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August 2018

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My Online Photography Workshop

This is how I learned to edit my photos

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Member since 11/2005

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I started reading your blog before Annie was born. I love visiting you. I love seeing your sweet family grow and change. I love your beautiful pictures. I love that you are always so real and up front with who you are. I love hearing about your highs and lows and that you'd just like to run away sometime. I love that you're in it for the long haul. Bless you Karen and thank you for sharing part of your life with us. Thank you for the laughter and the tears and for just being your wonderful self.

Robin... you know the one...

Wowzers... look at all the people who posted comments before me today. You got a lot of friends girl! And... it is not at all one sided. You make my day more often than you will ever ever know. I dream of some day making a trip to Oregon and stopping in to say hello (I would tell you in advance but don't make any plans like cleaning or making tea and crumpets.) Some day... maybe I will make a drive to the coast and there you will be. My friend, the one I have only met once yet feel as I have known for a decade.


Wow! I hope you now see just how many of us are out here enjoying your photos and stories. I have been a follower for years as well.

I recently came across a page I had saved from a scrapbooking magazine, because I loved the picture and the technique used (split picture); I just smiled when I saw that it was one of your pages. I felt like it was a friend showing me a layout.

I was thrilled beyond words when you replied to an email I sent you about your Narratives line being used in a Shimelle class. I still have that email; it feels like a celebrity has written to me...because you are...and yet so REAL.

I hope you keep blogging, as it is certainly one of my go-to blogs for all the reasons others have given.


What a lovely post -you have been a definite regular on my short list of blogs I check in to for a long time. Thank you for telling your everyday story in the way that you do. Renee, from across the seas.


I don't often comment, but this is such a lovely post I have to. Thank you, for sharing; your thoughts, your photots, your successes and equally your failings.

Dawn Wheeler (Go Beavs)

I consider you my friend to, in that crazy internet blog following way. The way that if we saw each other on the street, I would know exactly who you were and you would have no clue. I would be thrilled to say hello in person and you would need help to even remember meeting once. Thank you for sharing your lifes ups, downs, sideways and rightways. I believe that your thoughts, ideas, perceptions and more help to balance out this crazy world we all live. So thank you. Thank you for your friendship.

the Norwegian

I've read this blog for years. And it makes me feel a bit stalkish - because i have the Google Reader (feedly is the new reader - I recommend it ;) )
And I therefore rarely leaves any comments. But I want you to know that I read your every word, and loooves your pictures. And I really think that you are a great and bighearted person . I often think "I hope i become that kind of person one day"
So yes, you don't see me, but I'm really happy everytime your post pops up in my feed (yes, a beet stalkerish :P )


Your simply the best Karen! Ive followed you since the beginning and you have stayed constant in what you do, and who you are. Im sure you'd be overwhelmed to know how many of us pray for you when your down, and route you on when things are tough and smile when you are happy. When Im having a rough day and I visit here, I forget everything for a while and ALWAYS feel joy afterward. You are an inspiration in so many ways. KEEP BLOGGING please!!
Btw, do you have an instagram feed that your comfortable sharing?

judith fender

Thank YOU!!

Michelle Bostinelos

Thank you Karen! Not sure how long I've been hanging around...awhile, that's for sure! I've left comments here and there :) but always reading. I love your everyday family pictures and you inspired me so much on my photography journey and capturing my family. I like your blog. You aren't trying to sell or push anything on us. You are just being you. I like it. As long as you keep it up, I will keep reading. :) I think your awesome. that's all.


Another reader of several years here. I have taken your class and watched your family grow! I leave few comments but check daily. I feel so close to you, and we don't even know one another. I speak of you frequently and my family just shakes their head. :) I will be doing a retreat in Oregon in June with Ally Edwards and even looked up how close you would be on a map. It's odd. I would not approach you or stalk or even feel comfortable with a chat...I just wanted to know where my friend Karen lived in relation to Gearhart. :) I enjoy your blog very much and consider your family a part of my blogging world. I appreciate your humor, your grace, your education, your selflessness, and your parenting. God Bless you and Josh Downs!


Oh Karen,
you don’t know on how many lonely days in the hospital you were my only companion. A new post from you meant for me the visit of a lovely friend – one that I have never met and likely never will in person – but I adore so much. You with a handful of other lovely blogging ladies helped me to hold my spirit up and fight. I owe you so much.

Until now I never commented. Not because I didn’t care or like what you wrote – quite the opposite. I just felt that I had nothing to offer and therefore didn’t want to bother you.

Thank you – thank you – thank you. For your brave and honest posts. For sharing your thoughts and struggles and for introducing me to your lovely family. The last weeks you even gave me through your writing and photos the opportunity to visit Oregon – impossible in real life.

And – oh – the photos. I adore and study them. Trying for years getting the grip on photography myself but just dreaming of your level and abilities.

Please keep being yourself and my friend from the Internet.

Greetings from Europe.


:) Life is good!
How so many people can be connected through our common interest in photography no matter what our beliefs or lives are like.


I don't ever comment, but I have to say now that I look forward to reading your blog. I have no idea how I ever found you, but i can't imagine a week without you (sounds weird, huh?). You inspire my photography and make me laugh. Thank you.

Laura L.

I have learned over the years that a friendship built online is still a friendship. When you meet in person, it's as if it has just been years since you've seen each other. You recognize each other at the airport, you pick up where you left off online. It's an awesome experience, as you well know!
I rarely post comments but I truly enjoy every bit of your blog Karen! Thank you for sharing your journey, your family, your talent and so much more with all of us! Hugs!!


Wow Karen, just look at all these are loved. I originally found you through the ScrapMap trip to Peru (that wasn't meant to be), then took your online class and actually learned how to use my DSLR. Photography has been such a love for me ever since, and I feel like it was your heart, joy, and humor coming through in your teaching that made it stick in my brain. You are a storyteller extraordinaire - one the world would not be as bright without. Please thank your family for their willingness to also share their lives through you. I did finally make it to Peru - I highly recommend it. My new focus is taking all you taught and trying to apply it to the video side of my DSLR. If you want, here is a quick 1 min film of my family on Easter. Hope you see your influence in my shooting. Be well Karen. You continue to be the BEST.


I've been a fan since the good old days of scrapbooking, and I can't imagine life without you in it!! Love you lots my friend!! ♥


It's funny that you bring this up because I was sharing one of your stories with a friend of mine, and when I was describing who you were, initially I said a friend of mine. Since we have mostly mutual friends, she wanted to know what friend. Suddenly, I realized that I didn't know you and we aren't really "friends". I felt a little crazy telling her all about you and your family. She said, "How do you know all of this?" I said, "Because I've been reading her blog for years." She says, "You're weird." Glad you feel the same!

MUCH Love from Texas!


I meant that I am glad you feel the same that we are "friends" not that you feel the same that I am crazy! :)


Hey Karen, thanks for the friendship , reader has made me lazy to comment but love checking your posts!


Waving hello from here in PA! I can't remember how long I've been reading your blog. Annie was pretty little I think. I'm pretty sure it was through another scrapbooking or photography blog. I still use old school bookmarks in Firefox to follow a long list of blogs. However, I have a folder there of only 10 true favorites and yours is one of them.I click on it every day, even way your going thru a dry spell and we don't hear from you for a bit. I love that you, Josh and the kids are always real. There's no "come see how perfect my family is" quality about your pictures and writing. That's what makes reading about your life and ideas so enjoyable. It's a perfect little slice of American life and reminds us all that families are made of wonderful personalities and unique habits and adventures. Please don't stop sharing it all with us!


Dear Karen I have been reading your blog for some years now and the blogging thing makes it a strange realtionship. I would consider you a friend, beccause you are someone I care about. I know a lot about you and your wonderful family but you know hardly anything about me. When I met you in Greece I really got "starstruck". And it turns out you really are the most wonderful and open person in the world. So down to earth, caring, and real. I love reading uour stories, they make me laugh or tear up. I think all mothers can relate to the stories you write. You really inspire me and you are able to give me a perspecitve on life, on love and family life. I took your class 4 years ago, and I really wish I will be able to take it again (saving a littel for it all the time). I loved it. Thanks for everything you do. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for teaching me. I really hope I get the chance to meet you again. Lots of love from your biggest fan in Norway <3


Friendship in all forms makes life good!


I love your blog! I have never commented before so I guess you could count me as a stalker. It goes without saying that your photography is beautiful and inspiring. But more than that, the way you have blended families, chosen to raise your children and have a marriage are always so inspiring and make me think about my own parenting. You are always honest, thoughtful and insightful in your blogging.
You always have a fan in Texas!

Shelly M

Just a quick comment to let you know that I read every one of your blog posts and truly look forward to them. You are inspiring to us down to earth normal moms that deal with the good as well as the bad in our everyday lives.

When Josh was deployed I worried about you often.

When you were training for your first triathlon I eagerly awaited each of your reports on your progress. I've since completed two triathlons, both shorter than what you took on and I still to this day often think of you when I'm training and feel inadequate. Funny that I think 'suck it up, Karen did something much bigger than this' when I don't even really know you other than through the internet.

Your news of helping out at the pregnancy center is encouraging.

The ideas you share about parenting are insightful and helpful.

I don't post often and I'm sure there are many, many others that don't take the time to say hi either but please know that your blog is a bright spot to women all over the world!


I do more drive-bys than I do comments but your blog is a favorite of mine and you know I admire your work--always have! :)

Nicky H

Hi Karen, buddy, ole pal. :) I was in one of your photog classes (Oct, maybe?) and I have been reading your blog for a while. I live in Nevada, and have an Air Force husband. Two boys. Parents and a Nana I miss dearly (they live back home, while we're stationed here.) I feel like you should get to know me a little bit, too. I love your blog and feel the same way. I have a blog, too, but often feel like I'm the only one there (and that's ok) until I see all the spam messages that don't get through, and then I feel like it's a little creepy. I can't imagine having as many people as you do looking at your blog and your life. I can see why you wrote this. :) Take care of yourself and you family, and I'll comment again someday soon. :) Nice to see ya over that cup of coffee. :)

Lynn Lynn

I have been reading your blog for years! I appreciate your honesty and outlook on life. :) I took your photography class a couple of years ago and loved it! You take complicated things to understand about how the camera works and make it simple and easy to understand!! Thank you for that! I only shoot in manual now!!:) I love looking at your pictures...true snapshots of your life!!!:)

Mary Ann Jenkins

Thank you friend!

Holly Preslar

Nice post, Ms. Karen! I don't get to read your blog daily, but from time to time, when I grab a bite and eat it at my office over lunch, I always go to your blog. It is like wrapping up with a comfortable warm blanket, reading about you and your family, looking at your beautiful photos. That may be a bit of an odd comparison, but your words and photos gives me a temporary escape from the stresses of my day, and it brings joy, sometimes a few tears, many laughs, and comfort. So thanks for sharing you and your family with us.


I just got back from vacation and haven't read blogs in over a week. This was a great post to read! I'm glad you don't look at us as stalkers because I have been reading/commenting since before Annie was born!


Or at least since she was a 'wee little baby'! ;)


Thanks for this post. You've become my friend, too. I love the honesty of your posts and of course, the photos!

Julie Pilch

Thank YOU Karen! Ive followed your blog for years and have similar aged girls to your crew. You have pulled me through some very sad times with your honest blog posts and your wonderful points of view. I feel like our littlest babies have grown up together too (too fast for my liking). You also taught me how to take good photos! If you are ever in the UK please let me know as i would love to show you around xxx


Your blog has meant an awful lot to me. And the day I saw you and a friend at Barnes and Noble and I was going through the hardest thing in my life and could barely walk around in public without weeping ... you gave me a hug and told me things were going to be ok. You were a ray of sunshine when I needed one bad! You've inspired me creatively (Scrapbook Connection) and personally. I appreciate your candor when you post about your life. Your life is inperfect but it's beautiful and that's the way it is supposed to be.

Thank you Karen

Sandra Klary

Well, thank you, too! :) Thank you for sharing your life with us! I've been following your blog for years now (I think yours was one of the very first blogs I ever read) and it feels like I would "know" you and your family.. Totally love that! Your kind of a role model for me as a woman, a photographer and a sometime-in-the-future mom..because you're keeping it real and sharing not only the good moments, but the true moments.. :)

Terry D

Hi Karen! I stop by when I can to check in on you and your wonderful family!... but your voice... your teachings... your good nature... your personal struggles (that we all deal with too!)... your love of family & life stay with me everyday when I shoot! :) You have touched my life forever and I am so thankful for that and your friendship! :)


delurking to say how much I enjoy your posts. Love your honesty ... thanks for sharing your life with us!


Always my favorite blog, year after year :).

Elizabeth Flowers

Your post made me realize that I need to drop you a note now and then to let you know how I skim through my reader to your blog first, how I love the familiar feel of settling into your words, how you feel me, how I don't search for authenticity in your blog as I read is there so readily, I just find comfort and realness. I'll stop by more and remind you of all those things. :)


Hey Karen,
like all the others said before..... its not a one-sided-thing we have running here. I always like to have my latte machiatto sitting here at my desk hopping through your blog and learn what you and your wonderful big family and your funny children are doing. It seems so "down-to-earth" to me. And it always feels like having a very smart and nice friend for a cup of coffee in my garden! Thanky you for beeing there sharing your life with us!
Hugs Myriam


I have been reading for years, having found you through Laura Vegas. Love reading your inspirational everything. Love that you remind us about the "highlight reel". Love that you live in Oregon. Growing up, my family went to Bandon to stay with my great grandma, every April. Some of the places you post about, I have been. I love that you were a young Mom. We share that. I love the help you give to the pregnancy center, the example of success you provide.

Keep on, keeping on. Lots of love for you and yours!

Jo E

I love your blog and missed it when you didn't blog of a while but Internet friends are like real ones. The good ones stick around and pick up with you where you left off. Your blog makes me feel good and challenges me, and makes me cry, and I'd miss it if it ceased to exist. So thanks for keeping it real and just being you. Don't change a thing!


Thank YOU Karen!!!!!!!!


And here I was thinking it was one sided on MY end. Big hugs to you my friend!

PS: I'd still love to come and hang out with you for a bit, if I ever get out that way to visit my sister. Also...I'd totally meet you in Ireland for some pub crawling and picture taking (like I dreamed about when you were going with the Scrap-thing).


wish I weren't one of the lame ones that stays in the google reader but I am. Over the years I've started reading blogs and left theirs because lack of interest & time but yours has inspired me over and over again for all the years that I've been reading your blog, I'd be so SAD if I didn't get my fill of Karen Russell, "you know that amazing photographer that I just love & won a spot in her photography class" (that's what I tell my husband when he doesn't know who I'm talking about). I feel like your my friend and I'd like to say thanks for being so great and teaching me so much through your blog! (I'm so behind on my blog reader, the reason, I have a newborn. But I just wanted to stop in and say thanks)

Penny M.

Love you Karen. I don't comment much but I'm always listening. You've inspired me more times than I can count.

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