Milestone – Five thousand hits!

Thanks in large part to the visitors who stopped by after reading my stock travel photo article in Digital Photography School, reached 5,000 hits! I started the blog in June 2014, hit 1,000 hits in August 2014, then things slowed down as I was not able to do as much due to the demands of my day job, but trying to make up for that more recently, so glad to see it’s paying off!

I am pleased that the articles I have written to encourage others to try stock photography and pursue their own photo adventures are getting some extra visibility.  Tonight (Friday 23rd, it’s a late night…) was also the day of the reception for the Ann Arbor Women Artists’ juried art show two of my photos got accepted for, so overall a great day from a photo perspective…

Thank YOU very much for reading, and please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, thoughts, ideas…

Best wishes in your photography adventures,



Milestone – Article based on stock travel photography in Iceland to be published in Digital Photography School!

So back in June I went to Iceland, had a wonderful time… I participated in the GREEN Energy Program then spent a few extra days driving around and taking photos of anything I wanted to, glorious time.  I didn’t write my usual tips article based on my experience for this blog because I proposed an article about stock travel photography to Digital Photography School‘s Tips and Tutorials section and it was accepted! I just learned that it will be published on the 20th of October. I’ll update this entry with a link to DPS when it comes out.  Update October 19th – you can find the article here.

So I saved the tips and my best photos for the DPS article, but here are a few other photos to give you a sense of what a lovely country Iceland is. Many of these photos were taken while on guided tours with Ardar, aka Addi, the best guide ever at South Iceland Adventures.

Got to see lots of waterfalls, such as Seljalandsfoss:

Hvolsvollur, ICELAND - JUN 15: Seljalandsfoss waterfall, shown here on June 15, 2015, was one of the stopping points in The Amazing Race 6 competition in 2014.

Hiked Sólheimajökull glacier:

SOLHEIMAJOKULSVEGUR, ICELAND - JUN 15: Sólheimajökull glacier, shown here on June 15, 2015, has retreated about a kilometer in the past decade.

Had a great time going on a puffin viewing hike at the Ingolfshofdi nature reserve: 

Atlantic puffin looking right, with straw in his beak, gray background

Got up close with an Icelandic horse:

Iceland 8 horse blond head

Had a great time at the Glacier Lagoon:

Iceland glacier lagoon

Beautiful country, lovely people…  You can also see some of my Iceland photos at my Shutterstock site.

October 24 update – Change featured image to a screenshot of the icon for the article at DPS. So cool to see it published and to have some readers stop by the blog and learn from past blog articles!

Milestone – Accepted to AAWA Fall 2015 Juried show!

You might recall I recently became a member of the Ann Arbor Women Artists. So I applied for their Fall 2015 juried show, and two of my photos got accepted!  I had had them framed before for another event, and here they get another chance get out of the house and strut their stuff, maybe this time they’ll find a new home…

LAKE TITICACA, PERU - AUGUST 3: Uros Indian woman looking out from a watchtower on a reed island in Lake Titicaca August 3, 2013.
Indian woman looking out from a watchtower on a reed island in Lake Titicaca
Wandering path through lush scenery
Wandering path through lush scenery in Lachay, Peru

I drop off the photos Monday the 19th, show is for a month at the Ann Arbor District Library, with Opening Reception Oct 23, 6:30-8pm, at 7 pm. The show itself runs for a month.

Monthly reflections – September 2015

In September my teaching job needed most of my time, but I managed to take some photos around town. In the most exciting news, my proposal to write an article about stock travel photography tips for Digital Photography School was accepted! I submitted and waiting to hear back from them, can’t wait to see it in my feedly newsfeed, that’ll be unreal…  Thanks to my photography and arty friends Mary, Shonda and Wayne for their editing suggestions.

As for the monthly Shutterstock website update, at 1339 just 1 higher than last month, still plenty of photos to process from the summer, but just can’t seem to find the time…  Shutterstock September 2015 new

The penguin with the fish made it into the popular ones, and beyond that logos continue to be my biggest sellers, along with Detroit and Holland Tulip Festival shots:

Shutterstock September 2015 popular

Now recovering from a hoodly cold that has flattened many of my students, eager to process more photos in October and maybe apply to some photo exhibits around town with some of the photos that are already framed…

Best wishes on your photography adventures,


Monthly reflections – August 2015

Wow, that’s summer gone.  I do plan to write up the trip to Iceland from back in June, but waiting to see if there might be interest in that piece at a professional photography website and it can’t be published elsewhere first, so cross your fingers on that one.

August included some good times taking photos in England and a pleasant solo photo day driving Up North.

I’m really happy that on a recent visit to Chicago (not many stock photos so no write up about it) we stopped by the Central Camera, right downtown on Wabash avenue. They have been open since 1899 and with the wonderful service they offer I’m not surprised.  Among other things I finally bought a Op/Tech Utility Strap – Sling camera strap, absolutely LOVE it.  Takes all the weight off your neck, such a relief! If you have been considering this step I would strongly encourage you to do it, you’ll be so glad you did…

Now to the monthly Shutterstock website update, here are the most recent ones, not much uploaded, so only up to 1338, not the end of summer goal of 1,500, oh well, we move on… Still, very proud of the ones that have made it in so far, feel they represent nicely the beauty that is Iceland…

Shutterstock August 2015 new

As for popular, Planned Parenthood still in the news, Chrysler Jeep’s plant showing up a bit, and you can see flu shot season is upon us, that sticky note is making a comeback, Holland and Detroit also feature a bit:

Shutterstock August 2015 popular

On to the Fall and the start of the school year, hope to make/find the time to upload more… In the meantime, best wishes on YOUR photography adventures,


Shooting stock photos – solo photo day driving up north

Recently had a fun time driving up north to Mackinaw city. Long story but it was just a quick overnight trip, and leaving super early to spend an afternoon on Mackinac Island on my own didn’t appeal, so I figured I’d just take my time, start the drive mid-morning, and since I was on my own just take my time taking photos of whatever appealed.

For those of you not familiar with Michigan, that’s pretty much a straight shot up the middle of the “mitten” that is Michigan, going through Flint:

to Mackinaw

I wasn’t really sure what I would take photos of, but that was part of the excitement, see how the day developed. I started out spending a chunk of time just half an hour north or Ann Arbor at an outside mall taking logo photos of stores, a thing I do…  Then when I got to Flint, MI I realized I hadn’t been there in many many years, so I swung by and took some photos there:

Flint vehicle city

I did a quick search on “Things to do in Flint” and had it show me the map of the locations and just drove around, all the time in the world, lovely…  Of course had to also stop at the home of Halo Burgers:

Halo Burger

I took more shots at the University of Michigan Flint, and the Institute of Arts, and other museums.   After a couple hours I got going and soon enough saw the sign for the Civilian Conservation Corps museum. I have seen that sign many times and have thought of stopping, but I usually felt in a rush to get to Mackinaw City, so let it pass. Today was the day!  Very interesting history reading about the Michigan men who were employed in large part to grow pine trees to be used in reforestation projects throughout the state. This was the main building:

CCC museum

Glad I stopped by… Ended the day at a little cottage right on lake Huron, lovely view:

beach chairs copy

So, reflection. Overall a relaxing day, great to make the time for these unplanned unstructured photo trips…  What I did right:

  • Take the time to just see what the day brought, being open to the experience. The four hour trip ended up taking me over seven hours…
  • Did a quick “things to do in Flint” check to catch the major sites.
  • Take comfortable shoes, I did a lot more walking than I expected.

I’ll update this when I have cleaned up the photos and submitted them to Shutterstock, been trying to fit lots on my plate in August, and the school year is around the corner… Figured best to write this up even if they are not posted to Shutterstock yet…

Best wishes on your photography adventures,


Shooting stock photos – England

The first week in August I took my sons to England, had a good time, had fun taking photos. Unfortunately as I mentioned in my end of July update I had set the photos to too small for Shutterstock during another trip and didn’t notice it until halfway through the England trip, so only one day of photos has a shot at Shutterstock… Luckily for me lots of the fun is in the taking…

Didn’t have dedicated stock photo days since I was with family and for many reasons couldn’t go out on my own much, but did the best with the time I had. Managed a shot of Stonehenge with not too many people around:


Then spent some time in Stratford, where we visited Shakespeare’s grave:

Shakespeare grave

On to Windsor castle:

Windsor castle

These will all be too small for Shutterstock, oh well…

Luckily I did figure this out the next to last day.  The last day we took the double-decker tour bus of London, which was going incredibly slowly because the horrendous traffic caused by an Underground strike. Silver lining for me ’cause I was able to take lots of photos that should work out very well since the bus wasn’t moving much…  Lots of logo shots will be coming from that one…

One favorites from the day is this one of Tower Bridge, taken during an accompanying boat trip down the Thames:

Tower bridge

Haven’t made time to process them and submit the larger ones to Shutterstock yet, I’ll update the blog with a link to the accepted photos when I do.

Let’s dispense with what I would do differently, that of course would be to not budge the photo size and always keep it on large…  What I did right:

  • Took lots of photos, wasn’t shy about pulling out the camera.
  • Looked for the little details. Although this one will be too small for Shutterstock, I was pleased with this “mind the gap” one I took at a train station:

Mind the Gap

  • Asked for some patience from my kids as I tried to get “the shot” in some places I would never get back to, like Shakespeare’s burial place. I try hard not to have the trip become “mama takes photos and the boys tag along,” but at the same time every once in a while…

Best wishes on your photography adventures,


October 24 update – Finally submitted some of the photos last week. You can see the ones Shutterstock accepted here.

Milestone – Ann Arbor Women Artists membership

So I’d been thinking about it and finally did it this month. I became a member of the Ann Arbor Women Artists group.  I had seen their name around many of the coffeehouses in town that have art exhibits and had set it as a goal this summer to become a member. Looks like in addition to the exhibits they have a number of talks, workshops, etc.  that should be useful. Not quite sure how involved I’ll be able to be with the school year starting, but I am glad to at least be a part of the group and a bigger artistic community.  Maybe I can see about exhibiting those framed car photos…

Monthly Reflections – July 2015

And now we’re into August, hope your summers are going well!

Just returned from a family trip to England, took a few photos, though also realized in trying to submit photos of the Underground strike quickly due to their timeliness that somewhere toward the end of the Iceland trip I set my photo size to 4 MP vs. the usual 16 MP, so lots of photos I took since then (4th of July, a few in Toronto, half of the ones in England) won’t be large enough for Shutterstock, bummer.  I had switched to small photos for that one photo ’cause it was for my sister and not for stock and I didn’t want to have to resize it…  and after the end of taking that one photo I got distracted and didn’t set it back and since I haven’t submitted any photos to Shutterstock lately I didn’t notice it – thank goodness I don’t depend on stock for my livelihood…  I had a bit of negative “and you call yourself a photographer…”  thinking, but only for a few minutes, I know now to have a little cry and move on, spending any more time on that is just a waste of energy…  So focus on lesson learned: From now all all large photos all the time, not taking a chance on that again…

I did submit a handful photos to Shutterstock, so I’m up to 1320 images. I made some progress on the Iceland photos, selected over 100 of them for stock- about 80 of which are large enough for Shutterstock, whew! Now to find the time to finish getting them ready and submitting them…

So here are the most recent photos on Shutterstock, with the few extra logos:

Shutterstock July 2015 new

And the most popular photos as of this month, as always the logos dominate. With Planned Parenthood in the news I got lots of downloads of that one, and I see a few from the Holland photo shoot as well, great!

Shutterstock July 2015 popular

So planning on lots of uploading in August…  In the meantime, best wishes on your photography adventures.


Monthly Reflections – June 2015

Yikes, July is just whooshing on by and I haven’t written up my end of June posting yet, oopsies…

Had a great time in Iceland, will be processing those photos and the 4th of July photos too, just so many things I want to do this summer…  I did catch up on processing the logo photos so I’m up to 1314 images on Shutterstock!  My goal is still 1,500 by the end of summer…

Here are my most recent photos on Shutterstock, with the ones from the trip to Toledo leading the way:

Shutterstock June 2015 new


and the most popular below. Logos and store fronts  still making it big, as well as Detroit photos, and some of the yellow stickers, have to come up with more of those sometime…


Shutterstock June 2015 popular


Have been enjoying Lynford Morton’s Shutterbug Life podcasts, always learn something from them…

OK back to the garden, catch you again soon. In the meantime, best wishes to you on your photography adventures.





Shooting Stock Photos – Toledo solo photo day

Had a vacation week last week, took one day and went to Toledo for the day.  I had chatted with friends from Toledo and done some research so I had some idea of what I wanted to catch – It’s really like a fun scavenger hunt!  Caught some store logos on the way down, just can’t help myself:

Logo Cabela

Started with an iconic photo at the University of Toledo:

U Toledo

then headed for downtown. Unfortunately some of the angles I wanted to take ended up being in the shade. I know I’m supposed to go on a more cloudy day, I thought it was going to be partly cloudy on this day but it ended up being sunny, which posed many challenges.  I’ll be going back to catch those I couldn’t quite get.

Got to the Imagination Station (think science museum) when there were bunches of kids being unloaded off buses, so I waited for them to be done. I walked around and tried different angles, some focusing on the building, some more on the sign, ended up happy with these two after much trying around, takes longer than you’d think, so plan to be patient, it’s worth the wait. You can’t be in a rush, or you’ll just get frustrated and your photos will suffer for it…

Imagination station 2

Imagination station

As I was driving around I noticed an Ohio Turnpike sign, and figured that was fairly iconic, maybe that would be worth a shot, and as we were in a bit of slow traffic I took a chance and got a sign photo that was accepted too:

turnpike sign

Some of the photos I took in the morning were in the shade, so I went back again in the afternoon to try them again, but the sun was just too bright and didn’t make for good photos. Have to learn my lesson soon that shady really is best for some of these, but can’t help loving a sunny day when the angle is just right, luckily Toledo is just an hour away, so I’ll just keep the list with me for the next time I go past…

After taking a photo and cleaning it up, I added an editorial caption following Shutterstock’s preferred format, which you eventually get down to a science.  You can see all the Toledo photos Shutterstock accepted here.

Monthly Reflections – May 2015

Finally in May we got some photography action, yey! The day job had more loose ends to tie up than I remembered, but I did have/made some time for photography.

I went to Holland, MI to take photos at the Tulip Time festival. I started to process some of the logo photos but was quite disappointed when all 15 photos in the first set I submitted were turned down.  After a few days of feeling bad that I must have lost my touch, or standards must have gotten stricter, what was the point, what was I thinking thinking I was a good photographer, etc. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and gave it another shot, and got a whole slew of photos accepted, whew!  Finally broke past the 1091 photos I’ve had on Shutterstock for the past 8 months with 82 new photos approved…

Here are the most recent ones:

Shutterstock May 2015 new

and the most popular ones:

Shutterstock May 2015

June seems promising. I have a week off from my day job this coming week, when I’ll be celebrating the first year anniversary of this blog, as well as taking photos and processing lots of logo photos I took Fall and Christmas break. Mid-June I have that work trip to Iceland, so I plan to get lots of good shots there too, I can’t wait…

Best wishes on YOUR photography adventures,


Shooting stock photos – Tulip Time Festival in Holland, MI

I have always wanted to go to the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, MI, where those with Dutch ancestry are kind enough to share their heritage with the public, and what better excuse than taking stock photos for going this year? Also great to finally have some more time to devote to stock photos…

I checked out their website and figured out that the mother-daughter dance would make for good photos, so I based my schedule on that.  Many stock photo websites want names of any children in even editorial photos so I planned to skip that one.  I got to Holland and found out that it was graduation day at Hope College, so I hung around and got some good photos of people taking post graduation shots:

Hope college graduation

Then some photos of the Art Fair, thinking of shots that might be of demand by people writing about the event in future  years, so wanted to make sure I got the logo in there.  I hung out there for 15-20 minutes taking shots of people walking in and out of the fair until I got this shot of some photogenic people:

Tulip Time art fair

The funny thing is that Michiganders are a generally considerate people, so many of them on seeing that I’m taking photos stop to not get in the shot, when I’m trying to get photos with people IN the shot…  Fun..

I got a good seat in front of a church so I’d have a nice background, and waited half an hour for the mother-daughter dance. Wish I’d had the ISO a bit lower than the 1000 I had it set at, but the photos were acceptable to Shutterstock much to my delight:

Tulip Time dancers

tulip time dancers church

Afterwards some of the dancers were posing for photos. I was feeling a little shy at first, but then, inspired by Ron Scubadiver, one of the photographers I follow, I asked them to pose and they were so nice about it:

Tulip time pose

Then I went to Windmill Island hoping for a great shot of the windmill with tulips in front of it, but the tulips weren’t quite cooperating, poo…  So, decided to try for another tourist shot and hung out for quite a while until I got a cute couple taking a selfie with the windmill, to add a personal element to the photos:

Holland windmill

Had to wait quite a while to makes sure I had a cute couple, and no unflattering views of other people in the background bending over or anything, so another 15-20 minutes here too. You can see all the photos Shutterstock accepted here.

It’s great to be back to taking stock photos, and having time to process them – tons of logo photos to get to this week…

Best wishes to you on your photography adventures…


Monthly Reflections – April 2015

Not much to say for April, day job took much of my energy, so not done much photography beyond some summer planning, though I did make some progress  on learning Icelandic some (The uTalk  app is great for vocabulary practice!) , and made plans for some other travel days around here. Also mastered not stressing out over not blogging much during the school year, it is what it is…

Looking at the Shutterstock portfolio and comparing it to past months things seem pretty static overall, can’t wait to see what changes come up this summer when new photos go in.

Shutterstock April 2015

Summer is officially here as of today, though, so I can focus more on photography (and blogging) vs. my students…   More soon…

Best wishes in your May photography adventures,


Monthly reflections – March 2015

March brought some excitement – I sold my first framed photograph!  As for the stock photo website, logos are still selling very well, as well as Detroit and Indianapolis photographs – That Detroit photo day really paid off, as well as the extra time taking some photos while I was in Indianapolis for work:

Shutterstock March 2015

I bought that 50 mm lens, but I haven’t had a chance to play with it, the day job is just too crazy busy. I followed up a bit on that proposal to the coffeehouse for the photo exhibit, but no luck yet, I’ll have to work on that later… The great thing with stock photography is that the money keeps coming even when you don’t work.

Looking ahead, I’ll be going to Iceland for an energy program in June, and staying a few extra days for travel, so looking forward to getting some great stock photos then, now trying to learn some Icelandic…  góðan daginn…

Best wishes in your April photography adventures,


Milestone – Sold my first framed photograph!

Very excited, last week I sold my first framed photograph!  One of my colleagues had seen the photo at the Car Details exhibit and loved it, and he and his wife asked about it at a departmental event we were all at. I happened to still have the photos in my van from the exhibit…

Yes, I’ve been carrying them in the back of my van all this time, not sure where to put them at home, but hey, it was all for the best, because they bought it that night. for their vacation condo. I’m thrilled, my first sale of a framed photograph! I was all sorts of giggly when I deposited the money to my Susan Montgomery Photos account at the Credit Union…  Exciting to think that it will be on someone’s wall…

If you’re curious, this is the photo that sold:


… as always, best wishes to you on your photography adventures…


Monthly reflections – February 2015

So… February….

The good news – A record month for both Shutterstock and iStockphotos and a by far record month for stock photo sales overall, yey!

Too busy with regular work and life happenings (tailbone owies take a lot longer to heal when you’re almost 50, and RIP Aten the cat…) to process photos but I did submit a proposal to a local coffeehouse to see if they might be interested in exhibiting the car details photos – cross your fingers…

It occurred to me it might be interesting to take a screenshot of my Shutterstock page each month to see how the most popular photos change over time. At the end of February 2015 I’m at 1091 images, and the most popular photos include many Detroit photographs as well as those store logos that have really paid off!  Some of the post-it note themed images did well too, hmmm…

Shutterstock February 2015

Looking ahead to March, every reason to think I can finally process those logo photos I took over the holidays, let’s see…

I wish you the best in your March photography adventures,


Monthly reflections – January 2015

So January was mostly about recovering the files in my hard drive. Carbonite took about 20 minutes per Photoshop file, and I have thousands of them, yikes…  Maybe should have just left them on the cloud….

I did have this fun three-day project over school break in early January when I took over 400 photos of logos and storefronts on Ford Rd in Canton nearby, this strip of bunches of national stores – my kind of fun, and now have plenty of photos to clean up and submit in this slow winter season…

Since then work got busy, I caught a bad cold/sore throat etc that wiped me out, then I literally wiped out on Monday, slipping on ice and falling flat on my back on ice/snow earlier this week, owie owie owie…

Glad to leave January behind, that’s all I can say.  A few more days and I should be back, with a healthy hard drive and healthy body and ready to spend evenings cleaning up photos…

I wish you the best in your February photography adventures,


So…. How do you back up your photos?

So I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been dealing with recovery after my hard drive died a few weeks ago… Yes, my whole business, all thousands of photographs, gone…

Which would be very sad if it were not for my back-ups! :)

I had used Time Machine in the past to back-up my computer to an external hard drive, but I realized that I didn’t back things up as often as I should. At work I use time machine and just automatically plug in my external drive and have it do it’s thing while at my desk, but when I’m home it’s just not so convenient as I sit on my sofa on my home laptop, and I could easily go weeks without backing up.

So I got a subscription to Carbonite, which continually backed up all my files to the cloud through my wireless connection, no matter where I was, and I didn’t have to think about it at all. Much more like it, though it didn’t back up applications, just files.

So after I got my new hard drive I was able to recreate the overall structure from my most current Time Machine, and my jpegs are all downloaded, working on the psd files now.  I think I’m going to have some issues with some of my applications, have to dig up some old installation CDs to find serial numbers, etc. (note to self – next time be more organized about that…) but at least all my thousands of photos are saved, whew…

I wonder whether I should just have my files in the cloud in some Google drive or something, will have to ponder that for a while… … so this made me wonder, how do YOU back up your photos? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section as I reconsider what to do for the future…


Year in Review – Looking back on 2014, with many thanks…

So the end of 2014 is here, good chance to reflect… Some things I’m proud of:

– Creating this blog this summer and continuing to post fairly regularly.
– Reaching 1,000 photos on my Shutterstock site by the end of the summer.
– Attending Mike Moats micro photography workshop, I’d held on to the workshop pamphlet I picked up from his Ann Arbor Art Fair booth for years waiting for one to take place near me during the summer and to feel “worthy” … I learned so much from him, and glad I can keep learning through his posts.
– Learning from other WordPress photographers, particularly Lianne Cole, Simon Bowler, Mark Simms and the incredibly prolific Amy Saab , all tremendous role models to me – Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos!
– Having my first solo exhibit, It’s In The Detailsabout car details, and also being selected for the Letters and Leaves exhibit at the local botanical garden.
– Starting the logo photography project, I’ve had such fun with that, AND it’s been a big money maker!
– Creating a gallery on Fine Art America to sell prints of my photos, curious how that will go.

I look forward to seeing just what 2015 brings, might just purchase that 50 mm lens I’ve had my eyes on for a while, would love to have a print sale… I know that one way or the other I’ll grow as a photographer, learning from the many outstanding photographers I’ve met and sharing my experiences with those interested in photography…

Best wishes to you in your 2015 photography adventures,