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*

Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 28 ~ sunshine and pistachios

These three work well as a triptych, so I'm breaking my self-imposed quantity limit rule for today, again. While they don't reflect a literal visual reference to sunshine (more overcast, I suppose), they do appeal to my state of mind, which is much calmer and happier than yesterday. This morning I found a fortune cookie fortune in my pants pocket:

A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.

That made me smile, because yesterday was such a comparative hassle but my frame of mind changed. The sunlight and a friendly breakfast also helped, and I was in a good mood for most of the day.

The above image I'm also including, just because. Good snack. Don't tell anyone I didn't use a plate.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4, close-focus filter used for top triptych

February 27 ~ are we there yet?

I was actually quite pleased with yesterday's images, so after an exhausting day and a half I decided to try a similar composition again, although I'm not as pleased. This one didn't turn out quite as well, but I missed breakfast with a friend--whom i haven't seen for months--this morning due to a snafu in group project, and it wasn't the best day for sales followed by more time finishing up schoolwork, and I didn't even stop to have dinner, so this is all I'm able to give, visually, before dropping off to sleep and dreaming of vacation next week.

Maybe it's the full moon.

And now, tomorrow, I really get to go out for breakfast before work! (Nick just laughed today when I pouted that I was "hungry and cranky" at the beginning of a nine hour shift). ;-)

Gear: same as the last several. D90, Nikkor 50 f/1.4, close-focus filter... add to the mix the subject, which was a small weaving study i made in a fibers course about three years ago

Saturday, February 27, 2010

February 26 ~ smoothing things out

I spent about seven straight hours tonight working on a group grant proposal, so seeing these images has soothed the end of the day. I tried creating a documentary image of my workspace self-imposed cage area, but it just wasn't right. So, even though no one's voted for the painterly photograph as the type of image you'd like to see me make more of, I keep going back to them.
I love the way this technical equipment can create such a non-photographic photograph.

Looking forward to breakfast with pals tomorrow! :-)

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4, close-focus filter

Friday, February 26, 2010

February 25 ~ bubbly

I like to think of this as some sort of roiling mountain, maybe under the ocean. It's actually the bubbles in a soda bottle. This is why I don't drink the stuff much.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4, close focus filter

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 24 ~ bookishness

I need to get some sleep, but I may wax poetic on these later. Or, well, as long as I'm typing already....
The color/lighting of the bottom image was a pleasant surprise, but the orientation of the books was very deliberate. There are about five bookcases bursting at the seams in this room. I probably have more books than clothes, but they all haven't been tackled yet. Many were gifts and a few were borrowed, but I've been slowly feeding more into this growing collection.

Gear: Nikon D90, Tokina 12-24mm (bottom), Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4 and SB-600 (bottom)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 23 ~ morning flourish

These flowers were a free bouquet from one of the great Trader Joe's clerks the day after Valentine's. It brightened my evening and they've continued to last.

This image was an exercise in some technical challenge because the original draw was the way the sunlight light shone through the petals, but I wasn't digging the backlit silhouettes. At first I didn't care as much about window details but the lacy curtains are a nice complement. So, I composed several angles within the windows and dialed the flash to over and underexpose, according to various other changes. I'm not overly thrilled with the result, but that's all right.

My nonchalance is partially due to the fact that I've already used flowers as a subject, as well as morning light and a (night) view of this same window. The style of the image also reminds me of the swan pics, so it just doesn't feel fresh. But, ya work through it.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4, SB-600

February 22 ~ preoccupation (March 5th)

When you're looking forward to something it's hard not to think of it frequently on a day off, especially as the time draws nearer. So, I was trying to visually illustrate preoccupation and looking ahead. My cell phone clock display is set to list the current time zone as well as Anchorage; I tried a few shots of that, but it didn't work out as nicely as the wall calendar. Today was also one of those take-care-of-it days when I made a few appointments and that sort of thing, so the calendar was on my mind for other reasons.

There's a little cartoon logo of a lady walking a dog, just above where the frame is cropped, and the addition of a lady figure moving forward was kind of a nice idea but it was a little too distracting.

I leave on March 5th.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4

Monday, February 22, 2010

February 21 ~ up to speed (go for the gold)

Gravitation toward making images like this is why I think of myself more as a visual composition photographer than a documentary one. I like design elements and surfaces. While many wedding photographers do amazing work, that's not for me. Likewise, I harbor little interest in making standard portraiture or commercial beauty shots. When people ask what kinds of pictures I take the easy response is landscapes, but that's not quite right, either. I do enjoy composing within a grand vista, framing the land in a particular way, but there's more.

Lately I've been attracted to long sweeping exposures and how the light streaks across the picture plane, laying different lines and subtle, shifting forms. Usually macro photography opens up a space to create within a visual framework without the limits of our immediately recognizable surroundings.

One of the reasons why my BFA series was so interesting to work through was because the images kept a shadow of their subject but were not held by the barrier of our daily knowledge. If someone was able to get beyond what they thought they were looking at, then I felt successful. A clear lesson regarding drawing is, if you're sketching an apple turn it upside down so your mind won't try to create it from what you know of the notion Apple. Force yourself to look at the way a line really intersects a space; then you begin to see. I like that.

While the purpose of this project is to keep me shooting on a consistent basis, my initial intention was also to use it as a documentary space, so I will shift back into that mode. Although, my penchant for these pictures may be taken as a document for frame of mind. ;-)

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4, SB-600, close-focus filter

February 19 ~ new threads

I picked up a couple very thin flowy sweaters last week. They layered well together and worked singularly, and I ended up wearing them several times.

With these images I'm again looking more at the surface visual elements of shape, line, texture and color rather than the subjects.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4, SB-600, close-focus filter

Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 20 ~ Anticipation

(Saturday night):
I was going to upload a photo of the empty box that carried Bobb's highly anticipated new camera to my door... but then I realized my camera's battery is with a few of my things at Greg and Sue's place. I didn't have time to bring everything home today and that got mixed up in the shuffle. No battery, no image making. The intention to pick up a spare will soon become a reality.

So, despite the fact that I was going to take two pictures tonight to make up for last night's miss, now I can't make any more until tomorrow, when I will endeavor three different ones.

Gear: none (drat)
(Sunday night):

We were hoping this package would arrive before I leave for Fairbanks, but dreams were dashed by depleted product stock. With no reason to expect its arrival, I was pleasantly surprised to find it waiting patiently when I arrived home late Saturday night.

The photos for February 19 and 21 are also shot and will be uploaded in the morn.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, SB-600

Friday, February 19, 2010

February 18 ~ curtains

More color exploration, with some texture.
Nearing the end of my house/dog-sitting week, I felt compelled to document the window treatments.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 17 ~ fur

I didn't get to this yesterday, but was thinking about it.

Bobb informed me that technically Poodles have hair, not fur, but we'll leave the title as is.

Gear: Nikon D90. Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4, SB-600, close-up filters

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February 16 ~ daylight and windows

This is a view outside the kitchen window where I'm house-sitting. Photographing has not been high on my priorities these past couple of days, but I have been enjoying the way light passes through this house.

Most of the images I've been posting are small shots and I haven't yet decided when or whether I'll back up more. Close examination of intimate scenes usually catches my interest first, but, who knows what may come in the next few months.

February 15 ~ doorway

I like the creepiness present in this image. It's just a door in my temporary bedroom, but the angle and lines, along with the greenish glow of the lamp illuminating the space, give it a certain eerie power.

Monday, February 15, 2010

February 14 ~ hmm

nothing much for tonight. just some home-made wine.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4, close focus filters

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February 13 ~ relaxation

Today was a good day. I managed to get nothing done but spent time with friends, had a massage, and started a week of house/dog-sitting (and Rocky obligingly posed here).

As stated in an earlier post, night owl tendencies don't blend with early mornings, so although I was up at 5:30am to take Greg and Sue to the airport, I promptly went back to sleep upon arriving home an hour and a half later. A lunch date with long lost friends brought me out of the house at midday, and, on the way to see them, I enjoyed the view but did not have time to make any photographs of the beautiful hoarfrost resulting from last night's fog. It was a nice day, though. After a 90-minute massage (the first in many, many months) I felt completely at peace with the world.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4, Nikon SB-600

Friday, February 12, 2010

February 12 ~ sweet sheets

Ah, winter... how hard it is to pull away from the warm bed in the morning, and so inviting at night. I'm looking forward to sleeping tonight, and napping tomorrow. Soon.
I was thinking of Georgia O'Keeffe and Imogen Cunningham when composing these.

Fyi, for the curious and astute, I did not post the pics from last night's inquiry into star trail imagery off the back deck. Alas, too much light pollution and lack of spectacular composition made the photos less than amazing. I'll have to tackle that again from a better location. Sometimes my enthusiasm and energy for such things is great (usually this doesn't happen until I've pushed into it), but recently I've been unwilling to search out that sort of thing when it's the end of a long day. We'll see.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50m f/1.4

February 11 ~ closet colors / star trail

Hallo. It's a clear night and I've been wanting to shoot some star trail pics for a while--haven't done anything of that nature for almost a year--however I just did one about an hour ago and the light pollution wasn't so hot. I would get better results further from the cities (and, more comfortably, on a warmer evening). The next (and last, for this evenings) one is currently writing to the card, so we'll see if that's any better. It won't be as impressive as my aurora pics, etc, from outside Fairbanks last March (and those could be expanded upon, too). Actually, those ranged from about ten to thirty seconds, whereas these are ten to twenty minutes. Bobb and I did a few star trail pics while we were waiting for the aurora one night, but the northern lights were always the main attraction.
So, in the meantime, I've posted a pic here from indoors... the inner lights, one may say. I was just playing with the rear curtain flash setting and looking at the color arrangement in my closet, and I liked the way these colors worked together.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4, SB-600

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 10 ~ flash in sight

I finally purchased a speedlight, so here are the first results with the new toy. The bottom image (that I have mixed feelings about but still enjoy certain aspects of) was made an hour or two before the top two. Those two resulted from an improvised green glass diffuser-turned-subject (meaning, I used a green glass bottle as a diffuser, initially, then began shooting into the green glass). I had a few softer images that almost made the cut, but these kept drawing my attention.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 60mm f/2.8, SB-600

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 9 ~ macro light dancing

These share a similar vibe to February 4th's post because I enjoyed those results enough to revisit the same subject, wine in the bottom of a glass. The top image is my preference, from these three.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 60mm f/2.8 micro

February 8 ~ nature's a peel

Today was a day for snow. And, it was a day for me to look out the back window and enjoy the peeling bark on a birch, as it snowed. Alas, I had to leave for work about half an hour after these shots were taken.

Lately I've been appreciating the different shades of color reflected in snow, dependent upon the time of day, weather and lighting, and I like the blue cast to these images. Although, these don't seem to be particularly interesting or innovative in terms of idea or composition, so I'm a little disappointed because they feel a little too easy. But, for some reason they compelled me--likely due to the color, texture, shape and other basic visual elements--and it's just one day's post out of the year.

Gear: Nikon D90, Tamron 28-300mm

Sunday, February 7, 2010

February 7 ~ morning

Usually, if I have to go to work, I don't give myself a lot of extra time to relax in the mornings. Despite my appreciation for this quiet time of day, my night-owl tendencies and appreciation for a good amount of sleep usually trumps the need to relax with a mug of something delicious before heading out the door.

This morning I didn't drink any coffee or tea out of this mug, but I did stop to enjoy the way the morning light slanted across it. Morning light in kitchens is the best. :-)

The bottom scene is what first caught my eye, and the top image appeals to a nice sense of slightly uncomfortable imbalance.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4

February 6 ~ illumination

These were taken at the City of Lakes Luminary Loppet, on Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis.

The top two images are my choices for the day, but these two pics are included for fun context

Today was very busy with a few ups and downs, but it ended nicely with a walk on a frozen lake in a luminary brightened darkness.

I also had nice company, among some friends who live in the area and plan gatherings frequently, but I haven't seen them for weeks. Good food, events and conversation are usually had with those folks.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4

Saturday, February 6, 2010

February 5 ~ impressions

For weeks I've been intending to shoot a few images of the local turkeys' snowy footprints, but I wanted to do so in daylight. After arriving home from work, I took advantage of the fresh prints left after today's snowfall, even though they were only illuminated by artificial light. This experience was yet another situation which is leading me to purchase an external flash.

Clearly this image is not in the same abstract style as what I've been working with over the past couple days, but perhaps it's reflective of the more linear thinking I've been doing for a grants writing assignment due tomorrow.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 micro

Friday, February 5, 2010

February 4 ~ painting light relief

These are part of a continuing exploration of color and light. Actually, shooting this type of image loosens me up, which is nice after a busy or stressful day. I realized today how much I would like to have a proper studio space.

The top image is worked over a bit.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 micro

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February 3 ~ painting flesh

Since I'm finishing a brief paper, I didn't give myself as much time tonight to make an image. I continue to like the exploration of light as a source of color and movement, not necessarily confined to one specific correct way of being.

Because I've been pondering women, painting, representation, and the grotesque, such is where these thoughts combined for imagery.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February 2 ~ dress the part

I interviewed for a management position today, so I was thinking about how we sometimes put emphasis on appearing--or trying to embody--a certain way of being. This is jewelry I ended up accessorizing with and it's something I would wear any day, but it made me ponder the little accoutrements of persona we often carefully consider.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 micro

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 1 ~ snowy traffic

This composition isn't quite as dynamic as I'd envisioned while driving home from work. The snow came down heavily all day and traffic was dense, which meant red taillights were denser, but I had a hard time thinking of a place where I could get a good view while also remaining safe from any potential slick road accidents, so I chose a footbridge I've crossed on a bike (in warmer weather).
Alas, the combination of a fence, numbed fingers and irritations with the ball head (for some reason it wouldn't tighten enough to hold the heavy lens stiffly in the vertical position) did not cooperate for a great range of visual positioning, but I enjoyed shooting outside again and I always like making long exposures at night. The light responds in such different ways.

Gear: Nikon D90, Tokina 12-24mm, Manfrotto legs/head

January 31 ~ loose threads

I thought about titling this loose ends, but I'm not sure how I feel about the metaphoric connection there to my daily life. Lately I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by various commitments, so perhaps this is a reflection of that. Either way, I enjoyed exploring this small bit of something that became part of the day. As I worked over the image, the blue cast also felt appropriate.

The way the threads curve within the frame reminded someone of detail on a spider web but it also resembles the face of a dragon.

Bobb said this was his new favorite image. Thanks, Bobb! :-)
Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 60mm f/2.8 micro

January 30 ~ light (longer days)

Photography is all about light, so I love coming across simple moments like this.

January 29 ~ long distance

My boyfriend and I don't currently live in the same city.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4