Beginnings (the start of a visual journey in 2010)

Many widely recognized yearly photographic efforts are made by the likes of Jim Brandenburg, among others, but I decided to undertake this series for many reasons. The first spark occurred when I came across a collaborative daily blog turned written documentation, A Year of Mornings, which appealed in a human way. It was a part of the photographers' daily lives, a document of the passage of time, as well as an aesthetic effort.

This project is designed to amass a series of related and unrelated images as they flow and feed off of each other, creating a vision of a whole year of experience.

A larger reason to shoot so much was to force myself to continue to push images. Some days I have projects in mind, other days I'm inspired with a flash of insight, and some days I think, "damn, what am I going to create tonight?" Either way, I've kept going.

When this series began I thought of it as a 365+ project because the goal was to have the equivalent of a year's worth of daily images that would follow and reveal twelve months. But, because I'm also working and a full-time graduate student as well as a human being with other interests, I gave myself the leeway of not photographing every day, so long as the final number of images surpasses 365. When I began posting on a social network site, I started by sharing an average of two photographs a day; by the end of January it looked as though the quantitative goal would be reached halfway through the year. I tend to work in series and like to show context, so a challenge has been paring down daily posts to just one or two images. With this blog I will try to be more particular and share no more than two photos per day.

Thus far, we're 1/12th of the way through and not a day has been missed. More importantly, though, I feel the tendrils of inspiration not previously imagined, and for that reason, this already feels like a success.

Please enjoy, contemplate, comment and share with your friends.


March is drawing to a close, which marks the completion of 1/4 of the year and this project.

Reviewing the images I'm pleased by some and bored by others. Many photographs would not make the cut were it not a daily regimen. But, though I missed one day due to illness and, technically supplanted one day's picture amongst its vacation brethren during the week and a half of Alaska photos, the gears are still rolling.

The images I've been more pleased with have been the light/color compositions, although projects such as the water droplets, reverse lens macro, smoke and TTV photography were also highlights. Where I seem to grow stagnant are with images relating more directly to documenting me or my life, especially the mundane, but perhaps that's personal perception. April will be kicked off with a weekend in Chicago.

Keep on checking in as I keep on keepin' on. Recent layout goodies includes the ability for you, oh honored viewer, to rate posts and vote on imagery types.


As June winds down, 365+ nears its crest. Counting back, however, just over one hundred images remain to be posted.

These past few months I've embraced the loose design of the project and shifted into a relaxed schedule of posts. In favor of sharing greater context and more consistently solid imagery while maintaining an eye on the year as a whole, I may not shoot or post every day, but continue to translate the spirit of the time. Early July marks the beginning of the descent and holds the promise of visual adventure as I head back to Alaska.

Please be aware of new links on the right column noting Artists, inspiration and intriguing ideas or commentary.
*Clicking on most photos will enlarge the image*

Friday, July 5, 2013

Memorial weekend in Massachusetts (May 23-27, 2013)

A family reunion and 91st birthday party for mom's aunt (the only sister among 7 brothers) brought us out to Massachusetts over a rainy Memorial weekend.

All seven brothers in my mother's father's family served in WWII--a great source of pride for the family. I grew up hearing grampa's stories of his time in the coast guard and the CCC. He was the only one to move away from the east coast, so this trip allowed time to learn more about his family.

Cousin Anita's (Grandpa's brother George's daughter) home, full of faith and memories:

Anita's parents, Rita and George, stand framed on the television

Mom's cousin, Charles (another of George's children), is restoring the old farmstead. All of the cousins remembered visiting Bobci (sp?), their grandmother.

Aside from the family history, I do enjoy anthropomorphic architecture. Especially when it's sticking its tongue out

View up the yard from house

Charles hard at work

We visited several cemeteries in the area (thanks to tireless tour given by cousin Diane)

Members of the family rest in different local cemeteries

Great-grandma's resting place

The union of Bacon and a Pikul
The brothers went to school here when they were very young

Many men and women in the area's history served, and many continue to do so. A memorial service recognized their sacrifices.

Mom and I also briefly visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Dramatic entryway
A quiet place to reconnect
A plethora of umbrellas

Gear: Sony NEX6 w/ 16-50mm lens

Fireworks, July 4th, 2013

I'm planning to upgrade equipment and am in the process of selling some old gear, which is part of why I haven't shot much this summer. At least, that's one excuse. Image-making ebbs and flows. Since I finished my thesis and graduated in May, most of my free time has been devoted to cycling, yoga and reading, though I have defaulted to iPhone photography quite a lot. *hangs head in shame* I'll post an entry with some of those better shots.

However, last night I pulled out my old camera body, grabbed a memory card and shutter release, and we tumbled into the car to search for nearby fireworks displays.

First, we drove up to a hill in the Snail Lake Regional Park to see if any shows were visible along the skyline. A few trees marred our vision, but it was a decent location for a panorama of displays. Explosions boomed in stereo. Most were within twenty miles, and since my current longest telephoto is 50mm, the light-to-sky ratio is not impressive without cropping. At least DSLR sensors can handle that.

This is typical scale of the larger ones we saw from the car (though most were quite a bit smaller):

Due to mosquito overload, every image was shot through the windshield. Thanks to gorillapod for its stellar ability of wrapping around a steering wheel. I figured the lens would focus past the dirty windshield, which proved true.

I was curious to try shooting fireworks while moving the lens in and out of focus. During a long exposure that might create an interesting burst effect. I had a few successes. Here are my favorites (highly cropped, as we had turned the car toward what we guessed was the St. Paul display):

Matt prefers this more traditional burst:

We drove up the street to see if any shows were visible over the water of Snail Lake, and caught the tail end of some home displays. Matt chose these pics:

Whereas I like these results:

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikon AF 50mm f/1.4D, shutter release, gorillapod

Monday, March 11, 2013

A small zen project

I've wanted to make a time lapse for a while. Our photo group's March theme--motion/flight--gave me an excuse.

Daily light fluctuations affect my little red clover plant as its leaves reach for the sun from the kitchen bay window. Every few days, I rotate the planter to thwart the tendrils from skewing too far to one side. The next day, they'll stretch the other way. Recently, I adjusted the pot and a set of leaves responded to the light by moving so quickly the movements were almost visible in real time. It lifts and lowers as if inhaling and exhaling. Resting and reaching. Yogi-like.

This time lapse is comprised of two shorter sessions spanning two days. For the impatient, a faster, backward version of the second day follows the credits.

The above is the highest res. version I've been able to load.

A still and shot of the credits:


Images were shot with a Nikon D90 and Tamron 18-270mm VC pzd lens. Shooting conditions were not the most forgiving for the glass. I wanted strong back-lighting to isolate the subject and highlight the illuminated color of the leaves, and wonder how different lenses might have performed. However, the level of leaf detail is pleasing and the roughness of swaths of colored light create an almost mesmerizing watercolor-like effect for the background. Perhaps someone else would have the patience to create something more finitely polished, but I prefer the raw character of this version. Please weigh in with your thoughts. I was fortunate to find fitting music through Creative Commons, and urge anyone looking for a soundtrack to utilize that source.

This was a nice side project while I worked on my thesis. Since I was sick last week there was more time to devote to both, but I likely won't make much new creative work until after graduation in May.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Autumn at the cabin

Matthew, Oliver and I visited my family's place off the Gunflint Trail late enough in the season that we had no running water due to overnight freezes.  After visiting this place for almost thirty years, this was the first time I've woken up to a dusting of snow outside, and it was magic.  Streaks of changing leaves graced the landscape along with little piles of white.
No snow is visible in this pic, and after talking up all the virtues of autumn leaves I'm showing you a black and white, but sometimes the absence of color allows our eyes to appreciate the rhythm of contrast.

Some color amid a neutral field.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

MN State Fair photo scavenger hunt, 2012

Our photo club group has an annual MN State Fair photographic scavenger hunt.  This year's list included:  

Matching Outfits, 
Furry Tales, 
People Photographing People, 
Spinning Wheels, 
The Pitch (Step Right Up!)

I generally followed a street photographer style, quickly shooting from the hip a la Winogrand, though a few shots were composed with more care.  Matching Outfits was the most fun to look for, but people watching at a public smorgasbord like the MN State Fair is rewarding no matter what you observe.

Matching Outfits

People Photographing People.  This one is possibly my favorite... her pose, hair, makeup, dress, the colors... all of it worked out wonderfully for what I wanted in the image.

Furry Tale.

The Pitch (Step Right Up!).  I visited on Labor Day, and by then the staff must have been exhausted. Such enthusiasm!

Matching Outfits

Matching Outfits.  The more I looked, the more groups of people seemed to match their friends, perhaps unplanned?

No scavenger hunt theme, but I like the feet and shadow. Shot from the Sky Glyder.

People Photographing People.

No scavenger hunt theme, but just a nice moment of isolation... plus her shoelaces match the sign.

Spinning Wheel.

No scavenger hunt theme, but who doesn't like a back-lit silhouette with sun burst?

Matching Outfits.  Look at all the white in this crowd!  It kind of amazed me.  A colleague said this reminded her of when What Not to Wear visited the MN State Fair.

Matching Outfits.  Lots of red in the center and yellow and blue on the left.

Matching Outfits.

Matching Outfits.

Matching Outfits.  I loved the look of the fellow in the center.  It's fun the way a group looks like they belong together by matching mannerisms, too.  Also, notice the poster.

People Photographing People.  Love her hair and shirt.  The photo club crowd couldn't wrap their heads around the tilting angles.

People Photographing People.  She was so excited to take pictures of her boyfriend(?).