Artist’s Pick

Welp, even if I’m not doing so great at getting out there and taking photos right now, at least I’m still submitting things to shows here and there.  I’m happy to say that two more of my photos have been selected for another show at the Bowie City Hall!

This one was a fun one — artist’s choice!  So I went through a couple of my favorite photos from this year, and two out of three were chosen.  The other one was too large, unfortunately, but at least it was too large because they had such a huge response this time.  I’m glad that more people were participating in this show, because that always makes things fun!

So enjoy, and if you’re in the area on the 29th, stop by and check out my stuff!

Wrapping Up 2015

Can you believe how fast that year went by?!  I can’t.  It zoomed faster than any of my other years.  Lots of good things, some bad things, tons of new things, but all in all, I think I had a pretty fair year.  I did some things I didn’t want to, and did some things I never thought I would.  So with all of the craziness which has been my life this year, I thought I would take the time to look back on some photos that I haven’t had a chance to work on and include them in my final 2015 post….even though I’m a little late…it’s 2016 now, but shhh, and let’s go!  Here’s the last few weeks that I missed.

Week 48 – 1000 Words

Really, I should have just taken a picture of a picture, because, ya know, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and that would have counted, right?  But I thought about some of the things that I’ve seen/thought about this year, and decided this would be better.

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I met a girl in my sculpture class this year who was pretty awesome.  She had cool hair and tattoos, which of course I liked, and was bubbly, outgoing, friendly, and fun.  Once I got to know her, however, it was astonishing to learn of all the things she had been through.  Coming from similar experiences, and handling it quite differently in some respects, it was pretty amazing to meet her and learn about her life.  While working on our “wearable sculpture” projects, which happen to coincide with my “pictures of people” project for digital photography, she brought in her ballet slippers, and I knew I had to catch some pictures of it!  Little did I know I would be learning another thing about her.

I think when a lot of people look at images like this they think it’s just another simple photo of a classic art, and maybe don’t think too much in to it.  I know when I was editing in my digital photo class, some comments were along those lines.  As they started looking in to them, and seeing the wear and tear of her shoes, they became more intrigued, which made me happy to know that I captured the essence of her story, if even slightly, in these photos.  Though she is in art school with me now, she has had a passion for dance ever since she was a child.  While practically prancing around the classroom on the day she brought these shoes in, you would never know, but she’s been through an incredible struggle with her dancing.  During a performance, she was dropped, injuring her spine, resulting in doctors telling her that she would never dance again.  She explained it as feeling heartbroken in knowing that her dance career was over, and my heart broke a little for her.  Though she still has the passion to dance, has completed her recovery and is practicing, she says that things are not the same as they used to be.  Her shoes were tattered but she moved with grace and skill.  It was clear even in those brief moments that she had a love for something that she had lost.  Her wearable sculpture which revolved around this idea conveyed it perfectly.  If she’s reading this now, I hope she knows that I admire her work and think she’s stronger than I could ever be.  I suppose the lesson is this is that you should not judge a book by it’s cover.  When looking at something like this, you have no idea what people have been through, what they’re living with, or what they’re longing for.  So with that, I would say this picture is worth more than 1000 words.

Week 49 – Collection of Sorts

Looking back again, I stumbled across this photo which I thought would be fitting for a collection.  Working in the style of Andy Goldsworthy, or well, at least trying to, I tried to make a leaf organization, which did not turn out any where near as successful as his.  Really, it’s laughable in comparison, but to be fair, I have a million excuses.  I was running out of light, and it was windy, and there weren’t many leaves, and I really needed an assistant for this type of thing and about another hour or two of time, and……yeah, lots of excuses 🙂  A fun image, and experience, none the less.  I’ve gained such a greater appreciation for his work, knowing that just this little, silly, circle was a hassle.  I want to try it again, with help, and on a much larger scale, but I suppose I’ll just have to wait until next fall.

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Week 51 – Cozy

Wha? Where’s week 50?  Silly rabbit, I did that.  Cookies, remember?  So for this week’s theme, I thought I would use a picture of my coziest place, and I’ll give you just one guess as to what that is.  You’re right, it’s the beach!  Surprisingly, I had some beach photos from this year that I haven’t shown you, but that’s because I didn’t even know that I had them!  When looking through photos to test on transparencies for my EMAC final, I stumbled across this photo, and a few others, from a sunrise shoot that I did when vacationing with my cousin.  We drove out to this little spot between Bethany Beach and Ocean City where my Dad’s favorite beach landmark lives.  An old, abandoned, WWII watch tower.  He always swore that it would make the best beach house, and that he would buy it if he could.  I always swore that I would get some amazing pictures of it.  So off I went one morning, and then forgot all about it!  So I was surprised to find this image, and it brought back wonderful memories of summer, sunny and warm, on a coldish December night.  So while it may be cold outside, I’m nice and cozy sunny warm with feelings of nostalgia on the inside.

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Week 52 – Before/After

So I’m working more with the after in this one, but again, happily working with some photos that I didn’t have time for earlier in this year.  While working on that same “pictures of people” project, I met up with a friend and her sister to do a shoot.  She’s always great at finding interesting places to take pictures, and didn’t disappoint this time either.  So while we went all over the place, we stopped at her father’s house, where he had this incredible collection of old cars.  They were truly great, and she and her sister were a lot of fun to work with.  You know I love old things, so being around these old, rusty and falling apart cars was amazing.  Though I didn’t end up using these photos for the project, I’m still glad we had the chance to do them, and I’m really happy with how they turned out.

So with that, I’m done!  2015 and this project is a wrap, and it’s time to start thinking about the next great photo thing to keep me busy!  I’m happy with all of the experiences this project has brought about.  I feel like I’ve learned a lot, and have thought of even more things I want to try out in the (hopefully) near future.  Wish me luck while I start my 2016 project search 🙂

Week 36: Natural Elements

Well now, this is something right up my alley, isn’t it?  Natural Elements is what I’m working with this week, and I’m happy to do it!  With summer fading, I’m going to take every chance to capture anything that is naturally summer.  Although, it was mentioned that the theme does not have to consist of something nature-ie itself, rather, it could be something from nature.  It will be interesting thinking of something from that perspective, so I may go with that.  I’ve kind of overloaded on the same type of nature photography that I do.  Can’t say I don’t love it, but I know you all have seen a lot of it lately.

With that being said, I have some more of my typically nature pictures for you 🙂

While trying to get into my first little photo project for school (yay!), I ventured out a little over that past few days to see if I could find something interesting.  It’s basically an introductory, learn-how-to-use-your-camera, type project, so we have free rein to snap what we please.  I took my camera to work and caught a few shots there (gasp – work? what? yeah!  I have started my new job, and it’s been pretty great aside from my nervous jitters).  Then of course, while driving around yesterday, with out my camera (when will I learn?) I drove past a place I used to work for a long time ago.  Behnke’s Nurseries is a great little plant nursery with tons of things that you can’t find at your run of the mill store.  It was a fun little first job for highschool-aged me to have, and I’ve always liked going back there for random things after working there for a couple of seasons.

So as I said, I was driving by, and was completed captivated by these monstrous sunflowers they had right along the road — something even a little unusual for them.  So this morning, I woke up and headed out with my camera to capture some photos of the sunflowers, and whatever other little interesting things they had around the shop.  Lots of pretty flowers and cute things around, just as I remembered.  So while I think of something a little different to do, enjoy a few of my normal nature-style photos!

Week 35: Half & Half

Quite an open theme I had on my hands this week — half & half.  With my coffee? No, thanks, I’m talking something a little bit different.  What I automatically think of is a divide, more like an opposite type of project, but that wasn’t quite checking the “half & half” box in my mind.  So I went out in search of things that could fit the bill, and just so happen to find them in my back yard.

Summer is starting to fade…

It was literally just a few days ago that I was talking about a hot summer day, but with the slight change of the weather, and the fact that I was at the beach more like two weeks ago, things have started to take a turn for the worse already.  It’s also Labor Day weekend — the official end of summer.  While I haven’t received the notice, and have still been enjoying some hot, sunny days, other elements of nature apparently have.  I’m going to hold on to this nice weather for as long as I can, and will try to ignore the things changing around me.

It does prove for an interesting time of year, as well as some unique garden aesthetics.  While some things are in bloom, others have completely died.  Even within the same plant — parts are trying to grow, while others are giving up and conceding to the slowly cooling weather.

I’m enjoying both the literal and figurative expression of this theme.  Literally speaking, these plants are half dead, half living.  Plain and simple; a great example of a single object being split in to something which would be considered “half & half”.  Figuratively speaking, I see these as examples of life and death; new beginnings, closure for old issues.

I’m sure you all know by now that this has been a pretty interesting year for me, full of many changes and new beginnings of my own.  I’m sure you also know I like to work with opposites, and thoughts of life and death are often projected into my work.  Though I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted for this week, I did go out with a small intention to locate something along these lines.  Over the past few days I’ve started a new job, completed my first week at MICA, and have scheduled to begin my second new job in a few days.  It’s been overwhelming; I’ve been nervous, unsure, self-doubting, uncomfortable, and just plain scarred.  It’s also been the best week that I’ve had in a long time (except for vacation — the beach wins, hands-down, no matter what is going on in my life!).  I’ve also been happy.  Really, truly, eyes watering up, feeling excited, butterflies in my stomach, chills, engaged, inspired, motivated, happy.

For the first time in a long time I feel as if I’m within a group of like-minded individuals, and that I have contributed something of meaning.  I’ve also been able to let go of a lot of old ghosts haunting me by taking these steps in moving on.  It’s truly hard to grasp when I catch myself in the middle of it, but I’m at the begging of a journey that I have been wanting to take for as long as I can remember; a journey which I never though I would embark on.  Though I was unhappy, I fought for a very long time to hold on to the life I used to have.  I was afraid of change, and terrified of failure, both of which kept me in an unhealthy yet comfortable position.  I’ve made some extreme changes, and have taken some chances that even shocked me at times.

So while you may be viewing these pictures as I initially had, as images of the summer beginning to fade, remember that for the blooms to return next year, they have to start over, and let got of the seasons before.  In this case, life will come from death, and things that are half living now will be in full bloom again in a short while.  Letting go of old things will allow for new opportunities.  My life, which was being half-lived, will be in full bloom before I know it, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

Hot Summer Days

While there were many ideas buzzing around my head, I decided to go with what I know most, and what I love.  What better thing could I photograph for the “heat wave” theme than a place that is always best served hot?  Nothing is better than the beach!

Everything about the beach comes alive in the summer. In being as much of a beach fanatic as I am, I’ve been there in every possible weather imaginable.  Yes, I’ve seen snow on the beach — it’s pretty, but not the same as a hot day!  In the summertime, people and families are buzzing around, the city is packed, the places are busy, it’s just swarming with excitement and happiness.  Not to mention the more natural beauties you get to see.  There are dolphins, fish, and even the occasional whale sighting if you’re lucky (and this year, a lot of shark sightings, yikes).  The plants are lush, and the marshy lands surrounding the bay side are full and green.  There are countless sea birds of all different types, and plenty of different little crab critters.  It just makes me happy to be there, seeing the environment so full of life, and the happiness of the people who are there, including my family.

And it’s hot!  Like, sand burning your feet, can’t sit in the sun long hot!  My family consists of a bunch of sunbathers, with the exceptions of my dad, who will burn to an immediate crisp.  While he’s busy avoiding the sun, we’re out there roasting in it, practically running to the water when we can no longer take the heat.  We stay out at the beach all day, also, which is probably my favorite part.  While the sun may be nearly intolerable during the day at times, once you get to the 5 o’clock hour it’s like a warm, snuggly hug from nature.  I sound like a dork, I know, but if you ever catch me lounging on the beach at this time I’m definitely facing the sun, and probably have a smile on my face.  Love it.

So with the summer winding down, I’ll take a few moments to reminisce of all the hot days before the snow rears its ugly head. Enjoy!

Week 34: Heat Wave

As the summer dwindles down, and the temperatures begin to drop, this seems like a somewhat inopportune time to photograph a heat wave.  Missed it by just a few weeks, if you ask me.  Perhaps I’ll take this as a time to wrap up on summer, and reminisce about the good times spent with family and friends over the past few months.  Afterall, I’m now sleeping with the windows open at night– well, for the last few nights at least– so fall is surely knocking on the door.  Tragic.

When I think of heat wave, the first thing which comes to mind are those “head-waves” that you see coming off of cars and streets when it’s boiling outside.  This might result in an interesting picture, but I think I’ve missed that opportunity for the year; I’m about to be very busy with school (yay!), and two new jobs (double yay!), so I’ll be missing the prime-hot-time of the day, should we get any more hot weather.  Next, I think of a meteorologist reporting on the weather while concurrently showing an image of an egg frying on a sidewalk.  I so want to do this!  Again, any chance of that happening has passed, particularly since Bill Nye the Science Guy says that takes a whopping 130 degrees.  Yikes.

Another thing I think of — Florida.  Talk about hot.  Not only is it the place that I have more often escaped to when it’s winter here in Maryland, but it’s just plain hot, all the time.  Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had some great times there, but the heat can be pretty torturous.  One time in particular comes to mind…

My dad was lucky enough to get tickets to a shuttle launch a few years ago, the last servicing mission for the Hubble, so we (brother and mom included) took a couple of days off and headed down to sunny Florida.  Now, one of the things about these launches is that you have to wait for the perfect conditions, and even while those conditions are present, there is a several hour wait prior to take off.  This is no 1 1/2-2 hour early arrival for a flight.  No, no.  This was more like 5 hours, in the heat and sun, and nothing but a fleeting breeze which passed all too infrequently.  While my parents were raving about how hot it was going to be, and gathering supplies as if we were taking a trek across a desert, you know I was more than skeptical.  Then we got there — I was on the verge of death.  Yes, as you can see, we were near the water, with umbrellas, sunglasses, and light-weight attire.  No, none of this helps when it’s so hot you think everything is melting.  But alas, as the Atlantis shuttle finally took off, it’s like the heat wasn’t even there — it was a pretty amazing sight to see, and to say the display of power was impressive would be an understatement.  Hours of waiting in the blistering heat, a few minutes of take off excitement, and then practically running back on the air-conditioned bus.

So, as I think of a hot idea on these increasingly mild days enjoy a few pictures of the shuttle adventure.  Sadly– only because I’m pretty sure I’ve lost the tape– I was filming the take off, so you’ll see my before and after shots below.  I’ve included one of my dad’s pics so you could see the actual take off — pretty out of this world! 😉

Around the Garden

Spending more time outdoors this summer is something that I’ve really been trying to do.  I haven’t been super successful, if I’m honest, but at least I’ve gotten out there and tried a few new things.  Babysitting a house which has been under construction for the last two weeks doesn’t really help in this goal, but it’s what I’ve been up to lately.  Luckily for me, my aunt’s house backs up to practically a forest, and my grandmother likes to spend a lot of time outdoors while we’re there, you know, just hanging out in the garden and tidying things up.  She’s forever busy.  I decided to take my camera along for a couple of days to see what I could capture.  It rained, and rained again, and things were busy, so I didn’t get to get out there as much as I wanted.

While inside a few of those days, I had spotted a few adorable bright yellow finches.  Knowing that we weren’t going to be there for much longer, I decided to pop the big lens on and just sit out on the deck for a while, waiting for them to return.  Of course, they didn’t — just my luck.  The bird feeders were empty by then, and my grandmother and I couldn’t find the food, so perhaps it wasn’t completely my luck.  Never the less, the birds were a no-show, and I was picture-less, so I decided to wander around the yard for a bit to see what I could find.

I came into quite a few little surprises, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain about my luck 🙂 .  Flowers which my aunt described as “daisies”, and dead, were still very much alive and actually more orchid like while attracting some interesting little fly-type bugs.  I’m thinking they’re called Gilt Edge Toad Lilies, after doing a little research (these are also the pics that I mentioned in my post about low-key, which were a surprise as a final result, and gave me a little insight of how I should handle the background for those images).  Another part of the garden was filled with bumblebees buzzing around these tiny purple flowers while clinging on to huge chunks of pollen.  While I was just about to go in after my second trip to the garden, since it rained once more, and I was just checking out how things were looking while wet, I spotted the infamous garden visitor; La Tortuga.

My aunt mentioned that she had spotted a turtle one day, but with water nowhere near by, and some pretty thick brush just outside of her fence, we were all a little skeptical.  We kept our eyes open, however, even venturing over to the neighbor’s yard, who said she had spotted it too.  No turtle in sight.  We all assumed it had just moved on, and we would never find it, saying “la tortuga” in that eye-squinted, slowed down whispery type voice every time we mentioned it, like it had bested us.  To my surprise, I turn to walk back inside after snapping a few last shots, and there she was!  Snuggled up by the fence, with her little face tucked under a small plant.  So cute.  I called my grandmother back outside, and we reveled in our small victory.  So as the summer winds down, enjoy a few of these summer creatures and flowers.  Hopefully this won’t be the last I see of these things this year!

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.

Outgoing Mail

Last night I decided to bite the bullet, and get to work.

About a month ago, I received a somewhat unusual looking envelope from MICA, amongst their very regular communications, which I have to say, I do appreciate.  “Odyssey”, it was labeled, with its bright colors and excitement.  Some transfer student information was enclosed.  I slightly shrugged it off, and almost didn’t open it; I’ve been somewhat reluctant to look at all the wonderful things this school offers while being so unsure of if I’ll be able to attend.  You know, don’t want to get my hopes entirely up — I’m a planner, and this plan isn’t coming together.  Regardless, I’m also a curious one, so of course, I was bound to open the letter within seconds.

“Call for entries — 2015 MICA Postcard Project”.  Really?  I haven’t even enrolled in classes, and we’re already being given projects.  Of course it’s optional, but all very surprising at frist glance.  In the letter was a set of instructions, a fancy little magnet adorned in the same exciting colors as the envelope, and a blank postcard.  Subconsciously, I’ve already decided I was going to do this project.  I mean, you just handed me a blank piece of paper with a stamp on it — I’m easily intrigued.  In reading on, the project consists of decorating the postcard however we choose, and selecting from one of four topics: spirit animal, Dadaists collage (it’s just a urinal!! ugh, hate it!), meme yourselfie (I’m questioning my age amongst these incoming students), and vacation postcard.  Yes!  Vacation! Love it!

So even in my doubt, I start thinking of ideas.  It’s a good thing when my mind starts racing creatively.  I’m pretty set on the type of media, cyanotype, and am just working out what my subject will be.  When I think of vacation, nothing else, or better, comes to mind than the beach.  “But how will this translate to cyanotype”, I think to myself.  While all the tones of blues are lovely, when I think of the beach, I think of vibrant colors, sunrises, and sunsets.  I put it on the back-burner for a while.  Along with the simple submission of your work for an optional “welcome project”,  everything submitted will be exhibited in one of MICA’s galleries, scanned, and posted on a blog promoting the exhibit.  A conundrum for someone who may not even be there; a situation I don’t want to set myself up for.

So a few weeks go by, I go on vacation, I write a few blog posts, and I struggle to work things out for school.  You’ve seen it, and if you haven’t, scroll down 🙂  Among all of those things, I did my Sunrise/Sunset post, where I discovered a little hidden gem.  As usual, when beginning a new weekly project, I show you guys a few pictures of things which I have already shot that fits the description.  I really enjoy this little system which I have worked out; it allows me to revisit some old favorites, as well as work with some images that I really haven’t worked on at all.  In looking for some sunrise/sunset pictures that I haven’t shared in the past, I stumbled across some of the black and white film work that I did during my first semester at school.  I seriously haven’t been able to stop thinking of that one simple picture of the ocean ever since.  I can’t wait until I have access to a darkroom again, because that’s the first photo that I’m working on.  With that, I realized that cyanotype would absolutely work with beach photographs (how could I have ever doubted it?!).  And once I got back from vacation with some new images, I had all I needed.

Still, I waited to the last minute, well, almost.  I haven’t quite figured things out yet, and still have a gap in regards to tuition being due for the semester.  In my mind, however, I’m going.  It’s decided.  So with time ticking on this project, since it has to make it to the school by the 3rd, I decided to get working on things.

First, and definitely the hardest part, was selecting the image.  Like I’ve mentioned, the colors and details of the sunrises and sunsets are my favorites.  So objectively, I looked at the images I had to pick one which I thought had some good variations in contrast, as well as some sharp details which would translate over well to a cyanotype, and this was the winning photo!

Second, was converting the image to black and white and inverting it.  I’m always tempted to print the “negative” version of the image when I’m working on it, and almost did so on accident today.  I don’t know why, but in my mind when I see the black and white version of an image that I’m working on I automatically think that I’m finished.  I’m pretty sure all of my cyanotype files have the black and white negative file to go alone with the positive file that I actually use.  Luckily for me, and my wallet, because those photo transparency sheets are expensive, I’ve only made that mistake one time.  Still, even if I do print one out, I’ll be sure to use it.  The negatives make such ghastly, interesting images.  You can see one of my “happy accidents” here.

Once that’s done, it’s off to the print making.  I’m always a little nervous when it gets to this part.  I’ve just finished working on an image which I liked at first, and then liked again as a black and white photo.  Then, in one easy step I’ve inverted the image, and I’m not sure about it all over again.  Will the details come through?  Will I have enough contrast?  This doesn’t look right!  I have to remind myself to trust the process, and the fact that I’ve done this several times, and ended up with good results.  This time, however, I only have one shot.  The pressure is on!  Though I have been pretty lucky in my recent cyanotype/photo transparency combinations, I did have some pretty bad results while just starting out.  I couldn’t help but worry when using a different type of paper, and only having one chance, that I would mess up.  It doesn’t help that the instruction letter also stated in all caps “we are not able to send another postcard, so what happens if you make a mistake?”… Essentially?  Fix it and deal with it.  I didn’t like the sound of that.  I’m very much a perfectionist when it comes to presenting someone with a final print.  A sub-par or doctored up image just wasn’t going to cut it.

Luckily for me, all my worries were put to rest.  Aside from the added panic that some passing clouds caused, I’m really happy with the way this print turned out, and I think I may have just found my new favorite thing to do.  Like it’s black and white counterpart, as well as my image from a few weeks ago, this style gives my beach photographs new life.  I’ve been making postcards and greeting cards for my Etsy shop for some time now, but have stuck to contact printing with botanicals.  They’ve been reasonably popular, but I think this will become a quick new favorite in the shop!

I love the dreaminess of this print, how soft the waves and sand looks, while still being able to make out clear details in both the water and sky.  So, appropriately, I’ve named it “Summer Dreaming”.  As I set my little postcard project out to be picked up in the morning, because yes, the final part of the project was that they prefered for it to actually be mailed, I had to admire it a little more.  It really charmed me, as well as the crunchiness of our old, chipping mailbox.  But seriously, who wouldn’t love to find something like that in their mailbox?  Too cute, in my opinion.  Hopefully it makes it there in one piece, and without all the emulsion rubbed off.  Wish it luck!

Far Away Places

I searched far and wide for things “out of place” this week, and as predicted, it was pretty difficult.  I started my journey with a car ride, thinking, perhaps I would drive somewhere new, and maybe I’ll pass by something interesting.  The car ride started off with a tractor in the middle of the road; not that unusual for this area, but for the major road I was on, it was very odd.  I took this as a good sign of weird things to come, and kept driving!

Two hours later and with only my poorly shot-while-driving picture of the tractor in the road (don’t worry, I was going really slow, was stuck behind the tractor, and being careful), I was without anything good.  Slightly defeated, I went back home.  I spent the rest of the week driving around, a little closer to home, and looking up things online for ideas.  The driving proved useless, with the exception of the fact that I like to just get away and drive anyways, so that was nice.  Online, when you search for “out of place” you get the interesting, yet very cliché photos of a group of items with one item having a variation; all yellow balls and one red one, a row of things standing up while one is on its side, and so on.  While they were visually pleasing, I felt like that would be a cop-out, because how else could being “out of place” be anymore obvious than to make one thing drastically stand out?

We lucked out in the weather department this week, and had a bunch of sunny days.  Even more lucky was the fact that they were not all scorching summer days.  I know, I’ve been looking forward to summer, but it’s been crazy hot.  Don’t worry though, I’m not one of those people who wish for summer to come, and then complain about the heat.  I’m just not one to subject myself to 100 degree+ weather without it being at a place that’s somehow related to water.  Since there is no water in my life right now, other than the hose out back, which I’ll pass on, I haven’t been enjoying the outdoors as much lately.  Regardless, I’ll take a summer day at any temperature as opposed to a winter one.

In my consistent checking the weather to make extravagant day dreaming plans, I noticed that one day would be mild in comparison to the record-breaking heat we’ve been having, and I decided to venture out to a place I’ve only been to once before.  Now, I’m kind of a homebody in the sense that I don’t particularly like doing things on my own (I mean, adventures are just so much more fun when you have friends around, ya know?), so this was kind of a big deal to me.  With all things considered, I was definitely the one that was out of place.  I drove an hour and a half to the wrong place, had to search for new directions, find another place to go to, and then finally, I was there….or so I thought.

Once with my watercolor class we ventured out to Calvert Cliffs for our final.  I loved the class(es) , and the professor was wonderful in that of instead of having your traditional final test or project, we would go out for a “final field trip”.  It was always fun, and most of us in the class got to check out some new places.  I decided that I would go back to see if I could find anything interesting to photograph, but also because I’ve been on a mission to return and find some shark teeth; this area is infamously known for being a great place to find them….and I’m a little obsessed with Megalodon.  Anyways, once I arrive to my now new destination, I have no idea where I’m going, but I know there is some hiking involved.  No worries, I thought, it’s a beautiful day, and from what I’ve seen, it looks like a mild hike…

Have I mentioned that I often find myself eating my own words?  A mild hike…not exactly, particularly when you’re wearing flip-flops because you thought you were going to a place which required only a 10 minute walk on a paved path.  So I drudge through the 1.8 mile hike, which was incorrectly marked might I add, and got attacked by bugs for what was more like 2.3 miles, you know, because of that whole lack of preparedness thing.  And that beautiful day?  Not so much when you’re hiking in jeans….I was a hot, sweaty mess.  At least the scenery was pretty, which was a good distraction as I was cursing myself for going on with this hike when I knew it probably wasn’t the best idea.

But alas, I made it to the beach.  It was a little smaller than the one I had visited previously, and didn’t have some of the same factors which made the other beach a prime shark tooth finding area, but I was still happy to be there.  The cliffs are so interesting; I’m always wondering how many years of sediment and fossils are built up in those towering edges, just waiting for one to fall down while I’m there so I can find some long-lost item.  Of course, that didn’t happen the first time, or this time, but It’s still an interesting place.  I searched around the area for some teeth, but to no avail…seems like everyone else was finding them though.  Guess that’s just another excuse for me to return, and I’m going all out with my teeth finding equipment next time.  I hung out for a while, searching for shells and teeth, snapping some pictures, and just enjoying this little isolated beach, and then headed back on another flip-flop clad “1.8” mile hike.  It wasn’t that bad; the though of death and foot amputation only crossed my mind a few times.  I only slightly considered throwing my flip-flops somewhere off the trail like Reese Witherspoon throwing her painful hiking boots in Wild.  It was really pretty though, as I mentioned, so having that, as well as the huge beaver I had to run by, was good motivation to keep me going and snapping pics.  I was, however, shocked with the feeling of euphoria that I had once I got to the car, not because it was over, but because I did it.  It’s been a while since I’ve done something like hike around a new place, so even if I was tired and my feet were killing me, it was still wonderful.  I’ll definitely be more prepared the next time, which will come sooner rather than later.

It was also nice to get out there and into a place where I was actually in nature, not just the nice beach or scenic drive by type places I’ve been seeing so much of lately.  With the theme of “out of place” in the forefront of my mind, walking this path really had me thinking about just how much we can be out of place in nature.  Just looking at how the paths, though well-traveled, were being over taken by nature in some areas, and destroyed by it in others had me thinking of how much we want to mold this world into something we can control, when in reality these forces are so much stronger than us.  Just a thought.  I’ve always enjoyed viewing houses and places being reclaimed by nature.  With how minimally invasive this trail was to the environment around it, It was nice to be out on a good, crunchy path, yet still see how nature can reclaim even the things we build to be most like it.

While I only took one picture which I would consider suitable for this week’s theme, I’m going to share the rest of the photos I took along the way.  My little “ladybug on vacation” is the winner for this week, since she’s not exactly your typical beach goer.  I’ve always enjoyed finding odd things at the beach, and like to imaging that they’re just taking a break also. Enjoy!  The ladybug may have been out of her normal habitat, but I think I know how she feels.