Summer to the Rescue

After a busy week of waiting for my dog to act photogenic without any success, I gave up on my previous idea for the “superhero” project.  With time ticking away, I thought I would be at a loss again this week, since I haven’t found anything else to photograph.

Relaxing on a Sunday afternoon without any ideas.  That’s where I was a few hours ago.  Getting ready for a family dinner, after just spending all day out at a not-so-successful craft fair.  I’m a little tired, and a little more sunburned, but I don’t mind.  It was wonderful just being able to spend the whole day outdoors enjoying the warmth and sunshine, even if I got a little too much of it.  While pondering the days events, and hanging out in the back yard with the grill going, that’s when I thought of what could be a great example of a superhero for me:  summer time!

Yes, I know it seems like I can’t get enough of this simple thing, and I talk about it all the time, but I truly love it.  Summer is the time where I feel most adventurous, relaxed, inspired, motivated, and just simply happy.  I literally spend all year looking forward to it, and start missing it the second I realize that it’s leaving, if I’m not already planning on escaping to a place that can give me a temporary taste of summer.  It’s funny when you think of it; summer has no feelings, no intentions, no emotions, no deliberate actions.  It just comes and goes every year.  But it lifts my spirits, and for that I am grateful that this seemingly happenstance of a season occurs every year.  Maybe one day I’ll live in a place that is summer all year round — it’s not like I haven’t started thinking about it.

With everything going on, and running in and out of the house as “grill assistant”, I decided to take advantage of the summer day that we were all enjoying, and capture a few of the simple pleasures in life.  So enjoy my little summer sunday afternoon with the family.

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Week 19: Blending In

In frequently going bird watching with my parents, and wandering around the beach over the years, I’ve learned one thing — you have to keep your eyes open and searching for the hidden things.  Just like the theme for this week, blending in, there are so many things, particularly in nature, that you can walk or drive right by and never even notice it.  I’d like to think that I have a keen eye, but I’ve got to admit, I’ve missed plenty of things!  And that’s not always a bad thing.  For instance, I would rather not know about ever single solitary spider which has snuck in to my apartment(s) over the years, and would much rather them blend in, and stay out of my line of sight.

So for this week, I’m looking to get away from nature, once again, since that seems to be the easiest thing for me to do.  Though I do enjoy nature photography, I need to get more in the habit of taking photographs that display what my thought process is, my point of view, and the emotions that I’m trying to express.  So while I’m working on things to prepare for this week’s shoot, I’ll also be working on the two previous shoots that I wasn’t able to do, “Red” and “Common Clichés“, and will hopefully have them finished up in the near future as well!

Until then, I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures from last summer!  The birds are from this great little spot on the bay side of Ocean City, Maryland, at around 60th street, while the jellyfish are from a little park just north of Ocean City, also on the bay side.  This bird spot is my parent’s favorite at the beach, though there are many other place to check out both within and right outside the city.  It’s a small spot, but you can almost always find something interesting there, particularly if you arrive just after sunrise.  You have to be patient, and quiet, but you’ll be sure to see some birds lurking in the tall grass growing on the shore of the bay.  It seems like the longer you stare, the more you’ll notice.  The jellyfish, however, were quite a surprise.  if you’re not up for sunrise pictures (I feel you on that one — I’m really not a morning person), you can always stop by this little park for some nice sunset viewing and pictures.  Again, a family favorite spot, we go there often, but I don’t remember ever seeing jellyfish like this.  It was just after sunset at this point, and I was on my way back to the car after walking around the mushy parts of this little bay park that I’m never quite sure if you’re allowed to walk around, and there they were.  Tons of these palm-sized white jellyfish, just barely viewable in the shallows of the surf.  These were some of my favorite pictures from the trip, and I’m glad that with them being to difficult to see, that some of these pictures turned out.  Enjoy!

Peek-A-Boo Sprout

I love a the little surprises you can find from nature, and I think this all started when I was little.  We always had a porch light that had an open glass/metal shade around it, and every year a bird would make a nest in the light.  My parents were thoroughly aggravated by this, but I always loved finding that little surprise in an unusual place.  Ever since then, I’ve always loved finding little things like that.  In watching the city where I grew up becoming increasingly over developed, I find it so nice to see little bits of nature and plant life popping up where it’s not supposed to, even if it was once where these things may have naturally been.  One summer there was a daffodil clinging on for dear life under a bridge for a major highway — I must have gotten beeped at a million times zoning out staring at this little flower and wondering how it got in such a peculiar place.  There’s also a school by my house which has always had a ton of ivy crawling up one of its walls.  It was cut down one year, but to my delight, it has come back in full force.

So today, as I was working on some botanical cyanotypes to use for the “nature” theme of this week, I stumbled across a little surprise.  I always go out to my balcony to develop my cyanotypes, since that’s the place in my apartment which get the best, and most direct, sunlight.  I have various plants and pots and such out there that I’m constantly peaking at to see if anything is growing.  A few months ago, I gathered all the seeds from the flowers that were planted last summer, and spread them around all the pots out there in hopes that anything would grow (I love flowers, but I definitely do not have a green thumb).  So I put my favorite seeds in the pots on the balcony ledge, hoping that they would get the most light and do the best.  The only problem is that since everyone above me also has a balcony, when it rains, or snows forever and then melts, I get a sort of waterfall effect on my balcony, splashing on to my plants and splattering mud and dirt everywhere.  It seems like with all the snow we got this year, and all the rain and storms as of recent, one of these little seeds popped out and landed in between the bricks of the balcony ledge.  So when I went outside today, there it was — a little baby sprout!  I don’t know how I missed it before, but it was a pleasant surprise today.  So I snapped a couple quick pictures of it, and there you go.  A better ode to nature than the cyanotypes which I have done before.  Though I love them (the cyanotypes, that is), I love finding these little peculiarities more.  Hopefully there are more sprouts to come; it’s been warming up, ever so slowly, and I’m desperately craving the spring and summer.  Enjoy!

Week 12: Silhouette

From the bright and “fluffy” to the dark and mysterious, this week’s theme is silhouette.  Unlike last week, I have a little practice with this one, and I have some ideas brewing already.  Since I’ve done quite a few silhouettes in my nature and beach (ok, mostly beach) photography, I think I’m going to attempt to photograph something a little different this week.  I’ve always admired those classic silhouettes of a figure standing in front of a window (or some similarly light-flooded set up) in that contrapposto type pose.  You know me, though; I might like something, but I’m not a huge fan of doing the overdone.  After doing so much reading on high key last week, I also took some time to look into its darker side, low-key, and could see how some low-key images could be interpreted into silhouettes, so I may attempt to incorporate some of those elements in to this week’s challenge.  Now, for the true challenge, which is (as usual) finding a model.  Maybe I should make “creating a database of willing models” my business challenge for this week, since that’s something I’m in constant need of, yet perpetually without.  On a good note, I did find an open studio space for ceramic crafting at the University of Maryland, so I might be able to start working on my prop for the “red” themed week!

As I turn the heat up in my cold apartment on this “spring” night, I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures from some vacations I’ve taken in the past.  Hope these warm you up and have you thinking of summer!  It is right around the corner, isn’t it?  Guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, and should just wait for spring to blossom.  At least the blustering winter days and snow storms are behind us…I think 🙂

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

Ok, so it was kind of dark, and not stormy, though another winter storm is apparently coming through tonight (very unenthusiastic “yay”).  Though I was hoping that the weather would cooperate, which it did in the way I was hoping, I didn’t think the cold would have such a bad effect on my camera.  I trudged out in the cold and ice-covered snow blanket which is my parent’s back yard, and after only snapping a few pictures, my camera stopped working!  Terrible.  Luckily, it was just the bitter cold, and nothing permanent.  Literally the moment I went inside, it was working just fine.  So like me, I suppose my camera prefers the spring/summer months, and wants nothing to do with this never-ending winter that we’re having.

So, even though the picture of the moon has nothing to do with this week’s challenge, long exposures, it’s what I started with for the night.  Not the greatest of pictures, but I’m happy with it being my first successful, and detailed, picture of the moon.  You can even see the craters — how exciting 🙂  In reading countless articles on how to successfully capture stars and star trails, I was surprised to come across an article describing how to successfully capture an image of the moon; you need a fast shutter speed.  It’s contrary to what I would have always thought, since naturally, when shooting at night, I would always be inclined to have a very slow shutter speed, but the logic was there.  Taking a picture of the moon is like taking a picture of the sun — it lights up the night sky, so in order to get any type of detail in  your image, you have to account for the enormous amount of light it’s reflecting, even if it is dark outside and it doesn’t appear that way.

So once I got that pic, I moved on to the true task at hand.  I was determined to get some star pictures, regardless of what my camera had in store for me.  Even though they aren’t the Milky Way in all it’s glory, there are stars in these pictures!  With the amount of light pollution in the neighborhood, it’s nearly impossible to get a quality image with the details of our solar system.  When you figure in that my camera needs a sweater or something to function for more than five minutes in this winter weather, it looks like things are really impossible….until it warms up outside.  Until then, I’m happy with finally capturing some stars in my images, even if it did take a little more post production work than I typically like to do.  Summer time, I’ve just added one more reason to the list of why I can’t wait to see you again.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Brrrrr!!!  As it snows for the millionth time this year, I thought I’d get out there and take some pics, especially since I’ve noticed too many perfect little snowflakes over the last month…..and didn’t have my camera handy.  As another “winter storm warning” pops up on my phone, I’m counting the days until summer, but at least it’s pretty to look at!  I’m going to try to thaw out now, so enjoy 🙂