Flickr Slideshow

Did you know that Flickr had slideshow capabilities? I had seen the slideshows before, but I had no idea that you could embed them elsewhere, or that they were set on a black background, or that you could make the images full screen. I have to say that I’m fairly impressed.

The above slideshow includes my full stream, but it’s possible to view slideshows of particular sets also. I’ve added a link to my 365 project slideshow to the project page also. Happy viewing!

Finding Beauty in the Sparseness

Waiting for Spring

While I’ve seen many winters before, this year, as I’m taking pictures and spending more time really looking at winter, I’m struck by the sparseness. Everywhere the branches are bare, the lakes are frozen expanses of empty white snow, the walking and biking paths devoid of people. The is a lot of beauty in the sparseness if one can get bundled up enough to enjoy it. I think when I moved to Minnesota I was so shocked at how cold the winters were that I forgot how pretty it was when the world is blanketed in white and the city sounds are muffled by the snow.  So I’m setting a goal for myself for the next couple of months – I will look for that winter beauty, noticing the intricate forms that the branches of the oak trees make, or the winter feathers of the little birds that frequent those trees.

Tapping into the Curious Soul

Underwood Standard

There are days when I just don’t feel creative. I feel like everything I shoot is the same, and I’ll never come up with a shot that’s fresh and new. But I’ve made a commitment, so I have to shoot something. Tuesday was one of those days. I let the day go by without taking one photograph, and then realized at 5pm that I’d lost my light and needed to find a photo. So I started hunting around the house, going to my fallbacks – photographing the cat and the dog, and food. Nothing felt fresh.

After taking a number of photos I loaded the best shots on to my computer and took another look. I had a couple that would work as safety shots, and this helped me relax. I remembered that I needed to change my perspective, but laying down and looking up wasn’t going to do the trick. There was nothing new in the house, but there was surely something that could be looked at with new eyes. So I looked for something in the house that maybe could be looked at from a new angle or perspective, and I found my husband’s typewriter. It sits alone on a small table that I found at an antique store, in the corner of the dining room. My husband found it at a yard sale a few years ago, and we know nothing about it’s history. I’d like to think there’s a story in there. So I made this photograph, and it’s one of my favorites of the year so far.

When I took my first photography class, the teacher reminded us that what makes a photograph is not what you photograph, it’s how you do it. I’ve found this hard to remember when I’m not feeling creative, as I tend to over think things a bit. But the lesson here for me is to open my eyes and tap into the curious soul inside me. Interesting viewpoints can be found in the mundane, we just have to look.

New 365 Project Page

Keys to the Kingdom

I’ve added a new page to the site for my 365 photography project so that you can follow along a little bit easier.  The page can be found on the page bar above the header image.  The photo thumbnails are arranged in a calendar format to make it a bit easier to see when each photo was taken.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions about the project.  Thanks!

Why Do a Daily Photo Project?

On the Hanger

I’m sure some of you are wondering why I would want to take a photo every day as a project. It seems a bit daunting and stressful. What’s really the upside if you take on the stress? Well, I will tell you.

For me, there are a number of benefits. The first is that the project functions like a journal – even if I don’t write much about the day, the picture helps me to remember what happened that day, and the circumstances around taking the image. I wasn’t really sure the project would work this way as I wasn’t taking self-portraits, but I think for me it works even better. I get to capture whatever works for the day, me, someone else, or something else. Once I saw that it was really helping me to keep track of my life, one day at a time, I started to look for things to photograph that would capture what I did that day, or how I felt (this is a little harder for me, which gives me something to work on). I’m really looking forward to having a year of daily memories for 2009.

I’ve also found that it’s a great way to improve my photographic skills. I don’t want to post the same thing every day, and I want my photos to be compelling. This means that I need to think about how I’m going to photograph what might be a mundane aspect of my day, not just what I’m going to photograph. While there are some subjects so interesting that even a quick, thoughtless snapshot can make a really compelling image, most of the subjects that I come across in my daily life are not so interesting. This forces me to think about how I compose the shot, what kind of lighting I want, shutter speed and aperture for the shot, etc., and I’ve seen quite an improvement in my ability to envision the shot that I want before I start shooting.

It gives me a chance to be creative, or not. One of the first things that I learned when I started this endeavor was that I needed to plan ahead or I’d be stuck at the end of the day wondering what I can shoot and upload before bed. But once I started planning ahead, a whole new opportunity for creativity opened up. I might decide that today I want to play with long shutter speeds, or work on getting better at using my remote for a self-portrait. Maybe today I want to take a number of shots and merge them together in photoshop. Or maybe today I just want to photograph my coffee cup and get on with my busy day. It’s up to me. Either way I’m learning a little bit – skills that will improve my photography, or maybe just a little about myself.

Is it easy? No. It’s a huge undertaking. I find that I think about photography a lot more (in a good way), but there are just times where I want to leave my camera at home and just enjoy life. It’s very easy to beat myself up about whether today’s photograph is a good one, or to convince myself that my life is boring and not worth photographing. But it is worth it. It might not be glamorous, but it’s my life, and that’s worth remembering, documenting, and cherishing. Photography is a great way to do it.