Friday, April 30, 2010

13/365 Closet switch

It's that time of year: time to rotate the clothes in the closet to reflect brighter colors and lighter fabrics!

It's a fun process, and I enjoy opening a tub and finding an article of clothing that I'd forgotten I had. Not quite as great as if I were discovering money, but you take what enjoyment you can get, right?

I especially like this process in the spring, because it means unearthing skirts, sandals, and tank tops -- fewer layers that add up to less time getting dressed in the morning!

Warm weather, bring it on.

Camera: Canon 40D with 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 400

Thursday, April 29, 2010

12/365 Deep pink alluring azalea

This isn't the first time I've photographed this azalea, because I'm completely drawn to this color. The last photograph here was two years ago. It's another great opportunity for me to be able to see how my technique has changed (and improved)!

There's something about bright, deep pink that has always drawn my attention. Clothing, Post-its, cell phone cover, laptop case... The laptop case followed the cell phone cover. I figured if I was going to pick something bright, I might as well be consistent with it, right?

Do you have a color that has almost become your signature? 

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/250s, f/2.8 at ISO 1000 under cloudy skies at about 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

11/365 Architecture in Indianapolis

Indianapolis has some beautiful architecture, even though we may not be known for it. This sight grabbed my attention as I was sitting at a stop light downtown.

As much as it's great to see "progress" and new construction, I hope the U.S. starts to retain more value on retaining old buildings. It's a shame that it's become cheaper and easier to tear something down and start from scratch. And it's not just churches like this that should be kept. Historic buildings retain character for an area.

It would be sad if all we started seeing were homogeneous boxes everywhere.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/160s, f/7.1 at ISO 400 at about 8:00 p.m.

Monday, April 26, 2010

10/365 Climbing higher

I love finding plants that are growing in unexpected places. This one isn't exactly growing in an unexpected place, per se, but its vertically-reaching tendrils have found a brick wall to be sufficient for climbing.

This particular extension has woven itself between this decorative shutter and the brick. I like the contrast between the neutral, rough browns and the curving, lush green. That's precisely what has caught my eye every day since I first saw this.

Unexpected. Love it!

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 1000 at about 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

9/365 A vilified dandelion

Ah, the dandelion. The bane of all grass-growers' existence. And boy, are they everywhere this year.

At the very least, they're an attractive weed. I mean, so many of the other annoying weeds that threaten a perfectly manicured green lawn are just scraggly or will actually poke you if you step on one with bare feet.

So when you think of it that way, are dandelions so bad? Should we be taking the weeds life has given us and be making salad instead?

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 640 at about 7:45 p.m.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

8/365 The monolith in the cemetery

I stopped at a small cemetery on my way home from work to find this photo of the day.

One of the grave markers really stood out. It was carved from what looked like black granite and stood about six feet high. Instead of just one single headstone, it had two individual pillars, polished smooth. And on one side, there were even bronze graphics honoring the man (a doctor) laid to rest here.

Pretty elaborate.

Honestly, what it reminded me of (and by no means is this intended disrespectfully) was the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Terrible movie (feel free to disagree, that's just my opinion), but memorable nonetheless.

I walked around the headstone until I found this interesting perspective, looking diagonally between the two pillars, that frames the flag at the crest of the cemetery.

Thanks for the photographic opportunity, doc.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/250s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 at about 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

7/365 A furry source of inspiration

I'm amazed by the number of great, successful photographers out there who specialize in one thing and one thing only. And I'm not talking about weddings, not senior portraits, and not even little-league sports teams.

It's pets. People and their (mostly) furry family members. Those furry family members who we love so much it makes our spines tickle just thinking about how special they are.

I'm not surprised that people are willing to pay a photographer to capture the essence of their pet for visual eternity. In fact, as I work to expand my own photography career, this is an avenue that I seriously want to explore. Senior portraits, weddings, engagements, and family portrait opportunities are easier to come by, but I'm such an animal lover that this subject matter really appeals to me.

Some of my inspiration?
And of course, my biggest source of inspiration, pictured here.

Photography + furry creatures = awesome!

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/250s, f/4.5 at ISO 125 at about 4:30 p.m.

6/365 Bleeding hearts

From what I've read, bleeding hearts are often used in floral bouquets as a symbol of undying love.

I have to say, they're absolutely beautiful flowers, and I love how unique they are, but when I hear "bleeding heart" and "undying love", the first word that comes to mind is "stalker." Is that something you want to evoke when you receive a bouquet of flowers? 

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/250s, f/2.8 at ISO 160, in shade at about 6:00 p.m.

Monday, April 19, 2010

5/365 Flowering trees at work

We have some very nice landscaping at work, and in one section of the property, several flowering trees add color at different times of the year.

I'm not sure what these are (maybe dogwoods?), but there are three in a row -- a white, a deep pink, and a light pink. After lunch on Friday, before I returned to my desk to slave away at the computer again, I grabbed my camera and finally spent a few minutes with these trees.

I chose this photo from the bunch because of the subject matter in both the foreground and background. I like that the white blossoms frame the pink ones in the background.

Shoot, I should just take my laptop outside and work out here all day! Though the distracting scenery may not help to keep me focused.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 200 at about 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

4/365 Dried hyacinth blooms

Traditionally, I photograph flowers when they're at their prime, or perhaps when they're just getting ready to bloom.

This grape hyacinth has passed its peak, but I actually like that aspect of this photo. I like the healthy green leaves that seem to be sheltering the dried blossom. The dried petals add a different texture than you normally see on a gorgeous flower.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 500

Saturday, April 17, 2010

3/365 Easter lily

My home has also become home to an Easter lily recently. Mom bought two in memory of my grandparents, and I got to bring one of the flowers home.

I've been de-pollen-izing them as new blooms have opened, primarily because that seems to reduce the scent (it can be a little overwhelming). I suppose you could call it sterilizing them, but that sounds a lot more painful.

I haven't had many indoor plants until now, so it's nice to have a different form of life in the house.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 500

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2/365 Delicate pink flowers

I have no idea what this bush actually is, but I noticed its delicate pink flowers outside my window and wanted to be sure I photographed it.

The flowers themselves are only about the size of a dime, and they have four perfectly symmetrical petals that form an open circular shape. The leaves of the bush are a dark, brick red, which is the predominant feature through most of the growing season.

Whatever it is, I like it!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 1000 at about 7:45 p.m.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

1/365 Year 3 - Redbud trees

Welcome to the first post of my third year of Project 365!

I wanted to jump in right away so that I could take advantage of all the beautiful spring life that is bursting [and filling the air with pollen] right now. Blooming redbud trees are some of my very favorite signs of the season, so I couldn't wait any longer to photograph one.

What's in store for this year? Your guess is as good as mine! I plan to incorporate more themes, because that offered a new challenge and way of looking for inspiration. But I'm going to hold off on that for a little while, because honestly, I can't stand the idea of ignoring the outdoors in the spring!

I will tease you a little bit though: I've got some big, new subject matter coming soon -- in the next few weeks -- but I'm going to keep it a surprise. You won't have to wait very long. And you'll know it when you see it.

Now, did that get your curiosity up, or what?

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/250s, f/2.8 at ISO 100 at about 6:00 p.m.

Monday, April 12, 2010

365/365 Final post of year two!

Today is a big day! This is post number 365!

Wow, year two is complete. This second year has been a new kind of challenge. During the first year, the largest challenge was teaching myself to find a worthy photo in every day. This year? Finding a worthy photo in every day that I hadn't already done in the first year.

If you're a new visitor, welcome! I hope you'll stick around, because I'm not going anywhere -- year three starts right away.

Last year, I wrapped up the first year with my top ten favorite posts. It seems appropriate to do it again!

32/365 Cherry blossoms -- I just love the rich, sharp colors in this photo. It just screams life!

64/365 Perfect peonies -- This photo is now framed and hanging on my living room wall. I'm a big fan of pink in general, and peonies have a special family meaning for me. Love this photo.

87/365 Recovery in New Orleans -- My first-ever trip for work, and it involved a journey to a very interesting city. I didn't expect to enjoy New Orleans as much as I did. I came away pleasantly surprised and absolutely interested in returning.

117/365 Kelly & Matt's engagement -- I shot engagement portraits for some fellow Butler grads, and we had a ball strolling around campus. I really enjoyed highlighting both the couple and their favorite places on campus.

119/365 Stunning zinnias -- Are you surprised to see another flower on this list of favorites? (Probably not.) And it's pink!

146/365 The amazing Keith Urban -- I won tickets to his concert, and Keith Urban happens to be one of my very favorite musicians and artists. The seats were fantastic, and I had the chance to get some great photos!

166/365 Camera + Dog -- My love, he just makes my heart melt. This photo just makes me want to hug him.

195/365 Near-harvest soybeans -- An iconic Indiana scene, and I happened upon it in perfect light. I love the detail on the pods.

240/365 A lovely walk around Chicago -- Mom and I took a trip to Chicago by train last November, and we were fortunate to get a beautiful, cool fall day to explore Millennium Park. I had to make a trip to the Cloud Gate with my camera!

364/365 Ditching my theme for a crocus -- And finally, my previous post. I love the return of outdoor plant life in Indiana!

I'd love to hear from you -- ideas for themed weeks, subject matter you'd like to see more of, anything! Look out, here comes year three...

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/60s, f/2.8 at ISO 1600 at about 7:30 p.m.

Friday, April 9, 2010

364/365 Ditching my theme for a crocus

Two photos left in year two of Project 365, so I'm going for my favorites and am ditching my theme. Call me a quitter, whatever you like, but I want to end on a grand note! I just had to get down low and photograph this crocus. It would be against my nature to ignore it.

I feel better now. One day to go!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 400 at about 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

363/365 Movement: zooming in

I cut some daffodils from the side of my house and brought them inside for a touch of spring.

To use the "movement" theme with a static subject, I focused on the white daffodil, gave myself a long shutter speed, and zoomed in while the shutter was open.

Some people call it the "zoom effect." One of my favorite photography blogs, Digital Photography School, did a post on the subject that has some great examples.

It's a fun way to add movement to a photo!

Camera: Canon 40D, 3/5s, f/5.6 at ISO 100

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

362/365 Movement: setting sun

This was the only bit of sunshine we got on this rainy, cloudy day, but at least it went out with a bang! I was actually driving eastward, but the sun caught my eye in my rearview mirror -- so I had to pull over.

I'm continually struck by the phenomenon that makes the sun (or moon) appear larger on the horizon. Not surprisingly, it's just our brains playing tricks on us, but it does make for an interesting scene.

That movement from daylight to dusk was my themed capture of the day.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/4.5 at ISO 1000 at about 8:00 p.m.

Monday, April 5, 2010

361/365 Movement: chicken on the grill

Unless you're a serious, hard-core griller who willingly withstands freezing temperatures in order to fix dinner, the return of spring means that grilling weather has returned.

I have to say, I think many foods just taste better on the grill. And chicken is often one of them.

I like a simply grilled chicken breast, lightly seasoned, which means it is versatile and can work with just about any dish. I broil chicken regularly, but the grill definitely changes the experience.

Just make sure you have a full tank of propane first.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/30s, f/8 at ISO 100 at about 6:00 p.m.

360/365 New theme: movement

Time for a new theme, and this will be the final theme in Year 2 of my Project 365!

The theme is: movement.

Why does it seem like gas stations often have the largest American flags? In comparison to the bit of  roof you can see at the bottom right, you can tell this one is huge -- meaning it took some seriously strong wind to get this flag blowing horizontally.

I'd call that movement, wouldn't you?

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

359/365 Look down: recycle bin

I'm waging a bit of a battle with this recycle bin right now. Well, maybe "battle" is too strong a word. But "dilemma" doesn't quite cut it.

What bin to use? Where to put it? How to keep it convenient?

Right now, this clear plastic tub lives in my kitchen, against a wall, in plain sight. Not attractive by any means, but definitely convenient. If I had flexible cabinet/storage space, I might be able to tuck it away. But my small kitchen just can't accommodate that.

For now, it catches my recyclables until I tote it out to the garage and dump the contents into a larger plastic tub.

My dilemma/battle lies in coming up with a new system that is both visually attractive (or at the least, not an eyesore) and handy. I've been doing some online searching for ideas but haven't landed on one yet.

Any suggestions? What works for you?

Camera: Canon 40D with 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/4.5 at ISO 400

Friday, April 2, 2010

358/365 Look down: spring daffodils

All around Indiana right now, when you look downward (see how I worked that theme in?) into flower beds, you're bound to see daffodils.

I'd be willing to bet that one reason we see so much of this cheery flower is because it's one of the first spring flowers to sprout. So our impatience for new life in the new year is tamed by their appearance.

I know it's true for me. This isn't the first time I've photographed daffodils -- I can't resist. In my case, and the fact that I use this blog as a project to boost my photographic skills, I really enjoy looking back over similar photos of mine to look for marked improvement.

I can see several points of improvement in this photo compared to some of my previous ones: The exposure is better (lighter), I've framed the subject more closely (not always a "better" thing, but in this case I think it is because it focuses your attention differently), and I like the diagonal created by the framing of the flower.

I guess that means I should keep it up!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/4.5 at ISO 400 at about 6:30 p.m.