Week 4: Intentions | 2018 Project 52

The last three weeks have been AWESOME. I’ve been very happy with my own photographs, I’ve loved seeing what everyone’s added to our 2018P52 Flickr group… I was bound to lose my momentum though. Gah.

I had ZERO ideas. OK, that’s a lie. I had ideas. But there were all uninspiring and nothing turned out the way I wanted it to and I eventually ran out of time. Not how I like to spend my week, but here I am trying to work with what I’ve got. But at least what I’ve got is a 2018 goal for myself.

yoga intentions

Settings: f/4.0, 1/125 sec, 35mm, ISO 640
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

Yoga. I actually started practicing at home back in November 2017 and I fell in love with it. I found some YouTube videos I really liked, I had the guided help from a friend that started a beginner program and a pose library… and it’s been great. I intend to keep up with my at-home practice throughout the year and next month I want to go to a class. (I don’t think that will be a habit though. I really like doing it alone at home.) Even in two months I’ve surprised myself how much change I’ve seen. I’m stronger, I feel calmer and more balanced through the day, my posture is better… all from stretching and not breaking a sweat. I’m better at meditating now, I find myself taking small breaks throughout the day to stretch and release… yoga is awesome for me.

A few weeks ago I stuck a side plank. I was SO surprised (and excited!), that I called my husband into the room to see me because I couldn’t even figure out how to move into the pose the week before. My side plank is far from perfect; my body isn’t straight, the front of my core is a little too forward, my right arm is over-extended to help me balance, but by golly I can get myself up there! And it felt great. So I tried it again for my picture. I chose this one because of my smile – that is actual joy of finding this strength and making it happen. And all that messy yoga hair. ;)

Week 5: Winter
due 01.31.18

A suggestion from my friends at the office that are playing along, we’re going to visit the seasons throughout this year. With it being cold in the Northern hemisphere in January, we’re going to start with winter. So wherever you are, photograph what winter looks like for you. Venture outside, stay inside, get cozy, make us jealous of warmer weather… whatever the winter season means to you. Explore your perspective, play with light and shoot with your heart.

Also, I’m likely going to miss my blog post next week due to travel, so Week 6 will also be posted in the 2018 P52 Flickr group discussions. Thank you for understanding!

Last week’s photo: Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) #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!

Week 3: Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) | 2018 Project 52

Intentional camera movement is a photography effect that any level of photographer can experiment with. You might not know what your settings should be or how your subject will photograph, but the results can be pretty cool. I had a few ideas this week to try out. I pulled my colorful straws out again, made some interesting shapes with paper… but I totally stayed indoors. I had plans to go outside but it is toooooo cooooold. And with snow actually on the ground, I wimped out. But luckily I had more inspiration thanks to the husband staying busy inside with me.

intentional camera movement

Settings: f/10, 1.3 sec, 46mm, ISO 100
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8

That, my friends, is sorted piles of puzzle pieces. I tried varying shutter speeds, different movements, and two images made me stop in my tracks. One was darker, bolder, not as whimsical. And this one.. softer, movement more evident, more ethereal. The colors blend into each other in such a way that I have to look at each part of the image separately, and then step back again to see it together.

I know this image or this type of photography isn’t for everyone, but I really love trying new things… and you really can’t fail with intentional camera movement. It’s about both the process and the finished product, which is a double with for photographers.

Week 4: Intentions
due 01.24.18

With a New Year comes resolutions… but I’m not one for resolutions. I make a list of recommendations for myself. But whatever you call them, they are all intentions. An act or instance in determining mentally upon some action or result.

With a few weeks behind us now, share with us some intentions you hope for this year, have already started on or maybe have already given up. What’s the best way to photograph this intention? Should you find your way in front of the camera again, or maybe show us your point of view. Or maybe try a still life. Anything works this week, but find a way to get creative when showing us your goals for the year.

Last week’s photo: Circle #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!

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:



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 changed 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…


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!