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Bright Autumn Sun » Bright Autumn Sun | South FL & North GA Lifestyle Blog | Photography | Lifestyle | Motherhood

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How to prepare for a Hurricane in 10 Easy Steps!

I may not live in South Florida anymore, but I can still Hurricane Party with the best of them. Does it matter if we don’t actually get hurricanes in Atlanta? No… totally not an important detail. I’ll just sit in my coat closet with a bottle of wine, a bag of Tostitos, my iPhone, earbuds, and listen to music and watch movies until Spotify and Netflix finally kill my battery. Maybe if I’m REALLY quiet, the kids won’t even find me! ;)

However, the CONE OF DEATH is approaching, and you all need to be completely ready for the storm. If you want some shopping list tips for hurricane preparedness as Hurricane Erika looms in the Atlantic Ocean…. read no further, turn on some Jimmy Buffet, and bring this shopping list with you on your Target run so that you can “Hunker Down” the right way!

1. A tent. Because the lines at Home Depot start freaking EARLY. You will need to camp out for at least a day before the storm hits to ensure that you obtain your plywood, nails, 17 jugs of distilled water, and garbage bags.

Home Depot Lines Start Early © Karen Ziemkowski | Bright Autumn Sun

Before Hurricane Jeanne in Coral Springs, FL – 2004

2. Beer. When the power goes out and you no longer have internet access and television, you’ll need this so that you can handle dealing with the current state of your life. Plus, you’ll want to drink it right out of your dead fridge before it gets warm. Warm beer is gross.

3. Basically everything in the chips/salsa/cookie/candy aisle is entirely appropriate for a hurricane party.

4. Extra pool toys, for when your front yard turns into the new city aquatic center.

Meanwhile, in FL

5. Hot dogs. Who’s up for a BBQ during the quiet half of the eye of the storm? It’s nice and sunny outside… why ever not?!

6. Wine. When everything in your fridge is completely inedible, now is the time that you’ll want that case of wine. Hard liquor is also an appropriate option.

7. Spray paint. Everyone knows that you need to spray paint your plywood with anti-hurricane epithets after you board up your house. It’s part of the rulebook.

Image © HeraldTribune.com

Before Hurricane Frances in Port Charlotte, FL – 2005. Image © HeraldTribune.com

8. Powdered coffee, or if you’re fancy, a French press . This is a no-brainer. If I had to live without coffee for two weeks of lost power, I would LITERALLY go insane. I mean. Seriously.

9. Ice cream. Wait, what? But you know the power is going to die approximately 1/3 of the way through the storm. Once that happens, break out the ice cream (and the beer). You’ll have NO CHOICE but to eat it before it melts.

10. Backup battery chargers for your phone. Because when the neighbor’s trampoline goes bouncing down the street, you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT want to miss putting that special moment on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else you can manage to post to before your phone carrier completely goes down!

Trampoline bouncing down the street during Hurricane Frances © Karen Ziemkowski | Bright Autumn Sun

During Hurricane Frances in Tamarac, FL – 2005

OK – in reality, we all know that hurricanes can be very serious events. I grew up in the age of Hurricane Andrew, and ten years ago, Wilma knocked out my power for 2 weeks and caused all kinds of damage all over my neighborhood.

Seriously, if you live in Florida, just go buy a generator and you won’t ever have to worry about any of this. You can continue eating all of your refrigerated food, drinking your cold beer, and watching Bryan Norcross on the Weather Channel as much as you please!

I hope this post gave you a good laugh, and hope that everyone stays safe! Happy Hurricane Season, folks!


Up and running

In my last post, I rambled about how much I missed the feeling of nailing a great shot, yet spoke about how I wasn’t ready to start a business again.

That day, I had a FANTASTIC photo session with my friend Raychel. It felt so good to be behind the camera again, see the light, and challenge myself to see differently once again… and well… you know where this is going…

It only took one photo shoot to make me realize that going back into photography was where I needed to be – what I needed to do.

Over the past few days, I’ve thought long and hard about what exactly I want to shoot and how I want to approach things. While I still plan to shoot some family portraits, I’m hoping to branch out with my photography and do something I REALLY enjoy – personal branding portrait sessions and headshots. I truly love that kind of work – and to me, this business is going to be all about doing things I love, where I can feel creative, happy, and fulfilled.

I’m SO excited about what’s to come!

Here’s one of my favorite images from my session with Raychel:


Fourteen Images…

Over the past several months, I’ve been avoiding photography. Why? I couldn’t tell you. I closed my business when we left Florida, and just haven’t felt like picking it back up again. In fact, the longer I went without shooting, the easier it was to just ignore it. Sure, I grabbed my camera once or twice to photograph some of the animals that came into our yard, through the window, but I don’t call that “photography.” That’s taking a snapshot with an expensive camera.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt more and more anxious about it. No, I don’t think I’m ready to run a full-fledged portrait business again, but I’ve been craving the need to create. I truly miss shooting people. It’s that tingling feeling that goes down your spine when you know you’ve immortalized something REAL…. that feeling is addictive. I want it back.

But… what happens when you take a long break from something? You’re more and more and more obsessed/worried/anxious about the idea that you will utterly BOMB the first time you try. So… you continue to put it off… day after day. You fill your life with other things to take your mind off of it, but it doesn’t make that nagging feeling go away…

The other night, Adrian brought home the industry magazine he received in the mail from Professional Photographers of America, where he advertises his software company. I began flipping through the magazine and was both surprised and thrilled to see an article featuring my absolute favorite nature photographer, Clyde Butcher, who takes incredible, iconic images of Florida and the United States. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Butcher in person and seeing his beautiful silver gelatin prints at a gallery showing in South Florida shortly before we moved. The article didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, or show me photos that I have never seen before… but something clicked in my head. I had to try again… I had to give myself another chance.

The next morning, I came home from my Orangetheory class, grabbed my camera and my 100mm lens, and went out to the backyard to see what I could see.

This is what I found.

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

Backyard Finds © 2015 Karen Lisa | BrightAutumnSun.com

No, it’s not an example of amazing artistry… but it was huge relief to let my brain slip back into those familiar ways of “seeing differently.” It was fun. And today… I’m going to do it again. :)