WE DID IT!!!

Is this semester finally over?? WOW. That went by so much faster than I expected!

First, congratulations to everyone for jobs well done. We started into the semester filled with fear but we all finished with a bang!

Second, I think I speak for everyone when I say–Good grief! Look how far we’ve come! I can’t believe the things I have learned in this class–both technical and personal. Yes, we have all learned about cardioid patterns, different types of mics, incident lighting, etc, etc. But I have taken away so much more from all of you as classmates–working together to try and accommodate others’ work, school and kiddo schedules…studying together…running through shows together….and most of all, working to help other classmates as much as possible. I especially loved how if a set designer for a show didn’t quite have what they’d like for their set, other classmates offered their own personal property to help out! If an AD didn’t have correct timing in their notes, another classmate would help correct the times with their notes. I love how everyone pitched in as a team. Not just for one specific show but for ALL of them.

It’s been wonderful getting to know everyone and I have come away from this class with a bunch of new great friends.

I will probably be keeping up this blog but, if not, I am definitely going to create a new blog for my business now that I’ve learned the ins and outs of WordPress. THANKS TO DR. MATTHEWS AND SIR DERIK. 🙂 So stay in touch!!

Keep an eye out for my upcoming website too! http://www.andreacaldwellphotography.com

Pretty darn excited 🙂

I sincerely hope everyone has a wonderful break, a BLESSED CHRISTMAS and a VERY Happy New Years!

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with JOY.” Philippians 1:4 (NIV)

Carpe Diem

Tonight, one of Josh’s buddies died of a heart attack. At 30 years old. Seemingly healthy. Leaving a wife and two small children behind. A longtime friend from Brownsboro High School. Josh and Brandon saw each other fairly often since Josh runs calls and transfers to and from Mother Frances and Brandon worked in the same hospital’s ICU unit. Gone at THIRTY.

My new husband just turned 31 on the 6th of November. I can’t imagine the feeling of losing him right now and being left with two children to raise alone. At the same exact time, I can’t imagine losing my husband unexpectedly and realizing that there would be no children to carry on his name. Which scenario would you prefer?–a lonely life without your soulmate or a life shared with little ones who have your soulmate’s eyes, nose, chin or ears? I can’t imagine not being married to him and something happening to him–now that we’re married, if something were to happen to either of us, we have the ability to say “at least we were married for a while,” “at least we got to share some of our lives together as man and wife.

I’m not encouraging anyone to get married as soon as possible or to try to have kids unless you have made those decisions on your own terms, but it just made me think of all the people who have given their advice on when to get married or have children. Some say now is the perfect time, others much later; but the truth is that there will never be a perfect time.

I was just reminded of this tonight by the death of Josh’s friend. Life is so short. ANYONE can go at ANY time. Carpe diem! Don’t wait to go after that long-time goal! Do it now while you still have the chance! Tell those who truly matter to you how you really feel. MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT!

I am SO glad I decided to make this part of my life count. I kept waiting for the “right time” to get married, and after I finally stopped overanalyzing the situation, I realized again that there will never be a “right” or “wrong” time for anything. Life isn’t easy and it especially doesn’t slow down or stop for anyone. You only get one life and it’s not guaranteed to be any certain length of time, so you HAVE to make it count to the fullest. I decided to stop waiting for the “right” time and got married! Looking back, it became the “right” time for us. Having kids won’t be any different. We will try to avoid major obstacles like still being in school, etc. But when it comes to starting a family I don’t think I’ll be as nervous about whether it’s the “right” or “wrong” time.

Going back to school to get a degree in something of interest to me has been one of these goals I have had for a while. I didn’t think it was the “right time” for me to start from square one in earning my Bachelors degree. I had always considered photography a serious hobby and not a steady source of income. It wasn’t the “right” time yet. “What if this? What if that?” After my husband encouraged me to do what I love, I wouldn’t go back for anything. I am paying my bills with MY photography and my technical skills. I am getting the opportunity to do what I love!

I have met such wonderful people since coming to the Journalism department and I have learned so many new skills. I am SO proud of the progress the people in this class have made and, as I look back, I honestly can’t believe we’re here! We have come SO far and we are running these shows like we’re naturals. 😉

Thank you to all my instructors and all my friends made during my first semester here in the Journalism department. We couldn’t have made all this progress without one another.

I am really looking forward to next semester…but I NEED a break!

“The Lord upholds all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.”
Psalm 145:14, 17-20

Free Portrait Session Available in Silent Auction: All Proceeds to Benefit John Kirk Smith and Jordan Caldwell families

Free Portrait Session Available in Silent Auction: All Proceeds to Benefit John Kirk Smith and Jordan Caldwell families

Andrea Caldwell Photography has listed a free portrait session (valued at $100) for bidding in the Christmas in Poynor event’s garage sale and silent auction. The event will be hosted at the Poynor Civic Center. The gift certificate is set at a $40 minimum bid or can be purchased immediately for $75. If you are interested in bidding on or immediately buying this item, please contact me by commenting below. The Christmas card portrait season is here! Don’t wait until this offer is gone!


All proceeds will benefit the families of John Kirk Smith and Jordan Caldwell (my brother-in-laws, their wives and children). John and Jordan were severely injured in a car accident on October 9, 2011. John has spent a little over 2 months in hospital (ICU Trauma unit) and clinical rehabilitation stay. He has no short-term disability and it is undetermined when either of them will be able to return to work. John’s wife is due to have a little boy on Christmas Day and the couple has 3 other children to support. They have no source of income at the moment. Thank you for your concern, your prayers and your well wishes. The family thanks you wholeheartedly.

THANKS ESPECIALLY TO DR. MATTHEWS AND MS JOYNER OF UT TYLER’S COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT. I would not have been able to create this image nor this blog had it not been for what I have learned in their classes. These classes have really equipped me with so many skills I never thought would come easily. In addition, I have improved upon the skills and techniques I had previously. THANK YOU!! 🙂

“Jar of Cats” Oh wow, this is HILARIOUS!

So I was browsing around WordPress and came across this blog entry.  After such a long couple of days, this is EXACTLY what I needed.

Jar of Cats

I LITERALLY laughed out loud….and could NOT stop.

A Man of Character

***Disclaimer: there are a few expletives in this video and a photo of someone “flipping the bird.” That’s just how he is. I apologize if it offends anyone: he’s just an old man raised in a different time, different place.***

Final Cut and WordPress Dislike Me

SO……I am absolutely confident that my constant prayers have been heard. I’m sure Dr. Matthews is tired of seeing me at her office door; Derik can’t wait for the semester to be over so he won’t hear, “Hey Derik, are you in here? I have a question. This isn’t working. I can’t get this to open. Why does this look like this? Oh man, what did I do?”; Linda is glad she won’t have to see me hanging around in the lab til after dark; and ANDREW won’t have to see me cry ever again……anytime fairly soon. hahaha

I finished my photostory a few days ago but kept feeling like it needed “this” and “that” so I couldn’t leave it alone. I suffer from a disease called EPS, or Extreme Perfectionist Syndrome. I FINALLY got my video EXACTLY how I wanted it on Thursday. I kept tweaking it into the night until the lab closed and I headed to the hospital to watch the birth of my sister’s new baby. (YAAAYYYYY!!!) The next day, right after my 12-12:50 class, I headed back into the lab: Derik was sick, Dr. Matthews was out of her office and the secretary for Dr. Cali was out to lunch until 2:30. I went home, arranged some different music for my video, came back up to the lab at 4 and Dr. Mattews was in so I was able to get a keyboard for my CRAZY computer. After she left and my computer finally pulled up Final Cut: nothing but RED X’S EVERYWHERE.

I panicked but calmed down trying EVERYTHING I knew to do. Then, I looked around to make sure no one was around—and BROKE DOWN. lol After my little sob session, Andrew just so happened to come by needing to finish his video. He noticed something was wrong, I told him I have no idea what happened, that it WAS saved, where is everything, why isn’t this working, why, why, why, Andrew??? hahaha He looked a little unsure of what exactly to say to me but then helped me right away at trying to find the problem. He figured most of it out and the video played normally! Yay!! Andrew finished, left….guess what? My finished video wouldn’t load into wordpress, an e-mail, NOTHING. I saved it to an SD card and laughed in my lab computer’s face: “HA HA! I’ll just go home and load it onto my blog from home. SO THERE!” Little did I know that the Mac had put a curse on my SD card: I got home, opened my SD to watch the video–NO VIDEO WHATSOEVER. I panicked, had another cry session (these have tended to come quite regularly lately haha) and stepped away from the computer to take a break from it for an hour. I came back, it opened just fine in iTunes but still wouldn’t show any photos in other programs. I played with it and did all I could until 2 AM then gave up for the night. Today, I FINALLY managed to load it onto YouTube somehow—so HERE IT FINALLY IS!!!!!!!!!!!

You have no idea how many prayers, tears but no blood, fortunately, have gone into this video. I REALLY hope you enjoy the HOURS and DAYS (literally) of work that I have put into it. I am really glad I made a video that I can look back on and say, “Hey, I worked REALLY hard on this. I’m proud of myself.” My family can enjoy it, I can show it to my kids and they can show it to their kids. It’s not just any ol’ photostory project. It’s a 2 minute look into the life of my Papaw. I hope you enjoy it and can understand why this quirky, old man means so much to us.

As you know, I have had probably the most stressful, nerve-racking semester full of really, really, low lows yet a few joyous and wonderfully high highs. Unfortunately, school has really taken a backseat from time to time. My brother-in-laws were involved in a horrible car accident and went through almost two months of ICU, hospital stay, rehabilitation stay and constant doctor’s appointments. We have all had to pull extra shifts at work wherever we can find them, babysit, cook, clean, etc for each other. We have all been paying each other’s bills and hoping and praying that God will provide whatever we need. God has provided but it has been more difficult than I can ever explain to go through this ordeal, watching my great-grandma slowly pass away the immediate weekend after the wreck, losing my uncle to Stage 4 brain cancer…dealing with certain mean-spirited fellow students at school…….all while trying desperately to get my head above water in regards to my schoolwork. This semester has rolled on during the most EXTREME, unexplainably DIFFICULT season of my life. Yet, I am SO thankful that my now-husband persuaded me to do what I really love and supported me in beginning my photography business. He encouraged me to go back to school. He is the reason I am in the UTT Journalism program. I love my classes. I love my instructors. All of the fellow students…give or take a few. I was SO excited to begin this chapter in my life and it just feels like my morale and spirits took a big blow over the past couple of months. BUT, I am DETERMINED that I will NOT be broken down. I will finish out this semester with pride in my work knowing that I did the best I could; that I gave everything I had; that I may not come out with straight-A’s like usual but that it’s OKAY not to have perfect grades; that I learned SO MUCH; that I have made quite a few great, new friends; that I need to stop being such a perfectionist; that I need to be more prepared for hard times by just saving up every dime I have and buy a Macbook so I can do all my schoolwork at the hospital. hahaha

This season has been really tough but it has yielded some much learned life lessons, strong family bonding, a feeling of perseverance……not to mention a new baby nephew, Elijah Thomas, and another on the way for my sister- and brother-in-law (the one who stayed in ICU for weeks).

LIFE IS GOOD AND GOD IS SO GREAT.

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.”
Psalm 5:11-12

Round Two of Multimedia Production Shows

First of all, the first round of shows went very well. A lot better than I thought they would. Everyone helped one another and did the best they could in order for everything to run smoothly. Everyone was nervous and probably a bit less focused than they should have been but the shows turned out good for our first attempts at “going it alone.”

However, the second round of shows–wow! Everyone in our class has really grown and gotten a feel for what actions need to be done in order to make the show look the way it is supposed to look. Although you have to have some textbook knowledge about the equipment used as well as the necessary skills and techniques involved to run a show efficiently, we have all learned through a sort of trial-and-error process as a team. I am so proud of our class and the progress we have all made in only one short semester!

More than anything, I am most proud of the directors, producing hosts and set designers for these first two rounds of shows.  True, you didn’t have a choice, but these shows look great for your first “official” shows in those extremely crucial positions. Hosts: you all deserve a pat on the back for keeping yourselves from bursting into hysterical laughter when the unexpected happens. When everyone in the studio is crying from holding back their laughter, it is SO hard not to giggle involuntarily.

I can only hope my show turns out as well as these shows have. I can’t say enough how proud I am of all of you.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”
Colossians 3:23-24

I am now officially MRS. JOSHUA SAYLORS CALDWELL :)


I still can’t believe it, but, yes, I got married yesterday evening. At 7:00 pm, I walked down the aisle of the First United Methodist Church of Murchison. I specifically picked that church because my new hubby grew up in that church as a little boy and after his mother passed away when he was only 7 years old, a stained glass window was dedicated in her memory.

That window looks into the same sanctuary where I became Mrs. Joshua Saylors Caldwell. Oh my goodness, words can’t describe how I feel. The feeling of walking down the aisle was unlike anything I could have possibly imagined or prepared myself for. It felt almost surreal. As if, for a few moments, I was being called up to heaven. The doors opened and my grandpa and dad walked me slowly down the aisle. I knew because we had only invited immediate family to the ceremony last night that there wasn’t going to be that many people there but it felt like the entire world was waiting for me. Like everyone stopped breathing for that short amount of time. I felt like I was glowing, literally. I have always thought “How sweet” when I see couples cry on their wedding day…I was pretty sure because this ceremony was going to be so small and because we felt insignificant in comparison to the world that I probably wouldn’t cry, most certainly not burst into tears. As soon as the doors opened and I saw the small crowd…my groom….my eyes swelled with tears. I started to cry incessantly and I couldn’t do anything to possibly stop myself. “Your mascara isn’t waterproof today, Andrea!” “My veil feels like it’s going to fall out of my hair!” “Wow, there are a lot more people here than I thought would be!” “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe John and Jordan are still alive and well to BE HERE!”……”Look at my handsome groom.”

I had hoped I would be able to UStream the ceremony so others who couldn’t be there could watch online but my laptop was not my friend last night. :/ My photographer friend offered to shoot our ceremony as a wedding gift to us and we gladly accepted, but she was unable to make it afterall because she was involved in a minor car accident and had no transportation. My family and friends got plenty of pictures….but it would have been nice if they had had to take this class! haha I could have had top-quality video, correctly exposed photos, beautiful photostories with appropriate background noise……maybe even a commercial 😉 hahaha

I am so glad I got married during the toughest season of my life.

After Josh’s brothers’ wreck, after the passing of my great-grandmother, after losing my uncle to brain cancer in just a little more than one year: our families deserve a little happiness. By all means, I mean that in the most humble, unselfish way I can possibly mean it, but it is SO true. Our families have been through SO much. I have hoped and prayed that things would get better, some light at the end of the tunnel and God has answered. I realized, instead of reflecting back on losing people close to me, losing work hours and worrying about things I cannot change, why not count my blessings one more time?

Again….and again….Every day…..Every. Single. Day.

1) A new beginning with my new husband 🙂

2) Our good health.
3) I have a roof over my head and food on the table.
4) We had a LOT to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
5) John and Jordan are ALIVE, FINALLY out of hospital care and doing so much better!
6) Christmas is coming soon. 🙂


7) I have the most beautiful families and friends anyone could possibly imagine.


8 ) Going back to school and persevering through college struggles has been the best decision I could have ever made.
9) My sister is due to have her baby on December 17.

10) John’s wife, my new sister-in-law, is due on Christmas Day.
…and 11) Josh and I might possibly be able to afford a nice little honeymoon somewhere next year. 😉

So next time you’re thinking to yourself, “Gosh, Multimedia Production sure is tough. I hope I’ll be able to get everything done correctly and on time”……just remember……..
Somewhere Andrea Caldwell is thinking the exact same thing and panicking herself.
Call her up and tell her to chill out. Then head over to her house and you can knaw off your fingernails together.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
I Corinthians 2:9

Experimenting with Lighting

I found this assignment to be really interesting because it was engaging and hands-on…not to mention I LOVE photography 🙂

The pictures I shot over last weekend and this past week were all taken with my Canon 60D and a 50mm lens and not a single photo was edited AT ALL.  They are a combination of the lighting assignment we had plus the experimenting with close-ups assignment. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Speaking of birds…

Meet my friend, Tweets. His mommy made a nest in one of the corner’s of the ceiling of my fiance’s balcony and several weeks later… Tweets was born! He looks angry in this picture but he is quite the little model in comparison to his brothers and sisters and LOVES to pose for me. 🙂

This shot was taken around 4:00 P.M. without a flash. As I said earlier, his little nest is in the corner of my fiance’s balcony ceiling so he was shaded. Camera settings: f/7.1 with an exposure of 1/500 sec.


As you can see, Tweets is a VERY messy eater. :/
(7:00 P.M. f/5.6 at 1/200 sec. No flash. Fairly shaded area with balcony bar shadows.)


This is my sweet Cocker Spaniel, Bella, laid up with her daddy. She LOVES to take naps. 🙂
(3:30 P.M. Shot inside with one window allowing natural lighting behind subjects. No flash. f/1.8 at 1/8 sec.)


Did I mention she likes to sleep? 😉
(4:30 P.M. f/1.8 at 1/20 sec. Small window allowing natural lighting behind me as I took this shot. No flash.)


This is my other dog, Mindy. She is a Yorkie/Maltese mix, or a Morkie: thus, her name. 🙂
(5:00 f/1.8 at 1/160 sec. No flash, small window allowing natural light.)


She loves her daddy too. 🙂
(4:45 P.M. f/1.8 at 1/100 sec. No flash, small window allowing natural lighting.)


This is my honey working hard.
(4:00 P.M. f/1.8 at 1/640 sec. Taken inside engine/ambulance bay so there was quite a bit of shade. No flash.)


(4:00 P.M. f/1.8 at 1/80 sec. Same lighting as previous shot.)


This was at my best friend’s wedding this weekend. Very nice wedding and, of course, the bride was breathtaking. 🙂
(3:45 P.M. Glass doors behind Groom’s cake table allowed some natural lighting. f/2.8 at 1/60 sec.)

And, of course, the shot WITH a flash. If you haven’t noticed by now, I don’t like using a flash unless I absolutely HAVE to. Natural lighting just makes for much more beautiful shots. 🙂

This is my niece, Cadence. haha Yes, I know it doesn’t look like it, but there is a little girl under all that frizzy fur. 😉
(6:45 P.M. Outside, taken with external flash. Camera settings: f/2.8 at 1/15 sec.)

A few of these shots were obviously close-ups and these types of shots usually tend to be the favorites among my clients. I feel close-ups are SO intimate and really show the subject’s personality because of the closeness of the shot.

Hope everyone has a beautiful evening. 🙂

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
(Matthew 13:45, 46 NKJV)

My very first post

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Wow. What a night. Trying to round up a 7-year-old werewolf, a 4-year-old soldier, 4-year-old Spiderman and a 2-year-old bumblebee sounds a lot easier than it actually is. Kids are hyper enough as it is–add friends, costume excitement, cupcakes for all, candy, games and toys and children become nonhuman. Haha In all seriousness, they were all three very well behaved last night. Meagan’s neighborhood has an annual Halloween block party allowing the adults to visit and the kids to trick-or-treat and play all they’d like.

20111101-124817.jpg

It was a nice getaway from our circumstances. We actually met a lady who only lives a block from Meagan and just so happens to work at the rehabilitation center where John is going to be. I “U-streamed” the kids trick-or-treating so John could watch from the hospital but that didn’t work out as planned. When he’s awake and alert, he gets emotional about certain things; the kids are one of those things. He doesn’t even like to see pictures of them right now. At least he’ll be able to watch the video later when he’s less upset. He feels like a burden on everyone but if he were in our shoes, we know he’d do the same for us without question.

Thank you God for the blessing of family.