Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

January 31, 2011

Picture Winter Day 31

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 10:32 pm
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“One Little Word”

How sad I will be not to have a photo prompt in my inbox tomorrow morning!  The prompt for today was really wide open, and the folks who took the class came up with some really beautiful ideas. The concept of “One Little Word” has been around for a while I think.  Some folks, like Robin over at Life in the Bogs, choose a theme for the year. In essence, this is what Ms. Clark asked us to do today: choose a word and represent it in a photograph.  She wrote,”Your challenge today is to either shoot for your word (finding a way to visually translate it) and/or to incorporate your word into a photo from the month. As we wrap up Picture Winter, I want you to capture an image that will remind you of your intentions. ”

I gave this one much thought, as I have for nearly every prompt this month, when my word came to me. Seek is the word I chose.  I would like to spend 2011 seeking: seeking beauty through my lens, seeking opportunity for myself to grow and improve in as many ways as possible – personally, spiritually, professionally, photographically.  I chose to incorporate my word into a favorite shot from this month because it seemed to represent my word in more ways than one:

Although I complained from time to time about some of my prompts, I really did enjoy Picture Winter.  Getting a new (or mostly new) idea  in the email each morning was something to look forward to, especially since we in Massachusetts have experienced our snowiest January on record, with another storm due to pummel us starting tomorrow.  Way to begin February! – not!  Perhaps I shall seek out another class of this style to help me continue being inspired during my least favorite season of the year.

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January 30, 2011

Picture Winter Day 30.. and then some

“Glimmers of Hope”

I’m not going to say it, but those of you who’ve been following this month’s photo prompt series can probably guess what I was thinking when I read this morning’s prompt: “On the days when you’re feeling like there’s no end in sight, what signs help remind you that change is on its way; that something new is right around the bend? Today, use your lens to seek out the kind of hope that you can hold onto until spring’s splendor comes knocking.”

Luckily, the neighborhood birds provided me with some great photo-taking opportunities this morning.  I mentioned yesterday that I changed my feeder to a more bird-friendly format, and the birds took little time making the discovery.  From my front window with the 55-250 lens, I happily clicked away.  The shot that made me happiest, which I submitted to the gallery today, was this one of a male house finch:

male house finch

Isn’t he cheerful with his red head and chest, happily posed on my near-by lilac bush – which happens to be one of my first shrubs with buds come spring time.  Definitely a little glimmer of hope, I thought.

In addition to today’s house finch and the downy woodpeckers and tufted titmouse that showed up yesterday, I was treated to a nice variety of bird visitors.  I think I’ve identified most of them, but I’d love for anyone in the know to either correct me if I am wrong, or give me more specific names of these birds:
IMG_3380

yellow finch

yellow finch

I think all of the above are yellow finches in their winter “clothes.”

sparrow

Some kind of sparrow?

chicadee

Chicadee-dee-dee!

blue jay

Bully blue jay.  All the smaller birds scattered when this one came to feed.

mourning doves

Even the mourning doves came cooing along

IMG_3341

I have lots of these little mystery birds.  Anyone know what they are?

Even as I was treated to this lovely avian display, I couldn’t help thinking it how nice it would have been if the local cardinal pair showed up.  The day’s chores must go on however, and I headed out to grocery shop.  Coming back in the door, lugging the purchases, Meghan was bubbling at me, “Guess who showed up while you were gone!  The cardinals!  I tried to take pictures for you but I couldn’t figure out how to make it zoom in.”

Alas, I had left the 50mm on the camera after attempting to take some pictures of Cedric fascinated and chattering his “killer” instinct at the birds.  Meghan took several shots like this one:

cardinal

Imagine how nice it would have been with the zoom lens attached!

The seed supply we sprinkled on the ground is about wiped out now, although the bell and suet still have plenty.  I’ll be sure to spread more seed soon (MORE SNOW forecast for us Tuesday into Wednesday) and hope that Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal make a return visit!

January 29, 2011

Picture Winter Day 29

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 2:36 pm
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“Your Name in Lights”

Today’s prompt was specific and definitely not a repeat! 🙂 Although it is specific, it still left possibilities wide open for style: “Today, seek out your own name. Whether it’s typed in an email, on your keychain, or beautifully handwritten, celebrate yourself by capturing your name in lights.”

With this substance still being available in overwhelming quantity, here’s where I chose to capture my name:

I sprinkled gold glitter into the snow to make it stand out a little bit more.

January 28, 2011

Picture Winter Day 28

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 5:43 pm
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Wow, the 28th already!  If I can say anything at all about this photo class I’ve taken this month is that it has truly helped one of my least favorite months pass by quickly!  Here we are looking at the last weekend of the month, and soon will be the end of my daily photo prompts too.  Maybe that is why I am disappointed a bit with today’s prompt; it sounds like another repeat to me.  That is strange to me because Ms. Clark had a guest photographer write the prompt:  ” When the big picture looks too grey and uninviting, it can help to slow down and focus on small details that reveal a quiet beauty unique to the season-a dried out blossom from the previous season peeking through a fence, reaching for the waning sun. The beauty is in the details, waiting to be captured.”

I think this sounds a lot like this prompt. **SIGH** Granted this is not an expensive class, but still!  Am I being too fussy? Sorry.  Anyway… here’s what I did:

This is a forgotten windchime hanging from the eaves on the back of my house, surrounded by and coated with icicles.  It has definitely seen better days, but I thought it still offered a little hint of beauty.

January 27, 2011

Picture Winter Day 27

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 1:51 pm
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“Give Yourself a Hand”

I’ve had this song stuck in my head while I contemplated today’s photo prompt:

Anyone out there who was a teen of the 80’s like me, might enjoy this little flashback to Jon’s big hair days!

As you may have guessed by now, the topic of today’s prompt is hands: “They can express, gesture, emphasize, communicate. Hands can do and say almost anything. Today, use a hand or hands as the subject of your shot; yours or someone else’s (or both).”

We are home for yet another snow day today, so I took advantage of mid-day sun streaming through my sliding glass door (gee, the light from that door has helped me out quite a bit this month!) to get this picture:

50mm lens, 1/4000 sec, f1.8

Daphne closed her eyes in happiness, enjoying the attention she received.

January 26, 2011

Picture Winter Day 26

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 8:43 pm
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“A Beautiful Mess”

When I first read today’s prompt, I thought it sounded a bit familiar, but then I realized it was looking for something quite different.  “Is there a mess you might consider visiting today that when appreciated for what it really is, can be seen in a new light? It might be a challenge, that’s for sure, but if we’re trying to reframe our lives, there’s no better place to start than our messes.” 

I took this to mean that we should photograph a mess that we can appreciate its reason for being.  Hubby suggested I should shoot his sauce-covered plate in appreciation for the lovely braciole he made for dinner this evening, but I didn’t think that would make a picture anyone would really want to see!  So once again, my thoughts turned to my daughters! LOL!  Daughters-teenagers-messes… wonder how I made that connection? 

I opened Meghan’s dance bag and peered inside.  How could I create a beautiful mess from this?  Here’s my interpretation of the prompt:

                       nifty-fifty, 1/50 sec, f1.8,  +2/3AV

To me, ballet is one of the most beautiful arts.  I envy and admire those ballerinas with perfect balance on the tips of their toes.  Those hard-working toes really give pointe shoes a beating, so I find them to be a most beautiful mess.  And this is only halfway through the dance year!  They will look far worse come June.

January 25, 2011

Picture Winter Day 25

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:31 pm
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“The Magic Machine”

“Where would we be today if it weren’t for one of our most trusty companions? I’m referring to our computers. Today, we’ll be really looking at our coveted computers and focusing on our gratitude for the part of our daily life that so often goes overlooked. Today, find the beauty in the technical. Shoot the messenger, if you will and shed some well-deserved light on what makes it possible for you each and every day.”  Okay.  Yesterday, snow.  Today, computers? As much as I love getting my daily photo prompt, I’m starting to think our instructor is beginning to run a little dry on ideas. 

Admittedly, this is the last of four of this style class; the “Picture..” series began last year with “Picture Spring” of which I wasn’t a part.  I followed Becky through “Picture Summer” and joined up for “Picture Fall.”  As always, creative license with the prompt is encouraged, but how creative can you get showcasing a computer? Here’s my take:

"Cat and Mouse"

I like how Cedric appears to have his “killer” instinct in place to pounce on the “mouse,” somewhat blurred in the foreground, and how the nifty-fifty seems to have once again shown that soft but sharp focus.  Sure the various cords in the shot are a bit distracting, but they are part of “the magic machine.”

January 24, 2011

Picture Winter Day 24

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 10:26 pm
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“Obscurity”

Today’s photo prompt was something of which I really didn’t need to take another picture: snow.  Tracey Clark’s words, of which I give you a small section each day with my photos, of course made it sound  more interesting than plain ol’ snow, but Ms. Clark also lives in the San Diego area, so this isn’t one of her regular photography subjects.  She said,”When you fill your frame with the white stuff, it can be undecipherable. You get lost a little in the shot. What end is up? Down? They don’t call it a whiteout for nothing. Can you picture something frozen today? Something slushy, icy, cold, wet. And can you disorient yourself? Take a shot or two at it, just for fun.”

I begrudgingly took this shot, but I will admit up front I didn’t put a ton of effort into today’s picture.  I’m sorry, Ms. Clark, but I’m tired of snow!

To try to make this more interesting, I oversaturated the color in PSE to try to bring out the sparkle and brought out that blue background.  I don’t know.  What do you think?  I think it is still just snow!

January 23, 2011

Picture Winter Day 23

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 2:53 pm
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“High Strung”

“From lights, to streamers, to celebratory garlands, a simple strand of something special makes everything more festive. Look around you and discover what’s ‘hanging’ around,” read today’s photo prompt.  I was stumped at first, as I usual am with these daily emails.  The idea of celebration and being festive gave me the clue that led to today’s photo:

 

Dear friends of ours have a Mardi Gras party each year.  Although that party is still more than a month away, I thought of our large stash of purple, gold and green beads.  These “disco ball” style beads are a recent addition to the collection.  The sun again graced us with its presence here in Massachusetts, so I thought these beads and the sunshine might make a fun combination.

This simple looking shot took a bit of ingenuity.  First, I wrapped the three strands of beads together with a smaller strand, and used the smaller strand to hang the whole cluster from the curtain rod above my sliding glass door.  I started taking pictures.  They were okay, but not what I expected with the beads hanging in beautful sunshine.  Next, I went back to the white sheet I used the other day for the flower backdrop and tried with the sheet hanging just behind the beads on a near-by cupboard.  Couldn’t get an angle I liked.  Then, I spread the sheet along the curtain rod, opened the slider, and went outside into the briskly cold day. (Daytime high of 20°F today)  I clicked away at my sunshiney beads until a cloud moved in, all the while leaving the sliding door wide open so I wouldn’t have the glass interfering with my shot!  (Hubby,  if you are reading this, I apologize if the heat bill spikes a bit for today!)

January 22, 2011

Picture Winter Day 22

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 4:49 pm
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“Centerpiece”

Today’s photo prompt reads: “The table (be it coffee, dining or otherwise) is usually the one place where our family comes together at least once a day. What is really at the center of your table? Picture it in a way that says something about you.”

If my photo today was truly honest, you’d see a pile of clutter. Newspapers, books, magazines, hot sauce, salt, pepper – that is what is really at the center of my table.  I didn’t think anyone would really enjoy seeing a picture of any of that.

Ms. Clark must have realized that not all of us taking this class would have that decorator’s touch naturally sitting at one’s table and said that it was okay to get something today about which folks might like to gather.  I remembered a pretty centerpiece I used to keep on my bathroom counter until it started gathering way too much dust and was too difficult to clean.  It was a glass bowl with sand and shells.  I wondered if I could clean up some of the pieces and create something new and interesting from it. 

I’m embarrassed to tell you how many shots I took of this little creation before I found one I wanted to share.  I tried so many positions for shots, all around my kitchen, hand-held and tripod, 50mm lens and 55-250mm lens, auto and manual focus, large and small apertures. 

 In the end, I think the fact that it took me so long to get a shot that I liked helped me out; with how long it took me to get the shot, the flames on the candles got taller!  Those were brand new tea lights when I started and only a tiny bit of wick was available.  They burned long enough to unveil more wick for a bigger flame, which I decided I liked about the picture.

If you know anything about me, I hope it is how much I love the beach and my family vacation.  The shells, sand and water help to bring on thoughts of warmer days spent with my family, just the four of us, for one blissful week each August.

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