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*

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 31 ~ ceci n'est pas une peinture

Of course Magritte's famous painting has a bit more layered meaning than this, but I do enjoy making a photograph that looks like it is a painting or a photograph of a painting. It is neither.

Il s'agit d'une photographie.
Mais, la encore, c'est quoi?

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

March 30 ~ subtlety

A college friend was a printmaker who worked a lot with very subtle colors. I always enjoyed his work, and these colors remind me of his palette. What I was thinking about for a period today, though, is the subtlety of revealing oneself.

Tonight I listened to a curator discuss his choices for an upcoming show. Themes emerged, such as escape, celebrity, willing and witless coercion, theatricality, power and control... but also a nod to the rapid recent changes in technology that lead to the frequent display of very personal things via impersonal media.

Juror's award winner, Gallery 96 It's about Light exhibition
"My first pick for a prize winner couldn't be more simple and direct. It evokes a close look. Beautiful palette." ~ Josie Lewis, juror
Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 60mm f/2.8 micro

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 29 ~ color relief

When I was an undergraduate art student, a previous photo BFA graduate came to our darkroom to share some of his work and chat with the younger students. His advice was to keep your camera with you at all times. Practicality tends to keep my SLR at home on work and class days, but today there was a moment on campus, just before six o'clock, when I really would have liked to have it in my hands. A curved streak of white clouds in an otherwise blue sky aligned at an angle with some white architecture and blue reflective windows in a wonderful way. Oh well. It's in my mind.

I have not posted any light and color explorations for a while; here are two new ones.

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

March 28 ~ sleepy

Sometimes you stay up late enough that your eyes just do not want to cooperate.

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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March 27 ~ account-ability

Resource Development Analysis. Zero-Based Budget. Variance. Financial Management. Estimating Expenditure Growth versus revenue loss. Blah.

One question, of several, needing an answer by Monday night (this one question not-so-secretly contains four questions):
What is the revenue shortage (as the result of revenue loss) if there is any, based on the information in Table 2.9?
If the actual shortage is A, what is the estimation error?
If the tax rate increases from X percent this year to Y percent next year and all other estimations are unchanged, what is the estimated revenue shortage, if there is any?
If the tax rate increases from X percent this year to Y percent next year and all other estimations are unchanged, and if the actual shortage is A, what is the estimation error?

Double blah.

Rusty math and left brain skills.

Yet, I found a numerical typo in one of the readings (but the table numbers still don't quite jive... they're all laid out but don't compute the same as the text example they're compared to, but are rather off by a few cents expenditure per capita, even with the typo correction). So, these things make me read and re-read some sections slowly. But, oddly, some of the text is very repetitive on simple things, such as the notion that a shortage could be due to both a revenue loss and an expenditure increase. Duh.

Repeat to myself as needed: Building nonprofit management skills and marketability within a wider base of the fine arts field.

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

March 26~ friendly letter

A member of a group of six friends was the first to have a baby (three days ago).

And there was much rejoicing.

One friend in Pennsylvania made a card and sent it to a friend in Virginia, who sent it to another in North Carolina, who sent it to one in Wisconsin, who sent it to one in Oregon, who finally sent it to me in Minnesota, where I'll give it to the friendly recipients amongst other friends (at the baby meet 'n greet in a few weeks).

A blurred vision of the letter, full of love and well wishes

I met and held the baby girl tonight. She's very sweet. All the best to the new family.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 60mm f/2.8 micro & AFD 50mm f/1.4

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 25 ~ birds, no bees

A lot of birds have been singing and chirping and generally lollygagging about outside my windows in the mornings. Since friends Amanda and Nolan just gave birth to their first wee one, a button-cute little girl, it seemed appropriate to pay more attention to some of these traditional spring signs.

I'm not an experienced bird watcher, and they are skittish little creatures, but these shots show the three kinds of birds that kept frequenting my vicinity while I camped out in a shadowed corner of the deck for about forty minutes around midday.

Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-200 VR

March 24 ~ size really doesn't matter

Lately I've been feeling like I've gained a little weight and it's been on my mind a lot.

My friend, Biz Henry, is an artist who creates a lot of sculptural work relating to the body, and she recently put out a call for her acquaintance to send her our clothing tags. I'm not sure of her exact intentions, so I hope she doesn't feel as though I'm stepping too far into her territory with this derivative work. A few weeks ago as I cut out tags to send her, I was thinking a lot about the look of each piece as its own material, as well as the design of individual tags... some of my favorite were the ones that were washed out beyond readability. What I also noticed, though, was something that I've always been aware of but never paid much attention to. I'm probably an average sized woman based upon my demographics, however my clothing ranges in size from extra small to extra large, and all of these pieces are worn with enough regularity to suggest that it's not me that's fluctuating. Strangely, some of the "larger" sizes are the ones that feel tighter. It doesn't really bother me what the tags say. Of course my vanity appreciates the lower numbers although what matters more is feeling comfortable in my own skin as well as the clothes. But, it does seem rather odd to see such a range and lack of industry standard.

I didn't send Biz everything, but most of my wardrobe saw a once over as pieces were culled for simple care instruction and ease of tag-detachment. Though I sent her all of the extra smalls and a few of the more interesting tags, enough variety remained to make a collage of 25 tags representing my own closet, spreading from S-XL.

What I also noticed, though it wasn't the point of this particular project, was the scope of clothing sources. There were a few U.S. made items in the bunch, but not a majority.

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 23 ~ shades

Today I went to the optometrist. An hour later I left the clinic with dilated pupils and these sweet plastic wrap-around shades. My eyes were only disturbed for an afternoon but fashion like this lasts a lifetime. Of course, I wear glasses, so these were actually worn under those, creating a chic look that's so contemporary you may never even see it.

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22 ~ 122nd image

Just over 1/3 of the way through the numerical goal, and about a quarter of the way through the year. I'm referring to this as one image since it works well as a diptych, though I do prefer the right one. Ideally it would be presented with more space between them but for some reason the formatting on the blog is not agreeable tonight.

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

March 21 ~ a mountain of paperwork

Sunday after work I did my best to procrastinate but ended up wading through the final bits of almost 100 pages of reading assigned over the weekend. Sometimes you've just gotta climb that hill.

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

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 20 ~ equinox (balance)

The absence and presence of light may have equalized today, but, aside from a nice belated family birthday dinner for my dad, I spent most of the light and dark hours going through new assignments (a new class begins Monday, which resulted in a slew of readings assigned via email... yesterday) and updating a few other personal housekeeping items. But, I was longing to:

a) go outside, stretch my legs and enjoy the light


b) watch more of the BBC/A&E P&P movie received in the mail a couple days ago from my sweet friend Leslie. She sent it to replace my misplaced VHS copy of the favorite adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved novel. I watched an hour a few days ago but haven't gotten back to it yet.

Her package also included this adorable finger puppet card. "Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way." Indeed.

I considered playing with the flash to record the legs kicking, but this prim, slightly crossed look works nicely.

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

Saturday, March 20, 2010

March 19 ~ chilled & tunnel vision

Today the temperature dropped about thirty degrees, and people's moods dropped with it. Crankiness increased with the chill, it seemed.

But, that doesn't mean these weather patterns can't be beautiful.

These images of tunnels in the park areas were shot on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, but their tone fits more with the above image than the themes of the previous days' posts. The way the light moves through these spaces intrigued me.

Gear: Nikon D90, Tokina 12-24mm, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4

Friday, March 19, 2010

March 18 ~ a walk

I took another walk this evening to savor a few more moments of warm air before our impending wintry relapse. Subsequently, I also made as many pictures as yesterday, which is too much to go through tonight. Fear not, friends. There will be an image, oh yes.

Gear: Nikon D90 and lens(es) TBA

I'm breaking my rule again tonight by posting five--yes, I know--
five images. I could cut this down more if forced, but they work together. And, maybe I'm feeling the need to make up for the lack of Alaskan photographic enthusiasm. At any rate, these are pared down from 175 images, so some editing did occur.

I began walking in the Snail Lake Regional / Grass Lake Park close to sunset, along with interesting dusky light.

There is a point where the sidewalk ends.

A puffy cloud view rewards those who take the less traveled road diverged from an open wood.

It's good to look at things upside down. Rotating this image draws more attention to the tiny specks of pink cloud near the trees. I prefer the way it moves the eye around, this way.

Wind made these dry... reeds? cat-o-nine tails?... swoop and dance, just a little.

By this time the sun was well below the horizon.

Walking home I remembered that someone attacked a few women in this area several months ago. The camera was put away and I gripped the keys in my pocket. *sigh*

Gear: Nikon D90, Tokina 12-24mm, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4

March 17 ~ Spring?

Wednesday was beautiful. We may see snow again over the next several days, so I took an evening walk until just past sunset. Temperatures hung around the mid-fifties when I strolled out the front door but probably cooled ten or fifteen degrees after the sun dropped. After so many months, how nice it is to be outside without hefty winter clothing. Unlike a lot of the complaining DJs and weather forecasters, I do enjoy winter, but change is good.

This is not my favorite time of year. Usually, autumn thrills me more than any other season, and Wednesday felt particularly autumnal. The cool air always feels great but the colors are what really do it for me--2008 was amazing that way, and I was so pleased because my family spent late August in Alaska, where the weather was already creeping away from summer, and when we returned to the Twin Cities, autumn was just beginning and held out for another two months; my experience of the season was extended and the colors were particularly vibrant that year. The change in our world's weather is amazing. I'm not sure about the current local light increase, but Fairbanks gains four minutes of sunlight each day.

These kinds of changes are so nice that I took as many pictures in an hour and a half walk through Snail Lake Regional Park than during ten days in Alaska. To be fair, that was a visiting trip more than a touristy trip, but this warm air lifted my spirits. Most of the world is still brown with a few scattered latent reds--the new growth needs a little more inspiration than a temperature change--but a few wispy green tendrils bravely crept above the soil. The early spring sky is just as blue, and pink near dusk, as summer.

Many of the posts from the last few weeks seem orange-oriented, which surprises me as it's not something that seems to be part of my regular color palette. Hopefully, these early spring colors offer a nice contrast.

Gear: Nikon D90, Tokina 12-24mm

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 16 ~ temptation

Ah, samoas, how ye taunt me.

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

March 15 ~curiouser and curiouser

I seem to frequently post images of books ~ this is the third or fourth one ~ but, they're a constant presence. This should be considered an extension of the Alaska week series, as I began reading it last week. I've been meaning to re-read Lewis Carroll for quite some time, but seeing the latest movie adaptation of his stories was a good excuse to borrow this collection of Bobb's favorite stories.

The odd overly orange cast and imposing imbalance to the image seems appropriate for the content of these pages.

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

Saturday, March 6, 2010

March 6-14 ~ Alaska again

I'll be posting pics sporadically, or perhaps not until I get back.
The view from the home we're house-sitting is lovely.
I arrived home late tonight and will post pics from the last two weeks over the next few days. Apologies for the interruption in the blog's flow.
It was a surprise to find that I was not as motivated to shoot pictures while on vacation, especially since Alaska affords such a rich variety of image opportunity, and in the past I've shot thousands of images during a trip of this length. This time, the photo count was likely under two hundred. But, it really was a needed break; I was still sick the whole time and Bobb's energy level was low due to the fluctuations in sunlight, so we spent most of the time relaxing, watching movies and eating our way through town. If you're hoping for vast Alaskan landscapes, I'm sorry to disappoint. If that's your fancy, please view a few images from 2008 and 2009. I'll visit Fairbanks again in June or July, and the plan is to do more active traveling at that time.

March 14 ~ the end of ten days of good company and good food

Sunday the 14th was a long day of traveling, so, since I was often in pursuit of good soup during vacation, this image rounds out the week. We ate out a lot, but made this cream of celery soup on Saturday night. The image in the cookbook looks greener, but we used some dang good sherry. Mmmm.

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

March 13 ~ creatures

Su Su was aloof on the first day, but cuddled up quickly.

Molly is a sweetie but also quite possibly the neediest dog I've ever met.

Bobb's self-portrait. Well done, Bobb.

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

March 12 ~ late night lights

We spent seven hours playing cards and other games on Friday night. On the way home I spotted a soft green aurora tint low in the northeastern sky. It wasn't as spectacular as what he or I have seen before, but a double band was visible and the northern lights are always fascinating to observe. When we got back, Bobb pulled out his new camera and tripod to try a few shots from in front of the house.
It was about 2am and we weren't in a mood to chase it further away from the lights of civilization, but I pulled my camera out to explore even though I didn't have a tripod to steady the camera for long exposures. For this shot of Bobb (who's shooting the aurora behind me), the camera is propped on a bag on top of a car hood.

Gear: Nikon D90, Tokina 12-24mm

March 11 ~ where the people are unusual, and the beer is unusually good

We ate and drank our way through town (although I was really more interested in the food). This image was taken at Silver Gulch brewery, where they serve great onion rings. Wolf Run was my favorite restaurant; eight dollars will buy you a cup of homemade soup and a beautiful salad or sandwich. Bobb was all about the reuben.

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

March 10 ~ ice art

These are a few of my favorite sculptures from the annual World Ice Art Championships. I was actually more impressed with last year's pieces, but perhaps I'm just becoming an ice art snob. I was disappointed in the lighting this year... not sure why the lamps weren't lit, especially considering that it was overcast.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-200 VR

March 9 ~ around Bobb's cabin

Often, I don't mind when an image is a bit soft. In this case, it works with the color and subject, which was a curious little heart charm tacked over the exterior of his kitchen window.

I believe this is fireweed.

The bathroom. I did use it a few times that week, and it wasn't as bad as one might believe an outhouse to be at 0 degrees, Fahrenheit.

: Nikon D90, Nikkor AFD 50mm f/1.4

March 8 ~ morning at the house in which we sat

Jet lag had me up a few hours earlier than normal, so just after sunrise I took out my camera, along with Molly, the black lab we were watching.

Gear: Nikon D90, Tokina 12-24mm

March 7 ~ cold outside from warm inside

This is the first image I took in Fairbanks, shot through the living room window where we were house sitting. The temps were hovering around zero, which was a bit warmer than the downtown area since we were up in the hills. The trees were particularly dense and curiously bent.

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

March 5 ~ traveling and acute bronchitis

From about 1am onward I was up every hour coughing and rolling over, but finally drifted off. At 9am I got up and felt a little woozy again, so I checked temperature out of curiosity. I didn't feel warm but my mouth seemed hot.
102.2. Well, crap.
A plane was scheduled to leave, with me on it, at 2:40pm. Under 6 hours. I'd purchased flight protection and started initiating a claim.

At 10am I called the clinic again and a nurse scheduled an 11am appointment. Driving to the clinic I already felt better outside in the sun... it was my first time outside in several days. The nurse, Carmen, was friendly and efficient, and the Dr (Lundgren), was sweet. Since the fever came later, he deduced that it was a bacterial infection. With an antibiotic prescription in hand, I was ok to fly as long as I felt up to it. Great!

It was noon. I dashed to the pharmacy and was told it would take 20 minutes.
Down to the wire.
I'd not planned to go to the doctor in the morning or be exhausted all week, so all the packing time had drifted away while I slept and coughed, but I zipped home, packed and stopped back at the pharmacy on the way to the airport.
I could not find my tripod... an essential for aurora shooting. Oh well.
It looked like I was an hour early when we pulled up to curbside check-in, but by the time I made it to the security line a lot of time had passed and it was somehow magically 2pm... 40 minutes to take off and I still needed get through that line. Oy.
I was not the last person on the plane, but it was close. They were calling final boarding.

Thus began 10 hours of travel... with bronchitis.

Three or so hours later I was in Seattle, with a three hour layover ahead. The flight was fairly comfortable, though my ears didn't pop on the way down. Miraculously, they quietly diffused after landing. It wasn't painful, just mildly uncomfortable.

Here's a view from within the Seattle-Tacoma airport, where I spent 3 hours:

The final leg of the trip was tough. Three and a half hours felt long. A lot of people were sniffling, so I didn't feel so bad about being one of them. The fellow next to me had been flying all day--came from Boston--and had four beers. I might've joined him but all my energy was focused on my current condition and the anticipated arrival.

We landed at local time 9:35pm, ten minutes ahead of schedule... 12:35am my time. Tired and not feeling well, but, happy to be in Alaska with Bobb. My left ear didn't cooperate with the second landing, though, and was still at 30,000 feet until Saturday morning.

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

March 4 ~ sickness and packing

I still wasn't feeling well--had been up from 3am-9am coughing-- but my plan was to rest most of the day and try to go to my class's seminar that evening. As the day wore on, it became clear that I probably shouldn't go to the seminar, though I did hope to attend Lucy Lippard's talk on campus, which my class was attending before discussion. Then I hoped to pack and rest up for traveling on Friday.

That was the plan. Not what happened.

Around 4pm I woke up from an afternoon nap feeling very hot as well as slightly more out of it than I'd already been this past week. A temperature check later came in at just under 102. Clearly, I was not in the best shape to drive or attend a lecture. A nurse from my clinic gave me home care advice, over the phone, and within an hour it dropped under 100, and was back to normal an hour or so after that. I was exhausted, though, and in bed for the night at 8pm.

Gear: Nikon D90, Tokina 12-24mm

March 3 ~ no photo

Wednesday the sickness crept in and I tried to head it off by sleeping most of the day. It didn't work. I was also too out of it to shoot any pics, though it crossed my mind for a brief moment.

Gear: None

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 2 ~ lion

I wasn't going to do another self-portrait, but am ready to sleep off this sneaky cold... I tried a few shots of cold-related products, but nothing seemed right, and this was the image I was more pleased by. I'm looking down at the camera.

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

Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1 ~ in like a lamb?

Regarding portraiture, one thought was to do something extremely unflattering, but I can't quite get myself to really go with that yet. Apparently my ego is too fragile. At any rate, here's a self-portrait before a long overdue haircut, tomorrow. It won't be a dramatic change, but it'll be nice to have it cleaned up. Maybe I'll post an after shot tomorrow, maybe not.

The reasoning behind the post's title is questioning where the lion is going to come in, since the weather is so nice. I've been feeling a tickle at the back of my throat tonight and am hoping that it is NOT the beginning of another cold (but rather, a symptom of the mold we may have at work), because I will be very upset if I'm sick again during time with Bobb. *sigh* Pumped up the vitamin C tonight, sleeping in tomorrow. Cross yer fingers for me.

Hmm, possible series: Behind the Portrait. So, for this one, "the subject's glasses are held together with super glue at one joint."

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