I’ve finally had it with social media.

It was 2008. I had just moved to our first duty station at the beginning of my husband’s military career. He deployed only two months after we arrived. All of a sudden, I was alone in a new place with a 2-year old and a 5-month old. Facebook was a good fit for my vulnerability.

The promise of connection and community was alluring and I was desperate for it. Desperate to keep in touch with those I had left behind. Desperate not to lose the friendships I had spent years cultivating. If I had known then that the platform that promised me camaraderie would eventually hinder free speech and censor those whose opinions didn’t line up with the “approved” line of thinking, I would never have registered.

But register I did. And I have spent the past 12-years trying to find a way to fit social media into my life in a productive way. After a dozen years of effort, I give up. I don’t think social media is productive. In fact, I think social media brings out the worst in people. For every positive post, there are 10 negative ones.

But the past year has pushed me over the edge. You see, I believe in freedom of speech. I value the opinions and perspectives of others, even if I don’t agree with them. My husband hasn’t done 10+ combat deployments to defend the goverment’s right to control you – he’s put himself in harm’s way to defend YOUR right to choose. I’ve seen those rights squashed in the past year, under the guise of “protection” or “it’s for your own good.”

But the ability to choose is what is so great about America. Nations all over the world would give all they had for that simple, basic right that we have so cavalierly thrown aside.

Wear a mask, or don’t.
Send your kids to school, or don’t.
Get vaccinated, or don’t.
Stay home, or don’t.

These are personal choices that will look different for all of us for a myriad of reasons that are nobody’s business but your own. Since when did we decide to judge and shame others because they want to live their lives differently than we do? Since when did we demonize personal responsibility?

You know what? If you’re reading this, I want you to know that I value YOU. I want us both to have the freedom to speak our minds and engage in respectful discussions – because how can we possibly decide for ourselves, learn, and grow if the only point of view we hear is our own?

I don’t know everything. Maybe we can learn something from each other. Maybe we can challenge each other. Maybe we’ll be better people for it. I don’t think social media fosters this kind of open, free thought. I firmly believe that social media is part of the problem, not part of the solution. And I want no part of it. So, by the time you read this, all my social media accounts will have been permanently deleted.

Trust me, this isn’t a rash decision (though I’ve been guilty of that in the past). I’ve been weighing it since last summer. The world exploded and social media faned the embers until they were raging flames, devouring everything in their path. I have no room in my life for hate, division or “cancel culture.”

After all, despite the popular line, “We’re in this together,” we can’t actually move forward in unity if we cancel everyone who disagrees with us. It’s the most anti-American thing I can think of.

So, what does this mean for my photography? Nothing really. I won’t be sharing images on Instagram or Facebook, but I’ll still be sharing them here on the blog. I will miss seeing the images created by others and gleaning inspiration from their work, but I know many of you have your own blogs and YouTube channels and I’ll focus my attention on the content you share there instead.

Oh, and you know what? Those friendships I thought social media would help me salvage long distance? It didn’t work. Because social media offers a superficial connection at best. There’s a lot more to friendship than that.

Thank you for reading and hearing my heart.

Bye bye, MacBook. Hello, Adobe.

I’m on my third Apple computer. The first was an iMac, which at the time (2011), seemed like the most high tech thing in the world to me. When I desired a little more portability a few years later, I switched to the MacBook Air. Why not both? Well, as with most technology in my life, I always need to sell the one to fund the other.

That laptop served me well for several years but I eventually outgrew it, base model that it was, pushing its storage and processing capabilities more and more with each software update. So, I bought another one with better specs a few years ago. After deciding to retire from professional photography, I found myself increasingly wanting to simplify and edit on the go. Unfortunately, my iPad Mini wasn’t up to the task.

Enter the iPad Pro.

I never thought I would love a device this much. It’s so much more capable than my Mini. And in fact, it has as much internal storage as my MacBook Air. Combined with the Apple Pencil, it is a very intuitive experience to both write and edit images. I’m currently writing this post with the Apple Pencil as if it’s a regular notebook. It occasionally has trouble reading my handwriting, but overall it’s easy and effortless. I can’t write as fast as I can type, but maybe this is a good opportunity to improve my penmanship. Not to mention the benefit of the slower, more focused approach. Plus, I feel a little bit like Harry Potter writing in Tom Riddle’s diary as my writing magically transforms to digital font.

I actually have a pretty hard time with change. I tend to steer clear of it, preferring instead the safety of the familiar. I’ve come to see it as a character flaw. After all, change is really the only constant thing we can count on. I know I need to make my peace with it. Let’s call this a beginning.

So, now you know I love my new iPad Pro and you’ve likely guessed from the title of this post what mobile editing program I’ve paired it with. I’m reminded of that time I wrote a blog post about my quest to quit Adobe. I really was serious at the time. Adobe as a company really rubbed me the wrong way, especially after I tried the Creative Cloud subscription model and in so doing, permanently lost access to my previously purchased standalone version of Lightroom 6. (I still really feel there should be a disclaimer about that before you pull the trigger the on the plan).

But despite all that, my search for a comparable option always left me a bit deflated. I could make other things work, but nothing was ever really on par with Adobe’s offerings. There was always some aspect of Lightroom I was missing. That said, I toughed it out, refusing to cave. That is, until I got the iPad Pro and decided to turn my entire workflow mobile. Capture One (my laptop editing software) doesn’t have a mobile editing solution. Guess who does?

So, I guess I find myself coming full circle, now a subscriber of Adobe (though not the full CC option). I still have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Maybe it’s just evidence of my inability to easily accept change. Or maybe Adobe really is the best option. Either way, we do have a decade long history and that’s not easy to ignore. Maybe it’s like an unhealthy relationship you keep coming back to, hoping things will be different this time around. Maybe they will.

One can only hope.

Photograph everything. You’re bound to get a few good shots.

When I first began learning photography, I photographed everything. A bottle cap, a blade of grass, an old newspaper…you get the idea. I was just so excited to take pictures and apply the things I was learning that I could turn any subject into a photo op.

Fast forward a number of years (to the Social Age) and instead of photographing anything and everything, I tried to only photograph “interesting” things. I started curating my images before I’d even taken them. Instead of playing around with a subject to see what I could create, I automatically decided it wouldn’t be good enough and skipped it all together. It took several more years before I realized that being “good enough” was a completely subjective term – one I needed to define for myself rather than letting others do it for me.

I absolutely fell into the social media comparison trap, trying to make the images I thought others wanted to see. Not only did I lose authenticity in my art, but I also lost the spark that kept me shooting. Maybe it’s a necessary process that we need to walk through in order to come out on the other side with a clearer perspective.