24 Hours in Memphis

Wesley and I were fortunate enough to get away for a whole week and explore the southern part of the country. We visited Arkansas (briefly), Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas. This will go in the books as one of my most favorite vacations of my life.

Our first real stop was Memphis, Tennessee.

Before we arrived, we were intimidated at the prospect of visiting such a “big city”. Thankfully, Memphis is actually really easy to navigate and the people are warm, and are the epitome of “southern hospitality”. I like to think of it as a slightly bigger Des Moines with southern charm.

Beale Street.

Beale Street.

When we planned to visit Memphis, I knew I wanted to visit the Lorraine Hotel, the location of the National Civil Rights Museum, and where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray. The museum has preserved everything in his room, 306, exactly as it was on the day he died, and has even more to offer.

The museum visit was a powerful experience. It’s immersive, and provides you with an important perspective on the tiring, seemingly never-ending fight for equal rights for people of color. If you’re ever in Memphis and are interested in a powerful history lesson, this place is for you. This visit stayed with me long after we left the parking lot.

Room 306, a preserved memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Room 306, a preserved memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Once we found a place to stay downtown, we made our way to the vibrant and colorful Beale Street, which was probably a mile away. We enjoyed walking up and down the street enjoying the rock-and-roll and blues vibes that Memphis has to offer. We also enjoyed some amazing barbecue, because you can’t visit Memphis without indulging in some sweet,sweet barbecue (well, you probably could, but it would be tragic).

 

Sunday evening, we went to B.B. King’s Blue’s Club for a night of amazing music and, again, some amazing food. The staff were laid-back but professional, dancing to the music while also making sure that you were taken care of. The band was world class, and I felt so alive. Live music, amazing barbecue, and enjoying the evening with my husband -- to me, it was a moment that I really tried to soak in and never want to forget.

Although we were in downtown Memphis for nearly less than 24 hours, there is not a moment I regret or would have done differently. To visit Memphis and enjoy it to the fullest, have a loose itinerary, keep an open mind, and follow your heart. Or follow the sound of amazing blues and the smell of barbecue -- you won’t be disappointed.




 

How Shooting Film Makes You a Better Photographer

A couple of months ago, I shared my interest in shooting film. Luckily for me, my husband purchase a Canon AE-1 before we were married. I've been itching to shoot film, and finally I got some developed by the friendly folks at Christian Photo in Des Moines. 

I am not being paid to say this, but I loved having my photos developed there. They developed my black and white Ilford C41 film within the day last Saturday, and they were completely friendly and helpful. They didn't "talk down" to me as a photographer, yet were happy to share their expertise. I highly recommend going there for film developing!

There is something so satisfying with being able to physically flip through your prints after they've been developed. It's a feeling I'm going to be pursuing more and more. I am addicted to shooting film. It's a game changer for me. 

The first roll of film I had developed was my previously mentioned Ilford, black and white C41 film. I love the look of black and white, but it's more challenging than I thought for several reasons:

1. It's not digital. It's not instant.

I have several 'film inspired' Lightroom presets to give my digital images a texture reminiscent of flipping through an old photo album. I'm fairly satisfied with them, but there's not substitute for the chemical process that is involved with film.

Obviously, film is not digital. That means there's no instant gratification, and I can't immediately see what I did right or wrong. 

Ivy Lou's peekaboo.

Ivy Lou's peekaboo.

 

2. It's hard to think in terms of black and white.

When looking through my viewfinder, all I see is color. It's hard for me, personally, to predict what an image will look like black and white. Some of my photos turned out like I'd hoped, and some didn't. And it's okay!

A double exposure that didn't really find success.

A double exposure that didn't really find success.

 

3. You have to slow down.

This ties in with number one. It was very frustrating for me to take photos that I couldn't see immediately and couldn't immediately edit as soon as I got home. It was so hard for me, but as with most things, if it's a challenge it's probably good for you.

Wesley helped me get started with reading the light meter and adjusting my lens and shutter speed accordingly. Again, it's hard but satisfying knowing you are working really hard to earn each picture.

Taken at, where else, Nine Eagles with my favorites.

Taken at, where else, Nine Eagles with my favorites.

It's safe to say that shooting film is changing my life in a very positive way. I'm so looking forward to sharing more film with you from my recent and upcoming adventures!

3 Reasons Living in the Country Will Change Your Life

I'm a country girl. I'm a country girl in the sense that I am much happier in the quiet of my own home than in the busy streets of a city. I can appreciate city life, and I've been fortunate enough to have been to two or three really great cities. It's just that whenever I'm somewhere that's so busy, I'm always longing to be home. 

If you live in the country, you probably understand. If you don't live in the country, don't worry. This post is still for you. Here are three ways that you can live a country life without living in the country.

1. Quiet

 

We're so lucky. We don't have to worry about sirens, street fights, strange people pounding on our door, or loud neighbors. Living in the Des Moines area (I know, not a huge city), I experienced all of those things. Heck, living in Lamoni was not without its noise either.

A quiet place, a quiet space, or even a quiet moment gives you the opportunity to take a breath, and collect yourself. Even though we live in the country now, we still lead busy lives. Coming home to the quiet of my living room with nothing but the sound of a crackling fire is something I really treasure.

If you don't live in the country, that's okay. You can still create a sense of quiet, a sense of peace. Turn off the TV, your phone, and other devices. If you have a fireplace, light it. If you have a candle, light it. Create your own quiet space in a way that works for you.

 

2. Nature

 

When we lived in the city, we would take weekend trips either home or to local parks to enjoy some trees and greenery. Now that we're on the farm, we don't have to go anywhere but out our door to enjoy some natural beauty.

If you're in the city or in town, you can still take time to enjoy nature. You'll be better off for it. Find a walking trail, take a trip out to a local state or county park, or bring nature to you! Pro tip: succulents are the best plants to have. They are resilient and can go days without water and still thrive. In fact, too much water (like with any plant) damages them. Plus, they're the cutest.

 

3. Necessity (most important).

 

This one is the most important to me. I've learned so much from coming back home where I'm 70 miles from the nearest Target or shopping center. I've learned that things aren't going to make me happy and they're not going to make me feel better about myself.

Sometimes, I get so excited for a trip to "the city". The clothes I could get! The shoes I could buy! The cute household accessory that would work so well in my living room! No sooner do we get to the mall and I'm just longing to be back home with my dog and fireplace.

We're all human, and we all have insecurities. It's so easy to think, "if only I had this cute outfit, then I'd feel better about myself!" or, "I really need to pick up this item for my home/apartment so that I can finally feel at home". But that's not the case, my friends.

I love clothes, shoes (yikes), and beautiful things as much as the next person. But I've become so much better at realizing that I have what I need and that if there's something within me that's making me feel crummy, a material item isn't going to fix it. Most likely, reasons number 1 and number two (quiet and some nature) are going to help me more than a new pair of boots.

If you live near the temptation of material items on demand, try and go a weekend without buying anything. Except food, maybe. Or gas. It's so nice living on what you have instead of longing for things you don't actually need.

I'm a firm believer that the little things are the big things and that the "big" things, like an expensive car, expensive home, or expensive clothes do not provide happiness. I'm a big believe in security. Make yourself secure financially, physically, and emotionally. When you focus on this type of security, you realize that the other stuff is just stuff.

Living in the country isn't the only way that these three things can enter your life. It's just one way. I hope you can find ways to implement these methods into your life, no matter who you are or where you live.

 

Looking Back: The Process

Did you ever have a hard time cleaning your room as a kid (let's face it, adults struggle, too)? I always did, and sometimes still do, because I would always come across something that I'd forgotten about and would pull me away from the task at hand.

For example, I'd come across my childhood journal. I was given this probably as a first or second grader, and although I'm sure it felt like hours to write my journal entries, when I re-read my entries they were very short and very amusing. My spelling would be incorrect and the issues that would bring me to write were humorous (friend "drama", a long car ride among other things) compared to my life as an adult. However, at the time I was doing the best that I could, and it's a good lesson to see how far I've come and how I have changed since I was a little girl.

Recently, I'd been fretting over the fact that I couldn't find some of my very first photographs from when I was in college. They weren't fantastic by any means, but they meant a lot to me. Fortunately, I found them! I'm so glad that I had some amount of foresight to download them onto my computer after graduating. Great job preparing for the future, past Rose!

The photos themselves? Not amazing. What I love about them, though, is that they are a great way of showing me how far I have come. I was doing the best I could with what I had and what I knew, and I was capturing things that meant a lot to me. 

Most of these photos were taken for a Web Design project. I don't remember the specifics, but I was taking pictures of things around my home. Just so you know, I'm obsessed with the idea of home, and what "home" means, and it's basically the theme I explored through my writing and art while in college.  I'll write about it more in the future. Let's get to the photos.

 

Pleasanton, IA City Hall.

Pleasanton, IA City Hall.

 

Pleasanton City Hall. This is where I cast my vote in the 2008 presidential election behind a burlap sack. So primitive and meaningful. 

Harvest.

Harvest.

I'm pretty sure that "Harvest" was the caption I used way back when, too. Looking at this, I can see that I was trying to get on the same level as the gourds because I was trying to get them into focus and hoping for a 'blurred' background. For being a complete newbie, I think I got what I was after!

White Cat

White Cat

A picture of a beautiful white cat at Lapland Christmas Tree Farm. One of my absolute favorite places and family traditions. I'm still working on those angles (there's a slight tilt to the picture), but I'm pretty proud of the way I composed this photo.

Trees.

Trees.

What can I say? I like trees and I was trying to be artsy fartsy. I'm not sure if I achieved that effect or if things just look out of focus. Ha.

I'm looking forward to sharing more "throwback" photos with you. If you've made it this far, thank you so much. I'm pretty new to blogging and how to generate an eager audience. If anything, these posts are a great way for me to document my creative process and ideas. In fact, I think that's a lot of what art is. It's as much for the artist, if not more, as it is the viewer.

It's all about the process.

 

Ivy

I've been meaning to blog regularly, but it's not always easy during the week. During Christmas break, when I had loads of time, it was easy for me to be ambitious and want to blog twice or even three times a week. Obviously, that hasn't been happening. I believe consistency is the key to success, so I am going to try and create a new blog at least once a week no matter what. 

I'm fairly new to blogging, although I have thought about it many times, and I want to create content that's relevant to my photography. I have been searching for blog ideas, reading blogs with topics for a photography blog, but very few ideas are clicking with me right now. The general idea is to keep content personal, so that's what I'll do.

If you've even briefly glanced at my website, Facebook, or any social media you'll know that I have a dog. Her name is Ivy, and she's a border collie. She's my first dog as an adult, and holds a very special place in my heart (and Wesley's).

The night we first met her!

The night we first met her!

 Growing up, we had a handful of dogs that I loved so very dearly. Bo, Winston, Chester, and the dog who found our barn and had 9 beautiful puppies whom we had to give away. I'm definitely a dog person. Cats are fine, but I'm allergic to them and so I try to keep my distance no matter how cute they are.

Luckily for me, Wesley is also a dog person. He's a cat person, too, if you get to know him well enough but respects my need for an allergen-free home. We always talked about getting a dog after we were married. It was so tempting to pick up a dog from the Animal Rescue League that we would visit regularly when we lived in the Des Moines area. But for bigger dogs, like we would want, apartment life is no life. 

When we moved back home, I was almost literally dying to have a dog. I made Wesley promise me that we would have a dog by Christmas of 2014. Thanksgiving of 2014, we got news that a family friend of my father-in-law had just had a litter of border collie puppies. They were giving them away, and we visited some weeks after they were born. Good news: we could get a dog. Bad news: we'd need to wait until after Christmas to pick her up. Patience may be a virtue, but it's not my favorite.

When we first went to look at the litter of puppies, I knew immediately that I had to have Ivy. She was all alone in the little kennel in the garage while her siblings were rough housing with one another. She was a little chunkier than the rest, and I felt instant sympathy for her -- clearly she was the most vulnerable and lonely of the bunch. 

Our puppy supplies. She still wears the collar, but all other toys and treats have since been destroyed.

Our puppy supplies. She still wears the collar, but all other toys and treats have since been destroyed.

Not so fast. The owner cautioned us, "she's an ornery one," but the warning fell on deaf ears. I just knew she was the one, the precious little puppy we were destined to care for. 

The night when we got to take her home, my heart was nearly broken. She was sad and scared to leave her family. I held onto her on the drive to our new house and comforted her as well as I could. Poor, poor Ivy.

Plot twist.

We brought her home into our kitchen, which was ready with her crate and toys. Then we met the real Ivy. Any fears she had washed away and we saw her for who she really is. A fearless animal who dominates her prey and territory. Luckily, also pretty intelligent which made potty training not so bad. To be completely transparent, though, Wesley did most of the potty training. 

Very clearly tearing something up. 

Very clearly tearing something up. 

As a wishful dog owner, I hoped that I would have a dog who would always be there to comfort me, always want to cuddle, and always match my mostly laid-back attitude. Ivy does not match all those qualities, but we love her all the same. Perhaps even more so!

She loves the outdoors, she loves to play, and I take comfort in that she follows me to nearly any room in the house on most days. She, like any dog, loves finding the spot by the window where the sun hits just right. She's my walking and yoga buddy. We take her to all the places that we can. 

We're also very lucky that Wesley's dad took Ivy's sister, Molly, from that same litter. They get to see each other frequently and treat each other differently from other dogs they interact with. I love it and Molly, her sister.

For some reason, dogs are just the best. They transcend everything that makes us weary about other people. We don't have to worry about politics, they don't judge us for our life choices, they don't care what size you are, they don't care about your weight. They just want you. I've always felt that if all of our world leaders with diametrically opposing views could meet in a room with a load of puppies, that a lot of conflict resolution could take place.

Okay, maybe not completely, but I'd like to think that dogs can bring the best in all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

Three Things in my Work Space

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebration. For Wesley and me, that meant being in bed by 10:30pm, but we enjoyed a nice evening with his side of the family with lots of amazing, delicious food.

If you've been dying to know what it's like at Waldeier Photography, you're in luck! I'll be sharing photos of three things in my work space. 

Walt and Gus

 

Breaking Bad was our first “show” as a married couple. My sister gave Wesley these action figures for Christmas a couple of years ago, and I love having them on display. Thanks, sis!
 

Canon AE-1/35mm Camera

 

Wesley was the first one of us to get into photography, and he purchased this from Craigslist while we were engaged. We went the home of a recent retiree named Charles, who was fortunately able to schedule us in between his golfing and massage appointments. Ha! He was so incredibly nice and talkative- it was about two hours before we left his home.

 

35mm film and development is hard to come by locally, so I’m looking forward to purchasing some new film and getting it developed in the near future.

 

 

My Desk

 

My first Craigslist purchase ever for my apartment in college. I had it delivered to my apartment while I was there alone. Great idea for a first-time Craigslist buyer? Probably not. Fortunately, I bought it from a retired law enforcement officer who delivered and assembled the desk with some members of his family. It’s a pretty big desk, and is very sturdy. It comes in at least three parts. It’s nothing fancy, but the space it provides is amazing!

Thanks for reading about three things in my work space. I'll be sharing more of what's in makeshift studio in the future, so stay tuned! 

 


 

Location, Location, Location!

Alright, so maybe that title is a little more fitting for real estate, but in today's post I'd like to share with you my favorite places to shoot and where I hope to shoot in the future.

Nine Eagles State Park

One thing to know about me is that I'm a country girl. I lived in the Des Moines area for about five years and although it was wonderful to live 10 minutes from the nearest Target, I always looked forward to the weekends where my husband and I would escape back to our hometown to visit our family. 

Nine Eagles State Park is a location that holds a special place in my heart. Ever since I can remember, Nine Eagles was our go-to swimming location in the summers and walking place in the autumn and winter. In the summers, I remember watching the sun set as we were in the lake and trying to make use of every drop of sunshine. I remember the games my sisters and I used to play in the lake, and I'm forever grateful to my parents for allowing us so much time outside as young children.

Nine Eagles is one of my favorite places to photograph my family because it means so much to us and has become, in a sense, a part of who we are. Our environment shapes who we are.

My dad, Francis, with a piece of ice from the semi-frozen Nine Eagles Lake.

My dad, Francis, with a piece of ice from the semi-frozen Nine Eagles Lake.

My Home / Your Home

My husband and I own a home in the country just as you enter Missouri. It's really a beautiful location, and when the sunset is just right, there's a certain point where it casts a lighting so beautiful, it's as if we're in a painting. Someday, I hope to capture it on camera but for now I'm content to enjoy it in the moment. I really enjoy capturing still life, nature, and portrait photos of my family and friends at my home. It's a great place for winding down and capturing people when they are most at ease.

Home should be where we are the most comfortable, and I prefer my subjects to be as comfortable as possible when we're at a shoot. What better place than at home? So, wherever you consider home, I am happy to travel. The best photos come when the subjects are comfortable, and that's my ultimate goal.

Brother and sister from a shoot that I did in October. This photo was taken in their pasture/timber area and they were so at ease. It made for an excellent photo experience!

Brother and sister from a shoot that I did in October. This photo was taken in their pasture/timber area and they were so at ease. It made for an excellent photo experience!

One Last Thing

You've read now about the places that I love to shoot.  However, I know that any type of growth is best nurtured outside of our comfort zone, and I am working everyday to improve. If you are interested in shooting in an urban location or at any type of event, please let me know. I'm all about learning from new experiences!

If you could have a photo session done anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

A Letter to Myself: Approaching the New Year

When it comes to New Year's resolutions, I'm on the fence. Sure, it's nice to map out in detail specific goals you'd like to achieve. On the other hand, why wait until the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve? Each new moment can be a time to make a change.

So, instead of writing out an itemized list of achievements for 2017, what if we write letters to ourselves one year from now? It has the same charm of a time capsule, but we only have to wait one year, and it's a softer approach than conquering a to-do list.

Here's mine:

Dear future Rose,

I'm proud of what you have accomplished in 2016. You set some goals, albeit small, and met them. That doesn't mean every pursuit was a success, but you're doing a better job of looking at mistakes as an opportunity to improve instead of a reason to feel sorry for yourself. Keep it up!

This year, I hope you work toward your goals with consistency. I hope that you continue to try and make health a priority. I hope that when you make mistakes you are more gentle with yourself.  I hope that you learn to take criticism better. I hope that you practice the art of listening, as opposed to the art of waiting for the other person to finish speaking so you can reply. Do this with everyone, from your students, to your family, or to strangers.

Continue to appreciate the wonderful life you've been given. Remember that the small things are really the big things. Take risks, and when you do -- bring your camera! If you think you'd like to take pictures of something, don't leave your camera at home! Capture some awesome moments.

Stay consistent. Work hard. Try to be better.

Best of luck,

Rose

I'd like to extend the invitation for you to write a letter to yourself a year from now. You don't have to share it, but if you feel comfortable sharing leave a comment below. 

Happy New Year!

 

Why Photography is Important to Me

Although I have an about page, I'd like to give you a more in-depth introduction so that you can get to know me a little better. 

The Basics

My name is Rose Waldeier. I'm 26 years old. I am a first grade teacher at North Harrison Elementary, where I enjoy a great working environment with truly amazing students. My husband and I live in Harrison County, Missouri, not far from the town where we grew up and near to nearly all our immediate family. 

I grew up in Decatur County, Iowa. We lived in a farm house 13 miles away from the nearest town, and I loved it. After a long day at school and work, it was nice to retreat to the quiet of the country. We lived only a few miles away from Nine Eagles State Park where we spent many summer evenings swimming in the lake and many winter days walking the perimeter of the frozen lake. Nine Eagles continues to be one of my favorite locations to shoot.

How I Got Started

Although I was required to take some photos in college, they were never very good and I didn't pursue photography much after I graduated. 

My now-husband has a lot of hobbies and interests, and while we were engaged, he became interested in photography. He purchase a DSLR, accumulated some lenses, and even experimented with film at one point. I was supportive, and slightly interested at first, but nothing much more.

As time went on, my curiosity grew. When we moved back to our hometown, I started playing around a little bit and realized that I LOVED taking photos. 

Why Photography is Important to Me

To be honest, I used to be somewhat critical of those who always lived behind the camera. I used to think, "why are they living life behind their lens when they could be fully engaged with the world around them?!". When I started taking photos more and more, however, I realized that I was forced to be even more engaged with my surroundings to capture the best image. Photography makes me want to be more involved with the people and environment that surround me.

I am also passionate about a great portrait. There is almost no better way to capture the ones you love than a carefully-considered, well composed portrait. I believe in the power of a good portrait and how it can reveal the true beauty of its subject in a more meaningful way than a quickly-captured selfie. 

Photography, like all forms of art, is a wonderful way to enrich the life you already have. It's important to me that you and your loved ones are captured in a meaningful way that will reflect them with honesty and compassion. 

 

 

 

 

The Working American

Hard workers are all over our world, but midwesterners have a reputation for their work ethic. We know that nothing is free, and that hard work is priceless.

These photos embody that hard work that I admire in so many in this region. The subject is my husband, and after spending 8+ hours working as a diesel mechanic, he came home and immediately began working on our farm. 

He has ambition. He wants to someday sustain his own business and farm, but knows that he has to put in the sweat, the hours, and the resources to achieve this.

Who in your life shares this perspective? I'd love to hear about them, and hopefully someday capture their work on camera.

 

 

Get Inspired

“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” -- Jack London

For many, it's so easy to get stuck in the route of complacency, even laziness, not because of a lack of talent or work ethic, but fear - a fear of not reaching perfection. If you are currently in a rut, professionally or personally, here are three ways to help you get up and go.

1. Just Start

Do you need to clean your kitchen? Do you need to lose 20 lbs? Do you have a creative itch that you're afraid to scratch for fear that your creation won't be perfect?Take the first step. Walk in the direction of the kitchen. Tell yourself that you'll only clean one dish. It's likely that you'll realize the it's not so difficult to clean just one, and soon you'll be cleaning the counter tops and tabletops. 

If you need to lose weight, take a step out of the door, and walk to the mailbox, down the road, or around the block. Just start! 

If you have a creative itch, if you know that you are capable of creating something of worth, beauty, and substance, take the first step- create! Write a sentence. Put pencil to paper. Doodle. Sketch. Take a photo with your phone. 

Execution beats obsessive planning nearly every time.

 

2. Find Balance

Start small. Think big.

"I will draw one picture, every day, for the next five days". This is manageable. 
"I will walk once around the block, every day, for the next five days". This is manageable.
"I will vacuum one room, every day, for the next five days". This is manageable.

"I will fill a sketchbook with amazing ideas in two hours". This is not manageable.
"I will run the local half-marathon next weekend, even though I've just started training". This is not manageable.
"I will transform this house, inside and out, this weekend". This is not manageable.

You should have dreams, and they should turn into goals. Be gentle with yourself, and ease yourself into your potential. It works out so much better that way.

3. Positive Thinking

No one can have a Kimmy Schmidt world view all the time - that only exists on Netflix - but you should be surrounded by supportive individuals the majority of your day. You deserve to have a support group, and others will thrive off of your positive outlook.

 It can be difficult to completely clear your life of negative people, especially if they are colleagues or family. At the least, make sure the supportive people in your life outnumber the negative. If your situation becomes toxic, seriously consider options available to you that will allow you to find a better position. If you situation is abusive, seek help immediately.

 

With execution, balance, and a positive outlook, your life can change for the better. You live only once. Give yourself the tools to succeed.