Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Holiday Season, Y'all

IcedTeaLemons_1900, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
It's the holidays, and I'm taking a bit of a break. I'm registered for an artist summit and have been listening to some handy dandy podcasts. I've also been getting the house in order and getting setup for some big plans next year. I hope to have the house done soon and be able to jump into setting up the studio in early 2014.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the new year. Take some time to refresh, recharge, reload and get ready for 2014 to hit with a bang.

Heck, I know that's what I'm going to do.

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Just Three Weeks. No? How about two?

UndertowInPink, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
So, it dawned on me the other day that, why, it's just three weeks until the end of the year. That's three weeks to get in all of the holiday parties. That's three weeks to do all of the shopping. That's three short weeks to survive all of the Black Friday nonsense (I guess I should not really call it nonsense as I sell stuff too!) Three short weeks. See where I'm going with this?

So, with all of this "OMG! There's only three weeks left and I've just got to...." stuff rolling around, what do I do? What is the one thing I decide I want to do now, right now, of all of the times I could have picked doing this? I've started to think about traveling. Ugh!

I really just want to go somewhere.

Did you ever have that feeling? I really just want to go and check out a beach or a mountain or a mountain next to a beach or a....Ugh! I can't go anyplace. I have too much to do. There's just too much to fit in between now and the end of the year. (Somebody, please save me from all of this!)

A beach. Here's a picture of a beach because, like, I've been thinking about one. (No other reason really. I mean, it is a perfectly good beach and all, and I'm sure you've seen lots of beaches, but I just had to have one. Today, by golly, I just felt like a beach.)

And me without my suntan lotion. Oh, the horror of it all.

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Went for margaritas and Tex-Mex for lunch today. Yum! Lupe's Cantina had it going on.

Yeah, I or it didn't happen. Here ya go!

Until next time...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Safe Travels

Blue2000_7955, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
For all of those traveling this holiday season (it's about to be a holiday season here in the US) please stay safe. There is a monster of a storm roaming around the center of the country. If you live along the east coast, please be prepared and stay safe. This thing already has a body count-having taken out at least 8 people in the west so far and it's just getting started, picking up steam, and all of that. Stay safe, please safe travels one and all.

Myself, I'm looking to stay at home and try to organize the studio a bit, try to work on the house, get the studio setup (some more) and do lots of stuff around here. Might take the camera out for some red leaf hunting (it's that time of year again too!) but then again, maybe not. We'll see if I get inspired to get hot and heavy with the old Baby Mark.

Until then, you'll just have to look at a photo from the car show.

Until next time...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Back to the Studio

HummusCelery_1849, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I must confess...I have always wanted to setup and run a small photography studio. By that I mean setup a couple of lights, maybe a few softboxes, and have a nice setup in my home...a place where I could just go and play. It's always been a quiet goal of mine. I love, love, love, studio photography and have so many ideas of what I could shoot if only I had the setup available to me.

Now, I know you can rent such places but renting is not quite the same. I don't want to trek all across town, have to deal with somebody else's lights, a pocket wizard that isn't quite right for my camera, yada yada. No, my dream, if you will, is to have a sort of quiet little private studio space all setup in my home. In a spare bedroom, setup a small lighting rig and a small studio so that I could just go in there and play. I want to play around. I want to be able to leave it setup. I'd love to be able to buy a vase of flowers, leave it setup for a week or so, go in and shoot it again and again and again. Just, you know, just have fun with it.

All this work on my house and not blogging? Well, I'm finally working towards making this dream a reality. I've cleared out a room in my home. I've installed some shelving. I got a new chair. I have a setup. I'm getting some props and fabric and all. I've started taking courses on lighting to find out what's new and what I can use for my ideal, dream setup. I'm starting to make this happen. And, once it does...once it's all down and good, why, I'll be able to do more shots like this. I'll be able to do some of the studio work I've only been thinking about until now. And it will be all like "Carol's Little Playground" that's for sure.

I can hardly wait. I know I've been quiet and I know you're probably all wondering "Where the #$%^ is Carol these days?" but, I have to tell you, she's coming back. She'll be doing more stuff, fun stuff, stuff she wants to do starting really soon now. And, believe me, it's going to be so much fun, you won't want to miss it.

I guess this is the long-winded version of "stay tuned" but I can't help myself. I want to finally get my little home (read: dream) studio setup and going. Now is the time. The time is right and I'm finally ready, willing, and able to do it.

I promise, you won't want to miss it once I get it going and all. I plan to have a blast and, the best part? That means you can come along for the ride!

Until next time...

Monday, November 18, 2013


ChickenSaladSandy_1853, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Today's post: more food photography coming your way. Good eats = good shots, eh?

More Food For Thought

ChickenSaladSandy_1853, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Hey, that's a great title, isn't it? Too bad I don't have a fantastic blog post to go with it!

Funny enough, I'm just checking in, since I've been busy and have not had much time to post. I've actually been working on my house a bit, trying to get the studio in order, trying to do a bunch of stuff before Thanksgiving. My plans are, for the rest of the year actually, to try and clean up, clear out, and gear up for January, when I will start shooting some major projects again. I've got some plans and I want to get everything setup and ready to go so that I can just bang it come the new year. I know everybody always says that...everybody always has New Year's Resolutions and all...everybody always turns over a new leaf come the new year and whatnot, but that's what I've actually been planning for a while now. Trying to get the house in order, get everything setup, so I can just rock it.

The new shelves have come and were installed. Yay! I still have some tweaking to do in there, then I will fill, fill, fill them up. I got a new chair for that room too, and that's already in place. Waiting on a desk lamp and a chair for my front room, my "main" Photoshopping desk area. I ordered a super fancy "Stressless" chair from Norway (yes, they come on wheels!) for that room, in custom leather. It's actually going to be custom made and get shipped in from Norway just for me. Wow! Yeowza on that one, eh? (I feel so special.) Of course, this means I have to shovel out that room before it actually gets here and all of that. Been making progress on this front some but have *a lot* to do still. All that and then there's the garage. (There's always the garage. Ah, *sigh* the garage. Somebody, please save me from the dreaded garage?!?)

Shovel, shovel, shovel. Someday this too will be done.

Until then, why, here's more photography of food stuffs. Looks yummy doesn't it? (Well, heck, it beats the garage but then again *anything* beats the garage!)

Until next time...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Food Photography

Pears_1806, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Went to a workshop today at my local camera store on food photography. I have to say I loved it! Had so much fun. Got to play around with some pears, some iced tea, some dip and some mushrooms. Wow! Who would have even thought of photographing mushrooms? But they look beautiful! Amazing how things can look with just some studio lighting and a little attention to them.

I met a chef too. I didn't have the heart to tell her I can't cook worth a lick. Doesn't matter though, as I am more than willing to eat up some mistakes.

I love the browns in these type of images. I love the brown, brown, brown, warm, warm, warm look. Makes me feel right at home, even if this place doesn't really even exist. Only in my dreams, right? (Heck, in my dreams I can cook well too!)

This one taken with continuous lighting, two lights one back and one side with barn doors (no softbox!) Used the Canon with the Canon lens too.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Spring Ahead, Fall Back

Some Halloween candy left after the big day. We lucked out and had some nice weather for my trick or tweeting. Sadly, now it appears to be Christmas time, without the benefit of Thanksgiving.

Had a busy day today-did some shopping and running around so tired now. Looking forward to an extra hour of sleep!

Until next time...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 01, 2013

More Manic Mannequins

Manic mannequins in a shop window, Salado, Texas.
Mannequins_1732, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
These are the mannequins from a recent trip to Salado, Texas. I've always had this theory about mannequins, about how they reflect the general area where they reside...about how they differ everywhere you go and yet, somehow, they are the same. I guess we're all the same on the inside, right? The mannequins? Ah, maybe not so much.

Many of the small towns in the area have the sorts of mannequins that were antique and hand-painted years ago. This was because they could not afford to purchase expensive mannequins from "the big city" (of sorts) so, instead, they made due with what they had. They fashioned their very own mannequins using materials they might have had on hand. Nowadays? I suppose mannequins are made in China. I guess that's no big loss, really, I mean, it's not like we were married to our mannequins or anything like that. Still though, they are now left as these sorts of ghosts, remnants of a bygone era (of sorts.) I mean, I can't imagine anybody hand-painting a mannequin these days. Heck, they probably can get them cheaper off of EBay (or some such place.) Come to think of it, I bet Etsy has some bad-ass mannequins. (Maybe if I'm bored one day, why, I'll have to go and check this out.)

I thought these ladies kind of cute in their shop window-y kind of a way. They have their baubles on display in full and even have the sort of manic type faces you've grown to expect from, well, manic mannequins.

These are the mannequins of Salado, Texas. I hope you like them.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or....Fish?

PelicanBeak_1744, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
It's raining today in River City. I mean, not just like raining but heavy rains with potential flooding. It's really coming down out there. And, as luck would have it, today also happens to be Halloween.

Now, I thought about what potential this combination has to offer. For starters, there might be a few less kiddies out tonight. In the past, I've always purchased six bags of candy, this year being no exception but, this time, the bags have gotten a bit smaller. Now, this might work out in the end, since I might actually just have enough candy to go around, we'll have to see about that. I'm seriously thinking about handing out fish, since it's so wet out there. Think the kiddies would notice? (Why, yes I'm sure they would, actually.)

In other news, the Elfa stuff has been installed. I survived the great Elfa migration into my house and now have some serious shelving to show off. The biggest news here, and it's something I was not prepared for, was the boxes. When I say "boxes" I mean, actually, BOXES. There were boxes everywhere! It was like I was barricaded in my home. Euf! Here a box, there a box, everywhere a box box. I managed to get most of them either tucked away or stuffed into my recycling bin but now the recycling day cannot come soon enough.

Still though it beats getting a fish for Halloween, doesn't it?

Until next time...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lady, You Can Drive My Car

Abstract view of a black Aston Marton Virage at the Texas All British Car Day, Round Rock, Texas
BlackVirage_8020, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
In Texas, where I live, your driver's license expires on your birthday. This is actually true in many states. They do this for a reason, I guess, it makes you more likely to remember to renew it or some such thing. This year, as luck would have it, my license was set to expire tomorrow, which is my birthday.

Now, Texas has this nice little system where you can renew by mail if you haven't renewed by mail the last time you were up for renewal (or some such thing.) Don't get me wrong, the renewal process is actually pretty easy. It's about $24 to renew your license. They send you a pre-printed form, which you just sign and mail in, along with your check. Easy as pie, actually, this entire process is. You can actually also go down in person, to the Department of Public Safety (we call it the "DPS" around these parts) and renew in person and I think you can even renew your license on the web now. They really are working to make this renewal process as easy as possible.

Of course, me being lazy and the way I am, I could not decide if I wanted to renew by mail or if I wanted to go in and do it in person. The form also said you had to mail it 20 days in before your birthday and, of course, I got lazy and forgot to send in the form. Then I felt that time was running out, and I might not make it to renewal in time for my birthday so maybe I should go down in person and yada yada. Of course, I never make anything easy and this too, the way I would do it, required a certain amount of mental gymnastics. Eh, me being me, what else would you expect, right? I *finally* decided to mail it in but, since I did this at the last possible minute and the post office is known for being slow, not to mention there was some kind of government shutdown and all, I half expected it to not show up on or before my birthday.

As luck would have it, my new license came in the mail today. Yes, indeed, as I got the mail today, there was the big, splashy "" return address and, tucked neatly inside, was my new license. I already have it in my wallet, tucked nicely away. Yes, I'm street legal once again, new license and all. Good for another seven years, or so they tell me. I'm here to tell you that today, on October 26th, the great state of Texas has in fact issued me a driver's license, good for another seven years. This license, as you would imagine, allows me to drive on roads public and private, across all of Texas, as well as being honored in other States across the US. In fact, thanks to this new license, I can drive anywhere in the United States. Back and forth, up and down, there and back, on roads public and private, provided I obey the posted speed limits, follow any directives from the police, pay the involved tolls, and whatnot.

Meanwhile, off in Saudi Arabia, there were women driving today as well. These women were, in fact, breaking the law. Saudi law, you see, doesn't allow women to drive. They (these women) aren't allowed the opportunity to drive back and forth, up and down, there and back. Even if they follow posted speed limits, pay parking fees, tolls and all, they are still illegally driving. Nope, not allowed to drive, no matter what. Just because they are women. No driving for women, nope, not allowed in Saudi Arabia it would appear.

The irony of this was not lost on me. Here I sit, half a world away, too lazy to actually just renew my license. Even though I drive past the DPS office each and every day, I just couldn't be bothered to pop on in there and renew my license. Nope. Too much of a hassle. I had better things to do. Maybe I'm just too lazy. Meanwhile, half a world away, these women, no matter what they did, were not allowed to drive. Imagine what they would give to be able to walk into a DPS office and come out with a piece of paper (actually a little laminated card) giving them permission to drive? Imagine how far they would be willing to go for the privilege of driving? The thing I sit here and take for granted, why, they just don't have and cannot get, simply because they are female.

Today, on this day, October 26th, 2013, those Saudi women did something they weren't supposed to do. They got in their cars and drove anyway. They did that and they filmed themselves doing it. There was a movement on YouTube and Twitter and all of the social media places. We saw hash tags and things like #DriveOct26 and #Women2Drive. There were videos posted of women in burkas driving through the street of Saudi Arabia, an offense which carries a stiff penalty. One woman was jailed for more than a week in 2011 for driving. Another women, just today, was attempting to drive to the grocery store and back. Armed with freshly purchased groceries, she was stopped by police and forced to wait until a male from her family was available to come and drive her home. (She was given a warning not to drive again.)

I think back on all of the times I'm too lazy to go and get groceries. I just can't be bothered. The grocery store just "feels too far away." (Whatever that means.) I think back on all of the places I've driven. Dirt roads in New Mexico, the streets of New York, down California's coastal highways, to the Texas shore and back, heck even across parts of Canada. I drove in Hawaii on some lava rocks (that was fun!) and drove the turquoise trail, tracing steps of Ansel Adams down the back country of Santa Fe. I drove King's Highway, Route 66, I10, Interstate 95 between Maine and Florida. I drove on the beach, I drove to the lake, I drove to the ocean. I've driven up mountains, across deserts, towards the sea. I've had passengers. I've driven alone. I've driven at night on back roads and highways. I've driven through parts of Mexico and once even right up to the country's capitol building. Heck, I once even honked my horn and waved at the Texas governor (who also happened to be a women at the time and also happened to be driving. I saw Governor Anne Richards driving her convertible Cadillac in Austin and honked at her and waved once.) Women honking at women and waving to each other? Out in the open like that and not breaking any laws? Amazing really.

As I said, the irony of today's events is not lost on me. Maybe the next time I feel I'm "too lazy" to drive to the grocery store or "I just can't be bothered" driving over there, I'm going to think about this. At least I live where I am free and I can drive if I so choose to do so. I wish the women of Saudi Arabia had the same privileges.

So today, this day, October 26th, 2013, I say to them, "Go, ladies, go!" Drive you cars. Drive back and forth, there and back, across roads and bridges. Get your groceries, do your shopping, and live your lives as best you can. The women of tomorrow are counting on you to make this right and somebody has got to take a stand. There's no reason, in this day and age, women should be denied the privilege of driving.

Ladies, you can drive my car anytime. Drive on, please, drive on. Go, ladies, go. May the women of Saudi Arabia drive to see another day.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Odds and Ends

EarlySanta_1729, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
It's too early for Santa, really it is. Bansky is loose in New York doing things, well, Bansky style things. So far, he sold some of his artwork for $60 in Central Park, he delivered an entire truckload of stuffed animals to a slaughterhouse in Brooklyn and he almost got arrested impersonating Ronald McDonald. (Seriously. I'm not making this up.) All I can say about that is that, well, I hope he gets arrested, simply because Riker's Island could use some better graffiti (and let's leave it at that, OK?)

It's autumn here in River City. Been actually kind of nice out, even a little bit rainy. I haven't seen my friend Linda in a while. I wonder how she's been. Art Wolfe went up to Iceland. He's having a great time there and getting some great shots. Did I mention Bansky is loose in New York? Thought I did. They just sold an original Klimt painting at auction for a bucket load of money. I'm still clearing out my house, getting ready for the new Elfa shelves. I just ate some pizza and I'm blogging now.

I think that the world series has started but I'm really not too sure. I've never been much interested in sports. They should have a world series of art, then maybe I would watch. I feel like painting but it's late now and I'm tired and I really should be cleaning, getting ready for the Elfa stuff. This is a Santa from Salado. I was surprised (but maybe not so much) to see a Santa out this early. Can't they at least wait until after Halloween? Scott Kelby says that, in five years or less, there will be no noise in digital cameras, none at all. Abolished. Gone the way of the do do bird. (Seriously.) Can you believe that? I guess it's true though, I mean, they have come a long way in terms of getting rid of it. I'm not doing the East Austin Studio Tour this year. Instead, I'm going to focus on doing some of my own work. I might go out shooting instead. Enjoy myself for a change. I really just want to have some fun and take it lightly. I'm not feeling like doing a lot of shows right now, just feel like shooting, going out, exploring, and having a good time.

I guess that's enough odds and ends for one night. I'm sure there was something I was supposed to tell you but now I forgot. I know it will come back to me as soon as I push POST. Isn't that how it always works?

Odds and ends.....ends and odds. Oddly ending now.

Until next time...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Peace, Love, and Elfa

YellowPeaceCat_1783, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
What's Elfa? You might ask and, why, I'd be here to tell you. I have just purchased some spiffy new shelving/desk setup for my home studio. It's from the Container Store (God, I *love* that place) and it's called "Elfa." Elfa is configurable. It's shelving. It's a desk. It's a desk with a hutch. It's all of that and more. It's the bee's knees and everything good under the sun.

Actually, it's this kind of convertible system that allows you to install wire frames which can then hold shelves, racks, hampers, baskets, all kinds of wonderful things Elfa. (And, believe me, Elfa is really quite wonderful.) I have purchased something called "Elfa freestanding" which is a freestanding system (as the name implies) that does not require you to drill into the wall to install it. My system will be six feet wide (it's a double-wide! With two desks, side by side) and about seven feet tall. I'm going to have lots and lots of shelving to store photo books, magazines I collect, and all kinds of photo related props.

If that were not bad enough (or good enough really) this wonderful Elfa unit (God, I hate that word!) has no sides to speak of (think "floating shelves" and you are, pretty much, there) so I am going to get some lighting, like maybe a small soft box and light this from the side. I'm going to actually use the desk top surface (well, one of them, since I am getting two side-by-side and all) as a table top mini studio of sorts. I plan to setup a soft box and do some small studio setups and still life type shots on my new Elfa system (in addition to it housing my print storage archive, my Lenswork and Aperture magazine collections, and bunches more.)

In case you could not tell, I'm over the moon excited about my new Elfa system. For me, it's the best in studio furniture and I feel like it will not only provide tons of storage but will provide me with a nice (and much needed!) working surface. I've been trying to get organized for a while now and just can't seem to fit everything I have into every space I need. This new Elfa system will allow me to go vertical a bit and actually make the most of some (now) little used floor space. It's going to get installed into one of my spare bedrooms on October 28th.

Sure, this sounds all well and good but now this puts me in a panic, since I have to clean things out, move things around and get myself all tidy and ready for the new Elfa installation. To put it bluntly, I have a lot to do between now and the 28th. Oh, wish me luck for I am going to need it. (Oh! The boxes I have to clear. The dust bunnies I have to round up. The thing in the 'fridge. Heavens to Betsy, I don't even want to know what things are in the 'fridge these days. Oh joy!)

So, now you know what I'm up to in case, you know, in case you were wondering and all (not like you'd do that but, just in case....just in case.)

Peace, love, and Elfa for all!

Until next time...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Notes From the Road - Salado

GodLight_1720, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Today I went up to Salado, Texas for a brief afternoon shoot. We've had a lot of rain in Austin this week so I was not sure if the weather would hold or not, but I went up on the chance that the clouds would be good if the raindrops stayed at bay. I was right in that the clouds and light really were very good. Of course, I did not count on it being what can best be described as "muggy and buggy." I swear, there were flocks of mosquitoes so big up there, at one point I honestly thought I was going to get carried away like the flying nun or something. And muggy? Oh yeah. Check on that, as we were all sweating and dripping. It was...shall we say...moist, and let's just leave it at that.

The rain didn't stay away for too long. Right around sunset it started as a light mist and then, by the time I checked in with friends at the local BBQ joint it was coming down in "cats and dogs" as they say around those parts. It was really heavy at times and really coming down in buckets. I'm lucky I made it back home again, what with the roads being so wet, the Interstate being filled with long distance truckers, the fog and empty night sky and all. As I left driving back down the Interstate headed towards Austin (and home) I honestly felt like I didn't get a single shot. Not one single shot came out and I seriously felt like the entire trip had been a waste. Sure, there was God light, I did happen upon some weird looking mannequins, there was an odd-looking (but rather cute!) early Santa and I did happen upon a deer wearing sunglasses but I totally felt like the entire shoot had been a wash.

Once home, I found myself editing and, to my surprise, did indeed manage to pull out a couple of gems. I need to keep reminding myself that I'm the queen of quirk and I happen upon it lots. Sure, there was God light (in case it's not clear, this image is what I consider God light. Actually, I believe this is called Crepuscular rays, but it also has several other names. God light, however, is much easier to spell) but there was a lot of other quirky stuff too and that's really the money shots for me. OK, so maybe I didn't get what you might expect me to pull out of Salado but I did manage a few oddball items, here and there so, I guess, not a total waste of a camera exposure. The peach cobbler was really good too (as you might expect in a BBQ joint.)

So, bottom line? Look for some quirk coming from Salado in the coming posts. OK, so maybe I didn't get what I was expecting to find up in Salado, but it wasn't a totally whiff either.

Until next time...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Born to Be Rich

RollsHoodie_8183, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
You know that song, "Born to Be Wild?" It's a song very much associated with bikers and the those traveling on motorcycle. Let's face it, it's a HOG song (and, by HOG, I do not mean a PIG. Get them straight already!)

Well, just as that song is often associated with bikers and the biker movement, so too is the Rolls hoodie associated with the luxury movement. When you think of a luxury automobile, it's hard *not* to think of a Rolls Royce. Likewise, when you think of a Rolls Royce, it's hard not to think of the hood ornament. They are so close, so intertwined, it's hard to separate them. This silly little silver lady with wings is a symbol of the upper crust, no matter how you slice it.

For some reason, every time I go to the car show, I get really good shots of the Rolls hood ornaments. Now, maybe they just make for good photos (some things do that, you know) or maybe I'm just really all that into Rolls Royce cars (I'm not actually. Don't own one, don't want to own one, think it a bit over the top for my tastes actually) but, somehow, some way, I always end up with at least one (usually more!) really good images of Rolls hood ornaments. Why, oh why can this be?

It's not because I'm all that good of a photographer (if I were that good, I'd have good photographs of *everything* not just these silly hood decorations.) It's not because the hood ornaments are all that photogenic (they are but, time and time again, good photos of a silly ornament? No, something else is afoot here. Another force at work and all. Has to be, don't you think?)

I have decided to resign this to the fact that, instead of being "Born to be Wild!" like the biker song, I'm actually "Born to be Rich." Yup. That's me. Richy rich, the rich witch. Rich, money, ca CHING you will be mine. (OK, so you know I'm really broke but, heck, a girl can dream, can't she? And, heck, while she's dreaming, why not dream BIG, right?) Now, maybe I don't have enough actual money to be qualified as rich just yet but, heck, I'm BORN to be rich. It's bound to come my way soon, right? (Right? Never mind, don't answer that.)

Born to be Rich. Yup. That's me. I can almost hear the music now. It's the sound of coins dropping into my wallet. (ca-CHING!) In the spirit of being, well, almost rich, look for more hood ornaments from the car show to come. And, since this surely means I am slated to win the lottery, hit the jackpot, find out about some rich uncle I never knew before but who has just unfortunately kicked the bucket, or some other such event, please don't act too surprised when it happens....should the money actually come my way and all. You know, you want to at least pretend like we fit into this high society, even if we are sort of stragglers coming in with the riff raff, dragged in by the cat and all. (Stand up straight or something, you know, just in case it should happen in the next few moments.)

Until next time...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Smile, It's the Texas All British Car Day 2013

RedCarSmiling_8064, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
There's an old saying, "When it rains, it pours!" And, I'd have to say, today it did just that. (Rain, I mean.) Today, I also had the opportunity to head up to the Texas All British Car Day (TABCD) 2013 for some photographic work.

This event is held every year (once a year) in Round Rock, Texas, at the Old Settler's Park Pavilion (next to the Dell Diamond for those of you who know Round Rock.) It's a celebration of all cars British, featuring car clubs coming together from around Texas to meet up at the park and show off the best of the British buggies. If it's British, chances are, it's there. Everything from the latest in luxury cars to old classics to, well, let's just say some things that might even confuse the Stig himself. If it's British, it's bound to be there. (I think that's there motto or something. Not really sure about that, but if it isn't, heck, it should be.)

Now, I've attended this event before, in years past, in fact I think this is my fifth show if I had to guess. I'd have to say that, up until this year anyway, they've always had the best of weather. When I say "best" I really do mean best. It's always (and I do mean *always*) about 85 degrees and sunny. So, this year, when the weather man said, "Slight chance of showers," I thought to myself, "no way, man! Those British cars never get rained on. Ain't gonna happen, dude!" (And, they don't really. Usually. Well, at least not since most of them left Britain anyway.)

I should have listened to that stupid weather man. Oh, I should have listened. I never should have left my house without an umbrella or at least a plastic bag to cover my camera in case of rain. It rained on my British parade. Heck, it rained so hard, at one point I had to duck under somebody's tent. There I was stuck, next to some MG's, myself along with the rest of the "tent people" wondering when (if?) it was ever going to let up. Geesh! What a soaker, we had. (Damn weather man, when are they ever right like this?)

I did manage to drum up a couple of shots, here and there, featuring some of the British buggies. Posting them to Flickr now and will probably post some of them here for you to see at some point in the future too. Oh, and I'm sure I'll do a Blurb book of all of this at some point, so look for that to come along as well. (I'll send a link out once things are available.)

I have always loved the Austin-Healey Sprite cars (this is one of them) because they look like they are smiling. I love a happy car. I told the lady that owns this car that, heck, I'd love to have a car like this. Imagine having a bad day at work or something, only to come out to the parking lot to find *this.* Yeah, it would so cheer me up, that's for sure. Plants a smile on my face just thinking about that, honestly, it does.

Now, I know somewhere, off in Great Britain land, Jeremy Clarkson, or somebody like him, is cringing. I'm sorry, Dear Jeremy, but this just brought a smile to my face. I know you probably *hate* the sprites, and I know you probably really, really, really hate the idea of putting flower do-dahs on the frog eyes frog eyes, but it made me smile, it made me laugh, and I just *had* to take a photo. (Please, just look away. It's for your own safety, really. Look away....away....Look! Why there's a cow! Or maybe it's just a really slow moving Morris Marina for you to laugh at. Go on, you know you want you go!) Jeremy Clarkson be damned, I just had to take this shot, you know I did.

Look for more cars from the TABCD 2013 car fest to come and, should Jeremy Clarkson (or any of his type) ever happen to stumble upon this I'd have to say I'm sorry sorry...but I had to do it....I just *had* to do it. I can only hope you'll understand. (Please forgive me!)

Until next frog eyed British Buggy with daisy flower petals for eyelashes...

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Heat is...OFF!

TheDLasVegas_0729, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
It's finally starting to show signs of autumn in Austin. The weather has broken a bit and we are all loving it. I swear, today was quite the most perfect of days in terms of weather. My iPhone told me that there would be "abundant sunshine and a high of 90 degrees." Man, oh man, who doesn't like "abundant sunshine and a high of 90 degrees?" Yeowza! I'm loving it.

We even had some rain this past week. Friday was a textbook "rainy day" and we had rain without storms, hail, or any of the other things that go along with it. Phew! Dodged a bullet on that one and ended up coming out the other side with a nice, soaking, drenching, lawn-watering rain. Rain! Yay, rain!

In other news, it's just about shooting season. Yes, I'm about to start going out again, shooting my way through things. Since it's no so hot, I figure this is a good time to kick off some new photographic projects. Heck, even if it's just an excuse to get me outside, it's a good one, no?

So, outdoors, here I come! Since it's no longer 100 degrees outside, we have lovely light and even a nice little breeze, I'm so looking forward to actually getting out and going somewhere. Maybe a small town, maybe a car show, maybe a here, maybe a there but, somewhere, anywhere. It's bound to happen and, heck, when it does, you know you'll be the first to hear about it. (Well, ok, maybe the second. My camera bag and probably Chase will be the first.)

Outdoors, here I come. The heat is OFF and we're loving it here in the ATX (That's Austin. Austin, Texas, for those of you not in the know.)

Yee-ha! It's nice outside! (Can you feel it too?!?)

Until next time...

Monday, September 09, 2013

Don't Tell Me That!

DontEverSay_0882, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Running a popular (OK, even running a not so popular) website has its quirks. For starters, my email often gets overflowed with strange items. Today, in particular was quite a crazy day in terms of strange emails.

For starters, I was notified that I have to go to court in LA tomorrow. Something about a restraining order and a custody hearing for my three daughters. Sounds all well and good (well, maybe not) but, the trouble is, I don't have any kids! I don't live in LA, I don't have three daughters and I don't know why I would need to attend a custody hearing.

To make matters worse, the wife is emailing the husband all of this blah, blah, blah about how he got drunk and pushed her when they were on the Santa Monica Pier. Sounds pretty horrible, but I've not been to the Santa Monica Pier, I've not been pushing anybody around, I don't have kids, and I don't see why I have to be reading all of this. Not when I nicely told them, "I'm not the Carol you're looking for, OK?!?" Geesh, what does it take to get some people to realize their auto reply is not going to the correct place? After four or five, "Hello?!? I'm not the Carol you're looking for!" I usually give up but now there's a court, judge and all involved. I might go to jail over this and, heck, I'm not even involved in any of it. (Daughters? What daughters?)

People also sign up for all kinds of websites with my email. I get email all of the time, "Thank you for signing up for..." Trouble is, I never actually sign up for these things. They just type in some random account information or they got their email address wrong or whatever.

The thing is, it's not just the NSA that's been snooping on us. If you are not careful about how you address email, it might just go to the wrong person. And, should it happen to go to the wrong person, why, you can't expect any amount of privacy. Heck, I'm thinking now about writing a book. I probably could write an entire book, and it'd be pretty funny too, containing all of the crap emails I get.

So, now that you know there might be a book in the works, don't you feel like you don't want to tell me anything? Please?!? Because, like I'm due in court in a matter of hours and I really don't want to face another custody hearing or like drop out of yet again this week, OK? Did I mention the plane tickets? Yeah, somebody once got airline tickets using my email. I *almost* exchanged them but decided I would just be a little bit mean and not tell them their flight was changed (oh, and they had to pay more if they wanted to check a bag. Enjoy the flight to Florida, you idiot aka she who doesn't even know her own email address.)

Mercy me. When will these people ever learn?!?

Until next time...

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Doing Stuff Today

SQueenofHearts_0217, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Today, I'm actually doing stuff. Granted, not much, but I have finally upgraded my wireless router. Yes, it's true, Snowflakes, Queen Flake has finally moved into this century as she's now typing this to you coming from a spiffy new Airport Extreme 802.11n wireless router.

Now, you might be thinking, "Eh, so what?"

The router, you see, sets off an entire chain of command in my house. You see, I cannot upgrade the RAID device until I upgrade the computer and I cannot upgrade the computer until I upgrade the router and I could not upgrade the router because the TV might go out and....on and on and on. You get the picture. It's like an entire series of disconnected events has to happen in order for me to finish upgrading everything so that I can get back to shooting again (and not be bothered with all of this pesky IT type of crap.)

Anyway, the first of the upgrades has happened. And, I'm still alive! I'm even on the Internet (of sorts.) Or course, no word yet on if the TV still works. Heck, I shall go try that out next. (Wish me luck!)

But, Internet wireless router upgrade: Check. Sigh. So glad I'm actually starting to make a bit of progress (even if it's only a little bit of progress!)

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Final, No Make that FIRST Boarding Call

FunkyMural_0939, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I'm in a good mood today. Do you want to know why I'm in a good mood today? It has to do with Boeing.

Now, I know that might sound strange but, you see, today British Airways announced they plan to introduce non-stop service from Austin to London, starting on a limited basis in March of 2014 and then, if all goes well, starting daily flights between Austin and London towards the end of 2014. The initial flights, I'm told, will number five per week, until they get the route down, and then it will be daily service.

Daily service from Austin to London? Daily service from Austin to London? I'm so happy I could faint!

You see, when I first moved to Austin, I knew that the airport here was, well, small. And I knew that the city was growing and that, should I happen to want to jaunt off to London or Paris or Brazil or, heck, even to the wilds of New Mexico, I would have to get some kind of connection, somewhere in someplace like, say, Dallas.

Now, I have nothing against Dallas, really I don't. I like Dallas. Dallas is not a bad place. But, please, good people of Dallas, don't be offended when I say this but, I'M SICK OF MOOCHING YOUR AIRPORT. I'm sick of it, OK? I'm just sick of every flight, every single flight I take to anywhere having to either go through Dallas or Houston or, even worse, some other God-forsaken place. UGH! Every time I pack my suitcase, it's like here we go again. Welcome to DFW, no go the fudge home already! Ugh! (Did I mention I hate this? Yeah, I really do.) Not to mention we here in Austin get left out of all those super fabulous airline deals. You know the ones I'm talking about here. "For a limited time only! See Europe for $400! Yeah, let me be the first to burst your bubble (if you didn't already know) but those super "specials," well now, they don't include connecting flights. (And what good is a flight from DFW to London for $400 really if the connecting flight from ATX to DFW is all of $250, not to mention the torture of having to get your luggage, multiple custom stops, and...UGH! Get the picture?)

One day, not so long ago, they announced they were going to upgrade the Austin Airport. Yay! An upgrade! Surely this would mean we would have nonstop service to...somewhere, right? Right? Hello? Anybody there? Bueller? Bueller?!?

Sure, they did wind up upgrading the airport. Now we have really great food. But, the runways? Not so hot. Still kind of small. Still too small to hold a 747 or anything bigger. As the great philosopher Charlie Brown once said, ahem, "RATS!" That's the end of the story, right? No trans-Atlantic flights for me! No trans-anything for the likes of me. Heck, on most days, I count myself lucky if I can even make it up to Dallas and come out with a packet of peanuts.

But now today things have changed. Boeing has announced the newfangled Dreamliner. And, thanks to the newfangled Dreamliner, which can land on shorter runways, gets better gas mileage, has more leg and head room, and so on, today British Airways can announce non-stop service from London to Austin (and back! That's the best part really...the back bit. I mean, it would kind of really suck if you could make it over there and then like got all stuck and all, wouldn't it?)

And this, all of this, is why today I'm in a good mood. Non-stop service from Austin to London. London. LONDON! Hello $400 flights. Goodbye customs in DFW. I'm so over the moon (well, actually, technically speaking over the Atlantic would be more appropriate) I could dance.

London calling. It's London calling. I'm so going to go to London once this starts up. I so want to go back to London. Heck, now I might even be able to make it to London for like a freaking LONG WEEKEND. London. Me. Non-stop service. Oh, I'm a happy camper, let me tell you right now.

LONDON. LONDON. LONDON. Just keep saying it. A bit like "Ohm" only it makes me even happier!

Until next time...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Heart Belongs to the Night

ElCortez_0694, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I'm just in a bit of a nightly mood, so I thought I might post this one today. Taken in Las Vegas earlier this year, this is the El Cortez Hotel and Gambling Casino in the Fremont area of Las Vegas. I love the sort of go-go dancing girl off to the right. Not quite sure what she's supposed to be, but she kind of caught my eye and so there you have it.

Night photography is so fun and interesting, really. It's like a different world out there after dark, really it is.

Until next time...

Friday, August 09, 2013

It's Carol vs. the Mosquito

SunriseOverAshes_1946, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Picture this. I'm resting in bed, actually "resting" would not be a good word here, more like staring at the ceiling pretending to snooze, when I hear it. That old familiar buzz of a mosquito clamoring around my bedroom. It's dark, I'm tired, yet can't seem to fall asleep. I've sort of got one eye open. Chase is snoring all too loudly when the buzz kicks in and just won't quit. Oh, such a damn *bug* in the true sense of the word. "Buzz, buzz, buzz," there it is! That unmistakable noise of a mosquito buzzing around my resting quarters. Drats! Die you pest, die now!

Typically, I'm the "live and let live" type of person. I don't mind anything coming around late at night, really I don't. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the mating cats can have at it in the alleyway if they really do so desire. I'm not going to fight them for it, no, I'm not. I'm a heavy sleeper, nothing usually can wake me once I fall under the spell of dreamland. Have at it, mating cats, wrestle and wring yourselves into positions previously reserved for obscure now out-of-print copies of the Kama Sutra. I just so don't care. Nope, not me, I really am a live and let live kind of girl in a live and let live kind of world. I'm too busy watching invisible paint dry on my TV screen to care about what happens outside. Hey, I've got couches to potato, I can't possibly care what's going on out there in the big, bad, "real" world now, can I?

But this mosquito? Oh man, is it killing me. It's driving me nuts. I can't sleep, it's hot, I hear the air conditioner kicking in and hope it drowns out the sound of the annoying bug (I see now how they got their names, "bug," as they really do live up to it, at least lately they do anyway.) "Buzz, buzz, buzz." It's all I can hear and I'm going crazy listening to it. Oh the humanity! Please Mr. Mosquito, can't you just do a girl a favor and curl up and die already? A girl needs her beauty sleep!

Finally, after a long battle with the darkness, I nod away into dreamland. Yes! Victory is mine (or so it would appear.)

The next day, I wake up, go into the bathroom, start flossing the old chompers, and that's when I hear it again. Oh, the damn mosquito! It's back! It's buzzing. I can't kill it. It's buzzing around and it won't land. I so want to like kick it or something. Just kill the damn thing already. I'm now out for blood and I just can't let it go. Dead mosquito, you will be mine! So I try to swat at it but wind up slipping a bit on the wet floor and almost fall down to break my neck. And that mosquito? Yeah, he's still out there abuzzin'. "Buzz, buzz buzz." Still buzzing after all these hours.

And so it goes. For what seems like an eternity but was actually a span of probably no more than three very long days and nights, the bug was, well, bugging me. Oh the horror! Now this entire incident makes me want to Google the lifespan of a mosquito. Is he dead yet? Surely, he must be dead by now. He can't still be alive? It's got to be dead. Maybe I should set out on a hunt for the carcass already? I mean, this thing can't live for more than three or four days. Can it? Just when I thought it safe, the darned thing would chirp up again. "Buzz, buzz, buzz." Argh!

I'm here to say now, it's been about a week and I *think* the darned thing is finally gone. Phew! What a pest. I swear, it's the little things like this that drive people crazy. I bet, if you were to go into the insane asylum and ask, why, you'd find more than a fair share of the people locked up in there went crazy, just sort of snapped, over something small, something quite like this. Stupid crazy little bug buzzing around their bedroom late at night. I mean, come on now. How would you explain this to a judge? "I'm sorry, Sir, I didn't mean to stab him 42 times with a kitchen knife. Actually, you see, I was aiming for that fly in the corner over there..." Come to think of it, I probably missed a golden opportunity. I probably could have gotten away with murder, given the level of "pest" in this, well, pest. Nobody would believe me actually crazy and everybody, I mean probably damn near everybody, would have believed me when I said it was just *so* loud that one day, heck, I just sort of *snapped* (you would believe that, wouldn't you? Come on now, tell the truth! I know you would. I mean, I know I'm half crazy to begin with but who would not believe that?)

I guess the happy ending to all of this is that, today, as I was packing my things to head outside, I smiled as I thought to myself, "well, there's a lot of things wrong with the world today but, heck, at least that darned pesky mosquito has finally shut up."

And, that's when I heard it.

Yes, snowflakes. It would appear that I now have some kind of a cricket trapped somewhere in the garage. (Will it ever end?!?)

Until next time...

Monday, August 05, 2013

Spring Rolls

Had these great little spring rolls the other day. Yum!

Until next time...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, August 04, 2013

All Wire Tapped Out

WireTapped_0895, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
This was taken inside of the Mob Museum. It's actual surveillance video of mobsters in action. (Well, if what they do can be called "action" that is.) I kind of liked the way they laid out the surveillance video-in these sort of 4x4 grid style small screens all around the room. Really drove the point home that the feds can watch us almost anytime they want.

I've still been busy and been a bit under the weather, so keeping my head down. I promise to pop back up at some point, but I did think it would be a good idea to check in and let y'all know how things are going on my end. Still getting the house together and been busy with lots of little things, not to mention it's hot and I just don't feel much like going out shooting in this heat. Once again, I promise, as the weather breaks, I will get out there again. More shots to follow and all, I promise. Been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to shoot, just haven't made it out into the wilds all the much (at least not yet anyway.)

Lately, I've had this strong desire to just run away with some tiny or odd antique style camera. Maybe one of those newfangled Fuji cameras that shoots all square and sort of Instagram-y or maybe just run away with an old film camera, like a Brownie or a beat up old Hassy and a bucket of film. Just go somewhere, almost in hiding, shoot tons, and come back with a new book (or some other similar big project type of work.) Yeah, man, I so want to do *that* it's not even funny. I'm getting a hankering for sinking my teeth into something, really big...and I so just want to run away and do it, it's not even funny anymore.

Then again, this would make me much like these mobsters-sticking around in hiding and only coming out to play when the weather is good or they feel like doing some "whacking" (of sorts.) Yes, that Canon dude. I'm *so* going to make him an offer he just can't refuse. (Sorry, couldn't help myself there, with that last one.) Heck, I even have a fedora around here somewhere, I swear I do.

Until next time...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Where's Carol? Fighting with "Stuff" That's Where

Antiques_0586, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
So, you might be wondering what I've been up to lately. I know it's been rather quiet around here, but that doesn't mean I'm not up to some "stuff."

For starters, I have been fixing up my home a bit. Clearing out boxes, trying to clean out some stuff, getting things fixed like my garage door, my washing machine, my window blind that fell and broke. I've been tackling what could best be described as a "honey do" list, only, since I don't have a "honey" I'm doing it myself. Oh, I even got the car inspected too. And I went to the eye doctor. (I now were bifocals and am very happy I can see again.)

All of this "stuff" while wonderful to get done, has not left much time, space, energy, whatever for my art and photography. Yes, it's true, Snowflakes, Queen Flake has been busy tidying up things, getting things in order, getting setup so that I can then move forward.

I can't say it's been the best of times. I mean, I'm happy things are getting done but, man, does it feel like a chore! I *hate* doing this kind of stuff. Some days, especially, it seems like things are getting way worse before they can get any better, any better at all. But, like it or not, this kind of "stuff" needs to get done. I have a monster "To Do:" list and, I have to say, it feels a bit good whenever I can cross one thing, anything off of it. Anything at all, even like "water the plants" or, you know, "put up the laundry." Phew! Just another thing down and a huge, massive list of things waiting to get done.

No, I know too that I'm *so* looking forward to getting caught up. I know that, once everything is in order, so to speak, I'll really be able to fly. And, I have big plans for that time, believe me, I do. It's just that, well, for now anyway, I need to play catch-up on all of this stuff. I hope you'll understand.

Getting these massive things done, I must admit, feels pretty good too. It's de-stressing my life in oh so many ways. I know that, once things are in better order around here, I'll be a much happier camper (as they say.)

So now you know what's going on and I hope you'll understand. It's for the better, really it is (at least, it has been anyway, even on the days it seems like I'm not moving much at all. I can still spot a glimpse of progress. Things are, slowly but surely, coming together for me again.)

Until next time...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Amateur Hour

HI_0141-2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Somebody posted something on Facebook today that has irked me a bit, so I thought I would vent a bit today. The post reads something along the lines of "you are an amateur in photography, nobody goes on to being a pro without doing this..." and then has a link to some page with some pointers/tips on how "real" photographers take pictures. It all sounds very nice and good, but the trouble with this is, well, it's just *wrong.* Allow me to explain.

For starters, what is a "pro" photographer? Somebody who makes money? How much money? If you get paid two cents, does that make you a pro? What about if you shoot a grand, lasting image and donate it to a museum, does that make you a "pro?" Even if you didn't get any money for the shot? What about if somebody pays you $250 for a framed piece of yours, but you paid the model $300 and you spend $2500 on camera gear? Pro then? At what point do you become pro? When you make most of your money from photography? I've said this before but, what happens when somebody makes $50,000 a year on the stock market and also makes $10,000 (say) on their images? Are they considered pro? Even if they do not have a job? What about all of the people who work in high-tech but shoot/sell images on the side? Are they pro? Would they become "pro" if they quit their higher paying "day jobs" but went and got another day job, working at, say, a fast food joint? Would that make them "pro" because, according to the definition, you have to make "most" of your money from photography, right? So, suddenly working for McDonald's and not working in high-tech would make a high-tech employee a better (read: "pro") photographer? That sounds wrong to me on so many levels, it's not even funny.

Of course, amateur is anybody who is *not* pro, right? Even somebody who, say, has been shooting for 50 years, is happily retired, takes the craft of photography very seriously, but just isn't interested in selling any prints? Complete rank amateur you got there, right?

Then there are the "tips" themselves. I'm always leery when somebody says, "all pro photographers do this" no matter what it is. I know probably hundreds of "pro" photographers and, newsflash here, not all of them do the same thing! There is no be all end all everybody *must* do this in the bunch. Every one of them, each and every one of them, became "pro" in their own way, in their own right. Every photographer has his or her path.

Some photographers, for example, go to school to learn photography. Others don't. Some attend continuing education class. Some study art. Others study music or philosophy or whatever and transition to photography latter on in life. Some photographers, you could say, are born with a camera in their hand. Their dads or moms or grandparents or relatives were all photographers and they were given cameras at the ripe old age of 3. Others? Maybe they got stuck taking pictures one time when they were in the army and it just sort of stuck, they liked it. Some photographers are trained as artists, others journalists. Some are storytellers, others frustrated painters. Some shoot people, others buildings, some do nature or flowers or grass seeds point is, there's no one *thing* any pro photographer does. Saying "all the pros do it" is akin to saying "but, Mom, all the other kids are doing it" in the schoolyard. In case you can't follow that reference, Mom's pretty smart and pretty sure that not all of the other kids are, in fact, doing it (whatever "it" might happen to be.) No, sorry to inform you, there is no magic bullet that will suddenly make all of your images look like a "pro" took them. Such a thing just simply does not exist.

I've always told people I "live a photographic lifestyle." What I mean by that is that I'm always doing some form of art or photography. Always. Even if it looks like I'm at home watching the news or ironing or whatever, there's always a gear, sometimes in the very back of my head, slowly turning, churning out new images, even if they only exist in my mind. Even if they never come to be, I'm always working on my next shot and things are always turning around in my mind. That mental gymnastics doesn't make me a "pro" photographer, anymore than, say, having a $10,000 camera does, but I like to think it makes me a serious photographer (on some level.) I'm serious about image-making and I'm devoted to the craft of photography, trying each and every day to get better and better at it.

In photography, there's what you like and what you don't. There are images that inspire, images that you want to take and sometimes too images that you just get. They are yours. You have to learn to take what the camera can give you and stop trying to chase some magic elixir, which doesn't really exist. In the words of the famous Nike ads, "Just Do It!" Don't let some dweeb on the web define for you what you *must* do in order to be a pro, just continually take images that are better and better-images that make you happier and happier, because they come closer and closer to your own, personal "vision" as an artist. Do that, and people will think you a "pro" no matter how many burgers you flip or how much your prints sell for in the aftermarket.

It's amateur hour all of the time. What's that they say? "All the world's a stage and all of the men and women merely players..." Sounds about right to me, even if I'm not "pro" photographer myself (whatever that means.)

Until next time...

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Just Too Good To Pass Up

RadiosAndFans_0611, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
So, I was home tonight flipping the channels on the TV as I usually do, when I happened upon a description in my on-screen cable guide. The description said something along the lines of "Great Performances" and then detailed an evening of acoustic music filmed live at the Vienna Opera House featuring Joe Bonamassa. This really captured my attention because, prior to tonight, I did not know who Joe Bonamassa was, nor did I know what type of music he played. After I pulled up more information on the cable guide, it informed me that he was, in fact, a blues musician.

This really got my attention for a couple of reasons. First off, I had never heard of the guy. An Italian operatic tenor, perhaps? The name Joe Bonamassa would certainly fit that bill but, a blues musician? A little bit odd. Then there was the whole "Vienna Opera House" thing. I mean, they don't just let people stroll on in there. Whoever this guy was, he had to have some serious chops, right? I mean, to play blues music in the Vienna Opera House? Coupled with the fact that it was an acoustic performance? This was really sounding quite interesting. In the end, I decided this description from my on-screen cable guide was just too good to pass up, so I popped on over to the cable channel that was broadcasting this event and watched for myself.

My hunch was right. This Joe Bonamassa guy was just incredible. What a performance. I can barely stop thinking about it. As I was listening to the music, much of it southern-style acoustic blues music featuring his incredible guitar playing, my mind started to drift. I started thinking about photographs I would take, about paintings I would paint. It was creative inspiration coming to me on very many levels.

My first creative idea is one that I'm going to implement right now. I've decided that I'm going to do a new feature on the blog. Since I'm so inspired by music, and I consider myself to be a bit of a music hound, I am going to start up a new feature called: "Music To Paint To." It's going to feature, as the name implies, music that inspires me to take photographs, pick up a paint brush, or do some other creative task.

Now, there are a lot of music review sites out there, I'm sure, and I don't intend to compete with them, no. Rather, this is more of a feature (I hope to become regular!) that will highlight some music I feel is good inspiration for painters, photographers, and other creatives who need a soundtrack for their studio. As you might guess, Joe Bonamassa is going to be my first victim (I mean, um, "featured artist." Yeah, that's it!)

Other stuff will flow from tonight's creative musical adventure, I'm sure, but I wanted to get this one going. Look for some musical inspired paintings in the future, as well as maybe even a photo shoot or two, thanks to this type of creative inspiration. I can't help but listen to music like this sometimes, just close my eyes, allow my mind to drift, and let creative ideas pop into my head. It's a wonderful thing, really that is. I swear I wish I could bottle it and sell it but, alas, all I can do is recommend that, should you happen to get the chance to check out any Joe Bonamassa live at the Vienna Opera House, you not pass up the opportunity.

Until next time...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Getting Ready for the 4th of July

YellowHouseFront_1712, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's been horribly hot in Austin the past few days. Yesterday topped out at 106 and I think today might have been even hotter. Still not quite as bad as places out west, like Vegas, which, I'm told, topped out at a whopping 117 degrees today. Stay cool, snowflakes, stay cool out there!

In other news, everybody is getting ready for the big upcoming 4th of July celebrations. Lots of flags, hamburgers and wieners getting ready to be roasted, and the usual firework displays.

As luck would have it, we are expecting some storms tonight, along with a "cold" front moving in. I say "cold" in quotes because, well, it's supposed to top out at only about 93 a few days this week. On account of the change in the weather, I am probably going to try to head up to Georgetown this week to do some more shooting. I'll see when the clouds look good and if I can manage to sneak up that way for a bit of shooting around the square. (Watch this space for details.)

Other than that, it's just been trying to stay out of the heat. Oh, that and I'm working on some T-shirts and a few odds and ends, hoping to get some stuff wrapped up this week.

How is your weekend going? Hot enough for you yet?

Until next time...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Image for My Mother - The Great Adding Machine of Life

VictorMachine_0597, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Some of you out there might know my mother. She's retired now but back in her day (as she would say) she used to work one of these things. This beast is something called a "Victor adding machine" and was used as a precursor to the modern day calculator (and, I'd have to guess, computer too, since now we use those really instead of calculators.)

For those of you young enough out there to not know what an "adding machine" is (or was) and don't really have a frame of reference, it was a calculator-like device that they used in offices to do tasks like add items for payroll, add items for accountants, and the like. Almost any office that handled money (even if that money really boiled down to their very own payroll system) had one of these beasts.

Along with the adding machine came, of course, the machine's operator. Adding machine operators were sort of like primitive computer programmers of their day. They didn't do quite the calculations that a programmer would perform, but they worked with the machine. They sat at the machine churning out numbers and, quite literally "crunching numbers" on a device that looked much like this. It worked like this, "tap, tap, crunch" as the machines coils turned, the numbers registered, and the tape printed out yet another summation. The machine itself had numbers and allowed you to add, displaying the results on a paper tape that could then be attached to a legal form or included in a file. (When I say "file" here I mean an actual "file" not the items on our desktop computers, which are also "files" but aren't really any physical files. Think "things that fill up a file cabinet" here and you are in business.) These machines also had a crank on the side and were operated often by somebody who doubled as what they called (back then anyway) a "statistical typist." That's pretty much what my Mom did back in her day-she was a statistical typist who, more often than not, spent her days toiling away at one of these beastly machines, as a way of adding numbers for companies in downtown New York City.

Adding machines are now pretty much found only in the dark hovels of antique stores. I'm guessing here, but probably most folks don't even know what one is, or would recognize one if they happened upon one (although, I do think you could probably figure it out if you gazed at the thing long enough-it's not all that complex by today's standards.) Oddly enough (or maybe not!) they still do sell these Victor adding machines on eBay. (I guess maybe it isn't all that odd, since they sell basically everything on eBay these days, but there sitting quietly among the "everything else" are some of these beasts, now available for resale if you so desire.)

So, there you have it. My mother, the antique, used to use one of these antiques to do bookkeeping-like tasks at a desk in downtown New York City back before I was born. Strange world we have, strange how far we've come, in that this type of device really isn't even recognized anymore. It's all, as they say, been replaced by computers, and now maybe even tablets. Going now too are the days when people used keyboards to interface with computers (soon too that will be a thing of the past, just like this beast. Google glass, anyone?)

Oh, and in case it's not obvious from the photo, if they ever do drop an atomic bomb on New York, any adding machines that are possibly left in any dark, dank office storage caves will probably survive to add another day. These things, or so Mother tells me, "were quite built like tanks." She also tells me they were heavy as lead, so that ought to make you feel a bit happier about lugging around a now-what-seems-so heavy laptop (even if you don't have a solid state drive!) Try fitting this into a backpack, you hipsters! (Hint: it won't!)

Gone are the ways of the adding machine. Gone are the calculators. Soon to be gone are the keyboards. The more things change, the more they stay the same. (Or so Mother tells me.) Each and every day, the great adding machine of life "tap, tap, crunches" out a new piece of tape for us to digest. What slice of life will you feast upon tomorrow? Only the Victor knows for sure, I'd guess, only the Victor knows for sure. (Tap, tap, crunch.)

Until next time...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

An Evening at the Ponds

Last night I went over to the Hill Country Water Gardens to enjoy an evening at the ponds. Every once in a while (usually on the solstice, the equinox, or some other seasonally relevant date) they have the ponds open at night. This time the ponds were open until 9:30pm and the event featured live music, wine tasting, and free food from some of our local restaurants.

Now, the ponds are a wonderful place. I've visited many times before (and truth be told will probably go back time and time again) but I have to admit I was shocked at what happened last night. I was shocked at the number of people in attendance. I honestly didn't even know that many people knew the ponds were there. I honestly didn't think there were that many people in Cedar Park. It was CROWDED. I've never seen so many people hanging out by the ponds. It was amazing. I overheard somebody say, "This is the big social event in Cedar Park!" I didn't even think Cedar Park had any big social events but, in hindsight, he was totally correct. This was big and social and it was an event to behold.

We've had a kind of heat wave here recently. It hasn't been all that hot, but it has been quite muggy and humid lately. Last night was no relief from that type of weather either-it was muggy with temps in the high 90's even towards the twilight hours. The masses of people didn't help much in this regard. It was just plain too hot and crowded for me to take a lot of pictures, so I ended up just enjoying the show a bit. I had some food and managed to taste one dry white wine for good measure.

This weekend also marks the "super moon" as they have been calling it. The moon is closer to the earth's orbit than usual so it appears larger in the sky. I kept looking for the "super moon" but didn't manage to spot it until we were just about to leave. I did manage to sneak a peek at the "super moon" but didn't take any photographs. (Honestly, I much prefer having the gardens to myself to take pictures-it's a lot easier without masses of people walking in, out, and around clogging up the joint. It was nice though to be there at dusk and to try to spot the evening blooms coming up, instead of having to face the usual heat of the midday sun.)

Even with the crowds and the heat, I'd have to say it was a nice evening. I love the ponds and I love the fact that they open then up at night for us to walk through, enjoy some food, music, and the like. It makes for a nice, enchanting evening.

Until next time...

Monday, June 17, 2013

YAWN - Slow Day Today

Bed_9903, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
For some reason, I'm very tired today, so I've been resting up. There are a lot of things on my "to do" list these days. I've actually been quite busy, although today was no indication of what I've been up to. It's getting unseasonably hot in Austin again (summer tends to do that here) so I always look for interior things I can do to keep myself busy.

I've been meaning to clean out my studio and haven't really done that yet. I also want to work on the new computer, to start to setup the new RAID devices and all, and to start to move things over to the new setup. It's just that these things tend to take a lot of time, and I tend to procrastinate when it comes to working these kinds of things (rather than going out and taking pictures.) I'm much more inclined to be doing that kind of stuff if I'm being honest. (I tend to neglect routine things.)

I've been thinking about it a lot too and it seems that I really want to get a Fuji camera. I want one of those little walkabout cameras that shoots in square format. I've been thinking about all of the things I could do if I had one of those to play with a bit, so that's totally going on my list of things to get, once I start getting things again. (Might be a while for that, as I'm not in a hurry to run out and get a lot of new gear. At least not while it's been too hot to go out shooting a lot really.)

I need to start doing some copy work, so that you can see the wonderful pastels and encaustic paintings I've been working on over the course of the last year or so. I'm very behind in my copy work, so that's also on the list of things to do. I need to update my website. Man, there's a crap-load of stuff I could be doing instead of sitting here complaining about the heat.

When it doubt, there's always tomorrow, right?

Until next time...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day

SmallFlowers2_7866, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Tomorrow is Father's Day. Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there-I hope you have a great day.

We had some good light in Austin today. Not the best, but still kind of OK. We had some clouds but it was a bit flat. Still managed to go out and shoot some flowers. My crepe myrtle tree is starting to bloom, so I got some shots of that, as well as some of these little yellow flowers my neighbor planted right alongside our borderline. They are cute little flowers although, in hindsight, they do appear to be taking over the yard.

Note to self: even little flowers can grow massively big sometimes.

What's that they say, "from small things, big things one day come." Yes, well my poor neighbor is about to have a massive covering of these little yellow and white flowers if we don't get out there and yank them real soon now. It's not that they are big, no, not really. There are just lots and lots of these little yellow and white flowers and they appear to be creeping 'round the yard, making their way up to the front door.

Until next time...

Friday, June 14, 2013

I Told You It Was Coming

WhatisARacket_0735, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
OK, now you can't say I didn't warn you about this one. Back when I had just returned from location in Vegas, I mentioned that I had done some shooting of words. Words, words, words, I think I called it. Inside of the Mob Museum, I shot nothing but words. Well, OK, maybe almost nothing but words, but still a lot of words anyway. Words here, words there, words everywhere. Lots and lots of words. And, I told you I'd upload them at some point, right?

The point is now. It's time. Here are my words. Well, some of them. You'll just have to wait for the rest. But, they've started coming. Here they come, I can almost see all of them now. Can you guess what words tomorrow will bring? Corruption, greed. What is a Racket? Sports. Prostitutes. Laws. Crime, money, politics, sex, scandals, garbage, Hollywood, New York, Chicago, booze, drugs, gambling. It's all there, man. It's all out there in Vegas. It's all hidden in the words.

Sometimes, all you have to do is read the writing on the wall. And, why, that's what I've done, when I went out to visit with that mob museum. Words, lots and lots of words. Maybe some of them will make sense, some of them won't but they'll all be words. Words for you to read. Writing. Walls. Lots of little words, all adding up to one big puzzle. What do these words mean to you? What did these words mean to me? Why did I shoot so many of them? Ah, life is full of little riddles, isn't it? Lots of little riddles and more than a few words to go around, that's why we love it so much.

Frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Perfecting Your Elevator Speech - Mmmm Tacos

InteriorView_0098, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
These days, being an artist, photographer, or virtually whatever else it is that you do, you are going to have to come up with some kind of elevator speech. In case you don't know what an elevator speech is, allow me to introduce you to one. From the Wiki,
"An elevator pitch, elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event...The name 'Elevator Pitch' reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of business card or a scheduled meeting."
So, there you have it. Picture yourself trapped for (slightly less than) two minutes in an elevator. By trapped I mean you are stuck in there with somebody important. Imagine what you might say to that oh-so-important person. "Hi, I'm (insert name here) and I..." Basically, your elevator pitch (speech, statement, whatever you want to call it) is the completion of that sentence.

"Hi, I'm Carol and I'm a fine art photographer and visual artist from the Austin, Texas area." That's a short one. It could be mine, in fact, it is often mine. (I'd say you can borrow it, but you probably don't want people calling you Carol unless that's you name, in which case, have at it, Carol.)
"Hi! My name is Melissa and I'm the lady who paints giant murals on the side of Taco Bell restaurants all around the country. I got started painting as a child when, coincidentally, I also started eating a lot of tacos. My love for tacos eventually grew into the founding of my own business-painting murals for small taco establishments along the Texas coast-until I eventually moved into the position of painting all of the murals for all of the Taco Bells around the world. Chihuahua be damned, if you've seen a Taco Bell, why I've painted the fake taco on the side of it." 
That's possibly a really good elevator pitch for somebody who's a really odd painter, but there you have another example of one. Probably a better example too. (Again, I would recommend against stealing this one unless you are really all that into tacos. Mmmm. Tacos.)

It's really important for artists and creative types to have a good elevator pitch. It's really a good idea to practice your elevator pitch before doing something like going to a portfolio review, going to a professional round-up, or even going to something as simple as a networking or art group meeting. If you're a photographer, it's a good idea to have some kind of elevator-like pitch, along with business cards, that you can use to get people to let you photograph them.

A lot of photographers, especially those who want to do more portrait work, ask me all the time, "how do you get the courage to go up and ask people to pose for you?" For some reason, photographers are shy. Now, I haven't discovered a magic bullet here, it's just that I've found over the years having a little bit of an elevator-like pitch, along with a business card, goes a long way. This is why I almost always carry my Moo cards and I almost always introduce myself to lots of people I bump into along the way. The little spiel, "Hi! I'm Carol and I'm a..." gets used a lot, especially as a travel or go on location. I'm also always handing out business cards, even to people I've never met. Here's my website, here's my card, "Hi! I'm Carol..." Yes, I do that lots.
"Hi, I'm Carol. I'm a fine art photographer and artist from Austin, Texas. I often take photos so that I can paint from them. Would you mind if I take your picture today? Can I take a few pictures of you?" 
That sort of an approach goes a long way in getting a "yes" response out of my subjects. If somebody says "No," why I respect that, but it's a good idea to have a bit of a pitch ready for these times. I've met photographers who are too shy to even call themselves "photographers" or "artists." They get hung up on the words. "Well, I'm not really a *photographer*" They will say to me, "I just like taking pictures." Mmmm. Right. Newsflash! People who like taking pictures are called: photographers. (Have another taco and try it again. Once more with feeling and all.)

The experts recommend that we all practice our elevator pitches. Practice, practice, practice. This is probably a good idea. I'm not the best at doing them, I too could use a lot more practice. I've got some friends who could work a room so good you'd be dizzy just watching them (it's like an indoor sport of some sorts, that is, really.) I'm guessing anyway, they would get a lot of free tacos. (Not me. No, I usually have to pay for my tacos but, hey, I sometimes too get a bit lucky and get some free salsa.) Other friends? They get hung up on the words, like "photographer" or "artist" and don't want to use them. My guess is that, if they'd practice a bit, they'd get over those hang-ups and just starting taking pictures or painting.

There is one thing all these folks have in common though. It's virtually impossible to become a successful photographer or artist these days unless you have a good elevator pitch. Unless you are comfortable, squeezing into that elevator with that oh-so-important person and jabbering off about "Hi! My name is..." You are probably not going to make it in the art world. It's just a sad fact of marketing reality, so probably best to deal with it early in your career and get yourself on over that hump. There are bigger problems you will grow to face, trust me on that one. You've got bigger fish to fry so, go on, man up and "Hi! I'm..." whoever you are. Fill in those blanks, practice it a bit, and move right along.

So, there you have it. Elevator pitch. You. Work. Go. Do. Best of luck with it too.

Until next time...