All posts in Photo of the Day

Some Baking is in Order

Yesterday, I had one of THOSE days.  You know, the kind where very little goes well, or right at all, and at the end of it you want nothing more than to take the content of the day  and cram it into the box you keep at the back of your closet and never think of it again.  Well, then I had another such day today, making it one of THOSE weeks.  So I find myself at a bit of a loss.  It seems the small supply of cheerful I usually keep in my pocket has run dry.  I just feel…ugh.  That’s the only word, or sound effect I guess, that really has even the slightest bit of accuracy in my current state.  Although miserable serves as a pretty close second.


It all started when I awoke yesterday morning with a lovely twinge in my knee.  Rather than suffer through a day of discomfort, I took a couple of Aleve and went on my merry way.  Which was actually rather merry by the way, until my right eyelid took issue with the Aleve and puffed up in angry allergic reaction.  Seriously people, it took effort just to keep the stupid thing open and it looked worse than it felt.  Plus, it’s not like I have a nice desk job where I get to sit in a cubicle and never, ever interact with other human beings.  Nope.  I got to answer all kinds of questions about what had happened to my eye, and even got to have it pointed out to me a few times that it looked “all weird and gross.”  It was super fun.  By the time a trudged through my front door I had pretty much had it.  And that’s when I ran out of Glee episodes to watch.  I mean, if ever there was a time to watch people burst spontaneously into song and revel in the melodrama of high school, wasn’t that it?  At the end of a day spent looking and feeling like a social reject?   Yeah, I thought so too.

I had kind of hoped today might bring a change of luck and attitude, if I’m being honest.  I’ve felt stretched so thin lately; there’s too much to do and way too little time to accomplish it.  I feel like I’m going through the motions and never achieving the result I’m aiming for because there’s just no way to give it my all.  Not and get it all done, anyway.  But a windfall of fortune was not in the cards.  I delivered a set of proofs for some senior photos I’d shot a few weeks ago.  By my standards, they were pretty good.  I don’t sell myself as a pro.  I don’t even advertise.  If I’m taking your photos, I’m viewing it kind of as a favor, because I don’t charge nearly as much as I could.  Anyhow, the proofs weren’t well received.  I believe the word “disappointing” was used.  This has never happened to me before, so I don’t really know what to do.  Even though I don’t fully agree with the assessment, I offered to reshoot, which was declined.  So I’m stuck wondering what the point of the complaint was.  If you don’t want me to do anything about it, why make a point of letting me know I do unsatisfactory work?


Unfortunately, this is coming at a time when I don’t feel like I’m doing much of anything well (see above: too much squeezed into too little time), and it’s pretty well putting my self esteem down for the count.  I don’t feel like I’m teaching as well as I could be because my classes are overcrowded and I’m being assigned extra duties on top of my teaching responsibilities.  I’m not keeping my home and personal life in the condition I’d like because I’m just too dang tired when I get home from half-heartedly fighting the good fight all day.  And now, I feel like a crappy photographer, even though I kind of think that sometimes there is just no pleasing some people.  I hate feeling this way.  I don’t like pity parties.  I know that things could be so much worse.  There are really a lot of very good things in my life, and I try never to lose sight of that.  So…I think I will crawl out from under the rock I’ve chosen as my permanent hiding place and go find something to bake.  Preferably chocolate.

The New Busy-ness

It’s official. School has been in-session for a week. And already the idea of staying up past 9:00 is just completely unfathomable. I’m beginning to truly understand the concept of “So much to do and so little time”. I kind of thought my third year might bring a touch more surety and breathing room, but alas, I haven’t seen it yet. Hope remains, however. A small part of me believes that maybe I just need to get back in the swing of things and it won’t feel so much like I’m drowning amidst a sea of late bells, extra students and committee meetings. I’ll give it a few more weeks and see if I resurface.


In fact, I had to duck out of today’s intended yoga session to even find time for this post.  The photos are from Dylan and I’s last trip to Estes Park and are providing a nice reminder of already-forgotten Summer freedoms.  I am supposed to be stretching and meditating my way back to the state of zen I generally like to exist in, but you know, these moments of writing and reflection are doing a pretty nice job of that too.  I need to find a way to integrate this stuff back into my schedule.  I’d like to post three days a week if I can somehow finagle the time.   Ah, time….it always comes down to you.  And you’re such a pain in the butt.

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An Hommage

Well…would you look at that?  It’s already August somehow.  My good intentions at the start of summer meandered and eventually lost their way completely in the void of July and I am now faced with beginning another school year in less than 48 hours.  Admittedly, a small, unpopular part of me longs for the structure that keeping a regular schedule brings.  It’s much easier to instill self-discipline when you have a solid framework to hang plans on.  Much of my life gets upended in the summer months, as lovely and lazy as they may be.  I just get a little lax about everything, but really, what’s the harm in that?

6:10 Photo of the Day

And so, while I am not exactly dreading plunging back into the real world very soon, my awareness of the last few moments of summer break have awakened a certain nostalgia for what I’ll be leaving behind for the next nine months. The funny thing is how random and surprising my list turns out to be.  I love going to the grocery store on weekday mornings, having the time to bake leisurely, being able to pop in at my mom’s place of business with a coffee, attending yoga classes at all times of day, watching movies in near-empty theaters on Wednesday afternoons, letting the ginger cat loose in the grass while I water the flowers, and spending Thursdays on the lake with my dad.  I’ve been able to go to three yarn stores in one day this summer, which is just as ridiculous a delight as there is, and I’ve spent whole days camped out on the couch with movies and knitting projects.  I’ve dawdled to my heart’s content, which is a miracle considering how efficient I pride myself on being.  I’ve ventured to Albuquerque and Estes Park, and headed to Fort Collins on a whim on more than several occasions.

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The school year just doesn’t allow for that kind of freedom…of course, most jobs don’t, so I shouldn’t complain and  I’m not.  Really.  I don’t view my reluctance to give up these things as a gesture of dislike for my job.  Rather I think of it as gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had this summer.  It hasn’t been an extravagant break by most measures of the word, but it has been an immensely wonderful one.  So, here’s to the remaining hours of summer laziness and the start of a new school year.

P.S. Look closely at the first of the “Runner Up” pictures for today.  A mountain goat is at the bottom right.  Generally, I try to avoid honking my own horn, but I just gotta in this instance because I was literally 20 feet from this fellow and quaking in my boots.  Obviously he wasn’t too concerned about my presence, but I felt sure he was going to charge me at any second.  I think I may have even had one leg in the car the whole time so that I could jump back into my seat at a moment’s notice if need be.  But seriously…he looks downright ferocious, right?

The Heat is On

The heat wave that threatens to overcome all attempts to be outdoors, or active at all, each and every July is upon us.  I don’t do so well with the heat.  First of all, it means that the sun is present in all it’s skin-reddening glory.  Second, it makes getting up the gumption to do anything just about impossible, because you’re already melting and all you’ve done is put on your socks.  I mean, if you’re silly enough to actually find socks necessary in this swelter, that is.  But I did manage to brave the warmth and brightness for a few minutes yesterday to take advantage of new surroundings (mi padre’s casa) and take a few pictures.

7:16 Photo of the Day

Don’t let the little crescent of a moon fool you; this was taken in broad daylight as the runner up shots demonstrate.  I’ve been missing black and white work lately, so I’ve begun tinkering around with it in Photoshop. Anything you want to accomplish in Photoshop can be done about five different ways, so I’m on a quest to find the method of black and white conversion that I like best.  I don’t think that this is it, but it’s not bad. This was accomplished by clicking on the Image Menu, going to the Adjustments fly-out menu and selecting the Black and White option.  It allows you to adjust each color channel (green, yellow, red, magenta, cyan, blue, etc.) separately and create a custom black and white image.

7:16 Runner Up 2 7:16 Runner Up 7:16 Runner Up 3

I know I’ve used other methods to achieve the black and white look, but at the moment, my heat-addled brain refuses to retrieve the information.  Alright. Maybe it’s more like my summer-addled brain, since the day has only begun and the heat hasn’t broken out the big guns yet.  What happened to the rain? That’s what I want to know.

Two Truths

Okay, so when I said that eventually things might slow down a bit here on Photodork, I didn’t really intend for eventually to mean right now, or for slow down a bit to mean stop dead in its tracks.  But that’s exactly what happened.  For about ten days.  Tsk, tsk.  It’s not that I haven’t been photographing at all.  In fact, I just finished editing about 364 photos that I took for a commercial event on Sunday.  I must admit though, that photographing for artistic or personal reasons took a slight vacation.  I got sidetracked with my knitting, which I realize sounds like the least distracting activity ever, but it can be quite addictive.  In an effort to find balance, however, I am trying to reintroduce the photo habits that consumed much of June.

7:14 Photo of the Day

Although I’ve probably said these things before, two truths about photography became evident during my short sabbatical from the medium.  The first realization can actually be applied pretty broadly: if you want to do something, you’re going to have to make time to do it.  Even in the summer, when I am technically unemployed, and therefore have a lot of free time at my disposal, I don’t always feel I have time to photograph.  I have time to read a bunch of frivolous books, dork around on the internet for hours at a time, go to two yarn shops in one day, and ponder the precise method of creating my favorite designer coffee treat.  We have time for what we make time for.  If it’s important, let your schedule reflect that.  I know, I know…easier said than done, but so true.  And the second truth?  Take your camera every where. Plenty of occasions to take a quick picture presented themselves over the last week and a half.  Many of those occasions found me without a camera available, and that’s just frustrating.  Sometimes I think about buying an inexpensive point-and-shoot that would fit in my purse and solve this problem.  But then I remember that I am really too spoiled by my super-nice, fancy-pants digital SLR.  So then I think about getting a bigger purse, which I am trying to hold out on, because I can think of about seven other gadgets that I’d really like to stuff in there and have with me always.  What can I say?  I foresee back problems in my future.  At the moment, the best solution is not to be lazy and just carry my not-so-heavy SLR separately from my purse.  Usually it can just ride along in the car with me and be handy if the proper moment presents itself.

So…will I be here tomorrow?  Meh.  It’s hard to say.  Will I try?  Most definitely.

Back on Track?

Well, let’s hope so anyway.  Things have gotten a little off-kilter the last few weeks, and I’ve found myself in a bit of a funk for four or five days.  And not an awesome funk; you know, the kind that start with a “ph” instead and mean you’re feeling all sorts of groovy.  Nope, just a standard, capital “F” sort of funk that leaves you down and despairing.  Well, maybe not despairing, but it certainly isn’t a cheerful state.

7:4 Photo of the Day

So the chocolate really shouldn’t be a surprise, should it?  What do I do when in a bit of a slump?  Eat chocolate….er, I mean, bake.  But yes, usually the something I bake has chocolate in it.  Plus, I discovered a small trick that I’m just dying to share.  See that lovely white paper sitting under the chocolate?  It’s your new best friend, and not just because it was wrapped around a square of chocolate.  It’s going to save the day the next time you want to shoot indoors and there’s not enough light to do it without a flash. See, the thing is, I hate flashes.  Hate them.  You end up with a bright white area in your image and generally distort all the nice colors you were hoping to capture.  So I avoid using my flash at all costs.  I’ve dragged in lamps from other rooms to add light to a situation, moved things closer to a window to add more natural light, all kind of things.  This trick is much easier, and I owe it all to Dylan.  As I was grumbling about the lack of light at 9:30 at night and the necessity of using my flash for this shot, he grabbed one of the extra chocolate wrappers and held it in front of my flash so that it would diffuse the light.  And it worked. Beautifully.  Every time.  The little hints of chocolate residue in the creases will wipe off easily with the use of a clean, damp cloth and then you can just tuck them in your camera bag and have an instant diffuser anytime.  Go buy some baking chocolate and try it if you don’t believe me.  When it blows your mind with its cheap effectiveness, feel free to send me some of the treats you made with that baking chocolate.

What Happened

Well, I warned you it would happen.  I was hoping to get through a whole month posting each and every day, but I fell just short.  And really, I blame Harry Potter.  Oh, and my sinuses.  My guess is that eventually (as in right around August 18th when school is back in session) my posts will become less frequent.  My goal is to still update every couple of days at least.  However, for now, I promise to be better.

6:30 Photo of the Day

One super notable thing did happen while I was away though: I discovered cherries.  Previous to Saturday evening, my only experience with this fruit came in the dye-saturated, jarred format.  Yech!  So when I was offered some of the real deal on Saturday, I didn’t have high expectations.  What a difference though!  Instead of being laden with syrup and rubbery, the fresh variety is crisp and barely sweet.  They actually remind me a great deal of grapes, without the tartness.  This may be one of may favorite finds of the year.  The added bonus?  They’re lovely little things, visually.  I love the color, shape, and size.  I expect you’l be seeing more of them here.

Glee Full

Okay, time for a confession: I spent most of yesterday curled up in my bed watching the episodes of “Glee” I missed at the end of the season.  Yes, “Glee”, and I may have even shed a tear when “To Sir, With Love” was sang during the season finale.  I’m not proud of it, but I’m not wholly ashamed either.  I love the show and there are much worse things I could be watching.  Plus, I was having some sinus issues yesterday and any excuse to stay dormant was a welcome one.

6:27 Photo of the Day

It seems only fitting then, that the only picture posted today is one of the lamp on my nightstand.  It was a fairly dismal day yesterday, full of rain showers and clouds, which I didn’t mind in the least.  Due to my malfunctioning sinuses, I had no desire whatsoever to venture outdoors and it made staying in my warm bed all the more cozy.  The lamp lets off a nice, subdued glow, giving the image a rich, suffusive feel.  It’s all I have to offer for the day.  As my sinuses have seemed to master themselves for the moment, I am hopeful that today will be a more productive, or at least, mobile day.

The List

It has not been a banner week for shooting.  I think it is closely related to my general apathy towards most everything the past few days.  Call it the mid-summer blues if you will, I just don’t have a lot of get-up and go at the moment.  Yesterday’s shots weren’t taken until well into the evening even though I carried my camera around with me most of the day.

6:26 Photo of the Day

Hopefully, I will find the energy to crawl back onto the horse soon as a good chunk of summer remains, as does my to-do list.  Today is starting overcast and cool: perfect conditions for starting an art project or curling up on the couch with a movie and my knitting.  You might be wondering why the heck I mentioned my to-do list if I’m just going to ignore it and knit.  And that’s why I love my to-do list, because I put knitting on it.  I hate it because I also put less-than-fun things on it like cleaning out the den closet, as well.  If you’re beginning to think that this is a serious list and that I am a huge dork that relies on said list pretty heavily, well, you’re getting the idea.

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A Different Opportunity

Ahoy!  Henceforth, you should probably all refer to me as Captain Photodork. Or Cap’n, if you want to shorten the title a bit.  I don’t mind being real respectable, like that Cap’n Crunch fella.  Because here’s the thing: I steered the noble ship, er…pontoon boat, yesterday.  That’s right, no training (or desire really) before yesterday and I was in charge of that boat, I tell you. And, if you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty proud of myself.

6:25 Photo of the Day

My favorite photo of the day is a prime example of negative and positive space.  If you aren’t familiar with the geeky art terms: positive space is the area occupied by your subject matter and negative space is the rest of it. Your positive space can be spread out, take up most of the picture, or be more contained and small, like my friend, Mr. Ducky, here.  Negative space doesn’t have to be empty space, necessarily.  It can just have less importance, detail, etc. than the rest of the image.  Some people like to minimize negative space.  Those people would probably have cropped in real close around the duck and allowed him to fill in most of the frame.  I tried this and didn’t like it, so I left it as it was.  The subtle patterns in the water held enough interest for me to want them in the picture.  The lovely thing about art is that it’s all about preference.  I like it this way, and I’m right.  If you prefer it with less of the water, you’re right too.  Yea!

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The downside to ruling the boat: less time to photograph.  In fact, I took 75% less pictures than our first visit to Horsetooth Reservoir.  I did a pretty thorough job the last time, however, so I didn’t feel it was too big a loss. I did see two or three opportunities I’d have liked to have taken, but such is life I guess.  The stuff I did get to do, like get in the water twice (and with Bessie too!  Pictured above in her stylish doggie life-preserver), hang out with my dad, and – did I mention steer the boat?-more than made up for a couple of missed photographs.