Happy New Year! | Elk River Nature Photography

This holiday leaves me a little happy, a little sad, and somewhere in between. I’m sad because every year I promise myself I’m going to get back at my nature blog and post. And every year I manage to break that promise. I started a 52 week challenge at the beginning of 2017 and it peetered out.  Working 3 jobs has clearly taken its toll on my nature blogging.  I am missing my parents and my brother so much this week. Holidays are so rough when you have loved ones in heaven. I wish Heaven had visiting hours and wasn’t so far away!

So many things happened in 2017. Good and bad.  I had a tremendous year with my senior and family portrait photography business.  Check out my website here if you wish, www.frommomentstomemories.net. It keeps me busy and adds income in the summer months when I’m not working at the school. It also supplements my income in the fall months. However, it takes me away from so much. My sidekick, my nature walks and blogging, and “me” time.

On a somber note, my sidekick has been diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthastatic Tachycardia Syndrome), EDS (Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome), Chronic migraines with seizures, Chronic Fatigue, Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis and a plethora of other chronic issues.  All due to her HPV vaccination she received in 2013. She has been going downhill health wise since the end of her freshman year in high school. Unfortunately she had to leave school physically in the middle of her junior year and start online studies.  She has a debilitating neurological disorder that doctors still are challenged by.  She suffers from migraines and seizures every day. All together it is called “Dysautonomia”, which is an umbrella term meaning she has a dysfunction of her autonomic nervous system. There is no cure.

I graduated from my online degree program in December of 2016 and ending up getting a job as a Personal Care Attendant for her.  I work part-time in the mornings at the school while she is sleeping, and go home and take care of her in the afternoons/evenings as my job.  I am fortunate that my state recognizes family members as PCA’s, because I can’t leave her home alone for more than a couple of hours at a time.  This summer and fall, I scheduled portrait sessions around my PCA schedule. When she felt up to it, she came along and was a tremendous help with posing, putting kids at ease, playing with the little ones, etc. She helps so much with the administrative side of my business.

She was able to attend her senior prom in May, and graduated from high school in June, and I couldn’t have been prouder.  It was so hard for her, and I saw what she went through just to get it done. Now her friends have gone off to college, and she is stuck at home with this debilitating health issue.  She is not able to keep a job, as she is always having to call in sick. We have been to the Mayo and several specialists. She has also tried 13 different meds and 3 bouts of Botox. Sigh. It has been so difficult to see her deteriorate when she was such an active, vibrant, social teenager. She has her good days and bad days, and I pray for more good days. We have an upcoming appointment with at Neurologist at the University of Minnesota, who specializes in Autonomic Disorders. We are hopeful.

I started selling my nature prints through my website, and may join the crowd on getting them onto Fine Art America in the upcoming weeks.   I am really hoping to at least try to blog a couple of times a month in 2018, but I am not going to promise anything anymore.

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, that is not my intent, just wanted to explain a little about my life and whereabouts the last few months.  Nature photography has gotten me through many things, including the passing of my mom, and soon after, my dad. It is so relaxing and refreshing to be able to get out into nature and just be.  I have found a little time throughout the year to take a nature photo here and there, and will share my year with you here.

I enjoy popping on once in a while and reading up on my fave nature photographer/bloggers here on WordPress.  I may not always comment, just know that I am lurking every now and again and hope to do more in the coming year!

Here are a few of my faves from this past year.

I sincerely hope you all have a safe and happy new year!

 

 

 

 

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52 Week Photo Challenge – Week 11 – Green

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I live in Minnesota. Yes, the calendar says it’s Spring. However, Mother Nature doesn’t go by the calendar around here.  When Punxatawney Phil comes out of his den on February 2 (Groundhog Day), everyone anxiously awaits whether there will be  six more weeks of  winter. Except Minnesotans. We all know there is ALWAYS at least six more weeks of winter. And then some.

When I left for work this morning, it was only 17 degrees outside. We do not have ANY green grass, buds on trees, leaves, etc. Nothing starts greening up around here until at least late April/early May. MAYBE. Yes, we have loooong winters.  I maybe should’ve put Green toward the middle of the calendar as far as my challenge goes.

My sidekick and I were out and about on Saturday and we came across this cute antique sign in an antique store. It’s green, so I went with it. Makes me want to start a garden.

Looking forward to Spring pics this week.  If I can find it anywhere….

Have a great week!

Sheila

52 Week Photo Challenge – Week 10 – Books

Books Logo Small size

Will I ever be on time with my posts? Let’s take bets. UM……..probably not!  this was a fun little photo.  The week got away from me as usual. By day, I have two PT jobs. One is at a school. I love our little school library, and thought this was a great perspective for my category BOOKS. I grabbed this with my iPhone 6S+ and added a Pretty Preset to the editing in Lightroom.

Gotta run, but super excited to see everyone’s GREEN photos this week.  Have a great St. Patty’s day if you celebrate!

 

TTFN,

Sheila

52 Week Challenge – Weeks 8 & 9 – Depth of Field and From Below

So I’m posting two weeks together tonight. The last couple of weeks have gotten the better of me.  I even had Week 8 “Depth of Field” done several days before my “deadline” but wasn’t able to post.

Anyhoo, my daughter wasn’t feeling well and quite frankly rarely does, unfortunately. She suffers from several chronic illnesses, which is a blog post for another time.  In the mean time, I brought her home some beautiful roses to cheer her up. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get some great depth of field photos with my 85mm glass. My favorite lens!

Don’t you agree?

 

Spring Roses 2017

Spring Roses Vertical

In Week 9, I had an idea of getting under a tree or some type of landscape situation for “From Below”. I fell behind in getting photos and last night gave me the opportunity I was looking for. We had some terrible thunderstorms last night and in fact, about 7 miles away a tornado touched down and did some damage. This panoramic photo was taken by my daughter with my iPhone 6+ from our deck. It was a weird weather night, and the earliest a tornado has been recorded in Minnesota history.

Storm Panoramic

Still think global warning is a farce?

Next up this week:  Books.  Should be easy, as my house is full of them. However, I may venture out to see what I can find.

Have a great week everyone!

Sheila

52 Week Photo Challenge – Week 6 – Lazy Days

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I am so behind on posting, sorry folks!  I still have to post my Red photo!  Working on that one today, so fun!

At any rate, here is my Week 6 Lazy Days photo. My beautiful, crabby, temperamental blue calico cat, Chloe.  We rescued her almost 6 years ago and I must say it has been anything but dull with this one.  She is very much a lazy kitty! Such a grouch, yet full of personality!  She keeps us on our toes, that is for sure!  So hard to lock down for a pic as well! I took this with my Canon 70D, and did some editing in Lightroom and added a B & W matte preset from Pretty Presets, my go-to preset website!

Thanks for stopping by! Hopefully you are not as far behind as me and are working on this week’s category, Depth of Field. So looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sheila

 

 

52 Week Photo Challenge – Week 4 – Self Portrait

Ha! This one cracks me up!  I am not a fan of “the selfie”. Normally, I don’t like photos of myself. I know I am not alone, so this one was a bit difficult.  Having a teenager, however, has made it easier for me to “get with the times”.

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This is a photo I took using one of the Snapchat filters on my iPhone.  Then I used my Snapseed app to play around and edit.

Still not a fan of the selfie!

Next up – Week 5 and Wide Angle Lens
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TTFN!

Sheila

52 Week Challenge – Week 3 – Drink

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Just a quick note to post my 52 week challenge photo. I have been feeling under the weather the past couple of days, and am hoping I can snap out of this.

At any rate, the category was drink for Week 3.  Since I am obsessed with coffee, I thought I would do the challenge on it.  My Keurig machine is one of my favorite Christmas presents from my sister. It saves me a little money on going to Caribou every day.  Being from Minnesota, Caribou Coffee is where it’s at. Some folks still prefer Starbuck’s. But I am a Caribou gal myself.

I am so impressed with some of the photos I have been seeing each week tagged with #fmtm52weeks. Here is a great photo from my friend Jessica Shurts Photography.  Here is her awesome blog, if you’d like to follow her!  She does wonderful work!  Create and Share

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Please keep up the good work everyone!

Week 4 is going to be a challenge for me. Self Portrait.  I have a hard time with this one!

Good luck!