Ch-ch-ch-changes … and a Super-Duper Overhaul!

A sultry wood frog hangs out on the surface of our pond in Maine.

A sultry wood frog hangs out on the surface of our pond in Maine.

Wahoo!! Spring has really, truly, officially arrived in … Maine! How do I know? Our pond is full of hot, steamy frogs on the make (ew!) and they are broadcasting it to anyone who will listen! Yowza, it’s getting warm in here! (Now I know you’re thinking, but just not saying: Did she get footage of that? Let’s just say … heck yeah!)

Since last autumn, my hubby and I decided to change our traveling lifestyle from full-time RVing to part-time. We had an awesome year-and-a-half exploring the USA (40 States, wow!—check out our Trail Dust Blog for more about our adventures!) and we’ll continue to do so together, just in a more focused way. A home base seemed like the best choice for us, especially considering the huuuge projects we’ve been working on lately, and the amount of travel I’ve done. (Since October, my video production/photography projects have taken me to England, El Salvador, Los Angeles, and Cleveland, Ohio. More about those soon!)

We bought a place with about 15 acres, a pond, and an orchard in the northwoods of Maine just before the first blizzard hit in January (great timing, yikes!). We’ve been hunkered down in our farmhouse all winter (I was here most of the time, really!) and crikey, the fresh sights, sounds, and smells of spring are surely the finest things we’ve encountered since the new washer and dryer arrived. If you hung your hat out here in the Northeast this winter, you’ll get my drift … snow drift that is.

And now for the exciting news: I’m creating an online database of my images. Yahoo! Thousands and thousands of the rangy beasties (images) are going to be wrangled and dragged, kicking and screaming, and uploaded into the web-o-sphere for folks to peruse and soon, to purchase. This winter I spent an unhealthy amount of time researching different stock photo services (some would call that procrastination), and seriously considered the services of Photo Shelter, Zenfolio, SmugMug, and PhotoDeck. I’ve chosen PhotoDeck for reasons that will be detailed in a later post. I’ll let you know how I like it.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be overhauling my website and blog. Eventually my site (jennifersmithmayo.com/blog) will become the photo database and the blog will be an offshoot of the site. I’m testing a few galleries right now, you can check them out at: http://jennifersmithmayo.photodeck.com or click on the Photo Galleries tab at the top. I’ll be adding lots of images in the next few months … unless I get a gig in Argentina!

See you on the trail!
—JSM

GQ and the Hermit, Treasure Hunters, Fairy Houses, and a Roving Tiger …

GQ September 2014It’s a month of hot new releases and new adventures on the road! I’m so excited to announce that some of the photographs from various projects that I worked on last year are making their way into the marketplace. First up: GQ magazine and the elusive Maine hermit. “The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit,” Michael Finkel’s story for the September issue of GQ magazine, features a few of my exclusive, never-before published photos of the camp that Christopher Knight (aka, “The Hermit”) made in the Northwoods of Maine. I was one of two photojournalists who photographed Christopher Knight’s camp before it was taken down and removed by law enforcement officials. Many thanks to Michael for the GQ recommendation. And my deepest gratitude to my friend, writer Andrew Vietze, who invited me to cover the story with him.

Ahoy, matey, where’d ye say that treasure is buried?

Treasure Hunter's Handbook

Last summer I had the pleasure of working with author Liza Gardner Walsh on her new book, Treasure Hunter’s Handbook. Liza is a blast to work with—I was super psyched when we had the chance to work together again (the previous summer we collaborated on the Fairy Garden Handbook). Liza has a great sense of humor and tons of patience (which was really tested in locating the Camden Hills geocache, what a doozy!), she’s super creative, and she encourages kids of all ages to adventure out, explore, and appreciate the natural world. As an added bonus, while working on this book I had the opportunity to learn how to: pan for gold, geocache using a compass and/or iPhone, run a metal detector, crack a geode, mine for Maine tourmaline, and search for buried pirate treasure. If you’re interested in learning about treasure hunting, then this is the book for you!

Teeny houses for magical creatures—fairies!

2015 Fairy Houses CalendarAnother project I worked on last year was to photograph the 2015 Fairy Houses Calendar for Down East Books. What a fun challenge! Some of the houses I created and photographed at our former home in Northport, Maine. I had excellent help and received tons of fairy house-making tips from family and friends, especially from my husband, mom, mom-in-law, and the good folks at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (the 270 acres of gardens and tidal shore land are true paradise—and for fairy house lovers, check out the Shoreland Fairy House Village, you can create your own fairy house!). Many thanks to all of you! I hope the 2015 Fairy Houses calendar provides inspiration for building fairy houses, no matter what time of year!

A four-wheel drive … Tiger!

The Tiger at Lake Granby, Arapaho National Recreation Area, Granby, Colorado

The Tiger at Lake Granby, Arapaho National Recreation Area, Granby, Colorado

What’s got four tires, four-wheel drive, and an integrated custom-made hi-tech hipster camper attached to its body with 350 watts of solar power? Not any four-legged creature that I know of, yet! Ha! It’s a Tiger Adventure Vehicle!

In early May, my husband, Matthew, and I sold our beloved Airstream (Ducky) and Ford F250 (Big T) and purchased a self-contained adventure mobile: a Tiger Bengal TX from Provan Industries in Columbia, South Carolina. We loved the Airstream, but ultimately we wanted to go places where we couldn’t take her—or didn’t dare to because she was too beautiful to get banged up! We named our Tiger “Snowbird” (Snowy for short) and in the short time we’ve had her, she has taken us to some incredible places such as Smoky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Bighorn National Forest, the Beartooth Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin National Forest, and more! To read about our latest adventures, check out our travel blog, Trail Dust, which is run off our publishing company’s website, Gritty Press.

Wagons Ho!

Ducky in San Angelo, TexasWhoosh—was that summer? Thanksgiving is this coming week?

Wow, it’s been way too long since I posted an update. Sorry about that. It’s been a wild ride since my last post (our visit to Vegas in June). Since then: We sold our house in Maine and about 97% of our stuff, wrapped up a pile ‘o work projects, bought a big Ford F-250 pickup truck (“Big T” to you and me) and an Airstream Flying Cloud (“Ducky”), and we’ve rambled our way to Arizona. We’re in our second month of full-time roving and we are having a grand time!

Why in the world would we sell a house on the ocean in Maine and most of our stuff? Find out at our Trail Dust Blog at GrittyPress.com.

(Gritty Press is a small publishing empire that Matt and I operate, and we’ve got big plans for the coming year!)

‘Til my next post, best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Cheers,
Jen

What Happens in Vegas …

The strip, Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Camera gear? Check. Watched Vegas Vacation? Yep. Got buckets o’ pocket change? Oh yeah. Wahoo–let’s go!

We’re looking forward to the next couple of weeks as we hit the road and travel to Las Vegas to attend the Western Writers of America’s 2013 Convention. Before the convention we’ll be doing a wee bit of traveling, taking in the dry air and hot sun (a couple of things Maine has sorely missed during the past few weeks, just ask my basil plants!), and visiting some of our country’s beautiful national and state parks (can’t imagine there will be any photo ops out there….).

Many congratulations to my hubby, Matthew P. Mayo, who won the Spur Award for Best Short Western Novel for Tucker’s Reckoning. On the final night of the convention, Matthew will receive his Spur Award during the Spur Awards Dinner. I’m so proud of him! (And many congrats to our pal Larry Sweazy who won the Spur for Best Original Mass Market Paperback, The Coyote Tracker.)

See y’all soon!

Upcoming Digi-Photo Workshops in Surprise, Arizona!

Gambel's Quail female, Sun Village, Surprise, Arizona

Gambel’s Quail female, Sun Village, Surprise, Arizona

In March, 2013 I am offering four Digi-Photo Workshops for the residents of Sun Village, in Surprise, Arizona: Digi-Photo I, Digi-Photo II, iPad/iPhone/iPad Photo Workshop, and Photography in the Park (White Tank Mountain Regional Park!). For specific details about the workshops, click here. Or check out my March 2013 Newsletter (PDF).

As an instructor, I specialize in working with Senior students and enjoy sharing experiences from 25-plus years as a photographer (National Geographic, New York Times, numerous books, and more). My classes are hands-on, interactive workshops—we dive right in and improve our picture-making skills right away. We move along at a reasonable pace and questions are encouraged. Class sizes are limited so that students get plenty of hands-on attention. My workshops often sell-out quickly and student evaluations consistently rank them as two thumbs-up.

I really look forward to these upcoming workshops, meeting and working with the Sun Village residents, and exploring the beautiful, sunny Southwest. We’ll have a great time and learn loads about photography from each other!