Thursday, April 27, 2006

Drunk in Key West

Hey all! Just a little hello from Key West. Saw an Internet Cafe and jumped in. Expect loads of pics of fishing, jetskiing, water skiing, drinking, eating seafood, drinking, dancing on stages, alligators, more fishing, still more drinking, and sun burns.

Chat at ya again on the 1st!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Vacation Fever

I live for vacations. I swear, I plan for months in advance. This trip we're taking next week? That's right folks. I have spreadsheets. Spreadsheets of what to pack. Spreadsheets of restaurants to eat at. Spreadsheets with how much money things cost. I've also got a folder of printouts for kayaking places, snokeling places, things to see along our route. I have a problem. My problem is that I don't get enough vacations! I'm so excited I can barely concentrate on anything.

Some people have been writing very sweet, overly-generous comments here about my pictures. You all have no idea what that means to me. I feel so insecure about photography, honestly. I look on Flickr and I cruise through all the 'Most Interesting' pictures and I feel small. I hope some day I can take pictures like that...

I've got a new obsession lately. Ever since that evil personal trainer got ahold of me, I've been a little insane about working out. Especially running though. I never ever thought I'd be a runner again. I haven't done it since college on the forest trails in Flagstaff.

I hadn't missed a day of working out since last Wednesday, so I figured I needed a day off today. So I splurged and went shopping, which I never do, and bought 2 purses, a hat for the beach, and a new wallet. Then home to pack. First dinner though. Then I started to feel uber guilty for not having worked out. So I collared the dogs, and took off running. On a full stomach. I need a vacation from working out. Seriously, I think I've gone a little overboard.

In other news, I completed my last photo class assignment. The theme was View Your World. It was two parts: people in your world and places in your world. I submitted some of the fire pictures I took of the guys working. I also took pictures of my mom, who is so gorgeous. I couldn't take a bad picture of her.

That's her dog Shadow with her. Anyway, I wish I got more of her features. Beautiful.

I'm a little rambly today. I'm just having a hard time focusing my brain on any one thing.

Oh, and Ryan is STILL sick if you can believe it. He's got things growing in his throat, and today he still had a fever. Its been almost a week. Poor guy! Sure hope he kicks it before we have to fly this weekend...

OK, if I'm a good blogger, I'll write once more before we leave, but you never know...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

In Sickness and in Health..... and One Dog for Sale

It has been four years today since I married Ryan and I haven't for a second felt like I wasn't married to the most wonderful man in the world. I know it is cliche, but I really feel like no one could be luckier. Ryan and I never fight, we're a team, we laugh so much sometimes it hurts, we dance like idiots in our living room to our music obsession of the moment, we always agree on where to travel and what to do when we get there, we take turns cooking, he is always doing little unexpected things for me, we have more fun hanging out at home just the two of us then we ever do going out with friends, we have the same life goals, the same beliefs in things that matter, and just being in the same room with him feels like a gift.

Because our big Florida trip is next week, we hadn't really planned much for our anniversary. At least I thought we hadn't. I didn't know it, but Ryan had planned a very full evening of couple's massages, wine tasting, and sushi. But, Murphy seems to be living in our house lately.

Ryan woke up this morning with a raging case of strep throat. Ryan doesn't get sick very often, but the boy is SICK. He hasn't left the bedroom all day. And not in a good way.

But I really do think that a marriage is defined by the hard moments. So instead of being disappointed, I've gotten a lot of time to think today about how really lucky I am. And I've gotten a chance to baby my man, which is important too.


In other news.... Does anyone want a dog? For free? Heck, I'll PAY you. I'm too pissed to take a picture of what happened today to the carpet in my brand new house, so I'll just refer you back to the
Pink Carpet Disaster of 2005. That's right kids, that evil piece of shit dog ripped up ANOTHER carpet. IN THE NEW HOUSE! I just can't verbalize my anger over the whole thing. So I won't. I'll just resurrect this picture of Mika. Come on. You know you want her.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Speed of Life

Life is moving insanely fast lately. Yep, this week I start my new job. Since I'm not stupid enough to talk about work on my blog, I'll just say that my job involves work that is different every single day, more international travel to places other than England for a change, and a new office that does not include mice infestations, cockroaches running at your feet in the bathroom or people who throw chairs when they are mad. I'm really excited, but at the same time I'm sad to be leaving my friends in my old job. And I'm sad that my job title won't sound as exciting.

This last weekend was a blur. Happy hours, family time, a wedding, a graduation, a party, shopping for our vacation on the beach in a week and a half.... Weekends are never long enough.

You've got to hear about this wedding though. It was freaking hilarious. This is a firefighter friend of Ryan's who was getting married. This guy is a sweetie and he was marrying the adorable mother of his child, so the wedding was sort of laid back. The 'officiant' was one of their ff friends who got himself ordained online, and who saw fit to pick up this snazzy outfit for the ceremony:

So you tell me... how smart is it to have an open bar at a firefighter wedding? Well, if their goal was to end up with nakedness, mosh pits, and drunk photographers.... then they're very smart people. ;-) OK, but for real it was a beautiful wedding and a whole lot of fun. But there really was nakedness, a mosh pit full of tuxedos, and the photographer was drunk by 8pm. I have a picture of the maid of honor taking a dollar out of his pants with her teeth, but you wouldn't want to see that, now would you?

Instead, click here for some more pictures I took at the wedding.
I am FINALLY starting to understand how to use my camera effectively. I'm still learning every day I take pictures, but at this wedding I finally figured out how to utilize my settings to photograph in low-light situations with no flash. Seriously so cool. I'm still working out the specifics, but I'm getting better. See that picture of the bride dragging the groom? No flash and it was totally darkish in that room.
So today I'll leave you with this: You know you're old when....... you get this in the mail:
"Dear Ryan,
Our records show that you havent' yet registered for the benefits of AARP membership, even though you are fully eligible...."
Ryan ACTUALLY got that in the mail. 27 is feeling older and older.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blogged Out

Today felt like my BIRTHDAY! So many comments on my blog, and all thanks to Michele, at . Site of the day! Such a treat! If you don't visit Michele on a regular basis, please go visit her. I suggest you give her a try on the weekends for the weekend Meet and Greet. I often get asked by newer bloggers how you increase the traffic to your blog, and I have to say, "Comment unto others as you'd have them comment unto you." Michele's is a great place to find interesting new sites. Visit them and they'll visit you!

I visit sites-of-the-day a lot, and I find that for the most part if a blogger visits me back, I usually will visit them on a regular basis. So I thought since my mom taught me that it is important to always send a little thank you note if someone does something nice for you, I ought to visit all my new commenters today with a little thank you. And maybe, just maybe, I'll find some interesting bloggers I'd like to keep visiting. Oh man, what did I get myself into?

I got almost 50 totally great comments thanks to Michele today, and I'm only through about 30 of my 'thank-yous'. Ryan called a little bit ago and asked what I was doing. "I'm blogging." I say. And he says, "What else is new?". Then I tell him I'm totally blogged out and he says he never thought he'd hear me say that. I've read so many blogs tonight that I just can't process anymore!

I've read about 2 posts per blog to get a feel for these people and I'm totally overwhelmed. I read about kids, and sleep patterns, and jobs, and food, and traveling, and abortion, and... Oh man, too much!

So I'm taking a break from reading to do a little writing of my own. To start: my Portfolio project continues. Last night I got to photograph a set of twins so identical that their mother has to keep little hemp bracelets of different colored beads on their little ankles to tell them apart.

Also, it seems like a lot of people were talking on their blogs about sleeping. Or the lackthereof. I've always had problems falling asleep. When I lay down to go to sleep, my mind races. I can't let go of the day at all and I run through lists of things that I failed to do during the day, things I've procrastinated on eat me up, and I plan my next day until I'm so stressed out I'm laying there wide awake. And once I am asleep, I wake up at all hours. I have these crazy dreams that feel like nightmares. Ryan's always convinced that my dreams mean something, but mostly to me they just mean I'm a zombie during the day.

So tell me, are you a good sleeper? Or are you like me and you just can't relax enough to let the day go long enough to catch a few z's?

Thank you again to all the people who visited me from Michele's!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Wedding Photographer Etiquette

I love weddings. I know that some 'real' photographers consider photographing weddings to be kind of cheesy, but I would love it. I love the love. And I appreciate the preparation. So that's why I was so excited to go as my brother's date to a wedding on Sunday. I got my camera bag ready, carefully placed myself in a seat on the isle so I could lean in and get shots of the couple during the ceremony. And then THIS idiot shows up.

The only expertise I have in photographing weddings is.... well, none. But it doesn't take a genius to realize that a wedding photographer shouldn't stand RIGHT in front of the couple during the entire ceremony. The lovely family memebers of this couple all had their cameras out to capture the event, only to have this idiot ruin the whole thing. I couldn't even SEE the couple from where I was sitting. And I'm guessing that another rule of wedding photography is to be invisible. That bright-ass orange shirt certainly doesn't blend.

And if all that weren't enough.... at the end of the night this idiot comes up to my brother (who was the best man) and asked him if all the groomsmen lived in town. Well no, no they don't. Why do you ask? Well, he would like to 'do a reshoot of the groomsmen later in the week'. WHAT?!

I'm still trying to perfect use of my new lens, and I'm finding that I need lots of light, and NO movement to get a good shot. But I love the super shallow depth of field I get in every shot.

Besides the dumb photographer, it was a beautiful wedding. The groom's family owns a popular catering and party company in town, so the food was fantastic and the decorations were perfect. Oh, and the cake cost $1000! Cripe.

My most recent photography assignment is Portraits. We're supposed to take portraits of people 'In Our World'. I'm using the picture of Ryan after the fire that I love as one, and I'm hoping to get my mom to sit for me. She's totally gorgeous and photographs beautifully. Today I took off work for 2 hours to see her receive the "Woman of the Year" award at her work. She looked so beautiful and distinguished, and someone actually said to her that she looked younger than the last time they saw her. I hope those genes start working in my favor!

Anyway, back to protraits. We practiced last night in the studio at school w/ another student and her adorable daughter. It was hard to take a bad picture of these two. Here's one I like:

After we finished in the studio, we followed some music on campus to a huge room filled with people in their best dress dancing to a big band. It was the Generations Ball held every year at the college. The Ball gets together older folks and young college athletes for a night of dancing and bridging the gap. My whole class crashed the party and attempted to blend into the crowd and practice our skills. It was amazing. These older folks could DANCE. And the young chippies? Not so much.

So I started thinking about how it seems like true dancing seems to be fading out. It has been a really long time since I've danced with a man who knows how to truly lead a woman. I'm so blessed that my mom taught us to dance when we were young.

When we were young, my mom cooked a fancy dinner every night so that we could all sit down as a family. No TV, no phone calls, just family. But while dinner was cooking my brother and I learned. We learned the box step, the waltz, and others. We started by standing on her feet and the older we got, the more complicated the dancing got.

So, how about you? Can you dance?

And could this post be any longer?

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Well all, Ryan got hit with mandatory today. Bummer! But I had the BEST DAY. This morning I got up and had breakfast in the GOREGEOUS Arizona weather, then I ran my entire neighborhood with the dogs. I have never run that far before! Then while cupcakes were baking I layed outside with an awesome book and got my tan ready for Florida.

THEN I went and indulged in a new lens for my camera!! I got a freaking awesome 70-300mm (telephoto) lens. Woo hoo!

And if all that weren't enough, Ryan's engine was a man short today so I got to ride! It doesn't happen very often so I was thrilled. So with new lens in hand and a lot of hope that something exciting would happen, I grabbed the cupcakes and headed down.

The boys and I went grocery shopping, had some coffee, and had just started cooking when they got called to a ripping car fire. Woo hoo! And me with a shiny new lens. It was perfect. The captain seemed really excited to have me taking pictures, and my lens let me stand really far away and still get some good shots. And since Ryan in the 'firefighter' (that's his actual title as opposed to engineer or medic...), he does the work. So lots of great pics of Ryan. Click on this shot to see the slideshow:

Great, huh? It was so exciting, and it was really hard to not embarass him because I was really proud.
I've got another totally exciting day tomorrow too. I love when a weekend of no plans turns into a weekend of so much fun its hard to fit it all in! And I've got 2 weddings in the next week, so I'm excited to see if I can manage to get any good shots there.
So what's everyone else doing this weekend? I can tell you for sure what I'm not doing tonight... I'm not watching Ghost Hunters and then White Noise in a dark house all alone like I did last night. I'd like to actually get some sleep tonight. ;-)

about me

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    Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

    I'm Amanda. I'm an engineer in an industry full of men, a professional wedding and family portrait photographer, a firefighter's wife, a traveler, and a dogMa.

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