March 23, 2011

Picture Postcards

It doesn’t have to cost much in order to brighten up someone’s day. In this article I will share with you how I have been surprising the ones I love by sending them unexpected envelopes of happiness in the mail.

When most people take a vacation they send postcards back home to show everyone where they have been. This makes me wonder, why doesn’t anyone send postcards to share everyday life or memories with someone?

My brother & Me 2009
Just about everyone has pictures lying around just waiting to be looked at. I was going through some of my old family photos when I came across one of me and my brother Jon that really made me laugh. The picture was taken few summers ago when my brother and I had an unexpected good time together. We started off that night thinking it was going to be boring because we had no where fun to go. It ended up being a great night. We hung out with my boyfriend Justin and our friend Bj on our back porch. We all had some beers and good laughs. As soon as I saw that picture It reminded me of all the good times me and Jon have shared over the years. Back then we lived together but now he has his own apartment. I have missed Jon lately and I wanted to share these great memories with him. So I wrote a note on the back of that picture about how much fun that night was and mailed it to him. I think receiving that picture really made his day and let him know that he was still on my mind. This picture was taken with a Nikon Cool Pix Camera

I also send picture postcards of my daughter Lily. We have relatives who love seeing pictures of her. I print out pictures of her on my photo printer and write a note on the back of the picture for them. Yesterday I sent one of Lily biting my nose and wrote about how this is Lily’s favorite way to give me kisses. My photo printer makes it very easy to send pictures whenever I‘d like. I don’t have to go to the store or wait for them to be developed. I have the picture of my choice in seconds. I have also scanned my grandmother’s old photos into my computer so now I can surprise my family with pictures that they haven’t seen in years. This picture was taken with a Nikon D90

The possibilities for these postcards are endless, anyone can make them. If you have a picture that someone will like then you have a picture postcard. Just write a letter on the back with the fond memories that you have about the picture and it will surly brighten up someone’s day. One stamp, one picture, one story, priceless memories.

March 21, 2011

I Love My Digital Picture Frame!

A Digital Picture Frame can display sideshows of your photos, play videos, be used as a calendar, alarm clock and much more. I would recommend these frames to my family and friends because they allow you to view all of the pictures you love on one frame. With a frame like this you could get rid of some of those old frames that collect dust around the house but still enjoy the photos that are in them. Plus it is a great way to back up your pictures. If anything should happen to your original photos you can still have them stored safely on a frame like this. You can click the picture below to see an example of one of the frames.

March 19, 2011

My Homemade Personalized Photo Gifts

I always try to give personal gifts to the ones I love. I think that gifts like this show someone how much you care. I have found a way to make gifts that are easy, cheap and fun by making homemade personalized photo gifts. With a little creativity you can never run out of great gift ideas.

Clay Girl 2001

I used to like to craft so I would use my hobby to make gifts for people. I would make figurines out of polymer clay and hand paint things like signs and mailboxes. These projects were time consuming and I wanted to find a way to make personalized gifts faster and easier but I still wanted them to show someone how much I love and care for them.

I have been making handmade cards ever since I can remember.My family and friends have always loved receiving them. Over the last couple of years I have added photos to my handmade cards. Adding pictures make my cards makes them instantly personalized. Everyone favorite kind of cards seem to be the funny ones.

My grandmother 2002
Last summer I made a thank you card for my mom. She has always kept our swimming pool clean for everyone to enjoy and I wanted to let her know how much I appreciated it. I took a picture of her floating in our pool with a dorky smile on her face. I found some scrapbook paper that looks like water and I pasted her picture on the front of the card. You should have seen her face when she opened the envelope and saw herself and then we always pass the card around the table and everyone gets a good laugh. Inside the card I said how much a appreciate her and she really loved that. I wrote the whole family has such a great time swimming in it and its all because of you, Thank you. Plus she got a good laugh out of the card which is always a good thing.

The possibility's are endless with personalized photo gifts like these. I have also printed pictures of my Dad as a child for his birthday cards. My dad loves to see pictures that he hasnt seen in years. I have printed pictures of my late grandfather for my grandmother's cards. He passed away years ago so she is always happy to see his face. Everyone has special memories tied to pictures so why not use them in one of your cards. You could even paste one into a store bought card to add a personal touch.

I own a photo printer and it allows me to easily make personalized gifts. Whenever I need a card I just search my computer to find a good photo that fits,hit print and then I have a picture in seconds. I have printed pictures for so many e.g. cards,frames,scrapbooks,lost cat posters, pictures to send to my relatives overseas and more. It is easy, fun and very convenient to have a photo printer.

My Paper Jewel Cards 2009
I would really like to get a large format printer like the Epson Stylus Pro 3880 This printer delivers stunning black and white or color images. It can also print pictures up to 17" x 22", that is big! I could make bigger cards, frame bigger pictures and have more options for homemade personalized photo gifts. I will just have to add that one to my Christmas list this year.

All of these pictures were taken with a Nikon Cool Pix Camera

March 4, 2011

Off Road Photography

When I was sixteen years old I found out that I would never be able to drive due to my poor eye sight. I was sad because I had been looking forward to driving and buying a car so badly. I felt discouraged and trapped but then came a cross another way to get around.

 It was hard for me to see all of my friends getting their licensees and driving around but I  was lucky enough to have been with my boyfriend Justin back then. He was nice enough to bring me to the places I needed and wanted to go. (he still does actually). I remember the day when he showed me his dirt bike in his backyard I asked if I could ride it. He was hesitant at first but ended up teaching me how to ride and I loved it.

Thanks Daddy! June 2002
My dad is an amazing guy he has always tried giving me all I have ever wanted in life. I called him one day and asked if he would lend me the money to buy a dirt bike and I would pay him back. I was too young at the time for a loan and he agreed. I got the bike I really wanted a Yamaha TTR 250. It was white, blue and in my opinion beautiful. I made sure to take a picture of me and my dad with the bike so that I could remember how happy I was.

Justin, West Meadows. Wb Mass 2006
Justin and I would ride everywhere train tracks, sand dunes and so many other exciting places. I would make sure to bring my camera because there was no telling what awesome things we would find. In the middle of nowhere we found the frame of an old dirk bike  that had been stripped of all its parts. Justin was wearing a yellow sweatshirt that day that matched the paint job on that bike. So I asked him to hop on the bike so that  I could take his picture. I  really like that picture because at first you may think hes  riding the bike but look closer and you'll see that the bike has been stripped.

When winter came around Justin would put screws into our tires so that we could ride in the snow. We rented a cabin in Maine with some friends one time and road for hours down the trails behind the place. There was also a giant frozen pond right outside our backdoor. We had the crazy idea to tie a snow tube on a rope and tow it with our bikes. We road on the ice while towing someone on the tube. I had such a great time while being towed but when we would rode along the shore near the I felt like a giant toy for a bear or mountain lion.  I took a picture while on the tube it is of Justin's back on his bike and you can see the rope that was pulling me.

Me in our back woods. Jan 200
We took an early morning bike ride one time down the train tracks next to where I live and I packed breakfast for us too. I brought a Camping Cook Set that had a little pan and everything we needed to make a little fire to cook the food I had brought for breakfast. I found a big flat rock that was perfect and safe to make a little fire on top of.  It was winter at the time so we had to clear away the snow. I had an  idea to have my picture taken next to our pot of coffee that was boiling. I used the newspaper I had brought to start the fire I held it upside down while I leaned against the rock. Then I acted like I was reading the paper (which for me is pretty much impossible). I think its funny when you notice that the paper is upside down and that we are randomly having coffee in the woods.

Me. May 2010
When I was pregnant I decided o sell my bike to my brother Jon. It was hard for me to let go but I was making way for my new baby, Lily. I thought that I should sell it and use the money to prepare for her. I was glad to of sold it to my brother because I can see now how happy he is to have it. He also lets me and Justin ride it whenever we want. I asked Justin to take my picture while I was riding. I wasn't dressed to be riding at all that day because it was a spontaneous ride in our back yard and I have my "mom" clothes on in the picture . I also took a picture of Justin on  the bike while holding Lily. The bike was parked we would never ride with a baby we are not  crazy.

Justin & Lily May 2010

I'm glad I brought my camera on all those trips because now I can look back on them and remember all the good times we had on our bikes. I may get another bike one day and maybe one for Lily too. Ill be sure to bring a camera along for those times too so that she'll be able to look back on the good times she will have.

(All of these pictures were taken with a Nikon Coolpix S4000 )

March 3, 2011

The Forgetful Packer

I have always loved canoeing when I was a kid my parents would take me and my brother Jon out. Now that we are older we continue to take canoe trips together. For the first time in the summer of '09 we went down the Taunton River. It is over forty miles long and it runs through eleven towns. A few miles down river we found an awesome campsite that was in the middle of nowhere.

In order to reach the site we had to go some pretty scary sections of the river. There were a few old bridges that had rough water running under them and some fallen trees that made crossing difficult. So we would carefully have to navigate around them. I have a fear of spiders and when we would row under a branch I would freak out because they would fall into the canoe. I found myself trapped in a boat with one of my biggest fears. I don't believe in killing bugs so I had to sit very still and wait for someone to come get the scary little guys away from me . I was happy to have made it to the campsite in one piece.

I like to brag about my packing skills. I'm the person who gives you an extra pair of socks when you fall in the water or an umbrella when it starts to rain. I thought I had brought everything but I had forgotten something very important to me, my camera I had left it in the car. I was heart broken and all my friends felt bad for me because they know that I can't function with out a camera. Then I hear this sweet little voice coming out of my friend Jill " I have a camera Emily but it's only a little disposable one."  Disposable or not I didn't care it was music to my ears.

We took some memorable pictures that day. Jill asked me to take everyone's picture while they climbed a tree that hung out over the water. I couldn't climb it at the time because I was three months pregnant. Which was also my excuse as to how I managed to forget my precious camera. In case you didn't know pregnancy makes you absent minded. Being the great packer I am I had brought prepared spaghetti dinners for everyone. I even brought a Camping Cook Set that had a frying pan, a spatula and silverware. But because I was so forgetful (I mean pregnant) I had forgotten to bring the plates.  I had to eat out of my frying pan and my friend Jill did not hesitate taking my picture as I did so but I didn't care, I was hungry.

Have you ever been camping in the middle of nowhere? Its freaking scary! It didn't help that we were camping in the middle of the Hockomock Swamp which is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the United States. I felt safe knowing that my brother Jon had bought along his "big bad" pellet gun. We got a picture of him early one morning when he was using it to shoot at what he had thought to be a threat but it was just the wind. If it had been an actual threat Jon would have used his weapon to protect all of us. Or more likely he would have shot and made whatever it was even more pissed. But then I would have just used my frying pan to hit it over the head. I'm sure my friend Jill would have gotten a picture me doing so.

It was a good trip and now that I'm not pregnant anymore I am back to my old self knowing and remembering everything. (wink).

March 2, 2011

Littered With Pictures

Ok I just got home from a taking a walk. I am out of breath but very excited! You may think I'm weird for what I just did but I think its pretty cool. I will tell you all about  it in this article.

I can't drive at times I get frustrated because I can't really get out of my house. In the warmer months I can go out in the yard and take pictures but there is too much snow right now. I would love to go for walks down my street but it's kinda busy and since most of my time is spent watching my daughter Lily she would have to come with me.  I wouldn't want to chance getting hit by a car with her, but my big butt could probably take it.

Today Lily's dad, Justin was watching her so I went for a quick walk with my camera. I walked about half a mile down to the street to the train tracks. I could not find anything that inspired me take take a picture. The snow piled up along the side of the road is all brown and looks like cookie dough ice cream. There are no leaves on the trees so everywhere looks bare and depressing. I kept walking with the hopes of finding something interesting. After reaching the tracks I turned around to head home.

The only thing that had stood out to me was the litter on the side of the road. I thought to myself, "Why don't I take picture of each piece that I see" I was just having fun at first but then was getting pretty excited with every new piece I found and unfortunately it wasn't hard to find. Every few steps I took I saw a new piece of trash.

It may seem weird but I was excited to see what I could find next. It was mostly soda and beer cans but there were some out of the ordinary things too. I saw a full bottle of car wash that looked like it was a hundred years old and a brown glass beer bottle that was stuck in a tiny tree.

 I was amazed that the bottle was stuck in such a small little tree and I thought it made for a cool picture too. There were tons of cigarette packs and scratch tickets which were bright and colorful against the snow. My favorite find was at the very end of my walk. It was a heart shaped Valentines day chocolate box on the side of the road. When I walked a little further I even found the top of the box, that made for a good picture.

I walked home but went right back out again  because I had such a good time, weird? maybe. This time I brought along a plastic bag and gloves.  I took pictures of the trash on the way down the street and picked it all up on the way home. I feel pretty good about myself not only did I get exercise, I got some interesting pictures, a story and made the world a little cleaner.

I got over fifty different pictures just by taking a half a mile walk. I was also a little upset to see how much litter there was. I'll admit it, when I was younger and my parents weren't looking I would throw stuff out the car windows. Now I know that littering is not harmless, that it hurts the environment and the last thing I want to do is hurt the world my daughter will grow up in. Some people may think that I am a queer tree huger and that's fine with me because I know that I'm a better person for not littering anymore. I woke up today with nothing to write about and I am happy to have gone for that walk.

March 1, 2011

"Smile, I Can't See You"

I was inspired one day when I came across a video online. The video related to me because it was about photographers who are visually impaired, like me. It came to me at a time in my life when I was doubtful and insecure about my goals of becoming a photographer. The people and there stories in that video helped me realize that even with my disability I too could one day become a professional photographer.

I was able to see normally up until the fifth grade. I remember sitting at my desk at school and not being able to see the chalkboard one day. Then the day came when everyone would have there eyes and ears checked, I was worried. Even though I didn't want to I had to take the test I was scared at the thought of having to wear glasses.

I tried as hard as I could to see the letters on the chart but knew I failed the exam. I couldn't see any of them and the woman administering the test gave me a look of concern. A few days later my mom received a call from my school telling her about my results soon after that she brought me to the optometrist.

I was brought to at least one eye appointment every week for the next five years. This period in my life was one of the toughest times I have ever had to go through. Some of my friends, teachers and even a few of my family thought that I was making my problems up in order to get attention.  I remember a teacher denying my request to sit at the front of the room because she said I only wanted to move to be closer to my friends. She left me in the back of the room unsympathetic to the fact I could not see the board or the lessons. At more than a few of my appointments when the doctors could diagnose me with anything the reason I could not see was because I wasn't "trying" hard enough to read the eye charts.

As a result of everyone's disbelief I even started to doubt if I had a problem. I asked myself the question "Am I just making this up to get attention?". I would struggle and try as hard as I could but it didn't matter my eyes just would not work. I couldn't understand what was  wrong with me and neither could my mom. I'm so thankful to her because she always believed that I had a problem. Even after hearing doctor's tell her that nothing was wrong with my vision she never doubted me. Without her support I would have never gotten the help I needed.

In the tenth grade my mom told me that we were going into Boston for another eye exam. But  by then I'd had enough, I didn't want to go to anymore tests. I gave my mom a hard time whenever we had to go to an appointment that she had taken the time to make for me.

Whenever I had to be excused from school in the middle of a class I would hear people making comments in rude tones like "what's wrong with her" and other hurtful things and I wished I had an answer to give them.

My appointment was at Mass Eye and Ear in Boston, it is one of the best specialty hospitals in the country. The test lasted about five hours and it wasn't fun at all. They would put drops into my eyes that would dilate my pupils. It stung my eyes and made my vision even worse than it already was. Then they would shine bright lights into my eyes and have me look into all these strange machines. In the middle of the test I would have to sit blind folded for an half an hour in the waiting room. After that they injected my arm with an iodine needed, it was hard to go through.

After the tests were done I remember sitting in the waiting room for the doctor to come in and give us the results. I  thought that the doctor was just going to tell us the same old thing, that everything was fine. The doctor finally came in. He said " She is legally blind." It shocked my mom and believe it or not I was relieved. Then I expected him to say that that I needed glasses. Instead he said, " She has an incurable eye disease called Stargardt's". He explained that it was a form of macular dystrophy he told me there is no cure and I will not be able to drive. My mom said nothing I was happy, happy to know that I wasn't making it up that there really was something wrong with me and that someone finally figured it out. I now could go back to everyone who doubted me and say "I'm not crazy!"

We had taken the train that day and on the ride home I thought about my diagnosis. The only thing really bothering me was not being able to drive. I was sixteen at that time and like most teenagers was excited to get my drivers license. Even though I was sad the thought of finally knowing what was wrong and that my mom and I could stop searching was good news.

The doctor had told my mom to write a letter to all of my teachers telling them to not ask me to read out of the books or off the chalkboard. He said I would just have to sit in class and to try and keep up but I was already used to it. Now that I knew what was wrong I talked to my mom about being tutored at home she agreed.

Then I finally started being able to learn in the way I needed to. My text books were the size of a newspaper, about twenty four inches tall and twelve inches wide . I didn't miss having to see my rude insensitive teachers or struggling to find my classrooms or school buses I was becoming a happier person.

A lot of people now say that they forget that I can't see well, that I seem normal. I have learned to adapt to my conditions and how to use my eyes the best way I know how. Glasses cannot correct my problem because the center of my vision is gone there is nothing there to correct. My peripheral vision is better for me than looking straight on. I can see blurry shapes but no details for example I would be able to see you walking up to me but I would not know who you are. My vision is sort of like a kids coloring book, very simple with no details.

Me in  my studio 2011
I had thought for years that because of my sight I wouldn't be able to become a photographer. Then I came across that video and it gave me hope. I was comforted to know that there are others out there who despite their disability became successful. It gave me reassurance that if they can do it so can I. I knew that I would have a harder time than most people but I was determined to pursue my dream.

 I have to take many pictures to ensure that I have gotten one that is in focus. I found a camera with a big screen and large view finder, the Nikon D90 I also have a twenty three inch computer screen that allows me to review my pictures. I still sometimes need help seeing which ones are clear. I am better at taking pictures of landscapes and things that don't move as opposed to people. With people it is hard for me to see their facial expression but people are my favorite things to takes pictures of so I try as hard as I can and I use what I've got.

I have decided to not always share my disease when talking about my photography. Because I don't want my work to be judged based upon the fact that I am legally blind. I would like to be judged for my work alone. But if this article could one day inspire someone else like that video did for me, it would really make my day.