2013 Blogathon Wordle


Over the course of the last month, I have learned several things about blogging:

1) Plan ahead. Many mornings I would sit down at the computer to write a post and I had no idea what my post was going to be about. I spent hours trying to make each post unique and interesting. Sometimes I was successful, other times… not so much. The “theme” days were helpful in filling in the gaps.

2) Read other blogs and make comments. I found several ideas from reading other blogs. Ideas that I could use immediately, and some that I will be able to use down the road. Commenting on the blogs that struck a cord with me helped me to build relationships with people I would never have met outside of blogging. Now, I want to visit new places and learn more about the people who have already explored them.

3) Discipline. I had to make myself accountable for every post. It had to be something of worth, even if just to say, I’m still here. Through the Blogathon, I’ve come to realize just how much time must be committed to writing.

4) Have fun! There is a great reward in reading and writing humorous posts. Everyone needs a smile now and then.

Share what you’ve learned from reading or writing blogs.


Guest Post: Discovering Ranch Life

The best part of the Blogathon has been making new friends from around the world. Today, I have the honor of introducing you to Maria Northcutt, from Discovering Ranch Life.  We have a lot in common it seems. Take a look! Be sure to read all the way to the end for a special look at photos by Maria. Enjoy!

Taking your passion as a hobby photographer to the next level.

htm maria and baby on horse

I have a long love story with horses: a more than 30 year long obsession. I’ve always been amazed by their beauty and intelligence. When I was 6 years old my grandmother gave me my first camera (an old Hasselbladh), and I started taking pictures of them. I find great pleasure in capturing special moments with horses, and between horse and rider.

It took many years of manifesting my dream of a horse before I had the opportunity to have a horse of my own. In the meanwhile my Equine Photography was extremely important to me (I didn’t know the fancy word “equine” back then.) My photos helped me keep my dream alive.

At first they weren’t very good at all. I didn’t show them to anyone except my mom, my sisters and occasionally my grandmother. I never stopped practicing though.

Sometime after college I started to sell a photo every now and then. I didn’t have a fancy camera. The pictures I sold were more about a feeling, moments I experienced. Rarely I managed to capture them, but sometimes it happened. Since I knew it happened sometimes, I continued.

Last year when I was pregnant, living in a new country, isolated (more or less) on a ranch (in The Sierra Nevada‘s), with a husband that worked a lot, I found that I had a lot of time. Lots of time and lots of horses! What to do??  I experimented a lot with iPhone photography. Half way into my pregnancy I’d saved enough money to buy a good camera. After that everything became easy. The difference was huge. I took between 500-1000 pictures every day, (I still take several hundreds every day.) I practiced all day long and got to know my camera, a Nikon D5100.

I took online classes specifically for my camera. I took software and editing classes. I took inspirational classes. I connected with other photographers, both professional and hobby photographer’s. And I practiced, A LOT! I tried different stock photography sites. I started my blog http://discoveringranchlife.com, to share my work and get feedback. I searched the internet for wanted pictures, yes you can do that, magazine’s all around the world often search for specific photo’s.

After Hayley was born I started to call myself a photographer. That was an important mental aspect of it. I’m a photographer!

hw baby and dog in creek

I attended horse events, I advertised a little bit and got some customers. In the beginning my customers mainly were people who’s horses I used to train, before my pregnancy.

I talked to many successful, and struggling photographer’s all along. My conclusion was diversity, I had to get income from different places; my blog, magazine, private photo shoot’s, events and I started an online store. I did a thorough research about online stores, and decided that I didn’t want to pay for my store. My store didn’t have to be my only income. I had time to build it up. My goal was to have a passive income, that slowly would increase. That’s what I have today. Feel free to contact me on my blog if you would like some mentoring on that subject.

trFotor052415446 horse tossing head

I love my life as an Equine Photographer! I get to travel, see amazing new places, enjoy nature, ride horses, meet people and make my own schedule (more or less). Since I’m a pretty decent rider I specialize in something not many photographer’s can do, I take extreme trail photos. That means that I tag along with people and their horses, often on one of their horses, to a beautiful, rugged, wild place, and take cool pictures of them. That’s the part of my job that I undoubtedly enjoy the most! It also makes it possible for me to spend a lot of time with my family, be there for my children and make my husband homemade dinner (almost) every day.

Lately I discovered that a lot of horse people also are interested in portraits of their dogs. Even non-horse people tend to want their beloved doggy family members on their wall, or in a beautiful photo necklace around their neck. That’s a new niche I’m entering right now.

I share my everyday magic with you for free through my photo-blog http://discoveringranchlife.com.

On my stores http://www.zazzle.com/discoveringranchlife (Equine Photography), and http://www.zazzle.com/dogsinourheart (Dog Photography), you can buy my prints, photo clothing and jewelry at very decent prices. All profit from my Equine Photography in my online store, goes towards our 13 rescue horses. You can buy high quality photo products, AND make the world a little better for abused horses.

The next step is having a private photo shoot for you/your friends/your horse. Canvas, prints, posters, necklaces..there are many ways to show your love! A photo shoot with your horse is only $50 + your choice of products (travel expenses not included.)

Ex. Products: Prints 8*10= $35,

High Quality Photo Poster 30*20 = $50,

High Quality Photo Poster 48*32 = $70,

Photo T-shirt $50,

Silver Necklace with your picture in it (starting at) $50.

rtt2 horse and rider on trail

Do you have a favorite trail, a magical place where you take your horse as often as you get the chance? I do Trail Photo Shoots in any kind of terrain. I’m always open for a challenge!

Are you hosting, or attending an event? I enjoy documenting all horse related events; from rodeos, parades, pony rides, endurance race’s, competitive trail riding, horsemanship clinics, to fun rides with friends.

Do you own a horse business? Breeding Facility? Trail Riding business etc? I’ll help you to show your business from its very best side; on your website, in prints, brochures, banners, profile clothing and on customized business cards.

I travel a lot and I might be in your area, I’ve been in 15 states this month (June 2013). Contact me for details, or to setup a date for your photo shoot!

I’m thankful that I get to do what I love, and at the same time spend so much time with my family. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and I hope I’ll see you again http://discoveringranchlife.com. If you’re an aspiring photographer, best of luck to you. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. Maybe we can help each other?

Be well, Maria

I love visiting  www.discoveringranchlife.com . Check it out, I think you’ll understand why.

b2Fotor0523112457 horse's left eye

REFRESHING FRIDAY: Great blog posts around the Blogathon

Bridge in Kentucky. Don't remember where, just remember being scared to death.

Bridge in Kentucky. Don’t remember where, just remember being scared to death.

The following posts are a round-up of many great posts around the blogathon. There are so many great posts, that I can’t possibly do the all justice. I hope you will check out WordCount 2013 Blogathon for more.

*Lazy Bones Running http://www.lazybonesrunning.blogspot.com/ Just reading the subheading after clicking on the title is enough to inspire me to get out and run. Putting that one down in my journal to refer back to when I’m trying to talk myself out of running.

*  Two Hands and a Road Maphttp://twohandsandaroadmap.com/2013/06/28/a-getting-to-know-you-reader-poll/ I love this idea, might have to borrow it for July.

*Victoria Musgravehttp://www.victoriamusgrave.com/five-things-friday-advice-from-blogathon-writers/ Victoria had the same idea as me, so I’m sharing her post here as well. You can never learn too much about blogging and staying organized.

Thanks for reading everyone.

Two days to go.


THANKFUL THURSDAY: This too shall pass.

That's me on the left... finish line face; half grimace, half smile.

That’s me on the left… finish line face; half grimace, half smile.

Today is the last Thursday of WordCount’s 2013 Blogathon. The finish line is on the horizon.

It’s hard to believe that I have blogged every day for the past 27 days. At times it’s been exhausting. I’ve struggled to find new content, yet keep the theme of active senior citizens (I think I mixed it with staying healthy as well).

I’m thankful that I accepted this challenge. It’s made me more aware of what it takes to build a freelance writing career. I’ve also learned a lot about what it takes to be fit at every age.

I’m thankful for all the new followers and friends I’ve met this past month. I hope future posts will continue to keep your interest.

So, with only three days left in the challenge, I have to say I’m thankful that it’s almost over.

I plan to keep blogging about three days a week, but not every day. Maybe that will give me more time to prepare better posts.

We’ll see.