Saturday, October 13, 2012

6 Things I (re)learned while doing a midday Photowalk

6 Things I learned while on the Nisantasi Photowalk with the Istanbul Photoclub.

1. never trust your camera screen, if it looks light at all on a sunny day it'll be blown out on the computer.

2. If it's a sunny day don't even think about shooting under a 100 shutter speed. Scratch that, don't shoot under 200. (It's been a while since I've shot during the 'hot' part of the day).

3. People really don't mind having their photo taken if you first smile at them and treat them as more than just a subject.

4. If you want to make a dress or anything creative with GORGEOUS fabrics, go to Nisantasi.

5. (something I already knew) Bring an all-purpose lens or just try to stick to one lens while doing a photowalk so you aren't trying to constantly change. 18-135mm or something that gives you a nice range of wide angle-prime-zoom is best.

6. When shooting during the harsh daylight, try to expose for the sky a bit and you can lighten up the foreground with photoshop.

Good Luck today to all participants in  Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photowalk.  Have a blast!

*Photos to be added soon

Joshua Sterrett Photography

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Golden Birthday Reflections

In two days it will be my golden birthday. A golden birthday is the day you turn the age of the date of your birthday. My birthday is July 28th and I'll be turning 28. To some this is no big deal, especially if they were born at the beginning of a month. In fact it's probably not a big deal but it's always nice to find a reason to celebrate good things. Right? 

It's amazing that one year ago today I had perhaps $20 left to my name and I was in Poland. In fact I think this is the day that I made a run for it from this house after things went awry when some guy that was staying there as a guest (of another person who was traveling to their home in France) decided he wanted a key (which I was told not to give him while my friend was traveling) and when I refused he went to the managers of the building and while he was on the phone to them I made a run for it! With my 20+ kilo bag I snuck out the front door, went out the back and ran

Friday, July 20, 2012

Keep in mind if you are fasting for Ramadan

Wishing all of my Muslim friends from around the world a safe, blessed Ramadan. This year will be especially difficult with the weather so please take precautions to keep your body cool by way of wet cloths, and keep a check on tempers. Understand that all of your sisters and brothers are doing this with you, keep your mind to task and realize you are not doing this for yourself alone but also for the Love of your God. To show that you are humble to all around the world that have little to nothing to eat or drink everyday 365 days a year. Above all, remember that when you are feeling your weakest your doing one of the greatest duties you can do for Allah.  Assallamualaykum and all.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What i'm doing in the States

It's been a while since I've updated. 

Being back in the States has been a real rush of fresh air.

Unlike last time, I'm LOVING my time here at home.
Not to mention I've been snapping photos left and right with my new Canon 400D.

Here's a photo I snapped this past evening

It was fun shooting the hummingbirds although I quickly realized that I needed A LOT more light.
I took out my 540EZ speedlight but for some reason it wasn't working. I found out it has some corrosion in the battery pack so I think I need to clean it again.  I haven't taken a photo of a hummingbird since I had my Rebel 2000 SLR with Tamron 70-300 back in Costa Rica, 08'!!! 

I'm going to go out after I finish this blog since the sun is just beginning to rise.

Lately I've been staying up all night working on photography stuff.
It seems to be the only time I really get a lot of work done is at night when I'm in the extra room alone.

So that's some more big news...after months of not being able to edit or go through the photos and publish them...a few days ago something just snapped and I started going through the post production without hesitating on each and every photo like I usually do. 

I finished the Xtreme Youth Ministries Kickoff Event album for the New Beginnings Church that I shot at the beginning of June and I also finished an album from my Grandfather's 88th Birthday.  I've got many more to go but today I spent my time scanning old family photos.

Here's an update on the Horse Photography project:

I have selected which horses I will use for the project and I have a model/designer friend who is designing props and wardrobe to help make this project successful.  So I want to give a major thanks to Tina Tiainen. WIthout her help this project wouldn't have been able to get up off the ground. Here's the horses we'll be using.
If you haven't guessed, I'm planning to do a unicorn theme as well as something fun that Tina has up her sleeve. She's designing a saddle just for this shoot! 

I've also acquired a pair of large elk horns!!!   I'll be using these as props for photography. Still trying to figure out whether I'll be able to bring them back with me to Istanbul in my luggage without a problem. I've got so many ideas on how I can use them. I plan on making them into wings but am still unsure of how I'll attach them to person/animal as wings/horns!! They are as long as my arms.

Lets see, since I got back I've been having a great time with my brother, cuddling up most nights with Bubba the Retriever, gone to a baseball game, gone boating, baled hay, am preparing to enter a barrelrace competition for the first time, and I began running 5-10k every other day. In short, I've been BUSY!

The heat here in Iowa/Wisconsin has been hovering around 40C/103F for the past week and is just now cooling off so I've been staying inside most days.

Alright, the sun is up so i'm going to get outside and take some early morning bird feeding shots.

Tomorrow I'm off to Wisconsin Dells for a few days to spend some time with my Turkish buddy Kursad.
It'll be one heck of a party. I hope I can remember all that happens in the next 4 days. It's unknowable with the legendary partying that Kursad is capable of. I always called it a night early while out in Istanbul (early as in 3-4am) but Kursad was always like..."what are you doing man? We just started"   So this should be fun. It'll be my first time at Wisconsin Dells. I'm planning to get wet wet wet!!!

Until next time, check out my facebook page!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer Challenge. Getting my dream job.

It's time to give this site and myself a facelift.

I'm going to create a new blog all about the awesomeness of life and all of the crazy things I do.
I'll probably keep this blog as my personal blog as it already has a lot of exposure
I'm also going to build a portfolio site.

What's my motivation for this Travel Adventure site?
Well, I once heard that if you build it they will come.

In this case I want an awesome job working as a travel correspondent sharing all the amazing things people can do around the world.

The inspiration and sudden Eureka that brought this about?

Arrival Magazine NZ is putting on a promotion to hire someone for an all expense paid 2 month trip to experience and share with the masses all the crazy, fun, quirky, unique things you can do while in New Zealand.

Dream Travel Job

1st. I've always wanted to go to New Zealand. It's the mecca of extreme adventure sports and is surrounded by water. Two things I love.

2nd. This job would allow me to DO all of these said Adventure Activities

So stay tuned and expect to see a few changes :) 

Special thanks to Janet Newenham for making me aware (she's also in the running for it) Check out her blog Journalist on the Run

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Final Countdown!

There are just 17 more days left until I set foot back on American soil.
I've been super busy but I wanted to update you all on the craziness that has been going on as
the deadline approaches.


In two days I'll finish my Cambridge CELTA (Certification of English Language Teaching for Adults)!  I've been taking this intensive course for 3 months now and it feels great that to finally be finishing tomorrow.

My TO DO list today:

1. Write up last Teaching Practice about Dreams and 2nd Conditional grammar
2. Finish all of my DF's for remaining 14 Units (this may take all day)
3. Do last online observation with write-up.

If I'm able to finish all of this before my friend Tatlihan's birthday party tonight then I'll work on editing some photos for my portfolio from the Seoul Fashion Week 2010 show. I had so many shots and video from that show that I never really got to editing them all.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Two new professional networking sites!

I wanted to announce that I now have profiles on the two professional networking sites and

Take a look and please leave any feedback if you see some changes that would be beneficial.
I'm a bit new to this.
Explicitly for model photography

Linkedin Profile

Being used to promote my professional image as both an educator and a photographer.
I'd like to have it be more open for anything..such as developmental/NGO work, customer service, etc however I don't think I can have more than one profile. I've also received a great reference from a friend and past model I've worked with on several occasions.

Looking forward to your feedback!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Photo Concept Contest!

Photo Concept Contest

How many ways can you photograph a horse?

Everywhere I look I see the same types of horse photos.
I'm ready to do something unique, something new. 

I'll be going home to Iowa for the summer where my family raises horses.
I plan to make this my biggest photo project to show what new things can be done in animal and especially equine photography. It'll take a lot of effort to create the designs, props, and scout for the best locations.

You can be involved in the process too!
All you need to do is submit what you think would make a unique and interesting horse photo.

Just add your great idea in the comment section below or even better add it to my photography page on facebook where I'll be keeping a tally of all the ideas.

If I choose your concept I will send you a personalized print from the shoot as well as recognition for your input into the creation of the photo series.   

Submissions open until June 1st

Plug away!

I'll begin with my own ideas

-Vogue-fashion horse
-Warrior princess/horse
(Native American/Valkyrie)
To submit your vote or see other comments click on the logo below linking to the contest page


To see more of my photography visit: 
Joshua Sterrett Photography
Flickr stream

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"The Best Labor Day Ever" Istanbul 2012

I had a late start after staying up a bit the night before skyping with my mom and playing a little Skyrim.

I don't often go to Taksim unless I have a reason even though it's the center of what feels like life in Istanbul. So much is going on there.

I was warned by one friend to stay away and another friend recommended that I go there when I woke up and was deciding what to do since all the schools would be closed for the National Holiday and I couldn't go job hunting. Another friend of mine invited me to come visit at a park along the Golden Horn in Haskoy. I hadn't seen this friend in a while so I decided to accept her invitation and go.
One catch that I hadn't thought of though...I must go to Taksim to catch a ride to Haskoy as there are no direct buses from Besiktas.

I wasn't sure what to expect as I hadn't done any research until now on why their is a major protest on May 1st in Istanbul every year so let me give you a little history lesson.
This May 1st was an International Day of Protest organized by the Occupy Movement but in Turkey there are protests every year. Istanbul has had intermittent protests (often turning to violence between protesters and police)  every year since 1977 when the first protest was able to be organized after being outlawed from 1928-1975. However, this 1st protest is now notoriously known as Bloody May Day when 34-38 civilians(depending on the source) were killed by unknown gunmen and the following mass hysteria and poor handling by the security forces at the time. Celebrations in Taksim Square were prohibited after this and once the military coup happened in 1980 all Labor Day celebrations were outlawed.  Labor Day was finally declared a National Holiday in Turkey in 2009 and Taksim Square was opened up to be the main venue for celebrations/protests.

This year the police seemed to be ready to help ensure that the celebrations would remain peaceful and if they weren't...well they had 14,000 officers at hand to handle any problems. Many of the newspapers were declaring this to be 'the Best Labor Day ever' as it was largely a peaceful gathering aside from some anarchist youths breaking shop windows and damaging ATM's in Mecideyikoy which is a ways away from Taksim.

So back to the story.  I had no idea what to expect. I was arriving by dolmus around 1:30-2pm and the dolmus dropped us off at a different place than usual. Before I even got out of the van I could see smoke rising and just said "Oh my God"  thinking I have to go through that to get to my friend. A Turkish woman just laughed at my remark and when I get closer I found that all the smoke was coming from savvy entrepreneurs cooking up food outside the police barrier blocking off Taksim Square.

I then saw the large police barrier, could hear drumming, and a large body of people beyond. I was thinking, how in the heck am I going to get to Haskoy? I asked a police officer and they told me they had no idea because Taksim was closed and there were no buses. It was hard to understand how there could be no buses. There were some buses back in Besiktas.

So finally I decided I would go check it out.
I was immediately greeted to this scene of people drumming and a stream of people leaving Taksim. Now I'm still walking TO Taksim in this video.

When I get to just around the entrance of where you'd head across the street for the buses I can hear a person on a megaphone yelling something and people shouting back. I'm also noticing A LOT of TKP flags or Turkish Komunist Partisi (Turkish Communist Party)  I was thinking, 'man this is an odd feeling, McCarthy would be rolling in his grave.' It's typical to see youths handing out newspapers and talking to passersby on Istiklal where the TKP Headquarters is located but I never realized there were so many supporters! It seems the Turkish people really want a party to champion the workers rights.
I then see everybody around me putting their fists into the air and repeating the names of Turkish people. It wasn't until tonight that I learned that the people they were commemorating were those that were killed in the Bloody May Day massacre. I've also learned that all of the red banners are not just for the Communist party but also to commemorate those that died from the May Day massacre in 1977.

As I continue walking through the crowd I saw huge banners, people sitting on all of the buildings and even on top of the bus stop stalls. There was a massive banner being held by cranes but by the time I got there part of it had fallen. I asked somebody to take a quick snapshot of me with the banner so I had a memory of myself there. The atmosphere was a festive one. People were passionate yes, but as in the USA I think they were also just happy to have a Day off and to be with fellow Turks in support for a similar cause.



I ran into several groups doing traditional folk dances.
It reminded me a lot of the Trabzon/baltic folk dance.

It took me at least half an hour to get from Taksim bus station to Istiklal. More like an hour actually. It was just so crowded and the usual entrance was blocked off so I had to go down an empty Tarlabashi street where a crowd of people were walking.
Exodus down tarlabasi Street

Istiklal was business as usual. Not as crowded as I'm used to but the usual buskers as well as the popular native Americans playing and lip-synching songs in Spanish perform.  It was really nice to see Taksim without so many people. I was able to get a nice photo of the Aya Triada Greek Orthodox Church's main entrance.

The rest of my walk was uneventful until I got to Sishane where I was going to take a dolmus to Haskoy. I ran into dozens of police in full riot gear gathering in the shade of a photography shop. They seemed to be in the wrong place? I also saw a huge construction project taking place in Sishane.

When I finally got to Haskoy it felt like a completely different day. It felt like Earth Day. Park workers were busy planting dozens of trees and many people were laying in the grass, grilling, and playing on the playground. It was a really peaceful day.

Actually, I had a live room session for my CELTA that night at 6:30pm. My alarm warned me 1 hour earlier but it had taken me almost 2 hours to get to Haskoy and I can't afford a taxi home so I decided to use my friends computer. However my friends computer wasn't working and so she took me to her cousins house and I learned the Turkish word 'kanka' from her nephew. We were talking about opening a kebab stand in Iowa. haha  It was a lively conversation that evening and was a really interesting look inside a home on the Golden Horn.

Happy Labor Day

To see more of my photos visit me at Joshua Sterrett Photography on facebook

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Homeward bound!

I have just purchased round trip tickets to Chicago and back!

I'm going home for the summer!

I can't wait to see my family again.

Things I plan to do:

  1. Hug my family more times than I can count
  2. Take oodles and oodles of portraits of family members
  3. Ride horses
  4. eat pork
  5. eat pancakes
  6. eat eat eat lots of fatty, delicious foods.  TACO BELL!!!
  7. Celebrate my Grandfathers...86th?!  Birthday by organizing and shooting a large family portrait
  8. Go fishing
  9. Go swimming at the park
  10. play frisbee golf
  11.  play video games and nerf wars with my brother David
  12. Torment my sister with corny jokes and one-liners :-D  
  13. Torment my dad with all kinds of recklessness and heathen behaviour
  14. bonfire and cooking up hamburgers on the grill
  15. Lay out under the stars at Kepler Observatory
  16. Go hiking through my favorite paths in   Palisades-Kepler National Park.
  17. Build up my Photography portfolio with Babies, Kids, Families, Portraits, Animals, and Event shots.  
So these are some of the things I plan to do.

Can you think of any more?

What are some things YOU really miss about home? 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Remedy for Lifeache

Found on

Lifeache, aka wanderlust, travelbug, etc has a way of really bringing us down when we feel we can live up to the inner needs or lack of the life we feel we are missing out on. I really like the ending of this. Lifeache cannot be cured, it's something that is managed.   Learn to appreciate where you are, the here and now. take advantage of it and find the little adventures at home. Share them with others. But of course that doesn't mean you don't have to or shouldn't travel. Definitely travel. It expands your mind, broadens your horizons. Helps you appreciate the things, people, and places that you knew before and prepare for what you will experience ahead.  

PS.  If there are no trees where you live...I was going to say it doesn't matter and you can find an alternative structure. But the more I think about it, no. Go somewhere with at least a little really connects you to earth. It helps center you and help you realize that there are greater things than just your every day grind earning your paycheck, going to and from work, running into countless people that you never recognize.  Find some nature.

And enjoy life for what it is...LIFE. Not a perfect one. But truly, one that can be lived.

Last but not least,   check out the blog where I found this illustration.
It's a blogging family who are living/traveling in SE Asia with 5 kids, one of them in a wheel chair. Against all odds and the expectations of society they decided to make the choice on how they will live and provide for their children. It's a really inspirational blog that puts most of our excuses about why we can't do something to shambles and really makes you smile. They have a great outlook on life.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Random Reflections while procrastinating

After taking an hour nap to let my mind and eyes rest I still find my mind wandering away from my assignment. I know once I get in the groove I'll be able to finish it rather quickly. It's just a profile of one of my students and planning some activities to meet their specific needs.  

But dang my mind is all over the place lately. Definitely not in studying or..sometimes it's almost blank.

Now that I'm no longer working I'm finding myself re-evaluating myself and where I am. I guess it's normal for people to do this right?  To be honest, I look back at my last 8 months in Istanbul and I've had some exciting times but for some reason they seem to be forgotten so easily and I wonder, am I doing anything?
What am I doing with myself?  Am I improving upon my life? Or better yet, am I TRULY Living my life?

For the past 8 months since I took the teaching position at the last school I was at I found myself avoiding going out and pretty much having a daily routine of:

wake up
go to work
finish work
Take bus home
Sit in front of my computer
Go to sleep

On the weekends I avoid going out as well. After the night I lost my cameras I just wasn't motivated to go out. 
Now on occasion I do meet with a friend or I go to a party but even then I would find it hard to enjoy myself fully. Just as often I would avoid it.

The question is why?

I've got so many opportunities and hours each day to do things. I see my friends going out every day and I sit at home convincing myself, "no no  best to stay inside. It's safe. It's comfortable. Nothing unexpected can happen."

But  not too long ago I remember I craved that, it excited me. I'd have a smile on my face all the time. My wits were clear and remarks fast. Easy to laugh and help others laugh.  I hope now that I'm no longer under the stressful workplace environment I had been in, I will be able to go out and experience the sights, sounds, smells..the life of where I call home.

I was having a conversation into the whee hours of this morning with my old Tica friend Keithy. While talking to her I had so many memories that I had long forgotten suddenly rushing back to me. She reminded me of a time when I was truly, but truly happy. I don't think I will ever forget something she said.

"You know Josh, my mom always says 'I don't like Gringos (Americans)....except for Josh.' 'He was natural and had nothing to hide.'"

I was really flattered but it also led me to thinking, what happened to that guy?  That guy that would meet friends and talk for hours about anything under the sun. That guy that was rarely serious. The guy that was not fake...but natural and happy with himself.  I think another big part of my getting out every day and meeting people was that internet wasn't commonplace there. There was one internet cafe in the town and 3 computers at the school. So I would get on facebook or my email for about one hour a day. All the rest of the time I'd be walking around with friends, going to the beach, and eventually traveling outside of Puntarenas when I lost my fear of traveling on public transport alone. (silly isn't it...but I had never used public transport back home except to go to class on campus).

Of course That was 4 years past and counting when I was like this. In that culture I found it so easy to intermix and be accepted by the Ticos. I had no agenda but to experience life and enjoy it.  I would always be writing back to my mother telling her how I felt like I found 'home' and how great it felt to finally feel like I fit in. I also would write to her while in South Korea and tell her how much I miss Costa Rica where I could be myself and just be free. No hiding feelings or having to follow some way of living.

I'm thinking back on some of my highlights while in Istanbul this time around. We all know 2011 was an AMAZING time. It was almost a complete year of being random and meditating and...awesomeness.
I remember 2 people especially that really inspired me here in Istanbul. They aren't the only ones mind you but they really stand out to me at the moment.

Rowan of

This guy is currently on an amazing journey crisscrossing the world and often times putting life, limb, and liberty in danger for what?  For life I think. He'll never be able to say that he doesn't live the way he chooses. He takes challenges head on no matter how daunting they may seem.
But personally, he helped make possible something that was so scary yet so amazing.
He was the organizer of the No Pants Subway Ride started by improv everywhere.
He took the challenge of organizing the first one in Istanbul and it was craazzy to be honest.
But really it was so simple (at least for a Western mind). We didn't do anything much but we did challenge some assumptions and norms of Turkey in an innocent, fun way.  And just doing that little thing, wow, I felt so alive! Of course afterwards I kept a very low profile after for fear of the undercover police that had been videotaping and photographing us that day. But during that time, wow I felt alive. It would have been amazing to meet him while I was traveling the year before but who knows perhaps I can tag along in another one of his adventures.

Then before Rowan there was Inna.
Inna was a couchsurfer of mine while I was living in Uskudar. I wasn't feeling too great at the time. The job and the conservative environment were really wearing me down. She was somebody that was so 'real'   On  the inside and out. We could talk about anything and talk about it for a long time. While she was surfing with me it was an unspoken rule it seemed to just be natural. I explored some new parts of Istanbul with her and we chatted about our similar experiences back in the Philippines. Dreamed up future adventures such as going to Burning Man together and traveling. We encouraged each other to submit our stories for a book project and both of us shared in having our stories accepted. It was so exciting.  She gave me the feeling, despite being depressed, of being able to be myself. Achieving things I didn't think possible. To not care about what other people think or do but to just do what you want and love to do.

So....My question/challenge for my readers is.  Who has inspired you in the past year? Who helped you rise up to a challenge and allowed you to 'be yourself' and shed the clothes that society forces us to wear in order to fit in?

And even better. 

Who have you inspired lately?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Back to Georgia

Hey all, I've been off of here for a bit and not updating like I should. It's really like a journal it seems.  I have been taking photos just about every day with my iphone and I'll post those up sooner or later in a massive entry.

Did a photo shoot last week with the ever creative Xingxing and got some interesting results from that. I've only gotten one photo finished editing but she's gotten a few of her own edited.

My first attempt at hairstyling. This was edited by me. 

So now I'm about 10 hours off from being back in Tbilisi, Georgia.  Life has been treating me outstandingly good. I was really worried about this winter camp but it wasn't much of a problem at all. I was working with 5th graders this week and we all got on really well and they loved my lessons. It seems my superiors are taking notice of my improvements as well.  So all is good on that front.  Plus it seems that 'scare' that I had at work has taken care of itself.

I'll be enjoying the heck out of Georgia's countryside and plan to travel around Eastern Georgia first in the Kakheti region and then work my way west. I'll have 7 days away and then by the 6th it'll be back to work again.

This month promises to be a busy and productive one with some private lessons beginning as well as beginning my CELTA at the end of the month. It'll be a 3 month long course that I'll be doing from the internet with weekend classes. Not looking forward to tests and such again but it'll be good to have some new ideas on how to teach different levels of English Learners and to have an even better understanding of classroom management and have more educational tools at my disposal. Once I have that certificate I'll be able to work in any country.

However, the plan is to stay in Istanbul for a while longer as I've developed some great connections here and life has been treating me really why change it?

Monday, January 9, 2012

365 Photo project Week 1

Day 1: A view from my window

Day 2: Going to Work smelling the Water
Day 3: Happy Einsteins

Day 3 Extra: A Quaint boat sitting in the Bosphorus

Day 4: Just an obstacle to get past
Day 5: This is how to unwind
Day 6: Waiting for a shoe

Day 7: It takes two to tango
Day 8: A day without pants

Nopants and Tango dancing to start the New Year!

Photo by Xingxing Huang.
Please do not copy, use for commercial purposes without
consent of Xing. 

My weekend was anything but normal.

How else should it be since it is the FIRST weekend of the year?

For this weekend I decided to do things a bit differently by turning off facebook and getting out of the house.

For Friday, I stayed in (oxymoron I know) and watched one of my favorite Movies, The Dark Knight while eating pizza. It was perfect. :D


I grabbed some paper and pen, a book, bought a new diary, and hit the streets of Istanbul.