Today we have a special “Everyday Beauty” conversation with writer and photographer Tammy Strobel who’s made it a goal to seek out the everyday beauty in her own life, only she calls it magic! I’ll let you decide which it is after you’ve heard what she has to say about life, photography and what’s to come next in her world.
Tammy is the author of You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too,” currently #1 in Amazon’s “Happiness & Sustainable Living” category. She lives (in a tiny house) in Northern, California and writes regularly at rowdykittens.com. We hope you enjoy looking at the everyday beauty in her world as much as we do.
How did you get started with Photography?
I’ve been taking photos since I was a kid. But I didn’t get serious about photography until my late twenties. A friend let me her borrow her DSLR and I spent an afternoon taking photos with the camera. I was amazed by the quality of the camera and had to buy my own! That was about four years ago.
How would you describe your style?
I love taking pictures of my everyday life. I’m drawn to small details, animals, beautiful sunrises, and more. There is so much to see in the world and I love capturing those moments with my camera.
Your story, the backbone of Rowdy Kittens and your book, is so compelling. How has downsizing your life affected the way you shoot? Do you feel like you “see” more because of it?
Simplifying my life has affected the way I take photos. I feel like I can see what’s around me now. Before we downsized, I was in a rush all the time. I didn’t notice the beautiful details in my daily life because I was so stressed out. The practice of taking photos has helped me practice mindfulness and gratitude in my everyday life.
Who inspires you and why?
I adore the Instagram community. I love photography and I’m fascinated by how people see the world through their camera lens. When I open up my Instagram app and scroll through the photos, I’m reminded to notice the details that make everyday life so magical.
What message are you trying to convey with your photos?
Life changes quickly, so it’s important to savor every precious moment.
You’ve had great success as an author! How does your writing impact your photography?
I think it’s a little bit of both; my writing impacts my photography and my photography impacts my writing. Both photography and writing help me notice details that I would normally miss. Both art forms help me focus on small subjects and I don’t feel as overwhelmed with big projects.
What is your current favorite photograph and why?
Ohhh that’s such a hard question! Right now, I love this photo of Mt. Shasta. I wake up to this view everyday and I’m so grateful that I get to see so many beautiful sunrises. On this particular morning, the colors were vivid and stunning!
I love how you capture the relationships you have with the animals in your life and how you personify them. Is this intentional?
I love my animal friends and I try to capture their personalities in my shots, so in some ways it is intentional. We all have personalities, even our four-legged furry friends, and drawing those qualities out in a photograph is pure joy. With my cats, I try and capture them in their natural environment. They sleep a lot, but it’s really fun to watch them explore the outdoor world too. For example, I recently snapped a cute photo of Christie in a wood pile. The sun was just starting to go down and she was amazed by the chickens walking by. She sat there and watched them for about 10 minutes. I love how she naturally blended into the scene.
You share your work on Instagram. How do you like mobile photography and how does it differ from shooting with your “big camera”?
I’ve fallen in love with mobile photography. I shoot a lot of pictures with my iPhone 4S and it’s such a neat tool. It’s lightweight and it goes everywhere with me, which makes it the perfect tool to capture everyday magic. When I’m shooting photos of my cats or people, they don’t seem to be as intimated by this small and quiet camera.
Also, my big camera is bulky. I shoot with a Nikon D5000 and my lens of choice is a 50mm. There is a lot to love about that camera, but the iPhone has enabled me to capture unique moments. When I use the iPhone, I feel like I’m an undercover photographer. I love sharing my photos on Instagram because it’s a great way to connect with other photographers. Plus, I’m consistently inspired by the Instagram community.
Any special projects you’re working on right now?
I’m working on a couple of projects. My winter photography class, Everyday Magic: How to Capture Creative Images with Your Camera, is open for registration and it begins in January. It’s a three-week, self-guided, ecourse, that is focused on digital photography. For all the course details, click here:
Also, I’ve been working on a new book idea. However, the concept isn’t flushed out yet. I do know that my next book will be about love, loss, and happiness. If all goes well, I’ll send my book proposal to my literary agent by the end of the year.
Do you have a superpower?
For a few years I worked for a research firm in Sacramento and had the opportunity to participate in qualitative research projects. One of my favorite projects required traveling all over California to do in-person interviews at domestic violence and rape crisis centers. I loved the project and the victim advocates I met throughout the state. During the interviews I asked very specific questions and eventually I got to the point where I could take verbatim notes while talking to an advocate. I’m not sure how I’m able to do this so well. I think it’s a combination of good listening skills and the ability to type very quickly.
If you could pick another superpower, would would it be?
This might seem strange, but I cycle a lot and my husband pedals his bike so quickly! I wish my little legs would go faster so that I could keep up with him. I need more pedal power! 🙂
Looking to find the Everyday Beauty in your world? We’re continuing the celebration of giving with another giveaway! One lucky winner (selected at random) will get a spot in Tammy’s upcoming e-course, Everyday Magic: How to Capture Creative Images with Your Camera starting January 7th. For a chance to win Tammy’s class, leave a comment on today’s post, and feel free to share a link with us from the everyday magic in your world, or share your images in our Flickr group for everyone to see. I’ll be announcing the winners for all the giveaways on Christmas day, December 25th, so be sure to check back to see if you’re the winner.