Friends and “Friends”

by Becky on March 21, 2014

Friend.  Such a dynamic word.  We use it to describe so many of our tribe:  acquaintances, fellow squadron members, those confined (blessed?) to the same base.  As these relationships develop, the word starts to grow – to change.  The same word now describes trust, honor, love; but, when spoken there is no distinction between the two meanings.  That is left to the individuals involved who know they have gone beyond the first and have unexpectedly stumbled upon the second.  It is a bond and a knowledge that is unspoken and necessary.  We need and crave that second level, though rare it is.  Today, I am so thankful for the friends in my life; because without them, I could not deal with the “friends” in my life.


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Trekking Turkey – Again

by Becky on March 20, 2014

I’m thankful that we have adventurous friends.  On the weekends when we’re feeling like staying in and recouping from the week, our friends invite us to go a-castling!  “I was looking on Google Earth…” the conversation starts, and from there – we’re off!  Navigating the dirty, rocky roads through villages and farmlands, searching for our destination (finding other sites along the way), finally, we arrive and stand in awe of the sheer amount of time the structure has been standing.  So long that there is no rope, no visitors plaque – it’s just always been there – part of the landscape.

Roman structure – some type of water duct system

Random palm tree on the dusty road

View from the mountain side as we were attempting to storm the fortress


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Art Through Persistant Knowledge

by Becky on December 15, 2013

Photography.  What does that word bring to mind?  If you’d asked me a year ago, I would have told you key light, fill light, kicker light, background light.  Metering, composition, posing, color, zones –the technical.  Then, I attended ImagingUSA for the first time.  I did so to complete a goal, my goal of certification.  I wanted to go in, show my technical expertise, and go home.  I knew my stuff, I was confident I would pass the exam, and I was ready to just get it over with.  But, to hedge my bet, I enrolled in the Certification Preparation Class.  I sat in the classroom surrounded by award winning images by Gary and Kathy Meek.  Stunning images, images that pulled me in and made me wonder– How did they get a light there?  Which area did they expose for?  Is that even possible?   How much editing time was involved?  Technical stuff.

Part of the class involved study groups, and I groaned when Gary said this was one of the most important aspects of his class.  I HATE study groups – just a bunch of random people thrown together; none of whom would care as much as I.  It is embarrassing to type that now because the study group I lucked into (simply because of the hotel I’d booked at) turned out to be the greatest treasure from Imaging 2013.  I quickly realized that I was surrounded by true greatness; greatness of heart, greatness of mind, greatness of creativity.  Each one of my study mates taught me something during our three nights of cramming.  Amid arguments over circles of confusion, explanations of light ratios, and discussions of white balance; Jules taught me that anything is possible if you just do it, Cindy taught me that I need to chill out, Travis taught me to see beauty, Vickie taught me to be myself, Sheila taught me perseverance, Marco taught me to love where I’m at, and Marian taught me how much I needed friends.  Even after the class, we encouraged each other with image submissions, celebrated business victories, and consoled each other when goals were missed.  I consider these photographers among the best of my acquaintance and having them in my life has made me a better person.  ImagingUSA hadn’t even officially begun, and yet, I had learned lifelong lessons. 

Exam day came. Two hours later it was over, and it was time to head to “the show”.  We arrived just after the floor had opened and we descended the escalators with hundreds of others – a giant tsunami of photographers.  After visiting a few vendor booths, we decided to peruse the print competition display.  Large zig-zagging temporary “walls” were covered with hundreds of nearly perfect competition prints.  Again, I was blown away by the sheer technical genius!  But, as I rounded the corner of the loan collection I saw this:

Time Traveler by Richard Sturdevant

I grew up on a farm, and one of our most favorite pastimes was climbing trees.  One particular tree sat directly in front of our home and was designated as “The Climbing Tree”.  My siblings and I would see who could climb the highest, fastest, best.  I remember falling out of that tree one day; One second I was going up and the next instant I hit the ground, landing flat on my back. The air was knocked out of my lungs, and I was unable to breathe.  Seeing this image had the same effect as hitting the ground (without the falling part).  I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening.  My brain wanted to analyze, but my heart took over – I was mesmerized.  This piece grabbed me.  And it didn’t let go:

Fire in the Sky by Richard Sturdevant

Defenders of the Realm by Richard Sturdevant

Sin City by Richard Sturdevant

My definition of “genius” was, in that moment, redefined.  The possibilities of photography as an art form expanded to infinite.   This artist had truly created a one of a kind piece.  Times eight.   In an industry flooded with photographers, he had separated himself not only through his camera, but by using all available tools.  My mind was blown.  Incredibly, I was able to meet the artist, Richard Sturdevant, just a few minutes later!  Richard had so many awards around his neck he was going to need a brace, yet he spoke to me with such a humble heart.  He congratulated my classmates and me on our completion of the CPP exam, and talked to us about our next step – print competition.  His heart for teaching shone bright and I am filled with anticipation of someday taking one of his classes.  Day one of ImagingUSA, and my heart was changed. 

The remaining days were filled with seminars and workshops with some of my idols.  Some of my idols were knocked down a peg after seeing the work of the Print Exhibit.  And I found new photographers to follow, photographers who cared about the industry and not just about making money.  Where I wanted my business to go changed over those three short days.  There is no way I could have anticipated that 2013 (with the assistance of the United States Air Force) would move my family to Turkey, that the best choice for my business  would be to put it on hold, and that I’d have to sit quietly by while other photographers paraded around me.  If I had not attended ImagingUSA 2013, if I had not met the group of people I had the privilege of befriending, if I had not taken the CPP exam, I probably would have folded everything – just shut it down.  But my study group friends give me inspiration every day, my new goal of my Master of Photography keeps me motivated, and my certification gives me confidence in my work.

Last year, if you’d asked me what photography means, the answer would have been technical.  Now, the word “Photography”, to me, means “Art through persistent knowledge”.  I am giddy with anticipation of ImagingUSA next month;  my study group will reunite as eight Certified Professional Photographers and we will lay plans to conquer 2014!  I hope to see YOU there!

The images in this post are used with permission of the creator, Richard Sturdevant, who is AWESOME! 

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Turkey Travels {Karatepe and Kilim Co-Op}

by Becky on December 14, 2013

Last week I was flipping through “The Happenings” (the on-base magazine for what’s going on), and saw that Outdoor Rec was offering a trip to Karatepe – in THE RED ZONE!  I had no idea what Karatepe was, but we jumped at the chance just to get into the red zone (the portion of Turkey we’re not allowed into as residents of Incirlik).  We loaded into the Outdoor Rec bus in the early morning cool; the sky couldn’t decide if it would rain or not the whole day.  On the way to Karatepe- an ancient Hittite castle ruin – we stopped at a Kilim co-op where we were able to watch the ladies tie a few knots, then loaded back onto the bus headed for the castle.  It’s amazing the hands-on access we have to artifacts here in Turkey – we walked all over the ruins through an outdoor museum and marveled at the history.  The day-trip was well worth our time and I think we might go again if the opportunity arises!

This kilim was being finished as we watched.


There were two ladies working on this kilim.


The room was full of these looms.




The different dyes used on the wool.


A Santa Kilim?!?


The kids enjoying some Turkish Tea.


Our Favorite (But not favorite enough to buy).


The dyed wool – the other side of the room was lined with iron ovens.


Tea Party is finished!



Ancient Lion’s Paw



View from the castle ruins.


The castle wall foundation.


My baby running through the castle!




The path leading around the ruins – very serene.


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We’ve been trying to make a point of getting out and about more frequently – short day trips for now.  On this particular Saturday, we packed up the van and headed to Ekotepe, an organic farm offering a breakfast brunch buffet and sweeping views of the hillside.  We enjoyed the farm for a couple of hours then continued our journey to find the James Bond Bridge (used in the filming of Skyfall).  I kept waiting to drive around a corner and see the expansive structure, but as we went further up the mountain and the road kept narrowing, I began to worry that we’d made a wrong turn.  Finally, we rounded a curve, we saw it, and while impressive it was, the movie had made it seem much longer.  Regardless, it was a fun day away from the base.

This was a “STOP THE VAN!” shot; I set up my tripod and wished for a wider angle lens.


Waiting for a train!


The impressiveness of the bridge’s height inspired more awe than the width.


Organic Farm


The outdoor eating area was serene and peaceful and a peacock even strolled through the garden.


Olives are one of Ekotepe’s products. The trees are lined in orchards.


Another great view from the hill



I had to smell the roses!


Keep checking back for more photos from our Turkish Adventure!


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