Sunday, August 12, 2012

August Photo a Day Challenge Days 8-12: Glasses, Messy, Ring, Purple, & Spoon

It's been a busy few days, so this is just a brief update on the Photo a Day Challenge. Friday night we went to the Mint Hill Arts "Fire & Water Do Mix" gallery opening, and last night was Terra4m's "An Artful Affair" sale, but more on all that later!

Wednesday, Day 8, glasses, "Through the blueing glass":

Taken with Instagram on my Samsung Dart

Thursday, Day 9, messy:

Taken with Instagram on my Samsung Dart
Friday, Day 10, ring:

Taken with Instagram on my Samsung Dart

Saturday, Day 11, purple:

Taken with Instagram on my Samsung Dart

Sunday, Day 12, spoon:

Taken with Instagram on my Samsung Dart

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In which we discuss the merits of Instagram, & August Photo a Day Challenge Day 7: 8 o'clock

For today's Photo a Day Challenge prompt, "8 o'clock," is another image edited using Instagram.

Taken with my Samsung Dart

 Have you tried Instagram? I put off trying it until yesterday, because I had assumed it was just some fad with little real merit. Why use Instagram when I can achieve pretty much whatever visual effects I like with a computer program, such as Picassa?

Then a few days in to this photo challenge I began to get frustrated with my lack of tools for uploading photos. I currently use an old iBook G4 with somewhat limited capabilities (read: half the time the USB ports don't work & it doesn't have an SD card slot). Which leaves me to either upload my photos at work (and thus not post daily) or use my phone for most of my photo a day images. So I've been playing around with using my phone for the challenge photos, and it has proven to be extra challenging.

Even with a fairly basic camera it's generally possible to adjust the shutter speed, aperture, & film speed to make the available light work for a shot. With my phone, the settings are essentially day or night, and there isn't even a flash. Taking a picture in low light? It will probably look grey. Want a close-up of something? Unless you're okay with blurry, forget it. Now I could buy a second micro SD card, use it in the micro-to-SD card converter to take photos on the camera, then transfer the micro SD card to my phone, and then upload them to wherever. I do kind of want a micro SD card with a larger memory anyway. But doesn't that all that sound rather, um, complicated?

Which leads us to Instagram. For months I had secretly been admiring some of the photos friends had taken with it. I was intrigued. But I was still convinced it was beneath me because it made photo enhancement too easy. Basically my thinking was "if Joe Shmoe can use Instagram to take snapshots, then it's not good enough for my photographs." Which is kind of like saying "if Joe Shmoe uses this type of pot to cook with, then it's not good enough for my cooking." Faulty logic much? A tool is a tool, and its ease of use doesn't preclude the use of said tool to create art. So eventually I got down from my high horse, and began to see the value in this new tool. With Instagram I can boost the quality of my phone photos and easily upload them, then use them any way I like. It's not without its flaws of course, but so far I think I like it.

What are your thoughts on Instagram & other apps like it? Do you love it, hate it, feel neutral about it? How do you feel about digital photo editing in general? Do you digitally manipulate your photos at all, or are you a purist? I'd love to hear your opinions, so please do share!

August Photo a Day Challenge Day 6: Writing

I spent some lovely time this evening sitting on my back porch writing & reading while I waited for the storms to come. Since today's prompt was "writing," I photographed my journal.

Taken with my Samsung Dart & edited with Instagram
I'm really enjoying this photo challenge, even more so than the one I did back in October. I think it is especially fun to be taking the challenge with a friend, and that adds a certain level of motivation to remember to post. It also adds a layer of anticipation, waiting to see what others are inspired to see from the prompt!

Monday, August 6, 2012

August Photo a Day Challenge Day 5: Logo

The photo a day prompt was "logo" yesterday. I meant to take a picture of the 300 East logo when I worked last night, but didn't remember until I arrived home. I scoured the house searching for interesting logos. How is it I could find so few? Certainly not many of interest. Eventually I settled the Farrah's Harrogate Toffee tin, emblazoned with John Farrah's signature. Harrogate Toffee is a tasty treat, designed in 1840 to clear the palate of Harrogate's sulfurous "healing" water (which was what made Harrogate famous as a spa town in the 19th century).

Photo a Day - Logo:

Taken with my Samsung Dart

While searching for a history of Farrah's Harrogate Toffee and of Harrogate's healing waters, I came across these interesting posters:

Today I suppose I'm enjoying all things British - fitting with the Olympics once again being in London!

The photo prompt for today is "writing," so I'll be back later to post more. Cheerio!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August Photo a Day Challenge Days 3 & 4: Coin & Somewhere I Sat

I am almost entirely moved in! It's so exciting to be in this new space, and I can't wait to have friends & family over. My mom & stepdad helped me move some of my things today, so they & my littlest sister got to see it. Now for everyone else to come visit!

As for the photo challenge, yesterday's prompt was "coin" & today's was "somewhere you sat." I'm not terribly impressed with the photos I took for either prompt, but I think sometimes that is okay. Remember, you can follow both my photos and my friend Elaine's photos for this challenge on our Pinterest board!


Taken with my Samsung Dart

Somewhere I Sat:

Taken with my Samsung Dart

Friday, August 3, 2012

August Photo a Day Challenge Day 2: One

Yesterday I was so wrapped up in packing & prepping for my big move that I forgot to post my photo of the day! The prompt was "one."

Taken with the Canon PowerShot A520

Now on to moving into my new place! And you can look forward to seeing today's photo of the day when I update tonight!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August Photo a Day Challenge

This afternoon my friend Elaine challenged me to join her in doing a Photo a Day Challenge this month, starting today! You can follow both our photo posts on Pinterest (& you can also follow me on Twitter or Tumblr). I hope you join the Photo a Day Challenge too! The August photo challenge list we are doing is from Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim. Today's photo prompt was "outside" - my photo was taken while hanging out on the stoop at my house this evening. I love the angles & the clouds looming over the house.

Photo taken with my Samsung Dart phone

I am enjoying being in the flow of the Universe with exciting new challenges! Everything has really been coming together for me lately, & new & exciting things are bringing me closer & closer to my dreams of travelling!

A part-time job working at Home Management (who Charlotte Chamber Music shares an office with) just opened up for me. Very Cool! And then even more recently the opportunity to rent a house in Fourth Ward, only a few blocks away from the office, came up. It's perfect for me, and oh so affordable! So I'll be moving this weekend. I spent much of this evening sorting & packing things. My clothes are packed, bedding & towels are next; then books, kitchen stuff, wall art, art supplies, electronics, camping gear, & whatever other odds & ends remain. Overall I think it should be a fairly smooth move.

Last night my mom, Ugly Stepsister, hosted an art journaling girls' night for a group of us to share our creative energy & work on art journals (or sketchbooks or junk journals). We had a blast trying various types of media (watercolours, acrylics, coloured pencils, mod podge, stencils, mixed media...) & expressing our creative spirits. It offered a fun taste of her upcoming class, "Journaling With Art, aka Junk Journaling", which will be held at Mint Hill Arts this fall.

Putting the final touches on a stencil design with mixed media

Victoria, Heidy, Barbara (aka Ugly Stepsister), me, Niury, & Sherry

Artwork in progress!

What exciting new activities,  events, or challenges have been inspiring you lately?

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I hope you haven't forsaken me, Dear Readers. I have not forsaken you, though it may seem I have.

Forget-me-not by Martin W. Grosnick

It's been a long time since I have written anything. My creative juices have been largely left to fend for themselves. I am still taking photographs, of course. Most of my energy though, has gone towards working & towards my internship at Charlotte Chamber Music. I have met some wonderful people, I've been learning so much, & I know that despite neglecting my blog it has been time well-spent.

In these months I have enjoyed the guidance of a dear dear friend & have become more certain of myself, & of what I would like to do in my life. It is still vague, & there are still many possible paths I would like to take - I am a Libra after all! But I am seeing what I am passionate about, what I love in life, with a clarity & focus that was never there before.

Sure, I've always been able to give some sort of little monologue about what I want to do "when I grow up." But those speeches have always felt inauthentic. They only represent a small facet of who I am. They are one or two of my interests combined with what our society expects people to be and do. Do I really want to limit myself to convention? Really? No. Or at least not yet. Yes, working as an educator at a nature centre would be fantastic, & I would love to do that. But would I want to do that for the whole rest of my life? Probably not. Do I love photography & think being a photographer would be one of the greatest jobs ever? Yes. But that doesn't mean it's what I want to do for a living.

A love of nature, a love of people, & a love of photography are all a part of what makes me tick. So are many other things I love! I want the freedom to be able to experience more than just one narrow sliver of what I enjoy from one day to the next. I crave adventures, new landscapes, hard work, & lazy days. I want to help other people. I want exchanges of ideas. I want to tread lightly on the Earth and meet other people who are trying to do the same! I want to dig into the dirt and get my hands dirty, & at the end of the day I want to feel I have accomplished something tangible. Did I mention I crave adventures & new places & the freedom of the open road?

In becoming more certain of what I want to do, I have taken my lifelong dreams & acknowledged that they can become reality. Travelling full time isn't just a dream, & neither is having my own small-scale sustainable (preferably urban) farm.

My short-term goal right now is to save aside enough money to purchase a travel trailer or motorhome. This will probably be an older model (such as a Shasta or mini Winnebago from the '60s or '70s), to which I would like to do some major modifications. One idea is to have a functioning composting toilet on the RV, because a) it's better for the environment, & b) who wants to deal with finding dump stations to empty out septic waste? Gross! I'd much rather compost! Another item I definitely want is solar power.

Once I have the RV ready to go, my plan is to travel the country visiting sustainable farms/gardens. I will get a National Parks pass, & stay at many of the National Parks & Forests. In order to sustain myself while on the road, my goal is to be a workamper or WWOOFer of sorts - working on the farms & other places I visit, & photographing & blogging about my experiences. I've been compiling a list of farms & other places I want to visit, and it is growing fast! There are just so many amazing projects happening from my friends Mary & Jeremy, who are working to bring edible landscaping to Memphis & Nashville, to Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm in NYC!

My longer-term goal is to purchase some land & start my own sustainable farm after returning from my travels. Ideally I'd love for it to be an urban farm, but I'm flexible about that aspect of it. I want this farm to be accessible to whoever wants to visit, which is part of why an urban farm really appeals to me.

Originally, as a kid, I envisioned a place where basically everyone in my family & all our friends lived together on a big cooperative farm. Idealism like that is great, and it does have its place, but I think in real-life I am not up for all the logistics that would involve. Not to mention, I'm pretty sure few people I know & love would really want to come live on what would basically amount to a commune. So my dreams have been scaled down a bit. Instead of a giant earth berm/concrete dome home/bunker there will be a tiny home (maybe even my RV), which appeals to me more anyway. There will be wonderful fruits & veggies, laying hens, bees, & goats. Maybe even a milk cow & a couple horses. In short, I will be self-sufficient.

Will you travel with me on this journey, Dear Reader? I hope so! I look forward to having your companionship, advice, and encouragement along the way. If you want to follow me on Pinterest, I have started a board called Road Trip: Places & People to See, where I am posting some destinations for the cross-country trip. Let me know if you have other suggestions. :)

Thanks for sticking with me! Talk to you soon.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Wonderful Weekend, More Updates Coming Soon!

I've been unable to upload my photos from the last few days of the 30 Day Photo challenge because my computer has died! I'm hoping I'll have be able to use someone else's computer soon to post the rest of my photos.

In other news, I had a great weekend with friends. Saturday there was a community celebration Uptown, which I went to with Elaine. There was a lot going on at the community celebration, from music to food, and we had a good time. Later we went out with a group of friends to Cuisine Malaya for dinner, followed by seeing Gigi Dover & The Big Love at the Double Door Inn! Dinner was wonderful, the concert was fantastic, such a fun night!

For more fun, tomorrow is Charlotte Chamber Music's Free First Tuesday Concert in Uptown Charlotte at First Presbyterian Church! There are two concerts, one at 12:10pm and one at 5:30pm. I will be there volunteering for the evening concert! :)

Also, Shmanderz & I have plans to bake a Day of the Dead Cake on Wednesday. Let's hope it turns out well!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge, Day 26

The photo challenge for today was a photo that represents my day.

Photo taken with the Canon PowerShot A520

Photo taken with the Canon PowerShot A520
I love how the extremely shallow depth of field turned out in this one.
Photo taken with the Canon PowerShot A520

As you may have guessed, I did quite a bit of reading and writing today. I also watched The King's Speech, which I thought was excellent & I highly recommend seeing, and listened to lots of music. If you are looking for some good music, you might want to check out Annette Hanshaw, a jazz-influenced singer of the 1920s and 1930s. One of my favourite songs of hers is "Moanin' Low":