Hello everyone! I thought it was about time I gave a little update on my website and photography to anyone interested. Milo and I have been very busy these days!
I’ve been wanting to update amykettenburg.com for a while now to have more of a minimal look that puts the most emphasis on my photos. I know I’ve been talking about it for a while now (since last summer to be exact) and some of you may be curious as to why it’s taken so long. I’ve weighed the pros and cons of side scrolling photos vs grids. Source Sans Pro vs Helvetica. Light background vs dark background. Rectangular vs square thumbnails. It has been fun. It has been exhausting. You might even remember a screenshot I posted early last fall of the initial mockup…
Speaking as a person of little patience, it’s been difficult for me at times with how long it’s taken to get this up and running. Early on in the process Milo and I decided we would use the redesign of amykettenburg.com as a learning tool for me with coding html and css. Even though it has slowed the process down greatly, it’s been extremely rewarding for me in the end (more so than I initially expected)! At this stage in the game, we are a couple days away from “launching” and I have coded 4 out of 5 of the pages almost entirely on my own with only minimal assistance while Milo is taking care of the more heavy hitting stuff such as actually implementing the Isotope code into the site, working with the photo displays, etc. I am walking away from this project with a deep appreciation for what developers and designers do everyday, knowing I only hit the tip of the iceberg. It’s been so much fun (excluding a few tearful episodes of frustration, ha) and if you ever need someone to create a pretty looking “unordered list” or tell you the difference between “font weight: 200;” and “font weight: 400;”, I’m your girl.
Ever since moving to Portland 2.5 years ago I’ve felt the need to push my photography back to the frontline. It’s hard when you have a 9-5 job that demands your full attention but it’s an important transition I need to make. Milo has been such a sweet help in having endless conversations with me about career goals, my photography and what I want to do with my life in the bigger picture. Ways to make certain that I am using the degree I worked hard for (and loved every minute of). In the past year I began working on my personal photography again, along with a handful of editorial pieces. I got new equipment including a negative scanner that I had been lusting over for a long time and a new camera. I have been feeling so inspired and more like myself than I have in a little while. It’s wonderful!
So this post is sort of rambly and bless your heart for whomever actually read this far down. I just figured I’d give a
little very long update about my website, how the process of coding has been for me, and how it feels great to be the owner of my freelance business: Amy Kettenburg Photography. Stay tuned for the ACTUAL updated website this week. :)
I am so smitten with my new camera! I’ve been taking it with me everywhere - to work, to dinner with friends, and out on special photo excursions. It’s great to feel so connected with a piece of technology. I have been mapping out photo shoots and can’t wait to share all the new updates to my work. This is just the first step of many towards doing what I love and making a living from it in the process, something I am wholeheartedly working towards.
Something else I’ve been steadily working on has been my list of resolutions (I’ve been calling them goals since ‘resolutions’ sounds like a New Year’s cliche to me). As you may have noticed if you’re reading this post, I can successfully check “blog makeover” off the list! My plan was to update this blog to look like the current design of my photography website as I am about to change amykettenburg.com shortly. I wanted my photo site to be clean and minimal, but I can’t seem to let go of the look of wood grain and trees and all things Pacific Northwest. I feel like it’s a look that suits the blog since blogging is meant to be less formal anyway, so here we are. Small tweaks will continue to be made, but you get the gist of it. :)
Earlier this week Milo and I went snow shoeing on Mount Hood for the first time and it was so much fun! I think I’ve finally found my recreational sport of choice, haha. Of course I brought the camera along to get shots of the beautiful snow. I also went on a photo walk during my lunch break from work this past Monday while snow flurries dusted everything in sight and fog clung low to the treetops. Living here really does feel like a fairy tale sometimes.
I’ve decided something that feels a little crazy. I’ve decided to learn something entirely new to me. Something so new that the word “new” doesn’t even feel like it adequately describes it.
I am going to learn a programming language called Ruby.
Not a big deal, you might think? Well, perhaps you’re right but let’s back up for a minute first. Ages ago in high school I took several years of Spanish. The process of learning it was fun and exciting for me, and I did fairly well. I never quite got to a conversational level with it (and now after years of inactivity with it I’ve nearly lost everything except for “hola!”), but I understood it. While the words and occasional sentence structure were different than what I was used to speaking in English, there was enough of the concept that was familiar to me. In Spanish, you learn very early on that an adjective comes after the word it is describing. Instead of “pretty girl” it would be “girl pretty” or chica bonita. Easy right? It’s not abstract concept. You just have to remind yourself that the order is reversed when it comes to adjectives in the Spanish language. Ruby is different. For me, learning Ruby is like learning another language where everything is such an abstract concept that you have to learn what an adjective even is. Nothing is familiar.
While some of you may already know what Ruby is, I realize a lot of you might not. I didn’t either until I started peeking over Milo’s shoulder while he was working and got intrigued. Milo is a professional computer programmer who most commonly uses Ruby as his code language of choice (there are others like Python, PHP, Java, etc). Ruby is a general purpose programming language - so while it is commonly used to make websites, it can be used to make almost any kind of software. Here are some examples of what it looks like (borrowed from this Wikipedia article). Kiiiiind of intimidating.
So, why am I doing this when it is so incredibly far out of my comfort zone? Because knowing and understanding code gives you power.
Programming allows you to create something out of nothing. Many of the websites we interact with on a daily basis (like these) are born using Ruby (or other well known programming languages). As a photographer or just a creative person in general, this is an invaluable skill with benefits that goes far beyond the obvious perk of being able to create my own website from scratch. Maybe one day I’ll use it to start my own business or work from home. Or perhaps if I somehow get reeeeally good at programming (ha, a big “if” at the moment) I could even one day work at some of the most innovative companies I admire that change the ways we interact with each other.
Either way, I am so excited to try something new that I’ve never done. At the moment I am pretty bad at it and poor Milo has to explain the same simple things to me over and over and over. But little by little, I’m getting better. :)
I am constantly in awe of how talented our friends are. Excruciatingly talented! I get so inspired by the passion and effort with which they throw themselves into projects, each one getting bigger and better. I’d like to start profiling each friend here on the blog to give everyone a glimpse into how unique and creative they are.
I think most of the people that read my blog are familiar with Adrien Daller and Philip Rabalais as well as their new musical collaboration Trouble Lights, but I hope this reaches some readers who are not yet familiar with them. This video was shot/styled/edited/engineered/produced entirely by a small group of incredibly talented people in a tiny town in Iowa (who says Iowa only has cornfields, amirite?). These people dreamed up something creative and MADE IT HAPPEN. I am so inspired by them.
Here is the video for their song Safe With Me. It’s super widescreen so feel free to make it fullscreen or click this link to see it bigger on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/37034695
The official music video for “Safe With Me” by Trouble Lights.
DOWNLOAD “SAFE WITH ME” FREE ON BANDCAMP http://troublelights.bandcamp.com/
Featuring (in order of appearance):
Writing, Direction, Camera, Editing, VFX:
Special Thanks to the Carnegie Historical Museum
Written by Adrien Daller and Philip Rabalais
Vocals by Adrien Daller
Produced by Philip Rabalais
Engineered by Philip Rabalais
Additional Engineering by Aaron Shier
Filmed on location in Fairfield, IA and the Carnegie Historical Museum
Hello everyone! I’ve been spending the past couple weeks all over the state of Florida on my last business trip of the travel season. I have mixed emotions on this because even though I am exhausted by this time of the college recruitment season, travel is one of my favorite parts of the job. I fly home to Portland on Wednesday and won’t be hitting the road for work again until next fall.
During my downtime here, I’ve been hitting as many antique and thrift stores as I can find. Florida can have excellent finds if you know where to look, and I scored a few goodies that were not only wonderful but amazingly cheap!
Also, ever since I recently discovered the wonders of Essie brand nail polish, I’ve become a bit of an addict. They have the best muted colors! I’ve slowly been adding little by little to my collection and try to look for new shades throughout my travels.
How are you all enjoying the new year? I’m not usually one for resolutions, but I resolved to finally build a creative space for myself in our home. As an artist that sometimes lacks motivation, I find so much inspiration in creative spaces. I’ve spent hours on sites like Pinterest and Design Sponge looking at various nooks people have carved for themselves in their homes and apartments with the purpose of being productive. Finally, Milo and I decided to take action and have started building me a workstation. I can’t wait to post photos here on the blog as it comes together!
What are your new years resolutions and how are they coming along?
Is it me or has this week gone by slooowly? I’ll be heading to Florida this weekend for my last big work related trip of the travel season and then I’m mostly done with business trips until next fall when it all starts back up again. Florida isn’t my favorite place to go (no offense, FL readers - just too humid and sticky for me!) but my parents are there so the trip will be a lot of fun. :) I’m also visiting some fantastic high schools for portfolio reviews and am looking forward to it!
This week Milo and I embarked on getting a few new pieces of furniture for our home. We want to make the most out of the space we have without it appearing cluttered, and our biggest issue has been seating! Until this past week we had never invested in any kind of dining room table because we were limited on space, but we decided it was finally time bite the bullet and get one so we can have friends over for dinner without making them sit on the floor in front of our coffee table. :P We ended up finding a great table that seats four and fits perfectly in our little window nook. Here it is just moments after we assembled it last night.
And our new bookshelf!
Having a dining room table makes me feel like a real adult, haha. Oh by the way, both of these iPhone photos were taken using my awesome Christmas present from Milo - the olloclip lens! I’m putting a post together with some sample photos I’ve taken with it because I.Am.In.Love.
I hope you all are having a great Friday! Any fun weekend plans?
As soon as I saw some of his images floating around in Pinterest, I immediately became smitten with Matt Wisniewski’s collages fusing portraiture and various landscapes/textures. Swoon!
Happy Thursday, everyone!
I’ve been a crummy blogger lately, but the break has been nice. I started blogging for fun and as a way to keep in touch with close friends and family scattered all over the country. I was also hoping it would serve as a little push for me to put my creativity to good use and work on various DIY projects or get back into my photography. It felt nice to get a creative surge and pour it into customizing the look of my blog or to pen interesting happenings of my day complete with colorful photos, but after a while and after gaining a few followers I started to panic when I *didn’t* feel like blogging. I felt like I was letting my readers down by not posting often but in reality sometimes my life just isn’t that interesting. Anyway, I’m not trying to whine. I’ve just been in a blogging slump and it’s felt like more of a chore than anything else lately, so I’ve taken a break. If you still actually even read This Mountain Girl, bless your heart.
ANYWAY I DIGRESS. Onto much more fun things like……
Hanging out with my new BFF blogger/MASTER DESIGNER Jess from the blog IROCKSOWHAT!
Hanging out with Jess was just what I needed on this Virginia business trip and we had a great time. It’s wonderful spending time with someone who shares an appreciation for crude humor and TMI details. :)
After hanging out all evening we realized neither of us had taken any photos, thus an impromptu photo session in my hotel lobby during our goodbyes was necessary. I’m sure the staff and a handful of guests think we are nuts.
Now I’m back to hanging out in my hotel room soaking up the joys of cable since we opt to not have it at home. I have to admit, although in general I enjoy not having cable because it forces me to spend my time doing other things, there is something reeeeally nice about vegging out in a hotel room to late night talk shows, HGTV and Discovery Channel. I’m going to channel surf a bit more and then hit the hay. I start driving north tomorrow from Southern Virginia to the Northern Virginia/DC area (aka my hometown!) and will be staying with my BFF MELISSA. PSYCHED. Needless to say I’ll be paying to see Breaking Dawn more than once this week. Goodnight, everyone!