Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hmmmmm...Posting Once a Week? Not So Much

My challenge of posting once a week on a blog has failed. Sort of like my photo per day has failed. That doesn't mean that I give up, just that "life" gets in the way. All of the sudden there are so many things you want to get done that you never could have planned for when you made that challenge to yourself. Sometimes you meet people that whisk you away.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Week 15: Ok, I fell off the "Blog Wagon"

Somehow or other, I got too busy to blog for 5 weeks. Ridiculous and I really have no excuse because blogging is really just journaling and one should be able to make time for this no matter what. Suffice it to say that I am sorry I took so long getting back.

I am continuing to do my photograph a day for two different groups. Sometimes I miss a day, but I always catch up. I had been posting my favorites shots to my Pinterest board after uploading them to my Flickr acct. But a couple weeks ago, Flickr stopped Pinterest from being able to pin photos. There is always something messing up my process. And then...I got this email from Flickr telling me that I had reached my limit of space on my "free" acct. and asking me if I wanted to upgrade for more space. Ummmm no. I have to decide if I want to continue at Flickr or switch to Picasa. Or maybe even just post them all here. Now that might make the most sense then I am posting daily here. Does Blogger have a space limit? I will have to investigate. If not, I will just post here. Of course, I could create yet another blog on my own server. Duh!

What to do, I hate having to switch gears mid project. Ugh!

Anyway catch up with my latest photos at my Flickr acct (at least for now)

Another thing I am getting back into is drawing. I hope to post some work here soon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Week 10: It's the Light

I am working on Miller Park School's 100th Anniversary Celebration invitation. Everyone wanted a photo of the school to be used, but it is March and nothing is in bloom and all the vegetation is dead looking. I wish I had had my camera available to me last September when the roses were all in bloom and the grounds were amazing. But alas, we did not have this forethought and I did not have a camera at my disposal. I should have at least tried a shot with my camera phone, but not having enough photography smarts at that time was not going to get me there back then. Oh well.

I had taken a shot last week of a different perspective of the school for kicks. I liked it and I like the lighting.

I decided to zoom out further for yesterday's shot to get more of the old part of the building and the new at the same time. The wind was blowing and I got a nice shot.

Although this was basically the shot I wanted, it lacked...color. It was really pretty flat and I was disappointed because it just looked like a slanted snapshot. Not what I was after.

Then it dawned on's the light. The shot I had taken before was taken at the end of the day when the sun was on the other side of the school. DUH! So I anxiously waited for the end of the day again to retake the shot and I was much happier.

I am so amazed by the change of blue in the sky from dull baby blue to a brilliant cerulean. So that is how you get color into a snapshot to make it a photograph!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Week 9: Can't Stop Now

Truly I am obsessed at this point. I am constantly scouting for subjects to become photographs. This is a problem while driving. I have to remind myself not to take my eyes off the road. But when I am a passenger in the car, there is no stopping me from "seeing". Sometimes I am looking at things I have seen for the better part of 30 or more years in a different light. How amazing it is to be going down the street and suddenly see something that has been there all along and I had just never noticed before. Like this brickwork at Fort Omaha.

Or simply looking up to see migrating snow geese when I might not have before:

Sometimes I just try another perspective (Miller Park School):

And employing my husband to be my chauffeur...sheer genius!

Happy shooting!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Week 8: Working on Composition

I am working hard on Composition. I find I really love Black & White. It makes honing in on composition a lot easier. I am working on the basics: Rule of Thirds, Working with Lines, Focal Points, The Odd Rule, Framing, Patterns, Symmetry, Texture, Depth of Field, Perspective, Space, Balance and Color. But this is the easy stuff.

Sometimes composition feels like a norm for me, must be my graphics background. I have been working with images my entire professional life. No brainer that a lot of this is also basics in graphic design. Making the leap to photography is not that distant a leap. But understanding my camera and lenses is another animal entirely. This is where I have the most to learn. I want to learn the technical stuff that it become like breathing. But...My brain gets in the way. F5.4 is a bigger than aperture than F11...meaning that depth of field will be shorter??? Who the heck can remember all this stuff. Aaaaarrrggghhh!

I'm working on it.

I have found some great aids to help me remember: has become an invaluable resource:

I LOVED the tutorials on the mechanics of my camera! Who knew?!!! For those of you who hate reading the damn manual, video tutorials are the way to go. Now I am checking out the Fundamentals courses. Absolutely fabulous so far. So thanks again Susan for reminding me of this resource.

I also really like Digital Photography School. This is a really great site. I have found a lot of reference material here and also great commentary from users of the site.

Here are some of this last weeks efforts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Week 7: Learning photography can be a contact sport

I am actively trying to teach myself better photography. In order to do that, getting critical feedback is essential to find the areas that I need to work on to get better. I like compliments, I really do, but only if I really deserve it. I am not asking people to like my work unless they really do. I am probably going to be my own worst critic. Tough feedback can sting, but if it is the right kind of critique, I hope to grow from the experience.

My friend Susan reminded me of a great resource that I had forgotten about. is a wonderful place to learn via great professionals' video classes. I went ahead and subscribed at $25 a month that can be stopped at any time so that I could go through the Canon Rebel videos to learn all that my camera can do. Waaaaay better than trying to read that dang handbook. They also have some great photography fundamentals video classes. I am going to try to go through all of the photography classes they have. Of course there are some great books out there and I may start looking for some to purchase in the future.

I want to be serious about this hobby, but I also want to have a lot of fun doing it. I hope the learning part of this does not interfere with the fun part of this.

These shots make me happy:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Week 6 II - Still trying to catch up

The list:
Day 1: Windows X
Day 2: Clouds X
Day 3: Textures X
Day 4: Formless Substance - Water X
Day 5: Symmetry - Like right, like left X
Day 6: Winter X
Day 7: Morning X
Day 8: Blue X
Day 9: Black & White
Day 10: Unconventional Sunset X
Day 11: Everyday X
Day 12: Night X
Day 13: Book in a different light
Day 14: Cup of Joe X
Day 15: Repeat
Day 16: Landscape X
Day 17: Yellow
Day 18: Depth of Field X
Day 19: Landmark
Day 20: Shadow
Day 21: Trees X
Day 22: Free Choice
Day 23: Fruit or Vegetable
Day 24: Fabric
Day 25: Portrait
Day 26: Red X

I am doing at least 2 photos a day to catch up. So next up is Day 9: Black & White and whatever is on Day 27.

Today I posted Day 7: Morning I and Morning II. I decided to capture the delicate low light of the morning that was coming through the window and beginning to blanket my orchids in the dining room.

And at the end of the day I posted Day 26: Red. This is the really cool Tomatoware that my father-in-law Ned gave me from his Grandma Sweet's collection.

Now on my other group, today is 42:366. I am using my photos for both sets.

Lastly, I have to quit this post because I am listening to the news and Whitney Houston has died. I am so sad about this. She was an amazing, talented woman and it does not seem right that she is gone, so young at 48. R.I.P. Whitney.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Week 6 - PhotoBlog? Maybe

It's true! I am consumed by my latest passion, photography. I am soooooo enjoying this photo per day 'thang', so much so that I am not doing just one project, I am doing two online groups that are posting a photo per day. The first one, my friend Leanne got me interested in "365 Photo Challenge: Take a photo every day of 2012" which is a small closed group of around 50 really nice people sharing some everyday shots. It didn't seem to have a real direction other than to share a photo a day. I wasn't sure that the challenge was enough for me.

I then heard about another group through my poker buddy Jean. Her daughter is very much a younger version of me in our interests. Art, photography, cooking, writing, etc. Lisa is in a group called Project 365 Photos which is much bigger in scope and has people from all over the world participating. Neel from is the host and gives every one a photo assignment per day. I feel a bit more challenged on this one, especially because I am trying to catch up to be up-to-date.

So I am posting to both. On top of that, I am doing a personal challenge with Tony just because I love his eye and his conviction to do good photography. So we both post at Flickr in order to share.

I also tapped the shoulder of an old friend Dean who is a professional photographer to give my work a look-see and give me some honest feedback. Basically he says I have a few good moments (he really liked my Sunlit Flight) and that he can see that I am trying to see better, but I am not quite pulling things off technically. He reminded me of basics..."The Rule of Thirds" and not breaking rules. I think I am going to heed his advice and spend the year getting better at basics before I feel arrogant enough to break rules... just because.

So for the present and near future, this blog will probably resemble a PhotoBlog. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Week 5 Hope is a four-letter word

Writing about things that I cannot write about this week. One situation that has touched my life is dire and something that I need to pay close attention to. Something I need to truly care about. But because it involves the lives of other family members, I cannot discuss it here, in this forum.

I wish I had the gift of magic this week, to be able to wave a magic wand and take away the pain that others in my extended family are feeling. I find myself wanting to swoop in like Superwoman to right everything that is wrong. I want to throw my arms around them all to comfort them and make the pain go away. Why does life for some have to be so painful.

Unfortunately, I am not a caped crusader, and real life is not so easily solved. No two-hour story with a fairy-tale ending. Life is hard, damned hard at times. Sometimes life comes at you full on and knocks you down. You must try with everything you have, to gut it out and pick yourself back up again, and move forward.

Being on the sideline, is difficult when you care so very much. But I need to do the little help. Things like writing, supporting, listening, loving and not judging. These are the things you do when you love unconditionally.

But things have been put into place to give us hope.

We all must have hope.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Week 4 Is This Really January in Omaha?

I don't know if I should pinch myself...I might wake up. This is January for goodness sake. I am accustomed to walking out everyday to 20° as a high temp and -20° as a low. I am accustomed to a foot of snow on the ground and more often like five foot of snow that has accumulated from December to January. We normally have days of waiting for snow plows to dig out our neighborhood streets. The sound of snowblowers buzzing has been missing.

Don't think I am complaining...not a bit. I am thrilled with 40° to 50° and even 60° in the afternoon IN JANUARY! We may drop to 20° at night, but I am not complaining. In fact I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have even had to scrape my windows. Did I mention this is in OMAHA, in JANUARY!?

Yesterday I wore a light jacket to work. When I went home for lunch, I left it there. No need for a jacket. Nearly every visitor to our office was remarking on how absolutely beautiful the day was.

On my way home, I was drawn to the park by the tall trees catching the late sun. I drove down to the pond and saw that the water was indeed iced over, but in this moment, it was so warm and beautiful...I had to capture the scene to remember a beautiful January day in Omaha.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Week 3.2 The Make-up Post

Week 3 of the 52 in 2012 Blog Challenge and I need to post a makeup to catch up for missing Week 2.

I have been working on my 366 Photography Challenge this whole week. It is a struggle to find things to shoot indoors at night after I get home. The sun goes down so quickly and the objects in my house become targets to consider for macro-photography.

A photo of a kerosene lamp was scary when I over-filled the lamp and the flame almost became too hot. I had to quickly blow out the lamp and remove some of the kerosene. I eventually got the shot after I made the situation a little safer.

Tonight Cooper rushed out the door in the waning light and had to use my flash. I will be so glad to get more daylight and take more outdoor photos.

Cooper loves to hunt the feral cats in our neighborhood. He never catches them but he gave one a run for his money today.

I wish it was a tiny bit warmer. 13° makes my fingers hurt shooting (with my camera) outside right now. My target this weekend will be to shoot the feral cats and get a better look at the feline "city wildlife" that live in and around this area. I have to admit that they are probably the reason that we have not seen a mouse or bunny rabbits in the area for the last 2 years.

I also shot some food porn this week which always makes me happy. It combines my photography and cooking hobbies and that is always a good thing. I wish I could link the photo to the tantalizing smells in my kitchen when I am cooking. This is Roasted Broccoli with Buttered Garlic Breadcrumbs. Follow the link for the recipe. Yes, veggies can be so so good.

I am looking forward to finding new subjects for my lens. I need to carry my camera with me all the time. I see so many things to shoot when it is not with me.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Week 3: Challenging Myself

Challenge I - 366 Photos in 2012

No question that I love to write. But I have other hobbies and one of my favorites is photography. My friend L in Savannah was doing a Photography Challenge for this year with her friends. I liked the idea so much, I stole it...or rather copied it (after all she is still doing her challenge.) The challenge is a photo per day (at least, can be more) for each day of the year 2012. It is Leap Year, so I am going to take at least 366 photos and post them to my Flickr acct.

I like this challenge a lot because although I have always enjoyed photography, I have never felt that I have excelled at it. I want the opportunity to make myself learn more about it. I want to force myself to see differently. To speak with pictures. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well from someone who loves the written word...that in itself is a challenge. What will I say with my photos? What will I discover?

I am always inspired by how young people see the world...without the filters of adulthood. Hanging out with my grandkids and children at the school that I work at, remind me of this and forces me to look again. I am grateful for their vision. I will try to remember their wonder as I pick up my camera with more thought and from many perspectives.

Challenge II - 52 Blog Pages in 2012

Oh and I also think that I have been neglecting my writing hobby as well. So maybe I better get back into the groove. I gave myself a photo per day...I can give myself a blog page a week challenge... my 52 in 2012 Blog Challenge. This is Week 3 and I did write a blog page on Jan 3rd. I am only missing Week 2, so maybe I write another page this week to make up for it.

Nextly...I feel that I have to challenge someone.

Some of my "Friend" blogs that have pretty good fan bases, have their followers because they write more than I do. Oh yea...and they also write well. Their pages are actually interesting.

Do they have more to say? Do they have more interesting lives that provide more blog fodder? Perhaps. I guess I need to be more reflective and creative. I think life at age 56 is still an adventure and I am still discovering myself. This can clearly be a path to fulfilling my Word for 2012 (Relevant - go back and read Week 1).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Week 1: January Thinking

Everyone starts off a new year with a clean slate. It is our way to reboot ourselves, give ourselves hope, take stock in ourselves and generally say goodbye to anything bad that has happened to us. I think this is a really good thing. Resolutions? No way... a resolution implies there is something wrong with us to begin with and then sets us up for failure.

My good friend T suggests instead of committing to a new resolution, find your new word for the year, her word being "alive". Each day she is going to commit to celebrating her aliveness.

I like this idea too. But what word can I truly commit to????

I love words, they bring deep meaning to our lives.

I had to laugh at my granddaughter J (14 yrs old) the other day as she wrote in her Facebook Page "With are words where seeling are destineys." Her friend promptly responded "What?" I giggled out loud and broke the grandma rule of not writing on my grandkids FB wall with "Translation: With our words, we're seeing our destinies." After all, she was having a deep and meaningful thought and I thought she should be understood. She liked me, she really really liked me (ha) or liked my interjection at least. Later she wrote on her wall, "My grandma is the BOMB!!" Which made me cry with happiness.

What word can bring meaning to the year 2012 as a whole for me, I am pondering. Happiness? Life? Relevance? that is a word. Be "RELEVANT"...Make a difference...Matter. This is a word I can admire.

relevant (ˈrɛlɪvənt)— adj
1. having direct bearing on the matter in hand; pertinent
2. linguistics another word for distinctive

Most of the time, I try to blend into the background. Being relevant may push me into my uncomfort zone. But the fact is, I do want to have a direct bearing on my life and those I love and care about in my life...I even want to make a difference in the lives that of those in my world that I can help in what ever way that I can.

So I think that is the word I will adopt for the year 2012, relevant. I think that I shall be relevant this year.