Monthly Archives: June 2012

Above the knees, please…or, Let’s Talk Composition.

Here are more photos from a workshop I attended recently. See my previous post of awesomeness where we talked about leading lines. And candy. Yeah, they relate, I swear.

D’Arcy talked a lot about composition. She said don’t be afraid, shy, or embarrassed to get up close, choose a funky angle, lie down, look up, shift around.

Here’s a few I took of a really intense little girl’s petticoat in a sewing shop. (It was hanging high, so I had to move around underneath and take some with my flash on and off.) Which one works best for you?


I think I like the last one best, but a case could be made for the others depending on your taste.

The lesson here is, I couldn’t tell at the time which one would work, so I took several using different methods.

D’Arcy also said don’t be afraid to take a ton of shots of the same subject. You never know which ones will be the winner, and with digital cameras, there’s no harm, no foul.

Now to one of my pet peeves. Yes, Bev is peeved. What’s wrong with this picture?

I call it the dreaded pinhead shot, or the long-distance-hills-valleys-and-tiny-people-miles-away shot. Like the one taken when our son, Evan took his girlfriend, Kamie skydiving to celebrate her college graduation. It’s interesting, but I can’t see them!

I started a long time ago telling politely requesting people who were snapping me, “Please, don’t photograph my knees.”

They took it that I was paranoid about my knees. Ok, maybe. But it was also a quick & easy way to explain that I really wanted less horizon, fewer extraneous body parts. More face. (I want to be able to count how many new wrinkles I have, don’t you? Oy.)

The point is, I don’t care about your shoe styles, and I’m sure you don’t really care about mine. (Gunboats are not most people’s topic of choice, after all.)

Here’s a good example of what I mean about more face. Notice the difference in “long distance”…

Too far away. The flowers are lovely, but in ten years, who will care about them?

versus up close.

Lovely! Now we can see Katie and David. And guess what? The flowers still add color. (While I cropped, I also used the quick "enhance" to brighten their faces. Easy-peasy.)

Here’s a much better one of the skydivers.

Still enough scenery to tell what’s going on, but would you really want to miss seeing that triumphant smile, and victory wave?  (Woohoo Kamie!)

It’s so much fun taking great pics, making memories (and watching your kids actually land safely). These pictures will be forever treasures.

And be forewarned, I may or may not make gagging sounds suggestions when you post knee photos. So knock it off.

Which one of these knees look like yours? JK. What’s your pet peeve?

Sweet and savory photography tips.

Do you have a hobby, sport or activity you’d like to improve upon?

Recently, I took a photography workshop because a) I want to use more original photos in my posts, and b) I adore me some good photographs.

D’Arcy talked about composition, white balance, the gizmos, and whirly-gigs on all our cameras. After we recovered from all the tech-talk, we got walking and snapping.

One major element of D’Arcy’s focus–pun intended–was using “leading lines.”

The door hanging “invites” your eye inside.

I like this one so much, I made a variation of it the banner image on my landing page.




Peek through the wheels of this old wagon. A sidewalk busker is holding a sign that says “Jesus.”

My knees are still recovering from taking this one, which is kind of ironic if you think about it…kneeling to see Jesus…?




The panes in the window below are the “leading lines” to the bench. I also like reflections.

Another tip: D’Arcy said each photo should tell a story.

Imagine yourself sitting here eating a juicy burger watching the pedestrians passing.

(I like red a lot, that color pops.)





We went into a candy shop. (Always ask before tacking pictures inside. Some stores have copyright concerns.)

Tip: Get up close. (If you rearrange, replace anything you touch.)



Another leading line. And the story here? Erm…I’m getting hungry that candy looks so inviting.

Many thanks to D’Arcy Kallingal of West Village Photography for teaching the workshop. (Warning, Bev’s got a new passion!)

What’s on your self-improvement…or just for fun list this summer?

Your turn, now go! Challenge yourself in some creative area, and have some fun!

The workshop class photo.



Hear ye, hear ye! Announcing the winners!


Cue the drum roll, trumpet fanfare, boat parade and RAF flyover, Her Majesty the Queen will now announce the winners of GRACE & MAGGIE ACROSS THE POND.

Without further ado, here’s her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II–a bit tired from all the Rolls Royce riding, hand waving, and moshing at the rock and roll concert, but a promise is a promise–to read the list of winners.

“I am pleased to announce the names of my close friend, Bev’s, book giveaway contest.

>clears throat dramatically<

…Joy Isley, Deborah Malone, Nancy Farrier, Terri Clark, and Nancee M.  Now hand me my purse, I need to tweet this.”

Thank you, your highness! Congratulations on your decades of reigning and crown wearing, and also congratulations to all the winners!

Please send your mailing address to upon receipt of this news, and expect your novella fortnightly. (I think that’s a thing.)

So you don’t miss more giveaways like this, awesome announcements, and general mayhem in store for Fresh Start Stories, make sure you have verified your subscription by clicking through the automated email in your box after you subscribed.

Get your virtual passport ready, and let me know what you think about your virtual trip across the pond.

Now back to the fields, peasants! Er, have a great day!






I’m giving away a “trip” Across the Pond



In honor of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, I’m giving away 5 copies of my novella, GRACE & MAGGIE ACROSS THE POND!*

Grace and Maggie take their good-natured bantering  to the land of crowns and Fascinators for a pony trekking holiday. While riding over the countryside’s beautiful hills and dales, they discover a friend in need of a fresh start. Find out how their trip becomes a whirlwind race to save newly-widowed Emma’s outlook on life. Grab a cup of tea and settle in to ride along with these two fun-loving gals across the pond.


This is my favorite picture of the Queen. We once "brushed elbows" at Wimbledon Horse Show, and she looked just like this.

Here’s how to enter: Subscribe to this blog, and then leave a comment on this thread for one credit. To be entered twice, email me the name of my “local pub” from the time I spent living in England. (Hint: you’ll find the name and picture in one of my past posts.)

If you are already a subscriber, you can also play by emailing me the name of the pub.

If you’ve already read Across the Pond, please consider going to Amazon and writing a comment or two about what you enjoyed about Grace & Maggie’s trip. Word of mouth helps immensely.

Winners will be announced Wednesday, June 6th.

TA! (That’s British for thanks!)

(*North American addresses will receive a paperback, and overseas pals will receive a digital copy.)




Call me Becky…Beth…BARBARA! or, perhaps I should just join the CIA.

Go ahead, I can take it. I know I am…


Remember that scene in Beaches when Bette Midler slaps her husband during their wedding ceremony, and he says, “what gives?” and she says, “I don’t want you to ever forget this moment?” (My paraphrase.)

We joke that I should have joined the CIA (or apparently slap people) because you can’t teach the kind of forget-ability I live with.

Spy-Bev, Angelina style. Right....

Maybe you can relate.

But be heartened, as I am, because we are not alone. I believe that “forgettables” are the new “geeks.”

Until “The Middle” began airing, I was ashamed, embarrassed. Not anymore.

(More on the brilliant television show later. Have you watched it?)




I will explain more about the trendiness in a moment, but first here are some of my experiences.

I dare you to top them.

EXAMPLE ONE: I used to board my horse at a public stables. A couple of horses down from mine some rather friendly girls kept theirs, and we would see each other daily.

No matter how many times I reminded them, they would forget my name. Here’s how it went:

“Howdy, Beth!” (We were in Texas after all.)

“It’s Bev. Or Beverly. Either one. Not Beth.”

Next day: “Hiya, Becky”


Next day: “How are you Barbara?”


Finally, one day I had a bad attitude.

“How was your ride today, Belinda?”

No response. Then I overheard this:

“What’s the matter with Becky?”

“I don’t know. Probably just a snob.”


EXAMPLE TWO:  Here’s one you may or may not relate to, but still makes me laugh. Mostly.

Despite wearing a very prominent name tag with a huge, embarrassing picture from our annual, at our ten year high school reunion, my Freshman year steady boyfriend did not remember me until MIDNIGHT. (Most of the attendees never did remember me, even when I reminded them of the “carrot dress.” I TOLD you I was Sue.)

Old Whatsername (lips firmly drawn over braces)

Still not convinced?

EXAMPLE THREE:  More recently >ahem< I was in the green room working a show at our community theater. I had been there EVERY day since we moved in, more or less about two weeks, rubbing elbows with a cast of…twelve people.

For some reason, the fact that I am FORGETTABLE became the topic of convo. One of the cast members, whom I had worked with before, and pretended to remember me, said “pish-posh, how can anyone forget you, Brenda!?” (Eeesh.)

I kid you not, the next week, I spoke to him in the theater courtyard and not only did he NOT remember me, but he offered to sign an autograph.

I know what you’re thinking. Maybe he’s a little self-absorbed. Perhaps you’re right. So here is one more. This one’s even better.

FINAL EXAMPLE: For seven years, I worked in a behind-the-scenes ministry at church. (Maybe there’s a pattern…backstage, behind-the-scenes?) Anywho, monthly, I would see  a very nice gentleman in these meetings of a very small group of people. Face-to-face…mere feet away. Recently, we began visiting another church. Guess who preceded us? Yep. Did he remember me? Nope. Last time I saw him? Mere months ago. Over it. Not his fault.

It is me. If forgettability was a superhero power, I would own it.


At least knowing I am not alone, and one of the most popular characters on television is based on my experiences, helps.

When “The Middle” started airing, I immediately related to Sue Heck.

I am Sue. Sue is Bev.

Eden Sher (Sue Heck in "The Middle")

Enjoy this montage clip of…what’s her name again?

Sue Never Gives Up

By the way, the young actress, Eden Sher,  is brilliant in this part, and did NOT ask me for pictures, or my experiences.  Although come to think about it, she must have contacted my mother for research. (Thanks, mom.)

 No, I will not show you a picture of the “carrot dress.” Although if you imagine a giant embroidered carrot instead of Sue’s strawberry…you get the idea.

Maybe it’s just as well they forgot.