Part 3: Cruising Into an Oasis | My Favorites

I had a goal for our Caribbean cruise this year: photograph the shit out of it. The thing was… I didn’t.

While I took a lot of photos, with both my Canon and my phone, I just wasn’t as inspired as I thought I’d be. I really thought I was going to carry my Canon everywhere with me… but I talked myself out of it a lot. It’s a heavy camera, and a heavy lens, I’m not in love with my travel bag, and sometimes you don’t feel safe carrying around a camera of that size when you’re surrounded by water.

But while I disappointed myself with my lack of motivation, I still had my phone with me. And I pulled it out and took a photo of anything that made me pause, even for a second. I shot with intention, wanting to feel gravitation towards something… and I walked away with a lot of favorites from our trip.

I never know if Mike hates or loves that I take as many pictures as I do — I know that photography isn’t as important to him as it is to me. But by golly he cheers me on, waits patiently for me, looks for me when I silently walked away and will give feedback on anything I put in front of him. And I love him for that.

To read more about our cruise on Oasis of the Seas:
Part 1: The Ship
Part 2: The Islands

Week 11: From Above | 2017 Project 52

I’ve been on the go so much the last few weeks that I spend every minute I can at home. I am a home-body – it’s my most favorite place to be. I love the someone I share it with. I love the doggins. I love to cook in my kitchen. I love to cuddle up with a book on my couch. And I love going to bed in my comfy bed. So, naturally, I had to push myself to get out shoot.

I had a few ideas that included walking bridges and parking garages for our “from above” prompt… but those didn’t happen. The weather turned cold again (what is up with these temp swings?!) and while I know the perfect way to bundle to keep warm, the idea of being out in the elements and risk having snot run down my face was a turn off. So I ditched those ideas and settled on a new one: a snowy walk in the woods.

I walked down the hill to where the waterfalls are hidden (I took my transitions photo at the same place) to poke around Monday evening. I’m always hesitant to explore on my own… telling myself that when I think nothing bad will happen, I’ll end up taking a spill and crashing my camera or my teeth into a rock… but I believe those hyperbolic scenes make me more aware of where to put my feet, what steps not to take.

I ventured out into the creek, inching closer to the waterfall to get some pictures from above. I climbed up a small hill to see if there was anyway to get to the larger waterfall below for an interesting point of view. I marched over huge rocks that were topped with bright green moss and fresh show. I wore a bright red hat so that in case I fell and had to scream for a help a neighbor could more easily identify the fallen human.

Hey, if anything I’m a realist.

from above

Settings: f/4.0, 1/250 sec, 35mm, ISO 1000
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

My waterfall and mossy rock photos were fine, but I kept coming back to this image. There’s a jut of rock that overhangs the creek bed below the first, smaller waterfall, and trees grow crooked out of it. The trees are what got my attention — and lately I’ve been taking pictures of whatever calls to me — so I ventured over, finding my footing as I went, letting my boots sink into wet piles of leaves, getting a little closer to the edge… and no Brookes were harmed in the making of this photo.

But I liked what I saw. I used the tree on the left and a broken root on the right to frame the scene below. The water ripples and reflects light as it continues on, showing how bright the evenings are becoming. The creek bed is green in some places and black in others, where moss, mud and rock live beneath a few inches of icy cold water. There’s composition and there’s movement in this image. And it looks a lot further down every time I look at it.

Week 12: Let There Be Light
due 03.22.17

The basics of photography boils down to four things: aperture, shutter speed, ISO and exposure. Or in the most simplest definition of those four things: light. And how light is captured can impact an image greatly. It can create contrast, add depth, set the mood… it is the greatest element to master as a photographer. With daylight savings taking place the past Sunday, let’s go out into the world and let the longer days be our inspiration. (Deepest apologies to my friends who are in the Southern Hemisphere… it was good while it lasted, no?)

Bonus Challenge: Take your photo using the monochrome setting on your camera, or with the intention of converting it to black and white. Pay attention to different kinds of light (full, directional, open shade, rim, etc) and how it contrasts on your subject. When you remove color from your scene through you camera or in post production, how does the light look different? What kind of light do you prefer for black and white images?

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!

[FOR SALE] Kelly Moore Bag | “Kate” Camera/Laptop Bag

I have a thing for camera bags and I always look to see what’s new, especially when it comes to Kelly Moore bag designs. The moment I saw Kelly Moore’s “Kate” camera/laptop messenger bag, I knew I wanted it. I liked the style, the canvas fabric, the sandy/almost olive color and I thought it would be a great bag to use for work — I could fit in my laptop and my camera. Truth is, I barely used it. It just isn’t the right bag for me. And I’ve hung on to it for almost three years. So it’s time to part ways with it… and I’m hoping that one of you will love it.

I purchased “Kate” in 2014 and used it less than 10 times so it is like new. It’s a unisex design, so it’s a great messenger bag for both women and men. The bag does include a padded basket, which is removable, and four dividers so you can create the best housing for your equipment. The hardware on the bag is really nice; both the padded cross-body strap and hand strap are also removable and the brass lobster hooks swivel so it never gets tangled up.

If you’d like to take a closer look at the bag, Kelly Moore has this bag available right now on their website for $199 and features a video.

Kelly Moore "Kate" camera/laptop messenger bagKelly Moore "Kate" camera/laptop messenger bagKelly Moore "Kate" camera/laptop messenger bagKelly Moore "Kate" camera/laptop messenger bagKelly Moore "Kate" camera/laptop messenger bag

Dimensions & specifications for Kelly Moore’s “Kate” camera/laptop messenger bag:

  • Outside dimensions: 16″(length) x 5″(width) x 11.5″(height) 
  • 1 front zipper pocket on flap
  • 1 large front zipper pocket with credit card/cf card organizer 
  • 1 large zipper pocket(10.5″) 
  • 1 side pocket
  • 2 snaps for flap closure
  • 3 Padded, removable, adjustable Velcro dividers, creating 4 sections inside bag for gear
  • Exterior walls & bottom of the bag are padded
  • Removable Padded Basket

I’m selling the pictured Kelly Moore bag, “Kate” camera/laptop messenger bag, for $160 – this price includes tracked shipping in the continental United States. If you’re interested in purchasing this bag, please email directly at and we can figure out the logistics. Paypal payment is preferred and must be received before the bag will be shipped.

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!