December 31, 2010

the end of my 365

2010 was a lot of things. It ran its course bearing more photographic opportunities than have any other of my living years—or perhaps I was simply better equipped to save those moments via digital sensor or light-sensitive film. I started the year in Ireland, spent a summer month on the Mediterranean shore, and lived the rest of the year in Virginia, all the while taking more pictures than ever necessary. Some days there were so many photos that I genuinely had a hard time choosing one to represent that day in my year-long project, and other days I was hard pressed to find a scene worthy enough to turn my camera toward. The year was full to bursting with new experiences and opportunities. I saw more of Europe than I ever have, and I think for now I’ve had enough transatlantic plane rides. I had a real grown up job (sort of) to fulfill a requirement for my real grown up college degree and so my summer was spent driving back and forth from home to work with a few free weekends jammed in to spend at the lake with my family and boyfriend. I finished my junior year of college and started my fourth and final year of formal education—for now. I turned 21 and now the state pronounces me mature enough to consume alcohol and I’ve taken more advantage of that than I expected I would.

Photographically, it was a big year. When 2009 started, I decided to do a 365 project but quit before January was out because the start of the digital photography class I took so uninspired me that photography became a terrible chore. At the start of 2010, I vowed to try again and follow through no matter what. I did. I took a photo every day, which really translates into several photos every day in order to get it right. Even the days where the inspiration was absent and the motivation was out the window, I took photos. I used more cameras and accessories than I ever have. My desire for new cameras mounted daily, no matter how many new toys I added to my collection. I became president of the photography club at school, I took photos for my internship and I did portraits for a friend. I started a photo-blog, I entered my photos in a gallery for sale and I’m learning to take this hobby seriously, to do something constructive with it. I didn’t quit, I didn’t cheat, I finished this project. I have improved, I think, and that was part of the whole point.

I am proud, but I am glad it’s over.

In 2011, I’d like to focus on quality rather than quantity for once. If the time and inspiration simply aren’t there for photography, I don’t want to force it. I forced it plenty of times during this project, and I think it maybe helped me grow, but for a while it’s time for a different approach.

Thank you, all of you, for your support throughout the year. The thought that there are people out there who like a few of my photos made it a little easier to keep going even when I really didn’t want to. I did this project for me, but I can’t pretend that the encouragement didn’t help.

Bring it on, 2011!

Cheers, and Happy new year!

December 30, 2010

some film

Got three rolls of film processed at Costco on Sunday and I'm so happy with the's really nice to have good prints come back to you after all that waiting once in a while (the quality I've experienced through Snapfish has been mediocre but I deal with it because of the price).  My 365 project ends tomorrow so the urgency of my film processing will be somewhat gone (the impatience will still be there, though) so I'm going to try to save my rolls whenever possible to be processed when I can come home and go to Costco with my parents (the price is comparable to Snapfish and the quality is far superior).  Anyway, here are photos from a 36exposure roll shot with my Konica (photos from my newest film baby to come later).

*there's a good chance most of these will end up on Flickr anyway because I love them a lot, but here they all are together, anyway

December 28, 2010


A week ago, I did my very first set of portraits--officially.  A friend wanted to give her boyfriend a few photos of her for Christmas but didn't want to break the bank so we got together to take a few.  I'm very inexperienced as far as portraits are concerned, and have no idea how to direct people, but I'm fairly happy with several of the shots that came out of it all.  She brought her dog along which I think really helped, since shooting someone alone seems like such a scary thing.

December 26, 2010

baby kaleigh

Yesterday, I finally got to meet my 7 month old second cousin and had the opportunity to take a few photos of her.  I'm trying to take more photos of people and I found out that babies are pretty fun to photograph.
A few of the photos are with my 87 year old grandmother who is growing frailer by the day.  The photos of her with the baby strike up a strong emotional response for me that makes them almost hard to look at, but at the same time, it's hard to look away.  Just something I've got to learn to deal with, I guess.
I converted the pictures to black and white partly as a result of the way I feel about the ones with my grandmother and partly because I think it enhances the photos by removing the distraction of rogue colors.  Many of the photos are noticeably grainy because I was shooting at a high ISO.  Even at f1.8 I had to crank up the sensitivity cause babies just don't want to sit still!

December 23, 2010

the white house at christmastime

A few weeks ago, my mom asked if I'd be interested in taking a White House tour with her.  I said yes of course but was counting on having to rely on my memory to remember what the inside of the White House looked like (which could have proved difficult since I'm so used to relying on my camera to remember things for me).  However, for one reason or another, cameras were allowed on the tour (much to my surprise) and I was able to snap away throughout the self-guided tour.  Of course the tour was only in designated areas (and it was more like visiting Monticello where everything is roped off, etc) but it was beautiful in all its Christmas decor.

December 21, 2010


It's been a while since I made a gingerbread house the honest way.  A few times in my college career, I've participated in gingerbread house decorating at D2 (and our house even won third place in the competition one year I think) but in those cases, the houses were assembled and the candy was laid out gloriously along a table for everyone to choose from.  Fun, and easy, but not as authentic as it gets.  I've decorated them at home, after at least being in the house while my dad prepared the dough and crammed it into the cast iron molds and assembled the houses sturdily enough for young hands to push and prod while bedazzling the things with candy.  It's been a while since we did it that way, though.  Anyway, the other night, I was talking with a family friend and she volunteered her daughter to make and decorate gingerbread creations with me, and we worked it out and went ahead and did it today (after I took some portraits for a friend--will be making a post of those eventually).  She made the dough from scratch and brought it over and we hand-rolled and hand-cut our pieces (which I am still so proud of--never done anything quite so homemade before and I didn't even make the dough) and baked them and hand assembled our houses (each of us did our own without help which is also a small feat).  Hours and hours later and pizza and wine later, we finished them up and I'm so pleased with the results!
Left: mine (unfinished), right: hers

December 20, 2010

merrifield garden center

I haven't had much time to breathe since coming home for winter break.  It's been one thing after another and while I'm not complaining, it doesn't leave much idle time for me to do things like make worthwhile blog posts.  This is going to be a quick one I guess cause I'm tired and have another busy day tomorrow.
Today my mom and I went out to do a little shopping before picking my dad up at a business-related happy hour he was going to.  So, we planned on going to Tysons Corner for a while but by the time we got there we had to turn around and leave cause we got caught up in things on the way, and by "things" I mean we made a stop at Merrifield Garden Center which could have taken all day (I wish).  That place is huge and brimming with stuff to look at.  Of course I've had a special affinity towards all things growing out of the soil ever since I started my floral design class and started seeing countless (film) photos of greenhouses and potted plants along the way.  So when we arrived at Merrifield and I caught a glimpse of stacks and stacks of terra cotta pots and evergreens galore, I knew I'd want to stay awhile.  Inside were hundreds of poinsettias in more varieties than I could have ever dreamed of, which was only the beginning.  It wasn't long til I found their tropical greenhouse, with orchids visible from the door and a sea of green leaves behind.  A walkthrough informed me that there were plenty of cute little cactuses in those charming pottery pots, a whole rack of herbs, and so many other things I can't name.  I would have gone absolutely nuts with my camera, but I was paranoid that there were employees lurking in the leaves waiting to leap out and tell me that there are no photos allowed.  Seems like you really shouldn't be taking photos anywhere so most of the shots were from the hip, guesswork.  Beyond the greenhouse was room after room of Christmas wonderland with so many trees, each decorated with a theme and more glitter than I can ever remember seeing in one place.  It was heaven, but we were in a hurry and really couldn't spend the kind of time I'd have liked to spend.  I made sure my mother knew that I'd be expecting to make many trips back in the spring and summer when the outdoor sections were blooming like crazy.
I said this would be a quick post, but here I am typing a novel.  Guess I better get to the pictures now.
Herbs for sale

December 17, 2010

ireland between 12 and 24mm

After browsing Flickr for a bit this morning, I got to thinking about how I don't use my wide angle lens (that I got for Christmas last year) as much as I should anymore.  The times I've put it to the most use have been during my two big overseas voyages--Ireland last winter and France this past summer.  I think my rationale has been that I don't know if I'll ever get to visit those places again, so when I'm taking photos, I want to capture as much of the scene as possible--literally.  So, much to my neck's dismay (my Tokina is very heavy), my wide angle rarely leaves my camera.  I guess as with any lens, it takes a while to get the hang of shooting with it.  My Ireland photos, as a result, aren't the best (I got on the plane a short 2 days after finding the lens under the Christmas tree) but I'm working on it.  Here are a bunch of wide shots I've selected from the archives.

wintry mix

As previously promised, I got sick of this blog in a little over a week.  HAHA!  No, I didn't get sick of it, but I had finals Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday keeping me from blogging and then had to get out of Blacksburg like a bat out of hell before a bunch of snow stranded me there.  Evin and I packed up as quickly as possible and left to get to his house to stay the night, and I left early yesterday morning to come the rest of the way home.  I had to drive in the snow a bit, so I was doing about 45 on I81 the whole way, but I got home eventually, and it's glorious to be done with the semester.  I've still got a big essay to write over break from my field study over the summer, but meh.  Maybe after Christmas.
Anyway, I haven't been taking too too many photos, but I still have some I guess I could post.
Frozen duckpond

December 12, 2010

the weekend before finals

I managed my time poorly, but I took a lot of photos that I like.
Saturday we didn't do much of anything.  Got up too late, laid around, picked up my unsold art from the XYZ gallery and had some tea at Bollo's (mostly cause I wanted to take a few pictures of their window display but didn't want to do so before I bought something) and then went to the gym for the first time in a long time with Evin.  Gotta get in shape for St. Thomas over spring break!  Today I studied for my Tuesday final until I had to go to work, and here we are now--just posting this real quick so I can get back to studying for that final plus the one I have in the morning (floral design wheeee).  I keep bouncing back and forth between confidence and panic--these are finals, but none of them are cumulative or worth any more than my other exams that I've taken in these classes.  They're just like normal tests, really, but I should still be studying more than I am...
(birds are my favorite)

December 11, 2010

silent night at the xyz gallery

Last night was the XYZ Silent Night silent auction.  A variety of local art in all mediums was displayed (for sale) in the cute little gallery along with festive decorations.  I submitted some of my photographs in hope of selling them (less for the money and more for the reassurance that people might be interested in purchasing my stuff) and 3 of the 6 had bids.  I'm happy!  There was a lot of interesting work on display (and some weird stuff I'd never spend my money on) and I'm glad I ended up going (after debating for a long time about it).  Took some pictures, of course...

December 10, 2010

ultra wide and slim, november/december 2010

Last Christmas, Evin ordered me a lime green seatbelt camera strap and a little plastic wide angle camera from Photojojo.  Unfortunately, the little camera (which we decided we'd share, since I'd gotten a wide angle lens for my digital camera for Christmas) got misplaced/decided to hide for quite a while...and a few months ago, I remembered it and decided I wanted to play with it but it was nowhere to be found.  Then suddenly it turned up and I spent a couple of weeks finishing up the original roll of Kodak 800 that Photojojo so kindly sent along with the camera.  The scans were finally posted a few minutes ago to my Snapfish account, but as excited as I was for these pictures, I'm a little underwhelmed.  None of them are particularly good photos, of course, (as in, there's no brilliant composition or anything) and I'm not used to working with a fixed shutter speed/aperture camera (though I'd like to become more familiar).  I'll definitely keep shooting it, since it's a fun little camera to keep in my purse, but I think I need to reserve it for bright sunny days, even when shooting something as quick as 800...  I kinda wish it had a flash, but for $30 I guess I shouldn't expect much.  Oh, and sadly, the first photos we took with it last winter didn't show up in the scans.  Not sure why--whether it was due to the fact that maybe the photos were shot in low light or that somehow they were indiscernible since they were shot a year ago?  I don't know enough about film behavior to be able to explain it.  Anyway, without further ado...

December 9, 2010

reading day

Today was reading day, meaning no classes, but instead of actually using it for its intended purpose, I did a whole bunch of nothing. I greatly enjoyed the light in my living room for a little while (more accurately, I enjoyed the way my flowers and Alice in Wonderland cup caught the sun), and then Evin and I got Panera for breakfast, Cabo Fish Taco for lunch, and went to Christiansburg so he could buy a few things. Then we played some Call of Duty (it's been determined that I should stick to games with cartoon animations) and I went to a study abroad reunion get-together (but not after hastily taking a 25 days of Christmas photo), and here we are now. Not much studying got done, but I enjoyed my day.

December 8, 2010

25 days of christmas: 7 and 8

Temperatures in Blacksburg haven't gotten above freezing in days.  As if that's not bad enough, the windchill has kept the "feels like" temperatures in the single digits.  Needless to say, walking outside has been unpleasant.  The wind we've all grown to hate around this place even lifts up the earflaps on my hat, rendering them useless.  It's not even technically winter yet and I'm miserably cold!
So, yesterday after class I decided to make a stop at Starbucks to do a little holiday shopping and grab something warm.  I only started trying coffee drinks this semester and have decided I enjoy a sweet White Chocolate Mocha from time to time...and for the holiday season, Starbucks has added peppermint to make a Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha (that's a mouthful isn't it?) so I tried that.  Quite tasty, but I don't even want to know how many calories are in it...anyway, the cute holiday cup and some candy canes I picked up at Walmart made for my 25 days of Christmas photo for yesterday.

dc streets

A few weeks back, Evin and I visited DC for the day.  I handed my D80 to him and stuck to shooting film with my Konica.  There is always so much I want to do (I could spend an entire day in each and every Smithsonian museum) and never enough time to do it.  Anyway, there are a few random shots I took walking from place to place that I'd like to share.

December 7, 2010

disposable fall

I've found quite a number of (expired) disposable cameras lying around at home and have decided to try shooting them and having them processed.  This past spring I actually took one or two over to Walgreens for processing--they were almost full when I found them, I finished them off with some random shots and had them developed.  Most of the photos, both new and old, were indiscernible (or so I can assume--Walgreens didn't bother printing them.  I have to gather this from the negatives) which was sort of disappointing.  Snapfish, on the other hand, seems to want to print anything and everything (which is nice, since I pay a flat fee for developing) so I think any disposable cameras I find from now on will be sent their way.  The best part is I don't have to come face-to-face with anyone, so if there are embarrassing old photos on the cameras, I don't have to see the photo-tech when receiving the prints :P
Anyway, none of that is REALLY relevant.  This post is supposed to be about the disposable camera I shot this fall, one I found unused in a box with the "process by date" printed on the bottom as 05/2006.  Not knowing what in the world the results would be, I shot it over the course of a few months and finally finished it up for processing last week.  The results were posted yesterday...

December 6, 2010

25 days of christmas: the first 6

I'm doing a 25 days of Christmas photo project as a subset in my (almost finished!) 365 project. I really love the Christmas season and I figured taking a spirited photo every day to embody it would be a fun idea. I still like the concept, but the execution isn't quite as simple as I'd expected. A lot of that has to do with school/other demands keeping me from being creative (or perhaps I'm just making excuses).
Anyway, here are the first six photos...



I just spent a little time browsing Facebook photo albums from a particular day near the end of my study abroad experience this past summer.  It's certainly one thing to take, review, and share a batch of photos in quick succession, but it's quite another to go back through, revisit, and remember a particular collection of photos from a quite different chronological standpoint.  My trip to France was full of activity and photos, but I don't think I've ever taken the time to go back and re-appreciate the experience through the pictures I amassed (perhaps because of the sheer volume--over 5,000 total, I think?  I can hardly remember).  So, taking it bit by bit (day by day) seems like a much more reasonable endeavor.
Anyway, a few days before we got on the plane to come back home, my roommate for the month and I went on a side-trip with our trip advisor to a place called Breil Sur Roya.  We passed through it on the train on our way to the hike we did in the French Alps (Tende--there are plenty of photos from that trip too) and were told that it was a beautiful place, worthy of a visit.  While the majority of the rest of the students ventured to the Italian border to do some shopping, we got on the train to visit this small French town, to meet with someone to discuss future study abroad activities, and to bring our lunch with us up a short but steep hike on a peak to overlook the town.  The hike was tough since I'm never in shape for that sort of thing, but the view was worth it...
A village from the window of the train


When I said this blog would be a photo-journal, perhaps I didn't realize I'd want to post older material as well as recent, daily happenings.  I feel as though this is a good format to share rolls of film that I'm obviously not going to batch-post on Flickr or anything but that I'd like to get out there, cause hey, I paid good money for these photos.  Plus, I've seen mary robinson's blog and the way she runs hers by making posts for every roll of film she's had developed, and I like that idea.  So anyway, long story short, I'm not going to post an entire roll of film here, but a group of photos from a recent set that share a common theme: foggy mornings.

December 5, 2010

botanical gardens

I have taken a particular liking to photos taken inside greenhouses, and would like to visit as many more as I possibly can.  Call it cliche, but botanic gardens are some of my favorite places to take a camera.  I may post some of my favorites from other photographers that I have come across on the internet, but right now I'll stick with posting my own.

National Botanic Garden of Ireland, January 2010


Blacksburg got its first lingering snow yesterday.  Traditionally, winter is my least favorite season, but I was absolutely thrilled to see flakes falling from the sky and sticking to the ground.  No more than an inch or two of accumulation, it was a beautiful thing to watch out the window on a lazy Saturday.  

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