My Happy Place: Rebirth and New Growth

Nikon D90 ISO 200, 18-200 lens at 170, aperture f/7.1, shutter 1/50
Nikon D90 ISO 200, 18-200 lens at 170, aperture f/7.1, shutter 1/50

My newly uncovered artist heart, rebelled against yet another dreary and chilly day that seemed to match my mood. I headed out in search of some “happy”, and found it in my beautiful albeit very confused Hyacinths. They whispered hope and life to me. A reminder that it is part of God’s design, that after winter comes spring…both in the natural world, and the season of winter in our souls.   New birth and growth bravely press through the cold and muddy mess, and beauty shines through once again.

To everything there is a season…and God has a purpose in it all.

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every [a]event under heaven—

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Nikon D90 ISO 200, 18-200 lens at 105, aperture f/8.0, shutter 1/50
Nikon D90 ISO 200, 18-200 lens at 105, aperture f/8.0, shutter 1/50
Nikon D90 ISO 200, 18-200 lens at 200mm, aperture f/11, shutter 1/50
Nikon D90 ISO 200, 18-200 lens at 200mm, aperture f/11, shutter 1/50
Nikon D90 ISO 200, 18-200 lens at 150, aperture f/7.1, shutter 1/50
Nikon D90 ISO 200, 18-200 lens at 150, aperture f/7.1, shutter 1/50
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Digital 102 Metering Homework Assignment

matrix/evaluative metering - reading the light of the entire scene
matrix/evaluative metering – reading the light of the entire scene

I have to admit, I’m starting to LOVE Mondays…mostly because that’s when I get to go back to my photography class! It definitely makes starting back from the weekend much more bearable!!  This week was so crazy I wasn’t able to post my homework assignment earlier.  Our project was to take a portrait, landscape, and high contrast light in the three metering modes – matrix, spot and center-weighted. The idea was to try and see the difference in the way the camera reads light in these modes.

I think I had the most success in my high contrast light picture, where Ray was looking out our back door with only the porch light on. Poor guy, it was at the end of a long day, and he was still in pain, but he willingly modeled for me. Such a good guy!!  My portrait and landscape pictures showed less differences in the metering. However if you look close on the right side of “Tifa” (the cute little shih tzu) and the base of the tree, you can see the subtle light and detail differences.

Today in class we talked a little more in depth about composition, and different styles of photography, focusing a bit more on night photography, and light painting.  As well as the technical steps on  how to capture those difficult nighttime and low light shots.  This weeks assignment is to put some of that into practice, and I’m so excited. 

I took my first trip out tonight and got a couple cool really cool shots!  I also learned that it would be helpful to have a small flashlight with you to actually see menus on your camera, and find things like lenses that you put down after you switch out to your zoom lens!!  I almost lost my “nifty fifty” (photographer jargon for 50 mm fixed lens)  tonight in the dark…yikes!   I would have been heartbroken to loose that!

I will post soon, but after my influx of posts last night I think I will spread things out a bit!

Spot - using light from a one specific focus point,
Spot – using light from a one specific focus point,
Center-weighted - Using the light from the middle focusing point, as well as the points on either side.
Center-weighted – Using the light from the middle focusing point, as well as the points on either side.
matrix/evaluative
matrix/evaluative
Center-weighted
Center-weighted
Spot
Spot
Matrix/Evaluative
Matrix/Evaluative
Spot
Spot
Center-weighted
Center-weighted

My Happy Place Day 11: Rainy Days

Rain-0006

Perhaps it is strange to say that a happy place for me is a solid, all day, soaking kind of rainy day. However, when we have one of those days, particularly on a chilly winter day when I can build a fire and I have no where to go, it suites me fine. Snuggled in the warmth, with the ones I love, there is a quiet soul searching that settles over me. Reflection wins out over the business.

We’ve had a lot of rainy days recently, and even a rain lover can get a little weary of the dreariness when days stretch into weeks. A longing to see hints of the sun eventually will weigh on you. These days have been a lesson for me though…because in the moments when the sun wins through the heavy dark clouds, somehow it is sweeter. Almost like his right to be in the sky has been won in battle.

And at the end of the day, it is in the rain, that I learn to appreciate the sun.

Rain-0012

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Rain-0016

My Happy Place Project

Day 1:  My boys.  The only pic I took on New Years Eve and Day.  My ballerina girl was at a sleepover, and we let the little man stay up to watch the ball drop.  He was thrilled.
Day 1: My boys. The only pic I took on New Years Eve and Day. My ballerina girl was at a sleepover, and we let the little man stay up to watch the ball drop. He was thrilled.

I have to admit, I don’t usually put much stock in New Year’s resolutions or that there will be any true change with the simple advance of the clock from 11:59 on December 31st, to 12:00 on January 1st. However this year, I think I was looking forward to the turn of the calendar, as much as I was to Christmas, if only for it’s symbolic picture of a fresh start.

2012 was a tough year for me in a lot of ways. God in His wisdom decided He needed to re-prioritize a few things in my life. It has been a painful journey, fraught with misunderstandings and hurt, death of vision and dreams I felt were from Him…and perhaps harder still to see, hidden blessings. I wish I could say that I’ve navigated it all perfectly and as a picture of grace, but that wouldn’t be true. Frankly, there have been times that I’ve flat out thrown a “temper tantrum” that would put any two year old to shame, because I’ve not liked the path He’s chosen for me to walk. But God has been so gracious to me, forgiving when I humble myself before Him, giving me strength to pick up and move forward again and again. And in that process I’m catching more and more glimpses of the simple truth that, when He allows pain into our lives, it is often used for a deeper and greater good.

While this blog and my journey into photography is only a temporal part of the bigger picture, it’s still now a part of my story. You see, it is these trials and a few other circumstances, that have created the “perfect storm”, that has closed one door and opened another. And honestly, it has pushed me to walk through that door, in a new direction of something I may not have been brave enough to step into otherwise.

So with that back story, you might better understand why as I was visiting the blog of another photographer whose work I absolutely love and respect, I was impacted by her post, “The Wonder Project”. Seriously, Mary Anne’s artistry and knowledge is what I aspire too. I love her heart that comes out in her pictures and blog as well. Anyway, I could relate on so many levels. It was that post and echoes of Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts” that have inspired me to throw caution to the wind, and commit to jumping in to my own challenge.

This challenge for myself is called, “My Happy Place”, and it will be my attempt to take a picture a day (or close to) of something that makes me smile, a blessing in my life, a beauty God has opened my eyes too, or things that take my breath away. The things that take me to my “Happy Place” where I’m overwhelmed by His goodness to me. My hope is that it will not only stretch me artistically, but that it will also affect my attitude, change my perspective and keep my focus where it needs to be. So here is my start in 2013, choosing to keep my eyes on God, the good things He has put into my life, and all that He has for planned for me in the year ahead.

One of my favorite families in the whole wide world.  This pic makes me smile everytime I see it.
Day 2: One of my favorite families in the whole wide world. This pic makes me smile everytime I see it.
My pooch.  She bounces when we go outside to play without a leash.  I love her quirkiness.
Day 3: My pooch. She literally bounces with delight when we go outside to play without a leash. I love her quirkiness.
Day 3: Crepe paper flowers with complimentary plastic bee, from the cutest little man I know.
Day 4: Crepe paper flowers with complimentary plastic bee, from the cutest little man I know.
Day 5: Flowers from my husband, who knows me better then I know myself sometimes. They came on a day I really needed to be reminded I am loved.
Day 5: Flowers from my husband, who knows me better then I know myself sometimes. They came on a day I really needed to be reminded I am loved.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

So I’ve been a bit neglectful of this blog since my trip out west. Honestly, I hit the ground running stepping off the plane. With Halloween costumes to be made, boy scout trips to prepare for, and impending ballet recitals, there really wasn’t much room to do anything else. I did however take lots of pictures (go figure) and hopefully those will make it here over the next couple weeks. There are other exciting (read: scary) things happening too, but that is a post for another day.

In the meantime, here are a few final pics from my trip out west. Seriously there were moments that I thought about packing up the fam and moving there!  Between the scenery and dear friends, it is truly amazing.  If only I could convince the grandparents, aunts and uncles to come too. 🙂

Anyway, if you want to see some AMAZING pictures from this area, check out my friend Erik’s website. Really go check it out, because it’s these kind of images that make me hesitate to call myself a photographer! Simply stunning.


Backyard Beauty

Nikon D90, 50 mm, ISO 250, f/8, shutter speed 1/125

So I started writing my second post today, and honestly it was dismal.  It was about low lighting and how it was the bane of my existence, and how frustrated I am every time I find myself in that situation.  I got about a paragraph in and said forget it.

Part of what I want this blog to do for me is to force me to pick up my camera every day and push myself to find beauty around me.  Stretching my abilities and learning how to frame it through my lens.  With that thought, I abandoned the computer and headed outside with George (my Nikon D90 – why I call him George is a post for another day :).

As I wandered into my backyard, the yellow flowers on the edge of my woods caught my eye.  I couldn’t help but think these yellow things are the culprit for allergy flare ups.  However, as I moved closer I also couldn’t help but notice all the activity buzzing around the delicate yellow blossoms.  There had to have been at least two or three bees, a wasp and a butterfly flitting around enjoying the nectar.

In that instant time stopped.  I had found my beauty, and depressing low lighting posts evaporated.

I had accomplished what I set out to do.

Nikon D90, 50mm, ISO 250, f/8, shutter speed 1/60