A Virtual Blog Tour? What the heck is that? I certainly had no clue when one of the wonderful bloggers behind Wandering Cows (shout out to Spotted Cow!) invited me to participate. And, yes, I do know Spotted Cow’s real name, but I’m not gonna be the one who gives it up – that’s for SC to share. 🙂
For the uninitiated, the VBT (I don’t know if anyone has yet called it that so I may be starting something here) is all about learning more about our fellow WordPress bloggers – why they do what they do and how they do what they do. How does it work? The invitee (me) is invited to publish a post on a Monday specified by the inviter (Spotted Cow). Usually, the date is one week after the inviter’s post is published. In the post, the invitee replies to four questions:
- What am I working on?
- How does my work differ from others of its genre?
- Why do I write/create what I do?
- How does your writing/creating process work?
If the invitee says yes to joining the tour, he or she becomes the inviter and reaches out to up to four new bloggers to join, sending the rules and questions to each and deciding together on the specific Monday they are to post their responses. Phew. Got that? Good. So let’s begin.
FIRST OF ALL, THANKS TO MY INVITER!
Many thanks to Spotted Cow for inviting me on this tour. I always look forward to posts from Wandering Cows. The photos are stunning, whether from a far-off destination or their own backyards, and accompanied by entertaining short stories that always make me smile, if not outright laugh. They are a well-traveled herd, and I love seeing the world through their eyes.
Now, on to the questions.
WHAT AM I WORKING ON?
Learning to use my camera. I seem to be trying in six months to make up for the five years I had it left on automatic. I mean, try as I might, I just couldn’t grasp the concept of F-stops, so the big green “A” became my friend. Now, though, I’m going head-to-head with my D90, and this time, I’m winning. I’m reading everything I can about photography, I’ve signed up on countless photography websites, and I’ve taken a few weekend classes. Most importantly, though, I’m practicing, practicing, practicing! And you know what? I’m finally beginning to get it!
Improving my post-processing skills. Straight out of the camera, a lot of my photos are less than stellar, but I’m harnessing the power of post-processing software to create what I had intended to shoot (in other words, to fix my mistakes!). I’m fairly comfortable with Lightroom, but Photoshop is another beast entirely, one I’m learning bit-by-bit.
Creating video tutorials for my weekly community forum called After-Before Friday. ABFridays (tagline: Highlighting the creative magic behind post-processed photos) are posts to which participants submit before and after versions of a single photo and reveal their post-processing steps. It’s fascinating and educational, and it’s also enlightening to learn that post-processing is a common part of the workflow even for professional photographers.
Contributing to Monochromia, a fantastic new blog that highlights black and white photography from a group of invited photographers. I’m still pinching myself over this. I was a guest contributor last week, but color me surprised AND happy, I am now a main contributor, assigned a weekly post on Friday afternoons. You should definitely visit if you have a chance!
I’ve also recently begun experimenting with motion (blurring and freezing), using different lenses (I’ve started using a 35mm F/1.8 prime lens in place of my 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens), and using a tripod (I used one for the first time today!). And I want to try my hand at night photography.
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
There are so many people using so many different types of technology to capture so many different genres of photos from so many different corners of the world (have I used enough “so’s”?) – and the creativity of each never ceases to amaze me. But no two people will ever see the world around them in exactly the same way. So my work differs only because my photographs reflect how I see the world. Other than that, I’m simply a photography enthusiast trying to create the best images I can.
WHY DO I CREATE WHAT I DO?
Creativity has always been the driving force in my life (okay, except when I went to law school, which probably explains why I practiced law for three years, left, and never looked back). Decades passed, filled with raising a family and all the things that go along with it, including volunteering in, oh, so many different capacities. I loved doing everything I did, but it took applying for a job a few years ago to finally make sense of all the seemingly disparate things I not only loved to do, but did well: creating and managing the content of websites, publishing e-newsletters, creating forms and flyers, throwing parties with elaborate themes, and stage managing theatrical productions (this I actually got paid for!). To “sell” my talents, I first had to ask myself what all of these things had in common. It was a HUGE “aha” moment when I realized they’re all forms of visual communication and that my passions and skill set align with an actual profession: visual communication design.
Did I get that job? No. But I got something much more important: I found myself. And as a direct result of that, Visual Venturing was born, a place where I can visually create and communicate to my heart’s content while finally embracing another wonderful genre of visual communication design: photography.
HOW DOES MY CREATIVE PROCESS WORK?
I take my camera practically everywhere with me. In fact, a few days ago I actually pulled it out in the grocery store and started taking pictures in the produce section! Okay, that’s a bit obsessive, but it’s become second nature to look for photographic opportunities no matter what I’m doing or where I am. And because of that, I don’t like to be without it.
As far as what I photograph, I’m still finding my voice. If you look at my homepage, you’ll see photos of a little bit of everything (except macro photography and portraits). And much to my surprise, I’m enjoying getting out on the streets and capturing scenes with people (I should say “stealing” scenes with people because I get these shots by “shooting from the hip”; I’m not yet at all confident enough in my skills to approach a stranger and ask to take a picture.) I’m also enjoying black and white photography, as it strips out all the distractions and makes me really “see” whether a shot will work well.
PASSING ON THE TOUR
I had no hesitation in choosing the three bloggers I wanted to invite on this tour. Wandering Cows would have easily rounded out my group, but Spotted Cow asked me first! The order of introduction, purely alphabetical by first name:
Jaime Perez of My Photolanguage (http://myphotolanguage.wordpress.com/) shares his home country of Venezuela (as well as Colombia) through his delightful photos interpreting Weekly Photo Challenges. I never know what kind of photo to expect from Jaime, but his wonderful sense of humor is oftentimes evident in his photography. (See for yourselves (I dare you!) in two of his recent posts: Summer Lovin’ and his submission to ABFriday Week 13.) Most of all, Jaime has a wonderful eye for what works and what doesn’t work in a photo. And ever the teacher that he is, Jaime will share his views with you. I have actually reworked a number of images based on his suggestions, finding they have always been spot on in making the photos better. In fact, I have come to count on him as my barometer of success with any given image.
Karen Chengelis of KCinAZ (http://kcinaz.me/). AZ stands for Arizona, and I love seeing photos from Karen’s home town. But she also shares wonderful pictures from her travels. From horses and rodeos in Arizona and streetcars in New Orleans to fountains in Crete and beaches in Mexico, there’s always something fun to see in Karen’s photos. She also has a wonderful project involving an iPhone photo of a Texas oil refinery and I can’t wait to see the finished product!
Karen Gasper of daysandmonths (http://daysandmonths.com) hails from Australia, more specifically New South Wales (I actually pulled up a map tonight to see exactly where that is!). She professes her first love is landscape photography, but she captures a wonderful range of images, documenting places, people, and things from around New South Wales, as well as from abroad. Her incredible photos from France and Paris initially pulled me in, and her wonderfully creative eye has kept me there – each new image is always a delight, especially if water is involved. Karen does wonderful things with water!
There you have it. Thanks for reading (if you did); if you didn’t, I understand. Jaime, Karen, and Karen will be posting their responses to the Virtual Blog Tour on Monday, August 25. So be sure to keep an eye out!
18 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes at Visual Venturing – Virtual Blog Tour”
An exciting blog with so many adventures, surprises and discoveries of a world full of imagination and possibilities. Thank you for sharing your world, vision and many passions.
Mr. B, what an incredibly lovely comment you have left me. Thanks so very much for your kindness!
So glad I found you again… Your cheery, happy way in which you write and your stunning photography is what brings me back for more and more!
Hi, Nancy! The Reader can be so very wonky, can’t it? So glad you’re glad you found me again 🙂 Thanks for your lovely words – they make ME happy!
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Hi Stacy… enjoyed your article and your virtual tour. It helped me to get mine out… even if 2 days late. Still haven’t passed on the tour but hopefully soon.
Great post as I knew it would be. I’ve reposted this today on my blog to introduce you to my blog followers (but I think most of them will know you as your reputation precedes you). You’ve raised the bar high on this one! 🙂
Karen, what a wonderful compliment, and to have reblogged my post is just so … well, cool … (yeah, I feel like my teenage daughter choosing that word to use, but that’s exactly the word that came to mind when I saw that you had done this!) And I certainly didn’t mean to create any bars to reach – it’s just my incredibly compulsive nature 😉 I’m really looking forward to learning more about you and your wonderful blog come Monday and to find out who you’re passing the torch to! Thanks so much!
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Reblogged this on daysandmonths and commented:
Introducing Stacy Fischer who invited me to do the virtual blog tour (VBT). I will be posting Monday with my answers to the questions required and then passing on the torch to two bloggers to continue on the tour.
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Fantastic post Stacy. It’s nice to know a bit more about you and see how passionate you are about photography, and how committed too! That’s a stunning fairground picture too!
Thanks, Eleanor. And I’m glad you noticed the photo – I was playing around with NikEfex and really liked the effect the detail extractor gave it. I thought it kind of summed up my life at this point – full of color and life and oftentimes moving so fast that I miss the details 🙂
Wow, Stacy, this is a great, great, post. Now I know a bit more about you and your artistic feeling; this, being absorbed, and projected, through photography. What I like the most about you is the way you believe in yourself and the humility you take any suggestion with, using it quickly in your own benefit. By the way, I have no words to express my feelings of gratitude for the concept about me that you wrote in your post; I’m deeply honored. “Counting on me as a barometer of success” is too much but I’m really happy giving a hand; especially to you, who (as I said before) always accept it in the best way.
Talking about that, and regarding what you say about the “big green A”, don’t you think it’s kind of contradictory having not only one, but four automatic programs in pro and semipro photo gears?! Contrary to what most of the people think, the automatisms in photographic cameras are intended to make easier the life of those who really know how to use it, not for beginners!
Jaime, I’m so very glad you liked the post 🙂 I’m really looking forward to yours!
Interesting question about the auto programs. The only one I have ever used is the “Program” mode on my Nikon as a gauge of what settings may work in a given situation if I’m having trouble finding a starting point. As for the others, I have repeatedly read/heard that they’re a bridge between automatic and full manual. Perhaps if I did take the time to understand their settings, I might be able to use them in a situation where I might miss a shot if I tried shooting on manual. I do have to admit that having buttons on my camera that I have no idea how they work is a bit disconcerting. I may just have to read up on them, at a minimum to satisfy my curiosity!
That’s a great post. Having been a follower, it’s wonderful to read your behind the scenes/how you work. It gives me some insight into how you wound your way round to photography. When I first took photography seriously, I also lugged my camera everywhere, took pictures of everything & everyone, attended courses & workshops, etc. Like you, I also took pictures of produce, although it was in my own home. Red peppers have great curves & lines, by the way. As for post-processing to correct unintended mistakes, I tend to think of it as digital darkroom. It’s what photographers of old used to do manually and with much less room for error.
By the way, I like how you put the whole post together – setting out the rules up top, then going on to your answers and inserting images in between. I’m glad you told me that you’re in visual communication. I had that “shudda thought of that” moment.
I’m already familiar with Jaime and KCinAZ and will check out daysandmonths, especially as the rest of the cows plus our folks live in New South Wales !
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Thanks for the great follow-up, SC! I’ll be sure to check out red peppers my next foray into the grocery store 🙂 And I appreciate your comment about the digital darkroom – I do tend to forget that comparison and it’s a great one. Glad you liked the layout – I had fun picking out the photos! You’re gonna love daysandmonths – I guarantee it 🙂
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Great post Stacy! Looking forward to your photos taken with a tripod 🙂
Thanks, Manal! As for the tripod, now I really feel like a photographer 😉