'm going to have to email my clients at work and tell them to hang tight their shots are safe, I just can't get them to them. I'm using hubby's work computer to send this, the nazi's at work have you all blocked, so I can't see what you're up to. But understand, all of you have my best wishes and hopefully this will be fixed soon.

Here's the backyard update.  Since I posted about all of the flakes and fruitloops on Howard Street, they've vanished. I was afraid that might happen. But hang tight, they can't stay away for long.

As for the deer, Pammy's this year's fawn, the one I call Cici, not only comes when I call her, but walks right up to me. If Pammy didn't come between us, I think maybe I could pet her.  So stayed tuened, maybe contact is coming soon.

Kitt is wonderful. She is just the best horse in whole world.  I told her last weekend, that she was necessary for my happiness and I swear to you, I understood that I was necessary for hers.

My baby girl, can turn over and lift her head up.  Pretty cool huh. I miss her so much and I can hardly wait until Christmas. Oh yes, I miss her mother, too.  But she is such a sweet baby.  Oh well what can I say.

I'm sitting on gorgeous pictures and I can hardly wait to share them with you.

Take care.  I miss you, and hopefully this will be fixed soon.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Every Now and Again You Get Lucky

I had a photo shoot on Sunday where everything worked. The light was killer, the horse looked amazing. And the the women; well one looked like a pre raphaelite angel and the other was too hot to trot. I am sitting here looking at the shots going out of my mind. This shoot is every photographer's dream.  This is what make all of the fat brides and the shots that got away worth it. If they let me, I'll show you what I got.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"I Guess You Say... Talking Bought My Girl"

Here she is folks, my little weensie bot. I have to say, I'm totaly prejudice. But isn't she just the sweetest little pea on the planet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Shot That Got Away

Have you ever kicked yourself around the block because the perfect shot presented itself and you did not have a camera, handy. I've been going to the barn everyday this week to take care of Kitt's skin issues.  I have a gergillion bad shots of horses with their nose on the ground.  Or, if they're walking to me, they're ears are a mess.

Yesterday, I went out without my camera.  Hey, it's one more bag to shlepp.  Well wouldn't you know this was the day of days.  There was a horse in the mare field, who had been on a week of stall rest because of an injury. When they let her up into the mare field, she bucked and reared and danced all over the place, which made all of the mares do the same, which made the ponies in the pony field do the same, which made the geldings do the same.  There were horses flying their tails, bucking, dancing and running; and where was I? Right up there with them without my camera and long lens. Standing there thinking expletive deleted.

Today, I packed up all of my camera equipment and it rained. Oh well.

Someday soon we're going to talk about shutter speed and how to get that wonderful shot. I just have to figure out how to set it up in a way that everyone will understand.  And yes, this fall, you will so get the rule of thirds and the S curve of beauty.

Stay tuned,

Monday, September 13, 2010

Late Night Musings

I'm sitting here listening to Keith Jarrett and thinking about how fortunate I am.  I have the best horse on the planet who loves me. She hears my car and she stops whatever she is doing to come up to me.  When she knows I am upset, and she wraps her neck around me and offers me her love.

I have her at a warmblood breeding barn, where every single person who is associated with that barn is tremendously excited about Miss Pixie, her foal. I have trainers volunteering to work with her and young girls volunteering to be the first person to ride her.  I know that when the time comes, those girls will be in college, but I let them think,  that that might happen.  They love Kitt and they are so excited about Pixie, what else can I do. I am so grateful for the love that surrounds us.

Good night and sweet dreams everyone.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My How Time Flies

I was out at the barn yesterday testing my refurbished telephoto lens and I took this picture of the teenagers in their pasture.  Actually they're two and three, but we call them the teens:

I swear it was only yesterday, when I could hardly wait to see Miss Ole, the one on the left on her first day out in the world.

Where does the time go?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Girls, Pammy, Pixie and the Babies

No, I didn't do labels. I probably should have but back in the day, I didn't. I got hornswaggled into feeding the deer. I thought I was feeding squirrels, to keep them out of my bird feeders. I found out I was feeding starving, injured deer. Pammy and Pixie were one of the last pair to come up. They were picked on by the dominant, at the time doe.  After they had been driven away and the others had eaten, I used to run out and call, Pammy, Pixie come on girly girls, dinner's here, and they would come.

The last doe, lost her fawns, and she comes up after Pammy and Pixie and the babies, with her yearlings. The Pammy crew are not afraid of me.  They aren't afraid of my husband or my next door neighbors. It's like we have a deal.  I don't come up to where they are hiding and they don't threaten me.  They are, however, terrified of anyone else. I feed them something called "Deer Crunch" until the beginning of October.  Then I mix it with a horse feed called, "Mill 12," two to one Deer Crunch to Mill 12.  Starting in January I switch it, 2 Mill 12 to 1 Deer Crunch.  If this is a bad winter, I will have anywhere from 6 to 18 deer. I feed them, because I've seen what starving looks like and I can't have it.

About hunting,  As I've said above, I've seen starving and a clean shot, beats that anyway you want to count. I love Pammy, Pixie and her new crew and on some level I think they understand that. Oh yes, I have an apple tree, thank you birds, and this time of year, I add a few apples to their food.

If you want a relationship with a wild animal, it takes time and patience and respect. They will never be a pet and you can't make them one.  The best you can have is what I've got and that's quite a lot.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's Up With Pammy and Pixie

I have no clue how many of you have been with me since the beginning. Pammy and her fawn Pixie were my emotional favorites during the blizzards of '10. Because I kept Pammy alive by feeding her, her new fawns were not aborted or died within two days of being born. She has behaved differently than any article I've read.  She has not kicked her last year's fawn,, Pixie, away. She has not driven Pixie away from the food. She has twin fawns, who I have yet to name, and Pixie acts like the older sister. Pammy positions the babies with Pixie and then she walks away. 

This is a really bad picture, my long lens is winging it's way back from Canon,where I had it fixed.  This is the best I coud do with what I had. Understand what you are seeing goes against anything that's ever been written about doe behavior.  You'll see the two fawns, the deer coming up with them is Pixie, the yearling.  The blur in the background is Pammy, the doe. What continues to blow me away is that they don't come unless I call them. After I've spred the food, I yell, "Pammy, Pixie, babies, come on girly girls, come on fawnies and within  five minutes they arrive.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What's New on Howard Street

My hospital office has huge windows that face Howard Street, a main thoroughfare in Baltimore.  It is also a magnet for fruit loops and crazies. Just this week we saw a man drop down on the sidewalk, do three push ups, roll over on his back, lay flat out for five minutes, and then roll over do two more push ups and then stand up and walk away as if nothing he had done was strange.

Today we watched two young lovebirds turn Howard Street into Lover's Lane. After ten minutes, one of my coworkers said that they should "get a room." After fifteen minutes, I said that maybe, "Our maintenance man, Wild Bill, should toss a bucket of ice water on them.  After twenty minutes another coworker, looking out the window, shrieked, "Oh my God, he's taking off her bra." And this is going on on one of the main streets in town.  The looks on the passersby and the shop owners was priceless.  Cars slowed down to stare.  It was beyond funny,

We have had people having very loud arguments with nobody.  Police chasing a suspect and throwing him to the ground, gun battles and all sorts of goings on. Ever wonder where Super Nanny finds those children? We saw one little girl pitch a huge screaming, fighting, kicking fit right on Howard Street.

So today, we decided to bring our video cameras and start chronicling  the goings on, on Howard Street.  Stay tuned, as soon as we get a live one, you'll be the first to know.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

OK Who's Got the Voodoo Doll

Eak, what a week.  I told you all about the loveliness I was experiencing, so here's what's going on at the barn.  A 15 year old quarter horse, beautiful eventing horse, had a stroke and had to be put down.  The most adorable little two year old morgan, with the best disposition, developed navicular disease and he's going to the vet on tomorrow for an MRI  in order to determine whether he's sound enough to be able to be a pasture ornament for a few years or if he's going to have to  be put down then and there. 

Then there's my about to deliver any minute neice/summer daughter, Laura, whe developed bad kidney stones and had to be rushed to the ER.

This whole mess has me in an organizing frenzy, the likes of which I haven't been in since Hurricane Isabelle. When all hell breaks loose, I get a wonderful calm from organizing my earrings and makeup brushes, cleaning out my horses's brushes and other doo dads, and taking my car to the autospa.

I'm going to leave you with a happy picture of Leslie and her horse Grace.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I'm Back

Well you know they say that bad things happen in threes.  Well last Friday we buried my Aunt, last Saturday we buried the air conditioner and Tuesday we buried the refrigerator and the internet has not been working right.  Hopefully it's fixed.  So if anybody wondered why I wasn't posting, or commenting that's the reason.  You never know how much you rely on something, until you don't have it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's A Girl

Rachel, my equine vet came by today and gave Kitt her final ultrasound. It was so cool, all of the parts are there.  She's a little over three inches long and she has a head, a neck,  a body  four little legs and a teensy tail.  Her little heart was beating and we saw her liver, brain and spine. Her little tummy and legs are so cute.

Rachel said, "oh look, there the definitive female marker." Well folks, I guess she knew what she was looking at, but it didn't look like any female body part I've ever seen, but then what do I know?

Little Miss Pixie (That's her nickname, because I haven't decided what her fancy pants registered quarter horse name will be,) was not happy with the whole ultrasound process.  Every time Rachel would move it close to her, Pixie would kick her little legs and try to swim away. "Well isn't she the feisty one," Rachel kept saying. "She doesn't like this at all."

Poor Kitt who was having all of this done rectally, wasn't too thrilled  with the process either.  But the equine grandmom and aunties, two of my best friends who have known Kitt forever and were there, were beside themselves. Little Pixie is so cute and I can hardly wait for May.

PS:  I videoed this with my Nikon P80 and somehow the film was erased.  I didn't do it.  It happened in my purse.  Does anyone have a clue how this happened.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Caught Between the Devil and the Deep Blue

My mother's twin sister died on Monday. She was not a nice person and I have to tell you that my brother and I are singing "Ding Dong the Witch is dead." She was, however extremely socially prominent and my cousins decided that it was socially inconvenient to bury her until tomorrow.  So I have had to deal with my mother's mixed feelings all week. Tomorrow I have to deal with them. I was always the pretty one and they were the executives, so I had better be prettier than they are. That is so lame, I can't deal with it. When you're in your fifties, how can you possibly be pretty. Why can't we talk about artistic talent, but no it's either money or looks with this crowd.

Then there's my niece.  I think she's going to deliver this weekend, fingers and toes crossed.  She's scared to death and calling me twice a day every day. So I spend my time calming her down and jollying up mother. And Tom, who's been working 24/7, trying to manage a crew in India, got to get away for a fishing trip, so I am left all alone to deal with this.

Oh yes, I've got the client from hell, who I'm probably going to tell, "I think you need to think about what it is you want and when you've decided, call me.

And then there are the five orthopedic surgeons whose applications I don't have who have to be on staff by September 1st., So if I'm absent, please forgive.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Starting a Photographic Career 2

Ok guys, here's what I'd like you to do this week.  Decide what aspect of photography you'd like to specialize in and then go and take at least one shot as if you were being paid to do it or you were doing it for a gallery show.  Then I'd like to take a look at them.  Now I can just hear it , "Maia, I'm not good enough. " Well trust me you couldn't be as bad as I was when I started out.  I was good at composition, but I'd forgotten everything techincal I'd ever learned and I had a copy of photoshop that I had no clue how to use. Or then there's the ever popular," I don't have a pro camera."  Well guess what, neither did I when I was starting out. 

I took me over a year of taking the most godawful shots you can imagine.  I have very forgiving freiends, neighbors and barnmates.  But I eventually got better. Here are the two shots that took me over the top and I shot them both with, I think was a 3mp Olympus prosumer camera.

I decided that I wanted to shoot weddings and horses and so I dressed up Tina, my neighbor's daugher as a flower girl and I volunteered at a horse show.  That's what I was doing every single week, trying and usually failing to take the type of shots I wanted to eventually be paid to do.

Clients and galleries are not going to come knocking on your door, I want you to get out and get started. Getting started sets a certain energy in place that eventually will bring the clients, trust me.

And remember if you are not taking the bad shots you will never take the great ones.

Happy shooting

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Big Time Rant Please Read

I really don't like doing things like this, but what happened to me today was so god awful, I need to let all of you guys out west know. We have a Dover Saddlery shop right across the street from where I live.  I went over there to get a few things that Miss Kitt needed. And then I thought let's see about a foal halter. I know it's early, but I thought, well I'll just look.  The sales associate asked me what kind of foal we were having. Dumb me, I thought male or female. So I said, I don't know and I won't until the vet runs her tests. And then  she said, no I mean what breed. And I, whom an so proud of my girl and the stallion said "quarter horse." Guys, she acted like I farted, like a quarter horse was so beneath her that she was so appalled she was dealing with me.

Please ask you tack shop if they have an affiliation with Dover Saddlery, because they have a western branch and then remember Dover Saddlery hates Quarter Horses.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Photo Career Part 1

Tommy told me that not everybody works in an inner city hospital and is just fascinated with parasites, diseases and gore.  Why don't you blog about how you got started in photography, it's quite a story, Ok, so here we go.As some of you may know, I worked in the Letters to the Editor Department of the National Geographic. That was back in the neolithic period, which we needn't give a definitive year to.  And for something to do, I took the photography course which I just loved. But I was going to be a writer. This was just a hobby. So what, the senior editors loved my work. The really important thing was writing.

One day at lunch, when I was sorting through my slides and talking about my latest idea for a romance novel, my good friend Ann said, "Maia, when are you going to wake up and see the truth, you are not a writer, you are a photographer.  Look at these shots, they're gorgeous, and quite frankly, your writing isn't all that hot." I dismissed that. Photography was fun. It had always been fun, but I was a writer.

By the time September 11, 2001 arrived, I had tried and tried to be a writer. I had some small successes  and some horrendous failures. Ann was on the plane that went into the Pentagon. As I watched the National Geographic tribute to her. and they played Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I heard her again say, as if she was sitting right next to me, "Maia you are a photographer."

After I stopped crying, I knew in my heart she right.  And I so I decided to be one.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bedbugs and Dust Mites and Rodents, Oh My Part 1 - Bedbugs

First of all I do not now, have ever had in the past, or anticipate having bedbugs in the future. But Baltimore and surrounding areas seem to be infested.  On the local evening news, we've had tales of woe from various and sundry folks like the megamillionaire estate owner,whose face and voice were obscured like she was some kind of mafia informer, who's had the exterminators out five times no avail; to the poor guy who gave away all of his possessions, walked away from his condo and shaved his head because of an infestation.  Wouldn't you hate to be the realtor handling that sale?

Since both of these poor souls got their bedbugs while traveling, we now have had a spate of information on how to travel during these insect driven times. So since I don't think you guys out west have this problem yet, I decided to share some of the bedbug info.

Since it would probably be a very bad idea to go up to the front desk of whatever hotel, motel, spa or lodge in which you are staying and ask, in a very loud voice, about the establishment's bedbug status, there are new rules for the intrepid traveler.

First, when arriving at your room, leave your suitcases in the hall outside of the door.  It helps if you have a traveling companion who can watch the luggage while you walk into the room barefoot.  A bedbug can lodge itself in the crease of your shoe, so it's best to leave your shoes outside.

Then carrying a flashlight, proceed to the bed where you will basically strip it down layer by layer, carefully inspecting for any red insects the size of an apple seed.  Then turn your attention to any upholstered furniture, making sure none of the sneaky little devils aren't lurking there.  If the room is all clean, it's more or less safe to bring in your suitcases.  Of course your going to have to remake the bed. But this is the price you pay for travelling.  If on the other hand you see any bedbugs, report it immediately to the management. Now here's where things get tricky.  You are supposed to get rid of all of the clothes and shoes you are wearing.  Not just take them off but trash them.  No one says where you are to do this.  Do you do it in the infested room and run out naked out into the hall where you quickly change your clothes. Or do you go into a public restroom and change your clothes and shoes, leaving the potentially infested items in the trash. No one has been very clear about this.  When I get the definitive answer, I'll certainly let you know.

Upon arriving home you have a new routine to follow.  Since bedbugs can be anywhere and you could have potentially gotten one in your shoe in that public restroom where someone has just trashed their clothes. You do not take your potentially bedbug infested suitcases full of potentially infested clothes into the house .  No, you open up your suitcases and immediately sort your clothes, including the ones you are wearing, into two piles, wash and dry clean.  Opening up the box of large trash bags which you should carry with you at all times, you dump your clothes into the bags and stick your suitcase in a construction sized bag.  Then stark naked you can proceed into your house and  go to your laundry room where you wash your wash pile in the hottest water you have. Oh yes you have to set your water heater to at least 130 degrees, because only water at the temperature will kill bedbugs.  Now I don't know about how things are where you live, but I could get arrested for running around my neighborhood the way God made me.

This is all so confusing, it sort of makes you want to stay home.  But wait, we will soon be talking about dust mites.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Yikes I Was There and There Was a Bear

Well today, being bored at work, I went to CNN's website, one of the few the neonazis haven't blocked and read about those poor people who were mauled by that bear.  Last summer I had a close encounter with a bear, not five miles from that campground.

Tommy and I had cruised the campground, thought it looked great, and decided to go fishing first and then come back and get a site.  We found a place to park and hiked in to the river.  When I say river, I'm talking about something maybe 30 feet across.  Tommy was having his usual wonderful luck and I was having my usual hideous luck.  This one fish would come up grab the fly and spit it out. You could almost hear him going, Phytht, Yuck, Gross, Bleach." I was tying on what felt like my fiftieth fly when I just happened to look up. Right across the stream, river, whatever was a black bear and he was looking at me. 

Now I would love to tell you, it was a monster bear, huge and growling, but it wasn't . It was a small bear maybe two years old or so, and he was studying me, almost as if he were thinking, "Now what did mother tell me about those creatures? Do I eat them or run away?

"Bear," I shrieked. Bear, Tommy there's a bear. Tommy who was busy revelling in his wonderful luck did not pay attention until I I finally said ,"Expletive deleted, Tommy look up there's a bear.  By now I was hyperventilating and getting ready to take off.  Mr. Calm gets out his bear spray and starts packing up his gear.  Meanwhile, the bear is paying strict attention to us and following us on his side as we start to move away.  He followed us for maybe 100 yards until we came to a small stream that we had to cross to get to the car. He then sat down and watched as we crossed the stream and headed out of sight.

I told Tommy, in no uncertain terms, if he wanted to camp in this bear infested area, he could; but I was spending the night in Cooke City. We stayed in Cooke City

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jane Wayne or Madame Toad's Wild Ride

So here I am in Monument Valley.  The stomach part of my flu is over, I haven't started coughing yet, and my fever was down to the point I thought it was over.   So not being in my right mind, I decided to go on a two hour ride through monument valley. For about an hour and half my Navaho guide and I plodded along while he told me about every rock, stick and insect we saw.   Fascinating stuff, let me tell you.

After our second break, my fever must have come back, because I had lost the fear that's been my constant companion since the accident.  So I asked if he could lower my stirrups and could we go a little faster? As you can imagine, he jumped at the suggestion.

"Just a little trotting," he suggested.

"Sounds like a plan," I responded.

Well, I don't know what you call trotting out west, back east we call what we did a fast canter, which then progressed to a hand gallup and then we flat out galluped all the way back to the corral.  I have never in my entire life ridden that fast. But a strange thing happened during our wild ride, I lost the fear, hopefully for good. I need to work on balance, but I'm back in the saddle again.

Oh yes, this was the mustang that I rode.

YeeHA, call me Jane Wayne

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Very Pleasant Surprise

I had a very pleasant surprise yesterday. I went to check on things at flickr and found that this picture had been named as a picture of the year and placed in a moderator's hall of fame. Since I haven't really been paying a great deal of attention to my flickr account I failed to notice that it had also been named a photo of the month. I'm going to start paying more attention, big time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events - The Prelude

I'm good at giving animals shots. No, I'm not a nurse, but I know how to do it and I'm good at it. My next door neighbor had a diabetic cat and when they went away, I came over every day, fed him, cleaned his litter box and gave him a shot. Well for reasons known only to Mr. Kitty on this day, he didn't want to get his shot.  I got him up on the table, gave him a pat, pinched his skin and, he swiveled around and bit me, really badly. I started to bleed all over everywhere, which, I, in my ignorance decided was a good thing. I got the bleeding under control, smacked Mr. Kitty, gave him his shot and went home.  We were going out to dinner with friends that night, so I cleaned it with antibac soap, poured hydrogen peroxide over it, bandaged it, and didn't give it another thought.

The next morning, I'm sitting photoediting a wedding and I peal off the bandage.  The wound is red and swollen.  This does not look good, but I think to myself, if worse comes to worse, I'll just go to the ER Monday morning.  I continue editing. Two hours later, I look at my hand and I have red streaks running up to my wrist. UhOh, this does not look good. So Tommy takes me to the Johns Hopkins local urgent care.  The doc looks at me and prescribes, superstrong penicillin.  I tell him I can't take that because I'm allergic to penicillin. He says and I quote, "If you don't want to lose that arm, which you could very easily do, you will take this medicine." Ms. Adams, you have blood poisoning." If you are not much better in twelve hours I am admitting you and if you don't respond to intravenous antibiotics, you will have to lose the arm if you want to live." Well I took the pills and I had made enough progress that I didn't have to be admitted.  Only trouble was the pills made me goofy.

So one nice day when I was driving home from work, I stopped at a red light.  My passengerside window was open, which it generally never is, and a young man came up reached in and stole my pocketbook.   He then sold my identity. He and the buyer were enventually found and sent to jail, but it did not make for a fun summer/fall. It was all sorted out, Citibank was wonderful.  But let me tell you it was no fun.  The bad check collection calls were my favorite.  That and the fertility treatments the buyers girlfriend helped herself to. Anyway that's how my identity was stolen and that's why for two months I started smoking again.

If it ever gets below 90, I have some women lined up to illustrate how to look good on or with your horse when you're over thirty.  Tomorrow it's going to feel like 110, 90% humidity and code red air.  I'm going to have to have the hose discussion with Kitt before I turn her out. She can't get overheated.  After I hose her down, I think I'll hose myself.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events

About six years ago I experienced a series of unfortunate events.  My identity was stolen, my favorite cat had cancer and was chosen for an experimental veterinary protical, that meant that I had to dispense medicine that he didn't like and fought three times a day, and my perfect partner trail horse repeatedly tossed me.  I was a wreck. So, I started smoking.  I had quit fifteen years before, but life got so evil, I restarted.

Well that lasted for about a month and I decided that this was really stupid, so I'd quit with nicotine gum. It worked.  It worked so well, that up until I got sick on our vacation I was still chewing it. I have been given an enormous amount of grief over the nicotine gum from my husband, my mother, my niece (goddaughter), and my friends.  So I decided that since I was sick, I'd might as well be really sick so I stopped chewing it and started chewing, chewing gum. 

I have gained ten pounds.  I lied to myself and said why did this happen when I'm not doing anything differently.  Well today I got why it happened.  First, it's been to hot to exercise (ride, walk).  And I went out to lunch with some good friends.  We had Greek salads with steak.  In the past, I would have finished my salad and popped a piece of gum in my mouth and that would have been the end of it. Today, I asked the waiter if there was any bread and then proceeded to chomp down three pita triangles. I can't eat and not excercise. God at this rate, they can fly me over the football stadium as the Goodyear Blimp;.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hello, It's Hot Here, Too

Not being one to complain, oh wait, is that thunder I hear.  Well maybe somebody who only whines on Wednesdays.  All right, whiners are us.  But it's hot, horrible and I hate it. It's the bad air more than anything else. I'm just putting my two overheated cents in, the heat seems to be across the country,

I'll have to take that test.  I'm reading Ride the Right Horse and Miss Kitt is social, passive (she was more aggressive when she was younger, but then weren't we all) and lazy.  But she's a sweetpea and I'm hoping for a social baby.

Well, I'm going to turn the air down to 65, open up the freezer door and crawl in.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In Which We Started Training

Don't you just love the "oh puleeze" look. This is the mommy horse Miss Kitt and this is her usual, typical reaction to training.  After we get the "look"  she always does what's asked of her.   Now depending on what she's been asked to do, she will either get over it and be her sweet snugly self, or she will act like you've broken her heart, hurt her feelings, etc. .  And I know I shouldn't laugh but I do. (Oh yes that's not me, that's trainer extraordinaire, Nina.)

So since we're having a foal and since the foal has to be trained, and I have to do the training.  I'm practicing on Kitt and I decided it was never to soon to start.  There's just one thing, it's 97 degrees, with 90% humidity, low barometric pressure and bad air.  So that's sort of limits things.  I decided we'd work on getting a bath, which Kitt just hates.  So we get to the bathing area, she sees the hose, starts her squirming away two step, I give her a good yank on the lead line, tell her in no uncertain terms that she is so getting the bath and then she stood still, like the good trouper she is, let me bath her scrape her and spray her with fly spray.  I unhooked the lead line at the same time one of the women from the barn was leading her horse to the mare field. I swear to God, she put her nose in the air, refused to look at me and followed the mare into the field. I trotted after them and looked at Kitt who had scooted into the run in shed.  She looked at me, like "how could you," And unfortunately, I guess, I just laughed and said Pussy Cat Horse, you know I love you but we've got be up to speed with this training thing before the baby gets here.

I know that a lot of you are going to think she doesn't respect me. Well maybe she doesn't but she does love me, she puts her head out of the stall, in the summer when she hears my car, and in the winter, she's right up at the fence when I come to get her. I'll keep you posted on my training.  Oh yes, we've done all of this before, so none of it should come as a shock to her.

I decided to leave you with something pretty.

Friday, July 16, 2010

They're Being Draconian at Work, I have Fawns and This and That

Well, shoot. They're being draconian at work.  I am not allowed on to blogger or flickr. Yuck. So I may not comment right away.  I will always comment, but there will be a delay.

Next, my Pammy has had twin fawns. She comes when I call her and she's not afraid of me. I feel honored. I hope she's afraid of other people and I don't know if I've done the right thing or not. But her trust means so much.

Now, all of you out west need to understand that there are a ton of tree hugging morons back east. I have been banned from some very elite groups on Flickr.  Why.  Because I had the nerve to say that hunting was better than starvation or having your throat torn out as an adult, by a wolf; or as a fawn by a coyote. I can't even believe the firestorm that I set off.  I am sadder but wiser now and I curb what I know to be true.  It hasn't changed the galleries that love my work, but it probably has stopped any new ones. If you want a national or international photographic career, you need to curb what you say. Oh well. Pammy's fawns are adorable and life is good.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Please Read

Well, two things  happened almost simultaneously.  When I'm not out shooting weddings and horse and rider glamour shots, I work in a hospital. Here's the cheery news I got to read: On a test of the umbilical cords of babies born in upscale hospitals, when tested they found, over 400 toxic chemicals. That's right, over 400.  The good old US of A has one of the highest cancer rates and rates of ADHD, in the world. One in one hundred children have some form of autism. The two worst offenders are and I hope I'm spelling this right, phthalates found in the fragrances in laundry detergent, body washes, softeners, lip glosses and nail polish.  The other hugey is found in plastics.  According to the President's Council on Cancer, which was set up by Regan not Obama, those two toxic chemicals are responsible for more cancers than tobacco and alcohol combined. Isn't that wonderful. The rest of the nasties are from the pesticides, growth hormones and other lovelys we eat every day.

So after I read this, I read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" I suggest you read it. It's an eye opener.  So I decided, to eat locally.  Guys the food tastes better, much better. It's amazing. The food that's good for you actually tastes better.  However, I have to say, that when asked if I'd like to look at the animals, I said, "no."  I can't meet, pet or have anything to do with an animal I'm going to eat.  I know this is hypocritical, but that's just the way I am.

So for anyone reading this, please have fragrance free everything and as far as possible, remove plastics from your life.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sedona Shots

Here are some of things that I found interesting to photograph in Sedona:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sedona - Was it the Vortex or Vacation

Well here is the airport vortex.  No joke, I found it's exact location and hiked over.  The fact that it was less than 1/2 a mile from our lodge was just a coincidence.  Yep, just a coincidence.  Well I don't know whether it was vortex or not being at work, but I immediately calmed down.  It was amazing. The lodge was lovely, that's a plug for a wonderful, peaceful place to say at very reasonable prices;

I really can't say enough nice things about the place.  We were floating around the pool one afternoon when one of the guests commented on how peaceful and lovely this place was.  "Hello," answered a man from the other side of the pool, "we are 1/2 a mile from a vortex.  Of course it's peaceful. " So was it the vortex or just being away, who knows, but there was a wonderful feeling to the place, and I'm not one for deserts. I think my next post will just have some of things I thought were interesting.

It's Raining

It's raining oh jump for joy, it raining and currently the temperature is 74.  I feel like running outside like a two year old and jumping in the puddles. You have to understand, we haven't had a day of rain since May and it's been over 100 degrees.  I haven't taken any pictures, because quite frankly, the sight of all of the burned out fields is depressing.  But it's raining, today, YES

Friday, July 9, 2010

Horses Behaving Badly or Not

My girl, Kitt, loves foals. She would like to bogard every foal on the farm.  Last year, when I noticed that they weaned one of their foals, late born, too soon; I suggested that they put Kitt out there with them, which they did. So Kitt and the now yearlings and two year olds are best buds.  Kitt loves to put her face over the fence and then the yearlings, and two year olds and Kitt have a love fest.

Well, Belle who does not love foals is in the pasture, next to the yearlings and she has evil moods.  She put her head over the fence like Kitt does and the yearlings and two year old ran up to be loved. When Lexie got there first and was waiting for a mature mare to love her up, Belle wheeled around and kicked the cr**p out of her.  Lexie was so upset, she got her hooves tangled in the rope fencing and fell over.  I immediately called for help and ran over to see what I could do.

What happened next was interesting.  Lexie got up, and the group of yearlings and fellow two year olds, gathered around her. They put their necks over her and generally loved her up. Then Cala, the most feisty of the two year olds, put her head and neck over the fence. When Belle came up, Cala didn't give her a chance, she wheeled around and kicked the cr**p out of Belle. This two year old is a horse that the barn owner thinks is evil and can't be trusted or trained,  I think, if she was willing to defend a pasture mate, with the right training she can be a good horse.  All horse people please weigh in here.

PS: I am so jealous of you slip and sliders. Have the most wonderful party.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

We're Having a Foal

The vet came out today and ultrasounded Miss Kitt and she's definitely pregnant. Yeeha, Yeah.  I'm saying this even though Tommy is saying, "my foal won't have any friends./ Who's going to play with my foal?"

Why won't our foal have any friends?  I'm hoping those of you who have raised foals might help me here.  OK, here's the backstory.  Kitt has lymes. Her numbers were off the charts and she tossed me, knocked me out and bucked her way back to the barn.  I should not have ridden her, but that's another post for another time. I took her to a barn where they are wonderful about giving meds.  She was pulsed on doxie for 18 months. But still her numbers were off the charts.  I love her, she's my best friend, and so selling he was not an option. I went on line and found a vitamin regimen that put the mare into permanent remission. I tried it and it worked.  My results have been so amazing, that the huge time equine vet who treats the thoroughbred racehorses and warmblood show horses is recommending this to all of his clients whose horses have lymes,.

My girl got pregnant right way and tomorrow, I'm calling my high quality vitamin supplier and getting her on mare and foal and she will have mare 14 feed for her last trimester. I expect a healthy foal. 

Why am I saying this.  The barn manager owns a warmblood mare worth $40,000. She has uterine infection issues. She has spent over $5000 on an AI procedure that did not work. I suggested she go online and find a vitamin regimen that would boost the mare's immune system to the point that it could overcome the infections. She basically told me, I'm a new age nut and there's nothing that can be done.  HELLO. I have an off the chart lymes mare who has inspired the most expensive equine vet in Maryland horse country to recommend my vitamin regimen.

Kitt knows that she is pregnant. Don't ask me or you'll think I'm a new age nut. She's so happy.  I'm so happy.  Tommy is worring himself to death about how his foal won't have any friends to play with. Stay; tuned. We're having a foal.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

It's hot. It's going to be 100 degrees and humid for the next five days. Hate it. Well when it gets that hot there's only one thing to do, go tubing at the swimming hole.  I went last weekend and it was cool and wonderful.   Tommy took a video of me scooting down the river and trust me it will never be seen on this blog.  I gave him a camera that takes underwater videos for Christmas and it has turned my sane, rational husband into Cecil B. Demented.

Today we're going to my mother-in-laws annual 4th of July cookout, but tomorrow I will be on the river.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I'm Back

I had the flu on our vacation.  My doctor told me that this is a new flu and if you got the flu shot, well, too bad for you, you're not protected. Then the flu settled in to an upper respiratory infection and then I had a really bad allergic reaction to the antibiotics, So I haven't been posting, been too sick, too exhausted, too done in to anything.  But, I'm back and you can look forward to me being my old snarky self, 

I have been keeping up with you guys. 


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Horse Is A Floozie

I always knew that my sweetpea of a quarterhorse girl was somewhat, shall we say, loose. Her favorite thing to do when in season, was to sashay herself to the windows of the geldings' stalls and then run through her "winky routine." Those of you who don't have mares, just imagine a "winky routine" that does not involve the eyes.

Well Kitt was AI'd yesterday. The AI process involves running a tube into the vagina.  Well, because this is a sort of, kind of, family friendly blog, I will not tell you what Miss Kitt did during the process. Sufice it to say, my vet said, "hmm, it's obvious this mare has had live cover and enjoyed it."

Did she basically skip out of the stall with a smile on her face? Did I feel like asking her if she wanted a cigarette?  (That comment certainly date yours truely.)  Am I the owner of an equine porn star?

Stay tuned.  Bringing up baby is getting more interesting by the minute.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I'm Back and How to Look Good on a Horse Part 1

Well here I am back.  I got sick and we had to leave our vacation early. What did I have?  According to a nurse practitioner who boards her horse where I board, Kitt.  I had one of the resistant varieties of the swine flu. Trust me on this.  You don't want to have this thing.  Get yourself vaccinated.  I cannot remember being this sick.  Yuck.

Anyway, I have several volunteers ready and willing to have a horse portrait taken for free.  Problem is they;re all twenty/thirty somethings.  We're going to look at them for poses only.

Here's the thing.  We're all, or most of are, fifty somethings and we we look at pictures taken of us when we were sixteen, twenty-five, or thirty and then look at recent photos, compared to what we used to look like, to ourselves, we look like hideous, wrinkled, haggy old bats. Maybe to ourselves, but not to the world.

Look in the mirror.  Really look at yourself.  If you ride everyday, you've got a good body. If you've got a few lines on your face, we can work with this. Part of being a professional portrait, wedding photographer is being a good stylist and I'm going to show you some tips and tricks. 

Here's your homework assignment.  This week, when you're at the feed shop or the grocery store or WallMart, I want you to look at women you think are your age. Compare yourself to them, not the stick insects in the short shorts. You're looking pretty good girls. Compared to the overweight ladies in the pink stretch outfits, with too much makeup or none at all, trust me you still  turn more than a few masculine heads. 

More later.

Oh yes, I have a few posts that I was working on from before I got sick.  First, "was it the vortex or vacation"? Guess what, I finealy calmed down,  And then there's  "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore,"about my time on the Navajo reservation. and finally, "Come in reverence" doesn't begin to describe Chaco Canyon and the Anasazi.  It's more like, "walk in awe, walk with respect and then leave with so many questions for which there are no answers. "

Friday, June 4, 2010

Truth and Beauty

I've tried to figure out how to do this post, I've started and deleted it so many times. But I think this is something everyone who wants to be work on their shots needs to know.  Back in the day I worked for the National Geographic Magazine.  No, I wasn't a photographer.  I answered letters to the editor. But I took the senior editors' photography class and what they taught me has stayed with me. Here is a word for word statement from them, "Any moron can learn the technical stuff.  The fstops and the shutter speeds. It's not hard. But those photographers who reach for greatness understand art. So while I'm on vacation, I'd like those of you who want a photographic career, to study art. What do you want to do, weddings, portraits, new west shots?  Go to the library and get art books out and look at how the greats did what you want to do. Look at the poses.  Look at the light. This is what will take you to the next level'

First up when I come back is how to look good when photographed with your horse. Here's a hint, if you're not twelve, it's not at a show.  Horse photography is tricky.  Well we'll get into that when I come back. Then, because we have to, I'll talk about shutter speed. And then the fun stuff, the rule of thirds and the s curve of beauty. Take loads of pictures and know that I'm holding positive thoughts about all of you. Each and every one of you are special.  Rock on Girlfriends.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Fun Just Keeps On Keeping On

Today was the day Miss Kitt was to be AI'd.  I was a wreck all day, worrying about it.  So finally I decided, I was going to be there and I didn't care about the consequences.  I announced I was taking two hours personal time and went out to the barn.  No semen.  I called FedEx and they said it would be there by 4:30.   4:30 arrived and no semen. I called FedEx, oh my the shipment was delayed in Denver because of technical difficulties with the plane. Did they say this, or have this on their website. No they did not. They kept saying it would be there by 4:30.  After I screamed and shrieked and threatened, they promised me it would be there before noon tomorrow. Then I called my vet and she wanted it there by 9:30am because of her obligations.  So I called FedEx again and the toady who talked to me said that the only guarantee I had was that it would be there by 4:30 not before noon like the other agent said, and he told me that that agent had no right to tell me that it would be there in the morning..  The barn owner is talking lawsuits, the vet is going to come back at $100 a pop and we're starting over.  I'll be on vacation.  The stallion station is wonderful and I will never ship anything FedEx again.  Hello angry Gods could you please cut me a break here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Bad Day

I received three phone calls today. The first was from my best friend who is like my sister.  Her brother in law walked out to his lounge chair, took out his pistol and blew his brains out. That left her fragile sister to find the blood and the brains and to have to call 911, and then call my friend to have to deal with the whole mess.

Call  number 2, my summer daughter, Laura, Her mother couldn't be bothered to raise a child. so my brother sent her East every summer.  She's pregnant and the dad has staph.

Call #3 the equine vet called to say Miss Kitt has be bred tomorrow,so instead of some lovely ritual, I have to beat my feet down to the barn, collect the equitaner and then make sure it gets out of here second day air. So much for lovely I an hemorrhaging money instead of having something beautiful.

This has been so bad, I don't know what to say

Monday, May 31, 2010

Oh My She Lost Ten Pounds Overnight

OK, here's one of my favorite photoshop tricks.  It works like a charm and it shaves at least ten pounds off your subject.  Here's how you do it.

I'm going to assume we're using windows, here.

1.  Open your picture in PS or PS Elements.
2.  Hit control A - note the whole shot has been selected.
3.  Hit control T - we now have handles on the sides of the picture.  Look up you will see the percentage of the transformation.  Take the left handle and move it to the right until the percentage is 94%.  Any more than that and it no longer looks realistic.
4. Click on the crop tool - it will ask you if you want to continue.  Yes
5.  Crop the picture.

Voila, your subject has just lost ten to fifteen pounds.  The desire not to be sued is keeping me from showing you a before and after.  Just trust me this works.

Hope your enjoying your holiday.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sneaking and Creeping

Well the blog looks better, but I'm still not happy.  Does anyone out there know how to get rid of the cutest blog on the block.  It's glued in there and I can't delete it.

Oh well, I was sitting up in my office this morning watching the yearling fawn, I used to call Pixie.  I say used to because Miss Pixie is developing horns. I just can't seem to get this right.  He's been a stressed out wreck, because his mother has driven him away.  I guess there will be a new fawn/fawns soon. So he's been coming up to eat by himself.  Now Mr. Pixie or whatever, knows where I store the food.  It was a riot. He'd take two steps up into the yard and then he'd stop and look around.  Then he'd take another two steps and stop and look around.  And when I say steps.  If he was a cartoon character, he'd be on tippy toes.  When he wasn't looking around his eyes were zeroed in on the food bin. He continued on this way until he was half way into the yard, then he looked up and saw me watching him.  You could almost hear him say "oh crap" as he turned around and walked back into the woods.

Oh yes, here's a recent picture I took and have been noodling around with, I call it "Fun," because it's been fun to work on,

Friday, May 28, 2010

How To Look Good in Pictures

First of all, the firings are over and I'm still employed. YEAH.  Second, the looks of this blog are going to be fixed this weekend, or those of you on the west coast will be able to hear me shriek.

Alright, as a wedding photographer, I've seen it all.  So here are my hints on how to look good in pictures that are taken of you.

1.  Always and I mean always wear pantyhose or shapewear to a function where there will be a photographer. I can hear the protesting from my office in Maryland, so first I'll deal with group one.  Group one consists of the "I don't look like a 19 year old stick insect with breast implants so it doesn't matter what I wear, I'm always going to look the same."  WRONG.  Without control top pantyhose or shapewear, you're going to look like a lumpy sack of potatoes, or worse yet a lumpy sack of jiggling, wiggling pudding.

Then there's group two. Group two consists of the "I ride, workout, run, ect, ect everyday and I have a body like a rock, so I don't need those things."  OK, here's what we're going to see on your rock hard body, visible panty, thong, or God forbid all together lines. You have no idea how adorable a dress/skirt looks bunched up in your patoot, and trust me, if you are not the bride, hostess, or event chair, the photographer will not take the time to clone it out. 

Remember, a few hours of being mildly uncomfortable is preferable to years of being embarrassed whenever you have to look at that picture.

2.  If everytime you laugh hysterically, whatever you're drinking comes out of your nose, or you have a migraine. feel sick, had a fight with your date/husband/ significant other, or generally are in a bad mood; do not position yourself anywhere near the bride, hostess, or event chair, because when the picture is shot, there you'll be clearly visible in the background looking ridiculous or just  plain God awful.

3.  Wear makeup.  The camera washes you out.  If you normally don't, do it anyway.  A little lipgloss, blush and mascara will make you look 100 times better, younger and more refreshed. Trust me on this. Putting a little paint on your face, does not mean you are not a bright competent woman.

4. The mistake that most people make when they know they're having their picture taken is to squinch up their eyes and tighten their mouths.  This action makes you look like you're about to be sick or you're a really mean person.  Open your eyes and relax your mouth. Think to yourself, you know a delicious secret about the photographer and then smile. 

So there you have my best advice.  Hopefully, by Tuesday the blog will look good again,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Post Meltdown

Well after being a stressed out wreck, I suppose I just lost it.  I'm still annoyed, but I'm going to be alright and trust me, I'm not going to do anything stupid. Today, I confirmed, ie: combing through HR policies that I will get a severance package.  If I lose my job, Tommy is going to take over my part of the bills, include Miss Kitt's board. Who'd thunk it.  I decided not to lay down and play dead, so today I emailed every single soul I thought could help me get another job and the response I got back was extremely reassuring.  Then I took another long look at some of the tough negotiations I'm right in the middle of and decided, if they sack me, those negotiations will simply cease to be my problem.

We're going to Arizona at the beginning of June and when we get to Sedona, I intend to park my patoot right next to a vortex and forget that, what should I call my place of employment, "the nut house" ever existed. Then when I'm well rested I'll come back, collect unemployment and start looking for another job.

Now if they can my assistant and my manager and think I can do it all, well now that I'm in my new frame of mind, I'll just proceed with the find another job plan.

Thanks guys for all your concern and encouragement. You are the best.

Now if I could just figure out what happened to my snazzy new blog background.  Sigh, it's always something.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Twisting InTthe Wind

Well guys they laid off the housekeepers, nursing assistants and radiology techs.  The rest of us have to wait until the first week of June to see if we're laid off. When I'm done, I'll tell you who did this and then I'll tell the local newspaper. This is so God Awful. They seriously don't care.  They just want us twisting in the wind.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More Guts Than Glory

I nailed this wedding and it was difficult.  A middle aged couple getting married on a boat. YIKES. Why did this make me such a wreck?  When I was a baby photographer just starting out, I took two wedding assignments.  Was I competent? NO. Did I know what I Was doing? NO!  Did I do it anyway? YES.  Did I spend months sitting at my computer, crying, because I'd botched somebody's wedding, frantically trying to fix mistakes that should never have happened in the first place.You better believe it.  And to make matters worse, I did not understand the power of photoshop. Did Ratty have to fix my god awful mistakes at the second wedding. Unfortunately, yes.  So, weddings, no matter how much I love them, and I do, make me crazy.  There is nothing like the happiness of a wedding and the type of shots you can get to make you thrilled.   But I keep wondering what am I forgeting? What am I doing wrong.  What simple thing have I ignored.  Neurotic are us.  Maybe, someday down the line this won't happen.

Now, why as a professional photographer with gigs in the pipe am I nuts about maybe being laid off?  It's because of my horse, Kitt.  Tommy is willing to float us, but he is not willing to float Kitt.  She is my responsibility.  She is also my best friend.  It's hard for me to talk about what she means to me.  That has to happen in a separate post.  All I can say is this.  When she was so sick with lymes, I had my identity stolen.  I'd arrive at the barn half crazy from what was going on and she would limp out to meet me. She would wrap her neck around me and stay with me until I was calm.  She wouldn't leave me.  She would just love me and she will always be taken care of, even if that means I have to say "would you like fries, with that order."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why I've Been Skitzy and Not Around

Sometime around February, we heard that at the hospital where I work, they were going to lay off thirty or so people.  In March that 30 or so, morphed into 1/10th  of the workforce, but they weren't saying when.  Then in April, we learned that the 1/10th was going to happen, but they refused to say who and all they said was sometime in May.  Then we found out is was going to be Monday, but they still weren't saying who.  The whole hospital is a wreck.  Each day the stress gets worse. Much worse.  I figure I'll be alright, because the CMO has requested my attendance at a meeting to meet our new Director.  I figure if they're going to be canning everyone on Monday, and I'm expected at lunch meeting on Friday, I made it through.  But you never know.  Either way, I'll be back blogging on Monday.  The next lesson is "For every rule there is an exception."

Oh yes, in the middle of all of this fun, I have to shoot a wedding tomorrow.  YIKES

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Power of F4 and lower

If you'll take a look at the following picture, you'll see what I mean about the subject in focus and the background soft:

Do you see how the subjects "pop" when the background is blurred? This is the setting you should use when you want to take a still portrait of a woman, girl, baby, horse (standing horizontally to you), dog, or a single flower or a flat group of flowers.  It creates a romantic feel.  Now I've upped that soft dreaminess with an action for Photoshop called "Glamour Blur," but this is basically what it looked like.

PS:  You can duplicate Glamour Blur in Picnik by using the softness tool.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

800 Pictures Down to 150 or Baby Get Your Glow On

This is the down side.  Remember how thrilled I was when I looked all of my shots. Well I still am, sort of kind of.  I have just gone through 800 pictures, coverted 300 from  raw to TIFFS, gone through them again and singled out 150 that will go to the bride.  Mind you that this bride was a little heavy and so in every picture of her, she had to be cut down. Then I had to put the glow on the pictures and now I'm going to sharpen them, convert them to a jpeg for printing and then convert them to a view only jpeg for the slide show. It gets a bit daunting,  Then there's my problem person.  In every wedding there is one.  That's usually the child that won't stop making faces or the relative that looks like he or she was weaned on a pickle, or in one instance the bride who drank so much at the reception, you could have stood her out on Charles Street and used her face for a stop light. In this wedding it was the overweight bridesmaid, without shapewear, in the slinky dress.  Hello, if you weigh 300 pounds and they've put you in clingy chiffon, invest in Spanx. I can cut you down, I can't erase the quivering bulges.  And if you are that size and find yourself in this situation, make the best of it, by trying to look pleasant.  Don't make the poor wedding photographer spend over two hours looking at pictures of you, trying to find one where you don't look like you could spit nails.  Ahh, the joys of the artistic life.  But, I do get paid to do this and most of the pictures make me extremely happy and some make me more than happy.

I hope some of you are trying the can exercise and will be ready for the next lesson on how to use fstops.

PS:  I watched my horse, Kitt, ovulate.  The vet was giving her an ultrasound and it was just at the right time.  Way cool.

PPS:  The does are driving away last year's fawns in anticipation of the new babies to come. I've got a shell shocked group of almost yearlings at the all you can eat cafe.