Getting Excited for the New Year 2020

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope everyone had a happy holiday. I sure did. I took a nice long break and allowed myself to just relax. I played some video games and binged on some tv shows. And just enjoyed my time with the people I love.

New Service – Art Critique

I’m so excited to start the new year. I love getting a new planner and making new goals for myself. One thing I am really excited about is the new service I’ll be offering – Art Critique. I absolutely love art critique, whether I’m giving it or receiving it. Critique is so important for improving as an artist. My plan is to get that launched as soon as possible. I’m just waiting on PayPal to straighten a few things out.

Photography Goal

I’m also planning to improve my Redbubble store. When I started Redbubble, I had no idea what I was doing. I just put a bunch of pictures up and made them available on every single product. I made a lot of sales but I didn’t put much effort into it. I’m now ready to make some changes and provide a better quality product.

New Years Resolutions

I’m still taking a little bit of a holiday . . . at least until Jan. 6th. I also love making New Years Resolutions. I only make a few because I want to make sure I actually meet my goals.

  • I’d like to read my Bible more, cuz I’m kinda bad about not doing that.
  • I also want to make sure I’m living a very healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and good food. I already do this, but I want to make sure it’s a priority.
  • And I want to continue learning to sew. Last year, I made the resolution to get better at sewing. I only sewed a skirt and a Snake bandana for my boyfriend. But, I did improve. So, this year I hope to build on that improvement.

 

What New Years resolutions did you all make? I wish you the best of luck in achieving your goals.

A Comment Apology

A LOT of comments were labeled as spam and unfortunately, I JUST now noticed. I’m so sorry to anyone who has left me a comment and never heard a reply from me.

I’m so happy to receive comments and follows from my readers and I wouldn’t want any of you to be ignored! I’ll try my best not to let that happen in the future.

Clash Royale Battle Video – Rascals + Mortar Siege Deck

Last September I downloaded a mobile video game called Clash Royale. I was hesitant at first because I was never a fan of card games. But my persistent friend finally convinced me to get the game and join his clan, and I thought, “Why not? It could be fun.”

Well, it is a lot of fun! I remember my first 4 battles, I just jumped in and got my butt kicked really good. I didn’t get discouraged though.

clash royale logo

Supercell

I gradually got the hang of things and I managed to win some battles and get some good rewards. I loved the strategy and all of the destruction . . . It didn’t take long before I was hooked.

One of my favorite parts of the game is the characters. Their design, their sound effects, and their unique personalities and abilities are so cool and creative.

My Favorite Cards

 

The Witch  She summons powerful little skeletons and shoots really cool looking Destructo beams. According to Wikia, The Witch has been “Buffed” more times than any other card, which has improved her stats. No wonder my decks feel incomplete without her.

dark prince

The Dark Prince – This beefy tank comes in second because he’s got a tough shield and he makes really fun sounds. He whistles when he charges, and his voice is all muffled because of his helmet. He’s so funny and he can take and deal out a lot of damage. His absence is noticed when I use a deck without this dark lad.

goblin gang

The Goblin Gang – These wild – eyed goblins are great. They can take out big troops like the Prince, and I love the way they use their knives to stab. I prefer the gang over the individual goblins because you also get the spear goblins. Even though this troop can be taken out pretty easily, they’re still a favorite.

My Most Coveted Card and My Enemy Card

The Magic Archer – I can’t get him until I reach Arena 11, and I am currently in Arena 10. He can be killed quickly but when used properly, he is a force to be reckoned with.

mega knight

The Mega Knight – This card is so cool. I love how he lands with a powerful BOOM dealing damage to every troop around him. I don’t have this card yet, which makes me sad. And when I see him drop down on my troops I cry a little because he is my arch enemy. Especially when my opponent ends up dropping multiple Mega Knights. I could punch a wall!

middle finger

Your Clan

Finding a good clan is important. When I was playing another Supercell game, Clash of Clans, I never was able to find a really good and active clan. I struggled to get enough gold and elixir and it was really hard to win wars.

I don’t have that problem with Clash Royale. I’m really happy with my clan because it’s active and has a lot of members who are really good.

The Battle Video – Rascals + Mortar Siege Deck

One of my clan members in particular, XEpicProdigy99X, excels at the game. He’s made a couple of videos, and I want to share the most recent one because he included a 2v2 Battle that features ME.

How cool is that? Check this out!

If you’re a fan of Royale you can benefit from watching his videos because not only is he funny and entertaining, but he also provides some really great tips, win conditions, and valuable information about cards.

Watching him battle (and battling with him) has helped me improve, and he has also helped deepen my gaming experience. My readers know how much I love living in the moment, and fully embracing and experiencing things. Which is exactly how XEpicProdigy99X plays Clash Royale.

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So, if you’re looking for a fun and challenging mobile game, I suggest that you try out Clash Royale. If you do, go ahead and watch Orange Juice Gaming also. I learned so much from him when I was a beginner.

A Walk through the Woods

I walk through the woods a lot. Always fun and an incredible workout, by the end of the walk I’m gasping for air, dehydrated, and every muscle in my body feels alive. My last walk was with a few of the kids in my neighborhood. Every year when the weather warms up they’re begging me “Can you take us through the woods???”

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How did I become the Woods Excursion Guide? It’s Ok . . . I love it. I took this photo with the toy camera setting on my point and shoot.

About 7 years ago we got a new neighbor who wasn’t too friendly. He put up a gate with a no trespassing sign and threatened to “put down” the dogs that were running free. It was crazy. We all stood up for the dogs and eventually the gate and sign came down. It is a public road after all.

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Now, without fear of being shot, we have access to the pond and a bunch of woods again. When I was a kid, my friend Chase was the person who dug this pond. It was bigger and much cleaner. It’s trashed and toxic now.  Hmm, could make a good location for a horror or end of the world flick.

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We walked the trail around the pond which was lined with bamboo. While we were immersed in discussion about Koala bears, one of the boys managed to scare everyone with the old “SNAKE!” routine.

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The woods are so interesting. I like seeing the changes in the environment as it transitions from winter to spring. The leaves on the ground are crunchy and so pale and bland looking.

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We came across this beetle which spurred a discussion about beetles and their behavior and their grossness. And of course there’s always someone who touches it. The same person who tries to scare people by yelling “SNAKE” in a crowded woods.

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Does anybody watch Ninja Warrior? I love that show. It always makes me want to get out and get better at traversing obstacles, and the woods is a perfect playground for that. Plenty of places for climbing, jumping, running, balancing, and so much more.  I took a break from climbing up a steep incline to take a quick pic of this dog loving the walk as much . . . if not more than we were.

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Years ago I told everyone these were alien spacecraft. The story has stuck. My imagination is always vivid, but there’s just something about the woods that makes my imagination go wild. I took this picture with my toy camera setting. It works pretty good as a digital lomo pic.

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this picture was taken earlier on the walk, there’s my dog, Sunny

The sun was beginning to set and the excursion was finally coming to an end. I was glad, cuz I was so beat. Sometimes I can’t believe there is so much variety just in one area of my neighborhood. I know your area has tons of variety too. Grab your camera and have fun exploring it with your family and friends.

Photographing the White Iris Flower

I sat down near these irises to spend some time looking at them and practice taking better photos. I sat there so long a couple of large birds landed at the top of the trees right in front of me.

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They were squawking loudly but I couldn’t see them. I wanted to, so I got up to try and spot them and of course I startled them. As they flew away I got a glimpse of one that was brown . . . I think it was a hawk. I have a friend who never believes me when I say I saw a hawk, but I’m pretty sure it was one.

I was using my Nikon DSLR with a kit lens and I was shooting in aperture priority. It was around 10 to 11 in the morning, and the light was slowly moving and landing on different parts of the flowers. The shade of the trees acted as a natural diffuser so the sunlight wouldn’t be too harsh on the delicate petals.

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I’ve taken so many pictures of irises since they bloom every year in my yard and all over my neighborhood and I don’t want to get caught up taking the same boring pictures of the same flower, like in the photo below.

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The light is flat, the background is boring and distracting, and I could have gotten closer to focus on a specific part of the flower.

3 Things to Remember When Photographing Flowers

Light – Flowers look better in a flattering, soft, light just like in portraiture. You can use a diffuser to soften the light on a bright day, clouds on an overcast day, or shade from a tree.

Background – Using a shallow depth of field helps to separate the beautiful flower from a potentially distracting background. Always be aware of the area all around your subject and decide if your background will add interest or take away interest.

Get Closer – Unless you’re taking a landscape photo of a field of poppies or bluebonnets, you should practice getting closer to the flower. It will help pull your viewer in closer to the subject and highlight unique details. You could also sprinkle water onto the flower and get close to the droplets and play around with the light.

If you’d like to know more about irises , I found this article at American Meadows interesting. I’d also like to share a video about light metering, by the Angry Photographer. I came across his stuff a while back, and this guy knows his stuff.

 

Snow Day

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ha, wrong camo for snow

This morning I stumbled into the kitchen to get my coffee going and out my window I saw snow flurries falling from the sky. Next thing I know there’s a flurry of excitement about this strange white stuff we rarely get to experience in East Texas. A few inches and you’d think we were in a blizzard. I braved the cold for a little bit to snap a few pictures.

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That red shed thingy in the middle of the picture really stood out.

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It’s hard to get close enough to shoot birds cuz they always fly away. I’ve only experienced a handful of snow days. Once as a child, it never snowed in the Mojave Desert and the one day it did I was sick and didn’t get to enjoy it with my friends.

I spent a New Years Eve with some friends when I was 13. We jumped on the snow covered trampoline and got soaked. Warmed up by the fireplace and went back out to go sledding. We didn’t have sleds so we made do with something that ended up tearing up our knees and shins. And once in college I had a test I wasn’t prepared for and I was hoping for a snow day but I didn’t get it.

 

Can Snapshots be Art? Quick Pics 13-17

These are the last 5 quick pics that I took while hanging out with Speedy. I’ve had a lot of fun with this concept and I’m pretty sure I’ll keep shooting the Speedy way, even when he’s not around. A lot of my pics were crap and I’ll be deleting them, but I think it’s safe to say that snapshots can definitely be art.

Quick Pic 13: Guy with Untied Boots

We just stopped to eat and I saw this guy with his boots untied . . . he actually looked like he wasn’t completely finished getting dressed.Wow, and up hill too. 🙃

Quick Pic 14: Lady with Bright Orange Kicks

We were sitting at a very long red light when I noticed this lady’s bright orange shoes. I’m torn . . . I kinda like this pic but I also don’t. After I tried a few things, I finally decided to turn down the saturation on everything except their shoes and purses.

Quick Pic 15: Gnarly Tree 

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I like how gnarly the branches are so I included it.

Quick Pic 16: Her Piano Keys 

We stopped at someone’s house and I wandered into this dark room where I found a piano. I shined the light on my phone and snapped a couple of quick pics. I liked this one the best and I played with the split toning in Lightroom.

Quick Pic 17: Fish Tank Dragon

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We ran into this giant Pet Sense to get a new collar for my dog, Sunny. Their selection was pretty sorry for such a huge store, so I didn’t get a collar . . . I did grab this pic in the fish area though. And I played around with the split toning with this one too.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my quick pics and I’d love to know your thoughts about snapshots and their place in the art world.