Sunday, November 6, 2011

I am proud to say that I have 11 pieces hanging as part of the "Romancing the Cowboy" exhibit at Denver International Airport until March 14, 2012. It is located in Concourse A. If you are passing through, have a look! Thank you to Erin Mulrooney for all of her dedication and hard work.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Autumn in the Rockies

I've been going to my "special secret spots" for nearly 20 years, but this autumn it seems everyone caught on more than ever! I've never seen so many tripods everywhere I went in Southwestern Colorado last week. That's why it's still important to get off road and hike, hike, hike as much as possible for unique perspectives on popular areas and to just get away from the crowds.

I've been fortunate to live in beautiful places, but more and more, I see all my pictures, so to speak, in magazines every month. I don't want to compete in landscape photography anymore, I just want to do it for the love of doing it and for the love of being in the great outdoors. I'm not one to race around from spot to spot, shot to shot. I prefer to became familiar with an area and get to know it and really experience it and become connected. Just like I did with the Grand Canyon.

Ecstatic about getting out again while coming back from my injuries, this is the first time I've hiked with trekking poles to help me keep my balance. I also bought a Cotton Carrier. I wish I had found this product years ago! It's basically a vest that sits on my chest where I can carry my camera and still have instant release. It keeps the camera from pulling and swinging on my neck, making it enormously more comfortable to hike and shoot...and much more safe!

These photos are of the Grenadier mountains, which are part of the San Juan range about 7 miles south of Silverton, Colorado. One of my very favorite spots in the state.

Enjoy this wondrous time of year! Get out there, wherever you are and soak up the color, the sun, and thank God for this beautiful planet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Challenging Summer

Due to some serious injuries after a bicycle accident, I have been out of commission since July 10. I would like to thank all of you wonderful friends who have been so supportive, encouraging and loving. You have no idea what it has meant to me.

It's been difficult to sit at my computer and I have met my commitments by the skin of my teeth! Whew! Sadly, I've missed all the summer rodeos but one. But I am looking ahead to the next outdoor season starting with Apache Junction, AZ in February. It's one of my very favorites.

In the meantime I'll be working on more pieces and growing my business. Somerset Fine Art will finally be releasing several pieces in September and I will be on exhibit at the Denver International Airport this fall. Additionally, I'll be published in an art book boasting the best in America. I have many plans, including revamping this blog or possibly starting a new one that matches my style, so stay tuned.

I hope that all of you have had a safe and exciting summer! Are you as ready for the cool weather as I am? Bring on the beauty of Autumn!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Great Article

My thoughts exactly. I wish I would've written this myself. Well done, Cheryl Jacobs Nicolai!

Feature Story

My Advice For Aspiring Photographers

By Cheryl Jacobs Nicolai

I get asked all the time, during workshops, in e-mails, in private messages, what words of wisdom I would give to a new and aspiring photographer. Here's my answer.

- Style is a voice, not a prop or an action. If you can buy it, borrow it, download it, or steal it, it is not a style. Don't look outward for your style; look inward.

- Know your stuff. Luck is a nice thing, but a terrifying thing to rely on. It's like money; you only have it when you don't need it.

- Never apologize for your own sense of beauty. Nobody can tell you what you should love. Do what you do brazenly and unapologetically. You cannot build your sense of aesthetics on a concensus.

- Say no. Say it often. It may be difficult, but you owe it to yourself and your clients. Turn down jobs that don't fit you, say no to overbooking yourself. You are no good to anyone when you're stressed and anxious.

- Learn to say "I'm a photographer" out loud with a straight face. If you can't say it and believe it, you can't expect anyone else to, either.

- You cannot specialize in everything.

- You don't have to go into business just because people tell you you should! And you don't have to be full time and making an executive income to be successful. If you decide you want to be in business, set your limits before you begin.

- Know your style before you hang out your shingle. If you don't, your clients will dictate your style to you. That makes you nothing more than a picture taker. Changing your style later will force you to start all over again, and that's tough.

- Accept critique, but don't apply it blindly. Just because someone said it does not make it so. Critiques are opinions, nothing more. Consider the advice, consider the perspective of the advice giver, consider your style and what you want to convey in your work. Implement only what makes sense to implement. That doesn't make you ungrateful, it makes you independent.

- Leave room for yourself to grow and evolve. It may seem like a good idea to call your business "Precious Chubby Tootsies"....but what happens when you decide you love to photograph seniors? Or boudoir?

- Remember that if your work looks like everyone else's, there's no reason for a client to book you instead of someone else. Unless you're cheaper. And nobody wants to be known as "the cheaper photographer".

- Gimmicks and merchandise will come and go, but honest photography is never outdated.

- It's easier to focus on buying that next piece of equipment than it is to accept that you should be able to create great work with what you've got. Buying stuff is a convenient and expensive distraction. You need a decent camera, a decent lens, and a light meter. Until you can use those tools consistently and masterfully, don't spend another dime. Spend money on equipment ONLY when you've outgrown your current equipment and you're being limited by it. There are no magic bullets.

- Learn that people photography is about people, not about photography. Great portraits are a side effect of a strong human connection.

- Never forget why you started taking pictures in the first place. Excellent technique is a great tool, but a terrible end product. The best thing your technique can do is not call attention to itself. Never let your technique upstage your subject.

- Never compare your journey with someone else's. It's a marathon with no finish line. Someone else may start out faster than you, may seem to progress more quickly than you, but every runner has his own pace. Your journey is your journey, not a competition. You will never "arrive". No one ever does.

- Embrace frustration. It pushes you to learn and grow, broadens your horizons, and lights a fire under you when your work has gone cold. Nothing is more dangerous to an artist than complacency.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wishing all of you Dads out there a wonderful Father's Day! Remembering my dad affectionately with photos of him bronco busting and his old boots. He remains my inspiration. I miss him every day.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What does shooting 2 and a half year olds have to do with shooting rodeos?
It's fast and it furious! I found out that rodeo shooting has been good training
for photographing toddlers. They don't sit still, they move fast and have
minds of their own!

I learned to how to anticipate action and be quick on the shutter, but I found it to
be more of a physical challenge with the kids. This lovely family requested a shoot at the Denver Botanic Gardens. 2 hours later I was exhausted from moving quickly, looking for fleeting movements and doing about a billion power squats. I was actually a little sore the next day! Sometimes I forget how much energy they have!

Little Kaitlynn and Annabelle were both especially uncooperative, always running the other way, looking down and not paying attention. We ended the sessions not quite knowing if we got anything, but I think we did, because it wasn't my first rodeo. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Deadly Horse Virus

This is terrible! Let's hope it gets under control soon. Everyone please be careful out there!

(NEWSER) – A mutant strain of a common horse virus has resulted in the deaths of seven animals and appears to be spreading quickly in Western states, the Wall Street Journal reports. The USDA reports suspected or confirmed cases of Equine Herpes Virus-1 at 42 stables or farms across 18 states. (The Journal says cases have been confirmed in nine of those states.) The outbreak appears to have started at a national riding competition in Utah earlier this month, and now similar competitions, rodeos, and fairground expos are being canceled.

"This outbreak is much more widespread than most, or perhaps any, previous outbreak," says Colorado's state veterinarian. While there's a vaccine for equine herpes, vets think the outbreak is a resistant mutant strain. The virus is highly contagious, and horses can pick it up from water, equipment, or feces. It doesn't affect humans.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I've had a lot of jobs in my life, more than I can even remember. Everything from cleaning toilets to teaching Photoshop at the Art Institute in Denver. But I've never had the privilege of having the most important and most difficult job on earth...being a Mother.

I do have the privilege of knowing some of the best parents ever born and I have a deep admiration and respect for all of them. This Mother's Day I would like to pay special tribute
to my Mom. As my biggest fan and supporter, I admire her courage, her sense of humor and her deep faith. Also an artist and an inspiration, she paints with oils and acrylics enjoying abstract subject matter as well as realistic nature scenes. I want to let her know that I am grateful to her for so many things, including her great friendship in my adult years. I love you Mom.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Headlines Today

This is not a place for politics, but today the best headline comes from the NY Daily News. Regarding the death of Bin Laden: Rot In Hell.
God Bless America and our armed forces!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Spring! There's nothing like the feeling of rebirth, renewal and the freshness that appeals to all of our senses. I especially love the color that pops up seemingly overnight and it never fails to surprise, even though you expect it.
The colors of nature inspires every artist whether the artist is a fashion designer, a chef, an interior designer(what is this HGTV?!?) or even a musician. I'm not usually one for studio photography. I have nothing at all against it. I admire the expertise that goes into it, I just never had the gear or the means so I learned to use natural light (and some flash) for alot of my work. I would just like to share with you some flower shots since it is that time of year. Some are outdoors and some are just shot from my kitchen table using window light. Enjoy the season!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Staying Motivated

  • This was sent via email by MOO printers, whom I think have a great approach to business. This is good advice and a useful reminder for everyone who work for themselves. Just in case you missed it, I thought I'd share. Good job MOO and Anna Abrahams.

  • By Inspirit Founder Anna Abrahams
  • Top ten tips for staying motivated

1. Have a plan

Know what you are trying to achieve in both the short and long term, and follow a plan to make sure you get that done. Whether that's a detailed business plan or a daily "to do" list, having a plan will keep you focused. Plus, it gives you a boost when you can tick things off the list!

2. Break targets down

Large goals can feel overwhelming and send you into a kind of work paralysis. Break the pieces down into small tasks and you will find that the end goal is totally achievable. So for example, if I set myself a task to myself of getting 10 new clients over the next few months, I could break this down into practical tasks such as running a special offer to encourage new bookings, or follow up on undecided clients.

3. Discuss ideas with others

Running your own business can be an isolating experience. Colleagues, friends and family are very useful sounding boards and have expertise and experience in areas you don't – amongst my group of friends are lawyers, PRs, journalists – so ask yourself, who do you know? Talking to others gives you a fresh perspective, help you from ideas more clearly, overcome stumbling blocks and feed your creativity.

4. Keep it fresh

Keep thinking of different ways to promote yourself – I love how MOO customers never run out of these types of ideas, like thesebeautiful pocket portfolios made from MiniCards. As part of my promotional plan for 2011, Inspirit is the official therapy partner to RSVP 2011, a big events industry showcase where our team of therapists will be giving out free massages.

5. Visualise better days ahead

Ok, so it makes me sound like a hippy, but I find it helpful to visualise the benefits to my life that will result from achieving my goals. Whether it's a dream holiday or simply a boost to your self-esteem, imagine how that will feel if you keep going and make it happen. At the moment, I'm obsessed with buying a mini-cooper, which I simply can't afford. So I designed my perfect mini online and have a photo of it on my wall to remind me that if I keep growing the business, one day it will be on my drive.

6. Be open to change

It can be very deflating when things don't go your way. I've had times when I have lost a client or an employee or a deal has suddenly changed its parameters. You need to adapt instead of losing hope, and think how you can work the situation to your advantage. Sometimes what seems like a setback can turn into a positive, and if not, at least you can minimise the damage and learn from the experience.

7. Do regular exercise

I swim regularly which re-energises me and yoga classes keep me calm and clear. Choose whatever form of exercise suits you best, but make sure you do some - it improves your mental clarity and decreases feelings of stress, anxiety and frustration.

8. Establish clear working hours

Don't burn out - I learned this from experience! It's too easily done, so make sure you get some work-life balance and build breaks into your daily and weekly schedules. As we all know, there's a difference between working hard and working effectively. Since my office is my home, this is a particularly challenging one for me. I have to remind myself that its ok to be at home relaxing, instead of attached to a computer at 10pm.

9. Treat yourself

Give yourself things to look forward to – a visit to a gallery, a shopping trip, a night with your friends. You deserve some rewards for all your hard work! I book a regular massage every month to relieve the muscle tension that accompanies hours in front of a computer, and to combat work stress. After a massage, I feel like a new person.

10. Accept the cycle

No one can stay motivated 100% of the time. When you're struggling, do what you can on the list to help and be assured that inspiration will return if you just keep going. And don't forget to keep putting yourself out there. Hand out your Business Card to anyone who seems interested – the upswing will happen sooner than you think.

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Work

More to see at my website
Always looking for good titles if anyone has any ideas! Thanks!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thank You

I just want to say a big thank you for all my fans, old and new for their undying support. It's because of you that I keep going.

Now...let's think spring! It's been a long, tough winter for many folks this year, but this morning I actually heard birds singing!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


On other photographers copying my signature style....

"I understand but look at it this way, people love what you do and will try to emulate it. You inspire them into seeing if they could make something as awesome as you do. A variation is all they will accomplish. Your style is unique so as long as they are not stealing your work directly then what is the harm? Take it as a compliment. Lemons make lovely lemonade." Felisa Michael

"I haven't seen any other pictures that capture the textures, softness and impact that your art captures Karen. I imagine it's so eye catching that people will try to copy a good thing......they'll never have your eye or talent for softening those boundaries the way you do. I'd be upset to know someone was ripping me off of my style too!It's so personal this art work......." Sherry Rooth

But in reality your vision is superior so your photos are finer. If you didn't have such an awesome style no one would care. But since it is so good, people will copy. How many billions of people copy Van Gogh and Monet? Yet the original is still the most respected. And look at the "Dave Hill" style. Hoo Wee did he ever get his style ripped off? Yet he went forward with his work and is working more than ever. He made a name for himself. You are making your name.
So be smart. Now all you need to do is capitalize on your style and run workshops or whatever and make some money on your vision. Be encouraged. This is what happens when you are successful. So Congrats! Think Bigger!" Gregg Boyer

And from Mr. Kevin Skelly, "You were born an original. Don't die a copy." ~John Mason

Thank you everyone, I am grateful for you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Year, New Plan

Time to rethink, improve and come up with more ideas and more time. There are lots of resources out there and I'll spend some time reading up on trends, services and smart ideas.

So far I've finally changed my profile picture on my Facebook page to the maximum size of 200x600 pixels. It makes a bigger impact. I've also taken a few minutes to get a vanity url on Facebook. It is now That's kind of cool, especially when I share the link, I think it looks much more professional.

I've designed a new business card, but I might like the old ones better. I'm not sure yet.

My website possibly needs a reorganization. I was thinking of breaking down the rodeo categories into events. For example, bull riding, steer wresting, team roping, etc.

Oh yes, a much hipper and artistic blog is in order, right?

Of course there is always the constant continuing education. I love the courses at NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals), they offer a wide variety of subject matter. Going at my own pace, on my schedule is convenient. Technology changes so fast and I feel it is so easy to get behind to the point where I only know what I need to know. I don't want to get in that rut, otherwise I will never improve!

I've had many requests for greeting cards and calendars and the such, it is also one of my goals to get those designed and produced.

Oh yeah and to finish my plan...better get going....if anyone has any suggestions or opinions, by all means! Happy New Year!