I Touched My Camera

I had a YPC photo shoot yesterday. That’s the first time I’ve used a camera since February. Which, coincidentally, was also for a YPC photo shoot. The creative muse has flown the coop. The photo shoot was a total shit show. It was a large cast of teenagers with zero attention spans. The actual director couldn’t attend, so someone else was reading through his notes and attempting to direct the photo shoot. Multiple costume changes were involved.

It took twice the normal time and I was completely exhausted at the end. At least the season is over now and I won’t have to do another one of these until September. By which time I hope to have a semblance of a life back. Meanwhile, rapid progress on our new home continues. We had a low voltage walk-thru on Tuesday, discussing the division of work between my husband and the company that did the wiring. We kept dodging drywallers, painters and trim guys.

We rented a truck yesterday in order to transport my husband’s tools to the site today, so they could be loaded into the workshop. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the 500 lb table saw up the ramp into the truck, so that’s staying in our garage for now. Our builder is going to contact some movers to see if they can get it loaded for us. My husband needs to get going on his woodworking projects for the house.

I’m still vacillating between elation and terror on the house. We’ll make the show, but that first weekend will be a scramble and there will still be a lot of work going on afterward. It’s not going to start settling down until the end of July. Everyone keeps telling us it will be worth it in the end. I hope so.

Just Another Dusting

We received a tiny dusting of snow early this morning. That was followed up by rain the rest of the day. I guess it was inevitable, since my car is clean. At least it’s not rain turning into snow, followed by ice.

Despite all my big talk, I spent very little time out photographing the snow this winter. Since April is less than a week away, that window is closing. I blame the house. But then, I blame the house for everything.

Stress, weight gain, shoulder injury, anger issues. This house building thing has pretty much pushed me to my limits. I fired off a tersely worded (email) novel on Saturday, listing all of the decisions we still have to make. Of course it got forwarded it to a larger audience.

I’m just over it. There is still a ton of work left to do and just over ten weeks remain until the show. Meanwhile, I’m trying to wrap up everything that needs to happen before we close on our house in Phoenix in just two weeks. In honor of this morning’s dusting and all the images not taken this winter, I’m featuring a few more from my late December outing in the yard. Bring on the spring.

Dead Things, Part Two

I believe I mentioned creating quite a few images of my snow covered dead hostas in late December. What I neglected to mention is that I did this over two days, using all three of my DSLR cameras, each with a different lens.  My first post featured images captured with my 5DMIV paired with the Canon 50mm f/1.2.

Today’s images are from my 5DSR with the Lensbaby Velvet 56. This is what happens when you have way too much gear. Having a lot of expensive equipment doesn’t guarantee good images, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Backyard photography means no schlepping it around.

So that’s a big win-win in my opinion. In case you’re wondering, the third camera/lens combo was my 7DMII with the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro. I’ll share some of those images in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, don’t squint or adjust your monitor, these are all pretty blurry. I thought I was trying to focus on something, but maybe not. Doesn’t really matter, I like them anyway.

Dead Things in the Yard

I have a confession to make. I did get out and make a few images after the snowfall we had in late December. I just never posted them.

At the time I was wrapping up my year of daily posting and focused on clearing out my photo backlog. Then I slacked off for most of January, except for a few posts about our trip to Phoenix and the trials and tribulations of our new home build. I “forgot” about these images.

Make no mistake, it was a purposeful forgetfulness. Honestly, I was more than a little tired of posting photos and writing about them. I needed a clean break. So there. But today we begin a new month.

The snowfall wasn’t enough to completely cover the remains of my hosta plants and I was fascinated by the patterns of the withered leaves partially covered by the snow. Fascinated = lots of images.

I tried all of these in black and white, but they struck me as being a little too harsh. I’ve had no compelling desire to pick up my camera in the last month, so I’ll be featuring a few more of these images in future posts. I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t felt the urge to get out and do more winter photography, but I’m attributing my creative malaise to being overwhelmed with nailing down details on our new home.

We have an official completion date now, our home is going to be featured on the Artisan Home Tour, which starts June 8th. The next four months are going to be a full court press. At least the end is in sight.

The Last Post of the Year

Not with a bang, but a whimper. I guess I should have saved a couple of really amazing images for my final post of 2017. I didn’t. What I have left is just a couple of dead plants from the Minnesota Zoo. Nothing special, nothing extraordinary. I’m tired and my creativity is at a low ebb right now. I feel like I should be doing something.

And yet I’m bored out of my mind. I’m speed reading novels and binge watching Netflix. I haven’t worked out for almost four months. My stress level is through the roof and I’m back to the weight I was at before I started working with a trainer over five years ago. Our new home is scheduled to be on a tour in just over five months and a ridiculous amount of work remains. I feel like I’m losing my mind on a daily basis.

I have a cat that alternates between sleeping on my lap and trying to take a chunk out of my arm. I’m eating junk and drinking alcohol as a form of self medication. I have no one to blame but myself. End rant. Begin new year.

Last Black & White for 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, I’ve got just a few more images to share from the year. Today it’s some black and whites from the Como Conservatory. My mom and I never did get back for the holiday flower show, but I looked at the description for the winter flower show and it sounds interesting. So we may need to hit that later in January. Right now it’s just too cold to go anywhere.

I’d really love to get out and do more winter photography, but I’m not ambitious enough to face the bitter cold temps. What I need is a fresh coat of snow, followed by 25 degrees and sunshine. Is that asking for too much? Right now, apparently yes. The overnight low was -14 and the “high” is supposed to be -4. Tomorrow’s forecast is the same. I’m not planning to set foot outside until the temperature is back above zero. Brrrrr.

Minnesota Zoo Roundup

This is the last of my zoo photos for the year. Unfortunately, it looks like my image queue is going to dry up within a few days.

This is the adorable red panda. He loves to stick out his tongue.

I think I have more photos of the panda with his tongue out than in. Still cute every time. Next is a white-cheeked gibbon. I loved the expression on his face and the way his little paws were crossed over the branch. I had to do a lot of cropping on this photo, because even with a long lens, he didn’t fill very much of the frame. Fortunately, that’s not a big problem for photos that are only going to be shared online. I can’t imagine ever printing any zoo animal photos.

I’m rounding out my animal trio today with an American bald eagle.

We got some fresh snow today and there’s more in the forecast for tomorrow. I guess I’m going to have to brave the cold and get outside with my camera. I just haven’t been feeling very inspired lately.

Thinking Warm Thoughts

On Christmas Eve day, the temperature topped out at 22 degrees. That’s the last of the double digits we’re going to see for a while. Yesterday it barely managed to squeak past zero. Ah, winter in Minnesota. So today I’m revisiting San Diego for just a bit. Can you blame me? We managed to have a lovely Christmas, despite the cold, mostly because we watched Netflix and didn’t leave the house on Christmas day.

We made a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, my husband’s favorite meal. This time we stepped it up a bit, cooking a turkey breast and making mashed potatoes from scratch, instead of relying on Whole Foods for the entire meal. Okay, the stuffing was Stove Top and I bought pre-made gravy , but baby steps, okay? We had enough to make a second dinner yesterday. Next time I might try my hand at stuffing. Brave girl.

Just a Baby Tiger

At one of our fall visits to the Minnesota Zoo, we saw a baby tiger. These aren’t particularly good photos, but that tiger cub was so cute.

The baby tiger in our household (aka Ripley) made me think about the one at the zoo. My feelings about being a cat “guardian,” as the politically correct like to say, vacillates wildly from day to day. Last week, on the day I had my mini meltdown, Ripley served as a tipping point. His pitiful crying as I was trying to eat my breakfast (outside of his designated space) literally brought me to tears. I just wanted a few minutes to eat in peace and he wouldn’t even give me that.

Then, the next day, he laid down in my lap and napped for over two hours. He hasn’t spent more than 20-30 minutes in my lap since he was a kitten and he usually ends up biting at me before he leaves. This was a full on, sprawled out, totally relaxed nap. My legs were numb before he got up, but it was totally worth it.

Moments like that give me hope that Ripley might yet settle down and become a more affectionate cat as he matures. As of now, he’s clingy and wants to be around us, but doesn’t really want to be touched. If he just wanted to keep to himself, I would respect that, but the clingy/bitey behavior is super frustrating. I think he needs more turf to roam. He’s probably as anxious as us to move into the new house.

Random Images for Christmas

And now, the end (of the year) is near, and so I need to post some random images. First up, a reflection of a boat mast on Lake Calhoun.

Then I have a beautiful little girl with a pouty face on a train.

An abstract composition from the tide pools near La Jolla, California.

Next is some grasses against the background of Lake Harriet.

Finally, a dead plant on a neighborhood walk and some ferns in black and white at the Como Conservatory. True randomness at last!