Sunday, May 31, 2015

Be Still #20/Photo Pairs: Catching Your Breath

In the still life photography class I'm taking, this week's assignment was no assignment. It was the second breathing break built into the class, in order to give students a chance to reflect on the lessons and catch up. For this week's assignment, I'm sharing two "found" still lifes, both taken at the Filoli Gardens.
These are very different, but I think they both capture the idea of being still and catching your breath. I'm linking them up with Helena's Photo Pairs this week. And asking, do you have a preference between these two?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

It's Almost Here! The Photo Scavenger Hunt that is.

On Monday morning, June 1, the list will be posted for this year's summertime photography scavenger hunt! I'm so excited! I hope you will like the list and have fun participating in this year's hunt. You can read details at this post. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Scrapbook Friday: Finding a Theme

During my National Scrapbook Day scrapfest, I made this layout of the first day we brought Luna home. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the photographs, but I started by looking through my bin of page elements. I came across a bag of pink "love" themed elements and thought, "Why not?" She was a little baby, and we certainly fell in love with her. Plus, I wasn't sure I would ever find another use for these elements. So I created this layout which I like just fine. I like even more that it's done and that I used up those page elements!
I've actually found that coming up with a theme helps make my scrapping more meaningful. And easier because it helps me find a color story, papers and elements. In looking at my 2014 photos, I had a handful of a trip to the University of Redlands sitting with other photos from the trip to So. California Clara and I took during the summer and a few from our visit to Carroll College in Montana in the fall. Because I usually scrap chronologically, it took me a while to pair these photos together and write about them as the trips we took to look at colleges and to write about what she's looking for in a University experience. It allowed me to go to my "school" embellishments and find some stickers that supported the theme (globes and school phrases). I ended up very happy with the outcome.
I've made great progress on my 2014 photographs this month. And I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've got less than 10 layouts left to do! Besides the creative process, one of the things I like most about scrapbooking is the feeling of accomplishment from finishing a project. I should definitely put the 2014 scrapbook to bed before the end of the summer. And then it will be on to 2013, 2015 or Henry's sports album.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Visiting in an Enchanted Garden

About a half hour from my home is a beautiful estate called Filoli. It is surrounded by gorgeous gardens.
Yesterday I had the great good fortune to meet my friend Alison of Life in the Slow Lane who was visiting from Spain. We have met twice before (once in Spain and once here in California), and we always enjoy our time together.
We wandered through the gardens, sharing laughter and stories , before having lunch at the cafe. I learned that one of Alison's favorite flower is this one:
It's an aquilegia, commonly known as columbine or granny's bonnet. Besides visiting with Alison, it was also wonderful to spend time with my camera. I have many more photographs to share over the next few weeks. But, today, I just wanted to say "Thanks Alison for coming to visit and giving me a great reason to go visit Filoli!"

Monday, May 25, 2015

Me on Monday

We've got a three day weekend here in the States (what the rest of the world seems to call a "Bank Holiday"). It's Memorial Day, and we're celebrating and remembering those who served in war. Thinking about my dad today and waving hi to Sian from High in the Sky with a check in on my (ongoing) weekend.
What kind of a weekend was it?
It was graduation weekend at the Law School where I teach. The highlight might have been the special ceremony for Latino law students that took place the night before.
That's me, with one of my favorite students and a group of mariachis (and one of my colleagues, Bill Hing, singing with them) featuring another of our graduates.
It was also a CCS Track and Field Championship Weekend watching my girl and her team mates.

It was also a volunteering at Guide Dogs; visiting with friends and eating at an unusual "Islamic Mandarin" restaurant; watching baseball on TV; catching up on paper work; chatting with the boy on the phone; planning for Peru; and writing a draft of an article for the symposium I'm attending this upcoming weekend kind of weekend.
A very busy weekend indeed!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Peek Inside my Art Journal

I had some spare time today, and I decided to do some work in my art journal. This is a page thinking about my daughter's plan to study abroad this summer in Peru. I started with a heavily textured orange and blue background. I drew South America free-hand and then covered the rest of the page with white paint before adding ephemera and journaling.
And here's a page I did in my travel art journal a few weeks ago when I went to visit my son in Oregon. It features a group of flags on a flag pole, each representing something on my mind at that time.
Even though I set an intention to focus on photography this month, it's nice to continue with other artistic pursuits like art journaling and photography as well.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Scrapbook Friday: Scrapping from a Sketch

I'm continuing to scrap (currently working on photos from 2014) and sharing layouts on my blog on Friday. Most of my layouts are grids or modified grids. But occasionally I like to mix it up and use sketches to break me out of my rut. I found this sketch over at Stick it Down. It features photos from Mom's Weekend at my son's fraternity last year. We had a fun time, but I didn't really have that many photos. I started with an assortment of green and yellow photos because those are the colors of the University of Oregon. I added touches of blue to pull everything together. Stick it Down has three sketches a month - a one page layout, a two page layout and a card. Have you visited there before? Know any other good sketch sites?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Bit of Random

Right now, my days are just packed! 
*The kitten nursery has started up again to take care of litters of motherless kittens that arrive at the local humane society and are too young to fend for themselves. Like last year, I will be volunteering once a week with my daughter Clara. Get ready for cuteness overload. We are also still volunteering at Guide Dogs for the Blind. For those of you who asked about the blue bottle of liquid in this still life post, it's a ChX wash that is used to clean dog's ears and lots of other things (it reminds me of how the Grandmother used Windex in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding).
*I am done teaching classes for the term, and I spent many many hours grading exams. This week there's celebrations and graduation to get to. Plus, I'm on the bargaining team for our faculty union, and we're working on creating a new compensation structure. It's an interesting and stressful assignment, but will be very satisfying if we can work something out. I also agreed to teach this summer. I'm putting together a negotiation class that focuses both on basic skills and on cross-cultural issues. It will be a jam-packed  five weeks.
*Most of the TV shows I watch are over for the year. Loved watching the Mad Men series finale. As a result, I'm reading more (and listening to more books on Audible).  Right now, I'm reading Denali's Howl (a nonfiction book about a fatal climbing expedition to Mount Denali in Alaska) and listening to All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. 
*I'm doing a lot of traveling. Last weekend I was in Chicago. I'm heading to Seattle at the end of the month and then to Detroit the following weekend. All work-related, sadly.
*Clara's got a few more weeks left of school, and she's struggling to keep her head above water. The Junior year of High School in the U.S. can be very stressful because the grades are key for university admission. She has been suffering from a hip injury for most of the track season and not competing. But, she did come back to compete in the season finals. She decided to run the 3200 meter race because (oddly) it puts less stress on her hip than running 800 or 1600 meters. For someone who didn't run all season, she did great. She notched a personal record and qualified for the sectional championship. That will take place this Saturday. This summer, Clara will likely go to Peru for a Spanish immersion/ community service trip. More on that later, if it comes off.
*We lost another chicken. One of the Buffy's succumbed to something. On the upside, our dog Aria's leg is healing nicely. In another month, we hope she will be running along the beach again. 
*And, I'm getting really excited about June 1 and the start of the 2015 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt! Read more about it here.  There's an instagram hashtag at #rindas2015photohunt and a facebook page called Summertime Picture Scavenger Hunt 2015.  Come on over and join there if you want. But, as always, the main portal for the hunt will be right here at Gallo Organico!
*Not too much time for creative pursuits right now, but I do have some scrap book pages for you on Scrapbook Fridays this month, so please come on back then.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Scrapbook Friday: Companion Pages

This year, I'm recommitting to scrapbooking and sharing my pages on Fridays here on my blog. I'm currently working my way through my photographs from 2014. As regular blog readers know, I usually scrap double page layouts and put lots of photographs on each page.  But sometimes I only have enough photos for a single page. On those occasions, I might make two very different pages. Or I might make a companion page.
Like this one, about building our chicken coop. They are somewhat related, in that Clara did start her egg business as part of FFA (the subject of the first layout). I used matching color blocked backgrounds on both, but different stickers to distinguish them.
So, what do you do? Are you a one page scrapper? A double-page spread scrapper? Do you worry about how your single pages look next to each other?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Some Favorite Scavenger Hunt Photos

The 2015 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt is coming on June!!! You can read details here. Every year, the scavenger hunt leads me to some wonderful photos and stories. Remember trying to find a pirate in 2011? I do, and I was thrilled to stumble upon this one in Seattle, Washington. But not as thrilled as I was to find a unicycle with Deb of Paper Turtle (you can read that story here).
In 2012, I found this somber border in Belfast with Sian of From High in the Sky, which I blogged about here.
We searched for dinosaurs and tilted at windmills in 2013.
And last year I found a group of tired tourists in a lovely public garden.
I don't know what stories I'll collect this summer, but I'm looking forward to it!
Feel free to share news about the arrival of the Hunt and this year's official image on your blog:
And feel free to reminisce in a comment below. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Photography Pairs: "You lookin' at me?!?"

I spent some time out in the chicken coop recently with my big camera. I love this pair of photographs of Laverne and one of the Rockers. Catches their inquisitive nature and makes me laugh. So, I'm sharing them with Helena's weekly photography pairs meme. Check out other pairs at this link.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The State of the Flock and Photography Musings

Meet the Rockers! We recently added four barred Plymouth Rock Hens. We got them partly because we lost one of the Buff Orpingtons to a raccoon attack over the winter. But we still have two Buffy's.
As well as Laverne, our leghorn chicken.
And we have two Ameraucanus chickens. 
The older chickens are all laying really well, and we expect the rockers to start early summer.
This month, I'm musing a bit on photography. One of the things I sometimes consider is whether I can make an artistic photograph in the chicken coop. Of these, I think the one of Laverne could qualify. I think it helps when the photo is technically good, and I like the crisp focus, dreamy depth of field, color story and composition. I also think an artistic photograph needs some power and emotion, and I think I see it in the portrait of Laverne. What do you think?

Monday, May 11, 2015

It's Coming - the 2015 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt!

We're well into May, which means that summer is just around the corner, so it's time to announce the return of the 2015 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, 2015). 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. There's also an instagram tag (#rindas2015photohunt)  and (maybe) a facebook page. 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 2014 list is here. The 2013 list is here. You can click on this link to find the 2012 list. The 2011 list of items is clickable here. 
Everyone knows I'm rubbish at creating blog badges (LOL!), but here is a smaller version of the official scavenger hunt photo it you want to add it to your blog.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Still Life vs. Nature Photography

In the still life photography class I'm taking, Kim Klassen posted a couple prompts on "found" still lifes or real life still lifes. Basically, scenes from your life which look like or qualify as still lifes. She included a photograph from her yard. It made me think about the difference between still life photography and nature photography. Kim's approach to still life photography is that it's about the process - about breathing and finding quiet, stillness and peace. And she suggested that you can find that without posing or choreographing a photograph. While I was in Oregon, I tried to find an appropriate nature still life.  I took the photograph above. What do you think? Is that a still life? I think it's a beautiful photograph, and it captures stillness and peace. I'm glad I took it and it's one of the types of photographs I love to take. But, to me, the thing I have liked about the still life photography class has been the creating, posing and choreographing of shots. It's kind of like creating a painting or drawing but using props and my camera instead. I didn't think nature photography could be still life photography.
And then this happened. I was walking to work, and I "found" this scene. The lighting, the colors, and the composition all screamed "still life" to me. So I got out my iphone and captured the image. And now I think I get what Kim was getting at. There are some still lifes, some vignettes, out there to be found in nature. They have been posed by an unseen hand, but posed nonetheless. Created to draw the viewer in and experience peace and quiet. And stillness.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

One Photo &Twenty Words: Still Life?

Photo taken during my volunteer shift at Guide Dogs. I'm wondering - is this a still life?
What do you think?
Each month, Abi over at Creating Paper Dreams hosts a link up where people share one photo described in twenty words. I'm sharing this photo and and questions about the nature of photography. Come back tomorrow for more musings on the nature of still life photography and some answers that I found in nature.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Scrapbook Friday: Scrapping with Paper Collections

In the United States, the first Saturday in May is designated "National Scrapbook Day." I think the tradition began with Creative Memories way back in 1994. I used to go to crops to celebrate, but this year I contented myself by treating myself to some quality scrapbooking time. It was a perfect time to keep up on my plan to scrap at least four layouts a month and share them here on my blog on Fridays. I'm sharing two layouts today - both created using paper collections. This layout might look familiar - it uses the same sketch as this layout, which was based on Amanda's April Scraplift challenge. I read a comment that said this is a perfect way to use a 6x6 paper pack and that comment stuck in my brain. So, when I had a bunch of miscellaneous photographs as my only photographs from Christmas 2012, I grabbed the Kringle and Co. 6x6 paper pad from American Crafts to make this layout. The only other thing I added was some ink for edging and two 12x12 pieces of craft cardstock for the background. You can click on the layout to enlarge it and see the details.
I made this layout, featuring the professionally taken team and individual photographs from Clara's cross country season, using Club Scrap's Marathon collection. It went together really quickly, and I really like it. I guess that's what I like about using paper collections.  It makes it easy to make a coordinated layout, especially if there's a theme to the layout that matches the collection. Do you use paper collections when you scrap? Got any good recommendations? Oh, and do you celebrate National Scrapbook Day?