What REALLY Makes a Photographer?


My poor broken Canonet. RIP

“It’s not the camera that makes the photographer,” we say.

And yet here we are, buying the latest in technology, spending over thousands of dollars on lenses and camera bodies and speedlights and miscellaneous gear. We pay a membership fee so we can use Photoshop and Lightroom. We shoot in RAW so we can get the most out of our editing.

So, let’s dissect that little phrase, shall we?

“It’s not the camera that makes the photographer.”

Do we even know what that means anymore? Continue reading


NaNo’s Over. Now what?

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winnerOne of the reasons I decided to try for a NaNo novel this year was because I wanted to force myself to break free of the “imaginary audience” we writers write for. My word count stayed put whenever I thought about whether or not my reader would be bored, and my word count skyrocketed when I reminded myself no one would ever see this draft.

For me, it wasn’t that hard to get into that mindset of the invisible draft to keep up my daily goal. At least not after the hump of week two. But now that NaNo’s over, I’m no longer squeezed in the fist of a deadline. I don’t have to write 1,667 words a day.

But the novel’s not done! Continue reading

I Don’t Take Writing Seriously

cagjq3puaaiho_u-jpg-large“It’s a job, you know,” I tell my husband for the fiftieth time. He lies on the floor in his pajamas, our three year old climbing on his head and whining for him to put on her Calico Critter’s pants.

“I know,” he says.

“It’s like your homework. You’re working hard toward something but you aren’t getting paid for it.”

“I know.” He takes the Calico Critter and puts its pants on. “Go take your time.”

“Why do you have to say it like that?” I grasp the banister. “This is a serious thing. It’s not like it’s a hobby.”

“Go upstairs and close the door and write.”

I want to say that this doesn’t happen EVERY time my husband offers me kid-free time to write, but it does–I’m sure part of it’s a mom thing–and I feel bad for the guy, because he has never once shown that he doesn’t take my writing seriously. My husband has been supportive from the very beginning. He’s read every draft of every book I’ve written. He believes in me, even when I don’t, and talks me from the ledge when I have a huge stack of manuscript edits in my hand and am headed for the trash can.

But still, every time he tells me to go upstairs on a Saturday morning, I pace around the living room and tell him why I need this time. Continue reading

Finding Myself in B&W Photography

I’ve always loved black and white photography. Not really because it makes things “moody” (a color photo can be “moody” if done the right way), but because of everything it reveals: patterns, textures, blemishes, scars. It’s like looking at something in its raw state.

A few months after I turned to freelensing and never looked back, I switched a few of my photos to B&W and realized there was a whole new world beneath the surface of all that color. Like a parallel universe. After that, most of my photos became B&W, and then I started to shoot for the sole purpose of taking B&W, and began looking specifically for textures and shapes and patterns.

Check out my B&W nature photos

Check out my B&W Tree photos

But somewhere around six months ago, it got into my head that I should be doing things in color. I practiced a lot with color editing in Lightroom, and I guess I did alright, but I never felt satisfied with my work. To me, color covers up those raw parts that only B&W can reveal. Continue reading

Getting Through the Mid-NaNo Jitters

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participantYesterday was the halfway point in NaNoWriMo. I did alright for myself: 1,900-something. A huge improvement from the day before: 200.

The first week of NaNo, I was pumped. I had my book title and my cover image and I had a basic premise, and some character maps. It was the most prepared for NaNo I’ve ever been (most of the time I get as far as…saying I’m going to do NaNo).

I woke every morning at 6:20 and sat with my coffee and shoveled word after word into the engines that fueled my ambition. By the end of week one I had close to 20k words.

But right around the 25k mark, the self-doubt arrived.  Continue reading

6:54am: Balancing Life and Writing and Motherhood

cropped-img_20160205_000111.jpgMy daughter came into our room last night, stood at my side of the bed with “Brown Bear” and waited for lift-off. Now, with Daddy gone to work and with Mommy at her desk, she has the whole bed to herself. Maybe that was her plan all along.

I often feel a crunch at this time of day. I should have written on the blog, should have gotten something done before I started to work on the big project. I’m two-thirds of the way through this revision and I must finish it before November. I promised myself that, for the first time in a decade, I would be project-free for NaNoWriMo.

And I promised myself that, for the first time in a year, I would finish a project. Continue reading

Sun Flares

© Lina Forrester

Almost everyone who knows me, knows I like to take pictures with my lens detached from the body of my camera. Freelensing produces a haunting blur that I’ve never been able to re-create in an editing program, and even on the days I swear to myself that I will keep my lens attached, I wind up freelensing. I never leave my broken 40mm at home.

Disclaimer: freelensing is dangerous for your camera. If you have an expensive camera and/or you use it to pay your bills, I would suggest buying a lensbaby. The blur they produce isn’t quite the same, but it’s a much, much safer method and will keep your sensor clean.

With freelensing–especially on bright days–there’s always a chance that I will let in some sunlight. And sometimes, after taking a picture, I will look at the display and see a beautiful rainbow shooting across the frame.

© Lina Forrester

© Lina Forrester

© Lina Forrester

© Lina Forrester

© Lina Forrester

About a decade ago, I was walking around on my Dad’s property and decided to take a picture of a unique design built into the outer wall of his house. I didn’t know it until later, but at the precise moment I hit the shutter release, a butterfly flew through the frame. It totally blocked the design on the wall, but I couldn’t have cared less. I’d been photobombed by a butterfly for crying out loud.

And that’s almost as cool as being photobombed by the sun.