Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Self Portrait Week 29: Derp

If I ever become famous, I'm certain this is the photo the tabloids will pull off the internet to use in my bio.


Photo Lessons I Learned:

  • When I'm over a week late with a self-assignment, I'll do just about anything.
  • I used the printer in my home office for a tripod and put the camera on a 2 second self-timer.
  • The color balance is awful. The focus is awful. The editing didn't help much.
  • Sometimes you just take a derpy picture and use it anyway.
  • It's about time to get back to more artistic portraits.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Self Portrait Week 28: Aunt Shirley

Ack! I missed getting last week's self-portrait posted ... and now it's already time for a photo this week! This self-assignment is getting more challenging. But I have a good excuse.

I returned Sunday evening from a two-week solo car trip down to southern California. It was my 40th high school reunion and it was a BLAST! I also got to see three of my brothers and a posse of friends from my early college years.

On the way home, I had an overnight visit with my aunt. We hadn't seen each other in over 16 years. In the interim her husband, my Uncle Vince, died. Aunt Shirley showed me the memorial garden corner she has for him in her back yard. We decided to take our photo together there. With the angel and the shaft of light that flowed down, and the wind chime singing, it's like Uncle Vince is right there with us.

The night I stayed over, we went out to dinner with her two sons, my cousins Vince and Mike, and their families. Basque food! That was a first for me, and boy was it yummy. Here's the group selfie that Vince's daughter Sarah took (or was it Drew?)


Photo Lessons I Learned:

  • Sometimes the best parts of a photo have to be coaxed out in editing. This picture was very over-exposed. It took a bit to bring out the color, fix the contrast, and remove some of the noise.
  • 16 years is too long between visits!
  • As for real photo tips ... I got nothin' ... just keep shooting and shooting so that you have several shots to choose from.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Self Portrait Week 27: Idaho Tan

This is what happens when pasty white folk get a dose of the California sun ... a golden bronze ... er ... bright red?!

I'm having so much fun visiting friends in southern California where I grew up. The class reunion this weekend was a blast. Loud. Blasted my ears. And crazy fun to see so many familiar-but-not-so-familiar faces. I loved getting time to have one-on-one conversations on the perimeter of the chaos. I had the profound pleasure of deep conversations with a few chosen.

Fullerton is my hometown, but my own town no longer. It's really something when you need your GPS to get from one border to the other because the landmarks have changed and the city has grown.

The spirit of my high school buds is the same, yet more refined and more mellow. Can all that happen in a single person? Yes, I guess so. We are complex, wonderful people, full of foibles and triumphs. We find our way through the world, and help each other shape the world.

Thank you for welcoming me back, old town. You hold a place in my heart, even as I prepare my return to the relatively slower pace of my Idaho.


Photo Lessons I Learned:

  • When you have the chance to talk with old friends, put your big camera down and give your friends your complete focus. You won't be sorry you missed capturing their faces, because you'll remember the look in their eyes.
  • Put some of your scheduled tasks on hold. So what if Week 27's self portrait was taken at the start of Week 28. Important times are for focus on your friends, not (literally) on yourself.
  • Laugh at your own foibles - like forgetting the sunscreen. Take pride in the lessons others teach you about yourself. Be prepared for uncertainty. Embrace it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Breakfast with a Biker

Meet Mike. I did. Over breakfast at the hotel. I inadvertently sat down at a table I thought was empty, but that he had reserved with a book. Ooops. But the dining room was full, so we decided to share.

Mike is a retired trucker, now proud owner of a new Harley, complete with trailer. He's from the midwest, but relocated to Florida to get away from snowy winters. This spring and summer he's been traveling the backroads of our country, visiting national parks and secluded river valleys. Camping out at KOAs and Best Westerns. Grabbing photos with his dashboard GoPro. Taking in the wind - and ducking the occasional storm. Meeting up with friends and, like me, making new ones.

Giving strangers a chance to tell their stories makes for unlikely friendships. I'm glad he gave me the chance.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

An Intimate Friendship

As I walked back to my hotel by Idaho Falls, I spotted these two beautiful young women sharing a moment.

After I took their photo, I approached them and asked if they'd like me to send them the photo. I took another photo close up. Later that night, I emailed the photos to them. Thanks Pecas and Juliann. You made my day.

[photos used with permission]

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Temple at Idaho Falls

I didn't have my tripod with me, so steadied my camera on a fence railing.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Self Portrait Week 26: Road Trip

On my way to my 40th high school reunion. Packed and ready to go!

I love driving the open road.


Photo Lessons I Learned:

This was another week where I just needed to get the portrait done.

I put my sun shade in the front window to block out the extra harsh sunlight. I suppose if I wore a more colorful shirt, I would have shown up better against the dark interior of the car. The problem is ... all my clothes are packed!