Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The World of Knowledge

I LOVE books...

...but I don't like rain.

And that is all it has been doing this week, seriously limiting where I could go for Walk and Click Wednesday.

Fortunately I had to go to the Library today to pick up a book that had come in for me.

I decided to do a little exploring with my iPhone while I was there. I couldn't believe all the CD's the Library has, do people still listen to CD's?

Now Audio Books I understand (if your car still has a CD player or a tape player). Fortunately my car has both so we might be picking up some of these before our two week road trip to Montana this summer.

As I wandered down the aisles filled with beautiful books...

I turned a corner and found this book on an end cap display shelf...

Now I might not be particularly interested in Stevensville (but I might be, you never know) I WAS interested in the label on the spine that said Michigan History indicating there might be a whole section on Michigan History. Off I went in search of that section.

Rounding the corner to the last aisle at the far end of the library (an area I have never been to before) I found these...

Old card catalogues. Remember those? From the days before computers. Now the drawers are filled with Genealogy information.

At last I came to the Michigan History section, three full sections of it. I was in Heaven. New things to read about, new places to explore.

 I came home with my original book that I needed to pick up and a few others...

There are never enough hours in the day to read.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Beyond, Beyond - Week 1

Beyond, Beyond is the new Kim Klassen class I am taking. You all know that I love Kim! This is a year long class with assignments once a week, easily done right?

Except that Kim and the teacher of the other class that I taking right now are ganging up on me this week. Both are making me photograph with intention.

The challenge from Kim this week was to set up a scene to shoot, take 10 different shots; close up, further back, change the angle, the focal point, experiment with negative space (more or less). Really "see" what I was capturing. Do not move the subject. Move my body, move the camera and move my focal point.

Deciding what to shoot was hard, I am not much of a still life shooter, only when I have a PURPOSE for it do I do it. I needed to find something interesting enough to take 50+ shots of...then I saw it. The wood cornice that I found at a flea market last year. I love all the different nooks and crannies, the layers and texture of the paint. I could do this!

I added a dried hydrangea blossom that I had found on one of my morning walks.

I used my 50mm 1.8 lens for some shots, but a lot of them were with my 60mm 2.8 Macro lens. I took 90 photos and I kept 40 of them. More than I ever expected to keep. 

I really enjoyed exploring different angles, and using my macro lens. I was surprised how fast an hour passed while I was doing my assignment.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Finding My Eye: The Blue Door

In lesson two of Kat's Find Your Eye class I was challenged to photograph a familiar subject. I was suppose to look back over my images from the past few months and find something or someplace that appears often. Well, looking back at my images the only thing that appears regularly is me, thanks to my self-portrait class. I am sorry but I am not taking 50 more pictures of myself, 5-10 per week is my limit.

So I looked a little deeper and saw the Blue Door from my recent Windmill Island exploration. I remembered thinking at the time that I wanted to go back and take more photos of it. There, subject chosen.

There was one shot in particular that I wanted to have a do over on. This is the photo...

I knew exactly what I wanted to change, make the background and the red barn more blurred and use my 50mm lens instead of my 18mm-135mm. I am happy with the result I achieved...

Now for the rest of the story...

How did I find the experience of photographing a familiar subject with intention? To be honest after I got the shot I wanted I was ready to go home. Of course the snow and the 21 degree temp. that felt like 10 degrees didn't make me want to stay and explore more angles.

What did I not like about this experience? I can't say I am a big fan of returning and trying to hone a shot. My photographs are all of different places and things for a reason. Even though I need a purpose to go out and shoot, I enjoy the discovery of new things when I am there. The surprise of loading the photos and getting some great shots that weren't intended is where the joy comes from for me. So shooting a subject with intention is not the way I enjoy photography.

What would I change next time to suit me? First of all it would need to be warmer so my thumbs didn't feel like blocks of ice. Second, pick a place to revisit instead of a particular subject. I wouldn't get the same shots as the first time, but there would be variety instead of a single subject, which is what I enjoy.

One last favorite from the shoot on Friday...

*Photojournal entry #4 for Kat Sloma's class Find Your Eye.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Finding My Eye: What Motivates Me

What is my motivation in photography?

I thought I had the answer to this question. It was going to be exploring. I love to go outside and explore with my camera.

But then I dug a little deeper for the real answer, and you know what it was? PURPOSE
I need to have a purpose to photograph. Yes I love exploring but if I don't have a destination in mind I will drive around aimlessly for an hour never taking one photograph and then go home frustrated.

When I really thought about this question, I realized that I don't have any problem taking photos for my other blog Becoming a Finisher and that one doesn't have anything to do with exploring, at least not nature exploring. But I do have a purpose when I shoot for it.

In all my photography the ultimate PURPOSE is to tell a story. Sometimes the story is there first and then I take the pictures to go with the story, and sometimes I take the pictures first and then the story comes from the pictures.

Now I know the reason why I have never been successful at a 365 project, even though I have tried numerous times. I can't take random pictures I need the PURPOSE and the story.

Two things that have given me a tremendous amount of PURPOSE are:
1. I made a list of 44 Things that I wanted to do in my 44th year and on that list was to visit all the County Parks in my area. It has been fun visiting these parks, many that I have never been to before, photographing things I see at them and telling a story about my visit.
2. Walk and Click Wednesdays. A friend of mine from a previous on-line class started this blog link up in September. The objective is to go out exploring with your camera each week, then on Wednesdays post your photographic discoveries. I have been to so many places that I have always wanted to go to, but just never did. I have also revisited some old favorites, all the while capturing the whole adventure with my camera.

I am so happy to have had this question and the diligence to keep searching for the answer. When the easy answer seemed just a bit too easy. When the answer was a different one than I expected.

**Photojournal entry #3 for Kat Sloma's class Find Your Eye.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Beating the Winter Storm

Cold Arctic air was headed our way on Monday this week, so I wanted to get out on Saturday for my Walk and Click Adventure.

I pondered where to go that wasn't too far away from the house but was someplace that I haven't been yet for Walk and Click. Then I got out my Ottawa County Parks map and decided on Hemlock Crossing someplace that I haven't visited yet in my quest to visit all the Ottawa County Parks. To date I have visited 10 parks and have 16 yet to visit before June 19.

There wasn't much color to be found on a gray day in the dormant winter woods. So I decided to have some sepia processing fun, since I seem to be in love with this look right now.

There are some beautiful foot bridges in this park, so that was my focus.

Deep out in the woods I came across this tree, there were lots of different sets of initials on the tree, but this set was kind of off by itself, perfect for a picture. It made me wonder about the people attached to the initials, where were they now, were they still together...

This park connects to Pine Bend Park where I did my Weaver House story back in October. I hiked all the way there, it was fun to come to that park from a different direction. This trail use to be the driveway to a summer resort that was here in the early 1900's.

It started to rain a little bit on my way back to the car, so I didn't stop too much on the journey back. I was more concerned with keeping my camera dry. Fortunately it stopped fairly quickly.

One last shot of the foot bridge at the trail head. I had to climb down a muddy river bank to get this shot, but it was worth it.

Back across the bridge, one last glance out over the river before the snow sets in.

The snow is coming in abundance now, so I am glad I was able to get out before it hit.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Finding My Eye: What Draws Me to Photograhy

From a Snapshot to a Photograph

photo credit: Mallory Huizenga
I think the first time I realized that I took a photograph instead of a snapshot was after a day outing with our, then toddler daughter, to a State Park beach. This was not a beach of glistening sunbathers in sometimes awkward looking swimsuits. This was a beach of gentle windswept sand dunes and majestic  deep blue skies, with bleached gray driftwood logs scattered upon the sand. Those logs providing a place to sit and watch the beautiful gray-green water lap the pebbled shore.

What drew me to those photos once they came back from the developer, was the color. The intoxicating colors of nature. There I have said it, what I love about photography is color; bright colors, soft colors, black and white and my new favorite sepia, I LOVE them all.

One of my favorites from this past fall. I love the pop of the yellow berry.

*entry #2 to my photo journal for Kat Sloma's class: Find Your Eye.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Finding My Eye: Starting the Journey

I started a new on-line photography course yesterday, Find Your Eye with Kat Sloma.

I have been wanting to take/resisting to take this class since early last fall. Why the resisting you ask? It seemed I was always in the middle of another class and didn't want to overload myself. Maybe I was a little afraid that I might "find" out that I didn't have an "eye", and that I sucked at photography.

When this session of the Find Your Eye series was announced I again resisted, even though I knew that I did have the time to devote to the class.

Then one of my on-line friends offered on her blog, a give-away of a spot into Kat's class. All I had to do was leave a comment. Simple enough, a nice comment typed and submitted. Then I completely forgot about the class.

Imagine my complete surprise when I got an e-mail from my friend Kristina, right at Christmas time, saying that I had WON the spot in Kat's class.

Obviously I was meant to take this class. No more resisting. I don't know where this journey will take me, but I am excited to get started down the path to Finding My Eye.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Home Town

Last week the theme for the 52 Week Photography group that I am in this year was My Home Town. So I thought, what would signify Holland, MI? Then I had a little time before my yoga class and decided to take a drive out to Windmill Island. I haven't been to Windmill Island since Mallory was very little, or maybe even longer, which is kind of sad since it is at the east end of downtown and easy enough to get to. This is what I love about Walk and Click Wednesdays, it makes me go places I wouldn't normally go to.

Nothing says Holland like a windmill, and yes this is a real one . The De Zwaan is the only authentic, working Dutch windmill in the United States. Brought over from the Netherlands in 1964. 

Love how this one processed with the sepia tones, it looks very vintage.

I want to go back and take some more pictures of this door.

This was a great old piece of farm equipment near the windmill, heavily covered with frost.

Finally, here is the photo I entered in the 52 week photography group.

Have a great week :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rediscovering the LOVE of Paper

I have always had a LOVE for paper!

It began early in our marriage when somebody invited me to a Stampin' Up party. I instantly fell in love. The ability to create art without having to be an artist, appealed so much to me.

Then along came scrapbooking, even better I could incorporate my family photos with beautiful colored card stock and amazing patterned paper. Soon I had a whole room devoted to the hobby.

Then the busy years came, between working, keeping house, family time and church activities, there was no time left for this hobby.

Even last year when things were quieter I still didn't get out all my wonderful paper and play. Then along came Ali Edwards' class One Little Word and we were encouraged to make a scrapbook relating to our word for the year. I could have done a digital one, but I really wanted to make use of all my wonderful papers and just experience the joy of creating something again.

Here are the first two pages for my scrapbook. Our assignment for January was make a layout with 12 intentions to go with our word for the year. Anybody that is taking the class will see that mine is a bit different than the one that Ali did, but I readily admit I don't play by the rules. They are just guidelines.

I am also incorporating the class Move More, Eat Well into this scrapbook, after all it is all about the Journey I am on this year.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Shopping Adventure

Mallory's holiday break is coming to a close at the end of this week, so we thought we would have one last shopping adventure before she headed back Up North. Then I thought, I will document the adventure with my iPhone for Walk and Click Wednesday for something different.

The mall was very quiet, with all the kids back in school. It was such a pleasant change from before Christmas.

There was even breathing space inside the Apple Store, although now that I have my new MacBook Pro I couldn't think of any thing I needed. I am sure that will change :)

These shopping trips are a great time to stock Mallory up on anything she might need while up at school. There aren't stores like this in Marquette.

New foundation, new mascara and new eyeliner for her, new eyeliner for me.

Of course we had to wander through one of my favorite stores...Pottery Barn. If only I had the money, my whole house would look like this...

The whole purpose of coming to this mall though was so we could go to The North Face store. I had seen a lightweight fleece I really liked there before Christmas, so with some Christmas money from my mom and dad burning a hole in my pocket I wanted to try it on.

I loved the color and the fit, it would look a lot better with leggings or hiking pants. There was a small spot on the lower left front that I couldn't get to come off, even though it was small I would know it was there and that would bug me.

I also tried on some new rain pants. The pair I have now I have had for 15-16 years, I wear them all the time out photographing and walking in the winter, there are holes at the bottom of both legs. I definitely need a new pair before our two week road trip to Montana this summer.

We dined on a healthy lunch at Ruby Tuesday's before going to the other big shopping mall. Love their Garden Bar.

The big draws at the other mall are Eddie Bauer and Barnes and Noble.

A couple Chai Tea Latte's for the trip home.

Home from another successful shopping adventure.

I probably won't set foot in a mall again until Spring Break when Mallory is home again. It just isn't that fun going by yourself.