Week 49: Cozy | 2017 Project 52

I had a few cozy ideas, but my weekend got away from. And not having daylight is the poops. But my cozy backup plan worked perfectly.

cozy dog

Settings: f/3.2, 1/160 sec, 35mm, ISO 12800
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

A little doggin love for the blog this week.

Chase is our dog that can hear. Both her ears used to stand up, but the left one is now limp after dealing with hematoma. And, well, she’ll practically do anything for a cookie. Throw some soft blankets and her squishy toys on the bed too, and she’s all in.

I took several frames, but this one was my favorite. She’s obviously snuggled in a big more, which I love. And she finally laid down. Her stuffed bone is under her foot. And she’s giving me this look that says (to me), “Food Lady, I needs more cookies. Stat.”

I did convert the image to black and white because I had lamps on — there is literally no daylight at 6:30p — but a little editing helps the fact that my ISO was booming at 12800. Yikes. Still… I got a friggin cute picture of my Chasey Bear.

Week 50: Out of Focus (OOF)
due 12.13.17

That’s right — we’re going to intentionally shoot out of focus this week.

I really love the idea of making an image a bit blurry to tell a different story. Light can play a big part in what you’re trying to convey, as well as movement, so really consider the time of day, direction and your camera settings. It might take a few tries to find something you’re happy with, but keep clicking and changing it up as you go. And with the holidays fast approaching, I’m sure several of us have some wonderful twinkle lights to inspire us.

If you’re not sure what to photograph out of focus, then look for inspiration that you’d normally shoot — and then change your perspective. Get closer or further away, lower your aperture so that you’re shooting wide, turn off auto-focus and soften the focus a bit manually. But if you’re looking for a bit more guidance, I have some resources linked below for us.

Awesome Tips and Examples of Out of Focus Photography
Out of Focus—On Purpose
When Being Out of Focus Makes the Shot

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.

A New Weekly Photo Project | 2018 Project 52

I’ve had so much fun this year with #2017project52 that I’m doing it again next year! That’s right, 2018 Project 52 is happening!

Much of the same only all new themes each week. You’ll see more photography techniques introduced such as silhouettes, smoke art and high-speed photography. Well… at least we’re going to try these things. There will still be some prompts that photographers can interpret on their own and some classic compositions to keep our mind’s sharp.

And so, in 2018, a new weekly photo project kicks off — get ready for 2018 Project 52!

Here’s the skinny:

  • Project 52 is a weekly challenge where a new prompt is announced each week. These will be randomly selected each week to keep us on our toes!
  • We have an all new Flickr Group to post our images; I thought this would be the best way to house all of our images in one place and encourage each other through comments. You can find it here.
  • Share your images wherever you like outside of Flickr. If you’d like us to find you, we’ll be using the hashtag #2018P52 this year and we’ll be sure to share some love and likes.
  • We’re sticking with Wednesdays — there’s less pressure with our “deadline” falling in the middle of the week. I’ll share my own submission on Wednesdays and announce next week’s prompt.
  • The first prompt will be announced on December 29 – Week One’s images is due Wednesday, January 5, 2018. And prompts will be announced on all channels (our Flickr Group, this blog and on Instagram).
  • There’s nothing fancy about this challenge, so remember ANY CAMERA WORKS – your phone, a point-and-shoot or a dSLR.
  • Have fun with this and push yourself to take a new photo every week. Try not use photos from your archive; it defeats the purpose of challenging yourself as a photographer.
  • This shouldn’t have to be said, but please make all images SFW – we have a “safe” rating in our Flickr Group and I will remove any images that don’t fit within that rating.
  • I encourage comments from all participants as we’re a community of photographers with a common goal. That said, please keep comments positive and encouraging; only offer critiques when explicitly asked for one.

You can join Flickr for free and it’s a nice platform sharing images; you may meet some new people in the process and we have some folks from #2017project52 already getting ready. The only other thing to do is invite friends or acquaintances you think would like to be a part of it. It’s a personal challenge so there’s no sweat if a week is missed and there’s no prize for finishing it through.

Get your camera ready, sign up for Flickr and join the group, and check back later in the month to get started! Don’t forget: I’m posting our first prompt on Wednesday, December 29!

Week 48: Maker Movement | 2017 Project 52

So the maker movement is “the umbrella term for independent inventors, designers and tinkerers.” And I like to believe it includes those of us who work with fiber.

I learned how to knit years ago thanks to my mom and started pushing myself to try more difficult patterns after seeing what a few friends were able to make. After that, I was a full-fledge knitter — I had more yarn than I did projects, I was giving away more of finished items and I read patterns to see if they’d be interesting to try.

maker movement

Settings: f/4.0, 1/100 sec, 55mm, ISO 8000
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8

I’ve made hats, clothes… for babies, scarfs, numerous newborn hats, bibs, toys. I’ve started wraps and blankets, only to rip them later. But I keep trying new things. New yarn. New patterns. New-to-me techniques. And cheering on friends that have made some wonderful pieces. I haven’t technically clicked needles in a couple of years though. I need to, but every time I get started, it doesn’t feel right. Not yet.

Pulling out all of my yarns and books and needles, touching it all and sorting through it… I can feel the motivation creeping in. The fact that it’s colder outside helps a little too because staying warm with a pile of yarn in your lap is the best way to sink into winter.

Week 49: Cozy
due 12.06.17

It’s getting colder here in North America and my favorite thing about winter (other than Christmastime and the music that comes with it) is climbing under a mountain of warm, thick blankets. Getting cozy, when it’s cold and dreary outside, is the best!

Think about you and your family get cozy this time of year. Can you photograph your subject in a way that you bring the viewer right in, so they can cozy and feel the warmth as well? Move around your subject and try different perspectives — and don’t forget to experiment if the whim hits you!

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 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.