ᎣᏏᏲ! My name is Natasha L.,and I'm a software developer living in the DC metro area. I lived in the mountains of rural Virginia until October 2012, and while I love being up here in the city, the mountains will always feel like home.
As showcased on this site, I'm an avid photographer and writer. My interests in writing date back to high school, when I met a gifted English teacher who not only encouraged me to enjoy writing for the first time in my life, but showed me that I'm actually pretty good at it, when the subject is something I'm passionate about. Writing is what originally inspired me to launch the first version of this website, and while I've explored other interests with equal intensity, it's always one of my greatest passions.
Photography is a more recent interest, relatively speaking, but a strong one nonetheless. I received my first digital camera, and my first worthwhile camera at all, as a Christmas gift from my mom in 2006, and quickly discovered a love for artistic photography. It was a Canon Powershot S3 IS, and it served me well for many years, far longer than most people hang onto a camera. Over the years since, I've captured thousands of images, most of which can be seen here. Recently, after struggling with sensor noise for years with my old camera, I made the jump to a digital SLR, with the purchase of a Canon 5D mkII in August 2011. More about that can be found here.
Other creative interests I've pursued, and enjoyed, include graphic design (as seen on this site), and 3D modelling, texturing, and architecture in Second Life.
Currently, I'm a software developer specializing in Python applications. I wrote most of the software driving this site, and I've developed everything from full CMSes to plugins for existing systems. I started developing in PHP in 2005/2006, using this site as a testing sandbox, and when I made the switch to Python in 2012, I continued using this site as a testbed for my work. As someone who's both creative and engineering-oriented, coding is something that has always brought me great joy, and I don't foresee that changing anytime soon. I'm also a fairly skilled layout and graphics designer, making me rather versatile in my field.
Aside from being an avid member of both the furry and My Little Pony fandoms, I greatly enjoy anything that involves spending time outdoors, preferably in the remote wilderness of West Virginia, or similar areas. Hiking, camping, off-roading, or just driving out to a lake are all things I try to do as frequently as possible, just to be around nature and enjoy the peaceful solitude. There are few things that bring me greater joy than sitting by a peaceful mountain lake or cliff, just enjoying being near the trees and wildlife.
I'm somewhat of an electronics nerd as well, and while I've never been quite so hardcore as to design my own circuit board, I know how to do it if I ever wanted or needed to. I've done a lot of similar work, though, usually in the automotive realm. Amateur radio is a similar interest of mine, and while it's not one of my primary hobbies, I do maintain my license and keep a radio nearby most of the time.
Growing up, my nerdiness knew no bounds, so as a kid, I had an extremely strong interest in all things related to science. Unfortunately, a series of terrible high school teachers dampened this interest for awhile, but since I never went to college or a university, I've recently regained interest in academic pursuits on my own. My most notable hobby in this realm is a strong interest in all things related to geoscience. From geology, to seismology, to meteorology, I absolutely love learning new material and keeping up with the scientific world. If finances weren't a concern, I'd go to a university to pursue a geology degree; not because I necessarily want a career in that field (I make more as a programmer), but just for the joy of learning more about it.
Cars are also an important passion in my life, and always have been. As early as first grade, my dad showed me the basics of how vehicles work while he maintained the family Jeep, and I was hooked. I wanted to learn everything I could about these wonderful machines, and in the years following, much of my free time was spent studying automotive history, and fantasizing about the day when I could legally drive one for myself. Around age 15, I also became fascinated with motorcycles, and my "first car" was my dad's bike. I don't currently have a motorcycle, but I still have a license to operate one, so someday I'll ride again.
In addition to a general appreciation for all things automotive, I developed strong attachments to specific vehicles, and generally couldn't conceive of owning anything other than one of my dream cars. Obviously, reality gets in the way of making this possible, but I generally don't own a car I'm not at least passionate about. To me, a car is far more than a tool to get from point A to point B. It's a symbol of personal freedom, a faithful companion, and above all, a mechanical extension of one's self.