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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's a Wrap

Linking with Kat over at The Kat Eye Studio for the next journeying lesson.




On Sunday it snowed again so I was primarily house bound.  Perfect time for the "seeing by drawing" lesson where one shall look, take a few, draw, take a few more, and write.  Got it.


OK, in the first step it said find a simple object to draw.  BUT I read find a simple object to draw.

So, I picked what was already lying around-



Blue Scarf
Blue Scarf

I should have gone with the coffee mug that was also lying around, but the scarf is pretty.  I listened to Sarah over at the Paisley Rain Boots and decided to put the scarf in north facing light and give it a go. (Thanks for that north light mention-I never had thought of that before.)


Sketch Pad
Sketch Pad


I am admittedly not someone who draws. (and no I'm not pre-apologizing a la lesson 5) I was, however looking forward to this no stress exercise and surprised when after 4 or 5 minutes I started getting really frustrated, not about quality, but about time.

My digital imaging instructor was a fabulous artist.  Something he would say "as with any art form, the more time you put in, the better your result will be".  I find with drawing, my patience runs out very quickly.  It is not relaxing or fun for me to try to figure out how lines, curves and shadows go.  I don't seem to have a handle on getting a 3 dimensional result.  I blame this on almost zero art instruction in my elementary school days.

All I wanted to do was go back and take more photos....but I kept going, looking at all those little fringey things and wondering if I was EVER going to finish drawing them.  (note to self:  think mug next time).


Finally (yahoo) I got to stop and get the camera again.



Strands
Strands

Here are the little devils.


Twists
Twists

I did notice while swearing drawing the way the little devils were attached to the body of the scarf in little triangular strands that were then braided to create the fringe.  I don't knit or I might have known that already.


Folds
Folds

I also went back to this area that I struggled with in the drawing exercise.  I wasn't able to create the shadows or the way the material folded and layered atop itself but I sensed it might be a good area to target.


Cejon BW
Cejon BW

When I took pics before starting to draw my eye was catching the label.  I immediately wanted to use it as a focal point or as a blurry but recognizable element in contrast to a shallow DOF.  When I went back to shoot again, I studiously avoided it,-even though this was one that snuck in-but I still think that it does help the context of the image.


I can totally see the benefit of this exercise.  Perhaps it is not the right one for me.  I had learned from Kat before to slow down, consider an object from various angles, perspectives, and sides.  I think if I take that reminder away from this exercise it is of great benefit.

Something else I learned:  This scarf is not only blue, it has pretty patterns of pale yellows and purples.  It will go with all my blues jeans! : )

Thank you for stopping by and reading about my scarf experience.  Thanks to Kat for another thought provoking exercise.  That Kat; she's always thinking!  So glad of that.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sight of Silence, P52

Linking with Gina and Tamar for this week's Project 52. 






A week without a hard drive is like a week without sunshine.   : (


BUT I'm getting my computer back later today and I can't wait to upload nearly a week's worth of photos and see what I did last week.  It will be like opening a gift.

I'll share a couple from a bit more than a week ago that remind me of things I did this past week.  That will have to suffice for now.

Thanks to Gina and Tamar for being great hosetesses with the mostestesses.



Sunday Drive
Sunday Drive


Spokes 167/365
Spokes 167/365


Sight BW
Sight BW


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Scavenger Pot Luck

Linking with Ashley for this week's Scavenger Hunt Sunday




Selfie BW
Selfie BW


 "Hi my name is Susan and I am a computeroholic."  I hear the first step is admitting you have a problem. 

Since last Tuesday I've had a broken down hard drive. This has been eye opening to me. "The guy" has my computer this weekend and I'm hoping to get a cheerful call first thing tomorrow morning with good news.

I've jumped on OPC (other people's computers) here and there and accessed my email with my iPhone, but it's been a challenge.  The most difficult things: no access to my archives, ability to upload photos to really see them, or to connect with Flickr friends.  And the worst is the creative outlet that Photoshop is for me.  My being is super overdue for some creative release.

I totally am a computeroholic.



So that admitted, this week is a bit of a hodge-podge.  I have a couple that I can squeeze into the list, but I'm going to have to dip into some of my old Flickr pics to fill the topics.  Whatever it takes.  I can NOT miss the Scavenger.



Asparagus
Asparagus

Time to Eat:  I should have taken a pic of something you can put ketchup on.


Cast Offs
Cast Offs

Getting Ready:  These are warming to get ready for the next round of snow (which is happening today).


Gooses Wild
Gooses Wild

Playtime:  This was my grandmother's.  My most fave to play with her.  A counting game where you move your chips around according to the dice you throw.  But, if you land on a goose, you get to advance by the same number again.  AND if you hit it just right your chip will go from goose to goose all the way to the middle.  Before she passed I asked if I could have it.  I'm looking forward to playing with my niece and nephew when they're a bit older.
Grandmothers are just the best.


Making Lemonade
Making Lemonade

Sweet Dreams:  This is a dreamy picture, isn't it?  Chilly but dreamy.  Amazing how your garage door can help you out.



Afternoon Wash
Afternoon Wash

Scrub a Dub:  Action shot of the little miss getting it done.


You know what?  These are all pretty current shots.  The oldest is that last one and it's from early January.  Good job me.

Appreciating your visit and acceptance of my comptueroholicism.  Wishing you a happy day. If you'd like to come by my place and shovel, you're more than welcome too.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Don't Break Thru the Ice

Linking with hostess Kat for the 3rd installment of the Journey of Fascination. Thank you for making me think inside, outside, a top, and around back of the box.  Brain push ups.







***My hard drive crashed this week....trying to keep up, but my computer use is sporadic.  Will try to visit and connect with my classmates as I'm able***




More of the Same 88/365
More of the Same 88/365


More of the same.  Yawn.  Nice.  But more of the same. 

It is not uncommon for me to speak to myself.  I live alone-you know, it's something you do.  Sometimes I whisper to myself and then wonder what the hell that is about.  I could blame it on the cat sleeping.  I'm starting to catch myself talking to myself out loud in public.  Yikes.  All I have to do is get a couple more cats and keep talking to myself and I will become part of the "crazy cat lady" club.

I'm off topic, already.  Geez.  I do have a point.  Something I found myself saying out loud when I'm out and about shooting pics, "I'm bored".  I take my camera off my face knowing I'm trying to force a shot of something, anything, or perhaps the same ol' thing.  I'm bored.

Bored does not equal breakthrough.  They both start with B, I'll give you that, but one is likely the complete opposite of the other, and sadly I'm on the wrong B.

I'm So Done BW
I'm So Done  BW

Here's what happens when you're on a breakthrough going the wrong direction.  But even though that day I was "done", the next day I picked up my camera and kept going.  That is a different kind of breakthrough I suppose.  The next day I shot that lovely image at the top of the page.


Snow Fence BW 161/365
Snow Fence BW 161/365

I've played with that snow fence numerous times, like 2 weeks ago.  I was not bored when I made this shot.  I wasn't jazzed, but I did find a different way to make the same subject sing.


I don't feel as though there have been breakthroughs for me lately.  I looked thru my flickr roll last night and didn't notice shifts big or small.  For me renewed energy, an uptick of interest, a fresh breeze of enthusiasm in any area-not just exclusive to photography-comes from learning new things.  I can self teach to a point and then I need input from someone of higher caliber, preferably in a live classroom setting, to push me up a notch. I love to learn.



Curve BW
Curve BW


I am proud to say that I am a self-taught photographer.  I think that's huge.  I don't pat myself on the back enough for that.  I took one basic photography class-learned very quickly the mechanics of the camera, picked up a couple of tidbits that stuck in my head, and waited patiently for 9/10ths the remaining students to catch on.  While this is worthy, being self-taught, I know I would benefit greatly with some expert, hands on instruction by a master teacher.  Sadly, I have not enough money to do that....maybe later.  If I won the lottery, I would go to photography school.  (Note to self:  you actually have to play the lottery to have a shot at it.)



If there's been any recent shift (breakthrough) in my work, it may be using black and white photography more.  I suppose that shows growth.  I don't feel it is at all a strength (yet), but I'm using it more frequently.  I used to not think of it at all, and now it's becoming more of a staple; more appealing.


Light Right, Lean Left BW 147/365
Light Right, Lean Left BW 147/365


I also think the challenge of doing a 365-and this is my 2nd one-offers itty bitty breakthroughs to happen, so small they go unseen...until you compare where you started and where you end up.  Pratice, practice, practice.  No one ever got worse by practicing.


I enjoyed thinking about this topic.  I will have to look again.  Maybe I'm missing something.  Maybe one frame of mind over another might catch something that was missed.  Looking forward to reading how others viewed their breakthroughs.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Third Thursday

Checking in; remembering to check in, with Brenda for this month's Third Thursday.  Thank you my friend. 





I'm pretty sure the idea of Third Thursday is to choose a skill, creative avenue, or interest you'd like to enhance or explore and focus on that for the month and then check in.  Being somewhat of a maverick, I didn't do that, but I'm checking in anyway.  Brenda likes me, she'll let it slide.  She's a self proclaimed rule follower and I'm a self proclaimed not rule follower.  We are those opposites attracting one another.  If my post falls out of the linky, you'll know I pushed too far beyond the attraction.  ; )



What I've done to remain in the ballpark of the rules is go thru my images to see what I've been up to, even if I'm not aware of it.  Maybe I've been on a creative avenue and I don't even know it.  Boo-yah.


I'm Trying
I'm Trying


I've never been able to jump with both feet into the whole texture "thing".  It never really felt like me.  I respect the work that goes into it, and the dainty rural scenes or flower essences or treatments of antiques ....but when I try them on for size, they rarely feel like me.

I have a nice assortment of textures thanks to Kim Klassen.  She is sort of "Queen of Textures", and I thank her for those she provides....but I wander thru them wondering what I should pick.  If I'm being honest (and I am) a lot of times I use textures just to cover up what I think is a sub par image.  Waa, waa, waa....the cat has slipped out of the texture bag.

BUT, I've been using them more lately and they have felt like they fit a bit better.

I've found some textures on Flickr.  They are a little edgier, a bit less flowery and my interest has notched up a few steps.  The image above has a texture by Joe's Sistah.  I like it.


Kick Ass
Kick Ass

Here's another one.  I like it, I don't love it, but....it was fun to put together, and yes I was trying to rescue a sub par image.  I do think it helped.


Something else I've been doing without being intentional is using a duotone finish on images.  Again, I think this comes out of messing with images I'm not satisfied with, or maybe it's trying to catch a mood, but at this juncture, they appeal to me.  Maybe it's just a phase and I'll grow out of it.


Hard Days
Hard Days


The other day it snowed ALL day.  I decided being in was better than out and thought I'd play with some moody selfies.  This is a little on the yucky side of moody...I pushed it I guess.  But like the other two images, the colorization is placed against a BW process.  No texture on this one.  Just a touch of cat hair here and there.


So see, I even surprised myself about how creative I've intentionally been this past month.


Thanks for stopping by for my ramble.  My hard drive has DIED!  It is a wake up call to my addiction to all things internet.  I'm borrowing a computer for today, but will likely be without one until early next week.  If I don't visit, that's likely the reason.  A little iPhone can only fill in here and there.  I feel relieved that I have an external HD that has been backing up my files.  I can't imagine the instant crash into complete depression if I hadn't bought one.  If you haven't.....take my friendly advice.  It's like buying a $150 insurance policy.  Think it thru.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Random P 52

Linking with Gina and Tamar for this week's Project 52.   If you've not tried linking up for fear's sake, this would be a great place to start.  Free range on topics and really nice participants willing to share the love.



I think my life is just work, work, work broken up with unexpected random moments.  Like Tamar says Randomosity.


 

Unbalanced 166/365
Unbalanced 166/365


I remember the first time I took a photo of a door knob.  The sun was hitting it just right so, I snapped....the camera.  Later I showed the shot to my mother and she couldn't wrap her head around why I chose that subject.  I think she's learned to just go with the Susan flow now.

I don't seek out door knobs, but I have 4 or 5 in my archives.  Here's one I found this week.  I don't know that this shot has anything to do with the doorknob, in fact, I'm not sure what it's about at all.  I'll have to ponder that later.


Upholstery Shop
Upholstery Shop

I don't know why I took this image either.  Chair in a window?  Yah.


Cash Credit and iphone
Cash, Credit and iPhone

Necessities.  I know why I took this one.  Because I looked down and the light was bouncing off the corner of that twenty I just snagged from the ATM and the lone dollar which was all that was left at the end of the week.


All these shots are punctuated by the sun.  That's the tie that binds them.  That and I took them during the last week between work, work, work.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine Flavored Scavenger


Linking with Ashley for my Sunday routine.  Gym, grocery, breakfast, coffee in my favorite mug, and then Scavenger Hunt Sunday.


You're going to have to stretch and stretch with me this week.  I've stepped way outside the SHS box.  I stand by my actions though.  I am not ashamed.



Breakfast Treat
Breakfast Treat

Candy:  I know.  Those are berries not candies.  I've been watching my food/diet since around Halloween time.  There has been no candy.  Not even once. Not even a teeny-tiny taste.  My nutritionist is awesome and there's plenty of great things to eat, but the very first week he said "no junk".  So, no junk.  Is ice cream junk?  It's the thing I miss the most.


Red Truck
Red Truck

Pink or Red:  How romantic.  An old red truck.


Hearts on Sale
Hearts on Sale

Love:  Who doesn't love a sale?



Adoration BW
Adoration BW

Kisses:  With that whole "no junk" thing, there shall be no Hershey's kisses images.  This isn't a kiss, but it's the closest thing to one I have.  Our affection runs both directions...except when one of us wakes the other up-and that seems to occur at opposite points in the daily/nightly 24 hour cycle.  It's amazing how persistent this little girl is at 2:45 a.m.
BTW...cat kisses are yucky.  I'm glad she doesn't hand them out much.


Jen BW
Jen BW

Smile:  This is my friend Jen.  She teaches spinning at the local gym.  I don't know why I like her so much as she "kicks my ass" every time.  Maybe it's that smile and her good nature that saves her from "the list".
I normally don't do portrait type shots, but she wanted one for her husband to give as a Valentine present.  How could I say no?  She was happy and I was happy to have had some practice.  Lots to learn, but....you have to start somewhere.



And that concludes another stretchy week out on the SHS trail.   Hope you have a great day.  I've got more snow so Tula and I will be out shoveling.  Only one of us will be happy about that.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Opposites Attract













I like contrasts...well, maybe everybody does.  Remember that whole kindergarten, first grade thing?  Up-down, fast-slow, high-low, whisper-yell, first-last.....or is this the former teacher in me gone awry?

I think anyone with even a touch of artist or awareness sees the dark light contrast-perhaps without even realizing it.



Farm porch
Farm Porch

Here's an image I took maybe a month +/- into my photography start.  It's a SOOC from my pre Photoshop days.  Got the light, shadow, lines and contrast....from intuition that said "click the shutter".  I'm certain now 3 years later, my intution would say the same, I'd just be more aware of it.


But in this lesson, the idea was to extend beyond the more obvious contrasts.  I think.  If I read it right.  And if not, that's what I did.



Forgotten Peaches

Forgotten Peaches

I took a basic photography class 3 years ago.  I recall a student asking about not knowing what to take photos of.  The instructor was very gracious and supportive with beginners.  She said "when I'm stuck for inspiration, I shoot anything that makes me turn my head".  I tucked that insight away and it's been useful on many occasions.


Here's an example of a head swiveler.  Peaches.  Hmmmm.  What are they doing on a snow covered picnic table next to an empty parking lot?  The subject was a strong contrast to setting....well, I had to take it.  There was also something about the lone pick up truck in an empty park lot, so it was added to the mix too.   I was not even thinking about shooting a photo; I was headed to my car, cold and finished with the day's efforts.
People will remark "you take pictures of things I'd never think to take"....it's all that instructors fault.  Bless her.


Bethlehem Steel {59/365}
Bethlehem Steel


Here's another one.  Leaf, RR tracks.  I feel like I'm playing that matching game.  I can almost hear someone like Alex Trebec say "oooh, no.  I'm sorry.  Not a match."  Even the bumpy little rocks vs the long smooth tracks provide that contrast.  A lone leaf is often a great assistant.  I never add them, I just use them when I find them.


Off to the assignment's photowalk.  Honestly I was moping around not feeling very inspired at all.  Trying to force a moment without much success.


Still Standing 165/365
Still Standing 165/365

Here's the day's best.  Yes, the dark-light thing, but also the flower-fence thing, the diagonal against straight thing and the winter-flower (albeit done), but a contrast of season there too.  I believe I've remarked before about the Queen Anne's Lace.  They are one hearty yet delicate looking flower.  This shot was after the pummeling we took in the 30" nor'easter snow storm.  You go girls!!

This was the moment I felt most inspired that day.  Inspiration on a beat up side road that led to an industrial (safety said don't go in there) area.  A rusty neglected fence surrounding a cemetery, and a muddy yucky patch to walk thru to get the shot.  Funny where inspiration chooses to take you....and sometimes I wonder why I chose to follow it.  Mud.  Yuck.


Lady Dee
Lady Dee

Another shot.  I was taking the boats docked-again blah, blah in the emotion department, until the movement of the boat coming to the wharf gave me the lift.  The stillness of the scene broken by movement.  You should have seen the captain slide her into that one remaining spot effortlessly.  I was impressed.


Girlish Figure
Girlish Figure

Lastly, since my photowalk was dull on inspiration, I kept contrast in the back of my mind.  While showing an empty house-no furniture at all-(and 40 stinking degrees inside-brrr to spend an hour) the light at this window drew me in (for a little head swivel while my client was considering the room for her son).  But it was the gentle curvy line against the straight window framing that made the appeal.  I'm pleased with the result, and I am so not a ruffle girl.  Now if only this woman would buy the house it would be kismet.


Thank you Kat for the great topic to ponder.  Looking forward to what's up next and to seeing how my fellow journeyers fared with their contrasts.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fascinating Rhythm

I find myself unexpectedly on the Journey of Fascination.  Super uplifting.  A gift from a friend, who remains nameless.  Many thanks friend.  You have no idea-or a complete idea-how much another of Kat's journeys I needed.

I thought I might know who that friend was, but when I started thinking about it, I've met so many kind friends out there in blogger land-providing an additional journey for me could be a gift from a large variety of sources.  It matters not, I'm delighted and very appreciative.




I don't know if there's a special button, but this one will take you to "the place".  I've recommended any of Kat's classes in the past.  If you want to check them out and see how to start the journey yourself....click the big pink square.




"Owning It".  Yah, that's about as much fun as "letting go" and those "just feelings" which when they run around in your head at 4:30 a.m. feel entirely UNjust.  This lesson is about mistakes and those 3 things, in no particular order.  They can be scrambled to your personal delight.

When engaging with music, my greatest love and joy, became frustrating and unavailable to me in a satisfying way, I picked up my point and shoot one day and started clicking (and haven't stopped).  My thought was "if it sucks, I'll just delete it".  You may fill in a more mannered way of saying that if you'd like.  I can be a little raw, but I do have other endearing qualities.

This was a no pressure way to just have a go as my UK friends might say. (Yes, I'm doing my bit).  Of course as time marches on that freedom binds a little, but I do still try to shoot with that in mind.  I'm delighted that the delete button and recycle bin (that's a funny name for a trash can) on my computer are used less for that task than used to be.

But there are still those moments.

Grrrrrr.

But, oh well.

An old woman I once knew, of limited mental ability, like 2nd grade perhaps, used to say "you can't go back".  It was a catch phrase of hers.  Amazingly brilliant.

However, those moments can torment you at 4:30 a.m. when they are truly one of kind.  But then again, isn't every moment?  I wonder too much.



Just Sun and Clouds
Just Sun and Clouds

Here's a photo of an airplane I took yesterday.

I didn't throw this immediately to be recycled.  Something made me stop and wonder if the journey between earth and heaven may look something like this where of course an airplane would kind of ruin things.  I also thought winter time sure is messy on my windshield.


Jovial
Jovial


My biggest "one moment in time" was this past summer when I traveled to Cuba.  It's the only photo job I've ever done-and it was a big one. I was to document the cultural/musical exchange trip of a chorus with 110 members.  They won't be going back to Cuba.  Ever.

Honestly, I feel I did a great job.  I took waaaayyyyyy too many photos and processed waaaaayyyyy too many photos, but 9 days of 12 hour days-you know, that's a bit over the top.

I'm sure I made plenty of goofs, but my most disappointing was a morning was one of the richest opportunities.  Funny there were no old cars, unique colorful architecture, or poverty stricken alleys involved.  It was a visit to a senior center where the chorus squeezed into a room with strong sunlight streaming in one end, and bright windows along one side.  Hmmmm.

I went with an ISO of 100.  Whoops.  With 110 women, plus 30-40 seniors the room was full of people moving around and I messed up with many blurry shots.  I did discover my mistake 3/4 the way through, but had to delete 100's of great moments.

Embrace
Embrace

This would have been a lovely moment to preserve.  I have no idea who that chorus member is interacting with the elderly woman.
You can see the intense light behind where some of the women are standing and where they sang.  That was what I based my decision on.  I didn't consider the movement and the rest of the room.  I got too excited with the juicy moments happening.


Whoops
Whoops

Here's another genuine moment that can almost sneak by.  Although Megan's beauty shines thru, the double vision eyes (pardon the pun) just undo it too far.


When I got back to the hotel and downloaded the images I was really crushed.

But like a quarterback who throws an interception, I knew I had to keep my head in the game.  I was able to shake it off.  I realized that I did have a variety of good shots, enough for the flavor of the day to be remembered, and that's all that mattered.  I know that some of the blurring, gives a sense of the energy and vibrancy of the day.


Conga Line
Conga Line

Thank goodness Noel is pretty much in focus, it saved the moment.
You should have seen those seniors jump into this crazy fun.


I also knew that there was an entire afternoon and evening's events ahead and 5 more days to go.  Buck up captain.

What did I learn?...keep checking that histogram.  Now I often shoot with that displayed rather than seeing a full picture.  Check it often, consider variances throughout the space or scene.  Check where the shutter speed is too and the aperture.  Any of those could have helped.

But look at this still moment I got....

Flowers
Flowers

You can 't tell me the women didn't make a difference-life long memories for those seniors and for themselves.  This man touched that flower one of the women had given him during nearly the entire performance. 
It's my favorite shot of the day.  It reminds me in an instant of the entire scene.


Thanks for reading; I know I'm long winded here, but if you're going to go on a fascinating journey, you might as well jump in with two feet.


Or as these seniors might say.....

Evrybody Dance Now
Everybody Dance Now!