Art, Knoxville, Life, Love, Photography, Uncategorized

Camera Basics 101

Lately I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how they want a new camera and many of them want to graduate to bigger cameras.  As Mrs. Miami put it, “I want a big girl camera.”  So, if you are thinking about entering the world of Digital SLRs (which stands for single-lens reflex, F to the Y-I) here is a post for you.  I’m going to try and explain some basics to help you get started and realize what you’re looking at.  We’re gonna start really basic, and go slowly, so don’t be scared.  I’ll hold your hand.  And as a side note, if I don’t explain it well enough or you’ve got questions, feel free to comment and I will try to explain it better.  Let’s get started!

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Cooking, Food, Kitties, Knoxville, Life, Love, Personal, Pets, Photography, Recipes, The Pioneer Woman, Uncategorized

Dish-o-the-week: PW’s Chili!

That’s right, I gave in…again.  I made a Pioneer Woman recipe for the dish-o-the week.  I have a problem, I’ll admit it.  I’m going to Pioneer Woman cooking rehab soon, not to worry.  But in the mean time, you can check out this awesome looking chili.  I had never made chili before.  And I’ll go ahead and put this out there since I say something to that affect on every cooking post…until now…whew, deep breath…I haven’t really cooked.  Don’t judge me.  I’m a newly wed and I’m learning, but I truly am enjoying learning too.  Anywho, bring on the chili pics!

Key fixin’s.

Ms. Brisco and Speed Racer were getting impatient.  The smell was driving them wild!  So they just sat there…lingering over the chili.

The great thing about this recipe is that is leaves room to add or not add what you feel like.  She gives a list of “optional” ingredients.  I am not a huge bean fan, I will eat them in chili but that is about it.  Speed Racer thinks I must have had some sort of head trauma as a child for something to be so wrong with me that I would not like beans.  So I added pinto beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes with chili’s, one jalapeno, one finger hot pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and salt.  But you can mix and match as you like.

Oh he’s getting really impatient now, he’s got that crazed look in his eye.  You can tell he’s about to steal a nibble.  Not to worry though, we ate shortly after that.  There are no pictures because we were both too busy gobbling it down.

Now who is going to do the dishes I wonder?  Lucky for me, in our house it’s whoever doesn’t cook has to do the dishes.

Later that night…

I had to add this in the post because it’s too adorable for words.

Art, Life, Love, Personal, Photography, Portraits, Uncategorized


About a year ago on Valentine’s Day, my Dad got me this photo book: “Life: The Classic Collection.”  He thought it would help inspire me on my photographic journey, and boy has it ever.  The photographs in this book are iconic.  And I say photographs because that’s what they are.  They aren’t “pics” or “photos,” these are PHOTOGRAPHS.  These photographs are so awe inspiring not only because they capture some of the most traumatic and meaningful times in history, but because of the art, timing, and skill that each photographer illustrates in each photograph.  When I see these photographs, I realize how far I have to go and how much determination I need.  It’s a great kick in the pants as well.  AND one of the great details about the classic collection, is that it comes with 25 removable photographs, that you can frame and put around your house, which I will do as soon as I get frames.

Many of these photographs are very recognizable.  We’ve grown up seeing them in magazines and highlighted on television.  They are timeless.  One of the most famous photographs is the classic Times Square Kiss by Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Everyone knows this photograph, and it’s one of my favorites.  I really didn’t know much about the photograph however.  I knew that it was taken on V-J day in Times Square.  I knew that the couple was anonymous for a long time.  I knew that they didn’t know each other.  But that was about it, until today when I ran across this article.  On June 23, 2010 Edith Shain (the Nurse) died at age 91.  Apparently she didn’t contact Life until the ’70s, and the identity of the sailor is still unknown.  According to the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, he was in Times Square trying to get some shots, when he saw the sailor going around kissing any woman he could find.  Eisenstaedt saw the nurse, and focused on her hoping that the sailor would kiss her, so he was ready when it happened.  According to the article, Shain spent the last half of her life educating others on the events of World War II.  When interviewed about the spontaneity of the kiss, Shain said this, “This guy grabbed me and we kissed, and then I turned one way and he turned the other. There was no way to know who he was, but I didn’t mind because he was someone who had fought for me.”  She also said, “As for the picture it says so many things — hope, love, peace and tomorrow. The end of the war was a wonderful experience, and that photo represents all those feelings.”

I love how passionate the kiss is, how taken surprise the nurse seems, the ladies in the background giggling, and how it is framed as a snap shot.  You feel the passion and absolute joy of V-J day.  And as Edith Shain says, you experience the hope, love, peace and tomorrow.  This photograph represents something we all hope for, not only as photographers, but for our lives…to experience absolute joy and (especially so close to the 4th of July)  the end to wars.

Deep South, Knoxville, Landscape, Life, Love, Nature, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized

Rural Retreat

Ever since I was little I’ve felt comforted in rural areas.  My family use to go on a retreat every summer at Oak Hill Academy, and they had a beautiful barn on campus.  I would get up early in the mornings and go watch them feed the cattle, help brush the horses, hang out in the barn, and do a little horseback riding.  I absolutely loved it.  When I moved in high school, I moved to a more rural area and would always find my escape in nature.  So when Speed Racer told me we were moving to Knoxville, I was a little hesitant.  I had seen downtown Knoxville once in high school and swore I would never live here.  Careful what you say, right?  But when Speed Racer took me to see the house, I was immediately at peace.  Where we live in Knoxville, is surrounded by rural farms, holding out against the sprawl of the city.  There’s even a cattle farm just down the street.  Early in the morning on the weekends, Speed Racer and I will climb on our bikes and head into the heart of this rural area, and it’s especially beautiful in the morning light.  So today, I thought I would go out and try to capture a little of that.

Life, Love, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized

How Did I get Here? La Fin

Speed Racer has been in Norway this week, and I am embarrassed to say that I miss him.  I spend 24 hours a day with the man, you think I would want a break for a week.  But no, as soon as he left, I missed him.  Speed Racer and I started dating when I was 16 years old and he was 17 (all though we dated off and on, I might add).  The story of how we “officially” met has been told to many of our friends and family, and at our wedding.  But it’s a fantastic one so here it goes.

When I met Speed Racer I had just moved in the middle of high school.  I hated my new high school and town, everyone knew I was the new girl.  Speed Racer and I had Anatomy and Physiology together, and I sat at the end of the table we shared.  The teacher had lowered the lights for us to watch a movie and I took this as a prime opportunity to lay my head down and let the tears, that I had been holding in all morning, gently slide down my cheeks.  When I looked up, someone had placed a single blue M&M in front of me.  I turned and saw Speed Racer give a gentle wave and a killer smile.

I was ridiculously in love.  Head over heels, in love with this red headed, green eyed, car loving guy.  I think I may have mentioned to my Mom when I was 17 that I wanted to marry him.  She may have had a mini-heart attack but she survived.  But the fates had a different idea at the time.  Speed Racer and I broke up, then got back together, then broke up again.  At this point we were in college, and that last break up was a harsh one.  For the next year and a half or so, we dated other people (while living in the same dorm…can you say ouch?), but we kept trying to talk, and then our talks would turn into fights, but we couldn’t stop.  At times one of us would be sick, and the other would always show up to take care of the person.  We had countless emails, trips to the ER, long night walks, and longing hugs.  Each time we would hug, the longing I felt was unbearable.  It felt right.

The Spring of my Sophomore year, Speed Racer came to help me on an outdoor art project.  We stayed up late into the night working on it.  As we finished up we sat talking for awhile, and that’s when he declared his love for me.  I just stared.  This couldn’t be happening.  I had a boyfriend at the time, and due to Speed Racer and I’d lack of communication (communication is hard, we’re still working on it), I misunderstood what he was saying exactly…that he wanted this to be forever.  I told him that this was it, it wouldn’t work out…we couldn’t be together.

And I had never felt so alone.  I was devastated, this couldn’t be the way it was suppose to work out.

We were back home that summer.  It hadn’t worked out with said Boyfriend, and I longed to talk to Speed Racer, I just didn’t know how.

Throughout our relationship (whether together or apart) we had shared Pablo Neruda poems, one of my favorites being  “I do not love you except because I love you.” Late one night, Speed Racer posted a poem online about us.  I knew instantly is was about us, about our love, about how he imagined our little red headed children…and before I knew what I was doing, I sent him a message saying I loved the poem.  Then I quickly got offline…because I am a chicken.  My cell phone rang.  “Hello?” I said, trying to play it cool.  “So you like the poem, huh?” Speed Racer teased on the other line.  “I loved it, ” I smiled and my heart melted.

We had a date.  We went to a different town to get seafood and Speed Racer sneakily paid, so it was official.  On our way back we took the Parkway through the mountains and through an intense thunderstorm.  But as we headed to higher ground, we came out on top of the clouds…on top of the world.  We pulled over and sat for hours on the edge of an ocean of clouds, with small mountain top islands.  It was our own little heaven.  We talked and sat just barely touching.  And that is when I knew, that no matter what had happened or what would happen, we would be together forever, and I would love this man forever.

So that is how I got here, with the help of friends, family, and the man I love.  I would not have been able  to do it without Speed Racer there to support me, tease me out of crying, his ability to make me laugh, and undying love.  From here on out, it’s an adventure.  The adventure will still have it’s ups and downs, and it won’t be easy.  Perhaps in 50 years I can write an epic “How Did I get Here?” but until then I will have to take it day by day, and savor every moment.

Knoxville, Life, Love, Nature, Personal, Photography, Portraits

Morning Portrait

My lovely friend Ms. Holly is in town this week and staying with me while Speed Racer is in NORWAY…that’s right I said Norway.  But more on that later.  So Ms. Holly was a good sport and let me take some lovely pictures of her this morning, we went out and had a good time.  And here are the results!

Immediate Family, Knoxville, Landscape, Life, Love, Nature, Personal, Photography, Portraits, Travel, Uncategorized

The Boys Are Back in Town

So that title isn’t completely accurate, the boys were back in town and have now left again, is a little better.  While I was catching up on girl talk and celebrating Father’s Day, Speed Racer was out having a “Boys Only” weekend.  There was canoeing, there were guns, there was mockery, and there was laughter…sounded like an overall good time.  Wish I could have stuck around a little bit longer before they kicked me out, I love being one of the guys, but alas, they needed to talk man talk.  But here are some pictures I snapped before I left.

Obviously you know Speed Racer…

Mr. B…

The Preacher…


And hiding back there is Mr. Hokie.

After a crazy weekend, we high tailed it back to Knoxville.  But before Mr. B left the next morning we got a chance to show him Norris.

All in all it was a fabulous weekend!  It was great to see so many old friends, both Speed Racer and I miss them a lot.