Greetings blogging world! Or….. at least, to whoever is reading this! 😉
Kathy was kind enough to think of me to write a post for her blog, and this is the first time I’ve done this, so go easy on me!
I actually started blogging a few years ago, but it was a private blog – kind of an update of our family, just for family and close friends. I had never considered writing a public blog.
Let me start by introducing myself – my name is Holly, and like Kathy, I also live in Michigan – but much further South. For the past 14 ½ years, I’ve worked for local government – the last 9 years I’ve been in the Planning/Zoning office, and finally feel like I’ve settled in! The nice part about working in this office is that not many people who come in are mad about anything! 🙂
My husband and I have been married for 12 years, and we have two boys (they are almost 8 and almost 4 years old).
My older son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when he was 5, and I write posts about him from time to time. I almost said that I write about the “challenges” of Aspergers…. while it’s true that there are challenges, there is a flip side to that. If you would like to read more about him, feel free to click on the “Asperger Syndrome” tab at the top of my blog.
My little guy is completely opposite from his big brother, in almost every way imaginable. He is what is referred to as “NT”, or “neuro-typical”. He is extremely energetic, stubborn, demanding, he learns things VERY quickly…. your “typical” 3 year old, I guess!
They do have one thing in common, they are both very sweet little guys! They love each other about as much as two brothers can, and they love to give (and get) hugs and kisses.
I do not consider myself a professional photographer, and probably never will. It’s something that I do for fun, just for me. I don’t have a specific type of photography that I enjoy the most – basically, if I like it, I shoot it!
I’d like to say that my interest in photography started years and years ago, my Dad has been into photography one way or another longer than I’ve been alive (he was actually a photographer for the Stars & Stripes newspaper)! It actually only REALLY started in August of 2010. I had a relatively new Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 (my husband had surprised me with it after I said that I wished I had it). I wanted it for getting shots of my boys, and I loved the fact that it recorded movies in HD with STEREO sound (I still think it’s an amazing camera for capturing video).
It was supposed to be a gorgeous summer day, and I was thinking to myself that I would like to do something fun, but peaceful (and free) – a day to myself.
I had heard about a project going on in a part of town not too far from me – a motel that had been shut down was going to be handed over to a group of graffiti artists. Not just anyone could participate, it was by invitation only! Artists came from all over the place to participate. Things like this don’t happen every day around here! The building was going to be demolished shortly after the artists were done, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to use my camera, and get some shots of something other than my children.
I had a great time, walking around the building, watching the graffiti artists in action (how many times do they actually get a chance to spray paint buildings legally, anyway??)! Click here for images for motel graffiti.
When I was done hanging around the motel, I wasn’t quite ready to go home yet. I knew that there was a nature center close to my home, so I decided to check it out.
I arrived at Fenner Nature Center, grabbed a trail guide, and headed out. As I was walking along the trails, I started to notice something – I was relaxed! No stress, no worry, and no NOISE (living in a house with two little boys, this is a rarity)!! I could feel my muscles relaxing, I stopped thinking in words. This was the first time I had experienced something like this. Oh sure, I’ve been to nature centers before, but never alone. There’s just something about walking the trails by yourself. It’s difficult to describe in words, but it is my own version of meditation.
When I got back home and loaded up all the images from my camera, I knew right then and there, I was hooked! I needed more of that! (Click here for photos from my first visit to Fenner Nature Center.)
I started browsing the good ol’ world wide web for articles, tips, lessons, examples, anything I could find about photography. One of the first things I noticed was, the photos that I really liked, were not taken with a point-and-shoot camera. I was almost embarrassed to tell my husband that I wanted a new camera – again! He was actually very understanding about it (he did have to pick on me a little bit).
I was eventually able to purchase my first DSLR – a Nikon D3000. This was actually NOT the camera I originally wanted. I WANTED a Canon Rebel, but there wasn’t a single store in my entire area that had one in stock!! The last place I stopped before I headed home from my hunt was Meijer (for those of you who are unfamiliar with Meijer, they pretty much have anything and everything you could possibly need).
I went to the electronics counter, and asked them if they had a Rebel in stock, and (of course) they said no, but they did have a D3000 in stock – one left. It was on sale, too! After a discussion with a sales clerk (who was studying photography at the local community college), she talked me into it. They even told me that I had 30 days to try it out, and if I didn’t like it for any reason, I could return it. So, I figured, “What have I got to lose??” 🙂
Since then, I have been to practically every corner of the internet and back again, reading anything and everything I can about photography – blogs, articles, message boards, communication with other photographers (see my blogroll), etc… I have never stepped foot inside a classroom to study photography, I have learned everything on my own. This way, I can learn what I want, when I want, and at my own pace. Since I have a full-time job, and my boys keep me very busy, I have to squeeze it in when I can find the time!
Right after I discovered that I had a passion for photography, I was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis in September 2010). It was during my second “episode” or “flare up”. My first one was in 2006, and I was told that I had suffered a stroke because the entire left side of my body – from head to toe – was numb (pins and needles, like when your foot falls asleep). A year or so after the first episode, I had a follow-up MRI that showed the spot on my brain had disappeared, which meant it was NOT a stroke – but they still didn’t know for sure what happened. Last year, when I was numb from the ribs down, they did another MRI, and found a spot on my spine. That means MS. It is very frustrating when I am in the middle of a flare up. With all of the numbness and nerve pain, it makes it EXTREMELY difficult to get around. Which means, no photography outings. It is a very slow process to recover each time – I am just now getting over another flare up, and it started back in early August.
So, in addition to just enjoying photography, it has given me something to focus on when I’m not doing very well. Kind of a mental and physical therapy. It gives me a reason to get out – to go places I might not go to otherwise.
Since I have been enjoying the world of photography so much, and learning quite a bit about it, I had recently decided that it was time to upgrade my camera – again! So – thanks to some help, I was able to get a Nikon D5100 – and I LOVE it!! I actually do plan to keep this one for a while!! 😉
Since I began this new chapter of my life a little over a year ago, I have had three photos featured on Popular Photography’s website, I have placed 5th in an “I Heart Faces” challenge, I had a photo chosen as a finalist in the annual Photographer’s Forum Magazine competition, I’ve had two photos shown in a gallery, I joined a local photography club, and I have become friends with some amazing people (including Kathy)! 🙂
I would like to give a big THANK YOU to Kathy for asking me to do a guest blog post for her. I have always loved her blog, ever since I first read one of her posts… not sure how long ago that was, but I wish I could write half as well as she does! 😉
You are welcome to stop by my blog Photos by Holly anytime – I love to talk about photography, life, family, events, or just random thoughts!!
Click here for Flickr images (I would recommend at least my “Portfolio” set if people don’t want to be overwhelmed)