January 02, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,
My Personal Memories, Dreams and Reflections of 2010

1. Me!
20. Self Portrait - Ashley Sisk
Last November (2009), I purchased my very first DSLR. Just months prior to this purchase, I was considering investing about $1200 in a jewelry business (I’m not sure I’ve ever shared that before). I was also about to consolidate my credit cards before realizing that I had a earned a large number of unused points on one of my credit cards – large enough that I could purchase my first DSLR. It was by far, the best purchase I’ve ever made. I’ve spent the past year really focusing on photography and I feel as though it has really paid off. 

Now, what I didn’t expect…I started a blog account on a whim. Just prior to getting married, I knew I needed a hobby (thus the reason I got into photography)…I also knew I needed a creative outlet to share this hobby. I thought my blog would become a personal journal. As it so happens, I started meeting other women who shared this interest in photography. Within a matter of a year…this blog has grown to over 900 followers. I just had no idea but I’m really proud of where I’ve been and where I’m going.

2. I Love You
NCSU32110-017 blog
I love my husband. He has been so supportive of me this past year. I remember going out to NC State’s campus in March to practice using my camera. He was such a sport to pose for me. Going back through my pictures, I nearly forgot this shot but I absolutely love it. He’s so handsome.

3. Still Laughing
Kitty Paw Snarl RS
Are you tired of this picture yet? Kitty Paw and I have been together for quite a few years…this year she turned into a rock star! As for this picture…I was playing around with my macro lens when I spotted Kitty Paw sitting at the front door. It’s not as if I was looking for a funny face…it just happened. It makes me laugh every time!

4. Winter Wonderland
IMG_0481 RS
I’ve actually seen more snow in the past year than I have in a long time. Looking back through my archives, I found snow pictures taken in North Carolina from January and February. However, I thought I’d share one of my shots from our last snowfall. Unlike previous snow storms in 2010, my husband took me for a drive to capture it’s beauty.

5. Birthday
Happy Birthday Cake blog
I turned 28 this year. I had a series of birthday celebrations with friends. During one of those celebrations, my friends bought an ice cream cake. It was soooo good and I was able to capture the shot above. I think it was the first time that I completely understood spot metering.
Carter's Birthday RS
This past year, our nephew, Carter also celebrated his first birthday. I had no idea what I was doing with my flash…in fact, this may have been the point in which I determined that I really needed a Speedlite.

6. Friends
IMG_8494 RS
In addition to all of the incredible friends I’ve met through blogging, I have a few really great friends from college. It’s hard to believe that I’ve known these girls for 10 years! A couple of people are missing from this shot (taken during this year’s Thanksgiving Extravaganza at our home), but this is our core group. I look forward to our annual Thanksgiving Extravaganza each year.

7. I Was Inspired…
Upside Down Tree RS
One of the great things about the blogging community is that there are so many wonderful people willing to share what they’ve learned. I’ve truly been inspired in the past year. The above shot was inspired by Karli at The Bonnie 5. 

Around the World RS
I was also inspired by a tutorial I saw on Cheryle Kupsh Photography‘s blog to create what is called “planet photographs.” If you didn’t have a chance to make your own planet photograph, click HERE for the steps.

8. Spring Fever
SPDG 0410-170 blog
This spring, my husband and I took a trip out to Sarah P. Duke Gardens. For those of you that don’t know this, my husband proposed to me at Duke Gardens…so, we had a wonderful time walking the gardens and photographing all of the flowers in bloom.  This past year, I was a bit intimidated by all of the professional photographers and all of their gear…but I’m  still thinking this will become an annual tradition.

9. Travel
IMG_7319 tex RS
Travel by air is pretty common in my life right now although I can’t say that I went very far this year for pleasure (outside of our family beach trip). I took this shot on just one of my business trips.

10. Summer Days
IMG_3198 edit blog
If I’m completely honest, I don’t enjoy summers in North Carolina…even being a June baby. It’s entirely too hot and humid! However, I was able to purchase the Sigma 105mm EX Macro with some of my birthday money, so I used the summer to practice macro photography on whatever bug I could find…or rather whatever bug/flower/animal, etc that would hold still long enough for me to photograph.

11. A Day In My Life
Ode to CTC RS

10-Coffee RS
It wouldn’t be a typical day in my life without two very important things: a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and a cup of coffee. I wonder if I’ll have the same obsession with Cinnamon Toast Crunch in 2011 and beyond, as I had in 2010. We’ll see.

12. All Smiles
Stone Girls111 bw-rs
I captured many smiles in 2010, but this particular shot stands out as one of my favorites. Our goal was to get at least one good Christmas card photo. If you’ve ever tried to get three small children to smile AND look at the camera…you know that this is hard work. But, we  (their mother and I) thought this shot was perfect!

13. Autumn Harvest
3. Fall Colors - Ashley Sisk
Autumn/Fall is by far my favorite season. In North Carolina, that means temperatures in the 70s, cool breezes and fall foliage. It also means the annual pumpkin search. This year, I took it upon myself to go down to the Pumpkin Patch all by myself to find the perfect pumpkin. Of course I also took my camera.

14. Family
IMG_4321 blog
2010 was the first year that my husband and I joined his side of the family for a Sisk Family Vacation. I recalled a photo of my husband and our niece taken when she was just a baby…we thought it would be neat to recreate that photo. They may be a few years older but I still love this shot.

15. Celebrate!
IMG_2160 edit RS
There were many reasons to celebrate this year but the one that really stands out for me is when one of my best friend’s (Jenn) received her Doctorate. She was the first of my friends to ask me to do a portrait session. We had a blast running all over NC State’s campus, but I love this particular shot taken in the library.

16. Let’s Do It Again
7. A Fall Tradition - Ashley Sisk
I love going to the State Fair – we had such a blast this past year riding the Ferris Wheel, seeing the farm animals and eating fried food…especially the fried Reese Cups. Yum…I can’t wait to eat one of those again!

17. I Miss You
Granddaddy RS
I was fortunate this year in that I did not lose anyone close to me this past year (if I did…I’ve really repressed it, because I don’t remember it). However, I still miss my Granddaddy- he died in 2004. This is a really old picture of me, my brother and Granddaddy.

18. Beautiful
IMG_3062-2 RS
Speaking of my Granddaddy, I love this picture of my Grandma. Isn’t she beautiful? One weekend, while we were visiting, she was all dressed up in her new pink skirt suit. For whatever reason, we were talking about what she’d wear at her funeral (I know…morbid conversation, right?). She couldn’t decide between this beautiful pink suit or the light blue suit she wore to my wedding. She then decided that she didn’t have a nice picture of herself for the obituary so asked if we could take a quick picture. 

Random fact: on her 79th birthday, my Mom decided to have a surprise birthday party for my Grandma. That must have been a couple of years ago because she’s about to turn 81. I told Grandma the other day that it was about time for another odd-year birthday party. She thought that was pretty funny.

19. Dress Up
1. In Disguise - Ashley Sisk
During Halloween weekend, my husband was out of town on business so I planned on going to my parents’ house for the weekend. The family of three girls that I photographed the month prior (see All Smiles) found out I would be in town and asked if I would mind coming over to photograph the girls before they went to a Halloween party. The above shot is one of my favorites from that session.
Dressed Up 2 RS
I also wanted to share a previously unshared self-portrait taken just before a friend’s engagement party. I’m not sure even she knows this, but I felt so under-dressed at another one of her wedding events that I went out and got a new dress at Ross to ensure that I wouldn’t be under-dressed again. Once I put it on, I felt so sassy that I decided to try a new hair style. For those of you that see me at upcoming events, you can expect to see this dress. I love it!  

Also, just out of curiosity…does this photo look like me? Every time I post a new picture of me, I’m told that I look like a different person.

20. Macro
IMG_0365 RS
I took a number of macro shots this year, but the shot above is my current favorite. Furthermore, I absolutely love these ornaments!

21. Holidays
Paw Humbug Card RS
Are you getting tired of this picture yet? I had absolutely no intention of sending Christmas Cards this year. But, the Paper Mama held a Christmas Card challenge and I was inspired to do something different. I love the end result and I hope that those that received the card enjoyed my off-center humor. I know I did. Stay tuned for the Paper Mama’s Valentine Card challenge.

22. My Favorite
Flowers in the Fairy Garden by Ashley Sisk
You all know that I love a good photography challenge…and I love any one of my photos to be recognized as a favorite. However, when the Pioneer Woman recognized the above photograph as one of her favorites, I was “over the moon!” If you are interested in achieving a similar effect with one of your shots, click HERE.

23. Don’t Ever Change
IMG_4563-2 RS
Perhaps it’s cliche but when I saw “don’t ever change,” I thought of the Lee Ann Womack song: I Hope You Dance. I look at my niece and nephew and I want the whole world for them…I want all of their hopes and dreams to come true…and I hope that joy in their hearts never changes.

24. Just Because…So There!
The Butterfly by Ashley Sisk
During one of the August photo hunt, we were asked to photograph butterflies. I had the most difficult time tracking down a butterfly…and then an even harder time getting a butterfly to stop long enough so that I could photograph it. I managed to get something for the challenge but I wasn’t happy with the shot. Then, in September, a beautiful monarch butterfly took a break on our mailbox and allowed me to photograph it for several minutes. I was absolutely thrilled.

25. Hopes and Dreams
Dream Hope Love
In 2010, I focused much of my energy on learning photography basics. I’ve spent nearly every day with a camera in hand and it’s paid off. I don’t really care for resolutions but I do have a few hopes and dreams for 2011…and just in case you’re curious – I do need to lose a few pounds. 

As it relates to photography, I hope to: 
  • Open my Print Shop on Etsy.com
  • Get more practice with portrait photography
  • Learn how to use Adobe CS5 
  • Create at least one action set to share
  • Create my own textures
  • Experiment with shutter speed
  • Better understand lighting
In my personal life, you may recall my post entitled, “I Want MORE for Christmas.” With that message in mind, in 2011, I want more: 
  • Faith
  • Obedience
  • and use of my Spiritual Gifts
As long as I focus on those things, I think everything else will fall into place and I’ll be off to a great start in 2011. With that said, a big thank you to everyone that I’ve “met” in 2010 – you have really inspired me and I’m looking forward to continuing the journey in 2011. An even bigger thank you to everyone who has participated in the first installment of Memories, Dreams and Reflections. I think it’s been a big hit and I look forward to many more years in this community. Have a great 2011 everyone!

For more Memories, Dreams and Reflections (and more 2010 recaps), go to:
Memories, Dreams and Reflections