31 December 2008

Julia: Reinvented

Exactly one year ago, my life changed unexpectedly. It changed for the better, but you could have fooled me at the time. Life has a funny way of keeping you on your toes. All you can do is move forward and survive.

So, I took a new approach to my life. I begrudgingly accepted the support of my friends and family - those who love who I am, who I was in my darkest moment, and who I will become when all is said and done – and I decided to do the opposite of everything the old Julia ordinarily would have done. A very simple-sounding task perhaps, but terrifying as hell to me.

And undeniably energizing!!!

I flew out to Chicago on a whim to participate in a Women’s Photography Workshop and it turned out to be a huge turning point for me; traipsing after models on frigid city streets, getting used to shooting people, and trying to keep the creativity flowing.

A couple weeks later, and a bit closer to home, I attended a “Rediscover Your Love of Shooting” workshop. I trekked off to Hartford to join a bunch of total strangers – an already well-acquainted group of professional wedding and portrait photographers – amongst whom I was the least experienced. I totally crashed their party. I was the self-proclaimed “girl who doesn't shoot people.” But it didn’t matter; I was welcomed with open arms. We shot all day long, completely out of my comfort zone. People were barking at me, challenging me to think differently and do better. It was intimidating and invigorating all at the same time. When we sat down to anonymously critique each others' work, I sat terrified in the back of the room until my image popped up on the enormous screen and everyone cheered.

Fueled with excitement, I set off to do as much as possible. I had the amazing opportunity to second-shoot a bunch of weddings throughout the summer. I did two craft fairs. I published a book. I traveled to Nashville for yet another workshop and to the Berkshires for a photography retreat. I worked for the New Haven Animal Shelter at their Mutt Strut. And I attended seminars, gallery openings, and meetings up the wazoo.

I watched American Idol for the first time ever. I sent my first text message. I joined Facebook. I refined my cooking skills (which admittedly, uh… still need serious work.) I decided Rachael Ray wasn't the antichrist. I created a “101 Things to Do in 1001 Days” list of goals and have accomplished 28 of them already. (29 now!) I bought a house all by myself. I learned I can be a great Ms. Fix-It when the need arises. I learned the hardware store people now know me by name. I grew a backbone. I learned what love isn’t. I met old friends. I made new ones. I became a Mac person.

And in the middle of it all, I started a new job. A job I love, for a company I adore, with a group of co-workers I look forward to seeing every day. Feel free to tell me "Everything happens for a reason.” I’ve heard it ad nauseum. It’s totally true.

My life has a whole new direction. I met some of the most wonderfully supportive people I have ever known – and I became closer to the ones I’ve known forever - people that continue to inspire me daily, make me laugh, and prove that most people are innately good and kind.

Take a chance and open yourself to something new. You will be pleasantly surprised.

I thought a slideshow might be a good way to photo-summarize...

All my love and profound thanks to all my blog followers and all of my dear, dear friends:

My Mom and Dad, Christine, Jen G., Kris, Colleen, Rita, Shannon, Jen H., Amy, Lorraine, Nik, Jenn S., Kristy, Lori, Erin, Kate, Kath, Tanya, Kristin, Christine M., Krystal, Cathie, Christie, Kim, Cathy, Jen W., Melanie, Kari, Barb, Michelle, Gary, Deb L., Debbie L., Sue, Gail, Lynsie, Amy, Robin, Amanda, Carla, Justin, Mary, Steve, Aimee, Jacob, Val, Eileen, Paul, Corrie, Doug, Ken, Ingrid, Carol, Mary, Suzanne, and countless other people that I'm sure I've left off completely unintentionally.

I will never be able to thank you all enough. I can only hope someday I can offer the same kind of love and support to you in return.

Out with the old, in with the new! Here’s to 2009! XOXOX - Julia

28 December 2008

Salty Grapes in Print: New Haven Animal Shelter Newsletter

Finally got around to scanning the New Haven Animal Shelter's newsletter detailing the Mutt Strut today. =) Thought it would be fun to blog about since my photos are in "print"!

Click image for a larger version. =)

26 December 2008

Happy Boxing Day!

:) I spent Boxing Day shuffling massive amounts of data around my external drives (one of my Christmas gifties! And no, not a fancy Drobo, nerdies) and amongst my multiple laptops. And in between, I threw this goofy video together. I do not claim to be able to make videos. I also cannot hold my Flip camera steady. My apologies. Hee hee... But I just love my buddy. He hung out by my side all day. What more could you want?

23 December 2008

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

Christmas Eve Eve... an interesting day. A day that has not gone as I had planned. LOL... But little does nowadays! =)

Many of my blog followers and dearest friends have seen this photo a gafillion times, but I know that there are quite a few who have not. :) So to celebrate the delightful day that is Christmas Eve Eve, Grover would like to share one of his masterpieces. A masterpiece that proves sometimes the quality of the photo (from an old crappy digital camera 5 years ago) is not ALWAYS as important as the subject matter.

And all these years later, it still makes me laugh to look at. It was not a set up. I was outside with him, shoveling... he ADORES the snow, but it makes his sensitive feet hurt. So I gave him my mittens. And HAPPENED to catch this perfect pose.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve, my dear, wonderful friends. :)

I'm in a Winter Wonderland,
I've got my Two Front Teeth,
and Jack Frost is no longer nipping at my... TOES.

Bring on Christmas!

21 December 2008

Lights, laughing, and lassies...

Last Thursday night, I got together with some wonderful friends Carla, Robin, and Eileen for a long, chatty dinner, and to practice shooting some Christmas lights at night.

It was... an adventure.

Be sure to check out their posts about the evening, as it was more of a learning experience for me in what NOT to do. =) Like, have a UV filter on my lens. Must remember to ditch that. And, perhaps upgrade to the 5D MkII someday for better noise handling (my shots were definitely way too noisy for my tastes.) And, to ALWAYS have your GPS on you. Even if you THINK you know where you're going. (*cough* *cough*!) Or at the very least, bring Eileen with you to mimic the English Garmin lady.

I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time... we thought we were going to never find our way out of Meriden, driving in circles past Ali Baba Bail Bonds, shady barred windows, and the Grocery, LLC. We eventually found Hubbard Park and its annual light display full of Holiday Dinosaurs, phallic giant candles, and half-lit trains. And upon piling out of the car, we perhaps were all SO traffic stoppingly gorgeous in our poofy coats, scarves, and massive amounts of ridiculously unnecessary camera gear, we caused someone to back into a fence. CRRRRRRUNCH went the plastic fender as the four of us stood basking in the car's high beams, laughing uncontrollably! Evil. He drove away but was no doubt angry the next morning.

Robin stood in awe of the stage full of giant trees and presents... and reminded me of a 5 year old on Christmas morning.

Checked out the caboose...

And mugged like only The Dini can do.

Too bad I'm clueless half the time and got this LOVELY shot of her looking like she was eating the light bulb. Great. I'm a stellar photographer.

Eileen is one of the funniest, most stunning people to photograph...

And has the uncanny ability to make you practically pee your pants with one word (or hand gesture.)

Going the extra mile to get the shot!

I can't decide which one I like better.

It's REALLY HARD being on the other end of the lens... it takes a while to warm up to it. Multiple cameras in your face is TOTALLY disconcerting. I have a much better appreciation for workshop models.

We never stopped laughing.

The beautiful Ms. Ten Eyck

A classic.

Just a cool shot of the lights...

And yes, I was there, doing what I do...

Thanks for a great evening girls. I had a blast. XOXO

20 December 2008


Everyone who knows me knows I LOVE snow and that for the past couple of years, living on the shoreline, I've gotten the shaft. I've been VERY vocal about this. =)

So it goes without saying that I'm just giddy this weekend.

Able to leave work early, I was so happy to have a LEEEEETLE daylight left to snap some pics.

Looking to the right of my driveway...

Looking to the left, down to the invisible water...

Looking back at my goofy little house!

And some neighborhood shots that look SOOOO pretty in the snow! Everyone does such a nice job with their lights.

And my favorite summer haunt... again, there is a harbor out there that you can't see!

And, of course, my poor little stumpy-legged dog, plowing his way through...

Who is apparently half-deer.

A poignant pause.

Ooops... I think the feets are getting cold.

Yep, time to go in. =)

C'mon mom!

Stuffed him back inside (he's looking out the storm door - hee hee!) and snapped this. My cheeks get just as flushed from "playing out in the snow" as they did when I was five. Urgh.

Hope everyone's enjoying it as much as Grover does and that you aren't TOO buried!

10 December 2008

Hugh Laurie + Polaroid

In anticipation of Hugh Laurie's guest appearance on SNL this weekend, I thought I'd share this commercial I've had bookmarked forever. :)

I'm a HUUUUUUUUUUGE Hugh Laurie fan... mainly from Jeeves & Wooster, Fry & Laurie, and Blackadder, but of course, from House as well. =)

This ad, while it doesn't exactly showcase his phenomenal talent, still cracks me up. And who doesn't love an old Polaroid?! That sound, that smell... the waiting. :)

And I highly recommend playing around with Poladroid if you're bored, find yourself missing the Polaroid experience, and want to have some fun with your photos. My dear friend Robin Dini posted about it on her blog a few days ago, and it's so much fun!

08 December 2008

Digital Asset Management... DAM!!!!!

Tremendous thanks to the awesome Paul McNerney of Studio Foto and Matt Wagner of Matthew J. Wagner Fine Photography for a terrific all day workshop on how to manage an overwhelming and ever expanding digital file storage system. And also for some great Lightroom lessons.

I cannot wait to tackle my current system and start fresh for 2009. =) I'm such a computer nerd... I highly recommend this workshop next time they do it, which will be a couple times a year.

A special thanks to my fabulous seat mates Val McCormick, newly anointed Rocktographers Robin Dini and Carla Ten Eyck, Steve DePino, Eileen Broderick (albeit banished to the front with her monstrous screen!) and Geoff Boka who made sitting in a hotel conference room for 9 hours smelling decaying onions thoroughly enjoyable.

And a book raffle win doesn't hurt!!!

02 December 2008

Twins! ::: 11/28/08

Last weekend, I had the fun honor of shooting an old friend from grammar school's family. Our moms still teach together to this day at the same school we attended from K-8, and we ran into each other at the craft fair I did a few weeks ago. What FUN to be able to photograph her family... and what a challenge for me to shoot 8 month old twins!!! =)


Would you LOOK at those big beautiful eyes!

Heh heh heh...

So very serious...

So very silly!

Now, I'm an only child. Does sibling rivalry really start this early? =)

OK, success! We got everyone looking at the lunatic behind the camera all at the same time!

It's amazing what fun you can have playing peek-a-boo with a blanket.

This photo tells a story all on its own...

Are we done yet?

Just one more for good measure!

Thank you guys for having me over. It was SO great seeing you again! =)