Week 2: Circle | 2018 Project 52

Entering Week 2 has got me all kinds of excited! I have LOVED going through our 2018P52 Flickr group to see everyone’s self-portraits – we have a good group starting out strong and I can’t wait to see how everyone interprets the weeks to come!

So… Week 2… I had so many ideas for circle. And that’s probably because it’s a very generic and general prompt, but writing my ideas down allowed me to think about the “how” a bit more and see if I could experiment. This is something I want to do more of.

I used to do it all the time way back in 2009 when I hosted my first Project 52, but not so much these days… but one of my New Year recommendations for myself is “to make art – intentionally or accidentally.” Bouncing these ideas around will push me creatively, I know it will. And I even started a new book this week that was recommended to me by a friend called Art and Fear. But… I’m getting lost in my head. This is my circle picture:

circle

 

Settings: f/4.0, 160 sec, 70mm, ISO 500
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8

I watched part of a workshop led by photographer Brooke Shaden over the summer and one thing she encourages others to “teach yourself to evolve.” Revisit an old picture, critique yourself and recreate it. So that’s what I did this week. My old picture was from 2010. I knew that straws could be a cool way to find my circle, so I thought about the execution of what I was wanting. I knew bright colors were a must and thought that backlighting would make it even more interesting, so I pulled out my light board. I tried a few different things; some where the straws were close together and look like a circle themselves, then more relaxed, and I change up my depth a field and my focal points to see what I capture differently.

And voila! This was my favorite out of my series. More of the color could be seen, I liked how the straws fell unevenly versus being bunched together, and even after getting the photo in Lightroom, I cropped the image to use the rule of thirds. I really like how it’s “bursting” into the camera and how clean the background turned out. It’s a bit abstract, it’s colorful and it makes me smile.


Week 3: Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)
due 01.17.18

In Week 3 we’re going to experiment with some intentional camera movement (ICM), or as I sometimes call it, shutter painting. This is an effect I learned in 2016 and I loved it so much that I find a way to experiment with every few weeks. It allows you to take a normal subject that’s recognizable and then blur it in a way that creates interest for the viewer. The photographer is intentionally moving their camera in a way that outcome looks as if it could have been painted. One photographer that does this very well is Erik Malm; he does intentional camera movement with his ocean scenes and they are just beautiful. Three of my favorite shutter painting images I’ve taken are this sunset, this sunflower and this abstract photo from just a few weeks ago.

To paint with your shutter, you have slow your shutter speed down. A lot. In my images that I linked above, I had shutter slowed to 0.3 seconds, 0.4 seconds and 3.2 seconds. So lower your ISO to 100, set your aperture and see how you can control the shutter speed; if you need it slower just stop down your aperture. Depending on your subject, you may move you camera differently. If your subject is still, you could drag your camera up or down to see how it paints. Or move it side to side. If your subject is moving, try panning your camera at the same speed so that the subject stays in focus while the background blurs.

This week’s prompt is here to make us think and try something new, so just start shooting – you may surprise yourself with you walk away with! I’ve included some links below that go into more detail about intentional camera movement and might give you some inspiration:
Mastering the Art of Intentional Camera Movement
Creative Landscape Shots Using Intentional Camera Movement
Outstanding Intentional Camera Movement Images

Last week’s photo: Self-portrait #2018P52

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2018P52 so that we can find your work and share some hearts!
Have questions about 2018 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the 2018P52 Flickr group description. Join us any time with any camera!

Books of 2017 | My Reading List

Last December I joined a few friends for a book club. I’ve joined a few book clubs that usually fizzle out, but we had a plan with ours. We take turns picking a book every month and we reward ourselves with brunch where we can catch up with each other talk about the book. And we’ve been going at it for over a year now. I love this group of ladies as they challenge me, support one another and are just fun to be around. And they also lit a fire in me and I set myself a goal in 2017 to read 30 books.

Now you should know I am a slow reader – I get so angry with myself because if I go too fast and only skim, I end up going back and rereading. So getting through a book takes me time. But 30 books? I didn’t know how I was going to do it because 12 of those were likely to be book club books, 10 of which being books I didn’t pick myself. But I did it… I read 30 books before the end of the year! And I couldn’t be more proud of myself!

Some were short (like a 100 pages), some were long (like over 500 pages), some I loved, others… I didn’t love. There were memoirs, YA, sci-fi, super-natural, dystopian, crime and my first ever gothic fiction. It’s an eclectic list of books, but each one was read from cover to cover and each one counts!

My top five of the year, and I highly recommend each one, were:

  1. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  3. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

If you love to read or just want to read more, you should really check out Goodreads – it’s been a great way to organize the books I’ve finished and the ones I want to start, and it connects to Amazon and Kindle. For 2018 my goal is to read 25 books. I know it’s less than last year, but I have a few other projects up my sleeves to keep me busy. If you’d like to see what in my list, look me up on Goodreads – I’d love to connect with you!

my reading list of 2017

Week 1: Self-Portrait | 2018 Project 52

First I want to say welcome to our new Project 52! It has been AWESOME to see photos posted to our Flickr group, some people returning from last year, some new folks too and even familiar faces from my everyday life. This project is a great way to learn more about yourself, about your camera and how to explore the world around you. So I’m very excited to see our member count go up and I hope that you guys enjoy what we have in store for you!

OK… so I take self-portraits often, but I know that most people hate them. And for the sake of defining it, I don’t consider a “selfie” a self-portrait; they have different reasons for existing in the world. But the logic behind why I started taking self-portraits is 1) to get in front of the camera more often, 2) control pictures of myself vs photos that others share, and 3) learn to be less self-conscious about the way I look. And it’s helped. I know I have one eye that opens more than the other, I hate my gummy, small tooth smile, I have baby hairs that I cannot control ever… but these are things I’ve noticed and am learning how to photograph better. Because I am known for having the goofiest face on the planet in pictures. That’s actually really annoying. Thus, self-portraits.

So I got to work on New Year’s Day. Found the place I wanted to shoot in, set up my tripod, grabbed the remote and my fancy paper crown…

self-portrait

Settings: f/4.0, 160 sec, 35mm, ISO 1000
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

… and the puppy parade began. The dogs were in and out of the room, licking my ears, smelling the camera, hovering nearby, getting in each other’s faces. And it was so much fun! The number of outtakes I had… woof.

I chose this photo because I think it reflects my everyday life. The BDD is my shadow – she follows me all over the house, even into the bathroom, she has to lay on me in the bed, she bullies Chase out of the little dog bed even though she’s too big for it only because it’s closest to me. So it didn’t surprise me when she saw me sitting and decided to “sit in my lap.” And she really didn’t plan on moving. I pet her, rubbed her chest and… she stayed. This dog is a pain in the ass, but she makes me laugh regularly because of the silly stuff she does. Who knew she’d grow up to be a 10-year-old puppy. But here we are. With a doggin taking over my self-portrait.


Week 2: Circle
due 01.10.18

Let’s ease into our weekly photo project with finding some shapes. You’ll probably see these reoccur through the year, much like we did with colors in 2017. Remember that you can photograph shapes in different ways: positive vs negative, diagrammed within the photo itself, using them for composition, organic vs geometric… Look around you for inspiration and see if circles jump out at you. Or write down ideas to see if you can bring them to life. Don’t be afraid to try something that feels silly because we can’t see it until you share it with us – so experiment and get a little weird to see if something ordinary becomes magnificent!

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2018P52 so that we can find your work and share some hearts!
Have questions about 2018 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the 2018P52 Flickr group description. Join us any time with any camera!

New Year – New Recommendations | Let’s Do This, 2018!

Dear 2017,

You weren’t a bad year. Better than 2016 in so many ways… but also tough and disappointing in other ways. But with that said, know that it was still a good year to be spent with those we love. And I’d like to do all of that again, but since we don’t “resolute” let’s do try to sprinkle in more “recommendations” for the New Year.

So in 2018… I want to be inspired by everything around me – every place, every person – and stay curious about what can be done with that inspiration. And I’d like to inspire others, whether it’s the new Project 52 or my art or my actions. And art… I want to make art. With my heart, deliberately, intentional or accidental, that I’m proud of. I want to keep the people I love most near me… the ones that support me and love me how I am, not how they want me to be… the ones that bring me joy and voice no harsh judgements… my tribe. I want to find more time to sing songs that make me happy, to dance and act silly with all the littles, and be in the moment instead of worrying what other people think. I plan to “let go” of more this year than last, not carry burdens I cannot remedy, and instead keep focusing on what good I can do. Patience and gratitude on are my practice list, as well as continuing my journey with yoga – it’s been quite transformational for me even in just a few weeks, both physically and mentally. Along with that, I want to be more aware of what I’m putting into my body – how much, how it makes me feel – and become smarter in that area of my life. And probably not lastly but the last thing I’ll write here, is I look forward to my future adventures with my husband. We have so much fun together, enjoy each other’s company and I’m very excited to explore new experiences and places with him in the New Year.

Like I said, you were good, 2017, but I know we can do better. I’ve already sensed a shift of change in myself since November and I know that only good can come from it. So let’s do this!

new year new recommendations

My Point of View | 4Q17

My last “photo dump” of the year. And thinking about what I’ve shot over the last three months… I was thinking it wasn’t very much. But looking back at my photos I did more shooting than I thought I did. Here are some of my favorite photographs that I haven’t shared on my blog – some are outtakes from the Project 52, some are of gatherings with friends (drag brunch is totally a thing!), and others are just me with my camera. But I like what I was able to walk away with this year. So many good photos to share with others and a few that I’m really proud of myself for too.

If you’d like to see my POV posts from the rest of the year, you can find them here: 1Q17, 2Q17 and 3Q17.