Thursday, February 28, 2013

59/365 Up Close and Personal

"Icing on the Cake"

During the month of February it seems like everyone except me photographed a cupcake in response to one prompt or another.  I finally succumbed to peer pressure.  Here is my icing on the cake as we bid farewell to this month of sweets and treats.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

58/365 Essential Equipment

"Reality :1, Creativity: 0

For Monday through Thursday, this is the essential equipment I need to get through the day - lesson plans, keys, name badge and a pencil.  I have accepted the fact that Wednesday's photos are not going to be my most creative; however, this is as real as it gets.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

57/365 From The Side

"Handle On Life"

What makes someone think that photographing an everyday door handle is a good idea or even an interesting idea?  When challenged to photograph something " from the side,” most people would think profile - of a person.  I never said that my mind works in the same way as most people’s.  Or, for that matter, any people’s.

I took this picture a few days ago, but intentionally for today's prompt.  It is the handle, from the side, to our back door.  It was a rainy morning.  I had let the dogs in and out through this door several times already because they would not commit to their task on the first excursion out due to the rain.  Something about the light from the house and the rain hitting the handle drew my attention.  I spent more time than I am willing to admit trying to find exactly the right angle from which to take this picture.  There may be no other ordinary doorknob alive to have received that much focused attention!

The longer I stayed with this project the more I thought about this handle and the more metaphoric my thoughts became.  From this angle I can see both the inside and the outside handles.  I myself use them many times a day to move back and forth from inside to outside.  I also use each of them to aid others (mostly dogs) to move from inside to outside and vice versa.  Inside and outside are separated only by a relatively thin door and each is accessible because of these handles.  Traversing between our internal and external selves is also accessible via the “handles” that we have on life.

We all have an internal and external, or public and private, self.  There are parts of this self for which we grab the handle and open wide the door to let these parts run free.  Then there are the parts that remain locked behind a closed door, a door whose handle is out of reach and maybe even out of sight.  There are also external forces knocking at our door, hoping that we will grab the handle and fling wide the door to invite them in.  Likewise, there are thoughts, feelings and ambitions equally trapped on the other side of the door, in the room marked ego or fear.

What does it mean to "get a handle on life?" Simply stated, I think it means to use these handles to get "things " on the right side of the door, remembering that this is a two way process.  Things on the inside may need to be let out and others on the outside may need to be let in.  Our job is to know when to use which handle. 

I had quite an existential discussion with myself regarding this image.  Or perhaps, I was simply trying to rationalize taking pictures of a door handle.

Monday, February 25, 2013

56/365 A Cup Of . . .

"Measure Of Love"

It is funny the things to which you find yourself drawn.  This tin measuring cup belonged to Weber's mom.  Though I never knew her, I hear Weber's stories, read recipes written in her hand and hold this measuring cup and somehow feel like maybe I do know her.  Both the blessing and the curse of marrying at fifty years old, plus or minus a few years, is that neither of us had to deal with mother-in-laws.  It is kind of odd, however,  never having known the woman in whose home I now live and who, most importantly,  gave birth to the person I love and with whom I share my life.  The person she was is reflected beautifully in the amazing son that she raised.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

55/365 For The Love Of Music

"This Is Why We Sing"

Music has been a huge part of my life since I started taking piano lessons at age four.  (If you are calculating, that is 47 years.)  I am very fortunate to have a job teaching music theory.  Though there were so many ways that I could have approached this prompt, I knew immediately that my photo of the day would somehow include Resounding Harmony.  Singing with RH is, to me, what music is all about.  It is about sharing the power of music with my fellow singers in the chorus and as a chorus, sharing this passion with the community.  

As the lyrics to the song in this photo say, "Music builds a bridge, it tears down a wall.  Music is a language that speaks to one and all.  This is why we sing, why we lift our voice, why we stand as one in harmony . . ."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

54/365 Framed

"I've Been Framed"

It is amazing how much you can get done on a Saturday when you get up at 6am!  We were up early because I had a 7:30 dentist appointment.  (This appointment was original at 9, but Erin needed an emergency root canal and rather than make her get up for the early time, I swapped with her.)  After we had both endured having our mouths tromped through, we went shopping for some accessories to go with her new bedroom furniture.  It took visits to a few different stores, but we accomplished the task at hand just in time for lunch.  Chicken sandwiches and burgers at Smash Burger replenished our energy reserves.  She then headed home to do homework.  I thought that maybe I would have a little nap.  Then I thought again, deciding that I really didn't want to waste a beautiful Saturday afternoon sleeping.

Weber and I tossed around ideas about what to do.  He has just gotten a new video camera.  We agreed that we would go take pictures/video somewhere. (That took a lot of arm twisting on his part :-)) My hope was that this would get me out of my creative slump.  We ended up going to Addison Circle, a niche community not too far from home.  We had no real idea what we might find to photograph; we were just out for a little adventure.

One of the first things we came upon was a place called the Polk A Dot Bakery.  This reminded me of Brooke, both the bakery and the polka dot parts,  so we had to go check it out.  Everyone knows that you can't go in and look around a place like this and buy something.  That would just be rude!

 Weber got carrot cake and I got this amazing cupcake.

Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting is my absolute favorite!  This cupcake was perfect because the frosting was neither to sweet nor too heavy.  In addition to a variety of baked goods, their menu also includes light meal options.  Finding the Polk A Dot Bakery was an added bonus for our day.  The atmosphere was great, more like a coffee house.  There are lots of tables both big and small, inside and outside.  People were reading, chatting, playing games and some were just watching the world go by.  For those of you who live in the Dallas area, this place is definitely worth a visit.

After our snack we got back on track and  took lots of pictures and video.  Because I was trying new things hoping to learn something new,  I took lots of pictures that are not worth posting, but from which I learned a fair amount.

Here are some of the ones worthy of sharing.

We came upon this little guy (or girl( who also was enjoying an afternoon snack.

Once finished, he/she wasn't interested in our company.

We found a small fountain that provided an opportunity to practice stop action.  Unfortunately, though I gained some insight into the technical aspects here, the light was terrible so the pictures themselves aren't great.  For some reason that I can't quite articulate, I really like this image taken at the edge of the fountain area.

It was while I was taking these shots that Weber turned his camera from the squirrels to me.  Turnabout is fair play.  I took a picture of him, which is the one that became today's picture of the day.  It will serve as a wonderful reminder of how we spent February 23, 2013.

Further on we found a large bed of tulips, proof that spring is indeed near.

No. this picture is not crooked.  All of the tulips were bowed toward the sun in the west.  The sea of pink was beautiful.  The trees, however,  are not quite ready for spring.

We had a lovely afternoon.  I'm feeling a little better after my week of being in a creative slump.  Hopefully today's experiences will keep me inspired through the next week and beyond.

Friday, February 22, 2013

53/365 Sweet Treat

"Truth In Advertising"

I don't know if the prompts this week aren't inspiring or if my photos are just uninspired, but I am not feeling the photographic love right now.  Maybe this is because I have been at home for two days grading papers and doing laundry.  Perhaps I need to get out into the real world over the weekend.  Whatever the problem, I apologize for the less than exciting pictures.

I may just be bitter about today's prompt being sweet treats because I am trying not to eat so many sweets right now.  Today's photo is of Popcorn Indiana's Black and White popcorn, popcorn drizzled with dark and white chocolate.  It is amazing stuff; it's crispy, sweet, crunchy and delicious just like the packaging claims.  I am addicted to it.  The only lie they tell on its package is that they say that each bag contains five servings.  I'm fairly sure it's more like two.  Now you understand why I need to stay away from sweets.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

52/365 Performance

"Good Vibrations, Please!"

As a clarinetist, I am always at the mercy of my reed for a good performance.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

51/365 Look Up

"Bubble Wrap and Chicken Wire"

I have learned that Wednesdays are not days for me to expect anything good to come of my picture taking.  I have so little time for the things I need to do forget the things I want to do.  I was hurrying across campus this afternoon and first noticed the slim tree framed by the edges of two buildings.  Then I saw the "art" - I believe it is bubble wrap encased in chicken wire.  This certainly is not what I expected to see when looking up.  I had my phone in my hand a took a few shots.  I'm not happy with any of them.  They were all taken from eye level.  I probably would have liked them better if I could have shot from the ground up.  I wasn't willing to do that at that particular moment.  So this is what I got - mostly disappointment.  I may go back this weekend and try again.

In a desperate attempt to make myself feel better, I took this shot, again with my phone, looking up at home.  Its only redeeming value is that this is how I feel on Wednesdays - fast and furiously moving in circles!


Tomorrow will be a much slower paced day.  Thank goodness!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

50/365 A Tree

"A Tree Begging To Be Noticed"

I am fortunate to be able to walk the mile and a half to and from work (school) each day.  This way I get some exercise and am able to do a little to reduce my carbon footprint.  As I am walk, I am usually thinking about my destination - what do I need to do when I get to school or what is waiting for me when I get home.  On the edge of campus, I pass this tree twice a day some days but have not given it much attention. With today's prompt, I was intentional about noticing the trees as I walked.  This is the first time that I have seen the yarn draped around this tree's branch.  Who knows how long it has been like this.  Seeing this oddity today makes me wonder what else I miss as I make my way through my busy days.

Monday, February 18, 2013

49/365 Favorite Snack

"Peanut Butter and Celery"

"Hello World!"

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you have a good week.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

48/365 Color from the Garden


Though the temperatures around here have been fairly mild during the month of February, it is still winter; nothing is blooming yet.  When I read today's prompt, "color from the garden," I knew that I was in for a challenge.  I figured the best I would be able to do was to photograph the bright red berries on the holly tree.  Ever optimistic, I decided to take a stroll around the yard.  As I suspected there wasn't anything . . .except this cheerful little dandelion.

It is funny how in a sea of brown grass and bare trees the bright face of this dandelion is so stunning.  It is not but an inch in diameter yet it jumps out from the barren ground.  It screams of life, of possibility, of hope.  As I think about the coming spring that will bring with it  the blooming flowers and trees, I realize that in a month or so this little dandelion at best will go unnoticed and at worst will be considered a nuisance, a weed.

Have you ever felt like this dandelion?  In one context or to one person you are beautiful and meaningful and in another or to another you are merely an annoyance or a distraction from what is supposedly truly important. I really thought about this today.  I know,  kind of crazy to ponder the existence of a dandelion, but I realized that it and I have so much in common.

I was fortunate to have colorful flowers to photograph - just not in the garden.  This is the bouquet of flowers that Weber gave me for Valentine's Day.  They too are quite beautiful - in a different way than the dandelion.

"Valentine's Day Bouquet"

Beauty comes in so many sizes, shapes and colors in flowers . . . and in people.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

47/365 Emotion

"Canine Bliss"

Before the year is up (or maybe the month), everyone in my family is going to start running every time they see me heading toward them with my camera.  They are all fair game as far as I am concerned.  Today was Adidas's turn.  He was so intent on chewing his bone, though, that he barely even noticed me.

He did stop to give me one of "those looks."

Friday, February 15, 2013

46/365 Pride

"Pride and Awareness"

Erin, Edgar Weber and I (and anyone else who would like to join us) have formed a team to walk for the North Texas Walk for Lupus on March 30.  Erin is ready to start soliciting sponsors.  I'm proud to have her on my team every day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

45/365 Love

"Words of Love"

I am not one of those people who saves every card and letter that I get, though sometimes I wish I was. It's not that I'm not sentimental; it's that I don't like all of the clutter.  I know, I know, I shouldn't consider cards clutter.  I guess I am lucky to be able to say that through my lifetime I have received so many cards and letters that I honestly don't know what I would do with them all had I saved them.  Don't judge me. I am not completely heartless; I have saved some.

I love the card that Weber gave me today for Valentine's Day.  Though he says these things to me every day, sometimes it is nice to see them in print.  I decided that I wanted to photograph the card using multiple exposures, something I have never done and really had no idea what I was doing.  My goal was to create an image that contained both the outside and the inside of the card.  I did manage to do that.  I also learned that I now have just enough information to be dangerous when it comes to this technique!  It's time to search for some kind of tutorial so that I can learn how to do this correctly!

Today I also wanted a picture of the two of us together.  Working with the camera's timer for self-portraits is still quite challenging to me; this one is not as sharp as I would like.  The positive here is that something from today is way better than nothing.  We had added difficulties trying to get this shot because the dogs and the cat thought they needed to be in it as well.

Happy Valentine's Day!!
May your hearts and homes be filled with love.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

44/365 Swing

"Never Too Old to Swing"

Between this being a long teaching day for me followed by singing for the Ash Wednesday service tonight and then having choir rehearsal afterward, I did not even pick up my camera today.  This is the first day of Capture Your 365 that I fell completely short.  I knew it would happen.  How fortuitous that this failing occurred on the first day of Lent - something else for which me to repent.

I posted this picture her back in early December when it was actually taken.  Since it fit today's prompt, I decided to use it as today's official Picture of the Day.  I would have taken it today if I could have.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

43/365 Celebrate

"Girls just wanna have fun - Mardi Gras 2013

"I assume this makes me the designated driver?"

Monday, February 11, 2013

42/365 Entertain

"Juggling Life"

We did no entertaining today nor did I have the time to set up a shot to give the illusion that we were entertaining anyone.  I took a little different perspective on today's prompt.  Who isn't entertained by a juggler?  I certainly am.  And this picture sums up our day pretty well . . .juggling life to the best of our ability.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

41/365 In the Garage

"The Pink Jokester"

Everybody has a pink flamingo in their garage, right?  Specifically, a pink wicker flamingo, right?  We're not weird or anything.  The weird people are the ones who let their pink flamingos hang out in their front yards, right?  At least ours is in the garage.

This pink flamingo, along with many other pink things, has become an icon of our remodeling process. She makes random appearances when a smile is necessary or when she is needed to help draw attention to something new that has been done or something old that has not been done around the house.  She has been know to hide in closets, around corners and behind doors.  Sometimes she carries a specific message and sometimes she just gives you a look, the kind of look that only a pink wicker flamingo with large black plastic eyes can give. 

Since New Years, she has been hiding out in the garage.  I suspect she did a little too much celebrating as part of ringing in the New Year.  Notice the red gas can at her feet.  No telling what she had in there!  She is a serious partying kind of girl.  When I was out visiting with her this afternoon, she was all excited about collecting Mardi Gras beads in preparation for letting the good times roll on Fat Tuesday.

The stories this girls could tell . . .

Saturday, February 9, 2013

40/365 Through the Looking Glass

"Through the Looking Glass"

One of the goals of the is year's Capture Your 365 Project is to include a self-portrait each month.  Not to be too blunt, but I hate this.  You may remember my thoughts on this last month.  Well, it wasn't any easier this month.  When you are not one who is prone to looking decent in pictures even when a skilled photographer is taking them, it is highly unlikely that the results are going to be even marginally good when you are taking the photo yourself.  All I can say on this one is that I did it.  It involved bathroom mirrors, camera self-timers, crawling under the tripod and making sure the "good towels" were hanging.  (They are the ones that didn't stick out in the background.  I'm now free from such torture until March.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

39/365 More Than One

"life is good"

As is patently obvious, I was not inspired or creative today.  For the prompt "more than one" it is the more than one "life is good" coffee mugs that we use each day to drink our more than one cup of coffee.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

38/365 Senses

"Inner Vision"

Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes 
doesn't mean he lacks vision."  - Stevie Wonder

Of all the senses, I'm not sure why I chose to photograph sight, the weakest of my own senses.  

I love food; taste would have been a fun capture.  With all of the noise makers in my world - dogs, cats, music - hearing would have been easy.  I thought about stopping at the store on my way home from school and buying flowers, particularly nice smelling flowers.  And touch, with all the yarn of differing textures that I have in my stash, would have been a breeze as well.  I chose none of these.

As I made my way home thinking about whether or not to stop for flowers, I was struck with the realization that I needed to photograph sight.  Perhaps this is because I had been reading a book about the photographer's vision during lunch earlier in the day.  Whatever the reason, I was drawn to photographing sight and I could not resist the pull.

As I think about this now, perhaps this image is the picture of acceptance.  Being legally blind is not really something that you overcome; it is something that you learn to accept, accept in a positive way.  Sure, there are lots of things that I can't do, but there are things that sighted people can't do either.  More importantly, there are lots of things that I can do.  Some of them I can even do competently. To accept any kind of disability, one has to learn that she herself must be the one to define her boundaries and limitations.  Not someone else.  Not society.  

She must have a vision for herself.

In the words of Helen Keller,

"It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

36/365 Nap

"A Long Week Ahead"

I thought today's picture would be a piece of cake.  There is always some furry four-legged critter napping around here somewhere.  Harley is usually asleep on the couch.  Adidas is usually in Weber's chair and Frankie is usually curled up in the divot that she has created for herself on the back of the chair in our bedroom.  I figured Frankie would be the easiest shot because she enjoys an afternoon nap with the sun shining in on her.

Just in case, I took the above picture at school this morning.  As I was walking through the student union, I saw this poor boy napping on one of the couches.  I'm not comfortable taking pictures of strangers and I'm not a stealth photographer, but this image was just so perfect for the prompt.  I had my iPad in my hand.  I quickly snapped the shot;  I didn't want to look like some crazed stalker or anything like that.  It is not a great picture technically, but it definitely conveys the idea of a nap.  You know it is going to be a long week when you find yourself this way at 9 am on Tuesday morning!  

The truth is that I didn't think that this would end up being THE picture of the day.

When I got home, I grabbed my camera and went hunting for my intended subjects.  Frankie was not in her typical spot.  She was on Brooke's bed - not really asleep.  She gave me this look that said, "I might be napping if you weren't in here with that **** camera."

 Adidas was having nothing of a nap.  Quite the contrary.  He was wide awake and gave me his sexy old Lab look as I headed toward him with the camera.

Harley, always wanting to be the one to please me, finally settled in for a little snooze, just long enough for me to get a picture of those scrunched closed eyes.  Harley may be sound asleep, but the ears never rest!

Naps of one of those awesome luxuries in life that I wish I experienced more often.  I definitely don't have enough of them!  Oh to be a cat or a dog . . .until they sound you out in the back yard to pee.

Monday, February 4, 2013

35/365 Beat

"Lifted Drum"

"We lift our drums confidently
or cautiously
and begin to play loudly
or softly
or with reserve
From the heart
or from the head
Knowing our place in the song
or doubting ourselves."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

34/365 A Splash of Red


I had  lot to do today to get all my ducks in a row for the upcoming school week.  I had told myself that I could not work on today's photo until all of my real work was done.  I was OK with that because I wasn't sure where I was going with the "splash of red" idea.  I didn't want one of those trite Valentine's Day candy shots like I have seen way too many of already.

As I was finishing up my grading, the above is what was in front of me.  It doesn't get much redder than that!  The funny thing here is that I almost never grade in red.  I prefer purple, but could not find my purple pen when I started this process.  I was more interested in getting it done than searching for my "real" grading pen.

After I got home from Resounding Harmony rehearsal, I played around a little with red.  This shot was just for fun.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

33/365 A Shadow


I am envious of many of the folks on the Capture Your 365 forum because they have little ones at home to provide endless photo opportunities.  So when Erin came over with her rollerblades, I decided to take advantage of the situation and grab my camera.  

Though the shadow is not the predominant feature in this picture, I love the angle that it creates with her body.  In fact, this image is all about angles.  I shot this on the diagonal in an attempt to de-emphasize the less than perfect background.  I don't know if that worked, but I do like the overall effect of this one.

Here is another shadow image.

Erin and her skates also gave the opportunity to practice taking action shots.  I was shooting for clarity. Next time I'll work on motion blur.  This girl is serious about her skating.

In between laps around the circle, we talked about how kids used to spend weekends at the local skating rink, about how much fun that was and the exercise that it provided.  Now kids sit on the couch, drink soda and eat chips and play virtual sports. No wonder today's children are plagued with health issues.

She did lighten up and smile.

There were moments when the expression on her face emanated pure joy.

Even youth tires.  She took a break and offered me the opportunity to take a spin on her skates.  As an adult, I owned a pair of rollerblades and I actually used them, but that was a long time ago.  Without giving it much thought, I kicked off my shoes and buckled those skates around my ankles.  Off I went . . .sort of.  Suddenly I realized just how long it had been since I was on skates.  Suddenly I realized that my shins hurt.  Suddenly I realized that I had to play a gig that night and if I fell and broke my arm I was going to be in a world of hurt both literally and figuratively.  If that all wasn't bad enough, I suddenly realized that my beloved child had picked up my camera and was documenting all of this.  That was enough to make me determined not to do a face plant in the middle of the circle.

All things considered, I did pretty well.  I was reminded of how much I like to skate and how weak my ankles have gotten.  I did have fun and I managed a smile as well.

Erin is trying to convince me to get a pair of rollerblades.  Doing so will either keep me young or accelerate the aging process.  Once I figure out which of those is more likely, Ill make a decision on whether or not to buy some skates.  

We both had a good afternoon of fun.  Hopefully there will be more like it.

Am I too old for this??