Thursday, November 27, 2014

Got the Chicken Coop Ready for Winter

Just added some straw bales, and a bit of plastic sheeting to keep the chickens a little cozier and hopefully productive through the winter. Just added a couple tarps to one corner of the larger pen to keep the wind down.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Getting the Most Out of Your Social Media Posts

I own my own business that relies on social media to basically exist. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, LinkedIn... etc, etc, etc. I've had people ask what works best for me so here's a bit of a run down.

I will tell you that the best sites for me are Facebook and Tumblr - for two different things entirely. On Facebook I have a page for my photography business. Without this, my business would likely not exist, or at least not at the level it does. Its how I gain clients, communicate with many clients, advertise sessions and events, link and cross market with other local businesses. Yay awesomeness that is Facebook.

Tumblr is a different animal all together. Tumblr can probably best be describes as the love child of Twitter & Instagram. For me at least. This is where I get the most traffic to my fine photography site where I sell prints. I've set up my tumblr "blog" as a sort of gallery. It is 99% images that link back to their page on my website where they are for sale. Most go to that website, a handful go to my Etsy site, depending on the product I'm pushing.

On Tumblr I try to post daily. TRY. The biggest tips I can give if posting images are:
  • watermark
  • keyword, keyword, keyword
  • write a little description (so its interesting and Google can index it)

I added code so people can't easily right click and copy my images, I watermark everything, and added links to my website and Facebook in the top menu. Its easy to look at, clean, and everything is linked. This is where I have the most followers of any social platform.

Now onto when and when not to post. I'm reposting from which is where I saw these infographics after my friend and fellow local business owner Second Spring Soaps posted on a Facebook group we belong to of local crafters.

Someone has gone and done all the research for us! Here is the original post link, and here are the helpful graphics - maybe print and pin to a board above your desk?

Obviously test it for yourself and see what works. Use Google Analytics or similar tracking to see what drives traffic and when you get the most hits. I know it says the worst time to post on Facebook is after 8pm, but that tends to be the best time for me because I am posting for parents of young children to see - they are most free to engage on social media after the kids are in bed!

Facebook and Tumblr work best for me, find out what works best for your business and run with it!

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

I love Kickstarter

Last year I tried and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund my 2014 Marshmallow Microcosm calendar. It was awesome - folks funded it 203% So this year I've decided to try again.

I'm getting a bit of a late start with created scenes for the 2015 calendar, but have materials on hand to get a handful finished this week - hopefully starting tomorrow with a couple new ones. I'll be posting some of the new images up on the Kickstarter page.

I plan to get the calendar printed at the end of September or beginning of October, and they will be delivered soon after they arrive. I know many people get multiple copies so they can keep one and give the rest as Christmas gifts... I think my dad alone gets about 10 to mail off to various relatives - some of them only know me via these weird little marshmallows!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Tour de France... in England

Apparently the Tour de France is making the rounds through a few countries now. I happen to be in the UK, and my house happens to be on the route as they pass through London.

I watched just as they came out of the Olympic Park in Stratford and down Stratford High Street toward the city. Two riders were ahead of the pack at the time by about 2 minutes, then the pack came along:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Art + Wine = Special Promotion

This month, I've got a special promotion to share. All orders from my website come with a $100 gift certificate good towards your first purchase of wine on, throughout the month of July!

Yes, really! Wines is a company based in Napa, California, that supports independent wine makers from all over the world.
Independent artists and photographers... independent wine makers... it's a perfect match...
When you place an order for any of my prints/cards or phone cases, you'll be e-mailed a $100 gift certificate from instantly. It doesn't matter how large or small your order is. If you order a single greeting card, you'll still receive the gift certificate.

Once you receive the gift certificate, all you have to do is visit, enter in your gift certificate code, buy some wine, and you're done!   Then, just sit back and wait for the wine to arrive on your doorstep.   If the logistical stars are in alignment, maybe your wine and your order will arrive at the same time!

Before using your gift certificate on, please note the following restrictions:
Terms & Restrictions
The $100 gift certificate is only valid for first-time buyers on and can only be applied towards purchases of $160 or more.   You must be 21 years or older to redeem the gift certificate.   Wine can not be shipped outside of the United States.   Additional restrictions apply.   Void where prohibited.   See complete details at   Naked Wines is not affiliated with Naked Winery ( in Hood River, Oregon.
There is no minimum purchase required in order to receive the gift certificate. If you purchase a greeting card, for example, you'll still receive the gift certificate from - yes, really!

Click here to browse a huge assortment of images to decorate your walls! 


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Roadtrip - The West

This is how horrible I am at blogging... this latest roadtrip was in April. Its June. Go me.

Picture post!

The highlight for me: Bryce Canyon 
I took a few pictures here....

Next up: Zion National Park 
I actually have more photos from Zion, just haven't edited them yet... this rock pile I thought was cool and quite zen on the Emerald Pools trail - highly recommend.

To Yellowstone National Park!

oh wait... it was closed. We drove all the way up to find it was closed until the following week.

Right.... moving on....

 The Rockies... Grand Tetons, Denver and such.

From there we moved on to the desert again... Santa Fe, Grand Canyon, then Rt 66 through southern California, and high tailed it to Palm Springs for Coachella!

Don't make our mistake and go to the west rim of the Grand Canyon... waste of money and time. Head to the north (if open) or south rim. Way better scenery and doesn't cost an extra arm or leg. The guys really wanted to take a helicopter ride and this was were they booked it from - another epic waste of money!

Oh, here's a little house sparrow on some yucca I photographed while at the west rim.

The Route:

Las Vegas

Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Tetons

Denver and the Rockies

Santa Fe

Grand Canyon

Indio - Coachella 2014

On my way back home after dropping the guys at LAX, I decided to not take I-40 for the 3rd time, and instead went the southern route. I was on a mission to take pictures of saguaro cacti, which had eluded me for years. I'd never gone on a trip quite south enough to see them. This time I got them in spades.

I was trying to find the desert museum in Tucson. Fail which turned into a win when I accidentally ended up in the Saguaro National Park. Such a cool place. Basically a forest of saguaro... as well as prickly pear.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Just launched a campaign on Indigogo to hopefully expand my photographic offerings!

I'd like to offer real estate photography, but I need a good ultra wide angle lens to do so. The lens I'm looking at would also be great for landscape photographs, and creating really interesting portraits during sessions with my clients. Basically a really versatile lens that I can do a lot with - more bang for the buck as they say!

The Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM FLD AF Ultra Wide Zoom Lens is my lens of choice. Its got great reviews, and I intend to buy used to save costs.

I'm offering contributors professionally printed, gorgeous canvas prints in return. Size based on contribution size, but complete choice over what print they want from the wide variety I offer on my website

I've got 30 days to hit my goal! If you'd like to contribute, or just help me out by sharing the link out across the social media universe, head on over to my Indigogo page!

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Roadtrip - The South

Now that a couple months have past since my latest roadtrip, how about I actually post about it?

Procrastinate much? This will pretty much be a photo tour, cause that's how I roll.

The Route
A giant loop starting and ending in Atlanta. 
Main points in order:
  • Asheville
  • Gatlinburg - Smoky Mountains - Cades Cove
  • Natchez Trace Parkway
  • Dallas
  • San Antonio
  • New Orleans
Basically the plan was to take our time in each place, and not push ourselves to go too many places. We both prefer not having to stay in a different place each night the entire trip - as we pretty much did our first trip. Lesson learned! If you are looking for a really good travel book, we like Lonely Planet.

Asheville: Photo fail. I don't think I have any, except many from antique stores from a prior day trip I took there. Very cool little city, good vibes, some great coffee houses - pretty much the little Portland equivalent of the southeast. One of those places I'd be down with living in.

Grotto Falls trail Smoky Mountains Tennessee by Heather ApplegateGatlinburg: The city itself we could do without. Way to touristy. The surrounding area is the Smoky Mountain National Park, so outdoor adventure and pretty scenery for the win! I specifically wanted a fall trip because of this. We stayed a couple days, driving the Roaring Fork Motor Trail and hiking the trail to Grotto Falls, and driving the Cades Cove Loop.

Roaring Fork Motor Trail autumn trees by Heather ApplegateThe motor trail is an explosion of color in the fall. Basically it looks like someone took a highlighter to the trees and went mental.

Grotto Falls Smoky Mountains by Heather ApplegateLots of pull over areas to take
pictures of the trees and little waterfalls. The trail head to Grotto Falls is along this road. It's not a difficult trail, but I imagine it gets really muddy after even a halfhearted rain. I highly recommend it, and also advise just pulling over in random spots to have a wonder through the bright colors.

Cades Cove is gorgeous. Historic buildings are dotted along it, great panoramic vistas, fields of deer... just be prepared for bumper to bumper traffic in the fall. About half way through we just wished it was over.
Cades Cove panorama by Heather applegate
Roaring Fork Waterfalls Smoky Mountains by Heather Applegate

Natchez Trace Parkway: Doesn't take much longer than the highway to get from Tupelo to Jackson using the parkway, but is a far superior drive. Its just plain relaxing. We were pretty much the only car on the road, very peaceful, and there's a visitors center to stop in.
Side note: Careful if you get off in Jackson for a break - the roads are probably the worst I've ever driven on. Your car will thank you for avoiding it.

From here we went on to Shreveport (Bossier City to be exact), LA. Family lives there and it made a good stopping point for a couple nights before carrying on to TX.
The Majestic in Dallas by Heather Applegate
Dallas: This was not in the original plan. But the navigator saw that the Mavericks happened to be playing a home game against the Lakers the night we were driving by, so we made a day of it. Headed into Dallas midday, ate some good pizza, went to the art museum then onto the game.

Of the 4 games we went to, this was my favorite - the Mavs put on a good show and the fans were the most entertaining!


cathedral of san fernando by heather applegate San Antonio: Again, not in the original plan. But Austin was flooded a day or so before, and (again!) the navigator saw basketball games he could attend (two Spurs games in a row!).

The Alamo at Night by Heather ApplegateVery happy with the resulting roadtrip detour - the Riverwalk is awesome.We pretty much spent the next few days walking every inch of it. Really good restaurants, really really good pubs and great scenery. On the last night we stayed at a hotel right next to the Alamo - so I scooted over there to photo it at night.
San Antonio Riverwalk by Heather Applegate

 Pirate Alley New Orleans by Heather ApplegateNew Orleans: The final landmark of the trip. I've been a couple times - once for Mardi Gras. I recommend people who come from outside the US visit here because it's just unlike any other part of the US. The culture, architecture, food & drinks... all very unique to New Orleans. We stuck to the French Quarter, which has plenty to see and do on its own.  Coffee at Cafe du Monde, Hurricanes at Pat O'Briens, beignets, fried aligator, and a little too much punch involving 151.
St Louis Cathedral by Heather Applegate

The highlight of New Orleans for me was the pharmacy museum. Medical history, diseases, old stuff I could take pictures of... it was pretty much my mecca. It's a tiny museum, dark, yet I managed to take about 200 pictures. I could have spent all day in there if the upstairs had been open (it's being refurbished).
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum by Heather Applegate

And back to Atlanta for the navigator's flight back to London 
(and where he managed to fit in a fourth bball game.... )

If you'd like hotel, restaurant or bar recommendations put it in the comments and I'll do my best!

Next roadtrip will be back out west in April 2014 - so stay tuned. 
Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, Coachella and more. 

And if you want to help me get there, all my photographs are available to purchase.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Still Life Photography

Something I am doing more and more of (maybe because it's winter?) is still life photography. 

I like to approach it sort of in the style of those classic still life paintings you see in art museums - except instead of gathering stuff myself & arranging it, I seek out objects and such that are already sort of arranged for me.


Antique stores for the win!
Seriously, where else can you find piles of cool old junk already arranged nicely on a table or shelf? Sure I'll shift a few things around, but rarely do I feel the need to.

You can also just find things around your house, garden, scary basement... etc. My dad & grandfather had a big collection of old cameras gathering dust in the basement. I rescued them from the dampy muskiness.


A few tips:

1. Use natural light when available. Its the best. If there's natural light from a window, set up next to it and you can use a white mat or poster board as a makeshift reflector to bounce light onto the other side of the objects.

2. Arrange, shoot, arrange again, shoot, arrange again, shoot... and on and on. See what you like best. Try moving things from one side to the other, stacking, changing the depth of field... the options are limitless and if shooting digital go nuts.

3. Use varying levels. Everything on one plane is kinda boring. Keep your audience's eye moving.

4. Mix up the textures. Soft & hard, fuzzy, leather, feathers.  I happen to have a collection of animals bones I've found over the years. These are fantastic for adding interest, texture, and a bit of weirdness.

5. Try themes - great for starting out. Get like objects together - bird feathers, eggs & a nest or old tins with a mixing bowl & utensils. You can even go with all the same type as I have in this example of vintage spice tins.

6. Go monochrome - use a color as a theme. The eggs are an example of using the same color palette, but varying the tones and patterns to add interest.

7. Use what you've got. You'd be surprised what you can find lying around to have fun with.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How to build a Little Free Library - A tutorial

Isn't it cute?!
 Not as detailed as I had hoped to make the video, but it's done.

For Christmas I gifted my 5 year old niece with an antique door handle, and basic instructions on how to build a Little Free Library. Over the next couple days we got all the materials and built it all from scratch.

This one will be going into a community garden in Shreveport, LA. Just waiting for final confirmation, then it will be put up and registered!

If you go to the Little Free Library website, you can look up ones in your area. If your town is lacking of LFLs, build one! There are always places willing to host, and you can even put them in your own neighborhood.

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