BLOG OVERHAUL, DAY 6: EPIC PHOTO SHOOT

~ An Epic Concept ~

So I wanted a new blog header, one that was more than just a nice picture, and one that was related to writing, obviously…though I have been enjoying the “Baby and the Wolf” temporary header.

I had a few ideas about taking photos of Polaroids of my laptop and stuff like that — there was even a few test shots of dinosaurs — but in the end, I liked the idea of having something beautiful across the screen of my blog that embodies my…well, my word.  I don’t know what else to call it.  It’s like my lucky token…you know, my word.

Anyway, don’t laugh, but my word is “epic.”

I know.  That seems like a cheesy word to lay claim to.  I get that it conjures up the image of a couple of stoner garage rats making horns and swinging around their guitars.  “We’re gonna be epic, duuude.  Billionaires!”

I can’t help that.  In fact, I embrace it.  I embrace the cheesiness!  I cheer on the stoner dudes mooching off their parents trying to break into the music industry, the television industry, the whatever-they-know-they-were-put-on-this-Earth-to-do industry, so long as they’re doing their work.  Too many people out there have convinced themselves to be safe and set reasonable goals anchored in reality instead of risking exposure of their tender underbellies while reaching for the stars.  It’s hard to stretch and grow in the fetal position, dude.

But “epic” is not just about dreaming big.  To me, it reminds me how you always get what you give.  This writing thing I do is one of the most important parts of me, and every day I thank my lucky stars for letting me have this need to make stories and being in such fortunate circumstances to fulfill it.  It’s that sticky-sweet part of my bone marrow, and if it were gone, I’d be hollow and empty inside.  Hell, I could write the sweetest country western song that would make your dog bawl, that’s how much I love writing.

So why would I ever give it anything less than an epic effort?

This is a truth that I wish I knew when I was younger.  People don’t ever become epic in their pursuits, they just get recognition for it.  I think they were always epic to begin with, in their practice, in their work ethic, and in their spirit.

This is how I want to be epic.  And I hope that my blog encourages folks to be epic too.

See?  Now you feel bad for thinking me corny.

Now a serendipitous thing happened this New Year’s.  A friend brought over this special beer.  It’s the only beer I drank, and at 9.5 percent alcohol, it was the only drink I needed.  He was nice enough to let me keep the bottle.  Why was this beer so special?  Let me show you.

Yes, it’s Stone Brewing Company’s Special Edition Vertical Epic Ale.  The epic part is special enough, but this beer also happened to be produced on 10-10-10, my 37th birthday.  That’s pretty darn cool, but when you flip it over…

…the very definition of epic.  Perhaps it’s a silly little coincidence, but when I first saw it, I had a sense of magic, of things shifting into place.  I don’t know how to explain it better than that except that it happens from time to time, and it’s never failed me before.

~ Test Shots in the Kitchen ~

So, how to translate this concept into a usable blog header?  Well, I got lucky.  I was making tea in the kitchen one day when I noticed the light was rather lovely cast through my tea.

Mostly I was playing around with the camera on my iPhone 4, and I got this shot, which gave me an idea…

Being that tea leaves are often read as part of someone’s fortune, what if you could create your own fortune?  Drink Epic Tea.  Something along those lines.  I thought it might be fun to maybe type up the epic definition and fashion it as part of the tea brand.  I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to do it honestly.  I just knew I wanted the epic definition from Stone Brewing Company (these people have the absolute best copywriters in the biz), and I wanted the prettiness of the tea, both things that fill me when I write.

 

~ Prop Design ~

I believe in starting with the basics.  I am no graphic designer, and  I don’t have any photo editing software beyond Paint.  I have OpenWriter, and that’s what I ended up using.

First, I gave it a shot with one of those free online logo makers to see if I could make something that would look nice on the end of a tea bag string.  This is what I got:

Pretty cool for free logos, but too small to be picked up on camera.  (I’m sorry I don’t remember where I generated these, or I’d link it.)

Ah, well.  Then I thought maybe I should just try typing it out and play around with fonts and see what I could finagle.  I used the epic definition from the bottle verbatim (because it’s perfect and I give Stone Brewing Company both credit and props).  It looked a bit like the shape of a heart, so I laid a lined heart over it to see what it would look like.

I thought it looked pretty ugly, but I liked the idea of it being heart-shaped.  So I tried again and ended up with something better.

Now all I needed was some hot water, a tea bag, good lighting, and great company.

 

~ The Shoot ~

Location:  Behind the Pink House on a Butcher Block Table
Conditions:  Southern California (Yes, it’s a “condition,” a good one.)
Assisting:  Toddler and Dinosaur

Box 'o Props

Test Shot

We tried to work with the dinosaur, but she wasn't "feeling it."

Finally, we make tea.

That's it, girl! Show us what you're about! Work that tag!

Mmm...I dunno.

Experimentation is the secret to innovation...most times. 😉

I like this pose. This is the HDR version.

 

It looks almost poetic submerged beneath the surface.

Collateral damage... My big fat elbow leaning on the edge popped the board off. Eep!

~ Conclusion ~

Conceptual photography is fun.  I think what made it even more fun for me was that it was simple, no fancy stuff.  I spent maybe an hour in the backyard with my camera phone, and I ended up with a handful of very usable blog headers — yay! — which I will post tomorrow.  Come back and help me decide by voting for your favorite!

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127 Responses to BLOG OVERHAUL, DAY 6: EPIC PHOTO SHOOT

  1. You, my blogging friend, are a writer and an artist. That’s a crazy combination!

    Thank you for providing us a window to your world. Loved this post. Nah…loved loved LOVED this post!

    …and btw, at the expense of sounding cheesy myself, I keep a running list of words to use in my blog posts. Yes, words — something will strike me during a day that just sounds cool, or evokes an emotion, or makes me react viscerally, so I write them down.

    Well, 2 days ago, “epic” was added to my list. Great minds…

    😉

    • mybluescreen says:

      Hey, Girl! Thank you so much! Love your idea of keeping a list of words. Popped over to your blog…I like what you’ve done with the place! Looove your attitude! Let me know when you get that book deal….

  2. Tori Nelson says:

    You are epic enough to be Freshly Pressed! Woot! Woot!
    I like the HDR version best! The colors are cool. Thanks for sharing some epic awesome-ness and creativity today!
    -tori@TheRamblings

    • mybluescreen says:

      I’m still stunned honestly. Thank you for commenting. I think the best part is the comments. I’ve got all these great blogs to visit. I think your blog is just wonderful. You’ve got a great writing style, very funny!

  3. robocooker says:

    These photos are great! I really like the second to last photo.

  4. I love this post and especially love the idea of meta-blogging or meta-headering or meta-whatevering.
    Congrats on being freshly pressed!
    Warm wishes from Haiti,
    Kathy

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you, Kathy! I really appreciate it. Checked out your blog…really nice! I’ll be back to visit soon… 🙂

  5. I think I like the one with it submerged in the tea the best.
    I am a graphic designer (IRONY) and I like how you found it was in the shape of a heart and actually tried to make it better. Few people who I know are like that, they would just give up halfway. You wanted a blog header, you were determined. You didn’t give up because you didn’t get it at the first go. And that’s a unique quality, I can tell you for sure.
    I hope you finally got the header you desired!
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
    Ashley, aka TheEverydayMuser
    http://www.theeverydaymuser.wordpress.com

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thanks, Ashley! I ended up with eight I liked, and I’ve posted them so folks can vote on their favorite. I’m excited to find out which one I’ll end up with. 🙂

  6. James says:

    Good for you! It was nice getting insight into your process for the header. And what’s even better is you had fun. Now there’s a day to remember! Keep it up

    Gassy Guy

    • mybluescreen says:

      Gassy Guy! I like that! It’s true, sometimes there’s something inside that just needs to come out! Thank you for commenting. You’re right. It was a fun day to remember. The toddler makes sure of that. 🙂

  7. enjoibeing says:

    very awesome pictures. epic blog post =]

    http://enjoibeing.wordpress.com/

  8. Cute post!
    There is nothing corny about living your passion – I think it’s great.

    And as for the logo – having developed my own logos for business (www.yougetwellsoon.com) , they are challenging to be sure.
    Enjoy the process and keep living your Epic life!

  9. rtcrita says:

    “Assisting: Toddler and Dinosaur” That’s pretty funny. And I’ve been on many location shoots and your box of props looked familar to me. (So does that table underneath it — I swear I have the exact same bistro set!) Throw in some duct tape, along with 3 other kinds, a pair of scissors, some pins and clamps and it could be the exact same box.

    Can’t wait to see what you come up with for your final picks!

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thanks for reading…and for the list of stuff I need to add to my box! I learned a lot from watching my sister-in-law do photo shoots of food from our bar menu. The best part was eating the food after she was done shooting it. 😉

  10. J Roycroft says:

    I like your images. Congrats on FP

  11. Fun blog post! It was great to follow along in the development of your idea ~ and congrats on being pressed!

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you. It was fun to write. I’m so grateful for all the comments. I checked out your blog…what a cool concept!

      • Thanks! Usually I write, but recently it’s just been sharing links, which in their own right are discoveries too ~ if a photo banner comes to mind I will let you know. It should definitely, or at least in mind does, feature blue.

  12. anonnickus says:

    IMG_0997 absolutely vivaciously epic. Great pic.

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you…it’s always surprising which pictures work out and which don’t. That may just be the best part…pulling them up on the computer to see what they really look like. 😉

  13. mindslam says:

    That is a great idea…coming up with that word & using it in pictures you take to create your header. That’s kinda what I did with mine…Had a picture that I took when my daughter was blowing bubbles…one of the bubbles landed in the mulch of the flower bed & didn’t pop, so I got a pic of it. Used this as my header & added my words to it! Great post!

  14. ManilaBeans says:

    Cool post. Can’t wait too see the headers 😀

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thanks, ManilaBeans…cute moniker! Got the headers up, eating my way through a box of Nutterbutters as I type. Vote for your favorite, and I’ll eat one in your honor. Here, I’m scratching your name in the cookie with my pen right now…. 😉

  15. 1smilethai says:

    จองตั๋วเครื่องบิน
    Yes
    These photos are great! I really like the second to last photo.

  16. harmamae says:

    I liked the label when it’s tear-drop-shaped. Especially the “finally we make tea” one.

  17. Epic-ly cool. I’m a fan! Photo #5

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you. I really appreciate it. And you’re a hairdresser…who will take questions? This blog thing is crazy-awesome! I’ve met a microbiologist, a few guitar players, a hair dresser… my cyber Rolodex cup runneth over… 🙂

  18. My favorite is the one you called the HDR version. Thank you for the inspiration and thoughts on epicness.

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you. I looked at your blog, and you’re a tremendous photographer! Lots of good tips in there too! And your blog header…wowza. I feel honored that you liked one of my pics. Thank you.

  19. Cool! You know, those beers are meant to age until 12/12/12 for the full effect. Still, from what I’ve tasted and heard, they’re good whenever you open them. My sister was born on December 12th. We plan to drink all the Stone Epic Verticals from ’08 to ’12 for her birthday on 12/12. Of course, we’ll share them with some friends and family. I currently have ’08-’10 sitting in my cellar (read: beer closet) and can’t wait to break into these beers.

    • mybluescreen says:

      I know, I know…but it was so good, how could I say no? Your lucky sister is gonna have one helluva party on 12/12. My daughter’s birthday is 12/12 too, but she’ll only be 4 and I won’t let her start drinking until she’s at least 6. 😉 Dude, where were you when we owned the bar? We used to hang out with the Stone Brewing rep and just talk beer until it…well, came out of our ears. Rad company. And hey, thanks for reading!

  20. melancholiastudioinc says:

    Great post! Love the writing and the photos. My favorite is the stuffed dinosaur sitting with the cup of tea. I think it’s great technology is has made it so much easier for people to take photos and have fun exploring all the avenues in editing programs, it used to be considered an expensive hobby. The printed heart in the cup of tea is a priceless.

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you! I appreciate it! Isn’t technology wonderful? Photography really did used to be an expensive hobby…and now everyone’s got a camera on their phone and the photo streams online have been fabulous. I love that it’s now so easy to share our work with others.

  21. Great concept, loved it, and the pictures have been well shot!

    Congratulations for being featured on Freshly Pressed 🙂

  22. I am with you. 2011 will be EPIC.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  23. 4myskin says:

    I think I like the heart one floating on top…you can see the definition better! 😀 But they are all cool. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you. That really means a lot to me. I checked out your blog, and you’re an excellent photographer! Thanks!

  24. Liz says:

    Love the tea pictures! But even more…I love what you wrote in your welcome. It’s so true! Sometimes I wake at 4am just to have that needed alone contemplative time. I’m going to check out the rest of your site.

    I have a Parenting blog with 11 contributors. One is a Navy wife in Virginia. I hope you’ll check us out. 🙂

    Congrats for being featured on Freshly Pressed!

    Liz
    http://www.secretsofmoms.com

    P.S. I like HDR version best!

    • mybluescreen says:

      Hi, Liz. Thank you so much! I’m really glad you liked it. I checked out your website and…wow! I love the tell-all premise. I’ll be back for more. 🙂

  25. That was such a fun post to read, so creative and well… EPIC! The image of the stoners in the garage was priceless. Anyway the word epic always reminds me of my grandfather whom I never met. I don’t like to leave links on people’s posts but a wrote something recently about him using the word EPIC!

    http://brownroadchronicles.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/youre-so-handsome-i-hope-you-never-die/

    And this whole post reminded me of it. Great post, I’ll have to check out the rest of the site!

    • mybluescreen says:

      Hey, thanks a lot! And thanks for the link. I checked your blog out…and dude, you are funny. Thanks for reading!

  26. The dinosaur wasn’t feeling it, but I am! Thanks for such a fun post!

    • mybluescreen says:

      Aww…thank you. I’m surprised at all the fan mail the little dinosaur has gotten. It’s like when Urkel stole the show in “Family Matters,” huh? Pretty soon the little guy’s gonna have his own About Me page and start calling the shots….:)

  27. Wazeau says:

    I really like 920 – the light shining on the epic tag through the tea makes it seem inspired, and the balance between the table and the green and the tea are a great contrast.

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you! I love these comments. It’s so interesting to learn what catches people’s eyes. BTW, your little black and orange cat has a twin living over at my house! We call her Cami Flage. (Terrible, I know…but she’s really hard to find sometimes.)

  28. Amanda Ellison says:

    I love this Angela. It reminds me of what I need and want to be. I appriciate what you do and you do it so well! You inspire me so much, I am a lucky girl to have you as a friend! ^_^ That photo of the baby is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen..ever. ❤

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you, Amanda! That means a lot to me…I feel lucky to have you too! Thanks for taking the time to check the blog out. And have fun in Vegas!

  29. jonathantulang says:

    This is Epic! hahaha! A Fun Epic piece!

  30. Beau Gamble says:

    I vote for the birds-eye view of the floating heart. Beautiful pics and post — I have no hesitation in subscribing!

    • mybluescreen says:

      Hey, thanks a lot! Thank you for subscribing. Wow! Oh…and one Nutter Butter with your name on it will be eaten at some to-be-determined-and-announced time…probably when I’ve had a day without eating, or something equally stupid. 😉

  31. leadinglight says:

    That was very creative of you. It is pretty epic when you discover something without intending to do so, isn’t it? I enjoy the HDR and the poetic submerged one. The HDR is good for people who enjoy arty wordiness and the latter for those who prefer the visual.

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you. I’ve been really surprised and grateful at the response I’m getting. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love reading why people like particular images.

  32. superjessleong says:

    ooh wow that is really awesome! i love it a lot!

  33. Kelley says:

    I definitely like the poetic submerged one best, although the HDR one is good as well. I also like to work through my experience with creating art and share it with others on my blog… I’m not as much of a writer as you, but I love how you showed the art along with the discussion and thoughts. And the dinosaur was awfully cute.

  34. purrfectlee says:

    I think yours is my new favorite blog. I love the creative genius and guts you have. And I love the word Epic as well. I actually blogged about Doing Epic Shit just yesterday. Your post is much better though. Truly entertaining and now I can’t wait to see the finished products.

  35. Isn’t interesting when we are thinking of something and then it appears before us, like an omen, as with your Epic beer bottle? It gives us that wonderful “Meant To Be” feeling. It makes us feel like we are on the right track.

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you, Rayme! Yes, yes, I agree. There’s nothing like feeling we’re on the right track. BTW, love, love, love your blog…had to subscribe. Wish I lived in your area so I could take advantage of your services. 🙂

  36. kontua says:

    fun…. goood all of them

  37. Traci says:

    Enjoyed the post! By the way, I have had the Stone Vertical Epic Beer (yes, instantly drunk). It was given to me my old boss – he was a nice boss! Totally caught my attention when I saw the picture. Thanks for the reminder of home!

    http://workingabroadinindia.wordpress.com/

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you! And yes, I was instantly drunk too…and I probably only had a third of the bottle. Serious brew. 🙂

  38. Noelle says:

    I love the behind-the-scenes look at the thoughts and creativity that went into this photoshoot. Nice job, and quite inspiring too!

  39. Heather says:

    That was beyond special. 🙂 I am left with so many words running through my mind that I don’t know how to put them into this comment box. You are epic, I am epic. Epic. I LOVE THIS.

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you so much! And yes, you are epic (and very talented!), I am epic, we all are…that’s the whole point! Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.

      • Heather says:

        I just felt like I should tell you, I actually quoted you tonight in my Small Group. 😛 I used a quote from this blog post, because I’ve memorized it and it is basically my favorite.

        “Too many people out there have convinced themselves to be safe and set reasonable goals anchored in reality instead of risking exposure of their tender underbellies while reaching for the stars. It’s hard to stretch and grow in the fetal position, dude.”

        That is the part I quoted. Everyone there thought it was genius, just like I did. That is why I memorized it. It was a good thing too, because it was oh-so-very relevant to what we were discussing.

      • mybluescreen says:

        Oh, wow, thank you! This makes me so happy! I’m really glad it was helpful. This may be the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about something I’ve written. 🙂

  40. Moniba says:

    Freshly pressed! Awesome. Congrats, btw, i really like the concept.

  41. misspinkles says:

    your photos are truly epic!
    great job!!

  42. Rob says:

    I feel inspired… and that dinosaur is Epic! =)

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you! That’s so kind of you to say. I saw some of your work on your website and…wow. Dinosaur says she bows to you. 😉

  43. i just found this, and i really was inspiried. i am a budding photographer, a late bloomer in this as i have been in everything else. to me, photography is writing with light. but i love writing, composition, and expression as well, so i found this post very gratifying.

    i especially liked what you said about risking your underbelly reaching for the stars. and the part about things shifting into place. its usually us that shifts into place, me thinks.

    very good shots with your cell phone. amazing little cameras they are. but you have a good eye too.
    k☼

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you! I think trying to get people to raise their hands above their heads is part of my personal crusade. There’s too many talented people out there with their hands tucked into their armpits just afraid…afraid to invest any effort into anything that’s not a guaranteed success…and even then, they’re shy about it. I’m like you…a late bloomer…and I don’t see anything wrong with that. 🙂

  44. rundog67 says:

    Epicness XD do you write?

    ~Go to my website and read my stories at authorlauren.wordpress.com~

  45. Steph says:

    I really love the photos, they look great!

    Wait! I mean EPIC!!!

  46. That is an awesome post.

    An awesomely epic post.

  47. StayShift says:

    Super DUPER post! I clicked on it by random looking for inspiration and expecting to receive posts from the shallow end of the pool. You went head first into the deep end and provided a glimpse into the thought-process that function usually follows form.

    Good job and I look forward to more EPIC posts.

    • mybluescreen says:

      Wow! Thank you so much! That reminds me of that Edie Brickell song…”Shove me in the shallow water before I get too deep…”

      Seriously, I really appreciate the kind comments. I’ve really been trying hard to talk about thought-process in the blog in the hopes of simplifying things and showing people how easy things really are…and hopefully inspire them. There’s just so many talented folks out there — present company included! — I love your blog and writing style — and I want to see what they’ve got! There’s too much art (in the broadest sense) not being made right now because people are scared. Join me in the deep end, people! Safer for diving…! 🙂

  48. I love it!! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  49. I can honestly see and feel the writer in you. Cheers!

  50. Edwin says:

    As you said, “Photography is fun”. I enjoyed this post too my friend.

  51. Rob says:

    Awesome post.

  52. interesting photos dear

  53. Elizabeth says:

    EPIC is classic and I love it!! Great post!

    • mybluescreen says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I’m really grateful for the response. Btw, I checked out your blog…you have a beautiful philosophy…wish there were more folks out there like you. 🙂

  54. firefly8868 says:

    Don’t know you, but love this post. You rocked the concept of what it is to be a writer, to be an artist … but to also be a spiritual being at the same time and not lose sight of that. My personal philosophy has been for many years that you are seldom going to arrive higher and bigger than your dreams. So, dream as big and as high and as bold as you possibly can.

    Well done on a beautiful post, and the best of wishes for everything you do and accomplish — inside and out — as a writer.

    J. L. Fleckenstein

    • mybluescreen says:

      Yes, yes, yes! That’s what I’ve been talking about! I don’t know why people associate dreaming big with setting themselves up for disappointment. Are they so sure they will fail?

      Anyway, thank you for your kind words. I like your blog. We live in hot and cranky Southern California, and we’re headed for Upstate New York in the spring/summer. I’m a little nervous… 🙂

  55. kolembo says:

    Thanks for this, it was a great, GREAT read! What a good time! Anyway, sure I’m late, I like the one you’ve used, and the tea in the kitchen! Thanks again. So fresh!

  56. Pingback: BLOG OVERHAUL, DAY 7: AND NOW WE REST | My Blue Screen

  57. Pingback: I am woman a.k.a. I am indecisive | Just Another Southern Housewife

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