Friday, February 28, 2014

59/365 Keep Going

"A Hug"

No matter the challenges, heartache, disappointments, frustration in life, most of the time a hug will do wonders to keep you going.  As I came to the end of a busy day, a busy week, and a busy month, this was a much needed and a much appreciated hug!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

58/365-2 seize the Moment

'A Moment of Silence"

This evening I was able to seize a few much needed moments of stillness and silence.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

57/365-2 Admire

"Eye of the Beholder"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

56/365-2 Bittersweet

"The Way of the Heart"

I struggled with what to photography today.  The primary prompt was "bittersweet" with the secondary words of mixed, chocolate, and nostalgic.  With a little imagination, this image reflects mixed (feelings) and nostalgic.  

If you are interested in the story being retold in this photo, it can be found here in a previous post.

Monday, February 24, 2014

55/365-2 Predictable



One of my goals this year is to make sure that I get at least one photo of each of the girls every month.  This is easy with Erin because she is a willing model.  Brooke, on the other hand, is quite the opposite.  When it comes to photographing her, I just have to go for it knowing that it has the potential to be an unpleasant experience for all involved.

There are several things about my goal of a photo a month of her and this image in particular that are quite predictable.
  • It will be in the last few days of the month when I get her photograph.
  • She will always have this "whatever" expression.
  • She will never look directly at me .
  • She will never smile.
  • In the evening she is almost always sitting in front of her computer at the kitchen island.
  • There is usually some book(s) and a bowl of something, or some previous something, nearby.
  • She is always wearing black and white so the pictures of her are likely to always be black and white.
  • I am going to accomplish my goal whether she likes it or not.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

54/365-2 Crowded Around

"Dare To Be Different!"

Today was a busy day with not much time to think about what to photograph.  Considering that, I do like the way this came out, but I have to say that I think that it has more to do with luck than skill.

I particularly like this quote.  It is one that has taken me a lifetime to embrace; I am almost there.  

On a different note regarding "being different,"  I wish that my schedule was different so that I had more time to write blog posts.  I love posting pictures every day and it does keep me thinking and posting regularly; however, I miss writing "real" posts, posts that actually have some substance, that have a beginning, middle and end, that made me think and hopefully will do the same for you..  Maybe someday... 

For now I'll have to be content with my life documented in pictures rather than words.  I hope that there is some truth to the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words."

Saturday, February 22, 2014

53/365-2 Oh Boy

"My Girl,  Her Boy,  Their Baby Boy"

I have more "baby" pictures that I took today, but the Internet is being difficult right now and I am having a hard time keeping the connection long enough to upload photos.  Check back tomorrow for more pictures of Leo.

Friday, February 21, 2014

52/365-2 Notice


Since I don't teach any classes on Fridays I am able to spend the day at school with Weber and the little girl that I mentor.  Today I taught her how to play jacks, or at least I tried.  I am fairly sure that I had more fun with the game than she did, but we both did enjoy our weekly chat .

I noticed that I like playing jacks now as much as I did when I was a child and also that jacks are just kind of cool to look at.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

51/365-2 Escape

"Take Me Away"

I have zero energy to escape anywhere tonight other than to bed with a book.  I may be able to make it through a page or two before falling asleep.  I wish today was Friday!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

50/365-2 Two

"Two Socks"

I hand knit most of our non-athletic socks.  The problem is that I often get bored after the first sock and the second one does not get knit in a timely manner.  Many people have received one sock and the promise of a second one "soon" as gifts.  Weber got sock number two of his 2012 birthday socks for Christmas in 2013.  Better late than never, right?  

I have vowed to do better this year.

So far, so good.  I started and finished this year's first pair in two weeks.  He got two socks, a whole pair, on Valentine's day!  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

49/365-2 In the Front Yard

"For Makenna"

Erin's longtime friend, Makenna, yesterday lost her courageous four year battle with cancer  at age 22. They were in school together from age 4 through the eighth grade.  Because they went to a very small private school, they were in the same class through all those years as well as teammates on the volleyball and basketball team.  They went to different high schools and then then college but have kept up with one another via social media.  

Makenna will be missed by many.  My prayers are ascending for her family and friends.

Monday, February 17, 2014

48/365-2 Where I Stand



I love the fact that I can walk to and from school, especially when the temperatures are perfect like they were today.  It has been a fews weeks since I have walked because it has been so cold, windy and wet.  This time last week we were bracing for a potential ice storm; fortunately, it did not materialize in our area.

Today's prompt, "Where I Stand" is one that repeats each month, one that is intended to paint a picture of literally where we stand throughout the year.  As I was walking home this afternoon and thinking about what I wanted to photograph, I realized that I spend a lot of time on my trip home standing and waiting for traffic lights to change.  At one of these stops I noticed my reflection in the button that triggers the walk light.  Kind of cool.  

I tried to take this shot with my phone, but the sun was so bright that I could not see the screen.  When I got home and looked at the images, they were terrible!  I went back to the nearest corner with my DSLR and tried again.

In many ways there is nothing spectacular about this photo, yet it does represent a very real part of my nearly everyday.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

47/365-2 A Visit


I'm a little short of inspiration today.  We had a visit from sunshine and warm temperatures - highs in  the 70's after days earlier in the week with highs in the 20's.  The weather is so crazy these days.  Anyway, these two decided to take advantage of a beautiful afternoon outside.

An observation:  It is a weird feeling to realize that you and your husband look like the Lego mini figures and your Bitstrip avatars.  When we start to look like our passport pictures it will be time to take drastic measures!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

46/365-2 Geared Up

 "Erin and Leo"

Today was a busy day around our house, but it was the good kind of busy!  Erin wanted us to watch our "grand puppy"  so that she and Edgar could go run some errands.    The agreement was that we would do that as long as they were back before our out of town guests arrived.   The kids and the puppy arrived just as I was finishing the last little bit of sweeping.  Perfect timing!

Leo is such a cute little guy, and well behaved too!

I'm pretty sure he knows that he is adorable!

I like the fact that you can see me and my camera reflected in his eye in these photos.  He was a little wiggly when it came to being photographed, but we managed a few decent shots.

Leo's mom and dad were respectful of our time table today and arrived back at our house fifteen minutes of so before our guests arrived.  Erin took a few shots of me and Leo.

We had a lovely visit and shared in a surprise birthday celebration this evening.  It was a darn good day all the way around!

Friday, February 14, 2014

45/365-2 Amore

"Real Love"

Over the years I've written some rather cynical posts on Valentine's Day.  I still find it kind of an odd "holiday" to celebrate.  We should show our affection for those we love every day.  Though there is a piece of me that is a hopeless romantic, I am not one who wants chocolate and roses on Valentine's Day.  So what did we do?

After school we did the normal Friday evening shopping run to Sams for the girls' Saturday bread supplies.  Not being ones who like big crowds of people, we had our Valentine's dinner at Wendy's figuring that would not be a popular destination for those in search of a romantic dinner; although, the red ketchup did add a nice festive touch.  We also went to Target, more red.  We were behind a cute girl in line who was buying gold sparkly shoes and panty hose to wear on her evening out as she and her sweetheart celebrated their first Valentine's Day together.  The checker was trying to share in the girl's excitement.  What did we buy?  A doormat that says, "Woof" to go under the bowls of our sloppy canine diners.  It doesn't get much more romantic than that:-)  I have to admit that it was kind of funny watching the line of people trying to find an appropriate Valentine's Day card at 5:15 this afternoon.  As any reasonable person would expect, the pickings were mighty slim.  Target did, however, have bouquets of roses in the impulse buy racks at the checkouts for those who were too lazy to walk all the way to the back of the store to search through the picked over candy.

When we got home, we had an evening of chores to finish in preparation for a visit from an out of town guest tomorrow.  The best Valentine's Day gift, in my opinion, is help with those mundane aspects of life that are no fun but have to be done.  Weber did the vacuuming and I followed behind with the mop - and the camera.  We got it all done relatively quickly, in time for Brooke and I to watch the men's figuring skating finals.

This is not a good photograph technically, but it does depict true love.  I love this guy with every ounce of my being!

Happy Valentine's Day to each of you.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

44/365 - 2 Conversation

"Nose to Nose"

My favorite conversations are those that require few words.  After a long and somewhat stressful day at school, we enjoyed some quiet time and a little sugar.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

43/365-2 Red

"Love Is...On the Ground"

Today has been a long day.  I am exhausted and my brain is not functioning well enough to write coherently so this is it.  At least I've made it past humpday for this week!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

42/365-2 Retail Therapy

This is a present for the newest baby boy in our world.  Shhh...don't tell him!  He has to wait until this weekend when we see him next.

Most of my retail therapy these days is done via the web.  I much prefer to shop in the chaos that is my own desk rather than the chaos of the stores.  Thank goodness for amazon!

Monday, February 10, 2014

41/365-2 It's Still Winter

"Gray Icy Day"

I know that much of the country has been blanketed with snow for days, weeks and months and that they are all quite ready for it to melt.  I wish that we would have a little of it here.  Snow is so much more tolerable than the nasty freezing rain and "ice pellets" that are predicted for the Dallas area.  We'll see what happens overnight.  It either needs to be enough to cancel school or not happen at all.  I could do without sliding to school in the morning!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

40/365-2 Tiny Heart

"Break Out"

The worst prison would be a closed heart.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

39/365-2 Hand Tinted

"A Rose By Any Color..."

I am much more adept with composition in my photographs than I am with the technical aspects related to post-processing.  This goes back to my post a few days ago; I don't like a whole lot of it.   After having that rant on Thursday, God must have been laughing at me, ready to shake me up and get me off of my high horse.  Today's prompt was focused on hand-tinting, a post processing technique that allows for the tweaking of colors in a photo.  

Generally speaking, the above photo has been lightened up, giving a much softer feeling than the original.  Some of the dark tones were removed from the background allowing the bokeh to be more pronounced.  The flowers and their leaves were also desaturated.  I have to admit that I like the outcome although I have to admit that it is probably more alteration than I have ever done on a photo.

I can see where hand tinting can be beneficial in adding "make-up" to a photo.  It's like anything - in moderation it is fine, but there comes a point where too much is too much.

I have so much to learn and right now I am feeling like I don't have time to practice what I already know let alone time to learn anything new.  I hate that feeling.  Oh well...some day.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

37/365-2 Shadow

"Thoughts and Feelings"

We were surprised this morning by a light dusting of snow.  Though it was bitter cold, I ventured outside determined to get a good macro shot of snowflakes.  I spent about 15-20 minutes outside; that was all the 18 degree temperatures that my hands could take.  When I came inside, I immediately uploaded the pictures to the computer; dismal failure!  Though I had some OK shots of the snow in general, the snowflakes themselves eluded me.  Noticing a few shots that had some potential, I ventured outside again, confident that I could do it this time.  Again, no success.  Now having two strikes, I went to Google hoping I could find some technical advice.  And, I did.

I discovered that most of the snowflake shots that I have seen have had an incredible amount of post processing.  Many of them use "stacking", something I had not heard of until today.  One of the photographers said that his snowflake images were using a composite of 30-40 different shots.  No wonder I can't do it!

This got me thinking...

I'm not sure how I feel about that kind of post-processing.  The images are gorgeous and it gives us the opportunity to see a beautiful natural creation in amazing detail.  I'm OK with that.  What I have decided that I am not OK with is photos that are super processed and we are supposed to believe that they are exactly the image that was shot.  I had to come up with an analogy to figure this all out in my head.  

It is the difference between wearing a little bit of make-up to enhance your natural beauty and having plastic surgery to become something fake.  Photographically speaking, make-up, to me, is minor tweaks like contrast, saturation, sharpening, even a little exposure alteration .  Plastic surgery is what I read about today with stacking, cutting and pasting bits and pieces of various photos so that everyone looks perfect.  Life isn't perfect.  We don't all look perfect.  There is always going to be someone in a group shot that is looking the wrong direction.  That's the photo we remember.  We need to get away from the idea of having to "fix" everything.  When we create images that have all been "corrected" we are documenting the moments and the life that we wish we had, not the one that we are living.

The same is true for performing musicians.  When we hear a recording, we are hearing the best of multiple takes all spliced together.  We are not listening to a performance.  We are listening to a collage of the the best moments of many performances, a greatest moment, if you will.   I remember as a freshman in college hearing Jean Pierre Rampal in concert.  I was super excited to have such an opportunity.  The performance was excellent, but it was not perfect.  There were imperfections and there were outright mistakes.  I wasn't sure what to think.  As I reflected on that experience over time, I realized that Jean Pierre Rampal was a human being just like me.  We, human beings, aren't perfect creatures.  We aren't perfect musicians. And we aren't perfect photographers.  

All that said, I do like to play with the possibilities in post processing.  To me though, these extreme makeovers to a photo ought to be like dressing up for a masquerade party.  There is no question that you are dressing up as someone or something that you are not.  When it is made obvious that you are altering a photo in an over-the-top way, go for it.  Have fun!  Make it creative! make it artistic!  Make it your own!

I don't mean to be on a rant here, but so many people feel inadequate about so many different things in their lives because what they believe to be a real is actually fabricated.  This is the whole ethical dilemma surrounding the excessive amount of Photoshopping done on models.  Let's just get real, accept ourselves and each as we are.  I think we'd all be a whole lot happier.

Back to the day's photo...

We had snow, but no sun.  A lack of sun made photographing a shadow with natural light impossible. I used a flashlight as the light source in the above photo.  I'm not sure what I was hoping for with this image, but this is what I got.  Therefore, it is my photo of the day.

There you have my thoughts and feelings.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

36/365-2 From Above

"Beat Me to the Top"

I really wanted to take a serious photo today, which I did I think, with the photo below.

After I took this one, I started goofing around photographing random objects from above.  When all was said and done, I really liked the abstractness of the first photo.  Maybe I just need some sleep and the world will look a little different.  Tonight, whimsy came out on top.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

35/365-2 Heartwarming

"Warm Hand, Warm Heart"

I have discovered that I really love black and white and monochromatic photos.  Most of the time when I convert a photo from color it is for artistic reasons.  This one, though I think the red filter adds to the effect of the image, had to be converted out of necessity.  I shot it rather hastily after we got home from school.  Weber had on a red and white plaid shirt.  I had on an orange and blue plaid shirt.  The combination was...hideous at best.  We didn't have a whole lot of daylight left so I wasn't even thinking about what we were wearing.  Rarely do I give much thought to what I am wearing.  Live and learn.

Monday, February 3, 2014

34/365-2 Soft (Macro Monday)


I came home from school with not much light left in the day and not much energy.  I am coming down with something, hopefully only a cold.  I thought about the prompt throughout the day but had no good ideas.  It is "Macro Monday" and I really want to improve my macro shots, but the stars definitely did align for this to be the day for any improvement.  It was a feat just to get a photo taken.

At the point that I got home, the only soft things that were dancing through my mind were Kleenex and my soft flannel Peanuts sheets.  The sheets have already been featured in a photo recently and I didn't think used Kleenex was a desirable subject.  In a desperate move, I went for the make-up brush.  It is soft and I got a little practice with the macro lens.  I must really be sick; I had not much enthusiasm for the process today.

In the midst of my pity party I decided to have a few what they used to call "Uh-Oh" Oreos.  I like the vanilla cookies with the chocolate filling better than traditional Oreos.  I know - that is probably some kind of abomination.  It is even worse that I live with a professional baker and have access to really good sweet treats and I was eating Oreos.

As I took my cookie apart, because we all know a kid will eat the middle of an Oreo first and save the  chocolate outside cookie for last,  I noticed that the chocolate icing is pretty darn soft, softer than the white creme filling.   So here is another "soft" macro shot.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

33/365-2 Silhouette

"The Right Side of the Equation"

It made me chuckle that the part of the morning paper that I caught Weber reading was the obituaries.  It"s a good day when you find yourself on the right side of this equation:-)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

32/365-2 In the Dark

"The Thinker"

This is my stare off into space and solve the world's problems look.  Right now, however, all I'm thinking is that I'm glad February's self portrait is out of the way on the first day of the month!