Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finding the Jazz

I've noticed my use of musical terms flowing through and over to my photography self.  More so lately, she said with a puzzled voice.  Without much art know-how, yet wanting to find my visual art niche, I'm leaning on terms from music to help guide me, and to express myself regarding photography.  That's pretty sweet....suite.  No, just kidding.

The other day I received a comment from my blogger buddy Ms. Becky. (Do yourself a favor and slip over to her wonderful and thoughtful blog-but come back.) She said that I immerse myself and stay focused when learning things and I "keep a rhythm going."  How's that?  Someone else using musical terms for me too....and giving me great compliments, aw shucks....thanks Becky.  You're a sweetie.  Isn't that cool, getting the words focused and rhythm in the same sentence?  It seems pretty cool to me.

What am I supposed to be writing about?  Oh yes, finding the jazz.

Our latest challenge (I know they're called assignments, but I've been watching Project Runway where "Designers...for your next challenge") was to consider what part of the photography process is most inspiring to us....soup to nuts....what do you like? taking them, editing, posting, comments....what hits your passion?  What is your jazz?

If I were answering this question 6-9 months ago, I'd say my favorite part is "the chase".  I literally was zipping and zooming from place to place looking for an exciting shot and well, when I found it-it was a rush.  It was my jazz. 

Whoosh {216/365}

Not to say that this doesn't happen anymore, I'm just intentionally slowing down.  Inside my head I'm asking myself "what am I missing here?"  Sometimes it's nothing and it is time to move along, but other times by slowing down-I'm finding shots I would have missed last fall in my rush to go on to the next best thing.  That chase does offer such exhilaration though....jus' sayin'.

I still think that seeing a subject and getting a charge from it and it's possibilities is my photographic jazz.  I normally don't go out looking for something in particular but am more apt to let something draw me in while I'm out casting my eyes from side to side.  When I find it, it is improvisation-made up on the spot.  I think that's why I struggle with still life or setting things up inside my home.  I like to be out and about, and become excited....I'm just more grown up about it now.

Headlights at Dusk
Headlights at Dusk

Also going to fess up that going home and reviewing said photos after "the hunt" that's pretty fun as well.  I don't mind editing, it just takes me so damn long.  I've got to get some mad skills in that department to "make it work".  Getting my pics posted up and collecting some nice props ain't too shabby either.

On another note, for months now I've been thinking of re-naming my blog.  While I was transitioning away from music my ironic title seemed a match, but I'm growing beyond that.  Maybe I can incorporate "jazz" into a visual concept title that is better suited to where I am.  Do you think my followers would find me?

Thanks for stopping by.  Having a visit is always appreciated.  And thanks to Kat for offering such great "challenges"....I think I'm safe-"Susan, you may leave the runway".

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Scavenger 351, 354, 358, 362, 365/365

Linking with Ashley for this week's Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  Press on through and link up.  Always fun and all are welcome.

I think it's okay to brag that on Friday I finished my 365!!  Yay me!!  During the year I never missed one day of taking photos-and that's pretty amazing.  On July 5th I took photos, however on July 6th I got up early and without thinking deleted my memory card forgetting that I hadn't downloaded my images, so I have no day 313/365 photo, but I did take photos that day....and that makes a girl human, don't you think?

I won't say I have 364 excellent images.  Most are good tho'....there were a couple I included that reminded me that I was ticked off that I didn't get something of quality that day. I do have a great collection and can remember my year with a single image triggering a day, mood, or occurrence.  I may have to do this again, but not right away.  And today, with Irene doing her "thang" outside my window, I'm totally fine with taking a day off from snaps.  That is unless my little Princess cat does something cute.

I'm using all 365 images for this week's scavenger....which included: Old and New, Night Photography, Music, Cheesy, and Sun. 

Old and New
Old and New {365/365}
Old and New:  The image on the left was taken with my point and shoot in early August last year, before my 365 began.  The one on the right is 365/365.  I took it because of the great light....but rather like the one from last year with the building peak too.

Again {351/365}
Again {351/365}
Night Photography:   How about twilight photography?  I shoot this scene over and over again.  It's like a magnet for me each time I see it.  I love the silhouette of the trees.

Dancing {354/365}
Dancing {354/365}
Music:  Towards the end of my 365, I was really skating on thin ice.  I left myself short without daylight too many times.  I was pushing my luck.  I made this work, but just barely.  When you've got no pics at 9:45 p.m.....find something laying around on the kitchen counter are start shooting.

Green Doors {362/365}
Green Doors {362/365}
Cheesy:  I have a couple pizza shots, but not recent ones.  I know this is a stretch on cheesy, but work with me here.  I love graffiti.  There's good graffiti, and there's cheesy graffiti....and this is the later.  I do like the urban decay though.

Cherries {358/365}
Cherries {358/365}
Sun:  The sunlight bouncing off this bowl of cherries really appeals to me.  Give me that ambient light any day.  It's so inspiring.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my images.  If you're thinking about a 365, I encourage you to challenge yourself.  If you need any tips, I'm happy to share.  Have a great day-stay dry if you're on the East coast.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Empty Chairs and Tables 364/365

Another photo journal post for Kat's Find Your Eye class.  I understand she'll soon be starting another series, so if you missed this time around, check Kat's website for coming details.  If you're tired of reading my soul searching, you are welcome to take a pass or just glance at photos-I totally understand.   I'm enjoying my journey and am gonna keep on keeping on.

At the Library
At the Library

In this lesson we were to explore a subject we normally wouldn't think of shooting.  I'm sure I botched this lesson, but inspiration came, kind of big, and well it's my journey and I'm feeling spunky, so there you have it.  I usually go out to shoot photos-rarely with a plan, but searching for something in beautiful light or that makes me pause.  I take shots of whatever I find; architecture, landscapes, flowers, seascapes, storefronts, reflections....but rarely people-that would have been a good challenge for me.  For many reasons, it didn't happen.


This chair outside the library lined with raindrops caught my eye when I returned a book.  I went back a bit later to see what I could do with the setting.  I will admit, when I look at an empty chair, that's really not stretching far enough for me, but I did take over 100 photos from a variety of angles, including upside down, on my back, underneath, over top, abstract, out of focus, up close, far got it. 

I usually shoot in early morning or late day light, so I guess the lack of sunlight would be different for me.  I also haven't had much chance to play with raindrops so that too would be away from the usual.  Using strictly lines and shapes for inspiration, without the aid of sunlight is something outside of what I normally do.  I need to do this more-where subject rather than light is the inspiration.

I took some photos.  I almost gave up and thought of searching for another subject until....I added my hands to the images.  That became very inspiring, exciting, and that's when I lost sense of time and what was going on around me.  When I chose to enter myself into the brought life, contrast, and emotion.

My friend Nancy's husband died last Sunday night.  When I went home and looked at my images, they instantly made me think of her.

Tied Together
Tied Together

In a relationship, a long marriage, people are tied together.  When one passes, the ties are severed, and life takes a whole new form, in a moment, or a breath, or in the absence of a heartbeat.

Holding On
Holding On

There's a desire to hold on, but what was there isn't really there anymore.

Gone {364/365}

It's as if you can almost feel it, but when you reach out and touch.....there's nothing there.

Wipe Away
Wipe Away

Which plays with all kinds of difficult, uncomfortable, and sometimes nasty emotions;


and many tears, so many many tears.

Unkind Reverie
Unkind Reverie

Oh, if only we could brush it all away....
Bittersweet, melancholy, anger, laughter, heartache, loneliness, memories, and that incredible aching hole in your heart.


And no answers.  Only riddles and more questions, and the letting go of something you want so desperately to again hold close.

My thoughts while shooting these images were not of Nancy or of Joe.  I loved shooting my hands in the raindrops...and I could feel something happening, just not to this depth.  The depth came when I looked at the images later.  I like the results.  I like that my images made me feel something intensely.  I struggle with that, so this lesson truly was soul searching.  We all have our losses, on varying levels, and I believe they are all difficult and all require a process-never an easy one.

I am not one for quotes.  I like them, but bless my soul, I can't remember them, even if I try.  I jotted this one down the other seemed so apropos to where I am in my photography journey and to my life journey too.
Of course....Thoreau....

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

In this exercise, I truly looked at one thing and saw something else.  Wow.
Thanks for reading my thoughts, as heavy as they are.  I appreciate your visit and any comment you'd like to share.  Have a great day.

RIP Joe hearing aid wearing buddy.  I'll think of you often.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Reflections

Linking with James for this week's Weekend Reflections.  Press on through to see fabulous shots from around the world....but only if you don't have an addictive personality.  I've become absolutely hooked on these reflective images.

I was super bummed to miss last week's reflections post.  I think the first time I missed out since I started this adventure, late last year.  The great part, it comes around again the following week-no problem.  Maybe it's best I was away last weekend, my reflections have been a bit sparse lately.  I would have had to rummage around to find much to make a post out of.  See...things all work out.

A Country Scene
A Country Scene
This looks almost storybook, the old cape farmhouse beside the mill pond.  Probably make a good picture puzzle or something.

Abstract Reflection
Abstract Reflection
I think I like this, but I'm not sure.  It may be a touch too abstract for my taste.  I've been working strictly with a prime 50mm for the last 3-4 weeks.  I was frustrated when I couldn't include the large old mill building gleaming in the sun, with it's reflection on the water.  You see where my loyalty lies.

I usually don't think of reflected sunlight as "a reflection", but being in abstract mode, I'm going to switch my mindset on that one.  Sun is setting earlier and earlier (I'm so sad to see that), so I've been catching late day light after work.  A lovely sundown earlier this week along the shore.

Here's the view that initailly caught my eye...the moored boat, but it was the water that was most entrancing in the light.

Have a wonderful weekend.  I'm going to get my dog walked and all tired out on Saturday and then buckle in for a wild ride with Irene on Sunday.  Hope all of you in the Eastern US stay safe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Creative Exchange, Color Purple Edition

Linking with the fabulous Lisa for this week's Creative Exchange.  Thanks Lisa.  This is a great link to share what moves you-check it out, or better yet, join in.  

Last night, you know who was overdue for a nice that included some off leash time.

Tula Dot
Tula Dot

Somewhat selfishly, I did not choose our usual path near beaches, but instead headed inland.  The selfish part was the really great ice cream place that's just a couple or three miles beyond this locale.  I was thinking how I could pair a dog walk with an ice cream and just call it dinner and done.

The Plains
The Plains

I don't walk in the Plains much.  For me there's a creepiness factor-wide open space, scrubby pines, bugs, lack of distinguishing land marks, and a winding dirt road riddled with ruts, ugly standing puddles and mud that may cause a white car owner to squirm a bit.

However....I'm so glad I did.  As we were driving in I was awed by a sea of purple.  I was a good dog mother and drove beyond the amazing photo op, walked my sweet dog, and then returned to chase the images.  And then I got that ice cream and called it dinner and done.

Purple 30

Purple 53

Purple 61

Purple 35

Purple 56

Purple 69

Purple 52

Thanks for stopping by to share in my color purple experience.  I suppose I should have selected black raspberry ice cream, but I stuck with my colorful favorite, M & M.

What Do I See?

Working away at Find Your Eye with Kat....hence the name of my post.  I'll mention again that Kat's lessons are really terrific....see how it says "with heart and soul"-jus' sayin'....Click on the button if you're interested in her courses., take yourself to a place where there's art.  Yup. 
I remember an old love took me once to a gallery in Jacksonville FL.  I enjoyed looking at various pieces, strolling the garden, and spending a dreamy romantic hour on a picnic blanket with him overlooking the St John's River.  When my mother heard I'd been to a gallery, she laughed.  "What did you look at?  The frames?"  I suppose that wasn't very kind of her.

I must admit when I do go to galleries and exhibitions, I don't really know what to look for.  I'm lucky enough to be close to Wyeth collections-Andrew, Jamie, and NC, have seen Winslow Homer, and Edward Hopper.  My favorite painting is "The Scream" seems to put into picture form how I feel when my hearing issues are most prominent.  Aside from knowing a few famous others, I'm really at a loss.

This past weekend I was away with friends in a remote fishing village here in Maine.  Good fortune was a local artist holding her annual "open house".  She is primarily a watercolor artist, specializing in scenes from Maine.  I dragged my friends along to her little boathouse turned gallery for a peek.  While well intentioned, I couldn't settle down to tackle assessing anything about how I was reacting to the paintings, but I did have a nice visit with the artist and my friends seemed to like her works.

Last night I stopped at the local library....the artist of the month, Berri Kramer, just happened to be a photographer (yay!).  Her images were from trips made to Guatemala.  The sale of her photographs goes solely to help Partners in Development .  That's just an aside....In addition there is a collection of paintings in the hallway outside the children's section of the library, by a variety of artists, that I also took a look at.  I saw art, now hopefully I can figure out what I saw.

Because I don't understand much about painting, I feel a disconnect with it.  While I appreciate the effort that goes into a work, especially when I see intense detail work, somehow it doesn't move me much. (yet).  One of my friends said about the watercolors...."she really uses light well", so I went back and looked again with that in mind, but I don't think I would have seen it on my own.  I did notice an abstract piece called "reflections" and appreciated that in comparison to some of the reflections images I have taken similarly.

Little Row Boat
Little Row Boat

I shared this image recently....and like the water reflections.  In her piece the reflections were more abstract and the boat itself wasn't visible....that's cool, letting the abstractness of the reflection speak on it's own.  I think I knew it was a boat because I've seen so many boats and lately reflections. Tonight I was frustrated when trying to shoot a building and it's reflection in my frame.  I ended up with just the abstract reflection on the water.  Now I see that in tandem with her piece.  I should go back and purchase that from her.

When I looked at the photographs from Guatemala, I really liked them.  There were portraits, buildings, scenes.  They reflected the rampant poverty of the area.  I noticed in the portraits the subjects were looking directly at me-so they must have been looking at the camera, yet they were relaxed.  She was able to capture that.  In addition the photographs were very vibrant-strong colors; blues, reds, yellows, turquoise, purples...I liked that bold vividness.  I think I can look for that.  I was surprised when I created my inspiration journal to find many muted tones, especially browns, yet I like the colors I saw in these photographs, and I liked the realness of the scenes.  Raw, yet beautiful, even in the throes of poverty.

Blanket Flowers {316/365}
Blanket Flowers {316/365}

I had to go back to early July to find something I really liked that was colorful.  I think this is a place I can find some new inspiration.  Somehow flowers don't seem to "count"....they're always colorful.  I'll need to search for color-hard to find in subtle New England.

The art collection based on children's literature had much variety.  I tried to pay attention to the mood the images were conveying.  Some were filled with fantasy often accompanied by bright colors-tho' that did not interest me as much as it did in the photos.  Some images were "dear" perhaps picturing a child and grandparent, or kittens.  These images did not move me much either though I tried to appreciate their detail.  There was a block print black and white, again somewhat abstract, and some works that played with....I don't know what to call it, like DOF or depth perception....that were kind of intriguing.  Again I felt like I didn't know what to look for or what to notice-or what I like or don't like.  I'll have to try again soon.


Kittens and cats are cute.....I guess....

I did enjoy this exercise I just wish I had a little more knowledge to help me.  I have signed on to take an art appreciation course at the local community college this fall.  That should help me get some background in something.  I selected the course as I thought it might help my photographs.  I bet Kat would agree.

Thanks for reading up on my journey to the unknown.  My eye must be in there somewhere.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Texture Time

Linking with Kim Klassesn for texture Tuesday.


I left myself a note on my computer desk  "don't forget texture Tuesday".  This week the theme was Back to School and it's my first time linking up.  I dug out an old photo from last fall that seemed to fill the bill.

Back to School
Back to School

I am must admit, I don't often use textures and really don't have a sense of which one to choose for what image. I just try some or guess. Guessing is okay, isn't it?
For this image I used the texture "golden" and tried to set the bus apart from the scene. I think maybe the bus is too vibrant, but they are kind of vibrant.  Whoops, didn't see that two texture rule....I did use golden at least 2 times.  That counts, I hope.

Soon I'll see these rumbling around the local streets again. Not a problem unless you're behind one and late for an appointment.  As Kim would say....sigh.

Have a great day.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Scavenger-night version 347, 356/365

Linking with Ashley for this week's Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  Great link and always lots of fun. Thanks Ashley.

I'm certain I'm the only one that keeps track of my own blogging activities and habits....hell, we're all too busy blogging to notice when someone else is blogging, aren't we?  What I'm saying is, normally I spend Sunday mornings in a more relaxed mode: slippers, mug o' coffee, and posting my scavenger photos....a little ritual I give to myself.

This weekend I was away with friends, so I'm linking up with a evening post.  I guess 8 o'clock isn't "night", but after the fun weekend I had, bedtime is going to be on the early side tonight.

I am NOT complaining, but wow, this week's list was a challenge.  It required thinking outside the box that's in the shed out back behind the garden.  Pheeewwww.  In some cases I feel I might be able to use an image for more than one category or interchange a couple.  Fun though.

The topics were: Geometry, Brushstrokes, Hanging by a Thread, Collage, and On the Dotted Line.

Silenced {356/365}
Geometry:  Getting realllllyyyyy close to finishing that 365....another one of those late night grabs.  If I don't self-destruct this week, I'll finish up on Friday.  All the lines and squares in repetition made me think of geometry. 
The dust on my piano keys is hidden by the beautiful pourvous texture by Kim Klassen.  Another fabulous use for textures....dusting.

Unexpected Rainbow
Brushstrokes:  Using a very loose interpretation for brushstrokes, but is not a rainbow God painting the sky?  Work with me here....
Caught this one mid week-never rained, but got a show anyway.  It was beautiful over the ocean.

Crane 16
Crane 16 {347/365}
Hanging by a Thread:  Since last November the lone bridge across the river in town is being replaced.  A temporary bridge was installed to keep the area passable.  It has been interesting to watch the de-struction of the old and the con-struction of the new.  This huge crane was brought in last week to set the horizontal spans.  For perspective, the mill building in silhouette is at least 4 stories high. 
Glad I snapped this, the next morning the crane was taken away.

Too Much Coffee
Too Much Coffee
Collage:  I've wanted to try one of these merged photos for awhile.  My friend Sonja makes a great model-and she has a fantastic sense of humor.  Not exactly a collage, but 3 images put together-I'm going with it.

On the Dotted Line:  Wow this was tough.  Aside from a signature, I was lost.
My friends wanted to "shop" in the local pottery place this weekend.  While they spent money, I saved money by shooting pics.  This is part of a wind chime....see all the circles (dots) attached to the string (line)?  I know, better for geometry or hanging by a thread....but then what would I do for this one?

Thank you for stopping by and checking my pics-as odd as the interpretations might be.  'night now....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Creative/Good to Wow-week 32

Linking with Ashley and Jill for this week's Good to Wow edit.  Also linking with Lisa over at the Creative Exchange.  Thanks to all these fab women who help make me a better photographer. 

Shoot and Edit Week 32
I am about to head off for the weekend.....with a goofy group of friends.  Laughing is not optional I'm sure.  Thought I'd snap up a quick post before I journeyed off without computer or internet, but certainly with camera.
I don't use textures much.  I think I like the vibrancy of an image, but often times I think flowers are a great spot to give a texture a go.  I decided to use one for my good to wow edit this week.
I first wanted to crop the elbows and trash can cover out of this busy tourist spot (okay-these were hanging outside an ice cream place-I'm busted) and make them look as if they were in a quiet scene outside a little cozy home on a side street.  I can dream can't I?
After running a clean edit with warmth and color balance-and of course a big ol' crop, I used Kim Klassen's serendipity texture in 3 layers...heavy on the blurred hanger, to try and draw out the foreground.  Hope I "made it work".
Have a great weekend, and I'll catch up with you on Sunday-if I'm not sore from laughing too much.

Hanging Flowers
Hanging Flowers