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

Week 19: Day-to-Day | 2017 Project 52

This really wasn’t a good week for me to try and photograph any kind of day-to-day routine because I was off work for three days. For a stay-cation at that. Because I hate working when the rest of the city is out partying and having a hoot of a time at Churchill Downs. I only went to the track on Wednesday… but I was off the rest of the time… and there were zero routines.

Hell, on Thursday I didn’t even take a shower. But I did what every person says they want to do on a cold, rainy day. That’s right. Kept my butt in pajamas, wrapped myself in a cozy blanket, and read books and watched movies all day long. It was glorious and I wouldn’t give those hours back for anything.

But come Monday… I got back into a routine… and back in the shower.


Settings: f/4.0, 1/60 sec, 35mm, ISO 1250
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

I was torn on what to try to capture, so I took all kinds of photos of completely boring stuff. Like laundry. And piles of work notes. And a bowl of Cheerios. Even a doggin who refuses to not be my shadow. But my bathroom photos were my favorite.

Mike took an awesome photo of me blow drying my hair last August when I was shooting a DITL for a workshop and I wanted to see what I could capture on my own this time. Unfortunately, the deaf dog did not hear me drying my hair (Get it? Deaf dog joke! Never gets old!), I set up my timer for ten seconds and just dried it like I normally would.

What I like about this image is that my robe is in focus while the slower shutter is catching the movement of my out-of-focus hair. The cabinet on the left balances the dark tile on the right, and there’s lines running along the background of the image. I did convert it to black and white because the light in the bathroom was heinous, but it picks up the textures of the objects a little differently than the colored version did.

I’ve had a lot of bad self-portraits, but this series turned out nice. No complaints here.

Week 20: Anonymous Portrait
due 05.17.17

A portrait without a face leads to an imaginative story. So what kind of story do you want to tell?

This week we’ll be taking portraits of people, but we’ll be more inventive in how we photograph them. An anonymous portrait is one where the subject’s identity is hidden; usually their face is turned away from the camera or blocked somehow, making it anonymous. You can focus on another body part, like their hands or feet or back. (I ask that we keep it clean as we have a “safe rating” on Flickr and unsavory images will be removed.) Play around with lighting and see if there’s a way to hide someone’s identity by creating shadows or shooting a silhouette. Or find a prop that lends itself to your theme.

If you’d like some inspiration, I recommend the Anonymous Portraits Flickr Group – the photos vary from documentary to highly artistic and it might be a good source to help you get some gears turning.

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!

Convert a Purse Into a Camera Bag

I am picky when it comes to camera bags. Or, as I prefer to call them, camera purses. But I’ve bought a few different brands over the years for the different cameras and lenses I’ve owned. Lately though I’m wanting a smaller bag, one that I can just fit one camera with a lens attached, that looks unassuming so I can take my camera to the office with me regularly.

I have a larger bag that holds all my equipment. I have a smaller bag that only holds my one camera, but it looks like a camera bag. I have a backpack too, which is great for traveling or doing a lot of walking. And I have a messenger bag that I recently sold because I never really used it. But none of those are what I’m wanting right now. I have an idea of what I’d like and I actually found a bag that works… they just don’t have a color that I like and I refuse to spend that kind of money on something I’m not in love with. So I decided to try something different.

I purchased a shockproof, padded camera bag insert with the hopes of finding a purse I like to convert it into a camera bag. My Canon camera and 35mm lens fit in it perfectly and I was really happy with how it all worked out so nicely — and for not a lot of money. But then I was on the hunt for a purse… and carried this insert with me into four stores to see if it would fit.

I got really lucky at Target, y’all! I’d actually seen this grey bag online months ago thinking it was cute. Lo and behold, the padded insert fit inside it perfectly. (There was a lot of perfect going on.) And again, for not a lot of money. Although… I was surprised that the Target purse cost as much as it did ($40), but that’s still A LOT less than what I was shopping around for before this idea struck.

So now I have an anonymous looking purse that I can stuff my big camera into. As well as my wallet, keys, sunglasses and some extra memory cards. I really like how it turned out… but it isn’t perfect. (Perfection is never meant to last.)

Yep — there are some cons. For starters, the shoulder strap is far too narrow and tends to dig into my shoulder when it’s weighted down with a full load. I thought a good fix would be a shoulder strap pad (thank you again, Amazon), but it’s not a foolproof fix. Also, the purse was not created to hold a lot of weight. Even though it is large and lots of women could fill it up and make it heavy as hell with all the normal things we tend carry around… it is not designed for that. I’m already seeing a bit of wear from where the shoulder strap hooks on the bag; the threads that hold it to the bag are beginning to stretch more than I’d like it to.

The wear is going to happen regardless, but this is why a normal purse isn’t a great to convert to a camera bag. And I didn’t consider that before I ventured down this road. So I’ve come to the conclusion that this fix is temporary. I’ll continue to use it as I long as I feel comfortable, but if the integrity of the bag is compromised, I’ll likely stop using it to tote my camera. A plus is that I do have a cute new purse no matter what.

Now that the Kelly Moore “Kate” Messenger bag is sold, I’ll be searching for a new camera purse that is made for toting cameras and is more my style. Fingers crossed they have the size and color I want… otherwise I might just keep waiting.

Week 18: Imperfect | 2017 Project 52

I took a day trip on Saturday with my mom to visit my brother who lives in Jasper, Indiana. What is usually a quick hour and half drive down I-64 turned into messy adventure. The region had received so much rain Friday night that roads were flooded, including the interstate. So we hopped off at Tell City, headed north and plugged the address into the GPS. (Thank you, technology, for being amazing.) But once we hit the junction to head to Jasper, that road was flooded too. We ended up getting back on the interstate going west, taking the next exit and driving through a completely different town to get to our destination.

We did eventually arrive. Safely. And getting home was much easier. But if I wasn’t driving, I would have taken so many pictures of that situation!

It’s not safe to photog and drive though.

What the extra drive time did offer was more one-on-one with my mom. We talked about everything and eventually ended up talking about relationships on our [thankfully] uneventful ride home. And it made me start to think about internal imperfections… what makes me me… what makes my relationships what they are… how we all fit together.

Settings: f/8.0, 1/200 sec, 70mm, ISO 3200
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8

A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

We’re human. We make mistakes. We have habits that drive the other nuts. We piss each other off. We embarrass one another occasionally. We work long hours which can spawn short fuses. We disagree. We are not perfect. Far from it.

But on the other side of that same coin…

We support one another in several ways. We lend an ear and offer advice. We provide comfort. We cheer each other on. We stand side-by-side everyday and honor a promise we made to each other. And while every day is not perfect and some days even feel like tests, I love Mike Murphy with all my heart. He is my partner, my other half, my northern star, and later this month we’ll be celebrating 13 years of marriage.

And these are our rings that are about to turn 13 years old. Ancient Greeks believed that circles were the perfect shape, but these rings have become worn, scratched, discolored, but remain on our fourth finger everyday to remind us of the commitment we made to one another.

Marriage is not all puppies and rainbows, people. You both have to put in time and effort; even in the relationships that look easy, those couples work for it. People change over time, we learn along the way, find new things to share… the journey itself is what makes it worth while.

Week 19: Day-to-Day
due 05.10.17

We all live day-by-day and while it may not be fascinating to us, we all do something different that sets us apart. It could be our job, a certain routine we practice, habits we’ve adopted (good and bad), roles that we fall into, chores that need to be done… whatever it is, it’s something that happens almost everyday in your life. The trick is taking something that feels mundane to us and photographing it in a way that makes it interesting to other people.

Keep your cameras close by this week, or even use your phone camera in case an idea strikes as you go about your day. It might sound easy to just snap a photo or two of your routine, but you may be surprised how often you second guess yourself. Or how often you have a-ha moments!

Bonus Challenge: Whatever day-to-day thing you’ve decided to photograph, consider your composition before you press the shutter button. Take five images of the same object/scene, but move around to get different perspectives and framing. Definitely share your favorite image with the Flickr group, but I also encourage to create a mosaic of all five pictures and submit it to the group too!

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!

Wendipants - Brooke, everything about this is spot on. My aunt and uncle are celebrating their 50th anniversary this month and I’ve been thinking about the work that went into that achievement…it’s no small task but the love outweighs the imperfection.