Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Games are Over, Eh?

As I sit here watching the Closing Ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, I realize three things:

1. I am really going to miss watching every random winter sport that exists packed into two weeks.

2. I will finally get back to my neglected DVR and all that it has preserved for me, including who's been "auf'd" on Project Runway and all the hoopla surrounding the disastrous male singing on American Idol.

3. There are more Olympians than Lindsey Vonn, Apolo Ohno, and Shaun White?! Who knew?! Thanks NBC for your EXTREMELY in-depth coverage of 3 out of 216 American athletes and 2,629 total.

While I haven't seen this many maple leaves, since...well...October, I haven't tired of every quirky aspect of these
red-mittened games, even those P&G commercials thanking moms that made me tear up every time.

At one point in my life, I wanted to be an Olympian myself. A figure skater. Kristi Yamaguchi to be exact. Although my dreams of gold ended with the single toe loop perfected at the peak of my "career", being a Wisconsin girl, other winter sports were always near. My dad and grandparents loved to take us sledding down snowy slopes, and while we were no Jamaican bobsled team, we enjoyed soaring through the wintry powder. Here I am 20-some years ago with my Grandpa Riley, getting ready for our flight, which was always heart-pounding fun....

...until one winter I gracefully soared into a tree and broke my elbow at age 8. Here with broken bone twin Grandma Riley and her sledding-unrelated injury:

*Sigh* No, Olympic gold was never in my future. We'll leave that to the pros...Lindsey Vonn, Apolo Ohno, Shaun White...and oh yeah...those 2,626 other incredible athletes, whatever their names are.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Never Too Late to Be a Rock Star

I have a confession.

I have a day job. And it's not photography. I am a third grade teacher, and have been known to sing songs about photosynthesis, participate in "Wacky Hair Day", and make a full spread breakfast for my entire class on one griddle (yes, that includes chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, and square hashbrown patties that you can very literally feel lubricating and gelling in your arteries). And while I think I'm not too shabby at the teaching gig, it is not the whole of who I am. I am still, as I tell my students, trying to figure out "what I want to be when I grow up". And what I have discovered is that I can be more than one entity. In this very moment, I can be a teacher, a photographer, and a pancake flipper all at the same time.

I keep a framed quotation on my desk that is attributed to one wise-beyond-her-years twelve-year old that reads "It's never too late to be a rock star". It is my constant reminder, my kick in the tush, my daily dose of self-inflicted sass with a wink that light-heartedly nudges me in the direction of my photography. Some people are content and successful as Monday through Friday 9-to-5ers, but I'm also driven to be a 5-to-9er, or however long the sun hangs out in the sky for a shoot.

I have a confession. I'm a photographer, because I'm taking that twelve-year old's advice. Who is your inner rock star?...the type of rock star you have always wanted to be? Leave a comment. :-)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chase...A Dream and A Six Month Old Baby

It was exhilarating to publish my debut blog post for Aliza Werner Photography. Hitting the "Send" button on the email that shared the news with my family and friends that I was punchin' the pedal on the right on my business had me feeling
energized, enthusiastic, anxious, and eager for the opportunities ahead. It felt like that moment when you've gradually clicked your way up to the top of a roller coaster, and you have a split second to look up, look down, and look around before you zoom into your adventure. A moment to appreciate where you are and where you are going; to hold your breath and scream. Although, I personally chose to do my "happy dance" all around my living room.

After consulting one of my sisters about what should appear in my sophomore post, she didn't hesitate to say, "Well, post some pictures!"...and I didn't think twice. It's quite apt that the first shoot I'm sharing is of a six-month old baby named Chase. His smiles and laughter and big bright eyes during our shoot caused me to pinch myself as I headed home. Chase. For his parents, a beautiful baby. For me, a dream job.

Chase | Six Months


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's Always Best to Start at the Beginning

"Once upon a time" begins so many cherished stories. Stories that have a familiar and comfortable predictability about them. A balanced plot line and a tidy resolution. And because of that, "once upon a time" is exactly how I will not start the blog on my photography experience, which has tread its own unique course, far from any art school, dark room, or heavily acronymed convention. I could wait for the elusive right words to kick off this first entry, but just like my decision to dive deeper into my photography without waiting for the perfect moment, it's simply my time to begin sharing my adventure with you!

In the words of one of my childhood heroes, Glinda the Good Witch, “It’s always best to start at the beginning…”. And you can’t argue with a woman waving a glittery wand, and wearing 6,000 yards of pink tulle, so, here goes…welcome to my blog!

To kick off the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony for my shiny brand new blog, complete with an over-sized pair of imaginary scissors, I thought I would share with you the very beginning of my photography career. It all began at age 8 when my parents bought me a red Kodak point-and-shoot 35 mm camera, complete with a sliding lens cover and a wrist strap. Safety first. My dad, a photo hobbyist, took me out for my first photo shoot around town to try it out. I loaded up one roll of film in that red bad boy and headed out the door!

This is the first photo I ever took, in all of its underexposed un-retouched glory…

…and so began my love affair with freezing moments in time on film. In my photo album, I captioned this one “Dad and the Minivan”. I worked on the wording for days. Between then and now, my dad got a few gray hairs, ditched the beard for a goatee, and upgraded to a Honda Odyssey, and I retired the red Kodak memory maker, moving up eventually to my current Canon digital SLR.

I’m looking forward to sharing my more-accurately-exposed-work, thoughts, moments of brilliance, and progress with you. Even though I literally began my blog with the words “once upon a time”, I hardly expect my story to take that predictable path. It hasn’t yet.

So, here’s to new and unexpected surprises along the journey! Thanks for taking a peek at where it all began.