Day 293. Sunset Snowstorm
There is a good reason I carry my camera with me just about every where I go. It is this picture. It seems half my life I've been having the thought that I could have taken a great photo if I had a camera with me. The 365 day photo project has forced me to take a camera with me all the time. It was a slow lesson to learn. Months went by before it fully clicked into my somewhat slow to react brain that having the camera with me meant not missing opportunities. Today may be the greatest result.
I looked out the window and noticed that it was snowing. This was followed by a grunt of disgust and the usual internal rant about the weather this year and how sick I am of snow. But in the middle of the rant I noticed something odd. The snow wasn't white. It was orange. And that's when it hit me that the snow was being lit from the side by the setting sun peeking through a break in the clouds. I don't know about you but I can't really recall many times when I've seen the sun and falling snow together. So I grabbed the camera and raced outside to start taking photos. The effect lasted less than five minutes.
In this installment, we see the monkey pleading for his life before the carnivorous child starts feeding on his succulent monkey brains. They're a delicacy you know.
Day 284: Snow Monkey Languishes in Prison
The one thing that stands out to me about doing a 365 day photo project is the ups and downs. There are weeks where I can do no wrong. My camera sees gold everywhere. And then there are weeks where it all comes out grey and bland. I'm asked frequently if I'll do this again. My answer depends on what phase I'm in.
Lately it's felt like a down cycle. Part of it is the feeling that I've exhausted my supply of available shots. In other words, I need to start trying to manufacture some pictures. My lack of pleasure in shooting lately tells me I need to push myself more. Instead of waiting for something cool to photograph, I need to create something. The down side of that is that it takes more time to work that way and time is my most precious commodity. We'll see what happens next.
Today's shot is a combination of luck and creativity. This monkey belongs to my youngest son. I've always found its sad eyes to be a bit disturbing. So that thought has been in my head for quite some time now. Today he dropped it between the car and the house and I went back outside to retrieve it. When I picked it out of the snow I had a sudden flash of inspiration. I placed it behind a fence and put those creepy sad eyes to good use. Maybe not a genius shot but it's pretty good.
On a technical note, this shot convinced me I need to invest in some ND filters. I wanted a shallow depth of field for this shot but the glare off the snow was so severe that it was impossible to do without blowing out the background completely. I had to close the aperture quite a bit to keep that from happening. But doing that makes for a much more focused background. Using neutral density filters I could have shot it the way I wanted. One more item for the shopping wish list.
Day 282: The Patriot Act of getting lunch
Sometimes I can be incredibly dense. For instance, this picture. I spotted the woodpecker having lunch on the suet cage on my front porch so naturally I grabbed the camera. That's why I put out food for birds, so I can take their picture. Then I started the mental check list for taking a photo. Focus, composition, aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc. In all of this I completely failed to notice that I was framing this bird against the big bold background of the flag. I'd like to take credit for trying to turn Woody Woodpecker into Patton or Captain America, but that would be a lie. The flag was just there. I wasn't paying it any attention at all.
Not that I'm complaining. I like this photo a lot. I just don't want to take credit for being smart when I was actually being pretty dense. Truth be told, I hate taking credit or praise for much of anything. My mother used to yell at me all the time for that. "Why can't you just take the damn compliment and say thank you?" Damned if I know. It's not like I don't have a fragile ego in need of feeding. I certainly want the praise and attention. You don't run a website for more than a decade without being something of an attention whore. But as soon as I get it, I try to deflect it. And right now I'm trying to deflect it before anyone has a chance to offer it.
That says something about me. And probably not something flattering.
Anyway, enjoy the photo. I'm taking my increasingly neurotic ass to bed.
Day 275: The King
I hope saying this doesn't make me sound like some sort of egocentric pretentious art goon, but I really love this photo I took today. Mostly because it was the result of simply experimenting. My son was doing his homework and I was there just to make sure he stayed focused and didn't wander off to investigate the sound of Phineas and Ferb in the other room where his younger brother was enjoying himself.
I started picking up random toys and tinkering with them, looking for some interesting shot. Most of it was rubbish. And then I hit on the idea of this car blurring as it moved through the shot. I played with longer and longer exposures, perfecting the blur and then the angle.
The final innovation was shooting it backwards. I had been pushing the car toward the lens on the mistaken theory that a car moves forward. I eventually realized that if I started with the car close to the lens and then pushed it away, I could guarantee the eyes being sharp and focused. Going toward the lens, this was just about impossible. The added bonus was that the car became something of a ghost.
And even better yet, I didn't go outside for this shot. For almost two weeks straight I've been shooting snow and ice. Sure, those are fascinating targets but I'm getting sick of them. That may have more to do with the relentless diet of snow and freezing cold weather of late than anything photographic though.
Day 272: Birch Seeds
It's been awhile since I've been posting my photos here. Laziness really. They go up every day on my Flickr page and get tweeted, so I'm still posting them. But the laziness wells up and drags me under, making sure that the blog always suffers. That's what blogs are for I believe. You either post the hell out of them and get popular, post the hell out of them and get ignored until you shoot someone, or just ignore them outright, apart from the occasional pity post in which you apologize to a non-existent audience for not posting.
So here's my latest photo. One in a long string of photos featuring snow and ice. That's all we have here right now folks. It's the harshest winter we've had in some time now. An endless stream of big dumpings of snow, interrupted by the occasional blast of sub-zero temperatures.
I'm off to work. That will keep me from the pleasure of playoff football.
Day 213: A Stroll With Dad
We were at an ice cream social at our children's school. Colin was sitting next to me, tearing into his new book, while we waited for Tina and Aiden to get back. I was experimenting with the camera, picking a random focus point and shooting blind from the hip, just to see what I would get.
Most of the shots were interesting but unusable due to bad angles or focus. This one though, turned out great. There's something very sweet about the way she's holding her father's hand. And because the shot is low, cutting off his head but not hers, it gives us something akin to her POV.
This shot catches me back up on the photo blog. I'll try to stay on target, but no promises. NaNoWriMo is taking up almost all of my free time right now. It's going well though. My word count is at 29,451 as of last night. I'm slightly behind the pace at the moment, but that's not a huge concern. Over all I've stayed close to the daily pace of 1667 words. Some days I'm ahead, some behind, but always close.
I'm way behind on posting these on the website. Pretty much all of my free time is going to novel writing at the moment, so this place is getting the shaft. If you really want the photos daily, keep an eye on my Flickr page, which is the main spot for the photos, so that is always up to date.
So here's one whole week at once:
On an unrelated note, my NaNoWriMo novel stands at 9,356 words so far. I am slightly ahead of schedule. It's tough going though. The differences between novel writing and screenwriting are enough to make me always a bit uncomfortable.
Day 199: Paper Venice
My son's 3rd grade class was studying Venice and created a gigantic map of the city in paper and cloth. This is a very small section of the map. The gondoliers are about eight inches tall to give you an idea of scale.
On an unrelated note, after four days of NaNoWriMo, my novel is at 8,170 words.
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