NOLA Revisited

Ever since I’ve discovered Lightroom, I’ve been itching to edit photos. Which is not the norm. At all. But I’m finding for the first time in something like four years, I have no unedited, raw images just sitting on my desktop. Like… zero. Because I’ve Lightroomed them all. And since I haven’t taken many photos over the last couple weeks, I have no new photos edit. All of this is weird…

So I went to the archives, baby.

Earlier this week at work, while catching up with coworkers and talking about weekends, I had mentioned that the New Orleans zoo has been one of my favorites to visit. I really did love it and we were really lucky when we visited in January 2013 to not only hear the tigers roar like crazy, but to have a pretty mild day of weather to enjoy it fully. I mean, the Sugar Bowl was AMAZING, but with that trip down memory lane, it only made sense to revisit those photos.

So I’ve done that. I opened up my archive from almost three years ago and looked at each photo again. I selected the images carefully, trying think of what the final outcome would look like. And while most of them are from the New Orleans zoo (I’m not lying when I said I loved it), I’m happy with this collection. The format is a bit more square because these were actually taken with a mirrorless camera, but even so…

It’s not always important to have the right camera, but just the fact you have a camera.


I think there’s something to coming back to old photos. Not only to remember, but to revisit completely. To approach with completely fresh eyes and think of what should be done differently. I might have to do this more often until I’m back on my photography bandwagon full time. ;)

Doggin Love No. 28 | Girls Weekend

This past weekend it was just me and the dogs. Mike was away for work (in Key Largo – don’t feel too sorry for him), so we spent the majority of Saturday in bed. We watched true crime shows, read a little bit, I had recorded Baby Boom the week before so that happened (movies of the 80s, anyone?) , took a nap… or two… maybe three.

It was a really nice – and super lazy – day.

But I also happened to keep my camera close.

I’ve been trying to be more mindful of what I shoot and wait for the scene that makes me want to pick up the camera. Therefore the camera must be close. And while these are just some pictures of me lounging with the doggins in a severely messy bed, it makes me smile. All of their little fuzzies just make me happy. And that’s all that really matters.



Last summer, my husband decided that we were taking a road trip to Chicago with a work colleague. I was hesitant – I hadn’t met this colleague, Jessica, and was worried about spending a weekend with her but Mike said not to worry. She, on the other hand, was excited once he mentioned it. You see, she works at the Shanghai office and has been to America several times, but has only visited Louisville, Kentucky. In her own words, “I want to see a real city! New York! LA!”

Chicago was closer.

The weekend itself was great. We did a lot of sight seeing and walking around the city. The architecture boat tour was perfect because Jessica wanted to see as much of the city as possible. What better way than to ride down the canal at a leisurely pace and learn about the city’s past with a beer in hand? We stopped in Millennium Park (Jessica didn’t understand the bean – or any street art for that matter), walked to Buckingham Fountain, and let her experience some Chicago-style pizza at Giordano’s.

We spent an entire afternoon at the Art Institute – that actually lent itself to some interesting conversations! Jessica had asked us questions the entire time – what is that statue, why is it that way, how does she wash her hair, who is Father Time… you name it, she asked it. But at the art museum, I couldn’t help but laugh a few times.

First, there was an Asian exhibit. After Jessica read the placard in front of a gigantic and beautiful Buddha, she turned to us, pointed her index finger in our faces and declared “YOU STOLE FROM CHINA!” I was flabbergasted, but Mike pointed to another placard that stated that Japan and Korea was loaning the exhibit. “Japan and Korea stole from China then.” (I still giggle thinking about it.) But as we went through the exhibit, she took time to explain a lot of the displayed artifacts to us – a personal tour through Chinese history. When we were touring the American wing, Jessica took a picture of American Gothic and then just looked at it and all the people crowding around it, trying to take selfies with it. She finally said, “I don’t get it.” I told her that it was an iconic American painting of farmers. “But they’re not happy.”

Anyway, I tell you this short story to give the background. I took my camera to Chicago that weekend and decided to play tourist with Jessica. To be honest, I didn’t like many of the photos I took; I threw a lot of them out and even the ones I kept are still mediocre. I’m only sharing them a year later because I haven’t looked at them since then – no lie, they’ve been sitting in a folder untouched, raw files just taking up memory.

But now I have edited images. And they help me remember how inquisitive Jessica was. I know she enjoyed the trip and I know she’d like to go back – living in a large city like Shanghai and coming to Kentucky for every visit just isn’t as exciting as the “real cities.”


My Five Fave: Movies From the 80s

With the weather heading in the cooler direction, my ideal night in would include pizza, popcorn and a movie. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

I love movies. I grew up renting movies regularly. We’d go to the movies as a family, and later I’d go with friends. Even now, Mike and I are movie junkies – there’s a rarely a weekend that we don’t watch at least one movie. And being born in the early 1980s, I got to enjoy a lot of what the decade had to offer… and some of my all-time favorite movies debuted between 1985-89.

Now, before anyone tries to tell me that my five fave movies from the 80s is a bad list, please know that I don’t care. Are there more movies that I love than these? Yes. But these are the ones I’ve seen so many times I know the characters inside and out, I can quote them and tell you when it’s best to pause for a bathroom break. It’s my list – not yours.


1. Steel Magnolias  2. Adventures in Babysitting  3. The Goonies  4. Back to the Future  5. Die Hard

Steel Magnolias (1989) is probably my favorite movie of all time and I quote it more often than I should. I’ve seen countless times – so many in fact that Mike can figure out with sound alone in less than 30 seconds that it’s Steel Magnolias. I love everything about it. That the leading cast is all women – with different personalities and from different walks of life – and have found support in one another. What’s not to love about Dolly Parton? In my opinion this is Julia Robert’s best movie. Hell, even Sally Field is on point. But Shirley MacLaine’s character, Ouiser Boudreaux, is my favorite. I want to be Ouiser when I grow up. She’s independent, witty and just a grump full of sass and I love her.

Movie quote to know: Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.

When I was a kid, I watched Adventures in Babysitting (1987) so many times with my friend Sam that we probably wore out the tape. There was one week that we watched it everyday! (I’m sure her parents hated us for it. There was also a full of week of The Burbs. And that one weekend we watched nothing but musicals. We kind of took over the den a lot.) But the movie has a lot to offer. It’s about finding love and finding reality, finding trouble and finding a way out. Elisabeth Shue (you also know her from The Karate Kid) plays the role of Chris – and with Brenda and Sara and Brad and Daryl, the adventures taken are some that I still enjoy watching until this day.

Movie quote to know: My stepmom is such a pain. If I don’t get out of the house, I’m gonna spike her Tabs with Drano.

Another childhood favorite: The Goonies (1985). I don’t remember watching this one with Sam as much, but we had it on Beta and I watched the heck out of it. Four misfits striking out together to find treasure only to have to deal with a bonehead brother, a couple of girls and some criminals that weren’t part of the plan. Then there’s the Truffle Shuffle, the Fratellis, Sloth and all the booby traps your heart desires. And talk about an awesome soundtrack! The whole movie can sum up the 1980s for anyone that didn’t live it: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton, Cyndi Lauper, The Bangles and REO Speedwagon. I mean, this is dream team material!

Movie quote to know: Goonies never say die!

I have my DAd and brother to thank for my love/hate of sci-fi. In our house, if you wanted to eat Pizza Hut on Saturday nights you had to watch Star Trek. But my DAd also happened to really like Back to the Future (1985) – I’ve seen it 15… 20… 25 times? That like has apparently passed on. I know this movie so well that I can tell you when there isn’t a smooth transition between scenes; costumes are different, backgrounds changed, something’s just “off.” Michael J. Fox was a favorite growing up and he made so many fun movies in the 80s and 90s. Alongside Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and the quirky Crispin Glover and you have a fantastic cast. Biff is pretty good too… “make like a tree and go.” Ha!

Movie quote to know: What happens to us in the future? Do we become assholes or something?

Not only is it one of my favorite movies from the 80s, but Die Hard (1988) is also one of my favorite Christmas movies. I also consider the first the best of the Die Hard series. I’m always baffled when someone confesses they’ve never seen it. “What?!? You don’t about the wonderful banter that is McClane and Hans?!” While trying to win back his wife, NYPD Officer McClane is caught between a holiday party taken hostage and German terrorist Hans Gruber, and takes it upon himself to fix both situations. I like Bruce Willis OK, but Alan Rickman is what makes this movie! It’s also very well written, going back and forth between drama, action and comedy with ease.

Movie quote to know: Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker.

Project 52 | September #2016CMP52

If you missed Weeks 31-35 of Project 52, click back to see August’s #2016CMP52 Photos.

Four more weeks, FAST WEEKS, in the books – only 13 more weeks to go until the year is over. It sounds so crazy to even think that Christmas is only 81 days away.

I feel like a broken record, but this month’s prompts just didn’t excite me very much. One thing I did have to do was pay more attention; look around, see what caught my eye, made the wheels turn, catch my heart. Which, actually, this is a good thing. Just forget that I was completely stumped in Week 39 – but I was able to make it work! And I’m proud that I’ve posted every week, all 39 of them, on time.

The little wins… they add up.

Week 36: Blue


I tried to photography “blue” all week long. Set up some self-portraits – hated them. Looked for it in nature – felt uninspired. I eventually just took to carrying my camera everywhere in hopes that I’d find it before Friday.

Enter my co-worker, Krista.

She had on a blue jean jacket at work and I was like “That’s it – that’s got to be the blue I’m waiting for.” So we took a 5 minute break down in the alley behind the office. Krista’s a photographer too so she offered ideas to push me beyond the basic – she’s not only super fun to be around, but super fun to photograph! I ended up settling on the image above. I like the blue being the center of attention while my model remains a bit anonymous. I would have liked to not have cropped so close to her top lip (including some of her nose would have been ideal), but this project is about learning as you go and improving along the way.

Settings: f/4.5, 1/250 sec, 35mm, ISO 400
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

Week 37: Revisited // Lines


I appreciate the idea of giving people the opportunity to visit a prompt they may have missed or skipped over, but I see a Project 52 as a weekly challenge. The only problem here was I wasn’t sure which theme to revisit. I had Chase outside with me one evening thinking maybe I could capture another “negative space” image to love. It didn’t go the way I planned.

Actually, it rarely does with the doggins. I’m sure my neighbors were like, “What in the hell is Brooke doing laying down on her driveway?!”

I gave up fast because Chase wanted none of it. Plopped my butt down in defeat. And she climbed in between my legs. Wheels… turning… BOOM.

I love this image. I mean, when do I not love images of my doggins, but there’s more to this one. I am so proud of myself for stopping down to f/7.1! I never do that! The tones in image are cool and I was able to make it more matte, which I really like with cooler tones. All that negative space on the right – unplanned, but I like it. And I absolutely love how the line of my leg intersects with the line of Chase’s blaze down to her nose; it carries your eye horizontally across the image while my leg takes it vertical.

Settings: f/7.1, 1/400 sec, 35mm, ISO 200
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

Week 38: Framing


I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to capture “framing” with my dSLR the way I wanted to, so I didn’t even try. After taking a documentary approach workshop last month I learned that framing is one technique to help compose a stronger image and help tell a story better. So I didn’t want to create a scenario myself, but rather find it. So phone camera it was.

I skipped down to the post office one afternoon and I’ve always looked through the square windows on this big white wall. On the way back I decided to stop and micro compose – I had my phone camera positioned so that the wall would fill up the frame and was ready to wait like that for a minute. I didn’t have to wait long though as the elevator doors opened and this lady stepped out. I snap-snap-snapped and walked away.

Had a great silhouette of the woman, leading lines above her with a strongly lit background, and the wood paneling filling in the space of the other windows. I like it.

Settings: auto –  f/2.2, 1/640 sec, 4.2mm, ISO 40
Camera and Lens: Samsung Galaxy s5 

Week 39: Squirrelly


This prompt… ugh. I’m not as familiar with the other women who are doing this challenge as they are with each other. And I don’t mind being an outsider. But this theme was chosen to “cheer up” someone else – an inside joke that I’m not a part of. But I tried like hell to find something “squirrelly.”

I looked for wildlife everywhere – the closest I got was a family of three deer down the road from the house and a great horned owl that flew past me one dark morning. (I love the owls. There are two of them. They are gigantic. And they ho-hoo-hoo-ho-hoo to each other almost every morning.) I tried create my own squirrelly scene – pulled out some stuff I’m hanging on to but lives in boxes. It was far-reaching, but I was desperate. I knew I had an image from over the weekend that would work… but…

I went with the image I took over the weekend. I was in historic LaGrange with my friend Melanie and her girls saw “Jumpy” and took off around this gigantic tree. I had my camera following them, hoping to capture something that would be idyllic of childhood. It’s close… and it was as close as I could get to squirrelly in a week’s time.

Settings: f/4.0, 1/640 sec, 50mm, ISO 320
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF50mm f/1.2L USM