Reflection

That's A Wrap!

I've been delaying this post because I was trying to let it sink in. 

I'm officially finished with my MA in Photography from Falmouth University!

I can't believe it. The last two years I have been so focused on finishing this MA that the time flew by. It has been my constant companion these two years, which has made the last few days feel awkward and empty. My schedule is now in need of an overhaul--one that doesn't include school. It's amazing and frightening at the same time!

Before I share what's next for me in the photography world, I want to celebrate the accomplishment and thank God and all of my family/friends for their support. I couldn't have done this without the countless dads who said yes to participating in my project, to my husband who made so many sacrifices (especially towards the end when I was in "do not disturb" mode), to all my amazing professors who encouraged and critiqued my work, and to all of my friends who have encouraged me to do this program. THANK YOU to all of you. What's amazing, is that I haven't just accomplished this MA, but have published a book! I am still in awe about that one and never thought I was capable of such a thing. I remember when I began this MA I had NO IDEA how I'd ever get to this point--but I did it. Whew. This is by far the hardest, yet most rewarding program I have ever done. Looking back, I can truly see how much I've changed--I am not the same as I was when I started. I feel more refined and certain about who I am as a photographer and how I operate within my practice. So all this to say, I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had and can't wait to see how it helps me in the coming future. I'm sad to see it go, but I'm thankful I made it through (although I won't know if I officially made it through until mid-September when I get my grades...but I'm pretty positive I passed; we'll see).

Moving on to the future, what's next? Several people have asked me that over the last few days and while I was trying not to rush to the next thing, I have thought a lot about it (of course!). Here are some of my ideas:

  • I am uncertain of the name of this project, but I really want to dive into my identity as a nomad. For the last five years I have lived abroad and it's really changed me. How I see people, culture, and situations are different than before--especially my home culture. So I really would love to do a project that communicates that change within me and I'd love to explore what has changed and how it has changed. It's a lot of self reflection and introspective thinking, but ideally I want to create images that reflect on my reflections about my life and thoughts, looking at expatriates and what happens to them when the live in other cultures. It's very different than my project over fatherhood, but I think it would be interesting to see what comes of it. I have some ideas technically how I'd accomplish this project, but I'll divulge those later. :)
 
2018.0827 - What's Next Blog Post.jpg
 
  • My project Foreign Lands: American Fathers Living Abroad is still active and going. I would like to keep up my Instagram account, so I will continue to post there. I also would love to continue in the theme of fatherhood--I've become very passionate about the topic and don't want to stop looking at dads. I've thought of doing other projects that look at other nationalities living abroad (like South African's or British dads maybe?), creating a series of books along the same topic. These are just some ideas, nothing is set yet. Follow me on my Instagram account here!
  • I'd love to teach or train photography in my city, so this is also on the agenda. I don't know at what capacity this will be, but I love teaching (especially cross-culturally). In the beginning, this is what motivated me to get my masters in the first place, so I'd love to end up doing this in the near future. We'll see! 

So lots of ideas! I'm trying to listen to the advice of some friends by celebrating this accomplishment and not rushing into the next thing, but this is hard for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't like to be idle. There is always something that can be accomplished. :) But rest is an "activity" too (apparently). :) 

Well friends, you will now hear more from me on this blog now that my essay-writing-days are over (can I get an amen!?)! Thanks for coming back after my long hiatus! Chat soon.

Ashley

Expecting the Unexpected

Do you ever have those moments where you're expecting one thing and something else happens? I feel like this is the case for me a lot--both personally and photographically speaking. 

I am a driven person, normally (I do have my days of laziness!). I have dreams, goals, and aspirations--and ambitions to meet all of them! Obviously, to meet all of those aspirations is impossible, but I think Proverbs 16:9 (ESV) is true: "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Plans are good. And it's good to hold these plans, goals, dreams, etc. loosely for God to move them in a different direction, if need be.

This idea is something I'm currently working on. I'm trying to hold my plans loosely and expect confidently that things will work out, but maybe not in the way I'm expecting. I think there is something to be said about someone who has vision for their life and is willing to let God change things up a bit. I'd really like to be like that...and God is giving me many opportunities to try it out! :) 

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.2, 1/80 sec, ISO-500  |  Portland, OR, USA

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.2, 1/80 sec, ISO-500  |  Portland, OR, USA

Photographically speaking, sometimes I will take pictures expecting one thing, and I get another. Sometimes they're good and other times...they're pretty bad (and you'll never see those!). ;) The picture above is an example of an unexpected outcome. I tried to focus on the building in the water, not the water itself. Even though I didn't envision this image, I ended up really liking it!

Life is the same way. My focus is on one thing and I end up getting something a little different. When I think back over my life, I clearly see how when I received the unexpected, I was always more satisfied in the end. In these moments, sometimes disappointment arises (you can read my thoughts about disappointment here), but to know that God has great plans for me, I can rest assured that my life has purpose and God's not wasting any of my time on this earth. It's really not mine anyways!

So, here's to expecting the unexpected. Whatever happens will be good!

-Ashley

Setting Sun

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/10, 1/80 sec, ISO-500  |  Near Austin, Texas, USA

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/10, 1/80 sec, ISO-500  |  Near Austin, Texas, USA

When we were driving through Texas visiting our family and friends, we stopped in Austin, Texas and saw Joshua's Uncle and Aunt. They took us to this fun Mexican restaurant that was overlooking what you see above(!!). We got to watch the sun set as we caught up on life and ate a delicious dinner. It was pretty amazing. I felt so thankful in that moment to be with them and to see God's handiwork. 

Currently, we're in Houston spending time with Joshua's grandparents and will soon switch to my parents. I can't believe that it's already June 9th--time is whizzing by so quickly! It reminds me that the time we have in our lives is so limited. It's so important that we do the most excellent things with the time we're given. We don't know when our lives will end. I don't know about you, but I still have a lot to do with my life! :)  

Live today to its fullest!

-Ashley

Places of Worship

Remember the post from the other day about the Golden Temple and the men and women who walked miles to visit it? Well, if you don't remember what the Golden Temple looked like from other posts, can you see it below: 

Canon 5D Mark II, 85mm f/1.8  |  f/2.2, 1/100 sec, ISO-1600

Canon 5D Mark II, 85mm f/1.8  |  f/2.2, 1/100 sec, ISO-1600

It's pretty amazing in pictures and up, close and personal. You can see how much it glows from the reflection in the water. We didn't walk into the temple--it had a very large line and crowd. We decided to peruse the sidewalk that surrounded the temple and observed the people around us. It was interesting being a bystander!

Places of worship intrigue me. They can be ornate (like the Golden Temple) or as simple as a room in a home with no decorations at all. What people define as worship is also an interesting idea that I'd like to explore further one day, especially cross-culturally or between the East and West. I think I'd find many interesting answers!

Hope you're enjoying "The Week of Reflections"! More to come soon.

-Ashley

Black & White Reflection

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO-1250  |  Portland, OR USA

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO-1250  |  Portland, OR USA

I typically am drawn towards color, but sometimes when I post process a photo and change it to black and white, I just love the results. Sometimes stripping away the color can really pull out detail and makes the picture less cluttered. 

This picture was taken in Portland, Oregon in January of this year. I can't believe that was five months ago! It's crazy how fast time flies. Before we know it it'll be December again. 

Enjoy your Tuesday!

-Ashley

A Week of Reflections

Canon 5D Mark II; 24mm f/2.8  |  f/7.1, f/5000 sec, ISO-320  |  Anderson Island, WA USA

Canon 5D Mark II; 24mm f/2.8  |  f/7.1, f/5000 sec, ISO-320  |  Anderson Island, WA USA

I was looking through my photos and I saw that I had many photos that had reflections in them, so I'm calling this week, "A Week of Reflections". :) 

This first photo is more reflecting color than it is anything. I love the yellows to the deep blues. I just love the water and how many ways you can capture it. 

Be looking for tomorrows picture! It'll be different than this one. :)

-Ashley

Areas of Improvement

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4|  f/3.5, 1/100 sec, ISO-800  |  Portland, OR, USA

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4|  f/3.5, 1/100 sec, ISO-800  |  Portland, OR, USA

I just love this picture. I love the open, overcast skies, the lines of the architecture, the roads on the second 2/3's of the picture, and the color. There was no filter added to this photo and it was very minimal editing--that's how it looked the day I shot it. 

I just love taking pictures of people, but I'm growing fonder of taking pictures of architecture and inanimate objects. It's something I'm still working on and I'm hoping to continue to improve. 

Another area that I really want to improve on is off-camera lighting. About a year ago I started dabbling in it and it was so much fun! I hope in the coming months to do more with it. You can see my few off-camera lighting posts here.

What would you like to improve in your area of expertise? We all need improvement, even if we're at the top of our field! I hope I never think I'm perfect the way I am. If I do, someone please slap some sense into me. ;)

Hope you're having a great day!

-Ashley