Part 2: Cruising Into an Oasis | The Islands

We treated ourselves to a getaway the best way we know how: on a cruise vacation. The ship was wonderful, the food was delicious, the people we met were very nice and the ports were… okay. Honestly, I wasn’t very excited about our destinations. We’d already been to Cozumel a couple of times and once to Jamaica. And while Labadee, Haiti was very pretty and fun to walk around, we’re not really beach people. Mike picked this cruise for the ship because 1) we’d never traveled Royal Caribbean before and 2) Oasis of the Seas is a mega boat.

We didn’t plan any excursions because nothing tickled our fancy, but we made sure to get off the boats and explore a little. Not gonna lie, most of this vacation was about reading books, watching movies, taking naps, eating food, being together… basically getting the hell out of dodge. But what we saw of the islands was enough to make us feel like we escaped. And that’s all that mattered to me.

To read more about our cruise on Oasis of the Seas:
Part 1: The Ship
Part 3: My Favorite Photos

Week 10: On The Side | 2017 Project 52

It’s really hard to get the photos of my doggins together. They don’t like being super close. Well… Chase doesn’t like being super close to Chevy. But if cookies are involved, you never know how they’re going to act. They basically forget everything they except for the handful of tricks that sparingly pop into their heads while the treat is present. Chase will sit, rollover, crawl, turnaround, bark… Chevy will continually paw at you like the dumb beast she is.

But I had this idea to capture two really fun pictures of the dogs and then stitch them together. I have actually tried in the past with quasi-success, but I wanted to try it again but with a spin. Each dog be partially out of frame, or “on the side.” So I grabbed a bag of pretzels and had puppies trotting after me to my favorite blank wall in my bedroom. And they were idiots.

Settings: f/3.5, 1/100 sec, 35mm, ISO 12.8K
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

Most days Chevy, my BDD, is more willing to play along with me. On this day I think she forgot where her brain was. But Chase… she surprised me. I mean, she was still an idiot and kept trying to snatch pretzels when I wasn’t looking, but her inability to stay still worked for what I wanted.

Chevy’s did not. Therefore no stitching. I swear that dog was a personal challenge hand-selected by God.

But I dig the photo I picked. The DOF is a bit more narrow than what I’d like, but I was working with almost no daylight and my ISO at 12,800. (Yikes!)  I had to play with my settings in Lightroom more than I normally would; the contrast was very strong and I had to back it off quite a lot. But that doggin is on the side. And all that wonderful negative space on the left makes it even better.

Week 11: From Above
due 03.15.17

One of my favorite challenges when I was learning photography was “One Subject, Five Photos.” The challenge basically forced you to look at your subject differently so that your five photos would all be different. So this week we’re putting that idea into play and changing our perspectives to shoot from above.

I’m really interested to see what type of photos we see in the Flickr group. Whether we’re looking straight down or include more of the scenery. If there will be any tilt-shift photography shared (which I love to try to do Photoshop). Or if some of our foodies in the group will be sharing a table scape featuring some deliciousness.

Really consider your subject — will shooting from above change the way the viewer thinks about it? Whatever you decide to try, push yourself to change your angle and see if it tells a different story. Experiment with how you see the world through your viewfinder and share your favorite photo from the week.

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!

Week 9: Movement | 2017 Project 52

Oh good lord did I drag my heels this week! I’ll be 100% honest and tell you that I HATE having a slow shutter speed prompt. But I feel like it’s something that needs to be considered because it’s a technique not everyone’s tried and can be done a hundred different ways with super cool results. So I put my feelings aside because I want everyone to enjoy and get something out of this photo project.

I did think about it over the weekend… but did everything but take pictures. I lounged, I read, I watched movies, I laundried, I napped, I lightroomed, I brunched, I shopped, I visited, I suppered… I did all the things but actually try to get a picture. The struggle was present and I just embraced it.

So come Monday, when I was making a list of things to try that night, I had an idea… and it was outside of my comfort zone, but I was going to give it a go.


Settings: f/16.0, 0.6 sec, 35mm, ISO 100
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

Yes. I took pictures at the grocery store. I found some settings that worked so that movement would be captured, and set my camera in my cart. When colors or the set up of an aisle caught my attention, I pressed the shutter button and drove that buggy as straight as possible for a second. It felt like an eternity. And I was that woman who walked down the same aisle more than once, not because I forgot something on my list, but because I wanted another go at the perfect picture.

The holiday aisle was my favorite. So many things are already on display for Easter, and so many different and bright colors to make it more interesting than yogurt. I chose this image because of the colors. But I also chose it because the subject straight ahead.

I remember as a kid loving to get into those balls! I don’t even think about it now when I pass, but OH MY GOODNESS I HAD TO TOUCH THE TOY BALLS! Of course, parents to this day still bark at their kids not to get out the ba… OK, put it back, we aren’t playing with that… no, now, I mean it, I’ll count to three… Haha! And when I saw this image, with the aisle blurred out on the sides, it made me think of a kid running excitedly to the balls, too focused to even care about the stuff on the shelves, just tunnel vision to the toys.

Week 10: On The Side
due 03.08.17

We’ve already had a couple of prompts that can be interpreted in several different ways, and we have another one with “on the side.” Does the literal sense of the phrase intrigue you? Will you interpret it as something extra or in addition to, such as a subsidiary job? Or are you feeling challenged and wanting to depict something that is more secret or covert that it sometimes conveys?

Look for inspiration around you or from other photographers on Flickr. Think through some idea, make a list and ask yourself which ones make you the most excited. Experiment, try something new. None of us will see your outtakes, but share your favorite image of the week that was inspired by this theme.

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!

Part 1: Cruising Into An Oasis | The Ship

Mike and I have found that cruise vacations are for us. We’ve been on a few with friends over the years, visited some beautiful islands, went on fun adventures and made some great memories. The last couple cruises we’ve done alone, but we still enjoy it even if we don’t get as adventurous. Just a couple of weeks ago, we left Port Canaveral on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas ship — Mike had been eyeing it because it’s a mega-ship at almost 1200 feet long and weighing in at 225K tons. We had three stops — Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico — but we relaxed like no other on this vacation.

I took a lot of photos, with both my Canon and my phone. (Airplane mode was a smart move and all the credit goes to Mike for that one.) I want to share some of my favorites from our trip, starting with the ship. Oasis of the Seas had EVERYTHING. It had the regular things you’re used to seeing on a boat, and then there was more. From a “central park” to a boardwalk to a water stage to an arcade to an ice-skating rink — no detail was overlooked and my eye kept finding new things to stare at everyday.

A beautiful boat, a wonderful crew and a fantastic week away from all our responsibilities back at home.

To read more about our cruise on Oasis of the Seas:
Part 2: The Islands
Part 3: My Favorite Photos

Week 8: Fleeting Moments | 2017 Project 52

I believe as a photographer that it’s easy to identify fleeting moments. We’re used to looking through a camera to narrow our view, paying attention to light and how it falls, and always on the look for things that catch our eye. My personal goal this week was to look for “moments in the in between” — instead of photographing the obvious, allowing myself to pick up my camera when it felt just right.

I actually do this quite often; it was something that was encouraged when I took a documentary approach workshop last year. But it isn’t always easy to do. And Mike and I were actually away most of the week on vacation. But I took my camera with me in hopes that when my heart fluttered more than usual, it would be within reach.

Settings: f/6.3, 1/250 sec, 35mm, ISO 100
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

Like I said, we went on vacation. We love to cruise — this was actually our fifth cruise in seven years and I had set a goal for myself to “photograph the shit” out of trip. That didn’t happen. I left my camera in our room most of the time and opted to put my cell phone in airplane mode so I could that I would have a small camera with me at all times. (Which was actually a super smart idea because the sunsets in the middle of the ocean were superb.) But I still took daily photos with my Canon when we holed up in our room.

I love that we get a balcony stateroom because we’re able to enjoy being outside alone. We usually do a lot of reading. And napping. But when we’re pulling into port, you get to see the islands for the first time right outside your window. I typically stand out on the balcony and snap-snap-snap when we get to a new location. This particular port was Jamaica. And I’d already been outside snapping away and stepped back inside put away my camera. But I stopped.

Mike stayed outside, looking at the island that we had zero plans for, and I framed him up in the viewfinder… only to see that his reflection was also in the mirror. He’s content, relaxed… and I love that we made time for ourselves this year to get away. Who cares if we were lazy and didn’t have adventures — we were perfectly happy being who we are on a big ass boat. And I look forward to when we can away next time, because those times are few and far between, and fleeting.

Week 9: Movement
due 03.01.17

We have just a few short weeks before daylight savings time begins, so let’s take advantage of the shorter days before we have all the daylight we could ever want! Whether your subject is moving or you’re intentionally moving your camera, capture a sense of movement. Slow down your shutter speed to help you show motion, and test different settings until you get the image you desire. If you don’t shoot manually, I encourage you to use the shutter priority setting on your camera; you choose the shutter speed and the camera will do the rest for you.

Bonus Challenge: Showcasing movement in a photo can help tell the story of your subject, but there are ways use your camera other than just slowing down the shutter. Get creative and try your hand at panning, zooming or a long exposure. If you aren’t familiar with these terms, this article gives a great explanation and examples.

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!