Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Real Slim Shady

I am what you'd call a photographer. This is not to be confused with photogenic. I am not what you'd call photogenic. I tell people, "There is a reason I stay behind the lens." Most photographs of me are not anything I'd show with any modicum of comfort. There have been very, very few posted on Latent Images, and for good reason. I don't like to scare new readers away. In fact, the only ones posted of me here are of me with Zozer, and it's only so when she grows up she has some photographic evidence that Mommy doesn't indeed have a Nikon permanently attached to her face.

I figure, in real life I'm not all that scary. It's just those small nanoseconds of time, frozen forever by the camera, where I look like a freak of nature. Something is always funky looking. Hair. Smudged eye makeup. Double chin. Wrinkles around the eyes that I never see when I'm looking in the mirror but are deeper than the Grand Freakin' Canyon in photographs. One favorite uncle has a penchant for blowing me out with the flash, and because I'm already pale (and proud of it! no skin cancer for me!) I look practically morbid in his shots. I also typically look like I'm trying too hard to appear happy or relaxed, which absolutely results in neither.

The worst assignment, bar none, in photo class a few years ago was having to submit self-portraits. Ugh. I sweated just making them. Then I sweated more having to post them for the class to critique. My instructor asked, "Why are you so far away in these shots?" Ummmm, because I look absolutely horrid and I'd like to actually pass this class?

But, you know, people on my favorite photography web site post self-portraits with their bios, and they're always cool and creative, and there's a place on the Latent Images template where I can post my own self-portrait or some photograph that I'd like to represent me which I've always wanted to do but didn't want to look like Gloria Swanson at the end of Sunset Boulevard (again with the scaring new readers away).

So I've been sorta looking for opportunities to make a self portrait lately, and this week I think I found something I could live with. At least for now. It's me, and my camera (of course) and it doesn't look all that frightening. The setting sun came through the window and I walked by and saw my tripod's silhouette perfectly framed against the wall. Bingo. Snapped the camera in (thank you Bogen quick release!), set up the shot and clicked away. Figured it would be nice to end my photo-a-day-for-a-month project with an artistic shot of the photographer.

I had to fool with it a bit to get something I thought would work, but it's just funky enough that I like it. The outline isn't perfect (I was shooting with like a 2 second shutter speed, for Pete's sake, you hold perfectly still when you're crouched awkwardly next to your tripod to fit in the frame), which it turns out I like (I can blame the double chin on that, not on, you know, my actual double chin), and you can see the pattern of the window screen on the wall, which I like, too. It's all a little ambiguous and mysterious. I'd like to be more mysterious overall, but I kinda blew that two years ago when I started pouring my heart out here in cyberspace for anyone to read. Hell, once you write about people who hang plastic testicles from their vehicles on your blog, it's hard to be mysterious.

For you non-photographers out there, I'm using a cable release to trip the shutter, which avoids moving the camera unnecessarily and which creates a lovely little swoopy line on the wall that fills that otherwise empty space on the right.

For any readers who haven't met me, well, there I am. For my mother...yes, I cut all my hair off. Again. No, I don't look like a boy, or a chemo patient, so you can keep those comments to yourself this time.

Friday, May 30, 2008

For M

I snapped these pix of Zozo during M's last business trip, and he gets such a kick out of them that he's been requesting I post them to the blog ever since. The quality is horrible, because I used my BlackBerry to snap them, so I could instant message them to M on his BlackBerry, but you get the idea.

Yes, her scarf has little owls on it. She has a thing for owls. Her father and I, on the other hand, have a thing for her. She just kills us.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Accident

I love it when I totally f up, and yet, it's not only okay...things actually turn out better.

It doesn't happen often, trust me.

Well, the former does. The f-ing up part. The latter, where it turns out better, yeah, not so much.

But every once in awhile it happens, and it's like, "Wow. I should f up more often." Completely forgetting the part, of course, where it rarely turns out good.

Anyway, this morning I was getting ready to leave for work when I saw the pyrex baking dish still in the sink that I had filled with soapy water to soak overnight. "Aw jeez. I forgot to scrub that thing out." I peered cautiously into the sink hoping for some self-cleaning baking dish miracle, and instead found an entire glass dish full of perfectly formed bubbles gently illuminated by the morning light reflecting off the stainless steel sink.


I ran to get the tripod. Of course. Doesn't everyone do that when they see a dish soaking in the sink?

I fussed around a bit, making images from different angles (it's hard to get one's tripod up against the cabinet to shoot straight down in the sink, but I managed) and chimping after each one. They were okay, but not, you know, fantastic.

I had turned the white balance control to incandescent lighting, as I was using the can light over the sink to add a bit of extra lighting oomph. If you don't change your white balance to compensate, everything comes out with this sort of sickly yellowish tinge and it's a pain in the rear to correct in post processing. Plus, you can't ever really recreate what you saw exactly (at least I can't), and every time you look at the shot you sigh, "stupid white balance." Trust me. I've done this. Too many times.

So I had remembered to change the white balance at the beginning, but after not getting the results I was going for, I decided to try using a flash. A little pop of intense light. You know, to liven things up.

As soon as I tripped the shutter for the first flash shot, I thought, "Crap. Forgot to change the white balance back."

Just for kicks, I chimped anyway just to see what the jacked-up image looked like. I'm all about learning from my mistakes.

I'll be damned if it wasn't the coolest one of the bunch. Turns out when you fire the flash and you've got your white balance set to incandescent, it turns everything blue. Like, electric blue.

Since the shot isn't at all realistic at this point, I played around in Photoshop and juiced up the saturation a bit, just to send it over the edge. It wasn't at all what I originally set out to do, but dang it, I like it.

The baking dish, by the way, is still sitting in the kitchen sink. By the time I was done shooting this morning I had to bolt for work, and as soon as I got Zozer down this evening I pulled up Pshop to play. That's way more fun than scrubbing on a baking dish, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fresh flowers (thanks Judy!)

One of the greatest things in the world is when you have a really crappy afternoon at work (that's not the greatest thing...bear with me here) and then someone brings you beautiful flowers cut fresh from her garden.

Despite the gorgeous blooms now gracing my home I still have a bit of the grouchies left over, which is why I'm not returning phone calls tonight. I absolutely refuse to spew any of my negativity all over innocent bystanders. I was able to keep it from Zozer, but now I'm spent from that effort, so blech. I'm going to sit here in front of my computer and slouch and surf and doink around with images and be a recluse. You can thank me later for not making your evening miserable.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

(in)fertility garden

Back when we were struggling to get pregnant, I turned to a support group for, well, support. (Duh.) It was the safest place in the world for me to be at that time, among women who knew what I was feeling and who didn't judge or preach or say things like, "Just relax!" or "When are you going to have a baby?" Our therapist, Maria, is to this day a dear friend, and I was lucky enough to have her for my pre-natal yoga instructor once we did conceive.

In our final support group meetings, she asked us to bring a small container and some personal items that symbolized what we were feeling, our hopes, our dreams, etc. She told us we were going to create our own little personal meditation gardens, that would allow us to generate calming, positive energy around all the harsh feelings associated with infertility. I'm normally not into all things Zen (it's a great idea, but part of me feels it's been beaten to death already), but when you're infertile and desperate for a child, you'll try anything.

So I brought some things, and Maria provided some things, and we created our tiny gardens. The last thing we did was place a candle in the center (we lit a lot of candles, my little group). After we brought them home, we were instructed to light our candles any time we were feeling sad, or blue (or had a case of the mean reds, as Holly Golightly would say), and meditate. Just to be safe, I also lit a boatload of candles around the Virgin Mary statue I inherited from my doesn't hurt to cover the bases, you know.

What I didn't know at that time, when I brought home my meditation garden and placed it carefully on my dresser, full of hopes and wishes, was that I was pregnant with Zoe.

My meditation garden has sat on my dresser for over three years now, and I dust it every week, and I'm finally ready to say good-bye to it. Now, it's simply a memory of the pain of infertility. My full-of-life little sprite is my daily reminder to cherish all the gifts I've been given.

I photographed my meditation garden not just to share with you, but also to have it for me, just in case I do want to look at it again some time. I lit the candle one last time, and adjusted the tripod just so, and focused and stopped down...and clicked. And just like that, I moved on.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Door

I've been mostly home-bound this weekend, working on a big project, which has been great but not exactly conducive to finding new things to shoot.

Here's a little clue as to the project I've been so busy with. It's probably not enough for most of you to figure it out, but it's all I'm willing to share at this point. When it's done, I'll shoot it and throw it up. Not literally, as that would be disgusting.

So, I'm very very happy (due to the project) and very very tired (same reason). Hope to return to my prolific posting self soon.

Oh, and Happy Memorial Day

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mi familia

Didn't shoot a single frame today, but busy with other photographic endeavors to which you shall be privy sometime in the very near future.

In the meantime, here's a recent image that isn't artistic but most of you will like anyway.

How adorable is my family?!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I'm very tired, and today's shooting consisted solely of capturing special moments at my cousin's bridal shower. I am so tired that I don't particularly feel like putting on my editing hat and going through them to determine which one I'd like to post here, and then doing all the processing work to get it suitable for viewage.

So I'm cashing in an archive card and showing something old. You can call or e-mail to complain, but I won't get it because I'll be sleeping. In fact, I almost already am...zzzzzz...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Where I work

So. I was thinking that I've been spending a lot of time lately in my digital darkroom, or DDR as my BIL christened it several years ago, and you all have no idea what that looks like. It's not really a room so much as a cabinet, or armoire if you want to be hoity toity, stuffed in the corner of our family room.

It's stuffed in the corner, and it's got all my stuff stuffed in it. If you look carefully you'll see not just one giant printer up there next to my monitor, but two more smaller ones crammed below it. One for small prints (4x6) and one for general printing (maps off the web, e-receipts and the like). Because, you know, everyone should have at least three printers.

Sitting on top the big photo printer is, as usual, a pile o' crap. Well, it's not all crap currently. Right now there is a small stack of prints from a project I've been working on, and two spent 2200 print cartridges in recycle envelopes that I just haven't walked out to the mailbox yet. Plus the giganto cartridge from the 4x6 printer (how does the smaller printer take larger cartridges than the big printer? it's a veritable photographic anomaly.) that doesn't fit in the recycle envelopes and which I haven't figured out what to do with yet. I abhor throwing things in the regular garbage now.

Up there on the the top shelf there's a variety of things. Lots of different kinds of photo papers filed there on the left with my portfolio and the coffee mug I got at ICP in NYC, right next to the giant "2008 Statements" binder that holds all sorts of fun things like paycheck stubs, account statements, utility bills, etc. The three bins hold a variety of things, including bill-paying implements (calculator, envelopes, stamps, checkbook and register), notecards, CDs, x-acto knives and spare blades, and a bunch of other junk that gets tossed in there when I'm trying to clean things up. To the right of the bins are all my old negative binders. Don't use negs anymore, but they're like a security blanket now and I like having them near me when I work. Even though I went digital (aka The Dark Side) a few years ago.

Right there to the left of my keyboard is a pile o' crap, which is what usually winds up there because it happens to stick out furthest from the cabinet and therefore is where I can toss things as I'm running by, usually in a panic to get the house straightened up. The pile currently contains receipts, a renewal form for one of M's car mags, and a disposable camera from the 99 Cameras project that I really need to shoot something with and pass along.

The corkboard on the back of the cabinet holds spare printer cartridges for the 2200, the little card telling me what sort of cartridges the general all-purpose printer requires, an ad for mat board from my favorite mat supplier here in the Lou, and some cherished fortunes from fortune cookies ("Opportunities abound to enhance your career. Choose wisely!" and "You communicate a sense of harmony to others." and "You are going to have a very comfortable retirement."). It's also got my little George Washington plaque that states, "Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of fire called Conscience." George rocks. Lots of other little pieces of ephemera abound back there (including the Ansel postcard Stef sent me a few years ago...Ansel - and Stef - rocks like George), but I won't bore you with the whole litany. Although, come to think of it, I probably have already.

There on the floor in front of the cabinet you see some of the sources of my frustration with this set-up. Wires, wires everywhere. I hate wires snaking everywhere. Yes, I realize they are vital to the existence of my digital darkroom. Yes, I understand I need to have them. My question is, do I need to have them everywhere, right in front?

One of the biggest wires is the giant one from the giant power supply/surge protector that M installed a few months ago. For some reason he had to re-route wires and stuff (I think it was when he was hooking up my long-requested back-up drive...thank you for that again, sweetie!) and he decided that really, a giant wire coming out the front of the cabinet, thereby rendering closing of the actual cabinet doors impossible, was acceptable. He was wrong.

All the other smaller wires are for my myriad of printers and card readers and such. I've run out of spots on the power strip, so the 4x6 printer must plug into the wall socket that's four feet away from the cabinet. And the beloved Mac G5, great as it is, has only one USB port on the front. #$%&. This is incredibly frustrating as it means that I must constantly plug and unplug various things in order to use them. Grrrr. I do not like playing electrician when I am trying to create.

In an effort to "creative up" my workspace, I've plastered the inside doors of the cabinet with images and things that inspire me. It's good stuff...take a peek the next time you're over.

So, that's it for today. A virtual tour of my little workspace. This may seem unimportant now, but stay tuned. Change is in the air.

Sidenote: Went to a gallery talk at the St. Louis Art Museum today on the new Gordon Parks exhibit. Fantastic images. You should go. Really. Call me if you want someone to go with. I'll prolly go a few times before it leaves. Dang it. I'm trying to stick a link here for the exhibit but the SLAM site seems to be down. Connection keeps timing out. I'll try again tomorrow. Or you can google it yourself if I don't get to it. [Editor's note: Finally got around to re-trying this today, Wednesday, and the site is back up. So I've inserted the link. Go visit. It's cool.]

Hooo. Look at this. I'm just getting this post in under the wire for today. I'm tired. Sorry for the rambling.

Thursday, May 22, 2008



I thought Moo Do Kwan was what I typically ordered at Yen Ching.
Guess not.

We're so used to see the big box stores and chain restaurants everywhere - Sam's, Best Buy, Costco, Target, Wal-Mart, Applebee's, Friday's, etc. - that sometimes we lose sight of the Ma & Pa places tucked in here and there.

So here's to the Ma & Pa places, the one-offs, the holes in the wall, the Moo Do Kwans of the world, where service is better and the help is more knowledgeable.

And here's to me, for today is my two-year blogiversary. When I started I had no idea if I'd stick with it, but I'm sure glad I have. And I'm grateful for those of you who are still reading!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Took Zozer to the church picnic tonight, or "Carnival!" as she calls it. She was very excited to go, and M was excited because he was absolutely sure she was finally big enough to go on some kiddy rides. He's eager to start training his next Roller Coaster Partner, since this one has grown wise as she ages and has determined that amusement park and carnival rides are brightly colored whirling death traps of evil and All That Is Bad and Disgusting.

So we went and Daddy bought some ride tickets and we figured out which rides were appropriate for a child who is only 2.75 years old. (This is where Mommy rolls her eyes and Daddy grins maniacally.)

Turns out the cars were one, and we figured they were probably the tamest of the group, and so we headed that way.

We watched one spin and of the ride and asked Zoe which car she'd like to drive. "The bus!" She was emphatic. Okaaaaay. Some jackass had stuck letter labels on the front that spelled "Special Bus." Great. Our child's first carnival ride is on the Special Bus. Or SPECIA BS as it actually spelled since some of the letters were missing. Zoe didn't seem to mind.

She grinned and laughed for most of the ride, and then the last three turns the lower lip came out and started quivering. Uh oh. M and I shot looks at each other...what do we do now? Can't ask the operator to stop the ride...there are other kids who are on there! Shit! Thankfully she made it through okay and M raced in and pulled her from the specia bs. "What's wrong?" We figured she got totally freaked or something. "Want to ride in red car!" Ah. She had simply realized the specia bs wasn't so special after all.

After that, though, she was actually content to just watch the cars go 'round. Fine by us. Cheaper that way.

M said, "Hey, let's try her out in the flying spaceships." Okay, cool. Still a deathtrap, but on a smaller, cute scale, so okay. While in line M asked the operator if one of us could ride with her. Nope. Okay. Plan B. Mommy arranged a deal with the nice people behind us for their little girl, Mary, to ride with Zozer. Figured she'd do better with a pal. Zoe had already chosen the pink spaceship (of course), and Mary was cool with that, so we were good. Or so we thought.
Step 1: Place child in spaceship.
Step 2: Other people place their child in spaceship.
Step 3: Snap pictures.
Step 4: Hear your child say, "Want down! Want down!"
Step 5: Retrieve your child from spaceship and apologize to other child's family.
Step 6: Sheepishly get ride tickets back from scowling operator.

We decided perhaps the giant slide was a little more benign, so off Daddy went, carrying Zozer and a black mat of questionable origin up about 400 stairs. His parting words, "Whatever she says up there, we're coming down only one way!"

Turns out she loved the slide and was quite pleased with her ride down.

Took advantage of some other fun things at the carnival, like the cut-out-face photo opportunity, and the Duck Pond, where "everyone wins a prize!" Oh, great. More crap for the house.
And win she did! A spiky pink (of course) ball that she was so pleased with she requested that she be allowed to sleep with it. Answer: no. Compromise: leave it on nightstand where it's in full view and where Mommy and Daddy have been instructed to leave it all night so it will be there in the morning when Zozer wakes up. Deal.

Grandpa Ray also won her a stuffed lion, but the dang sun was setting at that point and the shots are so blown out on one side that even I couldn't salvage them in Photoshop. As it is, I'm not pleased with the quality I'm posting here, but alas, they're the only images I made today and I figured I better throw a bone to the Zoe picture-lovers out there.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Powerful stuff, Maynard

It's funny how I passed this pole/power line composition a gajillion times in the last 2.5+ years on the way to and from work, and didn't see it until today.

Doesn't that seem like an inordinate amount of power lines for one measly telephone pole?

I almost decided against posting this image on the grounds that M would see it and be inspired to run like amounts of electrical energy to our house to power his annual light display.

Then I figured that it's probably against residential code to have this much flowing to one home, and that I'm safe.

For now.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Went to the recycling center in Kirkwood today, which is always one of my most favorite trips. Several reasons for that:

I like feeling good that I'm not contributing to the country's overflowing landfill situation.

Everything is all sorted and neat and organized. And we all know how Amy loves her some organization.

Everyone there is very friendly, because we're all do-gooder tree-hugger types trying to save the world. "Go ahead, you go first! I don't mind waiting while stale week-old wine drips down my arm from this bottle I'm getting ready to recycle."

You get to heave your recyclables into giant bins, resulting in a satisfying crash. It's good stress relief.

So I went today to drop off a big pile of cardboard boxes (neatly flattened, of course, and stuffed file-like into a larger cardboard box...I'm a conscientious recycler) that our recycler guy forgot to pick up with the two bins overflowing with beer cans from this weekend's party, and saw a photo op.

I love patterns, and while there aren't any patterns in the chaos of a giant recycling container, there is lots and lots of one thing. Clear glass. Green glass. Brown glass. Steel cans. It's kind of patternish in the repetitiveness of the contents. So, I like it. So, I shot it.

The funny thing is, I got no odd looks from the other recyclers there this morning. They just went about their business, merrily heaving their bottles and plastics and cardboard into the appropriate containers. How cool is that?

Come to think of it, though, maybe I'm just becoming less self-conscious about shooting in public, and no longer see the looks from people going, "Dude, it's a giant bin full of garbage...what gives?"

Or, maybe they're all just hungover from drinking all this beer, and so they don't really give a rip about a girl in business casual clothes walking from bin to bin snapping pictures.

Kirkwoodians must drink a lot of Natty Light. Interesting.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hiking at Babler

Because I am a huge idiot, I thought today would be the perfect day to start my hiking career.

And it was. The perfect day, that is.

Except that one should not hike when one has consumed copious quantities of alcohol the night before. Ugh.

But I persevered (and perspired), used every expletive I know, and a few I made up, and except for being so dog-ass tired right now it takes an inordinate amount of effort to type, all is good.

So here's my first trailhead sign, as Stef said that one must always document one's hiking by photographing the trailhead sign. We both agreed that this was a pretty crappy sign, as far as trailhead signs (and otherwise, actually) go, but since it's some sort of unwritten hiker's rule, I made a photograph of it.

That first arrow, the green one that points to the left, that's for the Dogwood Trail, which is what we started on. It's two miles and, according to the Babler State Park site, it's "probably the most strenuous of the four trails. It rises and falls several times over the maximum altitude of the park, about 300 feet." You don't say.

After completing that one, I felt pretty good, so we tackled the blue arrow trail that points to the right. It's the Woodbine Trail and it goes 1.75 miles. It's not the most strenuous, but there is what I would term a "big-ass hill" on it. Not sure if that's proper hiker-speak, but there it is.

Essentially, it was an absolutely beautiful day that was just made for hiking. It's been a long time since I've been out in nature like that, and I'd like to make sure it's never that long again. It was so beautiful and peaceful...something everyone should do on a regular basis. Shout out to Stef for getting me out, and breaking me in all easy-like for my first hike.

Here is my photographic take from the day. I'm not totally thrilled with any of them, but then again, I'm pretty tired and I normally don't shoot "nature shit."

Oooo. Purty leaves.

This bark had a cool, camoflage pattern. Which struck me as ironic, because really, isn't a tree in a forest already pretty camoflaged? Must be a secret, undercover tree busting other trees for pelting unsuspecting hikers with acorns.

Oooo. Purty flowers.

Can't take credit for the cool shadows in this shot. Stef noticed 'em first and pointed 'em out to me. She does that again and I'm gonna smack her with the big lens.

I almost titled this one "Big Logs," but then I thought about how M would read that and giggle, and so I didn't.

I have no idea what this plant is, but I thought it looked cool. It's probably really poisonous and shelters flesh-eating animals under it's leaves, which is why I typically stay away from nature shit. All the pretty stuff is usually bad for you.

This is one of my favorites from the day. Can't even tell you why.
I just like it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

From the archive

Big party at our house today, which meant:


Getting out party items.

Greeting guests.

Drinking beer.

Drinking more beer.

How 'bout another beer?

Hmmm, this wine looks good.

Oh, shit. I should take some pictures at this here party.

Crap. Guess I'll spend a few hours straightening the horizon in all the shots. Again.

Is there any of that wine left?

So, in light of all my photographic endeavors today being a.) drunken and b.) party-pic-type shots, I'll use my Get Out of Jail Free card for today and dig out an image from my archive.

At least I'm remembering to post something, which is saying a lot considering the alcohol I've consumed.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Saved by the carnival

The other night as M and I sat diligently studying at our dining table, we heard a low, distant rumble. Gradually, steadily, it got closer and closer. Finally, we saw the source as it drove past our window.
The giant trucks that bring the carnival to our church every year have arrived!

We commented on how early they were as they went by, and then promptly forgot about them.

Today, all day, I've been looking for something to photograph. Nuthin'. Bupkis. Nada. I was definitely coming up short. Ugh.

After work I drove directly to the paper recycler up at church to drop off a few boxes of my office discards (it's amazing how little goes in my actual office wastebasket now that I have a dedicated paper recycling box tucked under my desk), and then I saw them. Three big trucks parked in the lower lot carrying brightly colored, shiny carnival rides.

Ding ding ding! We have photographic material!

I was in a hurry so I took only a few minutes to make some images, one of which you see above. It's not great, but I'll take it for today.

Many apologies on the blown clouds in the upper right corner. The original is a much better exposure, but when I "save for web" to post here I lose a lot in the RGB/JPG conversion. Normally I'll go in and tinker for a bit to get it back up to par, but tonight, dang it, I'm just too tired.

I figure I'm lucky to have gotten an image up at all!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

97.75% in Statistics, 100% Exhausted

Wahooooo! Statistics is over! We took our finals tonight and wound up with solid A's (but of course). M's A is ever so slightly more A-ish than mine, due to a last-minute rally on his part (i.e. better guessing on the second portion of the final). That's highly disappointing to me, and I liken it to leading for 499 laps of the Indy 500 and then stalling out 10 feet from the finish line. M, of course, because he's so supportive and loving, felt the need to point out that who leads for 499 laps isn't's who leads at the finish line. Thanks, Sweetie. I really needed that clarification. He's lucky he's not digging his statistics textbook out of one of his orifaces.

So, here's the deal with the Photo of the Day for tomorrow (Friday). I have none. Why? Well, today was rainy and cloudy and cold and generally icky. I was jam-packed at work, and my lunch break was spent making unnecessary tabs marking "important" pages in my stats book. Tonight as soon as Zoe went down we did a last-minute review and then dove into the final. We just finished up a little bit ago, and then went directly into full-on giddyness and sheer delight with being finished with another course and never having to talk about a regression model or two-tailed whatever or p-values again. Bottom line, I didn't shoot anything today.

Well, I take that back. I did a half-hearted attempt at capturing the essence of my evening by shooting a still-life of my side of the dining room table. The image portrayed my splayed-open stats book (complete with useless self-made tabs), my open laptop with one of the final graphs, and the ginormous bottle of Tums that M and I pop like candy these days. It's gotten so bad that we keep personal supplies of Tums at each of our work desks, and then the giant tub here at home to split. Yikes.

Anyway, I couldn't get the lighting right and frankly was too fried to screw with it, or drag the tripod out and do it right, so I said "hell with it, I'll live to shoot another day!"

So, just because I don't have an image here in the morning for you to see doesn't mean there isn't one forthcoming! I still have all of Friday to shoot something and get it up. And if all else fails, I'll dive into the archives.

Shout out to Dad Z, who announced today that he got a great (and well-deserved) promotion at work! Fantastic news and definitely worthy of a happy dance.

Bubbles bubbles everywhere

Not to reward my mother's e-mail request that I only post images of Zozer on the blog (to which I respond to anyone - coughMomcough - who consistently tells me what I should and shouldn't put on the blog: get yer own damn blog!), but Zoe happened to be my subject yesterday and so here are the Photographs o' the Day.

Consider it a two-fer. A bonus, if you will. An extra. A lagniappe. BOGO. Hence the above Photographs o' the Day instead of Photograph. Aren't you lucky? (So, Mom, quityerbitchin.)

These aren't particularly artsy and are probably just more snapshot-ish than anything, but her expression is what I find riveting. When is the last time you saw an adult have that much sheer joy over something as simple as bubbles? We could all learn a lesson from my wise Zoe Grace.

What's not to love about a gun that blows bubbles?

M asked, "How lazy have we as a society become, that we can't even blow our own bubbles now?"

Yes, I firmly believe the advent of the bubble gun was the start of America's obesity crisis.

Secret Message o' The Day: Loves and kisses to Itchy Boy. And Itchy Boy's mama.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cool Cloud Cover

The clouds were really freaky-ass-cool as I drove in to work today. So, you know, I stopped and shot 'em.

It's really fun to pull the car over into a parking lot, hop out and start taking photographs. Because everyone else in the parking lot stops what they're doing and turns to look at what I'm shooting.

"No funnel, people. Just freaky-ass-cool clouds. Move along."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Found this on another blog

"We in Denmark cannot figure out why you are even bothering to hold an election in the US.

On one side, you have a bitch who is a lawyer, married to a lawyer, running against a lawyer who is married to a bitch who is a lawyer.

On the other side, you have a war hero married to a hot looking woman who owns a beer distributorship.

Is there a really contest here?"

Observation of the Day

It is incredibly hard to type/work when one is eating a drumstick at one's desk.

I'm just sayin'.

Cop a squat

You know, the funny thing is, I don't have to pose her. Well, hardly ever. I just follow her around with the camera and she just does things that are imminently photographable. This, of course, makes my job as Mommy/Photographer/Documentarian a helluva lot easier.

She was playing all over this jungle gym and then up and decided to turn around and have a seat on the first step. I was chimping (that is DSLR-speak for looking at the images on the camera's LCD screen instead of paying attention to what's going on in front of you, thereby usually causing you to miss the money shot, which is ironically what you're searching for on your tiny LCD screen) and hadn't even noticed. Almost ran over the poor girl in my distracted state of following. I'm lucky I even got this, as I had the 50mm prime on which, obviously, doesn't allow for zooming. I had to back way up to get the shot, and by the time I had her framed and started snapping off pictures, I got four and then she was up and moving again. This is the first, and best, of the four.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Mother's Day Gift

Clearly the best shot of the weekend. Adorable girl...a tall Daddy to hold her up high...little bit o' wind...magic. Making this image was my Mother's Day gift to myself.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hosta la vista!

Okay, so the title is corny. Get over it. I can't be creative 24/7.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Funday

Took most of today off to hang with my girl Zozer, and we had a blast. Went to Sam's and Shop 'n Save, and my little helper was just perfect. She was such a good girl she got her free cookie at Sam's, which, of course, pleases her to no end. Much of the excursion was uneventful, except for running between rain drops, and the one time at SnS when she decided to stow her hat on a shelf in the baking aisle and I didn't figure out it was gone until two aisles later. We went back and found it, though, right there next to the brown sugar, where she carefully placed it in an empty spot on the shelf while I was busy looking for pancake mix for her father on the other side of the aisle.

Weather-wise, the day was dreary and overcast, lots of rain. I like some clouds when it comes to making images, as it gives you a nice soft, scattered light. Harsh light can be good in certain situations, but we photographers mostly like soft light. The cloud cover was so low today, though, with all the rain, that everything just looked gray and flat. Not very inspiring to make photographs. I had pretty much given up shooting anything to post for tomorrow.

After Zozer went down for the night, I went out to retrieve my mail and that of my in-laws, who are out of town at Michelle's graditation (Congraduations, PharmaGirl!) when the sun popped out for a fine how d'ya do for the last 30 minutes of the day. Gorgeous light. I literally ran back in, dropped the mail and papers, and grabbed the D100. Yippeee!

As an added kick, I shot with both the 17-55mm and the 50mm prime. I haven't used the 50 in ages, which was evident by the dust I had to blow off the lens cap when I picked it up. Bad photographer, bad!

Anyway, images were made, and I have one to post for tomorrow. Which, unfortunately, means you have to wait until tomorrow to see it.

Many thanks to Grammy for filling in this morning and spending time with Zozer. She had an absolute blast and I really appreciated not having to blow off my staff meeting! Next time I'm getting a picture of you wearing her butterfly hair barrette. That was classic.

Waiting Area

Found these odd (60s? 70s?) yellow chairs outside a used car/automotive repair shop on Manchester. My guess is not a lot of people actually wait here. Just a hunch.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Guest Artist in Residence

It was rainy all day Wednesday, which isn't good shootin' weather. Especially since I don't have a foul-weather rig for my gear. Pretty sure M wouldn't see "shooting in the rain which caused massive leakage in the D100 leading to shorts and general malfunction" as a good enough reason to get a new camera.

I tried some indoor shots of my office neighbor's Gerber daisies, but they seemed blah, too. Great color, decent arrangement. But totally, completely done a million times before. I decided not to bore you.

Which leaves me in a bit of a pickle as I have no Photo of the Day. Oh, sure, I could go back through my archives and dig something out, but I'd rather have something recent.

Then, as I was perusing folders on the Mac, I found a recent image that I believe is a rare treat for all of us.

It's Zoe's first photograph. Yes, Grasshopper has made the leap to behind the camera and making her own images. Okay, so maybe it was beside the camera while Mommy held it because she hasn't quite gotten the hang of closing one eye and looking through the viewfinder with the other. All in good time, young Jedi, all in good time.

But she moved the camera to where she wanted it, and she pushed the button. Result:

You know, it's not bad for a first shot. I mean, sure, the subject is almost dead-center, which is basic newbie instinct, and the horizon is just a wee bit tilted, but exposure is rock solid and she's got great depth of field.

The best part was seeing her face light up when she heard the shutter trip. Ah, I know that feeling. It was like looking in a mirror. Shutters make the most wonderful sound in the world. Well, to some of us, anyway.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the visual feast I have uploaded here for your pleasure. Feel free to download it and use it as your computer desktop wallpaper. I'm almost positive she hasn't gotten around to officially copyrighting it yet, seeing as how she was busy today, playing and pooping.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Coke Classic

This whole photograph-of-the-day project has really got me observing a helluva lot more. Which is not a bad thing.

Not that everything I'm posting here is what I would consider my best work, or even what I feel comfortable throwing out for public consumption. I am, after all, a ruthless editor (in all aspects of life, really, from words to images to crap around my house). Normally I like to make images and then stew on 'em for a good long while, going through various phases of "You suck as a photographer" and "sell your gear now, sister, and put the money towards something beer."

But being under self-imposed pressure to post an image every day means I don't have the luxury of mentally flogging myself before choosing to show something I've made.

I mean, Zozer pictures are one thing. Those are pretty much sure-fire crowd pleasers since she's so freakin' adorable and stuff. Who doesn't love them a good Zozer pic? And because she's so adorable, it's easy to make good images of her. I overshoot anyway...ya'all see maybe 2 or 3 out of every hundred images I make of her, but you know, I'm pretty confident that whatever I post up here is going to at least be loved by her grandparents. That's six fans right there. And we're not even counting aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. Those people are bound by love to at least like my Zozer photographs. Even if the shot is technically crappy.

But my personal stuff? Yeah, that's a whole new ballgame. Because chances are what interests me isn't going to interest you. And even though I go on and on about how this is my blog and if you want something different then get your own damn blog, I really do care about what I post.

On my favorite photography site, there's been a few threads lately where posters are ripping into the stream-of-consciousness atmosphere of the blogosphere. People are out there, just typin' away, about whatever pops into their heads. Granted, I do that much of the time as well, but I do try to have a topic in mind before I sit down at the keyboard.

But their posts have got me wondering about what I throw up here. I like to think of my work as art. At least it's my art. I put a lot of effort into creating it, and expressing my feelings through it, which I'm pretty sure are decent definitions of art. Most people probably wouldn't think a 30-year-old Coke machine outside the SpeeDWay is art, but to me, well, it's my kind of art.

Those are original colors up there in the image, by the way. I didn't do anything but strip the color out of the rest of the shot. I know at least one person who will like the primary colors aspect of it. You know who you are.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I like candy. But not that much.

Took my "smoke break" at work this afternoon and walked over to Walgreens. Had a hankering for some Skittles based on an office conversation. I don't eat a lot of candy, so when I have a hankering, I indulge. Besides, it's a little bag of Skittles.

So I walked (gimped, actually, due to yesterday's run) to Walgreens and went and stood in the mecca they call The Candy Aisle. You know, just in case something else sounded better. Frankly, I was disappointed by their selection. There were 400 types of M&Ms, but no chewy Sprees. No regular Sprees for that matter. Are Sprees discontinued? Because that would be a shame. The once every four years I want Sprees, I'd like them to be readily available.

Since nothing else jumped out as being better than the original hankering, I picked up a bag of Skittles. 2.17 ounces of pure sugary delight for 72 cents, with tax. Cool.

Then, down the aisle, I spotted the "bigger bags o' candy" section. Huh. Wonder if it would be more cost-effective to get the larger bag. This reasoning is be due to the extensive training I've undergone at the hands of M, who will purchase a 4-gallon drum of jalapenos if it's more cost-effective (nevermind that we end up throwing half of them away after the giant container has taken up half a shelf in our fridge for six months).

So I checked out the larger bag and was trying to do some math in my head to compare cost per ounce (damn you, M!) when my eyes rolled up and to the right (where they normally go when I'm trying to process complicated math issues in my brain) and landed on the GIANT bag of Skittles.

41 ounces of Skittles for five bucks. In one giant zip-lock (recloseable!) bag.

I wavered for a nanosecond before realizing that I was insane to consider committing myself to eat over two and a half pounds of sugar because the CPS (cost per Skittle) was lower than the small bag I had in my hand.

I know most people don't fight daily battles like this, but I do, and am quite pleased that I have triumphed over the super-size more-is-better giant-size mega-everything tendencies of American consumers.

It's the little things.

Four Trees

I've been looking at this little scene for about four days now. Just looks so soft and serene. I'm glad I finally captured the shot before the blooms disappeared.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Almost Forgot

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

This would have been way cooler with cinco beers, but our Mexican Beer Pack from Sam's only had these quatro, and we didn't have any Corona stocked in the BEvERage Fridge. Oh well. Maybe next year.

I had a Sol with my frozen burrito dinner. Ole!

Runnin' and shootin'

Went for a run this morning, which is notable for two things: it's the first time I've run in weeks (I know, I know...slacker girl!) and I went running outside. I've been a treadmill runner for a good while now (when I am actually, you know, running), and feel pretty good about it. I figure hey, at least I'm running. But then the weather finally turned nice (beautiful, really), and I decided to try the Asics on asphalt. Concrete, to be more precise, but I was striving for aliteration there.

So I headed out today and learned two things: I hate going up hills and I really stink at modulating my speed. But I persevered and stuck to it and ran over 30 minutes (which is about 2.5 miles on the treadmill), and figured that it was more of a workout than the treadmill runs because there were actual hills to conquer and overgrown tree branches to dodge.

About fifteen minutes in, my iPod crapped out. Again. I think it's decided that being used on a regular basis is really overrated and that it's just not going to cooperate unless it feels like it. So I cursed (it's hard to curse when you're huffing and puffing, by the way) and pulled the ear buds out and ran on in silence with nothing but the chipper morning birdies to listen to. I always liked birdies in the morning, except when I'm pounding up a hill and they seem to be mocking me with their sweet little twitters and peeps. $#!%ers. Then a few minutes later I heard the faint strains of Linkin Park wafting up. What the ?! The iPod, apparently, got bored with not playing music and skipped from The Cure to something a little more its taste. My iPod seems to have quite an attitude.

Anyway, on my run I came across the photo o' the day for tomorrow, which meant that after returning home I had to hop in the car with the big dog camera and go back down the street to get the shot. Yeah, yeah, I know, I should have just run down there, but I was out of time at that point and really, really don't relish the idea of running with a big camera and heavy lens strapped to the front of me. I already have to use a mega-strength sports bra to keep the girls from injuring myself and innocent bystanders, let's not compound the issue by trying to jog with photography gear.

So, all in all, today is already shaping up to be a great day. Little bit of exercise, little bit of photography, little bit of work...okay, maybe I should go do more work...

From Sunday

Sometimes, when you're not even looking for a shot...there it is.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Queeny's Park

Took Zozer to visit Queeny Park today, or "Queeny's Park" as she likes to call it. It's a really beautiful park with lots of interesting architectural features. Turns out it's a minefield for a toddler though. Lots of slippery pea gravel and skull-crushing granite, with nary a swing in sight. And I won't even mention all the places that practically invite 10-15 feet falls. We spent probably 30 minutes there, with both of us having multiple heart attacks with her every step, and after two crashes caused by pea gravel on concrete, we called it a day.

Maybe we'll visit Queeny's Park again when she's 6 or 7. Or maybe never again.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Bubble Goatee

Here's my little beatnik baby, with her bubble goatee. This happens when she leans all the way forward and sticks her face in the water (which she does quite frequently). She had a bubble moustache, too, but I couldn't run to get the camera fast enough and so had to settle for just the beard.

She starts swim lessons May 31, and given that she's already submerging her own face I think she's going to do just fine.

We had a relatively lazy day today, going out only to run a couple errands. M did a bunch of work on his computer and I went on a field trip with Beans to pick up some things for our girl Tiff's upcoming engagement party/bridal shower/beerfest. We made only two phone calls to her, but I think it was probably enough to make her a bit nervous. Don't worry, sweetie, we got us the high-class stripper for Doug (they threw in the midget stripper for Shawn for free!) and some real purty hillbilly wedding-theme decorations. Nuthin' but the best for you!

Now we're having a lazy evening to close out our lazy day. I'm playing around on the Mac, trying desperately to figure out what image to post here tomorrow (I may play it fast and loose and just try to shoot something, you know, tomorrow) and M is planning a trip for a conference he's speaking at in November in Atlanta. Having never been to Atlanta (my hour layover on the way to SpaceCamp sophomore year of high school doesn't count), I'm trying to gently persuade him to take his wife. I don't think it's working, but you know me: tenacious! I'm not ruling out Hotlanta just yet!

Amigos Cantina

In one of my previous posts, I wrote about the authentic Mexican restaurant that newly opened in a nearby community, and how as soon as I saw it, I knew I was going to shoot it. And I knew I was going to shoot it in color, create a duplicate layer, desaturate it, and then erase to let the natural color of just the storefront pop through from the original layer. I knew all that within 10 seconds of seeing the place.

Well, I did do it. And here it is. Doesn't it just look like a fun place? Doesn't it just look like a place you could go in, drink three or four margaritas (who's counting?), have your husband take your inebriated butt home and then show up to present at a staff meeting at 8 a.m. the next day with cobwebs in your head? Yeah, I thought so, too.

FYI, I highly recommend Amigo's Cantina on Jefferson in Kirkwood. Great food, wonderful atmosphere...the works. Just don't go on a night I'm going. I don't want to have to wait for a table.