Monday, March 31, 2014

Shooting Track

Light. Focus. Emotion. Story.
Those are the things I look for when photographing sports. Although I know how to find these on the soccer pitch and the baseball diamond, shooting track has been much tougher.
But I'm getting better.
I was pretty frustrated with the results from my first track meet.  The only good shots I got were taken with my longer lens and when I got up to move around the track.
So, for the second time out, I decided to use my long lens, my monopod and to move around to try to capture more of the overall track meet experience. But always focusing upon the four keys.
Light . . . 
Focus . . . 

Story . . . 
Emotion . . .
I think I'm getting better at this! 
{Inspired by my friend Becky who posted these reflections on shooting tennis}.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

ZIZO #13: Eggs!

Clara's chickens have started laying! It's very exciting. The Buff Orpingtons lay brown eggs; the Americaunus lay blue-green eggs, and Laverne (the white leg horn) will lay white eggs. I had fun photographing these eggs for this week's version of zoom in < zoom out, a photography meme sponsored by Helena.  See more here.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thoughts on 2014 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt

The first day of spring has passed, and I've been having thoughts about summer, which leads me to thoughts about the 2014 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. I've really enjoyed hosting this event for the last few years, and I'm looking forward to doing it again this year.  Interesting items to add to the list have been floating through my mind and ideas about how to structure it have been simmering there as well.
For those of you who haven't participated before, I host this event starting on June 1 and running until the last day of summer (September 22, 2014). I post a list of about 20 items for people to find and photograph during the summer. I encourage people to blog about their finds, and I host a link-up once a month. The original idea was to create a list which gets people out and about during the summer months to explore places they might not otherwise go, but I also include items which are somewhat challenging to find. The time frame is long enough that most people are able to find most of the items without being too stressed. It's become a way for people to open their eyes and be aware of their surroundings and also a way to see the great variety of items found around the world. There's usually about 60 participants from all over the globe, which means some people are actually participating in the summertime scavenger hunt during the winter (those in Australia and New Zealand).
The scavenger hunt is free and open to everyone! If you don't have a blog, you can put your images in a flicker account or any other photo hosting site that works for you. The only rule is that the photo needs to be taken during the time frame of the Hunt (no using old photographs from your archives).
You can click on this link to see all my old scavenger hunt posts. The 2013 list is here. You can click on this link to find the 2012 list. The 2011 list of items is clickable here. 
So, I was wondering if you have any feedback on the last few hunts. Any suggestions for what to do this year differently than before? It seemed to run pretty smoothly last year, so I'm leaning to using the same format. But I'm definitely open to suggestions. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Weekend Ramble through the Random

1. We recently got rid of our 2000 Toyota Avalon and replaced it with a BMW SUV. I was surprised by how sad I was to see the Avalon hauled away. It was still running (barely), but definitely time to let go. But we owned it for 14 years. I remember when we bought it and loved driving it; loved teaching Henry to drive in it; and remembered when he drove it alone to High School for the first time. Sigh. Oddly, I have often felt a strong attachment to my cars - my first (a 1963 Chevrolet Valiant station wagon, which I blogged about here); the first new car Paul and I ever bought (a red Chevy nova) and even my current BMW (which Paul bought me as a 25th wedding anniversary present). Have you ever had a strong attachment to a car?
2. My new favorite iphone app may be "Collect - Everyday Photo Diary . . ." It's a really easy way to record a photo for each day in the month and leave a brief note about it. Plus, it prompts you if you've forgotten. I'm really enjoying it. Have you tried it? Got any other good iphone apps to share?
3. We're full-on into track season here. Last weekend, we spent a wonderful, sunny, exhausting day at the "Dublin Distance Fiesta," which culminated in a distance medley relay, followed by a full-on, line dancing party in the infield. This weekend, Clara is participating in the Santa Barbara Easter Relays. We stayed home, but are monitoring the website for results. Relays are fun!
4. Meanwhile, back at home, Clara passed her driver's permit test, so she can begin to learn to drive with a parent in the car (or a driving instructor). She can apply for her actual license in September.
5. Spring is here. The weather is warming up. The hens are almost 5 months old (I think). They've gotten much bigger - fat and happy.  But, still no eggs. When will they start laying???
Photo Credit: Becky Ruppel (thanks Becky!)
6. The boys are back in town . . . I picked Henry up from the airport on Thursday evening. He's home from college for spring break. And so are many of his friends. A bunch of them went to the high school baseball game yesterday, and my photographer friend Becky captured these three. I'm so happy to have my boy home. We have a date this afternoon to eat burritos and nachos, while watching his Oregon ducks play in the NCAA basketball tournament. It makes my heart happy.
What's making you happy this weekend?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ZIZO #12: The Path

Photography never ceases to amaze me in its ability to open my eyes, to help me see the new, even on a path I walk every work day. 
My zoom in < zoom out pair, linking up to Helena who inspired this lovely meme.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Class Review: Frugal Still Life Photography

At the beginning of the year, I was happy to hear about a free photography class offered by Cheryl McCain called Frugal Still Life Photography.  It turned out to be so popular that Cheryl decided to offer it as self-paced paid class available here for $25-$30.
The class ran over eight weeks, with a new prompt posted each Monday morning. The prompts varied - some were subject-related, others composition-related and a few were technical challenges. Each prompt included several examples created by Cheryl. There was also a link-up available for participants to show how they approached the prompt. Cheryl used a lot of textures and made several available for free to workshop participants.
My favorite thing about the class was that it forced me to think about still life photography and gave me the opportunity to spend time considering subject matter and composition. I really enjoyed exploring this aspect of photography, and I think I will continue to do more of it in the future. My only complaint was that the lessons were more inspirational than educational. The one educational one (on metering) was too confusing for me to understand. But, for a free class (or even for one priced as low as $25-30), I felt it was definitely worth my time. Overall, I would give the class  a solid B. To improve it to an A, I would suggest adding a formal critique component. For the rest of you who took the class, what did you think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blog cos you want to: Still Life Free Choice

My friend, Sian, runs the "Blog Cos You Want To" Club where she suggests some easy ways to create blog posts. Recently, she suggested simply posting a photograph of a craft project without worrying about coming up with words to go with your photo. She suggests that you might just end up with an interesting post. And I think she's on to something. . . 
I've been meaning to photograph these embroidered cat pillows. I did the embroidery when I was quite young. They are, from what I can remember, my very first craft projects ever. They make me smile whenever I look at them, partly because I remember the joy of completing the embroidery and partly because they are one example of what a great gift-giver my mother was. You see, although I completed the stitching on these cats, I never actually made them into pillows. My mom did that and then gave them to me for Christmas one year when I was in my 20's. She had found the stitched samplers and knew I would appreciate receiving them in a more functional form. And she was right, as witnessed by the fact that I have kept them safe and secure for another thirty years.
When the Frugal Still Life Photography class posted a "free choice" subject for the final week of class at the same time that I read Sian's club inspiration, I decided to try to create still lifes using these pillows. 
And here's what I came up with:
I think this is a much better way to photograph the red cat pillow than simply by its lonesome. 
And then there's this:
{thanks to Deb Turtle for the bird}
I'm unaccountably happy with this second effort. There's something homey and whimsical about it, but it suggests a story as well. It's my selection for the "free choice" still life. 
And, finally, here's one last photograph. It's a project, and I'm not explaining it.
Because Sian said that I didn't have to . . .
Are you bloggin' cos you want to?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

ZIZO #11: Clara's First Track Meet

My daughter Clara ran in her first high school track meet last weekend, and it was quite an experience! There were so many people, doing so many different things, all at the same time. It felt like a three ring circus. So, I decided to do a three-part zoom in < zoom out this week to capture the experience.
Clara ran just one event - the 1600 meters. And she did great. She ran it in 5:38, which was two seconds below the goal set by her coach. She finished first in her heat and felt (and looked) really strong.  Her goal is to get down to 5:20 by the end of the season, and I think it's do-able. She'll also run the 800 meters and 3200 meters at some point during the season. She has invitational meets almost every Saturday for the next two months, as well as a some league meets during the school week. I'm really looking forward to the season.
To check out other zoom in < zoom out entries, check Helena's blog here.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Still Life Photography: Jewelry

The Frugal Still Life Photography class has officially ended, but there's a few assignments I didn't complete, so I worked on a couple of them this weekend. First up, an assignment to create a still life with jewelry. I pulled out one of my old charm bracelets and built a scene around it with a silver thimble, an empty glass bottle and some skeleton keys. I like the composition of the still life and the story that is suggested (but not clearly told). I also like the color story. The focus is also nice and crisp throughout. I encourage you to click on the photograph to see it larger and more clearly.
Here's the pull-back shot:
The guest room studio has a southwest facing window, and I get some decent light near sunset. I threw a pillow case over the printer to create a backdrop. It was fun to pull out my charm bracelet, which was completed about ten years ago. The charms take me back to a distant time in my life: my 40th birthday; a job where I used to work; a dog which we used to have; the worry over Y2K; etc. 
If you signed up for Frugal Still Life Photography class, did you complete it? There are two more assignments I haven't posted: food (which I'm not sure I will complete) and free choice (which I plan to post tomorrow). I'm also planning a class review, which I hope to post later this week.
As always, all feedback is appreciated!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

1 Photo/20 Words: A New Dream

I used to dream of taking Clara to buy her first pointe shoes. Today we bought her first track spikes instead. 
Taking up Abi's challenge to tell a story in one photo and twenty words. To see others taking up the challenge, go to this link.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference . . .

Here's my newest art journal page . . . 
Look at all that lovely white space. That's unusual for me, but I think it reflects my "one little word" for 2014 (illuminate) and the room to breathe and create that I have found by setting up a guest room/studio for my art, card making and scrapbook supplies. 
The room is almost done! Here's a corner that I like a lot, where the little things make all the difference.
For the bed area, I went shopping at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond (two not very expensive retail stores) to get some pillows and a bed spread which wouldn't break the bank but which also inspire me. And I found them!  I think decorating with pillows is a great inexpensive idea. Next to the bed are the two iris carts with my wood mounted stamps. The woman helping with the my room remodel (she's a "home organizer" and I bought a few hours of her time at a charity auction last fall) suggested putting a table top across the two of them to create a bed side table of sorts. And it worked! I bought an oversized cutting board for $20. It matches my art desk, which has a butcher block top on it. The other little thing I love about this set-up is that I can actually reach the stamps while sitting at my desk (but turning around).
And my supply closet is pretty much complete:
It's a bit fuller than the last time I posted a picture. I added another row of memory boxes under the baskets and additional bins here and there. My aprons are hanging on the left hand side of the closet, and I added a few prints on the interior walls. I also stuffed the plastic containers on the bottom shelf with scrapbooking supplies. There's nine containers full of paper, three containers full of embellishments and two containers full of photos and memorabilia to sort and scrap. That's in addition to the basket full of photos in the upper right hand corner of the photo. And that's where the main organizational work still needs to be done.  I need to figure out what needs to be scrapped. But it feels so good to have everything in one place!
From a decorating stand point, I'm waiting on some photo canvases and I need to frame some photos. That will be my wall art. I've also ordered a bed frame (with drawers underneath) and am thinking about getting a large mirror for over the bed. I'm getting a printer table on Wednesday and then I'll share the last bit of my room. . . . my work table area.
All for now. Have a great weekend and remember to enjoy the little things.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ZIZO #10: Photobomb

My wonderful husband Paul decided to photobomb my attempt to photograph this watermelon. Since photobombing seems to be all the rage these days, I thought it made the perfect Zoom In < Zoom Out pairing for this week. To see other interpretations for the meme, go check out Helena's blog here. 
Have you ever photobombed somebody? Had one of your shots photobombed by someone else? If not, you may want to get in some practice because I'm definitely including "a photobomb" in the 2014 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wrangling My Supplies

I've been busily at work organizing my supplies, and I'm definitely getting there. This is what my supply closet is looking like at the moment. I've got all my art and stamping supplies sorted. I still need to do a purge and organize my scrapbook supplies. They will go into the empty plastic bins on the bottom middle shelf. I also need to to get about four more "memory boxes" (they will go under the baskets on top of the book shelf in the middle).
So, what do I have in my supply closet?
On the bottom left, those are storage bins for paper. Bottom right are scrapbooks that I'm actively currently planning on working on and some idea books.
Middle shelf left has water color and acrylic paints. Middle middle has gel mediums, twinkling H2O's, perfect pearls and alcohol ink. Middle right has beading supplies, plaster wrap, a box with interesting small projects (blocks, slide mailers, dominoes, stamp board) and more idea books.
Top shelf left has spray inks, stencils and masks; and paper-based ephemera in various sizes for art journaling. Top middle has two bins with completed cards and post cards; eyelets; ATC and business card blanks; and fibers. Top right has ribbons; paper art dolls; chunky embellishments and handouts from classes that I have taught or taken. 
On top of the book shelf, there are six memory boxes with: chip board; grunge board; tags and bookmarks; adhesives; tools; and pastels/chalks/markers. One basket is filled with paper scraps; the other two have completed mini-albums and art journals. The top big round hat boxes have projects-in-process or to-be-started. The box with roosters has assemblage supplies. The boxes on the far right contain completed projects to be sold, given away or used as appropriate; Chinese brush art kit (in the pizza box); texture and mark-making tools; and a bin with things to be given away (for a face-book pay-it-forward, etc.).
On the top closet shelf, the right hand side is taken up with stamps, inks, and embossing powders.  The left hand side is mainly heritage photos with a large stash of old books for art journaling. And then there's that mystery bin on the far left side which I haven't even looked in yet!
And that's enough for today, I've got a few more areas to show you, including more stamps, my desk, and my art journaling storage. But those will have to wait.
So, my question for you . . . how similar are our supplies? What do you have that I don't? What do I have that is completely foreign to you?
Paul called my closet "majestic." What do you think?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

PHC: February Treasures

Each month, Kat Sloma encourages photographers to review their recent photographs and pick the one which has the strongest heart connection. It turns out I took very few photographs with my big camera this month, but I took this one which was an easy winner. I love the shine in the heart, the fresh lavender from my garden, and the table cloth which recalls many happy memories. I love the looseness of composition, the texture of the elements and the play of the light. It brings me joy every time I look at it.
My iphone provided a few other contenders.  This one of Clara surveying the track at the University of Oregon.
I love the way she is bathed in light and the way she seems to be contemplating her future.
And then a few from the train ride:
These three were all instagrammed and I love the way the processed colors give them a surreal tintype feel. They definitely call to my heart as well.
To see other PHC's for February, check out this link.
And I'd love it if you left me a comment letting me know if you have a favorite today.