Fun in the Snow!

Over the holiday break I spent time with my boyfriend’s family in Northern California. We drove to the Tahoe Mountains and took some fun photos:

Delanah Banana

I recently discovered Twenty20 and am obsessed. It’s a fun way to showcase your photography, whether you’re a beginner or professional.

They sell stock photos to a wide range of companies and brands including Lyft, Equinox and MTV. They also cater towards blogs and websites that can buy your photos for posts on their website.

To sell your photo you have to get recognized. They create various competitions a day that you can enter and have your peers vote on. The higher you rank, the more exposure you can achieve.

All in all, it’s a fun way to broaden your photography skills and make some sales along the way.

I love it because it has ignited my passion for photography and allows me to put my work on display. Check out my profile here.

Through competitions and collections, I discovered an amazing photographer Delanah (pronounced like banana). Her work is featured in a number competitions, and has sold to a range of brands.

She has crisp and clean photos that feature her beautiful family. She captures a moment in time and creates a strong connection between her subject and the viewer.

A standout among her beautiful photography is her daughter Essie. She is gorgeous and adorable. Her personality and winning smile shine through in every photo.

Delanah and her family adopted this Ugandan princess a few years ago, and she has been the star ever since. I interviewed Delanah to learn about her photography passion and opinion on adoption.

Sasha: How long have you been taking photos of your family?

Delanah: “My crazy photo obsession happened about 2 years ago when I started entering my daughter in “brand rep searches” on Instagram. I was just using my phone to take pics at first but quickly realized that the accounts that would get picked to be brand reps were the ones who had clear good quality photos.

My husband introduced me to canon rebel/ 50mm lens and that’s all she wrote! My trick is to take a ton of pictures and pray that at least one turns out. Then I will edit it on Picmonkey.”

Sasha: What do you love most about taking photos?

Delanah: “I love capturing the candid moments of my kids! Whether it’s a genuine smile or a discouraged face, it’s fun to see a real expression and if you can capture the right moment you can truly see what they are feeling!”

Sasha: What led you to find your daughter?

Delanah: “My husband and I started the adoption process when my youngest son Huxley turned one. We originally started in the Ethiopia program but after a year with no referral, we were offered the chance to switch to Uganda and so we did.

Essie’s referral came in August of 2011, but we waited for a court date for travel until June of 2012. I spent two months in Uganda with Essie before we were issued the right documents to come home.

It was a surreal experience that I will never forget! I met some amazing people and in hindsight I am happy we were stuck there because it gave Essie a chance to bond with me without the distraction of two older brothers.

Essie turned 2 yrs old while I was in Uganda with her and we just celebrated her 6th birthday so she’s been with us for 4 years!”

Sasha: What are your views on adoption? Why is it important?

Delanah: “Going through the adoption process has been quite the learning experience. There are orphans all over the world that need families and the journey can be long and difficult but every child deserves the love only a family can give.

Adoption is tricky because there are corrupt people who take advantage of families desperate for children by trafficking kids who aren’t truly “orphans.” Do your research and hire private investigators to ensure your children are legitimately orphans even if your agency is trustworthy.

Think about special needs adoptions! Try being open to adopt kids that aren’t “perfect” on paper! Even with my biological sons, there was no promise of the perfect healthy child so why would we expect that from an orphan?

More than anything please know that these kids are worth every trial you go through to get them. They will make you laugh, cry and at times you will feel your heart breaking for their loss but as you mold into a family you will quickly learn that you needed them as much as they needed you.

Essie has completed our family in a way only God could orchestrate and for that we are so very blessed.

You can browse through Delanah’s photos at Twenty20, Facebook, Instagram and her lifestyle blog.

Owlfest 2016

We finally made it to Owlfest, and it was absolutely amazing! Three days and two nights of camping filled with incredible music, activities and breathtaking views of nature.

This was Owlfest’s 5th year and it was held at the beautiful Toney’s Mountain Golf Course out in Grass Valley. This amazing annual event started with a few friends hanging out and creating music. One thing led to another and the legend known as Owlfest was born. It’s held once a year around the end of June, and is a grand time for friends and family.

The camaraderie surrounding you is really enjoyable, and everyone is focused on simply having a great time.

 

I interviewed one of the creators and drummer of MAU, Scott Allen Carpenter. He provides some insight on the adventurous weekend, and proves to be quite the poet.

Sasha: “How did Owlfest start?”

Scott: It all started back in 2011. Myself and Nathan Kingham (my friend and co founder) had been putting together open jams for about a year at that point. The jams would consist of Nathan and myself inviting musician friends over, where they would proceed to drink beer and play whatever they felt like.

It was through this process, and through playing music locally for an approximately combined total of nearly 30 years, that we were privileged to meet a lot of people who all played in different bands… after doing these gatherings for about a year, [we] thought that it would be fun to have an annual gathering… We would make it family friendly, try and include camping if possible, and we would call it “Jam Fest”.  

One [of our] close friends had some property up in Gardnerville NV. His nickname was “The Owl”, so we decided to call it Owlfest… Year 2 we moved it off of his property but we kept the name.

Sasha: “What is your favorite part about Owlfest?”

Scott: My favorite part of Owlfest is the people. I love watching people have a good time. I love providing that outlet. Providing an opportunity for folks to hear bands that they have never heard before. Providing bands with the opportunity to network with other bands and help our local scene stay connected to each other.

Being that we are an annual event 5 years running, I have gotten to see kids grow up at Owlfest. I have knowledge of a romance that sparked there at Owlfest 3 and is still going strong after Owlfest 5.

Now that I am talking about it, more so than just the people, it’s the sense of community. Everyone comments on it every year, about how nice everyone is, how helpful and genuine the folks are. That is key for us to succeed. We will never bring large national acts to Owlfest cause that isn’t our philosophy. Owlfest isn’t a money machine, it isn’t a festival thrown together to praise the idolatry of rock and roll or the fame of the stage. It’s a family gathering, and our family likes to play kick ass tunes and howl at the moon till all hours of the morning.

Sasha: “What do you envision for next year?”

Scott: I don’t see us getting bigger. I like our festival attendance to be right around 400 people… I do see us refining our event more.

Possible changes for next year may include a change of date to a slightly cooler time of year, maybe spring or early fall.  Other changes I would like to see… [are] a better vendor area, more support for our kids area, better coordination of the campgrounds and marking out spots, volunteers to assist with finding a campsite and parking, a possible singer songwriter stage at the Bloody Mary Bar in the mornings, an earlier start and stop time for Sunday, solid 2 hour dinner breaks on Friday and Saturday, a Rockmed tent for emergencies, main stage music ending around 10pm giving more time for campfire jamming, a centralized generator for vendors to use, more porta potties, a way to provide ice, and yeah!  We have done a great job in the last 5 years, but we can always make it better.

Sasha: “What’s your ultimate goal for Owlfest?”

Scott: I want to provide a vacation spot for musicians, [their] friends and families. I want to provide a networking weekend in which we all live, eat, play, write, meet, and create long lasting and substantive ties and relationships. It’s all centered around the bands, and being that we are all performers and that we all love those who support us, it really turns into a love fest! I am rambling, LOL.

My ultimate goal is to create a festival of community and support among local area musicians. That this festival will create unions of bands who leave the mountain and go out and blaze trails. I want this festival to rejuvenate creativity in bands. I want this festival to conceive bands.

This year my ultimate goal was kinda realized when I looked around and saw that Owlfest had finally arrived. We didn’t need big bands, we didn’t need a ton of money, all we needed was some people who wanted something special to call their own. That’s what we have. Family, our Owlfest Family.

Sasha: “Is there anything else you want people to know about Owlfest?”

Scott: Owlfest isn’t for anyone. It’s not for haters, people who are intolerant, folks who like to fight, who like take advantage of others, bullies, ***holes, people who only like one style of music, people who don’t like kids, or anything else that falls under the category of negative, judgmental, or inconsiderate.

Owlfest is only, and I mean only, for those who are interested in being apart of Owlfest. We want this to be the best festival in Northern California. Not the biggest, just the best. We want it to be a community endeavor, a place where everyone knows your name, a place where you can relax and be yourself and we are all cool with you and like you for that.

I know love is a very overused word, but I can’t think of a better one. Owlfest, in my opinion, is the antithesis of your average music festival. How? Well the love. If you come for a whole weekend you will leave with new friends and some of them will be musicians. If you come for any portion of the weekend you will leave with a new band that you liked, maybe your new favorite!   

At the end of the day though Owlfest is a celebration of local music and community. A true snapshot of what happens when you bring a small community together around the focal point of live music. The outpouring results are that of happiness, self discovery, friendship, community and love. That is and always will be owlfest as long as I am apart of it.  

 

Stay tuned for next year’s line up and details on their website and Facebook.

 

Here a few of the photos I took to commemorate the memorable weekend:

 

 

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