Recycled Vacations


With it being the Christmas season, I’ve been reading a lot about how many Christmas presents should I buy, how much is too much, etc.  For the past 3 years, my family has done something totally different and it works.

At first, it started as a recycling project.  We needed money to go with some friends on vacation and couldn’t fit it in our budget so we started saving anything that could be recycled that the scrapyard would purchase.  We separated the different metals and such (the price is higher for separated metals).  When it came time for us to pay for the vacation, we took our finds to the scrapyard and low and behold, we gained $800.  That paid for what we needed!  Ever since we have saved our recycling and turn it in before the vacation.

Three years ago, we decided that the kids and grandkids were accumulating too much “stuff”.  So I asked the kids if they would rather get no gifts and we just take the entire family on a vacation over Christmas.  They loved the idea.  I went all out that year.  I sold stuff on eBay, recycled, etc.  We spent 8 days at Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells.  We had 15 people (My 2 daughters and their husbands, 8 grandkids and my uncle.)  The resort had a room that fit us all, a kitchen, and living room with a fireplace.  My oldest daughter brought a mini tree and we set up for the holiday.  The kids still have not stopped talking about this trip.

The second year, the entire family couldn’t do it so we took a simple weekend trip to Chicago and stayed in a nice hotel and went to Legoland.  Although this trip was not as exciting as the first, the kids had fun and it was still a memorable event.

This year, we are taking the family to a state park with a Toboggan Run.  The Potawatomi Inn at Pokagon State Park in Angola Indiana has some great features.  It has a library, a game room with tons of games, a craft room, the toboggan run, outside firepit and so much more.  This one will be 4 days and 3 nights.  We’ll see what the kids say after this one.

I’ve found during these past few years that it is time to get rid of all the “stuff” in our lives and make more memories and experiences that the kids will remember for a lifetime.  They don’t remember a single present that I ever got them but they continue to talk about these vacations year after year.

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National Parks Week – April 15-23, 2017

In honor of National Parks Week from April 15th to the 23rd, I am posting some of my favorite pictures that I have taken at some of those parks.  If you are interested in purchasing prints of any of them, please contact me with the size you want and I will get you a quote. If you are interested in another area of the country, please ask, I may have something you might want.

April 15–16 and 22–23 all National Parks will be free to the public. Take advantage of this gift and get some awesome pictures to print or sell!

The United States has over 400 National Parks to visit and 120 of them normally charge a fee to enter. Now is a great time to check out our beautiful country!


Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC



Fire Island LighthouseFire Island National Seashore, New York


Statue of Liberty, New York


Yellowstone, Wyoming (Old Faithful)


Grand Teton, Wyoming


Lights, Camera, Action!

Guest post by Michella Smith


Isn’t it grand to know the excitement that comes from effectual photography! And the passion that brings the jazz to it all you ask? Well, let’s take a little hike and explore this further. Any individual who radiates that special appetite to feed the photography hunger know exactly what we’re talking about here!

This incredible life that we sojourn is absolutely too amazing that we dare not miss those fire moments when digital snapshots deserve a glorious capturing! Nor could we spend what seems an eternity on this delightful planet of earth and remain absent from freezing those frames that seize the essence of our visual world.

Remember those crazy, fun basketball games in high school when our team scored and the cheerleaders were jumping like kangaroos and our home crowd kicked the bleachers with The Dukes of Hazard in a Dodge Charger energy?! Well, that’s the kind of enthusiasm that delivers the beautiful and wonderful spirit of photography.

Now, who on earth wouldn’t like to snap that perfect image that boasts the colors of a cosmic buffet? What a delight it is to challenge our optical sights through the incredible visuals of those special photos that deliver energy and zest to the very heart. Good photography is chicken soup to the soul!

Art has been and yet remains the essence of visual stimulation since the beginning of time. Good photography defines the manifestation of the celebration of life, children, events, history, and much more. Quality photography has the ability to overshadow many life occurrences that have caused us to forget the powerful moments that brought us joy, love, laughter, and sorrow. A soulful journey cherishes the elements that allow us to see all, remember all, and capture all. And full-flavored photography savors these very things. Airsoft Zone

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Are you a Stock Photographer that would like to write guest posts on my blog?


I am always looking for stock photographers that would like to write a guest post for my blog. This is a great way to bring people to your own blog or photography site. The only requirements that I have are that you link my blog to your post somehow (, and I will approve the post before it gets used.

If interested, contact me and I would love to talk to you about it!


How to sign up as a Photo Contributor on Shutterstock


Of all the stock photo agencies that I sell my photo’s on, Shutterstock is by far the best for me.  It started out as the least paying site but definitely turned into the site that I get the most money from overall.

Setting up an account on any site is easy.  Getting accepted photos is another story. Your photos should be good quality and at least 4 megapixels or more for Shutterstock. Every site has different standards but today we are talking about Shutterstock.

Once you sign up (click here for the link and I’ll get a referral bonus), you can go to this link where it will explain the process for submitting your photographs. Once your photos are submitted, a reviewer will accept or reject your submissions. You’ll need at least 1 of your photos accepted to continue the process so be sure you submit your best photographs during your first submission process.

Quality is important.  Look at your photos at 100% when deciding which photographs to use and make sure they are not blurry. You’ll be happy you take the extra time to make sure you have the best quality photos, it will save you time with keywording and such later. I also suggest keywording your photos before you begin submitting. I have a blog post on keywording here.

Once you begin selling photos on Shutterstock, you can refer people to your photos directly or get other photographers to join through your own referral link. The directions on doing that are here.

If you don’t want to feel overwhelmed, start with this one site at first and get the feel of it. After you become comfortable with the process, start working on other sites (I have a list here of other sites that work well for me). Don’t get frustrated. It takes time to learn what works best for you. The extra money you will earn for your photos will be worth it in the end. Good luck to you in your photography endeavors!!!

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Is Photography Art?


Is Photography art? Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, photography art is also. What are the things you enjoy looking at on your walls at home? Is it photography? Is it paintings? Maybe it’s sports memorabilia. No matter what your preference is, everyone has their own decision on what they prefer.

Photography covers a multitude of subjects. Wildlife, landscapes, objects, family, pets, travel, and much more. You can decorate with a favorite theme or a favorite color and photography can be used to focus on those ideas.

There are many sites to buy photographs. These “Stock Photo” sites are used by magazines, blogs, and ordinary people every day to find specific kinds of photography. Here are some links to several sites where you can find my photography that is for sale as stock photos.

Although I have more sites that I sell on, you can get the gist of what photo’s I sell. I also try to make available to my clients the option of choosing a picture and have it printed and mailed directly to them. You can do that by contacting me through the comments.

Art makes wonderful gifts and inspirational viewing to most people. It can bring memories back and make new memories. When looking for art, consider photography.

Differences between DSLR & Point and Shoot Camera’s


When purchasing a camera, you need to decide what the purpose of your camera will be.  Are you using it to capture family memories or are you using it to take pictures you can sell? These two types of cameras are very different. Here are some comparisons of their best qualities…

DSLR (Digital, Single, Lens, Reflex) Camera.

  • Has removable lenses.
  • Has reflex mirror.
  • Better image quality.
  • Wide variety of accessory options (lenses, flashes, filters, etc.)
  • Better speed.
  • Larger ISO range.
  • Manual and auto controls.
  • Holds its future value better.
  • Has better depth of field.
  • Better quality lens options.
  • Higher megapixels.
  • Larger image sensor.

Point and Shoot Camera.

  • Better size and weight.
  • Operates quieter.
  • Cheaper
  • LCD Screens for easier framing of photos.

If you are selling stock photo’s, many agencies require a camera with a minimum amount of megapixels or a specific size to qualify for their approval process.  If this is what you are planning to use your camera for, check with the agencies you plan on submitting to for requirements.  You can use the links I have in this article to set up your accounts (I get a bonus for referring you through these links).


How to Keyword your Photos

howtokeywordphotosheaderIf you want your photos to be searchable, you need to keyword or tag your photos. Think about what words someone might use to find your photo. Consider these options when keywording;

  • List everything you see in your photo. If you see grass, list it.
  • Be specific. List proper names of places that are in your photo, like Eiffel Tower.
  • Consider what is happening in the photo. What are people doing?
  • List the places that may be recognized in the photo. Where was it taken?
  • List categories in keywording. Travel might be good for a beach scene.

Most sites allow you to go back and add tags later but I find that tagging them with every keyword you can when you list it helps get it to the top quicker.

Here are some words you may see in your photo and other words that could compliment them…

  • Grass: grass, green, environment, environmental, blades, photosynthesis, nature, carpet, earthy, plant, seasonal, Kentucky bluegrass.
  • Horse: horse, livestock, farm, riding, rider, animal, mammal, friend, legs, mane, tail, bridle, saddle, hooves, hoof, horseshoe, beautiful, equestrian.
  • Shoes: shoes, sandals, high heels, running, jogging, walking, soles, shoestrings, feet, sports, jumping, athletic, warmth, comfort, worn, new, old.
  • Beach: beach, sand, white, black, ocean, lake, pond, water, waves, sun, sunbathing, tanning, vacation, travel, stormy, footprints, sand castles, lifeguard, sharks, beautiful, beauty, sunset, sunrise, horizon, Jamaica, Barbados, Florida, Daytona Beach, warmth.

Also remember that some of these words may not be pertinent to the photograph so don’t use those words.

Many of the stock photo sites have keywording assistance. Check out their site and find what works for you before uploading all your photos. Keyword your photos in photoshop or some other program so that you don’t have to keyword each time you upload them. Most sites will auto populate the keywords you have put with the picture.

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