Zested Sugar

For the last two years, I focused my photography on shooting people. When The Big Move took us to Idaho, I shut down my teeny barely-a-business; although bittersweet, it was one of my smartest moves.

You see, I jumped into a business too fast.

Hindsight, this is what I’d tell me two years ago, “Just shoot for the love of it. The business side of photography can suck the love for it dry before it even has a chance to grow roots”.

So now, I have no business, I shoot what I love, all for me and no one else.

I love food. I love to eat it, and I love to be in the kitchen. My interest in food photography is purely motivated by my love of these two mediums. I’m excited to learn all about the way FP works.


Gear and Deets:

Rebel T4i w/ 50mm compact macro

ISO 200–F10–1/200sec

OCF w/Gary Fong Lightsphere

The Sitch:

I decided to shoot this (beginnings of a cheesecake) on a whim. I put little thought into the set up. I didn’t take out my tripod or spend an extended amount of time setting up. Posing stationary items, how hard can that be, right?

BWHAHAHAHAHAHA. It’s like learning photography for the first time all over again. This shot is plain, and lacks any real interest, but it is my first attempt at a legit FP image. It is going to be interesting to see where this takes me. Tomorrow I will be photographing my home made chocolate truffles, along with my finished cheesecake. In the meantime, I am studying up on how to make my paltry equipment work hard for me.

Thank you for stopping by, Happy Thanksgiving!



No Authority in the Church?

This subject is dear to my heart. Almost five years ago, I along with some dear friends and my husband walked away from the institutional church. It has been a long and arduous journey to come to where I am at with God now. I will elaborate on my journey in a series of posts, but watch this, and ponder. Ask any questions you may have. Cheers, happy Thanksgiving.

All my love,


Stairway to Imagination

Fostering his love of reading has been one of the best things I have ever done. At 8 years old, he regularly reads two hours a day, many days much more than that. He is an expert on Abraham Lincoln, and loves Davinci’s inventions. He is bright, sensitive, and is a terrific big brother.


For the Photographers:

My 50 1.4 is acting up, so the focus is soft, which really pisses me off. Captured with on camera flash and a Gary Fong Lightshpere.


An image a day exercises are so great. I haven’t done one in a long time, so here goes. This is Moxie. Our 8 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback. She is feisty and smart. Clearly, she is also beautiful.

Gear and Deets:                                                                                                                                                                  50mm macro @3.5 — SS 1/125 — ISO 400                                                                                                                                Tethered speedlight, with Gary Fong lightsphere with dome attached camera left, and window light behind for rim lighting.


1) Have her other paw in the frame

2) Have her lower mouth in the frame

3) Reduce shadows to her eye and face ever so slightly


Metamorphosis of the Amethyst

These images show my first attempts at OCF. I was given loads of help from amazing photogs in Facebook groups I am a part of. Their direction and suggestions made me a better artist this week.

Thank you Aaron for all your recommendations. Hearing CC is difficult, but I really took to heart what you had to say and practiced EVERY thing you suggested. Give Aaron a shout out on his FB page, here

Also, a heart felt thank you to Reji, your advice was also essential to taking this simple image to the next level. Check out Reji’s work here


The first shot. As you can see, it isn’t really in focus. There is nothing fantastic about it at all. I used OCF, and lit it from directly above.

My second attempt. This one, I used the advice of Reji, and moved my flash from above to perpendicular to the camera. I changed the position of the jar, because the MAS was distracting. Better, right?

Settings: 50mm compact macro: 200ISO–F5.6–1/125sec


The CC I got from Aaron was that I needed my Fstop much higher, put the camera on a tripod, do mirror lock up, and a delayed shutter to reduce shake

This was my third attempt. I used everything he suggested. Below you can even see my set up. As you can tell, I really struggled with the reflection on the glass, and it affected the sharpness of the image


My fourth and final attempt. I moved my work into my office where the light is much more even, and significantly less glare. The only difference between these two shots was the placement of my flash.

Settings: 50mm compact macro–200ISO–F20–1/15sec


As you can plainly see, the last two images are much stronger. I am so thankful for these photogs taking time out of their days to help me improve. Note, all these images are shot with TTL flash, I am still intimidated with manual flash (The only suggestion given I didn’t have the balls to try)

“Are you socializing him?”

When I was a kid, I remember my mother getting off the phone with my grandma and remarking to my step-devil, “She is repeating her stories, again”.

At that age, I loved my grandmother’s stories. Over and over. I loved the way she talked to me about the same things. I had no idea why my mom was so irritated.


I don’t call my mom after 4:30. She is usually on her way to drunk after that time. I now know why my mom was irritated all those years ago. It’s because talking to an alcoholic is annoying. They hold onto one subject and find a way to say their piece every time a window opens. I know this because now, my mother does it to me.

“Are you socializing him”? My mother asks….. AGAIN. It’s almost drunk:30, and I am fucking sick of this conversation with her.

“Mom, seriously, he is fine. He is in basketball, and Lego Club. We just moved here, friends take time to make”. Please leave it alone.

“It’s a big deal”, she replies. I am so fucking pissed that she even questions my parenting given the obvious deficits in her own ability to mother me.

“Mom, you are going too far, I don’t keep him locked in a basement, we get out, we do stuff”.

She continues with her psyco-babble until I finally put my foot down. When I say finally, I mean we have had this damn conversation at least a dozen times since I moved here. Seriously. No joke. A dozen times. Conservatively.

“Mom, I can’t talk to you about this anymore, I am getting off the phone”.

“Alright bye”, she replies, words starting to slur.

Then she texts me: I LOVE YOU.

I give no reply. It is so condescending and coming on the heels of her tequila filled state, I can’t reply.  The next day, she texts the same, and a 31 year old woman, parent to two replies, “I love you too Mom, I will not discuss my children’s socialization with you again. I am doing a fine job of giving them what they need, If you can’t trust that and move on, there is not much else I can say”.

She texts back, “I’m sorry, you are the best Mom ,wish I were u”.

Yes, thanks for that mother, it’s four hours past drunk:30, that means a lot.

Step-Devil and 8 year old me

Dear Reader,

This recounting is one of several I will share with you. I open up so you might know you are not the only one. To the teen or the young adult with similar backgrounds, I got through it, and so will you- if you fight for yourself. Don’t take on the inheritance they have given you. Create your own, change the meaning and the outcome of your story. It is not easy, but breaking those chains is one of the most liberating and validating victories you will experience. All my love. N.

“She’s a drinker”. “I’m a drinker”. “He is a drinker.” All these phrases are said with a tone of reverence in my family. We do not use the word alcoholic, but being a drinker is a badge of honor. Unfortunately for my brothers and I, the affect of the drinkers in our family didn’t bequeath us any sense of pride or honor. What we received instead was uncertainty, dysfunction, and pain.


Step-devil was drunk in the dining room. My mother was yelling for me. I hated when they did this. I hated when they fought and brought me into it. I hated when the cops came, and took one of them away, or escorted us to my grandmother’s. I hated the stuffed animals the officers gave us. This night didn’t end with the cops, but it ended up with a little blonde girl standing up for herself the best way she could.

I came out of my room. Telling myself to not make any faces. Faces are bad on nights like this. My eyes meet his. His face was angry, and he was cruel.
“Did your mom tell you she is a slut’? He spat with all the vengeance he could muster. “Did she tell you Robert is not your dad”?

“Yes, she told me”.

The acidic words rolled off his drunk breath with unbelievable ease. He took pleasure in making other people feel small and weak. What is worse, is she didn’t stop him. She allowed him to hurt me. As a mother now, I cannot fucking fathom standing by watching some asshole hurt my kids, but she did. She always chose him.

Much of that night has been faded with time. What remains crystal clear is how I stood up for myself. After he was done, I went into my room. I took down all the things he given me. My New Kids On The Block poster, and sleeping bag, various toys and things. I took all that shit, and I dropped it by his feet and told him, “I don’t want this stuff anymore”, and I walked into my room, head held high.

I believe this was a defining moment for me. It planted a seed in my heart to be a fighter, to stand up for what is right no matter how terrifying it may be.