Week 22: State of Mind | 2017 Project 52

You know when you really want to do something well and then you end up overthinking it… which may possibly a little bit lead to a type of paralysis of even starting? That was me. But really, that works for this week theme: state of mind. Because I got lost in the ideas and couldn’t pull the trigger… why not photograph that? Or… the opposite of that?

My work life has been a series of peaks and valleys lately. Picking up a new project has me doing tasks I normally don’t do, thinking about things I normally wouldn’t think about and while most of the time I’m feeling super and so on top of things… I’ve had some wimpy moments too. Second guessing myself, curious of others’ intentions and asking myself the all encompassing “can I pull this off?” question more than once a day. I get lost in the details and feel like I don’t have control. Even though I totally do.

The opposite of this feeling, at least to me, is serenity. And while it’s always fun to shout out “SERENITY NOW!”, finding peace and letting go of things is something I strive for. I’m not there yet… but I can at least practice it to capture it with my camera.

state of mind

Settings: f/3.2, 1/400 sec, 35mm, ISO 400
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

I like photographing people and when I don’t the opportunity to do it, I just make it up myself. So yeah, another self-portrait. Only this time I stepped into the backyard with my tripod, where I wanted to include the trees to have them take up most of the image.

I framed myself in the center and just told myself to enjoy everything around me. The beautiful warm weather we we’re having. The light breeze that came by every few seconds. The quiet of hearing no cars or voices, only birds chirping. The way the leaves swished against each other. I breathed it all in and exhaled. And like a little duck floating on top of the water looking cool and collected, my right hand was clicking away with the clicker out of the frame! But I was alone, it was quiet and with summer here now, it was easy to lean into it.

Luckily I was able to keep the focus sharp when stopping up to f/3.2, so the background is slightly knocked out — I tested a few different apertures and f/4.0 was just too deep for what I envisioned. But this works for me and I like the additional texture, the appearance of being smaller than my environment… it totally adds to the state of mind I was trying to capture. Serenity now.


Week 23: Show Me the Door
due 06.07.17

Whether you’re walking in or out, we encounter doors everyday, multiple times a day. This week, find a door that speaks to you. Anything goes.

Bonus Challenge: A great way to discover something new is to take a photowalk. I encourage you to get out and explore this week, with a friend or another photographer, and take a photowalk in an area of your town or city you haven’t visited before.

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!

Birthday Cake Crispy Treats | On The Menu

Boy, do I have the best Memorial Day treat for you and your cookout! Birthday Cake Crispy Treats!

I started making these years ago after finding the recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, How Sweet It Is, and it’s been my go-to ever since. There made just like regular rice crispy treats, only with a twist. My favorite comment I’ve heard about these was “I didn’t think sprinkles would make that much of a difference, but I swear they taste different!” Sprinkle in some yellow cake mix and then you’ve got special treats.

I’m telling you, your family and friends will take a bite and wonder how much love these birthday cake crispy treats were made with. These are worth the sore arm from stirring the cereal into the marshmallows. Promise. You can even lick the spatula. ;) Find the recipe here.

Week 21: Green | 2017 Project 52

You guys… I totally made up for being a slacker last week.

I went on three or four walks with my camera, looking for all the green around me, and it reminded me that even when I get super busy at work, I should make time for my hobby. It gave me a break from all the stress, even if it was just 10 minutes. I slowed down some, took detours and got out of my car to explore a little bit. And carrying my camera everyday… I’ve really got to figure out how to make this a habit. Because even if I don’t take it out of my bag, having it available and then getting a picture I love… totally worth it.

Settings: f/4.0, 1/2500 sec, 35mm, ISO 320
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

Have I mentioned how much I love where we live? We moved to Oldham County two years ago and while I had reservations about being further outside of Louisville, it’s been wonderful. Yeah, the commute is longer; I’ve got to gas up more and trips to Target are fewer and farther between. But I enjoy everything it’s introduced. I love our home, our wooded lot, how quiet it all is, our fantastic neighbors, and how beautiful the drive is with all of the nearby horse farms.

The drive into our neighborhood is flanked by cattle farms and a new development is going in off this main strip, but the black fences just add to the charm of living outside of the city. I pulled off the road to see if anything spoke to me, walking up and down the fence with my camera as my neighbors were driving home from work. This was my favorite.

This year I’ve been into soft-focused images. I just find myself knocking out the scene more and more. And with this street bordered with cedar trees, that kept my camera’s focus, with the fence at the bottom and then the open field and trees spread out beyond. Kentucky in the spring is the best and everything has been SUPER green with all the extra rain we’ve gotten. When I look at this picture, I know exactly where I was standing. It makes me happy. It’s a keeper.


Week 22: State of Mind
due 05.31.17

An attitude, an outlook, a way of looking at things. An emotional state, a mood, a temperament. Consider the way that these can be captured and expressed through photography.

This week I challenge you to share a state of mind with us. Consider all the emotions, from happiness to depression, being proud or insecure, feeling safe or fearful… It can be your current mood, or an outlook you’ve been wanting to capture for sometime. Your photo can include a person… or not… can you communicate this feeling without a person in your image?

Push yourself this week. Channel the state of mine and explore it. Experiment with your settings, your subject, your environment. I’m looking forward to diving into this prompt with you guys!

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 20: Anonymous Portrait | 2017 Project 52

I was so excited about including this theme in this year’s challenge! But you guys… I was not the photographer I wanted to be this last week.

Work got the best of me; I was handed a big project I was not expecting and it is all that I’ve been able to think about. I brought work home with me, I stayed late most nights, I logged hours over the weekend… my project looks great, but I had a hard time coming up with ideas for an anonymous portrait. I had trouble coming up with ideas for myself even. Boo Brooke, boo.

But you know how this story goes: I still got a photo.

anonymous portrait

Settings: f/4.0, 1/320 sec, 35mm, ISO 5000
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

The husband was doing a quick trip to Cincinnati for the day and I was waiting for my parents to get home for church, so I just experimented like crazy on Sunday. I had plenty of light throughout the house, but ended up in my bedroom again. The light is just perfect in there during the day. But I had my camera remote and got to work.

Out of the set, this was my favorite. I usually opt for my bed, but I could not get the focus right on any of those self-portrait. But this one… the focus was good. I like how the light and shadows play together in the image. And the leading lines of my dresser. And the fact that I am there… and so is a picture of me as a four-year-old at Christmas.

Is a favorite? No. But some weeks I focus on just getting a picture, even if it doesn’t make my heart pitter-patter. So while there isn’t a story… there’s a photo.

That’s all she wrote.


Week 21: Green
due 05.24.17

I am feeling it this week… I am soooo feeling a color challenge! Only this time we’re doing something about the color green.

The same as before, you can display the color green anyway you like in your image. Have the color dominate your photograph or isolate is a *pop* of color. Find the deepest, darkest green you can find or opt for a lighter, pastel version. Whatever gets your kicks – all I ask is you have fun hunting for the color green this week!

Bonus Challenge: So with our last color challenge, we talked a little bit about advanced colors. This time we’re on the flip side and talking about receding colors. Cooler colors – blue, purple and green – have a way of falling behind warm colors; your eye doesn’t see them first and they tend to act as a support versus standing out. That said, find a way to use the color green as a background so that your subject can be front and center and your “story” will stand out.

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!

Brew in Jasper | On The Menu

My brother’s lived in Jasper, Indiana for years… like, at least 20 of them by now. But only in the last year or so has had a new relationship. With a restaurant. Called Brew.

My brother has started referring to it as a “Brew-mance.” That’s how serious they are, folks.

He frequents multiple times a week as its only block from his house and he knows the owners, Josh and Barry. And, well, he’s in love with the food. I can’t blame him, it’s super tasty (I’ve been twice while visiting with family) and it reminds me of a lot of the restaurants we have in Louisville. Fresh ingredients, spin on originals, better-for-you options, and a cool vibe on the inside that makes me want to say “hipster”… but also not say that.

Regardless of what label you put it under, it’s delicious. My first visit I was dealing with ulcer issues, so I kept it safe with a salad wrap. But this time I explored more and the veggie flatbread HIT THE SPOT. Once my stomach is fully recovered, I’m moving in on the beer battered cod. Everyone’s food looked delicious, and I even stole a few fries off mom’s plate. (I don’t know how they do it, but they’re crispy on the outside, fluffy little potato pillows on the inside and perfectly seasoned.)

Enough with the chatter… on to the pictures!

Jovie was telling me to go to the side of the building to see the graffiti wall. She ended up showing me because I didn’t understand her, but we had fun checking it out and she told me what were her favorite parts about the art wall.

The food… seriously yummy. If you live in the region or are driving through Jasper on your way to Holiday World, it’s worth a stop. It’s different from what you’d normally experience in small-town Indiana, which is why my brother likes it as much as he does. It’s not fast food, it’s not even healthy food, but it’s food that’s made to make you feel good from the inside out.

To get a glimpse at Brew’s menu, check it out here: BrewJasper.com
Also, take a look at Smalley Coffee that’s also owned and operated in Jasper: SmalleyCoffee.com