Help me choose!

You ever notice how people who love to take pictures seem to hate having their picture taken? Couple that with a deeply embedded aversion to change, and it becomes a huge ordeal for me to even think about changing my online avatar. Further, I think it’s good personal “branding” to have one picture across all the same social media channels you use — there have been a few times when I didn’t realize someone I was following on twitter was the same person I was also following on Flickr or their blog because the pictures were different.

Aside from a really fun evening, the nice thing about a playdate in the park with a bunch of talented photographers with nothing to shoot but each other is that you get some really great new pictures of yourself. Kym posted her 100 Strangers post featuring me and our photofest with Justin, Younes and Amanda this week — check it out!!

So now I have not one but four pictures I really like and am considering. I’ve been agonizing all week between a few of them that Kym and Justin took, and honestly, I simply can’t decide. Will you help me choose?

Thanks! 🙂

Mothership Photography is on Facebook (please like me!)

I‘ve mentioned before that although I’m an early-adapter on a lot of social media platforms, I’ve never really warmed up to Facebook. I signed up for an account when it was first opened up, but aside from an early addiction to Scrabble when I was pregnant with Lucas in 2007, I never really found a lot of reason to spend time on Facebook. I’d even set up a page for the blog back in 2009 or so, back in the rush when everyone was setting up fan pages for everything, but I never hit the publish button as I really couldn’t see the point of having the same content in two places, especially when I was already pushing my blog content through my personal FB account.

Even at work where I manage our Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube accounts, Facebook was always my problem child, the one I knew we had to deal with but just couldn’t warm up to. Until now, that is. Cuz apparently I need yet another place to spent time on the Internet.

Oh dear. I’ve discovered Facebook.

It started when our school council decided to try setting up a Facebook page to communicate with parents. (At first I was cool to this idea, thinking a FB page for an elementary school seemed somehow wrong, but it’s the school council’s page for communicating with parents, not the school’s page. And I found some really excellent examples out there, and almost no reasons why we shouldn’t go ahead.) I’d set us up a blog earlier this year, and we’re using Constant Contact for e-mail news distributing newsletters, but Facebook is such an easy way to deliver quick and concise messages to a wide audience.

As I was setting up the FB page for the school, an idea was percolating in my obsessive-compulsive brain. A Facebook page for a blog seems a little too meta for me, but a Facebook page for a photography business — now that makes more sense! And let me tell you, it was waaaaaay easier to set up a FB page than it was to set up my portfolio website.

Ta da!

One of my mantras in the presentations and courses I’ve given on social media is that you should match your social media tool to your goals and your audience. Facebook works really well for my intended purpose of sharing my obsessive quest for more! more! more! information about all things related to photography.

I see it as a place not just for potential and current photography clients, but as a hub to share quick photo tips, articles I find on the Internet, and other things that may be of interest to other photographers or just people who are interested in taking better pictures. I’ll still post longer articles here, but Facebook is perfect for quick shares and conversations about links and other treasures found online.

I put the page together over the course of a rainy weekend, and was instantly gratified to see a few “likes” piling up even before I’d told anyone I set up the page. (And let me tell you, for an approval-seeking ENFP, there is NOTHING more delicious than having overt confirmation that someone “likes” your project. You like me? You like me!)

I hope you will both like and “like” my Mothership Photography Facebook page, especially if you’re interested in taking, sharing or discussing how to take better pictures. I’ll try to keep the duplication of content to a minimum, and I’m even considering some Facebook-only promotions.

Do you have any experience (pro or con) in setting up a Facebook page? Any tips to share or pitfalls to avoid? Suggestions for me to keep my online empire from imploding? What say ye, bloggy peeps?

Because I am a dork for stats and numbers

Some time today, the 500,000th visitor will drop by the blog. Half a million hits? Never would have guessed it in a million years.

Also? Never would have guessed I’d make it to 1 951 posts or 24 570 comments either!

I don’t watch the stats as obsessively as I did when I first started blogging, but I’ve noticed this one coming for a couple of weeks now. I don’t know why those fat, round zeroes make for such an appealing milestone, but they do.

Thank you all! *smooch*

Postcards to go – now optimized for your mobile device!

Just a quick editorial note to let you know that I’ve finally made the blog mobile-friendly. You shouldn’t see any difference from a PC, but thanks to the WPTouch plug-in it looks a whole lot better on the most common mobile devices. If you’ve got one, let me know how it looks!

I still want to do a little tweaking, including creating an official icon, but it’s a good start (considering I actually started doing this about four months ago!) And, like so many home improvement projects, I figured I do the big reveal now when I’ve got 85% of the work done, as there’s a strong possibility that it will take another four months for that last 15% of tweaking to be done!

Special thanks to Elise who encouraged me to do it, way back in the day. 🙂

New blog banners!

It’s been nearly nine months since I created any new blog banners from my photographs, and I’ve taken a few (!!) new pictures since then. So, my menfolk gave me exactly what I wanted for Mother’s Day: a couple of hours to futz about in Photoshop and make up some new banners.

Whaddya think?

New blog banners

The one with the pears doesn’t quite work as well as a banner as an image, and the one with the typewriter keys at the top is a little busy — but they’ll do! You can click the refresh button a few times to see them in action. There’s 15 custom header images altogether now, and they rotate randomly.

Did you get to do something you love to do on Mother’s Day, even if just for a few minutes?

Well, that was a trip through bloggy hell

I had nothing but the best of intentions when I set out to upgrade both my WordPress installation and my Thesis theme last night. With infinite idealism, I told Beloved I’d need “30, maybe 45 minutes, tops.”

That was 16 hours ago. I didn’t spend *all* of that 16 hours trying to recover everything that got farked up, but it was more than six hours. Maybe close to eight. And you know, I don’t usually plan for eight hours of blog maintenance in the average weekend.

But victory is MINE! I’ve recovered almost all the customization settings I lost. Phew! And even better, I found a solution for a problem that’s been vexing me for the best part of six months now.

Just in case it’s been vexing you, too, and because I am deeply proud of myself for figuring out a solution when I was swimming in waters way over my geeky little head, here’s the problem and the solution.

I’d been losing WordPress dashboard functionality for a while. I’d lost the widgets that show incoming blog links and recent comments, for example. And, the reason I did the upgrade is because I’d intermittently lose the ability to edit a page. And then I started getting 500 Internal Server Errors. What a mess! I’d figured out that it was related to plug-ins, so set up to update all of those, too.

Long story short, the WordPress upgrade went okay, but the Thesis theme upgrade completely wiped out some of my custom settings. It took me *hours* just to recover those, but they were not related to the core functionality of the blog. The larger problem was the previously intermittent problems with functionality became suddenly severe. I’d get random 500 Server Errors when trying to post a new article or page, or the plug-in page would disappear. Eventually, I disabled every single plug-in and was *still* having trouble.

I googled “plug ins and internal server errors” and found a whole bunch of articles about people using my host ( having this problem. One post suggested editing the .htaccess file and adding a couple of lines of code. I was afraid, very afraid. The .htaccess file is a bit of a mystery to me, but I know it’s at the core of my server-blog relationship — severing this might just sever the bloodflow to the blog entirely! After consulting with my in-house tech support (thanks, Beloved!) I went ahead and added the following lines of code to the .htaccess file: AddType x-mapp-php5 .php AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php And damn if it didn’t fix everything! (Well, the functionality issues. It still took me hours to repair the lost customizations.) Apparently, my host needed special instructions to tell the blog to read php 5 instead of php 4. Or something like that.

Anyway, I am deeply pleased with myself. Performing this bit of codery was not unlike performing open-heart surgery on the blog, and things were dicey for a while there, but it looks like the patient will make a full recovery. How people can do this for a living is beyond me!

I’m happy to report that all is well now, except for the hours of lost time. Oh well, it’s not like the floors won’t still be dirty tomorrow, and the unfolded laundry has waited patiently for my return.


Introducting our newest sponsor: the National Arts Centre!

I‘m delighted to say thank you and welcome to the latest hand-picked supporter of the blog, the National Arts Centre! Please take a moment to admire the little ad in the sidebar to your right. 🙂

If you live in Ottawa, chances are you have been to the NAC. But did you know they’re celebrating their 40th anniversary this year? (Coincidentally, two of my other favourite things, Sesame Street and me, are also 40!) And in their 40th year, they’ve embraced digital media with a vengeance — this is not your grandmother’s NAC!!

Did you know they’ve got a blog and they’re on Twitter? How about YouTube? Flickr? Podcasts? They’ve totally embraced the social media milieu, with great results.

And how cool is this? There’s an interactive service called NAC Music Box, where you can search the NAC archives and make playlists of your favourites. I love it!

Thanks, NAC, for your support, and welcome to the Mothership!

Welcome to our newest sponsor: BraChic!

I‘d like to extend a special welcome to the newest sponsor of Postcards from the Mothership, Ottawa’s own BraChic.

I am so pleased to have Marianne and her shop advertising here for several reasons: I love the shop itself, I love the idea of supporting local business, and I love the serendipity of how this arrangement came to be.

You might remember my blog post from this summer, of how walking into BraChic one day totally revolutionized how I see my body. Really, I’m not exaggerating. I was seriously considering a breast reduction when I realized that a well-fitting bra can do as much, if not more, to make you look and feel better than a scalpel could. I still love the two bras I bought at BraChic and think that I might be due for a third some time in the new year.

So I wrote about my bra-fitting experience, and at least some of you read it and wandered on down to BraChic yourself, because Marianne said that people had mentioned the blog post to her. And then one day I noticed that Marianne had also linked to my blog post in the “news” section of her Web site, so on a whim I approached her an asked if she’d be interested in advertising and she said yes right away. It took us a few months of missed contacts, vacations and downed Internet connections to get the deal put together, but I’m thrilled to have her on board.

Initially, she sent me this image when we were discussing how the ad might look. I could never have made it work as a sidebar image, but I knew when I saw it that I had to share it with you. Is this not awesome? It’s for a line called HotMilk Maternity Lingerie. I love this ad!

HotMilk ad

So thanks, Marianne and BraChic, for being one of the hand-picked sponsors of Postcards from the Mothership.

(And no, it has not escaped my attention that both my current advertisers are bra-related business, and I spend so much time yammering about my vexatious breasts that they need their own damn category. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence….)


I keep writing posts and not publishing them. I can’t get one right, and it’s making me squirrelly. My words, usually golden and fluid like warm coffee, are alternately gelatinous and prickly. Not fit for sharing, in any case.

Stay tuned, I’m sure it’s only temporary.