Latest Obsession: Photo-A-Day

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Mary Pat Baldauf

This month, I started playing a cool “game” with my iPhone: Photo-A-Day.

It works like this. Each month, you get a list of daily prompts. All you have to do is use any camera you have — iPhone, Smartphone, Digital, — and use the daily prompt as inspiration. You then share the photo using your favorite social media platforms, i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr.

You can Google “picture a day challenge” and find any number of challenges. I’m doing FatMumSlim’s Photo-a-Day Challenge because 1) it’s the one that a lot of my friends are using, and 2) I like her style. (Click here for a great article about FatMumSlim blogger Chantelle Elam and her Photo-A-Day challenge.)

FatMumSlim gives five ways photo-a-day will change your life for the better, but here’s why I’m doing it:

It Expands My Horizons.  Seeing Photo-A-Day shots from friends gives me insight into who they are, what they are doing and how they see the world. It also exposes me to things I might not otherwise see or know about, such as a beautiful flower or a new camera app.

It’s a Great Way to Document My Life, Day by Day.  I blog, but my blog isn’t really a journal in the true sense of the word.  And who has time to scrapbook anymore?  I have a nice camera, but I usually just use my iPhone to capture every day moments.  I post a lot of them to Instagram anyway, so it’s a no-brainer.  Once I post my “Photo-A-Day” picture, I also save it in a monthly “Photo-a-Day” folder I’ve created on my iPhone.  I think it will be neat to go back at the end of a month, even the end of the year, and see my month in photos.

It’s Plain Out Fun.  I love the challenge of illustrating the daily prompt. It helps me think outside of the box and gives me an opportunity to express myself.  It also forces me to slow down from the daily grind and take time to think about something besides work and my daily to-do list.

Sound interesting? Visit FatMumSlim and get started today. You can get some practice with the remaining days in July and start your first full month in August. Let me know how you like it!  Already do a monthly photo challenge?  Please share your experiences!

Live Your Dream

By: Crissie Miller Kirby

In my first Every Woman Blog posting, I talked about taking a leap of faith when I chose to enter the blog contest last summer and I also mentioned introducing you to some of the people I have had the pleasure of being around over the last few years; this post is about someone I admire, respect, and, love.  She took a leap of faith, herself, a few years back and, now, she is living her dream.

Liz Barnes Myers

Liz Barnes Myers grew up in the Batesburg-Leesville community and graduated from Columbia College with a degree in Biology in 2000.  Liz worked in pharmaceutical sales for a while and then followed that with a sales stint with a waste management company.  All the while, her love of photography loomed in the back of her mind.

It’s no small wonder; her photography “gene” runs deep as her beloved grandfather, Pa, Barnes was a wing pilot and photographer during World War II.  She grew up “reading” the stories in the pictures he took during that time; some of her most precious memories of him are conjured while viewing those photos.  Others saw the fire in her; family and friends, alike.  They encouraged her over glasses of wine and during football games.  She purchased her first “nice, good” DSLR camera in the early spring of 2009 and began photographing anything that she possibly could.  Finally, her husband just said “Do it!”, and she quit her “day job” and started her photography business, Zil Photography, LLC.  She took that leap of faith, figured out what she really loved doing and just jumped, and as she said, “never looked back.”

Enter what I like to call the “Krazy Kirby’s” in April of 2010 . . . Of course, I knew Liz.  We were from the same town, went to the same college.  Her grandmother, Ma, Barnes sits a few pews ahead of us at church on Sunday mornings.  In early 2010, I kept seeing on Facebook all of these beautiful photographs that Liz had taken.  Let me stop here and tell you that I, myself, have this obsessive habit of taking an exorbitant amount of pictures.  I’ve taken, literally, thousands of pictures of my children over the last 6 years.  But, how am I supposed to ever get shots of me with my children?  Enter Liz!  I had to have some of the Zil pictures!

Me with my two boys

We held our first session in April of 2010, and, immediately, I was hooked.  Liz has now photographed my family 5 times over the last two years and has captured some precious memories, some she may not even have realized were so important.  She’s captured my youngest son, Smith, right before he turned 2 and we cut off all of his baby curls.  And she captured him just a few weeks after those curls were gone.  She took the very first photographs of me with just my two boys; and she took some very poignant photos of the boys with their father not long after his return from Afghanistan.  She captured the very last family photos ever made of our family, together, before our separation and divorce.  And she’s captured the new, single me.  We’ve ventured to the beach, the State House grounds, Lake Murray, downtown Batesburg, and our own little house during those sessions.  The sessions with the boys are always a little harried, but, they love Mrs. Liz.  Maybe it’s the promises of candy or bubbles that come.  Maybe it’s the fact that she doesn’t mind stretching out on the grass, or climbing a ladder, just to get a shot.  Maybe it’s the fact that much of the time, she just lets them be what they are: little boys.  This is why I love her – she always delivers such precious memories of my boys; little moments just frozen in time; capturing their little personalities in the photographs she takes.

When talking with Liz, she talks about how she loves getting to “tell a story in photographs, and not in words,” but insists that she is still learning each and every day and how “ignorance” really played a part in her taking this leap of faith.  She didn’t know enough to be truly frightened about starting her own photography business.  She just jumped right in and now lives by the following motto: “Live Your Dream.”

As women, we all tend to sometimes “settle” for the more stable job, the one that makes the most “sense;” not always choosing the career that really sets us on fire.  This is why I both admire and respect Liz, and, I guess, honestly, I’m a little jealous!  She is truly doing something that she loves and it shows in her attitude, her demeanor, and her work.  Take a moment, sit back, and really think . . . are you really performing a job that you love; a job that excites you and challenges you?  What is holding you back?  What can you do to help you “Live Your Dream”?

To see more of Liz’s work or to contact her – you can find Zil Photography on Facebook or Twitter or on her website: