2019 The Year of Black and White: Week 11

While the easy title for this week’s post was “Black and White” I could have also added something about it being the last full week of winter, or how my earliest memories of enjoying photographs were with books full of black and white images.  All of these would have been accurate but sometimes simple is best and that’s how I ended up with the title we see today.

As for this being the last full week of winter – yay!  I am so happy to turn the corner into spring that if it means the return of allergies and weeds in the yard and I’ll gladly take them in trade for longer days, warmer air and lots of pretty colors bursting out all around.

As for why I chose a monochrome theme it’s simple; black and white images capture and keep my attention in a way that color doesn’t quite match.  Many of you know that I take and post most of my images in color because the seasonal palettes of the Pacific Northwest really shine in vibrant, natural shades but when it comes to quiet storytelling or a photo to think about after you walk away black and white gets me every time.  As an early reader my favorite storytelling books contained pretty color illustrations but I also spent hours of self-directed, non-fiction book time at my Grandparents house engrossed in their Time Life book collection studying photographs of people leading daily lives long before I was born.  The decade volumes that interested me most were the earliest ones that included photographic illustrations because they were a first hand look at how people really lived before I was born and they were all in black and white creating a mysterious feeling of strangeness blended with familiarity.  I puzzled through the text as best I could and then “read” the photos filling in the blanks with what I thought was happening.  I can still remember my favorite pages and if I close my eyes I’m sitting on Grandma Emma’s living room floor in front of the fan with root beer and popsicles ready to learn about a new decade.

The photos above weren’t meant to be just like those old favorites, instead they’re quiet little moments of people and places that I thought benefitted from monochrome’s simplicity.  I’ll continue to post black and white weeks once or twice through the year and hope you’ll enjoy them as much as my big, bold color collections.

All photos were taken with my iPhone and editing apps used are Hipstamatic, VSCO and Stackables.  As always, if you have any questions about techniques or filters used please ask in the comments below!

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2019 The Year of This and That: Week 10

Have you ever had a week that felt busy in the moment but didn’t result in a list of accomplishments?  My best case scenario for a week like this is that everyone made it through without any major problems and each busy day lead to something good later so by this metric I’ll call last week a success.  Yay!  I took steps toward bigger goals, put out plenty of fires and used my photo sharing time to feature some favorites from the past year that didn’t fit into an overall weekly theme.  In other words “a bit of this and that.”

My photo choices were little glimpses into things that made me happy; some pretty garden flowers, a forest road, a hiking trail, fluffy white clouds and an iconic PNW beach scene filled with driftwood logs.  All images taken with my iPhone 8+ edited in Hipstamatic or VSCO.

A fun side note:  posting so many hiking photos led me to design a new hiking T-shirt available now in my Etsy store.  All I need is some warmer weather and John, Ryan and I will be hitting the trails in style.

Northwest Frame of Mind on Etsy

Shades of Blue: Part 1

If you’ve been with me for a while you might know I take all my photos with my iPhone and if you are a details person you’ve noticed I typically tag each photo or post with the editing app used in case a reader wants to try something new with their own work.  I’ve got more apps than I want to count and each has at least one unique feature that inspired me to download but when it comes time to edit images and post my results I skip over all of them and open one of these favorite three every single time.

In no particular order my favorites are Snapseed, VSCO & Hipstamatic.  Sometimes Oggl substitutes for Hipstamatic if I want to process a straight out of the camera shot into something with a Hipstamatic filter but really I like the immediacy of shooting and finishing all in one.

Snapseed is a great easy-to-learn app that quickly offers subtle balance corrections, straightening, cropping and some fun filter effects if you want a more dramatic change.

VSCO also offers corrective features, a large library of soft and pretty filters that mimic film photography and has a vibrant online community full of like-minded photographers.

While Snapseed and VSCO are my apps for subtle changes Hipstamatic is where I go to explore small moments in time.  When I’m overwhelmed and tired of the chaos that comes with a busy life I like how the square format directs my focus to just one or perhaps two things.  It’s a photographic chance to slow down and take a breath while tuning out distractions.  I know some people find the editing heavy-handed but I like it for just that reason because when I use Hipstamatic I’m not trying to capture a realistic image of the moment, instead I’m exploring how each little square is a work of art hidden in the day.  The lens/film/flash combinations add a painterly quality that transforms something easy to overlook into something that makes me think.

All of this is a long-winded way of introducing my next series of posts.  For months I’ve wanted to post more regularly but I was out of new pictures to share and as a result out of anything interesting to say.  Now I’ve got a series of Hipstamatic images ready to go and I thought I should give you a little behind-the-scenes insight into why they were shot this way.  Over the next week or so I’ll have several posts full of images from my daily escapes outside but instead of big, beautiful PNW vistas these are small in scale and more personal. Now you’ll see the one element in a big space that drew me in instead of a panoramic shot with something for everyone.  I have those too and will share them another day but this week will be all about Hipstamatic and shades of blue.

All photos shot with my iPhone 7+ using Hipstamatic and the Elijah/Love 81 combination.

 

Hellebore

Processed with VSCO with wwf preset

While local garden centers are filled with pretty displays of spring bulbs and primroses I’m starting to worry about the mostly dormant state of my own yard.  Plants that usually bud and flower in early February show no signs of growth and my weeds are the only green things that look truly happy but this one brave hellebore is giving me hope for a brighter season to come.

Taken with my iPhone 7+ and edited in Snapseed and VSCO.

For more examples of mobile macro photography please enjoy Sally’s latest post over at Lens and Pens by Sally.

Solitude

Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.  Aristotle

 solitude

I’m certainly not a wild beast or a god but it’s nice to know we have something in common.  Solitude.

My Year In Pictures: July Week 1

In the middle of a super busy week my thoughts turned to holidays and games as an escape from our over scheduled days.  Looking at the gallery above you can rightly guess this has been a challenging stretch!  Not only are there 3 holiday related images and 2 game photos there is a moment of staring at the sky through summer leaves and if you count closely you might notice there are only 6 images instead of 7…  yes, I missed a day but in the spirit of moving forward I’ll just fess up and carry on hoping I keep better track next week. 🙂

We started our 4th of July holiday on Sunday the 3rd with a great family BBQ at my parent’s house so the first three photos are from the holiday, the party and the inevitable laundry after everyone left for home.  I found a minute to relax on the lawn enjoying summer breezes and blue sky before settling down to dream of game nights and our upcoming family vacation.  Ryan and his cousins are getting older, do you think they’re ready for an evening of Ouija by candlelight instead of Monopoly and Scrabble?  I’m sure I’ll have a few stories to share after our trip to the San Juan Islands next week…

Coming soon I’ve got a great set of new photos almost ready to share here from our latest adventures and if you’d like to follow along in real-time don’t forget I post my daily photos on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.  Since we’ll be in and out of internet access for a few days this may be your best chance of keeping up with our island trekking but if a once-a-week blog read is more your speed my weekly recaps will continue here along with caption notes containing editing information for each photo.

My Year In Pictures: June Week 4

Strawberries, flowers, sail boats and lazy days at the lake – this week’s set of photos is all about summer memories new and old.  The week started with this pretty shot from my parent’s garden followed by one of our tiny wild strawberry plants caught in the middle of an evening sunbeam.  Next is a scan from an old film photo of our sweet dog Maxi who was the perfect combination of black lab and border collie meaning she was smart as a whip, devoted to her pack and always ready to play.  This was taken about 15 years ago at a lakefront party when Ryan was baby and Max took a few minutes off from nanny duty to enjoy the sun.

Wednesday I stopped to laugh at this set of fridge magnets, there’s one for every situation, and Thursday night I made a quick trip to the nursery for a few more flowers so we could finish our deck pots.  Friday evening John and I took a walk around the marina instead of working out at the gym and Saturday I couldn’t resist one more shot of this beautiful view.

Coming soon I’ve got a great set of new photos almost ready to share here from our latest adventures and if you’d like to follow along in real-time don’t forget I post my daily photos on InstagramTwitter and Facebook. If a once-a-week blog read is more your speed my weekly recaps will continue here along with caption notes containing editing information for each photo.

My Year In Photos – May Week 5 & June Week 1

After nearly 1.5 years of taking and posting daily photos along with a 2 year tradition of regular weekly wrap-up posts here on the blog I’m finally throwing my hands up and admitting this time around I’ve totally blown my self-induced deadlines.  I hope you like this super-sized post covering two weeks in one!  As you can see from the size of the gallery above I am still keeping up with a daily photo routine but my writing time has really taken a hit so today I’ll keep the commentary to a minimum and let you enjoy the photos. 🙂

May ended on a good note and my first seven images reflect some of what filled our days.   Gardening, sunshine, music and donuts.   The first photo is a “work in progress” shot of one of my new baskets while the second is from my Memorial Day walk along the waterfront.  The third is a close up of a lamp I admired and the fourth is one of the hardy clover plants that thrive in our yard.  The fifth photo is a screen shot of my in-car entertainment for the day and the sixth is how Ryan and I chose to celebrate National Donuts Day. Our week ended with a fun afternoon at the theater watching a stage production of Billy Elliott and a walk through Issaquah, WA.

June started with frosty Root Beer Floats at this 50’s themed diner and then you see Finn searching for two stray Samoyed dogs who appeared on our porch looking for fun.  Tuesday I was happy to see this hydrangea opening and Wednesday found us back at Children’s Hospital for another Orthopedic check-up.  Ryan’s healing is continuing to follow the slow and steady plan so our fingers are crossed that by the end of the summer we may know if he can avoid surgery.  Thursday you have a close up of this small wood statue my father-in-law brought back from a trip to Peru in the 1960’s, Friday is a collage of the finished baskets and Saturday was my Birthday.  We enjoyed a relaxing day at home, John cooked a fantastic dinner and for a mid day break we took a ferry ride over to Kingston for ice cream and a walk along the harbor.  I thought this photo really captured the temperamental nature of June in the Pacific Northwest.  Every day brings an unpredictable mix of sun, clouds, rain and wind so we dress in layers and always have a spare jacket tucked into a bag on the side.

Coming soon I’ve got a great set of new photos almost ready to share here from our latest adventures and if you’d like to follow along in real-time don’t forget I post my daily photos on InstagramTwitter and Facebook. If a once-a-week blog read is more your speed my weekly recaps will continue here along with caption notes containing editing information for each photo.

My Year In Photos: May Week 4

If these seven photos are going to stand as the final word about my last four weeks I guess they’re saying it was a month of contrasts.  I see soft focus and hard edges here and by Friday I even posted one image twice because I couldn’t decide which direction to take with editing.  You’ll have to let me know which version you prefer. 🙂

Sunday’s photo is the last of my spring peony series and Monday I snapped a preview of our new wood brand tags.  We’re almost ready to list a few new items for our Etsy shop and these tags look great  on the pillows and blankets.  After the soft petals and round edges of the first two days Tuesday’s photo shows us some gritty concrete and I asked my Instagram and Facebook communities to weigh in on their choices when facing a crossroads.  Is your first instinct to turn right or do you look left?

Wednesday was all about roundness and soft focus when I shared this photo of the glass globe John and Ryan gave me for Christmas and Thursday I told the story about why these UPF protection scarves are so important to me.  The short version is that 8 years ago I received the bad news that a small mole on my leg was really Melanoma.  Fortunately my Doctors were able to successfully remove all the cancer (along with a good chunk of my calf) but now I to follow a strict regime of daily sunscreen, limited sun exposure and frequent check ups to watch for any changes in my skin.  I’m always looking for new clothes and accessories that can also serve as protection and this soft stretch jersey makes beautiful scarves that block 98% of the sun’s UVA/UVB rays.  Friday afternoon I stopped to snap this photo of the small strip of visible sky through parking garage floors and by the end of the day I couldn’t decide which version to post, the soft faded one or the hard edges and bold colors.  Do you have a favorite?  The week ended with a small detail shot of a decorative mirror in front of the brick trim around our fireplace.  I can’t wait to pull this brick off the wall and start fresh with some built-in bookcases but while it’s in place I might as well make it work for us. 🙂

Coming soon I’ve got a great set of new photos almost ready to share here from our latest adventures and if you’d like to follow along in real-time don’t forget I post my daily photos on InstagramTwitter and Facebook. If a once-a-week blog read is more your speed my weekly recaps will continue here along with caption notes containing editing information for each photo.

My Year In Pictures: May Week 2

We’ve turned the corner into the middle of May and as spring fades to summer our family focus has been on growth and new beginnings.  A quick scroll through this set of seven images really highlights what’s captured my attention:  pretty, soft colors, natural science and good health.  We’ve enjoyed fresh new flowers growing in the spring sun, Ryan’s hip continues to heal through hard work and physical therapy and his favorite school subjects are always natural science.

I went out alone for a pretty walk on Mother’s Day morning while John and Ryan cleaned the house and Monday morning Finn and I stopped by this plant to capture one pretty bloom.  Tuesday afternoons mean it’s time for the first of Ryan’s twice weekly Physical Therapy sessions and Wednesday I had this beautiful view as a reward for making time to go to the gym for my own good health.

Thursday was a stretch for me as I helped Ryan catch up on some missed Biology homework and Friday night I snapped this photo of the final day of my beautiful Mother’s Day Peonies.  Saturday brought rain but these red maple leaves look pretty in all weather conditions.

Coming soon I’ve got a great set of new photos almost ready to share here from our latest spring adventures and if you’d like to follow along in real-time don’t forget I post my daily photos on InstagramTwitter and Facebook. If a once-a-week blog read is more your speed my weekly recaps will continue here along with caption notes containing editing information for each photo.

My Year In Pictures: April Week 3

My last set of photos was really a random, disconnected glimpse into our mid-April but this week I’m seeing a definite trend toward happiness and good wishes.  Not only did I stop to appreciate a sign announcing “I’m in the pursuit of happiness” but we had the good fortune to enjoy plenty of flowers, candles and even some birthday cake.

Sunday’s photo is a product shot of our new Lemon Verbena candles and Monday I have a close-up of Ryan’s newest treasures because he says “dinosaurs make everything better.”  Tuesday I slowed down long enough to acknowledge we should all be in the pursuit of happiness and by Wednesday morning it was time to make a wish on dandelion fluff instead of complaining about all the weeds.

Thursday’s photo is a shot of this hardy clematis that thrives in spite of its terrible location and more than a little neglect and Friday night we took Ryan out for a little pre-birthday celebration and plenty of cake. 🙂  Saturday was his big day (Happy 15 Ryan!) and the entire family came together to share a great meal, more cake and a fun round of Monopoly.

Coming soon I’ve got a great set of new photos almost ready to share here from our latest spring adventures and if you’d like to follow along in real-time don’t forget I post my daily photos on InstagramTwitter and Facebook. If a once-a-week blog read is more your speed my weekly recaps will continue here along with caption notes containing editing information for each photo.