Wednesday, August 25, 2010

like breathing

RustyNut on failure.

RustyNut on Success.

RustyNut. Shit. What the heck do I do now?

I am really good at spending a lot of time planning things. I usually put way too much time, energy and thought into making sure that everything is going to be perfect before I'm ready to pull the trigger and really give it a go. Sometimes that perfectionism is a little…paralyzing.

I had been taking photographs for my entire life and I knew that I had some good, interesting stuff. Then, Brian came along and the two of us worked at really fine tuning our work and creating a specific vision for it. So about a year ago, I opened up Rusty Nut Studio on Etsy. I say opened but really all that I did was type in my email address, upload a banner and let the shop sit there, eternally empty. I convinced myself that I wasn't really ready to open up a shop, that I needed a bigger inventory, that I wanted to know my audience, that I had to cull through all of my photos and choose only the extraordinary ones. I was in "planning" procrastination and self doubt mode.

Photography is the way that I express myself. I'm good at words but there are just too many things that I cannot say so I take pictures instead. If you ever really want to know what is inside of me, my pictures are the closest you'll get to knowing. So I was scared to put them out into the world for fear of rejection. I knew that was what I was doing but still, I resisted.

Eventually I pulled up my big girl panties and said enough is enough. I spent weeks choosing photos, writing clever little descriptions and stories, creating labels and tags, uploading images, writing shipping policies, starting a facebook group, joining street teams, marketing, advertising, promoting, and finally getting my butt in gear. It felt so good that I wondered why the heck I had procrastinated for so long. We were getting hits and mentioned on blogs and lots of positive reviews. We were in tons of Treasuries and we even got our first online sale. I was proud of myself.

Then I realized that I had been remiss and I really needed to backup all of my photography so that I could better protect it . In the process of trying to be responsible and proactive, I lost everything. Not only the most exceptional of my work, but the mundane too, and the memories. Pictures of my sister's first visit to Seattle. Pictures of my nephew's birth and the first Easter that my niece spent at my house. Pictures of my mom's family at Christmas. Pictures of my ex-husband and the many apartments we lived in over the years. Pictures of my dearest friends and my deceased grandfather and my dad, before he got sick. Pictures of trips to New Orleans and Paris and Mackinac Island and Yosemite and London and Utah and the Badlands. Pictures from my first photo safari with Brian. Pictures of my kitty, self-portraits that I was finally brave enough to take of myself. Many tens of thousands of photographs, gone forever.

I took down most of the images in the Etsy Shop (a few still remain because I have print outs of them already prepared). I stopped marketing and I wallowed in my own stupidity for a while. Until finally I said screw it, picked up my camera and decided to start over. I might not be able to get my portfolio back but I had progressed so much over the years that I knew I would be able to shoot like never before. I was determined and even a little bit excited to start shooting with an intensity that may have been slightly lacking before. And then……my camera broke, my beautiful Nikon. Fixing it would cost nearly as much as a new one. I declared tha tI was finished and the the Universe was jumping in to save me from failure and that obviously I wasn't good enough to be a "real" photographer and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

That was a month ago. I haven't taken a single photograph since July 23rd and it feels like I am missing a limb. 2 serious Epic photography failures 3 days apart with no immediate solution.

But you know, I'm determined. I'm going to try to sell the remaining stock in the shop to start funding the purchase of another camera (quick, hurry, run over there now while some inventory remains!). And in the meantime, I'm reading and studying and planning my next photo shoots. And in the end, I know, without a doubt that I'll be back in the saddle again. I don't have a choice, photography is like breathing and I don't know who I am without it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

When all else fails....

In case you haven't noticed, we love taking pictures. Sometimes we head out with a specific idea in mind of where and what we want to shoot. Other times, the well runs dry and we end up either at the grocery store or the garden center.

Here are a few pretties from the garden center this afternoon:

Where do you find inspiration for your creativity when everything seems to have been done before?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Whisper Softly

Sending out warm thoughts and big thanks to the talented Jessica Rogers for including this image in her Photo of the Week post.

If you haven't seen her blog before, hop on over there. She shares beautiful imagery that makes your soul feel lighter and brings a smile to your face.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

yes Virginia, that is a bicycle

RustyNutStudio, originally uploaded by RustyNutStudio.

We picked up a Vashon Island Guide while heading over to the island on the ferry. The first page that I turned to had a picture of this bicycle stuck in the middle of a tree. It only took seconds for us to glance at the article and put a visit to this tree on the top of our list of things to do.

Apparently, in 1953 a boy named William left his bicycle leaned up against a tree. He really didn't care for the bike very much and never returned to pick it up. Over the years, the tree grew and grew around, over and through the enter of the bike.

And now, 57 years later, there is a very tall tree with this bicycle stuck inside the trunk, about 6 or 7 feet up.

We love finding crazy, unexpected surprises like this. What is the craziest thing you've ever photographed?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Please help spread the word. RustyNut Studio is offering a FREE 8x10 print to our 100th Facebook Fan. Your choice of any 8x10 in our Etsy shop.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sometimes a flat tire can be a good thing

It is hard to find the positive in getting a flat tire on a Sunday while on vacation on a little island where all of the businesses are closed for the weekend.  But attitude is everything, I guess.  And this time, the nasty flat tire led us to a field behind an auto repair shop.

The field was littered with rusty old cars.   There were blackberry brambles growing through the floor boards and the reflection of the sun was blinding us every time it bounced off the chrome of one of these beauties.  I suppose you could call this a happy accident.


When people look at our photos, we often get questions about how to take a good photograph. Everyone wants to know the "secret". I don't believe there is any secret at all, but there are a few things that will improve your shots, if you just pay attention to them.

Composition is one of the first and easiest things you can pay attention to which will greatly improve your photographs. Here is a great article from the Digital Photography School that will give you more details.


i beast you

A big thanks to Becky at i beast you for mentioning Fish Face and our shop on your blog!

Becky's site spotlights "pretty, witty, useful things" and we're proud to be considered one of them. One of my favorite things out of her design studio is this River Otter. Awesome!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Christmas In July Sale on Etsy

For anyone who might be interested,
Etsy is holding a Christmas in July sale.

Rusty Nut is offering
all prints in the shop
at discounted prices
as well as free shipping
on all orders over $25.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


After much delay, Rusty Nut Studio has not only launched their Facebook page and Etsy Shop but now, we've also FINALLY started posting on our photo blog as well!

I don't know exactly what this blog will evolve into but for starters, it will be a space for some of our favorite photographs, quotes, inspirations, and places to shoot. It will also be a place to keep up with where we're going, what we're selling and how we're getting the images that we're getting.

Did you know that we very rarely ever post-edit? That's right, no Photoshop! While that isn't unheard of these days, it is pretty rare. Many photographers spend a lot of time electronically editing their pictures to get a certain look. It is a very technical process and personally, I just don't have the patience to do it. Instead, we spend a lot of time before we take a picture to setup lighting and angles and focus. It takes a lot of time up front and is a very manual process but it helps us get the cleanest image that requires the little to no work after the fact.

Well, that's all for now. Hopefully now that my first post is under my belt writing will flow a little more naturally for me.