Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Working on my DAM Problem

Okay, I think I have 2/3rds of my DAM problem worked out. To bring you up to speed, the goal is to have 3 copies of any pictures I have so if something bad happens, I have them backed up. I shoot too much to store everything on my computer, so that is not an option. Right now I have all my pictures backed up on 2 external hard drives. 1 is in my possession and 1 is in my parents. But what is the 3rd solution? I keep thinking about cloud storage, but the cost seems a bit much to me. It would cost me over $40 a month to store so much data in a smug mug vault. I have however found the Google accounts and the option to purchase 400 GB of storage for $100 a year, which does not sound bad.
Maybe I have a plan. I am going to keep 1 external drive at my home, another 1 at my parents home (who I visit once a week, so could update it every week – or monthly if that works better) and then cloud storage through Google for my third level. I already use Picasa for my file management, so when I add a new file I just need to pull it up to the cloud.
I guess I will give it a go and we will see if this solution works - got to love that DAM.

God Bless,

Monday, December 7, 2009

High Stress Over DAM

Ok, I am having DAM stress!

That's right, I said it.
DAM stands for Data Archival Management. I am not sure who coined that term, but I am experiencing stress from it. I believe I blogged early this year that I had over 20k pictures. That number is now got to be over 30k and I have added video to the mix so the Gigabytes of storage just keep growing and growing and my anxiety of storage and backups is growing just as quick. I believe it is Alex Lindsey who always says you should have 3 copies of anything for it to be properly backed up and that those 3 copies can not be in the same place. After having my house broken into a couple of months ago, you would have thought I would have learned...but no, I am still milling about debating about my strategy and what to do.
The highest point of stress for me right now is that I essentially have 1 copy on 1 external hard drive of a TON of my work. So if that drive goes bad, or burns, or whatever else, I am in deep molasses. Now that I am getting ready to go on a trip, I want to clean my SD cards, so can reuse them (oh yeah, I forgot that part, I have been buying SD cards like they are film or something, crazy I know). But I have to get my data backed up (in 3 places!).
Ok, I have to go rack my brain on this.
More to come....
God bless!

Amanda Griffin Smith

Monday, November 2, 2009

Some times you need the tools!

So, I bought a new HP laptop computer.  I was fighting and fighting with my old tired desktop, but I had enough and I made the leap.  The best thing though is that today, you can buy a computer without loosing and arm and a leg.  Even though I feel like I should have a Mac because I am a photo junkie, I decided to stick with what I know.  I am loving Windows 7.  It is sleek and fancy.  So, maybe now that I have some horsepower again maybe there will be photos on this photo blog-what a concept!

Monday, October 26, 2009


I am a heavy amateur photographer and I am being crushed by data. My rinky-dink desktop is choking trying to handle the volume that my raw files dish it. I currently have over 22,000 pictures that I have taken in the last 4 years or so, so in another 4 years…oh I don’t even want to think about it. I was talking to a fellow photographer about the importance of workflow and I realized that I did not really have a workflow, bummer.

So what is a workflow in the first place? For digital photography, I would define it as how your photos go from raw data files in your camera to final product – which would be defined by the job (from a web album to framed prints). Right now my workflow involves downloading the files, saving them by a crazy date list that I would have to be some sort of history nut to remember. Then praying like crazy that nothing happens to my external hard drive that houses all that precious data. Think I need a change???

One thing I have always heard is that you need to have at least 3 copies of any data in 2 places…so I will try to incorporate that into my mix. I have also heard that your post processing time should be double your shoot time, so a 2 hour shoot equals 4 hours of post.

Here is my contingent plan – highly subject to change:
1 – Download pictures to internal hard drive.

2 – Burn a DVD of the original raw files. This way there is at least one copy on disk that has not been messed with in any way. (storage 1). Delete pictures from memory card on camera (I am totally committed a this point).

3 – Send the pictures to a cloud (storage 2).

4 – Copy pictures to external hard drive. (storage 3). At this point there are three copies of the originals.

5 – Return to internal hard drive and make a list of ‘keepers’. The best of the best, and the ones worth looking at. Delete the rest off the internal hard drive.

6 – Begin editing my work, saving it in a file that ends in ‘share’.

7 – When complete with editing, burn a DVD with an event title, date, and client name (1 copy).

8 – Upload the file to my website, flickr, or cloud storage (copy 2).

9 - Copy the file to external drive (copy 3).

10 – Keep on hard drive for 3 months, then delete to save space.
Whew, that was exhausting. A 10 step work flow…hmmmm, let’s see if it will work!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Finally playing with Elements

I am an old school photographer because it is 2009 and I am just now learning how to use Photoshop Elements. I know it is pathetic, but when I bought the program a year ago I was just petrified of it. It scared me to death and when I opened it, I was not sure where to begin. So over this past weekend I sat down with my Missing Manual, and went to town. I am not that far in, but this is proof I am trying to learn how to work with my photos to develop my art.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I am still here....

I am still here and taking pictures. I have been slow on the post because I only want to post when I am moved to. I am searching for that muse that will help awaken my soul again and bring the artist back to life....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What kind of photography blog is this?

I know,...what kind of photography blog does not have any pictures in it?
You know I had the greatest break through this weekend though regarding photography. While I was at Books-a-Million I picked up an Annie Leibovitz picture book (that weighed about 100 pounds...or so), she is a world famous photographer who takes striking pictures of celebrities and she did the bared back Miley Cyrus photo that caused all of the chaos a few months ago, but anyway...the beginning of the book had regular pictures of her family. Just candid shots, nothing out of the ordinary, but the fact that they were there, displayed as art made them pop and stand out to me. It made me feel more relevant as a photographer. So what if 90% of my photography is normal subjects that are close to me. Art and beauty I believe are both in the eye of the beholder. You have to believe that what you do is relevant before anyone else will believe in what you do, and I would have to imagine, not knowing anything about Ms. Leibovitz, that she believed that her photos were 100% relevant even when it was her parents on the beach and that is what made her such a great artist.

Believe you are relevant.

Monday, May 11, 2009

No more silly goal...

So, I have to admit it...I missed a day taking pictures. My goal was to take a picture every day this year and last week I missed a day. I woke up in a cold sweat (not really, but that sounds more dramatic), thinking I had missed something. I think it was about the time that I was blow drying my hair that it hit me...I DID NOT TAKE A PICTURE YESTERDAY, NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! And I have only picked up my beloved camera 1 time since. Now I am out of town and I have nothing more than a cellphone camera with me. At first I felt like such a failure, my goal was missed and I felt like I had let myself down, but in truth I think it might actually be good for me. Taking pictures had become a chore and not a creative process. I started catching myself today looking at some skateboarders rolling down a hill towards a mass of red and yellow tulips. The sun was behind the trees and the light was pretty good. I though, wow - What a shot that would be...and that was the first time that feeling has hit me in weeks. They say absence makes the heart grow founder....could it be the same for creativity?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I need some tips/inspiration...

Back in January I declared that I was going to take a picture every day this year. At the time I was enjoying a forced sabbatical from work...and I made this goal a priority. I did great, and even when I went back to work in March I did okay for a couple of days. And then, I started getting lazy. I have taken pictures of my computer monitor, my office, my purse, and anything within my reach just to make sure I get a picture every day....but I am starting to wonder why. I am not getting anything artistic, I am just getting the mundane. When I set the goal, I was going to parks and finding old dilapidated buildings - things that I really found interesting. Now I have trouble finding the energy or the time to find anything thrilling. Wow, when I did become a Debbie-Downer? So how do you find inspiration to be an artist? What is my muse?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Can Flare be Art?

As I explore taking more pictures and learning the art of photography, I have found that I am drawn to ‘messing’ up pictures. I love to get pictures that have some sun flare in them. I think it is unique and different, but…I have not found anyone that reciprocates my thoughts. Now, this image is not one of my best, but I love the Mars Planet-like flare that came from the sun. What do you think? Can flare add…well - flare?
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My first show was a smashing success!

This past weekend I had a booth at my very first art festival. I had about 18 photo prints in frames that I was selling, and I am thrilled to report that I sold 8 pieces. It was the most fun. It started off pretty rough, it was windy and freezing. About the third time all my work fell over off their easels, I was about to give up...but we persisted and by lunch time things really started to kick. It was thrilling to hear feedback from people who were not my family on my work. Sometimes just watching their faces could tell me what was working for them and what was not. I am not sure if anyone from the show will read this blog, but if you do I would like to say thank you for your support!

God Bless :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So now you know

Well, I did not know until I went to Biloxi this past weekend where you should go fishing. Now I know!
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Perfect Picture

Since I am the 'photographer' in my family, all things photo related come to me. My latest project is scanning all of my Grandmother's old photographs. I left her house this weekend with a plastic tub filled with photos. This one is just one of thousands, but I love it so I have dubbed it the perfect picture. The depth of field is perfect, and the subject (my Grandma) is what you focus on. Even though the color has faded, it stands out to me as a great photograph. These are the kind of photos that make me want to keep shooting.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Winter Wonderland - Alabama Style

Today (and last night) Alabama got blanketed with snow. Now, I totally get that in a lot of places snow is not a big deal, but in the South, it is a really big deal. This was one of the prettiest scenes I have ever seen and a picture can not even do it justice. This is a small 1800s church outside of Selma, AL. It is tucked off a main road. I was coming back from Miss. with my parents when we spotted it. My Dad said we needed to go back and try to take a picture of it and he was right. This looked like a scene out of a movie. What a wonderful day.

God Bless
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Studio Work

I have been given the chance to take classes with a real-live pro photographer, and he is letting his students practice during class in his studio. My little model here did a wonderful job, although I know her head had to hurt after a million flashes went off in her face! It is just amazing though what a little good lighting and a clean background will do for you! Since I do not have a studio at my fingertips, I am trying to 'build my own' far, it is very scary and it involves really hot shop lights and flammable fabric backgrounds...more to come, if I do not burn the house down!!

God Bless
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

A sideways perspective

I found this old abandoned building while driving around lost. It got my attention because it was two-toned, but when I tried to shoot it there were some really harsh shadows. I decided to compromise by tilting my camera, and I could not be happier with it. It is just a fun picture.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Finally got a 50mm pic

Well, after a couple disappointing days of of shooting and just not feeling very artistic I got a shot with my 50mm lens that I just love. It is of one of my favorite subjects, my niece. She was sitting on a bed full of stuffed bears (my proud collections from my younger years..ssshhhh don't tell anyone). The set up was that I had my flash pointing toward a wall that bounced light into the left side of the picture.
Settings were:
Focal length-50mm
God Bless

Sunday, February 8, 2009

More Water

Here is another picture from the skiing this weekend. It is just a different perspective, and it focuses a little more on the scenery than on the skier.

Focal length - 35mm
Shutter Speed - 1/1250
Aperture - f7.1
ISO - 200
God Bless

Not a 50mm picture

OK, so I failed at getting a great picture to share that I took with my new lens. Instead, I put my 18-135mm back on. Truth be told, the 50mm is a birthday present from my parents and I really should wait until my birthday to use it...that is my excuse anyway. It will just take some getting used to and this week I wanted to just stick to what I knew. I am glad I did though, because I got some fun shots. My brother-in-law wanted me to get some pictures of him skiing on Saturday, so I decided to share one of those pictures instead. Here are the settings:

Focal Length: 135 mm
Shutter: 1/640
Aperture: f7.1
ISO: 200

Monday, February 2, 2009

50mm Photo - First Try

This is just an idea of what kind of photos my new lens will take. I took this last night.

The specs are:

focal length - 50mm,


shutter- 1/160

ISO 400.00

Monday - New Assignment - 50mm Photo

This week's assignment is going to be to show a picture using my new 50mm lens. Over the weekend I got the AF 50mm f1.8 Nikkor lens. It is a huge adjustment from my 18-135mm lens that came with my camera. Last night I was playing with my camera and I noticed that (1) I will have to get used to moving myself instead of just moving the lens to zoom in and out, and (2) I have to stick to slower action because this lens is slower @ 1/200 of a second. It is a great portrait lens, and with the aperture going to 1.8 you can really focus on a subject and blow out the background. Some people calls it the 'poor man portrait lens' because it is very affordable, but don't let that fool you, it is a great lens.

God Bless

Friday, January 30, 2009

Smiles - or Not

My assignment for myself this week was to capture a picture that represented 'Smiles'. Now normally that would probably mean a picture that had someone smiling or a smiling face shape. The picture I picked makes me smile becuase it is such the polar opposite of a smile. My nephew was having fun in his swing, but he looks like a member of the mob.

This was taken with my little Coolpix. I needed to probably have it on the action setting, that may have made it a little clearer.

God Bless!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Missing my D80

Today I finally dropped my baby (my Nikon D80) off at the local camera store to get its sensor cleaned. They told me it might be four days before I get it back, which feels like a hundred years. I have been very successful in taking pictures everyday since the 1st, and it was really becoming a habit. I have a little Coolpix that I am shooting with now so I keep up the action, but it is not the same…at all…seriously. When I got my D80 last year for Christmas (and by last year, I mean year before last – 2007) I just dropped any point and shoot camera usage to nothing. All I have used has been a D-SLR, except maybe a few lame pictures of myself with a camera phone just for the heck of it. I did not realize what I had at my finger tips and just how versatile a SLR really is. I shoot in manual mode about 90% of the time meaning that I pick my Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO setting for every shot. I have ultimate control, and consequently I take a lot of pathetic pictures, but when I get a good one it is so rewarding. On my Coolpix, I am at the mercy of what the camera sees and what it records and that is pretty much it. There are no real artistic options to it. I drove around today to try to get ideas of things to go and shoot once I get my D80 back and to keep my shooting rhythm. I got lost a few times, but I found my way. I did notice that I was more willing to stop and shoot with the little point and shoot camera. It is so much easier to use without drawing attention to yourself, or so it feels. That is one advantage I guess to using a good ole point and shoot. However, that does not make me miss a SLR any less. I think this brief separation will help me be more determined than ever to take quality pictures when I get the camera back. I a mean time I will do the best I can to get a great picture with what I have!
God Bless

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I ate too much

Just a funny, I thought my washing machine looked like it was sick! :)~

Angel on your Wing

I caputured this pic in a cemetary in Montgomery.
I have to give credit to a lady in my last photo class who
had taken a similiar picture. I thought it was so pretty that
I wanted to try to shoot it also. I caught the vapor cloud
from a jet that had flown overhead. I love the color and I thought it was a cool pic.

Topic for last week: Learning

Last week I wanted to take a picture that would represent 'Learning'. I had to take my SPHR exam. I had to study, study, study and I wanted to capture the momenet somehow. I was sitting at my computer desk when I saw the moment to capture. I noticed that the sun was coming in and shining through the blinds onto my paper and my book. I stood up in my chair and took a picture of it.

This weeks Pratts assignment is to capture something that shows 'smiles'.

God Bless!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009


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Happy Sunday to you! It has been another fun week of me doing, well nothing really. I am looking back on my week trying to figure out where it went and what I did, but not a ton comes to mind. I did however have a chance to take some pictures last week. In fact, I have been able to take pictures every day this year so far (keep your fingers crossed!). If I make it through January, and I take a picture every day then I will make it a ‘resolution’ to take a picture every day.

Last week I gave myself an assignment to get a picture of something that represented ‘fitness’. I had the pleasure of running (and walking…a little…okay a lot!) my first 5k this past Saturday. At the conclusion of the race, I took a ton of pictures of the racers and of the runners that were going to run in a 1-mile race. I think the picture I choose from this can represent ‘fitness’.

Next weekend, I will be traveling to North Carolina to visit with my Grandparents (my Dad’s Mom and Dad), so next week I will have a picture that represents ‘Grandparents’.
God Bless!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


My little assignment last week was to shoot some fireworks. I did not have access to a professional show, but my hubby and his brother gave me their version (which I really did appreciate, and I know I laughed a lot more than I would have at a big production – you know, “Hurry up get out of the way, your going to get blown up”). I took this photo handholding my Nikon D80 with the shutter on ‘Bulb’. The exposure could not have been but for a second or two. Since the fireworks were shooting out of a canister on the ground, it made it fairly easy to get some of the action (except when we had to run for cover because of that weird firework that took off like a UFO and flew toward us, that makes picture taking kind of hard). I would like to make it to a big firework show sometime this year and set up on a tripod and get some really crisp clean shots. But hey, this will have to do for now.

My assignment this week is to get a picture of something that represents fitness. Hmmm that sounds scary. I don’t think the vanilla cappuccino I am sipping would qualify. My scales? Who knows!

I was listing to my favorite podcast, This Week in Photography, and the team there was talking about their New Years Resolutions in regards to taking Pictures for 2009 (check them out at Their resolutions ran the gamut from organizing their files to taking more diverse photos. I want to make a resolution (even though I swore off resolutions) but I am scarred I won’t be able to do it, so I am hesitant. I am thinking about making a resolution to take a picture every day this year. With some exceptions of course, like my sensor is dirty so some time this week I have to drop off my camera for a professional cleaning. Hmmmm I will think on it and see if I can put that commitment out there. Maybe a resolution to shot 250 days this year….more to come.
Happy picture taking and God Bless!