“Selfie Sundays”

image

 

This selfie taken in my bathroom with my iPhone.

Lately, I’m all about looking for ways to have more fun and connect with others while getting out and adventuring! So, I thought, why not introduce that more into my work as well! And, that’s how my new (fun and educational) series “Selfie Sundays” was born! This is a 5-week series of classes where we will meet (on Sundays) to learn about the art of photography, while drinking coffee, riding bikes and eating really great food! You, (the learner) will join me (with whatever camera you own- even your cell phone, if you’d like), to learn about portraiture (and the “art of the selfie”), learning to “see the light”, how to “explore with your camera,” and “learning to see”. I’ll also answer individual technical questions and focus on that during our last class. We will meet at 9:45am each Sunday at Rivet beginning May 4. From there we will pick up bikes from Arlberg Riverfront Rentals and head out to explore with our cameras. We will spend 1.5 hours in “class” and come back to Pybus for a catered  lunch provided by Dilly Deli. The cost is $50 per class (includes the cost of teaching, coffee, bike and food), or $220 for the 5-week series! At the end we will print the best of your work and have an art show! Class-size is limited!

The first 5 to sign up will receive a VSCOcam app filter pack of their choice!

To sign up email me:kathryn@atlasandelia.com

Classes scheduled for
May 4 -First class will focus on “The Art of the Selfie” (Using whatever camera you own, even your camera, ways to use the equipment you have and the light that is available to make the best picture (including the “selfie”) you can!
May 11-Second class: “Learning to See the Light” (Getting to know different lighting techniques using available light).
May 18-Third class: “How to Explore with Your Camera” (Trying new things, including new angles, new settings on your camera).
June 1-Fourth class: “Learning to See by Defocusing” (practicing letting go of what you’re “supposed to do” and enjoying the moment).
June 16-Fifth class: “Technically Speaking” (answering any and all technical questions about photography and your camera).

 

A Happy Birthday

Just Around the House, Early in the Morning

Though I have been scorned for it,
let me never be afraid to use the word beautiful.
For within is the shining leaf
and the blossoms of the geranium at the window.
And the eyes of the happy puppy as he wakes.
The colors of the old and beloved afghan lying
by itself, on the couch, in the morning sun.
The hummingbird’s nest perched now in a
corner of the bookshelf, in front of so many
books of so many colors.
The two poached eggs. The buttered toast.
The ream of brand-new paper just opened,
white as a block of snow.
The typewriter humming, ready to go.

Mary Oliver
from Swan, 2010

(a birthday poem, to herself…and now, to me!)

{♥ ♥ ♥}

Kathryn

Nothing’s Changed…

Except my perspective…which is to say, everything has changed.

This blog post has been excruciatingly difficult to write. I’ve been trying, in my head, since I returned from the What If Conference in the Dominican Republic over a week now to actually begin to explain what all has transpired for me in the past two weeks. I don’t want to get it wrong…lest you, the reader, misunderstand any of it. Though, maybe the harder part of this (and quite possibly the more important part) is, I don’t want to misunderstand it either. And, in the future, I don’t want to look back upon this log and be mislead or have it cause me to misremember.

Already in the past two weeks, I feel as if my memory of it all has faded too quickly for comfort. There are days when I discount the entire experience as “a nice little time away and nothing more”. In fact, I know it was anything but that…

 

We sat in a circle on wicker furniture, the yellow-painted patio still slick from the mid-morning downpour. I couldn’t shake that feeling…it was just stuck there…in my chest…a tightness. No matter how deeply I tried to breathe, I couldn’t seem to get a full breath. It’s been like this for ages now. An anxious feeling that just remains. It remains, it burns, it takes over and fills me with doubt, fear, jealousy, unhappiness. Why? My life is AMAZING! I get to do what I want, when I want almost without limit…

Yet. It remains.

We were in a small circle, sharing how we were feeling right then and there. We went around the circle and I told them that the first thing I had written in my notes at the beginning of the conference was that I am seeking “freedom”. What I meant when I wrote it was, “financial freedom” so that I could then do passion projects and give freely without want. The conversation moved toward what we were feeling. Tamara asked us specifically, “Where, in your body, do you feel?…When you’re stressed or frustrated or angry, where is it that you feel this?” It was like she just knew…my chest has been tight since who knows when…It’s causing me to feel sick, I feel it so deeply. She asked us to think about a specific occasion where this feeling was really pervasive and to write about it. We did. I won’t talk about what I wrote about here, but it was an instance where I felt dejected, frustrated, guilty, unsure. Needless to say, that tightness in my chest was even tighter.

We were then asked to think about the situation again, only this time, imagine it going perfectly….what would you do differently? I imagined the scenario again and tears washed down my face…I breathed deeply…maybe for the first time in months, my shoulders relaxed, I felt open…and in that moment, I thought to myself, “I feel free”…and it hit me so so strongly in that instant: THIS IS FREEDOM. AND FREEDOM IS A CHOICE. MY CHOICE. As that thought entered my mind, something truly beautiful happened. A sharp wind swept across the courtyard from left to right, moving the palm fronds as it passed. The sun shown brighter than ever, the sky bluer than ever. The greens, the yellows, the red…truer than ever. It was so clear to me: Every moment of every day we make a choice to listen to the voices in our head, to give into the doubt, to compare and wallow. OR, to breathe in, acknowledge that voice, the feeling in our body, then breathe out…and let go. Let go. It is my choice. It is just that simple. And yet, that complex.

I now know this. And this has lead me to is a place I never knew I could reach! It is a place that has allowed me to let go of so many feelings (voices): “I am not good enough.” “I am not smart enough.” ” I don’t deserve it.” “I will never be successful.”

Oh yeah…those voices are still there…big time…HUGELY in my ears. But, this exercise of simply noticing these voices or thoughts, has given me the ability to move past them and see who I, Kathryn Denelle Stevens, truly am…and what I can truly achieve in this life! No more comparing. No more caring about what others think of me. No more belief that success is for others, not myself!

As I write this, I imagine some of you are thinking, “Sure, okay…good for her…we’ll see how long that lasts.” Or whatever judgements you may have of me…in times past I would have been exceedingly concerned that people would judge me. This has stopped me from doing SO much in my life…it’s insane! In fact, as much as this new perspective feels like it’s a 180 degree departure from reality, it’s the most sane feeling I’ve ever had!

This new place is allowing me so much more than peace-of-mind or contentment…I now see things more clearly. I am aware and listening to conversations around me. I see moments, beautiful, tragic, tender moments happening all around me now. I know it sounds super crazy, but I can even smell better (there are studies that show stress causing our sense of smell to diminish, so maybe?) For so long I’ve been consumed by this self-doubt, fear..blocking me from my authentic experience of life. I (sometimes purposefully, sometimes subconsciously) deadened myself to a situation, a conversation, friendships, the food I was eating…and the images presenting themselves all around me…My creativity stifled. As I write this, it brings tears to my eyes to think about living this way. In fact, this is not living. This is just waiting to die.

There is so much more to be said about my experience, and I will share it another day, but for now… know that things are different from here on out. My choices are mine…I must own them, but I do not need to hold onto them. In this moment…right now, I have the ability to start new. To breathe in…acknowledge the judgements, the frustration, the stress, breathe out…and let go…

It may seem as if nothing has changed…but know, because my perspective, my reality has wholly been altered, truly everything EVERYTHING has changed.

SOOO, I realize these images may seem to be trite after that long and heavy blog…but to me they represent something…I took these images the first day I arrived at the Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana…these images to me are superficial, artificial. They’re funny too, and they still make me laugh. I guess it’s more difficult to explain than I thought, but what I mean to say is…. if all I ever accept in people are the masks and plumes they present, and I never even attempt to see people for who they really are, how can I create my true vision of life in my work? The reality…with all of the beauty and pain that that entails? How? I must be willing to go deeper…I owe it to everyone. I owe it to myself.

{♥♥♥}

Kathryn

What IF… we went to the Dominican Republic?!!

Soooo…exciting news… I’m going to be heading to the Dominican Republic for the entire week for the What IF Conference!!! !!! (Just had to add those extra exclamation marks for good measure!)

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that winning a seat the the What IF Conference in Portland last July was nothing short of life-changing for me…sooooo, I decided I HAD to attend the next one! Just like last time, I am nervous for it because I don’t know what to expect. I mean, I know it will make me dig deep and really think BIG about business and life…I KNOW this to be true…but to see what will come of that is what I’m nervous for. After I went to Portland last July, I was deeply affected by the speakers, the organizers (Jen and Steve Bebb), the attendees…they created a space where I could push my mind to think beyond just being a creative…and toward a life that is more focused, productive, balanced, free!

Most importantly, I came away with a better understanding of myself. I realized the ways I was sabotaging myself and my work. These past six months since that conference, I’ve failed, I’ve tried again. I’ve learned, I’ve regressed. I’ve been dedicated. I’ve been over-bearing. I’ve been quiet. I’ve been inward. I’ve been bold. I’ve reached and shrunk, then stretched and been moved. It has made me realize that life is one big, long growing experience…if you let it be so.

(below are some photos from the previous What If)

(This guy was not an attendee..but a member of a band that played at our hotel, The Jupiter)

(Tim Fair playing some pool with somma the guyzz)

(Jim Cool of SheHeWe Photography)

(Mary of Justin & Mary)

The Group, out and about shooting Richelle and Eric! (Who, btw, are now engaged!)

(Shooting in front of a strip club in Portland…not that weird for this group…or Portland)

(Marsais of Marsais Photographie!!

(Susannah of Unveil By Alumbra!)

(Shooting on the backside of a billboard on Burnside…whatevs)

 (Fer!!! Teaching us his skills!)

(This is Fer Juaristi, aka “The Mexican Monkey” aka “The Magic Maker”)

(Fer taught us many things, including the term “visbons” #visbons…look it up)

(Here’s some visbons for you!)

Anne Sage (The City Sage) and Caroline (of Woodnote Photography), Richelle and Eric!

(Steve Bebb, telling a story you’ll never forget…or possibly just giving directions.)

(The Joel and Mary, Mary and The Joel, giving the impromptu presentation of their life!!!)

(I’m certainly not done stretching, not done reaching, not done growing…so next week I am putting out my branches once again…toward the sun light…but maybe more importantly digging my roots, yet again, into the soil…drinking deep, preparing again, for another year of reaching new heights.

I will be away from all work, including this blog, but be sure I will be back the following week…refreshed and renewed…ready to breathe in all that life has to offer!!!

{♥♥♥}
Kathryn

A Cliché In The Making

Right about now, I am one of hundreds of thousands of people “dedicating the new year to a new you!” A cliché in the making! I joined the gym a few days after the year began and I’ve been almost every day since then. I’ve been eating healthier foods and less food! I definitely feel like I’m “on track” to the “best year yet!”

Go me!

Have you ever done this? Been totally dedicated to “just being stronger and better this year!”? Yeah me too. And, it lasts for maaaybe another week, and then …well, those chocolates sitting in the pantry start calling your name…and pretty soon, you’re surrounded by a pile of wrappers and a mountain of shame. And then you think, “well, that was a good run, I guess I’m just not strong enough to do this…I might as well quit”…

I am RIGHT in the middle of that (read: yesterday I caved and had a pile of chocolate)! I didn’t quite get to the point yesterday of feeling like I should just give up all together, but I am fearful of this! In two weeks, when the gym starts to clear out and suddenly I have my choice of cardio machines, I don’t want to be the one who decides I’m just not cut out for this…it’s just too hard.

If nothing else last year, I learned that this is the time to dig deep. Sure, I can barely walk up…or down the stairs this morning. Sure, I’m starving and the term “calorie deficit” is about as maddening as “the fiscal cliff”. But, if I begin to tell myself that this isn’t about today, or tomorrow, it’s about 5 years from now and asking myself: “Will I be the person I’ve always wanted to be?”

And the person I want to be isn’t just “fit”, but it’s the type of person that follows through on my actions. This is what I’m working toward in all aspects of my life. And so if I quit working out now, I will just continue my old patterns. But, if I commit, just one more time to becoming stronger, I will have proved again (even if briefly) that I can be that person.

The question is…if I can’t move…how am I going to make it to the gym today…?!?

{♥♥♥}

Kathryn

 

I don’t want to work today, so let’s have a Dance Party!

Yesterday was filled with a bunch of tasks that I just didn’t want to do! So many times, I’ll set out to accomplish SO much in one day, only to find myself doing everything BUT those tasks! This wasn’t really an option though…I HAD to get things done. So, I needed to kick start my productivity…somehow…someway…and that’s when inspiration struck…

Time for a dance party!

And it totally worked!! I danced like a crazy person (seriously, if you haven’t watched the video, you are in for a treat…think Elaine on Seinfeld)! My dogs even got into the mix (Parker acted just like every other guy I’ve ever seen up in the club…bad dog…bad!) And Abbey showed off her mad skills! I got my heart rate up, just enough to be PUMPED to DO. THE. WORK!

What are your tricks for just getting shhhtuff done?

{♥♥♥}

Kathryn

The day after | reSTARt with Jasmine Star | CreativeLive

It’s later in the morning than I would have liked to get this out…honestly, I barely slept last night I had so many thoughts going through my head! (Oh, and I’m staying with my good friends here in Seattle whose baby wasn’t feeling well last night, so that may have been part of it too!)

The thoughts were swimming, swirling….just out of reach, as they sometimes do in the middle of the night. After spending the day at Creative Live in Seattle for their new series with Jasmine Star called “ReSTARt”, I was in a bit of shell-shock, I think.

Why though? What was it that made yesterday such an experience? I’m asking this and well, it was more than the thrill of watching the entire production that is Creative Live. It was more than seeing Jasmine do her thing, in person. It was more than the information she was teaching… more than any of that…there was a pervasive energy in the room. The three attendees who put themselves out there, in front of everyone had it. Each and every one of the 30 audience members had it. The Creative Live crew even had it! What was it? Why did everyone feel this same way? Well, for one, Jasmine is a presence. As I said, yesterday, she is a fire that lights other fires! You just want to be better, a better person, a better photographer, a better dresser (she has style beyond style)!

But beyond that, I think we all realize that we are in the midst of something different. Because of online education sites, like Creative Live, we now have the ability to disseminate information quickly and widely to a myriad of people around the world! It’s more than that though. We’ve realized that, yes, online education is the future. Teachers, like Jasmine, can speak to us and teach us, and propel us to be better, but more than that, through avenues like Facebook, we can now continue the teaching, the conversations, the ENERGY beyond the workshop.

I believe this is where we take it to the next level. We take the communities that we build around something like reSTARt and help each other to really make the change happen. I know I come away from workshops like this feeling like I can TACKLE the world!!! I’m ready to do the work, to make the changes, to be BETTER, but soon after, most of the fire has died out. This is just human nature. So now, with our ability to reach out so easily through FB groups, and Skype, and on and on, we can push each other, daily, if we want, to make the small changes in our life that eventually create the BIG changes that lead us where we want to go.

I think we all are looking for communities that will push us to be the person we strive to be. For me, reSTARt, is a community now. It is a group of people that, if we make it, can be a HUGE accountability group that pushes us to greater heights.

Whether it’s reSTARt, or another online workshop, or another type of community, I believe we can leverage the ways we are learning and meeting each other to really help others. I don’t want to take this amazing technology and time in history for granted. It truly is amazing! If you are looking for community, or even just one person to keep you accountable to the changes you’re looking to make in your life, please know, I am here. Send me an email (kathryn@atlasandelia.com), or let’s set up a time to Skype!

Here’s a look at yesterday’s fun:

 The Set

(Lovely faces of lovely ladies I met yesterday, from left: Stephanie, Amber and Jennifer!)

(Mugging for the in-studio audience cam)

(JD on set as the day wrapped)

(Jasmine telling scary ghost stories 😉 )

(CreativeLive make-it-happener, Nikko, and producer extraordinaire, Celeste!)

(Kenna giving Jasmine a round of applause)

(Celeste keeping us in check)

(Long-time internet friend, now real friend, Hannah and I!)

(Jasmine and Stephanie keeping it real!)

{♥♥♥}

Kathryn

 

 

reSTARt on CreativeLive

Updated: 3:44 I feel like I’m going to cry! Everyone is putting themselves out there so much! There’s so much good, positive energy here! People really want to see change in their lives. It’s hard work. And Jasmine is talking right now about the difficulties of putting your head down and just doing the work. People often see thatas being rude or standoff-ish, but honestly, the take away is: you have to do you. The change is about what you need to do for YOU in your life! That doesn’t mean you can’t NOT care about others, but you can NOT care what others THINK of what we’re doing!
2:10 So right now, im watching Jasmine do a quick 5-minute shoot to show her “branded words” which are fun, fresh and editorial” so Jen, from Scout styled this shoot and it’s adorable!! so far she’s absolutely rocking her branded words!
I am sooooo super excited for this, not because I need to watch how she works, or what her photos look like, but because in the segment right before this, she asked us to think of what our branded words are…and I had a total epiphany about this!
I’ve decided (well, I was reminded) that just taking a day to think about things like this, truly allows my mind to wander… and I NEED this kind of time!
I’m CRAZY excited to share with you the ideas I’ve had today later, but for now, I think I’ll leave you with this:  change is really really hard, but it is not impossible. It takes a multitude of decision after decision after decision and that’s it… Eventually that creates a habit that becomes the change!
10:30am I decided today that instead of the normal blog, I’ll be live blogging! What could cause me to do this? Well y’all…I’m in the studios of CreativeLive!! What?? Yeah, I’m in the audience and I’m watching THE Jasmine Star talking in front of me! I’m not the type of person who is starstruck…
 And I’m not…but honestly…there is something about her presence… She is a fire that lights other fires. In the first 10 minutes I am already on fire!!!
She just makes you want to be better!
So, today it’s about sharing with you what I’m learning here and who I’m meeting as I go through today.. And then from here I’ll be sharing with you how my process is going.
Because that’s what restart is about! It’s about rebranding, revamping, re-STARting!!!
Why do I feel like I need to restart?
Well, frankly, my business is doing “ok” but that’s not good enough. Seriously. I want more for myself. And I want to learn how to feel good about that. To not feel selfish about that. I want to feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing at all time in my life! Like, in all aspects of my life!

Just Be… | Leavenworth WA Wedding Photographers

I love this time of year, when we get a few minutes to breathe and just be…

 

(Please excuse the iPhone photo)

Apparently, if James and I were to “just be” ourselves… James would have hair and I would be in pajama pants all day everyday!

 

{♥♥♥}

Kathryn

 

 

‘Twas The Day Before Christmas…

‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the blog,

No one was there…’cause we’re out drinking ‘nog!!

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone and clients, be sure to check your email boxes (Christmas morning) for special presents just for you!

{♥♥♥}

Kathryn