Being a Full Service Photographer
27th December 2015

The elderly voice on my voice mail talked of seeing my photos on exhibition at an area hospital as they had been in an accident and were a patient there. She talked of which one she wanted to purchase, when she would be discharged from the hospital and....could I gift wrap it?

I have never had someone request something like that but I thought, why shouldn't I? While I usually deliver the photos to the customer, since it was for a special occasion (Christmas), then I should do that for them also. I found a box that fit the framed photo perfectly and did my best to get it ready for her.

We drove to her house and delivered it as agreed. While it seems like an extra thing to have to do, it seems the right thing to do. We sat in her kitchen and talked with her for a while and, as we left and wished her a good Christmas holiday, I was glad that I did that small thing for her.

Thinking ahead, I have to see what type of wrapping paper I have and if there is anything else I should be prepared for.
Lahn Artists Photo Group Exhibition
20th November 2015
Three members of our group are exhibiting at the St. Vincenz Krankenhaus in Limburg. We have stepped in to fill a void left by someone who decided to back out of their scheduled exhibition. I enjoy showing my work, especially with others in the group. Our Theme is "Kontraste", which was perfect to show some of my infrared photos and some new landscape photos that I shot a few weeks ago.

A big thanks to Herbert, the manager of the group, for arranging this for us.

After finishing the installation of the exhibition. From left: Herbert Ristl, me, Vladi Murtin

Kayaking and Nature
29th October 2015
I love to go kayaking. Mind you, I can’t swim, but that doesn’t stop me.

Recently, on vacation in Orlando to see my family, my son in law asked if I wanted to go kayaking. We borrowed kayaks from friends of his and went to King’s Landing in Apopka to put in.

We started out early afternoon, so we had to push to make the 4:00 pick up time at the end of the eight miles. But we did take time to have a sandwich about midway. Going down the river, I was amazed at the peace there. The only noise to be heard was the occasional plane overhead, the movement in the underbrush of animals and the click of the shutters of our cameras.

Even though my arms were aching and my legs were sunburned, I quickly said “yes” when he asked if I wanted to go back again a couple of days later.

This time we were at King’s Landing early in the morning and were on the water by 9am. Being out on the water before others gave us the opportunity to see a bit more this time. We saw turtles lined up on fallen branches and alligators sunning themselves on partially submerged tree trunks.

Since we were paddling downstream, it was a challenge at times to maneuver into position where you could take a few shots. If you were lucky, there were vines that you could grab a hold of and swing the kayak around into position, holding onto them with one hand while taking your shots with the other.

With the warning that we needed to remember that the wildlife was just that – wild - and dangerous to approach (and the knowledge that earlier in the week a woman had an arm ripped off by a gator when she swam into the lily pads and too close to a nest), we backed off when a gator – we estimated him to be about 8 ½ feet – let us know that we shouldn’t come too close. He stayed on the log as we turned our kayaks around at a respectable distance and took our shots.

This was the first time I had been in such close contact with wildlife in their natural environment. And, even though I came away with even more sunburn on my already sunburned legs (although my arms didn’t ache as bad), it was truly an experience that I’ll never forget.
Burning Jam and Artist Hands
21st October 2015
Last weekend I participated in a one day artist gathering/art festival in Kördorf. All sorts of artists in the area – 18 in all – were at the event, titled “Burning Jam”, which featured “ART from the ROOTS - Ein Tisch - ein Künstler (One Table - One Artist)”.

While I knew several of the artists there, I enjoyed meeting many more. I was impressed at not only the breadth of the variety of artists, but also of the quality of their work.

Towards the end of the day, each artist was asked up to a microphone to introduce themselves and what they do. Naturally, with me being a foreigner, I was asked to talk about how I arrived in Germany. People are always interested how an American and an Austrian wind up married and living in Germany. I don’t mind explaining and it always ends with a few surprised looks and chuckles.

We also mentioned how I enjoy taking photos of hands. I have a growing series of photos of hands of various people, taken at work or at rest. In the last hour of the event, two exhibiting artists came to my table offering to let me photograph their hands. While being surprised, I gladly grabbed my camera and made a few shots. It really made my day that they trusted me to shoot their hands, and actually seemed excited about it.

All in all, it was a nice day filled with meeting new people, seeing friends and just having a good time.

I downloaded the photos today and am looking forward to seeing what I have.
Rain Can Be Your Friend
16th June 2015
There are some advantages to rainy days for photographers. One is that the light is even - no harsh shadows to try to compensate for. Even with the software programs of today, it can sometimes be hard to correct harsh shadows without giving your photos an unrealistic or grainy look.

Another advantage relates to tourist sites: the lack of crowds. We happened to be driving home a couple of weeks ago from the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) region. When driving through Todtnau, your eyes can't help but travel up to one of the most spectacular waterfalls which is easily seen from the road. Driving up the winding road to the waterfall can be challenging though. The parking lot consists of perhaps twenty spots and, when those are full, people park along the side of the road and walk up to the waterfall. I love waterfalls but walking with two heavy backpacks in the heat and juggling for a position to try to photograph the waterfall without a thousand people in the picture is not my idea of fun. The alternative to that is simple:

Go there in the rain...

As I mentioned, we happened to be driving home. As we drove up the winding road, not a car was to be seen. Even the parking lot was empty...totally empty. We parked, put our rubber boots on and walked towards the entrance. The last food stand owner was closing and said "Hallo" as we walked by. I can imagine that he had a good laugh at the tourists walking in the drizzling rain. As we rounded the corner, we could hear the power of the water. The site of the waterfall was incredible. We've been to a few - some natural and some man made. This one ranks towards the top of the list for sheer beauty. And, since it had been raining all day, there was more water than normal.

And we were all alone.

There was a covered hut that protected the camera equipment when the drizzle picked up a bit. While Wolf stayed there, I took the umbrella and balanced it between my shoulder and chin while I shot. I shot the waterfall until the light started to fade. Then I turned around and shot the mountains that were shrouded in the mist. Even with the rain, it couldn't have been a more perfect way to end the day.

Equipment Database Site
30th April 2015
While reading an article the other day on a German site about camera theft, it mentioned a site where you could register your equipment. There are a number of sites out there but I decided to check this one out.

Lenstag ( has been around since 2013 and is free. I registered 14 of my items - from my gps to my cameras and lenses. They asked for the serial number and a photo of something showing a serial number. With most of my equipment, I sent a scan of the warranty card, but I found that sending a photo of the equipment itself showing the serial number also worked. They will check what is sent and verify your equipment. Should it be stolen, you can report it through there, along with other equipment database sites. You can also access the site through an app on your phone and download your equipment information (which I find more useful than carrying around paperwork).

Will it bring something? I don't know. Some equipment has been recovered through their service. But, having just bought all new equipment, I thought that it wouldn't hurt.

And they don't restrict you to camera equipment. They say that people have also registered their phones, laptops and other electronic equipment.

Hopefully, I'll never need to report something as stolen...
Exhibition at Leifheit-Kulturhaus in Nassau
28th March 2015
A group exhibition with the Einricher Kunstfreunde will be at the Leifheit-Kulturhaus in Nassau, Germany from April 17 to May 29, 2015. The opening will be held on April 17 at 7:00pm at the Kulturhaus. We have a nice variety of exhibitors.

A Tale of Caution:
04th March 2015
In the market for a Nikon D750 and lens, we started looking first at my husband's distributors, then at online shops since we live out in the country and have no stores in our area. We checked out their prices were good, the camera and lens were in stock and would be delivered in 3-5 they said.

They lied.

Three weeks later, they were still stalling the delivery claiming that the Nikon recall affected their supplies. They finally, when put under a deadline, delivered a Nikon D750 and lens. Unfortunately, it was one of the recalled ones for the reflection issue. Another camera arrived the next day by FedEx from their partner - in England. The box was not the usual Nikon box; there was no guarantee card for the camera and the lens guarantee card was in Chinese. Smelling a rat, we contacted Nikon Germany. They called back, confirming my suspicion that it was a gray market product and that Nikon Germany could not service it under warranty.

When my husband asked if I wanted to give them one more chance, my answer was a resounding "NO". When confronted with the evidence, they claimed that the gray market camera was sent in error...right. My bullsh$t meter went off the scale with that one, I'm afraid. Having nothing on their website that they were selling gray market equipment and not informing the customer that they are purchasing gray market equipment is illegal here. We prepared ourselves in the event that we would have to turn everything over to our lawyer but the company quickly agreed to not only pick up the equipment but to refund the money.

My take on the whole situation was a wasted and aggravating three weeks and a company that certainly won't last long in the business using those types of selling tactics. I noticed on their feedback that there were a few people who had purchased the D750 camera. I am hoping that they and others will see the feedback we will leave mentioning the gray market equipment and check theirs to make sure they purchased one that can be properly serviced, should it need it. Otherwise, they might be in for a shock should have to send it to Nikon Germany.

My last word is to run, not walk away from purchasing anything from them.

Since we believe in supporting the smaller mom and pop stores, I found one in Ravensburg that not only has an online store but a brick and mortar store. After a phone call to confirm that the Nikon's they have are not ones that are affected, we ordered not only the D750 but two lenses. Hopefully, this won't take another three weeks...

ETA: We ordered the photo equipment from Foto Bantle ( on Wednesday and transferred the money to their account immediately. The package went out Friday and I received it on Monday by GLS. Everything is perfect; the camera has not been affected by the reflection issue and everything has EU warranties - plus, we have a three year warranty with the shop. THAT is how a business should be run.

A week later and we're still waiting on the money to be returned to our account from After emails and intervention from Trusted Shops, the money was returned.

And We're Live
17th January 2015
I have been with another hoster, Zenfolio, for almost six years now. I have had few issues with them, but nothing that made me want to change...until I happen to notice an upswing in the user forum of other photographers who were noticing that their images weren't showing up on Google search.

My site had been consistently ranked on the first page of Google search so I erroneously thought that my images would also be indexed. I was wrong. Only a few photos - mostly from my blog - were indexed. I had close to 1,000 photos on my site and only three or four had been picked up by Google. Something was really wrong.

For a photographer who relies on potential customers finding their site via Google (and other search engines), this could be a killer. No concrete answer from the hoster was forthcoming. I can only guess that something was blocking the sites from Google, but the true answer will never be known.

So, my New Years resolution was to make a change. After a month long search, I landed on Photium. For someone who loves the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), it was right up my alley.

So here I am...

As spring rolls around, hubby and I will be taking off again and making our long weekend journeys around Germany. Not only will I be making photos with my infrared camera but a new addition to my bag - a Nikon D750 with a few new full format lenses. Like a kid with a new toy, I'm excitedly awaiting ordering it next week...and also taking delivery!

So, a new website, new hoster and new camera's to a wonderful start to 2015!!
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