About Me


I’ve been a family historian for as long as I can remember.

I’m a happily married mom of three kids for whom the world is their classroom.

I’m natural-minded, easy-going, and down to earth.

 I’m always practicing photography because I love recording life and beautiful things and maybe someday I’ll be a professional. I also make scrapbooks digitally and I’m willing to scrap for others.

My Blogging History

365 project 2011 01 28_me and my baby_2227 edited WEBI’ve been blogging since 2004!  I began blogging elsewhere many years ago as a place to express my thoughts as a new mom. When I migrated to WordPress I transferred my old blog.  I used to write a lot about pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and parenting in general, and occasionally still do.  I’ve written a lot about homeschooling too.  Later, I began sharing my photography and scrapbooking.

You’ll also find some recipes (lately accompanied by photos!), discussions of the weather, and other topics. See the tag cloud at the bottom of any page for more.  I’ve considered starting a new blog, but I like having a long history. That’s probably why I’ve been keeping diaries or journals since I was 8 in 1980.

My Photography History

Michele Kendzie by Heather SmithsonI can’t remember when I first held a camera because it was before I was 10, but I have vague memories of flashbulbs that attached to the top of a boxy camera and another camera with long skinny film cartridges. I went through a few point and shoot 35mm cameras in my 20’s. I would come home from events and vacations with multiple rolls of exposed film. I spent a lot of time putting them in albums with journaling and titles made of colored paper.

I got my first digital camera early in my 30’s and, realizing it costs nothing to take pictures anymore, I went wild, taking thousands. Of course, I had a lot of photo opportunities by then, as I had children. Fortunately, soon after that, I discovered digital scrapbooking too. My third child’s growth has been documented almost exclusively digitally.

Around 2009, when my children were 8, 5, and 2 and parenting was becoming easier, I started thinking more seriously about photography. I took a basic photography class at ScrapGirls, which was a good introduction, but it was John Greengo, in Fundamentals of Digital Photography at CreativeLIVE who helped me really understand aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and how they work together.

My last Cybershot conveniently died in spring 2010, just as I was deciding I wanted a DSLR. After much reading, researching, trips to stores, and indecisiveness, I finally bought the Canon Rebel T1i in June 2010.  Since then, I’ve been studying photography slowly but with great enthusiasm.

I got my first non-kit lens in 2011. In 2012 I practiced shooting in manual almost every time I used my camera and I had my fourth and most successful year of Project 365. I took two classes at Clickinmoms, Shooting 101 and Natural Light 101, and watched many classes at CreativeLIVE. In 2013 I completed three more Clickinmoms classes — Mastering Natural Light Indoors, Lifestyle Photography with Kids, and Lightroom — watched numerous CreativeLIVE classes, and continued to shoot nearly every everyday.

In the last few years, I have focused on daily photo processing practice and participate somewhat consistently with photography projects including Project 365, Project 52, and a study group reading The Visual Toolbox by David DuChemin. I’ve also developed a consistent weekly habit of creating scrapbook pages, always on Sundays and sometimes other days of the week too.

We’re all learning together in this house, my homeschooled children and me.

Contact Me

Thank you for visiting my website. I’m happy to respond to any questions and I’m grateful for your feedback. I will probably reply very soon.

My Favorite Photography Resources

CM_affiliate_banner_FindBeauty_250x250Clickinmoms is my favorite forum for learning about photography and discussing it with other photographers.  I joined during the post Thanksgiving 2010 deal offering a large discount off Lifetime membership and though I visit almost every day it’s not enough.

creativeliveCreativeLIVE is awesome. They have more webinars than we can fit into our schedule and we can watch them for free. Then, if you decide it’s a class you want to own so you can refer to it anytime, then you can buy it and download both high and low resolution videos. And if you miss the original broadcast, they always play the recording at least once again, later the same day. Sometimes they rebroadcast classes again weeks later.

Digital Photography School — one of my early favorite sites for learning about photography, I subscribe to the newsletters because I like getting a lot of photography tips via email

Dgrin – the forums at Smugmug, where there is sharing, critique, and challenges

KenRockwell.com — He is a professional photographer who has written many articles here about photography and cameras. He helped me during my original DSLR camera research.

Fundamentals of Digital Photography with John Greengo — This was a 10 week course originally recorded in spring 2010 at CreativeLIVE, when I bought it, and was re-recorded in April 2012.  I thought the free videos were so good I bought the whole course in 2010 so I can watch it over and over as I’m ready to work on another aspect of photography. I credit him with getting me started seriously learning photography.

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, of course!  This book is recommended over and over again.  I finally got my own copy in December 2011.

The Visual Toolbox by David DuChemin and everything else by him. I discovered him in 2014 and he has been one of the most inspiring photographers I know.

Psychology For Photographers

photo of me in the buttercups by Heather Smithson