Where I’m at on New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2013
new years sunset

image courtesy of my husband

I’ve been working on my end of the year post for days now and I’ve written and rewritten. I’ve rambled on and have been rattled. I’ve contemplated things and confused myself.  I’ve almost published and then I’ve hit delete. Over and over. I guess I’m not certain of what to say. I’m not really certain of anything. Heading into a new year, I usually have a strategy, a road map, a plan. But, the start of this year feels a little different. Because instead of standing on the threshold of a new year holding my well-designed map, I’m holding hands with the Great Unknown.

Over the past few months, my focus has been on wrapping things up, creating space, making room, and slowing down. And truth is, it’s feels strange. I’m just not used to it. Not yet anyway. Truthfully, I’m feeling a little lost. But, not without hope.  Realizing that this is exactly the place I need to be right now is comforting but it’s not comfortable. Not being certain of exactly where I’m headed is unnerving but it means I’m having to embrace uncertainty.  And because it might be hardest thing for me, know it’s going to be a great exercise.

And with that, I wish you a Happy New Year and hope that you are exactly where you need to be and that you find some comfort in that place, whether it’s comfortable or not. Just know, that no matter where you’re at, you’re not alone.


iPhone Focus Lock (Yay!)

December 22, 2013

So, in my signature “stumble upon” style, the other day (while trying to capture Christmas tree light bokeh) I totally stumbled upon this little gem of an iPhone camera trick. Until that moment, I had no idea that there was a way to lock in the focus using my iPhone camera! And when you’re trying to shoot something out of focus, on purpose, an auto lock makes all the difference because your camera really wants to focus on your main subject, even if you don’t want it to. If you’re looking to shoot some lovely light in “bokeh” fashion, shooting out of focus can help you achieve that end result.

If you haven’t heard, bokeh is what they call it when light is photographed out of focus. It’s actually the small (or large) circles that the lights make when they’re out of focus that make it magic. In many instances, you’ll see the bokeh in the background of an image but when you shoot your main subject out of focus (like a Christmas tree) then the bokeh is the star of the shot. I love using this technique in my images, especially this time of year.

I figured I was the only one on the planet who didn’t know about the auto focus lock option on my iPhone camera because I’m not usually one to read manuals or instructions for my gadgets. It took me by surprise when I realized that a lot of people on Instagram let on that they didn’t know about the focus lock option either. And so, I figured why not share a quick video about using my new found trick to capture out of focus shots. As I mention in the video, when you lock the focus, you also lock the exposure (you can’t do one OR the other unfortunately) so you’ll have to play with this technique to get the results you’re after. I am a firm believe that they more you experiment with tricks like this, the better you get at it so give yourself plenty of trial and error time.

Alrighty, here’s me, playing with the auto focus lock.

iPhone Focus Lock (yay!) from traceyclark on Vimeo.

So, tell me…what tips and tricks have you discovered using the auto lock? What works? What doesn’t? And feel free to share links to your favorite out of focus shots!


Let’s Play in the new year

December 6, 2013

play big

I’m so excited to start the new year with a little Play! Actually, with a lot of Play! Check out all the details online at the Big Picture Classes Play page and start packing your bags for the live event. You deserve a trip to sunny So Cal for an event like this. And besides all the scrapbooking / crafting / photography fun, you can join us for a day at Disneyland (jumping up and down shrieking like a little girl). And what’s more, is my sisters, the Disney Sisters are going to share a little part in all of this too. Swoon. Who loves Disney? We do! We do! Details on that to be revealed soon. There’s so much magic happening, I’m floating on air! I’m telling you, it’s gonna be so much fun.

And if the trip isn’t in the cards for you (although I so wish it were) consider the next best way to Play! The online version of the event. Yes, it’s true, you can enjoy Play right from the comfort of your own home/office/studio. Wheeee! There’s a $10 discount code being offered right now too which makes registering for the online event even sweeter. Use the code HULAHOOP to get the $10 off your online event registration.

The details for both of the Play! offering can be found on the Play! Event homepage. Scroll down the page and you’ll see the Live event option on the left and the Online option on the right. And scroll a little further down for the new video that pretty much tells you everything you need to know and will hopefully convince you that this is an event you’ll want to be at! Wink wink.

One way or another we want you to kick off an awesome 2014 with Play!


Picture the Holidays with Me

November 20, 2013

PTH.ClassDescription

It’s that time of year again; time to Picture the Holidays! Won’t you join me? I’ve renewed and refreshed the prompts this year so even if you’ve taken it in the past, I promise there will be all kinds of new ways to capture the season. Plus, spending time with the amazing women that gather in the Picture Series classes is the most fun ever!

Pop over to Big Picture Classes for registration info. I do hope to see you in class!


Collages from The Click Retreat

October 13, 2013

Back from an excellent adventure in the Outer Banks I am, like always, already diving headlong into life as I left it. Being with my family, getting back into the usual routine, and catching up on work that has piled up while I was away. But, I promised more photos and I certainly have them so I wanted to share before I get swept up in the things that often keep me too busy to get photos uploaded.

Needless to say, The Click Retreat was amazing as best illustrated by some of my favorite iPhone images of the week. Here you’ll get a glimpse of just some of the awesome ladies that were there, a small visual snippet of the magic that happened in the two gorgeous beach houses that stood side by side on the Atlantic, and the uniquely beautiful landscape that surrounds them.

The Click Retreat 2013From LAX to ORF by way of Southwest Airlines. Love being welcomed by the LOVE sign at the Norfolk Airport.

The Click Retreat 2013My dear friend Ali Edwards  and I totally windblown (have you seen the video??), a view into our room and the view from the house.

The Click Retreat 2013Me and the hostess with the mostess, Today’s Mama Rachael Herrscher, Click friends and I making memories on our Wild Horses excursion, signs of the weather with this shot of me nearly blowing off the balcony by none other than Erin Oltmanns of Today’s Mama.

The Click Retreat 2013Print of us by HP who announced HP Create,  on fabric by Spoonflower, darling beach house print by Alma Loveland, Casey Mullins and I with hand-made mustaches made by Marie-LeBaron, and me and Me Ra Koh (who brought the magic of Sony with her) catching up and enjoying the sunshine.

The Click Retreat 2013Ambiance and parties o’plenty, sponsored by Southwest Airlines and Avery.

Thank you Today’s Mama and all of the creative and generous sponsors at The Click Retreat. What an experience! I loved every minute of it.


It’s Not Easy Being Teen

September 26, 2013

 on-being-a-teenager

Sometimes I just cannot believe I have a teenager. I’ve always kind of felt like being a parent in general was surreal but, as time passes, the feeling only intensifies. I often find myself wondering how the heck I got here, how does time move so fast and how it’s possible that my child will soon be off to college. It just doesn’t seem real. And yet, here I am. Here we are.

With all the scary messages out there about how horrible, trying, difficult teenagers can be, I guess I was expecting the worst. I feel fortunate that it really hasn’t been much like what I had heard (knocking on wood). That’s not to say parenting at this stage doesn’t have challenges. But still, it’s not what I was anticipating. In fact, it’s way cooler than I ever thought it would be. And, I think my daughter feels the same way about her teenage years. Sure there’s the quintessential “issues” that are somewhat Universal to the teen experience, but I think she’s putting those into a healthy perspective as she pans out to the bigger picture of  her life’s journey. Not an easy thing to do for anyone, let along a teenager. I give her major props for that!

Last night, at yet another back to school night, my husband and I traipsed around her high school stomping grounds getting the scoop on what is her daily life. It was the 3rd time we’ve attended as my daughter is a junior now (see? I have no idea how that happened) but even as high school veterans, it still totally amazes/bewilders/eludes me. Tracing her steps from building to building, walking the paths, passing through the architecture, sitting in the seats and staring at the walls of her life outside of home is never lost on me. As I listened to each teacher’s jam-packed presentation, tried to keep up with the power points, and took notes of anything I felt like might be of importance for future reference, I couldn’t help but think how hard it must be to be in high school now. With so much academic pressure, so many extra-curricular expectations , and so much  responsibility to keep it all together. They are having to live in the present while focusing on the future, all the time. And that’s not even mentioning the social pressures. We all remember that. From navigating friends to communicating with teachers to hyper-active hormones, it just can’t be easy.

It’s really no wonder then that things can get dicey at home. I get stressed out just watching my teen live her life. True, I might be a little more involved than I have to be (my husband tries to remind me to take a step back for my sake and hers) but even still, I can hardly keep up with her and everything that she’s got to squeeze in every day,  and it’s not even my life. I know that she’s exhausted and often pushed over-capacity. I know that when I get frustrated with her for forgetting things, staying up late, waking up late, wasting her time, it doesn’t help. At all. I know she is doing the best she can under overwhelming expectations.  Which is why that even when I’m fuming mad at 11pm waiting for her to get released from musical theater rehearsal, I try to remember that she needs me. When she calls in the middle of the day in a panic that she forgot her homework on the printer, she needs me. When wakes me, home late from an evening with friends and she wants to tell me all about it over tea, she needs me. For help, for support, for understanding, for guidance, for companionship, for unconditional love. And no matter how fast the time passes, no matter where her wings take her, no matter how grown up she gets,  I am so hoping she will keep needing me for all of that. Today, tomorrow and for always.

I recently shared a story and a project on my Babble Voices blog Reframed that relates to the subject of my daughter and how hard I know it is growing up and being a teenager. If I can continually repeat the uplifting, inspiring and encouraging messages I believe she needs to hear, then I know I’m being the best advocate I can be for her. Plus, I know (and she knows) that these messages ring true even when I’m unable to keep my cool on the tough days. Thankfully, the Rhonna Designs app offers all of these amazing messages and more. It’s a photo app dream come true and helped me say the things I always want to say to my daughter. The collection of cards I made for her (and the ‘how-to” part) can be found at Babble. I also made cards for her that are OF her. using pictures of her that I love, paired with words that I know fit her to a T. These few probably mean the most to her. And to me. Sniff sniff.

empowering-messages-for-teens