Sunday, September 29, 2013

52-Week Photo Challenge: Week 5

Hello again!

So how did everyone do with the LUNCH challenge? Not too many photos posted yet, but I love the ones from previous weeks that are trickling in... ^-^

Are you having any trouble uploading your photo each week? I set the group to accept 2 images per week because it seems no one in the flickr help area knows what time frame they use to measure a "week" (Sun to Sat or a 7-day period, what timezone...?); hopefully by allowing 2 there should be no problems, but do let me know if you encounter any.

Let's get to our challenge! This week I've chosen: SQUARE

Look for the squares around you - you can find them in all sorts of man-made things! - use them to frame or repeat in your photo, or crop your photo to a square. (I like cropping photos to squares, in case you hadn't noticed, LOL!) Remember to look for an interesting composition to feature in your photo. Here's mine:

Click to embiggen!

This wasn't my original idea, which really didn't turn out as I had planned at all, and even though I saw tons of squares, by yesterday morning I *still* hadn't captured the photo I wanted. So I took a little walk and found this awesome sidewalk! It was at the bottom of a flight of stairs; so I could get up high & photograph it from up above, resulting in this photo.

Well ok, I did have to straighten it a bit, and I increased the contrast and saturation a bit. (Someday I will figure out the setting on my camera to make it not wash my photos out so much.) I even rotated it around a full 360° to see which version looked best. It's kind of nice with the words upright, but I really think it's most interesting from the angle at which I actually took the photo.

So let's see yours! You can share it with everyone at our flickr group! And don't forget to sign up for the reminders via email! (You'll get one Sunday morning when the new challenge is posted, and another on Wednesday afternoon to see how you're doing.)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hoppy International Rabbits Day!

International Rabbit Day is an international day which promotes the protection and care of rabbits both domestic and wild. ... On International Rabbit Day, we think about the many ways that rabbits bring joy to our lives, and also the many ways in which they are harmed, by hunting, eating, medical experimentation, product testing, fur-farming, and living isolated lives in outdoor hutches. ~ House Rabbit Society, Sept 1, 2013

Click to embiggify...

It may come as a shock to you, but I love rabbits. In my late teens I adopted a friend's rabbit when he could no longer take care of it; then another friend asked me to take his as well, swearing up & down that it was a boy too. OF COURSE it turned out to be a girl and soon there were fuzzy baby bunnies bouncing around the house.

Despite being attached to them all, I knew that I couldn't properly care for even the first of the bunnies I had taken in, so I found someone to adopt them all. At the time I was naive and uneducated about rabbits, and am not sure if they went to the best home. Later I adopted yet another unwanted bunny who remained with my mother when I went off to college.

When I moved into my own apartment, I got involved with the House Rabbit Society in the area and fostered several rabbits over the years. I remember them all very fondly and miss having a rabbit around the house, but I know that at this time, we don't have the room or money to care for a house rabbit the right way. However, I still try to educate people about proper rabbit care, advise them to seriously consider all that goes into it, and then to adopt from a shelter or the HRS in their area.

If you'd like to help out some homeless rabbits and friends, while getting yourself some great stuff, check out these shops on Etsy; a portion of the sales go to help rabbit & animal shelters:
  • Plopsy Design: part of your purchase price goes directly to help homeless bunnies.
  • Huntsville Bunnies: funds raised by this store will go towards veterinary care costs for foster bunnies
  • Running Bun: all profits donated to Bright Eyes Sanctuary.
  • Beads for Bunnies: Portion of sales donated to rabbit rescue.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Halloween Drawing Challenge

Oooo! As if the 52-Week Photo Challenge wasn't enough, I'm going to start a 31-Day Halloween Drawing Challenge in one week! I can't wait!

Next Tuesday, October 1st, I'll be posting the first of 31 Halloween drawing challenges, which I will post daily with my own drawing. I'd love to have you join in; I'll even have a Mr. Linky widget for you to add your links for the daily drawing!

Hope to see you then!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

52-Week Photo Challenge: Week 4

Hello again, my Photo Challengers!

How did this last challenge go for you? Maybe not as easy as yellow or the self-portrait?

Thank you so much to those who shared Where You Sit with the me and the group! It was interesting to see all the different interpretations!

This week, I decided to draw our challenge from my Real Job™, Substitute Teacher. The number one questions I get asked (maybe tied with "Who are you?") is "When's lunch?" Ah lunch! Only 3 weeks in and so many students have decided this is the best part of their school day.

Yes, our challenge this week is: LUNCH.

Sometime during this week, take some photos centering around your lunch. Perhaps preparing it, or a nice food shot, or maybe you & your friends out to lunch? Here's mine:

Click to embiggen!

This one challenged me on a few different levels: Several times I was so hungry, I forgot I had wanted to take the photo until I was done eating; a few times I forgot the camera itself at home; and of course, it's hard to be discreet and not weird at work while photographing my packed lunch. Hehehe... I think I got a nice shot though!

So what's for lunch? Share it with me at our flickr group! And don't forget to sign up for the reminders via email!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

52-Week Photo Challenge: Week 3

Hello again!

How are you? It's been a busy week here for me!

Thank you all so much for sharing your self-portraits! I am loving them! How are you doing with the Yellow challenge? Some of us were discussing our difficulty with it over on flickr; if you're interested in joining in, click here!

This week our challenge is: Where You Sit

Take a few moments, right where you are, to look around and find some interesting photos to capture. The view out your window, a macro of your morning coffee, a still life of flowers and books on your bedside table... The object of this challenge is to see the ordinary things in your life with a fresh creative eye.

Click to embiggen!

I'll be honest, I wasn't happy with any of the pictures I took. Maybe that says more about how I feel about my desk area, than my photo-taking skills. Anyway, my camera has this "live panorama" feature that I played around with this week. Unfortunately there isn't good lighting where my desk is, except when the sun is setting, but most of this week was pretty overcast at sunset; so my photos were all pretty dark.

In addtion, the "live panorama" photos tend to have a lot of noise and graininess, but I tried to work with that and added some extra texture and a TTV (Through-the-Viewfinder) filter, and I am pleased with the effect! ^-^ Kind of reminds me of an old-fashioned TV set...

So how about you? Where do you sit? Don't forget you can share with everyone at our flickr group! And don't forget to sign up for the reminders via email!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Photo Friday: Delicious

PB & White Chocolate M&M Cookies

Click to view on black!

52-Week Photo Challenge: Week 2

Good morning, everyone!

So very glad you are here...

Are you ready for this week's photo challenge?

Last week, school started here and those big yellow buses are all over the roads again. So I decieded that this week our challenge would be:

Make something yellow the focal point of your photo this week.

I was amazed by all the yellow I wanted to photograph this week. Not just dropping leaves and the last of the summer flowers, but road signs and the lines in the road, yellow skies reflected in puddles, the folds of a bathroom towel, macros of the yellows in my foods, trucks & cars & houses...

Every where I went, the yellows just popped out at me and made me try to think of creative ways to capture it. Here's my favorite of all the different photos I took (there are more on my flickr):

Click to embiggen!
I'll bet the same thing happens to you! Watch for yellow around you this week and take some photos, pick your favorite and share it with everyone at our flickr group! (You can add additional photos if you want in the comments, just put the link between two brackets like this: [link here] and it'll show up as an image in the comment.)

Also, don't forget to sign up for a mid-week reminder via email!

To see more 52-Week Photo Challenge posts, click here!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

L'shanah tovah!

No, I am not Jewish, but they have some lovely traditions and rituals that fit well within my spiritual practice.

Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year, began at sundown last night and it usually occurs with the New Moon in September or early October. They blow the Ram's Horn (shofar) eat apples & honey & sweet challah bread to symbolize the wish a sweet new year, and unlike our celebrations on December 31st, Rosh Hashanah is a holy time of self-reflection.

One of the rituals they have is called Tashlikh, which means to cast off, and it is traditionally a ritual to symbolically "cast off" one's sins of the past year by throwing breadcrumbs into a river. In the spirit of introspection, some Jews make lists of the sins they wish to cast off, but one anecdote I found really hit home for me.

The author & a friend had been bothered by the thought of listing out all the ways they "hadn't measured up to some standard set by this judgmental and punishing God." So they dug deeper and discovered the word shalechet which came from the same root and refers to the leaves that fall from the trees in autumn. They decided to use the Tashlikh ritual to see their growth in the past year, and to cast off the old, dried up pieces that no longer served them.

She said, "It is not about how I have sinned. Instead I imagine a large oak tree and visualize old and dried leaves being blown by the wind, carrying these pieces of me that no longer nourish me." (By Janice Rous, Personal Reflections on Teshuvah (Repentance) and Tashlich (Casting Away) at ritualwell)

I also found this prayer, that seems to sum up how I see the ritual....

A Prayer for Tashlich
Shared by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat at ritualwell

Here I am again
ready to let go of my mistakes.

Help me to release myself
from all the ways I've missed the mark.

Help me to stop carrying
the karmic baggage of my poor choices.

As I cast this bread upon the waters
Lift my troubles off my shoulders.

Help me to know that last year is over,
washed away like crumbs in the current.

Open my heart to blessing and gratitude
Renew my soul as the dew renews the grasses.

And we say together:

Sunday, September 01, 2013

52-Week Photo Challenge: Week 1

It's time! Doot-doo-dee-doo! Today begins our year-long journey to better photography. Welcome welcome welcome! I am so excited to be learning along with all of you who have expressed interest and already signed up at our flickr group!

I thought we'd start off the challenge with something fun, that will also let us all see who we're doing the challenge with: a self-portrait. Turn the camera toward yourself (or your mirror) and let's see YOU! Be creative! Let your personality shine!
  • Are you shy or is this all new to you? Maybe just photgraph your shoes in the leaves or your shadow on grass.
  • Or are selfies a regular thing for you? Have fun with it! Show off your favorite pose or make a silly face!

Click to embiggen!

I put my bunny ears on for mine and did some editing to increase the color as well as soften it for a more magical feel... ^o^

Let's see yours; share it with the group at our flickr group! And don't forget to sign up for the reminders via email!