Another Hard Lesson For a Hardheaded Girl


I’ve heard over and over how “if it looks easy, it was probably hard to accomplish.” This applies to music, painting, writing, and pretty much all of the arts.

The answer, then, is always practice. And then practice. And then practice some more.

I recently procured a light tent and have been learning how to shoot stock images. It’s a great outlet for photography and occasionally, if you build up a good inventory, you can make a couple extra bucks at it.

So I thought I’d try my hand. I did my first submission of ten to the online stock photo company I’d chosen, and all but one were summarily rejected.

I was told that most “were not commercial”…meaning I’d submitted arty stuff and not “hey that would look good on a brochure” stuff.

Ok. This calls for expanding my horizons a bit. A streeeeetch to my current knowledge.

So I’ve been practicing. And struggling.

I have spoken with a professional photographer who has a lot of success with both stock and not-stock work. She gave me great information and feedback.

She advised that making the move to add “commercial” to your “arty” repertoire is a tough one.

I had no idea how just how tough.

I keep looking at this photo and sighing. Occasionally I whimper. (I suggest clicking the photo to see the big size. In the small form to fit this blog post it’s hard to see details):

I took the better part of a hundred photos of ding-dang tomatoes in just three different poses. I fiddled with light. Lenses. Exposure. All of it. From the piles of photos from that shoot, this is one of the better shots.

And it still sucks.

The stems are out of focus (c’mon Fayeth, that’s photography 101!). The colors are muddy (gah!) and the depth of field isn’t quite right as you can still kind of see the corners of the light tent. And the way the lights are configured, it looks like each little tomato has two little eyes (this was not easily corrected by Photoshop. I tried.). GAAAAH!

So frustrating.

Turns out it takes a lot of effort to make a “simple photo of tomatoes” look like it was just simply snapped off the camera and ready to go.

What does this all mean? Well…back to the light tent I go with a new bowl of tomatoes from the back yard.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

And then practice some more.

I think the edges of my personal creative envelope are starting to ache a bit.

I Got Yer Circle Of Life Right Here


Today on my regular noontime walk, my walking partner told me a story that I decided I needed to share.

I’m going to tell you this story using the first person voice, as though my friend were telling this story directly to you. I think that point of view lends itself to the events of this story.

Ok, here we go.

“So on Friday while you were in all of those vendor meetings, I came out for a walk with Susan (not her real name).

We were about halfway around the pond when we saw this caterpillar, at least I think it was a caterpillar. It wasn’t fuzzy but it was a big fat thing, bright green and its markings made it look like it had a smiley face on its back.

We were so into this caterpillar, he was so cute. Just the sweetest little worm guy!!

We noticed he was right in the middle of the walking path, and with all the foot traffic, we were concerned for his safety. So I used a stick and a leaf and brushed him over into the grass.

Whew, I was so relieved to get him off the path. I felt so proud that I’d saved his little life.

On our next loop around, we looked for the green smiley face and sure enough, he was over in the grass, munching on a nice juicy blade. He looked so happy!!

We were like Yeah! I think if the green guy could have given us a little wormy thumbs up, he would have. It was just the coolest thing!!!

This just made my whole day. My whole week!

So on our next loop around, we got to the same spot, we looked again for our new little green friend, but we didn’t see him. We were both looking off into the grass searching for him. I started to get worried. I wonder where he’d gone off to. I really hoped he was ok.

I turned my head back forward and said to Susan, ‘I hope he didn’t get back on the walking path.’

That’s when I felt a splurt under my shoe.

I hoped it was goose poop. I prayed it was goose poop.

It wasn’t goose poop.”


My friend was so very terribly distraught telling me this story. Hand wringingly upset.

She is very much an animal person. This is the same lady who shouted at the geese to come back in off the road, and they obeyed.

Four days later, after the events of Friday, and her voice still quavered as she told me this story.

Her eyes were a little misty.
It is wrong that I laughed really loud and from deep in my belly?

Yeah, I thought so too.

Just going to have to add that to my “sins I must atone for later” tab.

Public domain image from

Reporting from the Front Lines


There is a battle being waged. A mighty, vicious, chirpy battle. Take no prisoners. Victory is secured only by chasing the enemy away.

Nothing but full retreat shall be accepted.

Here is a photo of the front lines. Ground zero for the nastiest battle I’ve ever had to witness.

That’s right. It’s a fig tree. In the corner of my front yard.

The birds (mostly snotty jays) fight birds. The squirrels (generally snotty) fight the other squirrels. Then the birds join forces with other birds and the squirrels join forces with other squirrels and it’s full on species on species battle. It’s vicious! And loud.

The menagerie will squawk and chirp and flap wings and shake tails and go nuts at each other.

“Come at me, bro!!”

Yes, I’ve actually seen the birds and squirrels get into a physical tussle.

This is the prize in the all out war:

Figs. Lovely, sweet, squishy figs.

As you can see, our tree is heavy with fruit this year.

The figs on the sunny side of the tree have already ripened to brownish perfection. Tasty sugary carbs. Good energy for the wild animals.

The shady side of the tree still has a ways to go.

Which means this battle will rage on for a while.

My home studio is at this corner of the house and looks out over the fig tree. It’s rather disconcerting to be peacefully writing or painting and hear this angry battle going on right outside my window.

I look forward to the persimmon tree coming on with fruit. It’s in the back of the house and the battle will move there, away from my view and out of hearing range.

Oh, I almost forgot, the deer are in on this battle too. They eat the leaves on the low branches and like to leave their calling card for me under the tree.

(Congratulations long time readers, that’s the second time I’ve treated you to a photo of deer poop. Just keeping it classy here at Oh Fair New Mexico.)

Then the feline gets in the window and chatters at them all. Good gato mighty, it’s a cacophony over here.

Heaven help the human who simply tries to pick a few fresh figs for her morning cereal. The squawking, the strafing, the nasty chirps. Geez!

I’ll tell you, these were hard won. But oh so very tasty.