Monday, February 28, 2011

February Mosaic

1/6th of the way there! 16% completed. Two months down 10 more to go.

A few things I've learned so far
1. I think I prefer finding shots as opposed to staging them. Perhaps staging is a skill I should work on since I don't go out every day to take photos.
2. I like taking photos in larger batches instead of feeling like I have to save that idea for another day's photo.
3. I'm getting bolder. I am starting to pull over when I see a shot or ask random strangers if I can take their picture.
4. Trying to force something instead of enjoying it and relaxing can show in the pictures.
5. Gimp/photoshop are calling but until now I have been reluctant to use them. I may have to break down and really learn how to use them.
6. Ducky looks cute doing just about anything. ;)

59/365-Emerson Train

“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, February 27, 2011

58/365-Only two things are certain

Death and taxes.

57/365- Beauty and the Beast

The spring musical for my high school is Beauty and the Beast. The kids did a fantastic job tonight. I am so proud of them.
In the past, I've done some choreography for several of the plays and musicals. I didn't work on this show, but I wish I had. The seniors in this performance were 7th graders when I started with them. This is their last production in high school and tonight was senior night. It was a little emotional, but I really enjoyed being with them backstage and in the audience taking pictures.

Speaking of pictures, taking photos of a live stage performance is a bit challenging. Before I started learning about photography, I would sit close to the stage and drive people crazy with the flash. I'd get lucky some times and get some decent shots, but they lacked the "stage look". Tonight I tried a wide variety of settings and modes at first. I finally settled on an ISO of 200- 3200 depending on the scene and lighting, a shutter speed of about 1/60 to reduce motion blur, and an aperture of about f/5. I tried some spot metering, but I need to learn/practice more about that. My camera (maybe the operator) doesn't do well at 800 or 1600 ISO. Its way too grainy and sort of messed up. but, the grain and colors are better at 3200, go figure. any suggestions?

Friday, February 25, 2011

56/365- tree textures?

I took this picture on my lunch break. It is in the field between the elementary school and the high school. I played with some textures and I thought this one made it look like an old print on cloth. or an old post card.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

55/365-The little store

This evening I stopped by the "little store" to get a few things. As I was pulling in I saw a girl from the neighborhood that I grew up with, and politely waved at her. (She was still as snobby as ever and did not return the greeting). I got out of the car to go in and noticed that the car next to me was still running with no one inside. I entered the store and there was a young mother and a little boy sitting at the counter having a snack. Connie was at the register.
I tell you all of this to give you an idea of what the little store is like. You run into people you've known forever, there is still some community trust, and you know the people that work there on a first name basis.
When I was a kid, it was the first place I was allowed to go to on my bike without an adult. Well, school was the first place, but the store was next to the school and this time I didn't have to keep up with the "big kids" like on weekday mornings. Anyway, they still had penny candy! You could get a whole bag of sweets for a quarter! I used to pretend it was the store on "Little House on the Prairie" with the glass candy jars. (There really weren't any glass jars, just card board boxes of Bazooka Joe's and tootsie rolls, but it was fun to imagine). Mom would send us to go get milk or bread and then ask for the change AND the receipt. No sneaking candy with her money! Man was she a mean mom;) Aunt P would send us there for cigarettes. No secret stashes with her money either. She knew how much a pack was and counted her change.
There was lady that worked there who was British. We loved that she would call us "love". "Fifty cents, Love" Connie (the lady in the picture) has worked there since I was a kid. She is a very nice, hardworking woman. She's from the neighborhood and raised her kids here, too. She knows the ins and outs of the community, but isn't the town gossip.
When I turned eighteen, I went to the little store to buy a lotto ticket and a pack of smokes for Aunt P (by then they stopped selling them to kids for the parents). Now I go there for my own cigarettes and milk, to talk to Connie, and sometimes I give in and buy a candy bar, for old times sake of course ;)

54/365- Go Fight Win

My sleep schedule is all messed up. :) Sorry for the late post.
There was a pep rally today at school. I was hoping to get some cool shots. but since I had to do some work I got to the gym late. This was the only decent picture I took. Just shortly after I got there, a student had a medical emergency and they let the kids go early. The student is fine.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

53/365-a toast

A toast to the best friends a girl could want!

Read about the YaYas over at Melissa's blog (Apple of My Eye Photo) Warning! May make you cry. ;)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

51/365 - Flora Maya Orchid Show

Today was about as perfect as it gets. We had beautiful weather, gorgeous flowers, and lots of girl time. Not to mention, all the great photo opts.
First we headed to the Orchid show at the Botanical Gardens. It was so refreshing to see color and smell the flowers. I was really happy to take pictures of something other than objects on a black background in my kitchen. ;)
Next we took a stroll around the gardens. Even in the winter it is amazing! There are so many statues and shrines and such. MB showed us her favorite spot. Beautiful. Js and Jk and I went into the "climatron" rain forest and we reminisced about being in Costa Rica. P and I - the semi pokey ones- got to chat it up while catching up. We all stopped to feed the fish (which were ginormous) and the ducks. and of course there were the silly pictures with "Henry" the statue.
Then we stopped in for a visit with Gringo Jones and all his cool stuff.
Chow time! We headed to PI for pizza. YUM! - And I'm not just talking about the food. Giovani, the waiter, was a bit of eye candy for us. I think the J's were ready to eat him with a spoon. Anyway, It was totally delicious food and I got a special treat. One of my cousins and her boyfriend were at the "restaurante" and she finally got to meet the ya-yas.
After dinner, we said good bye to Jk and headed home. A few pitstops later, we got to the eastside and had some Culver's ice cream. again - YUM!
So, aside from the normal "adventures" that come with traveling with me, today was about as good as it gets.

51/365 - Ducky at the garden

Ducky joined us for a walk around the botanical gardens and got to visit with some relatives. ;)

Area 51/365 - Street photography

So, some of the YA-YAs and I were the city today. I thought I'd try my hand at some street shots/random stranger pics.
I'm making three entries for today. Enjoy:)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

50/365-Antique Liberty

I needed to get out of the house so I headed to an antique store. I guess I figured there would be something I could photograph. It was different than I thought it would be. I expected a dark, musty smelling, dirty junk house. Boy, was I wrong! This place was well lit, beautifully designed and organized, and the owners were kind enough to let me shoot. It smelled good too.

Anyway, I chose this picture for Presidents Day. I like the clock in the background. Sometimes I wonder how far off we are from what famous historical figures expected and hoped for. Times change and each generation interprets the past a little differently. So, how far off the intended mark are we?

49/365 - learning a foreign language

"Quack,quack...quackity quack" - Sometimes that's all my students hear ;)

It was a good thing I took this picture during announcements. I came home from school and took a nap that ended up being 9 and a half hours long. Guess I was pretty tired!

This picture didn't turn out the way I had hoped, but at least I have one to post for day 49.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

48/365 - Slow Down and enjoy the small things

So today was a bit crazy and very busy.
I spent my planning period on the phone with the mother of one of my favorite students. She was beside herself with concern for her son. He has been having debilitating panic attacks. So much so that he is literally awake all night and spent one night at the hospital. I spent most of the time educating her about anxiety/panic attacks and things/tips/tricks that I have found helpful in my own struggle them. After school, I saw her son in the hall and spent some time listening, asking questions, and sharing with him. I know I'm not a counselor, but hopefully I can at least let them know they are not alone in dealing with this and be there for them until his scheduled appointment with a psychologist. My heart goes out to them.
After meeting with him, I had to go take some head shots for the spring musical programs. While I was waiting for the last of the kids to arrive, I snapped the pictures above. These are two of my seniors that I've had in classes for the entire 6 years at this school. Love these girls. Anyway, they were waiting for their scenes to come up at play practice and graciously let me shoot them.
I went straight from play practice to a photo shoot of a three month old (the mother is one of my students). I showed up at the house and there was a little family drama happening, so that made things a little awkward. I feel like I rushed through the shoot. I'm not sure what these will turn out like since there were some lighting issues, a fussy baby, and a mentally distracted photographer. Hopefully there are a few decent ones.
On to the next thing! Straight from the shoot to a Spanish club fiesta. We just had dinner at a local restaurant, but it was fun. We have a really great group this year.
Finally home sometime after 8. Load pictures, blog, a little work for tomorrow, and hopefully to bed at a decent time. I've averaged about 4 hours of sleep the past several nights and I am exhausted.
I like these pictures because they remind me to enjoy the weather and sunshine and beautiful music.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

46/365- Psychodelic sock snowflake?

Okay, I'm pretty tired tonight and I have a headache. I took a picture of socks arranged in a flower pattern, but it was just blah. So I went over to picnik and played around a bit. I thought this kind of looks like a snow flake, so I'm just going to use it for today. Maybe tomorrow I'll be more creative and take a better picture.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I can't say I'm actively looking, but sometimes I wonder where my match is. Maybe I should check the dryer.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

44/365-Romance sandwich

My grandpa used to tell me he liked to eat "romance sandwiches" - two pieces of bread that are so in love they don't want anything between them. HA!
I guess he knew a thing or two about romance, but in his own way. As a teenager, Grandma said "even if that man (Grandpa) was the last man on earth, I still wouldn't marry him." A little later, they had to share a 3 hour car ride from the country to the city. I guess he won her over because they were married six weeks later. He managed to keep her for 58 years and kept his promise of "till death do we part".
He wasn't the roses and candies kinda guy, but he did do things that grandma thought were romantic. He would build her quilting frames, do most of the cooking, and kept the garden beautiful and full of foods she liked to eat,bake, or can. Gram loved to sing so gramps learned to play several instruments. He accompanied her for over 50 years. They were so cute as they got older. They would flirt in their own little ways and he would call her "Ms Lucy". Granted, they had their fair share of fights and patches of tough times over the years, like any marriage. But, after all that time, when they looked at each other they still had love and respect in their eyes.
So, go make a "romance sandwich" already!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

43/365- Part 2 Lovejoy Memorial

February is supposed to be the month of love. For one of my friends its not. It is, as she calls it, "deathuary". Several years ago her sister and brother-in-law died in a terrible car accident. A few years ago, her mother died, also in February. Her father passed this November.
This February, my friend lost two sisters in one week. On Monday, one sister was horrifically murdered. She was brutally stabbed to death then set on fire. Today was her memorial service and this morning another sister died. She had been battling cancer.
How much can one family be expected to endure?

43/365 - Fidelity

Friday, February 11, 2011

42/365 - What do men want 1 - Silence

So in the interest of fairness, I asked several men what they want. Interestingly, it's the same as us women. Of course, how we express those needs and how the are fulfilled are different. Anyway the first response was "silence". One gentleman stated that when he comes home from work and wants to vent about his day, he wished that women would listen instead of advise. HMMM, sounds familiar, doesn't it?

There were other responses pertaining to the gabbiness of women. (There was the obligatory "no nagging". the "give me a few minutes to rest when I come home before asking a million questions" response. ) But, generally is was wishing for more attentive listening.
The men I asked said things like paying attention to a conversation or tid-bit they mentioned and later surprising them with something, perhaps a gift or an action, that relates back to it in a positive manner. Or picking up on clues so that we understand what the man needs, not just wants.

Basically, it all comes down to respecting our partners, talking less, and listening more. Something both sexes could practice more.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

41/365 - WWW3 - Man Hands

What is it about a man's hands that are so sexy? Since I started thinking about this theme I've asked several women "What do women want?", "What do/would you look for in a man?" etc. Surpirisingly, quite a few said something along the lines of "I don't know if this is what your looking for or why I do this, but I always look at a man's hands". I thought it was just me (and my friend P).

I did a quick web search and thought whoever wrote this summed it up nicely:

"Hands can be a symbol of so much. So many different kinds of work are done by hands; sometimes even the worker is referred to by his/her hand, all hands on deck, and so on. Hands can be so very strong, and at the same time are capable of performing the most delicate maneuvers---I'm thinking of a surgeon or a musician. They can show such tenderness and love. They can tell much about a person,too-- are they smooth, rough, or covered in scratches and scars? Are they soft and pale or tanned and calloused? I don't know if men pay as much attention to hands as women tend to, but maybe one of the reasons women tend to admire them is because when we see a large, strong man's hand entwined with the smaller woman's hand, we think of protection. Or maybe it's much simpler.....maybe when we are feeling that vibe of attraction, we just naturally look at his hands and imagine them exploring every inch of our bodies..."

ps. not the best pic, I had to take it quickly. I did what I could to salvage it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

40/365 - WWW2 - Bacon

Bring home the bacon AND fry it up.
This isn't about women wanting the man's money. We make our own now, and sometimes more than the man. It's about knowing the man has work ethics and ambition. Its also about having the support in the home. If we're both working full time jobs (btw being a stay at home mom is a full time job, just without leaving the office), we both are responsible for making the house run smoothly. A man that willingly and equally shares in the chores, cooking, and kid rearing would be nice blessing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

39/365 - What Women Want 1

Valentine's day is fast approaching. Instead of the usual hearts and flowers stuff, I thought I would tackle the "list". Everyone has had one at some point. You know...the one that describes the perfect mate. The "must haves" and "can't stands". The impossible list of qualities you want or needs that must be met.
Today's picture of what women want is "to be heard." A man that will listen to us and not try to fix the problem, just let us vent. A man that will acknowledge what we are saying and feeling and not dismiss it as "stupid emotions". A man that understands that sometimes we have legitimate reasons to be angry, and its not always PMS.
I know its a tall order. But, most women I know have wished for it. This isn't a bash against men. Just an observation and a recognition that the two sexes communicate differently.

Monday, February 7, 2011

38/365 - Musical Monday - Chekeré

A chekeré (shekere) is a dried and hollowed gourd with a net of beads (seeds, shells, etc.) strung on the outside. Each gourd has its own pitch or sound based on its shape and size. It may be twisted, shaken or slapped to produce a subtle variety of effects; musically, it is much more flexible than maracas. It comes from West Africa and was brought to the new world via slavery. It is still a poplar instrument in afro-cuban music and religious ceremonies.
When I was in college, I was part of a Latin percussion ensemble that played a piece strictly for chekerés. Since each gourd has a tone when thumped, it was like playing in a hand bell choir. Each of us alone just sounded noisy, but when we all played our parts together there was a melody and a rhythm that turned out to be pretty cool.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

37/365-Funny Fortune

I was having a hard time thinking of something creative to do with the fortune cookie. The pictures were okay, but just boring. So I went surfing. I found a list of "bad fortunes". This one made me laugh out loud. I can think of several men that need to receive this. :)

The composition and stuff isn't what I had envisioned, but I can't spend anymore time messing with it tonight. I've had a great weekend - time with the fam, a "date" with my dear friend, P, and I didn't do any chores. But now the grade book and planning book are calling. I wish they'd dial a wrong number!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

36/365-another birthday snapshot

So, today is dad's (aka "Red") birthday. We went out to dinner and I grabbed this shot. I was going to post a picture of yesterday's leftover fortune cookie. Then I realized how fortunate I am to have these two for parents. Granted they did their fair share of messing up my sister and me, but what parent hasn't done the same for their child? ;) Anyway, I'm very grateful for them. Just trying to write this, a thousand things are coming to mind that I love and appreciate about them both. I'm getting a little emotional about it. So, that's it for now.

Friday, February 4, 2011

35/365 - part 2- Patience

Someone once told me that if you want to learn patience, eat a whole bowl of rice one grain at a time. Can't say I've ever tried it, but I have watched a cold pot of water grow to a boil. (Yeah.. I know...I was a bored kid, what can I say?)

35/365 - Happy new year!

The Chinese New Year was yesterday. Welcome to the year of the rabbit.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

34/365 - Spanish tortilla

My students love tortilla! During an annual school fundraiser for the needy, my classes compete against each other to see which one can raise the most money. My Spanish 3 class (not the buggers that made me cry) won this year. They chose tortilla as their reward.
I make several at a time and this time I made three. It's a small class so 2 are for them and one is for me to take pictures of (and to eat!) I don't make it very often, only about once or twice a year. It's time consuming since I make multiple batches. It took much longer tonight. I was out of the routine and I was stopping to take pictures. Total time: 3 hours.
Here's the recipe:
1 cup olive oil
coarse salt (Kosher salt is coarse)
4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced (mild one like the 1044 if available) - optional I usually use onion powder or leave it out. (I HATE onions)
4 large eggs

1. Use a large non stick pan for the first part of preparation and a 9" or 10" non stick pan for
the final preparation.
2. In large pan, layer potato, onion slices, olive oil and coarse salt to taste.
3. Cook over medium heat, lifting and turning the potatoes/onion occasionally, until they are
tender but not brown.
4. Don't be afraid if they brown a little, you want them to be cooked.
5. The potatoes will remain separated, not in a "cake".
6. Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat the eggs with a fork until they are slightly foamy.
7. Let stand until potatoes are done.
8. Remove the potatoes from the skillet and drain them in a colander, reserving about 3
tablespoons of the oil.
9. Add the drained potato/onions to the beaten eggs while the potatoes are still hot.
10. Press the potatoes down into the eggs so they are completely covered.
11. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes.
12. Heat two tablespoons of the reserved oil in the 9" pan.
13. Add the potato/egg mixture to the pan rapidly spreading evenly with a pancake turner.
14. Move the pan around and shake once in a while to evenly brown the mixture and keep it
from sticking.
15. You can use the edge of the pancake turner (or a fork) as the mixture sets to form the
sides to a more vertical orientation away from the sides of the pan.
16. Once the mixture is brown (this is the tricky part) place a large plate upside down over
the pan.
17. Turn the pan upside down, add a little more of the reserved oil, then slide the uncooked
side of the potato/eggs back into the pan.
18. Continue cooking until browned.
19. Flipping the tortilla two or three more times will help give it shape.
20. Once cooked, allow to cool several hours and enjoy!

Posting later tonight

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

33/365 - seeing both sides of the ...tree?

This is two pictures of the same row of trees. I took the left side then stepped over a little and took the right side. I was just doing some "lucky shooting" (as in it so darn cold and I'm on the side of a four lane road, so hurry up, take a bunch of shots, and hope you get lucky) but decided to put them together after I saw them on the computer. After some editing and some cloning to sort of hide the seam, here's today's picture.

Here are the originals