Week 47: Lost in the Details | 2017 Project 52

I told myself this week I wasn’t going to set up a still life for this week. I was determined to FIND my details in the everyday. So I did what any photographer with a project would do in the winter when there’s four hours of daylight… and I photographed everything in my house. Which was completely flat and uninspiring and boring. Ugh.

So I carried my camera with me, like I do most days. And looking out, seeing a bit sun through the window, I saw my opportunity.

lost in the details

Settings: f/3.5, 1/800 sec, 50mm, ISO 2000
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF50mm f/1.2L USM

It may not seem interesting to many, but I like where my head was in this moment. I looked over toward the one window I can see out of, about 15 feet away from my desk, and the light was dancing on these transparent hangings that my teammates put up last year. But the light was different today (as in we actually had some), the strips were twisting from the indoor breeze and the lines in the Galleria roof outside just looked different. Different in an interesting way.

I took several shots, but this one, the very first one I took, is my favorite. I like that I’m not very close to my subject, you can see the twisting movement a bit, most of the colors in the frame are neutral, the roof is out of focus but the vertical lines are very present throughout. Something about keeps my attention. And one of my promises to myself this year was to shoot with my heart — to hell with what other people think. My heart likes.


Week 48: Maker Movement
due 11.29.17

“The umbrella term for independent inventors, designers and tinkerers.”

This prompt was actually a request from my friend, Brenda, who is an avid sewer with a mission to design her own wardrobe and hand-make it all. And she’s really good at what she does! I myself am known to craft occasionally and pretty good at knitting, although I haven’t done it in a while,… but I really like the idea of photographers exploring other people who create or the things that we create besides photographs.

If you’re not sure about the theme, definitely read more about the maker movement or flip through Instagram’s #makermovement images. Think about how you can capture this theme. Will it include the maker or only the finished product? Should you get really close, showcase the fine details of what is made? Or tell a story in the frame, with layering and balance? Walk around the subject, try different things, get new perspectives and explore what you create with inspiration from someone else’s creation!

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2017project52 so that we can find your work and give it some love!
If you have questions about the project, you can find more about it here or in the Flickr group description.
Looking for a group to join in 2018? We got you covered for #2018P52.

I Did Yoga For A Week – This is What I Learned

Real talk: I hate working out. I’ve tried running and failed. I’ve tried going to gym and it failed eventually. I’ve tried riding a bike and that was a disaster I don’t want to talk about. I’ve been to a yoga class, but a hot yoga class before distracted me (think warm air, carpeted floor and other people’s sweat). I’ve tried walking during my lunch breaks but I choose to sit at my desk and read most days instead. I am just not motivated. Never really been the type, really. I was born to be sedentary. (That’s what I tell myself at least.)

When I was kid I loved riding my bike around the neighborhood and we’d get up to something like 17 miles a day. And roller skating — my god do I love roller skating. But I don’t want to be that weird old lady that circling the kiddies on a Sunday afternoon to bad pop music. But I set a goal for myself two years ago: To find a type of exercise I could fall in love with. And then I promptly forgot about it, because how silly is does that sound? (Re: sedentary lifestyle)

But I did start thinking about it a few months ago. And I hunted down my yoga mat that was somewhere in the house. I found it and leaned it up against the TV stand in our bedroom. Where it stayed for three months. A purple prop that I saw everyday and did nothing with. I am so lame. Anyway, Mike’s been talking about taking better care of ourselves, making dinner more often, eating smarter, and then he threw out the most profane word in the English language: workout. Blerg.

After a couple of weeks of home-cooked meals, and some intermittent fasting in the mornings to help with stomach bloating (because stomach issues are still a thing in my world), I started to feel good. I got the whim one day at lunch, surfing the web while stuffing my face, to research some yoga videos that would be good for beginners, specifically just before bedtime, that I could do at home, by myself. And that night I took the plunge.

You guys. I woke a beast.

yoga rag doll close up

That first night, I started with a 20-minute bedtime yoga routine – I loved it so much that I immediately followed it with a “complete beginners” video. All that stretching was just wonderful. And easy. I didn’t feel overwhelmed. Hell, it didn’t even feel like a workout. So I woke up the next morning and did a quick 5-minute morning yoga video by the same gal, Yoga with Adriene, and bopped my not-so-little ass down the hall afterward to get ready for work.

If you know me — specifically: if you work with me — you know that I do NOT function well in the morning. I show up, early even, but my brain doesn’t really start buzzing until 9:30a. Well, not on this day. I felt like a little bunny hopping my way into the sun-shining day.

I liked these little YouTube videos I found and I keep going back through the archives to see what I can add to my playlist. And luck would have it that my good friend Hailey kicked off her Yoga Basics just a few days after I started; not gonna lie, I need a little more confidence before I deep dive into Hailey’s videos, but the materials she sent me have been referenced several times already. (Pose library, anyone?) I will get there eventually. But doing this on my own time, in my own terms, and most importantly ALONE, has been enjoyable. And I’ve learned stuff too. Even with just a week under my belt. True story.

I like yoga. You figured that out already, but it really is about focus: on your breath, on your body and on what feels right. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I have the tools to help me learn more, but I really liked learning that it’s not about the “perfect pose” – it’s really more about self-expression. Stretching your body, finding balance internally, they say that lightness meets strength… and I’m not quite there yet (I still quiver a bit), but I get it. And I like it.

I’ve slept great. Like REALLY GREAT. Every night that I’ve done yoga, I’ve let myself stay in the corpse pose for several minutes to let my body rest and when I finally get up, I feel different. My muscles are loose. My spine feels straight and tall. My mind feels a little fuzzy around the edges, but free of the baggage I usually carry around with me. I’m completely relaxed in a way I’ve never been relaxed. OK, LIE: when I leave the masseuse I feel pretty awesome. But this feeling is so very similar to that, but without another pair of hands and $80 out of my bank account.

I feel stronger… and taller… even leaner. I mean, I’m not leaner, let’s get that clear. Never is a “week of anything” going to make that happen besides liposuction, but hear me out. After about day three of “easy stretching” my muscles started singing. Just a little tune, soft and happy. And a couple more days… they started singing louder. Just by engaging my core, holding myself up into table pose, stretching out my legs in a million different ways has so many muscles I’ve been neglecting working. And with this small amount of activity, I can already feel the difference. I sit up taller, I stand up straighter, I keep “aligning my head over my heart.” It’s weird, but there’s a difference.

I can totally clear my mind. I was just talking about this with a coworker, how it’s so hard to stop thinking about life, but I’d say about 5 days into yoga practice I was able to shut my mind off. Just like anything else, your brain needs practice too. And a few days in I found myself focusing on my breathing more, really trying to inhale and exhale when it mattered, listening to the instructor versus watching the screen. And I gotta admit this was such a cool experience. I feel like a dork for saying that but it’s true.

Taking time for myself is important. And I would tell you that taking time to watch my favorite TV shows counted. But… I don’t think it does any more. Or at least not in the same way. With a little more energy and a plan to visit my mat every evening, I’ve made time to de-clutter my personal spaces and I actually did a couple of facial masks in the last week too. I don’t know who the hell I am, but I feel freaking great. I think I might even smell a lavender salt bath in my future.

I can’t stop thinking about yoga. Dude. It’s like a freaking new relationship or something. I honestly cannot wait to roll out my mat tonight and stretch my un-stretchy body, hear my muscles sing (because they will), and breathe like a boss so that everything else slips away and all that is left is my body and the ground below it. I feel like this is how super unhealthy obsessions are started… but this one is OK, right?

My plan is to keep going at my own pace. Try to do 5-minutes in the morning to shake off the sleep and more later in the day to help me get stronger. I know it’s going to get harder, it’s going to feel more like a workout (such a naughty word), but I hope to keep this going. I have a goal in mind of 30 days of practice in a row. It may not be perfect, but I’m hoping that after 30 days I’ll be completely hooked. And considering how I’m feeling right now, I’m pretty sure I have this in the bag.

Who’d figure that it would take two years to convince myself of something and then only seven days to fall head over heels for it. Life is weird, man.

Katie - This is so great!!!! And now I’m going to click on the links and check them out myself.
Now go check out the Southern Yogi on Instagram.
I started taking a reformer pilates class a few weeks ago and I, too, am obsessed.

Week 46: Purple | 2017 Project 52

Purple came to me this week in a way I didn’t expect.

Friday afternoon around 430p, the street started to get really loud. Our office building is in 4th Street Live, but concerts are not supposed to start soundchecks until 5p. And they usually start at 5p on the dot, booming bass that shakes the windows of our 100-year-old plus building.

But on Friday the booms came early. In the form of a drum brigade in place of a band. Because there was a pep rally for the Louisville City FC.

purple

Settings: f/4.0, 1/640 sec, 35mm, ISO 1600
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

I don’t really follow soccer. Actually, I’ve only been to one soccer in my life. It was fun, there was beer. But the Louisville City team came to our city in 2015 and has taken it BY STORM. I know soooo many people who are avid fans. I know a guy that dresses up as Count con Count for every home game. The games are always sold out. It’s serious business being a soccer fan. And the pep rally was for, I believe at least, the USL Cup Final that was coming up. What I do know is that they won 1-0.

As for my picture… I had a lot to choose to from, most of which was documentary. But this one was my favorite. The drum brigade is on the stage, flags are waving, everyone is wearing purple and gold… I like to think that all this rallying helped them when the game on Monday night.


Week 47: Lost in the Details
due 11.22.17

We are in fact getting lost in the details this week. Instead of thinking about stepping back or setting up a scene, pay attention to the little things around you this week. What types of things catch your eyes? Is it colorful? Is the light? Is it just weird and interesting?

Really consider your composition this week. When you step in and focus on your details, can you frame it in a different way that tells a better story? Think about adding layers, or changing the light, or even moving yourself. I have some links below to provide some inspiration for as we wind down… only five more weeks left for us in 2017!

The Art of the Detail Shot
5 Ways to Create Detail Photos
Photographing Details

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2017project52 so that we can find your work and give it some love!
If you have questions about the project, you can find more about it here or in the Flickr group description.
Looking for a group to join in 2018? We got you covered for #2018P52.

Week 45: Negative Space | 2017 Project 52

Another week of a stellar idea only to be squashed by a busy weekend and daylight savings.

I hate you, daylight savings.

But then I had another idea. And asked a coworker to help me out. So we stepped out back, into the frigid alley with a cold breeze blowing for only three minutes. And my other idea came to life lickety-split.

negative space

Settings: f/4.0, 1/400 sec, 35mm, ISO 800
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

This is my friend Amy. We’re cubicle neighbors, teammates and frequent the snack table together at work. I was reluctant to ask her to be my model, but she agreed and we were walking toward the elevator in less than 30 seconds. On the way back in I told her I’ve been less inclined to ask for models these past couple of Project 52s as compared to the photo challenges I did six years ago… and I think it’s because I don’t want people to be disappointed in my work. Or if I decide not to use the image. But I need to get over it because those three minutes in the alley were fun. And editing, watching the out-of-camera shot turn into what I had envisioned, was even more fun.

Our office building backs up to a parking garage and the alley runs in between. “I have a dream” has been painted on this wall since I’ve been here, and it’s not the first time I’ve photographed it. (Probably not the last.) But I really like the placement of the graffiti with Amy and her gaze leading us along the quote. The grates above help set more of an urban setting, one that has some inspiration that’s seen daily, along with contrast and texture. I knew I wanted to convert to black and white… and with bit of vignette to keep your eye around that key area… this is what I saw in my head when I asked if she was game. Exactly.

Don’t be surprised if you see Amy again before the end of the year. ;)


Week 46: Purple
due 11.15.17

How about one more color challenge before 2017 ends?

The first thing I think of when I think of purple is Mesopotamia. I remember a story from grade school about how they were one of the first civilizations to dye their clothing purple. Of course people of high status and military rank paved the way for us to consider purple the color of royalty these days, but it carries other meanings as well: power, ambition, wisdom, creativity, peace, independence, magic…

Photograph the color purple however you please. Fill the frame, make it pop, find pastels, go bold — just make sure you have fun finding the color around you and in the unexpected. It can sometimes be a difficult color to photograph, so be take your time with your camera settings and finding the right light.

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2017project52 so that we can find your work and give it some love!
If you have questions about the project, you can find more about it here or in the Flickr group description. Looking for a group to join in 2018? We got you covered for #2018P52.

Week 44: Edge | 2017 Project 52

True story: I had an amazing idea this week, something you’d see in a magazine. Life got in the way. It didn’t happen.

But a Halloween party full of littles did happen. And my one willing model, Miss Allie, stuck around for longer than two seconds to help me with my “back up plan.” God bless her and her little Minnie Mouse ears.

edge

Settings: f/4.0, 1/400 sec, 35mm, ISO 16k
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

This kid… I love her. I’ve take photos of her since she was born and it seems in the last year she really enjoys being in front of the camera more. It may not be the most inventive photograph, but I can hear her small munchkin voice answering my call. “I’ll help!” And then here glittering pink shoes popping over the edge of the landing. I’ll keep her.

Also, a quick happy birthday to my long time friend, Abby. I keep several scorpios in my life, but she’s been around the longest. xoxo


Week 45: Negative Space
due 11.08.17

Negative space is a great composition to learn more about. It can add to an image, or the story, in a way that other compositions can’t. So this week, let’s leave some space in our images and see what we can create.

If you need some inspiration, I found some helpful links for us:
Understanding and Using Negative Space
Minimalism: Using Negative Space in Your Photographs
Negative Space in Photography

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2017project52 so that we can find your work and give it some love!
Have questions about 2017 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the Flickr group description. Please join us!