Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunrise and Wires

Damn all the telephone wires in my neighborhood!  I suppose I don't completely hate them, they add some interest, I just feel like I've already done this photo (see post "Competition").  Obviously I took this first thing this morning, and I decided to wait to post it in case something better came along to photograph today.  But I wasn't able to get back to my camera, so this is it.  Tomorrow I hope to try something a little more creative, I've seen so much cool art over the last few days on other people's blogs that I'm not feeling satisfied with the same old stuff I've been doing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cold Feet

I was cursing my new found enthusiasm for photography today as I tromped through a corn field, knee deep in snow in only my sneakers. 

I'm always noticing really cool trees, especially this time of year, so I enjoyed taking the time to photograph some.  Bare trees are probably the only thing I truly do like about winter.  I've often heard them described as "skeletal" or something else like that, but I've never felt that was an appropriate comparison.  I don't feel like I'm looking at something dead, or even something dormant, but more like I am getting a more intimate look at what a tree really is.

Actually though, my favorite photograph from today was the "Shadows of the Corn".  I think it was even worth my half frozen toes.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've had a pretty good day.  My niece Piper came over for a sleepover with Josie, and they had a great time and I think it shows in this photo.  As for me, my day was made by being included on Noah Scalin's "Make Something 365" blog ( and by the several people who took the time to comment on some of my photos and give some encouraging words.  I had no idea how just knowing that a few people outside of my immediate family were looking at my work would reenergize me to put a little more into this project.  This couldn't have come at a better time.  I've really been feeling down about my photos for the last week or so (as you might be able to tell by my last few posts, which I didn't even bother to comment on).  I'm so grateful to be feeling good about what I'm doing again.

Also, I was particularly inspired by one person who commented and shared her 365 project.  I thought Jessa's "Gratitude 5" idea was so cool I just had to make one myself, so below is a collage of photos that I took today with five things that I am grateful for.  Doing this was the perfect cure for my recent pessimism, so thanks Jessa!  You can see her art at

I'm excited to be inspired by others art as well, I spent a little time checking out a self-portrait 365 project that was also Noah's blog and saw some really great stuff (so be prepared to see more of me soon, maybe) and also to connect with other artists.  Thanks everyone, later!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Water "Bored"

What better way to get over my boredom than by taking on a riveting subject like...water in a cup (whah, whah, whaaaah).  Waiting until the end of day to do this really sucks.  Tomorrow, come hell or high water, I am taking a photo outdoors. 

On top of this photo being boring, I'm also mad that I couldn't even get what I wanted because I of something strange about my flash.  When I tried to use the camera in manual or shutter priority so I could really crank up the shutter speed and capture the moment the drop hit the water, the flash would do this weird delay.  Time to break out the manual I guess.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I'ts probably a little hard to tell in the photos above, but I didn't just go comb my hair, I went and got a haircut.  I've been feeling extremely bored lately and so I did one of the few things I could just to change something.  Plus I hadn't cut my hair since last April, so it was sorely overdue anyway.  At least I showed some restraint and didn't do what I normally do when I get the itch for a haircut, which is just whack it all off and then spend the next year growing it out (and look like a sheep dog going through an awkward phase in the process).

My hair wasn't what I was really bored with though, I am bored with everything, including this project to be very honest.  I'm proud of myself that I haven't given up, but at the same time I am a little disappointed in my ability to make my photos a little more interested or thought provoking.  I'd really like to be more creative with what I am doing. 

So the haircut helped a little I guess, but I need to get out of this funk and stop just posting something everyday and start producing some work that I'm proud of.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Feeling Squirelly

I kind of secretly love squirrels.  I know they are the most boring, everyday backyard sort of animal, but they are mischievous and resourceful and comical and I love to watch them.  I was even kind of rooting for this guy as he vandalized my bird feeder.  I've always thought about writing a children's book about a squirrel, something very Beatrix Potter, similar to Peter Rabbit or Benjamin Bunny.  I think that one of the things that made those books so magical for children was taking something ordinary they saw in their yards all the time and turning him into a character that reminded them of themselves.  I could totally see some of these photos as inspiration for illustrations (I think especially the one in the bottom left corner).  I know I'm not even a month into this "365" project, but I'm already thinking about next year and another project which might have something to do with children's stories and illustrations.  But, one thing at a time, so here are my photos for today!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

For the Birds

Sigh, I wasn't planning to post these but I wasn't able to get back to my camera again today.  I'll try this again sometime, and hopefully get better results.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yeah Terrarium!

I went to a class today at Fernwood Botanical Gardens in Niles and made my first terrarium.  It really was the perfect thing to do to help with my mid-winter depression (I had no idea the smell of dirt could make me so happy!).  Taking a picture of it was not easy however, the distortion of the glass made anything from the side not work, but you don't get a great idea of what it looks like just from the top.  Oh well, I love it and couldn't think of anything I would rather photograph today.  Hopefully I won't be posting a picture of a dead terrarium in a few weeks, I tend to kill house plants but I was told this was pretty idiot proof.  We'll see if it's Meg proof too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

On Fire

Another difficult subject, I just found out, is fire.  It seemed as good a thing to photograph as anything else tonight, being that we are hiding from the extreme cold outside (sob... I need spring!).  I don't really mind the difficulty, it is more fun now that I am becoming more comfortable with my camera.  I'm not sure I entirely succeeded in my attempt with this, but I don't hate it.  And it was a nice excuse to hog the spot right in front of the fire for about 20 minutes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I had something else in mind for what I might do today, but I couldn't help but grab my camera while Josie was painting today.  She was so serious about what she was doing and had such a look of concentration on her face.  It was really fascinating as her mother; I had a sort of flash of her as an adult while watching her.  And, as a plus, I took a portrait in color that I liked!  I think the key is for the other colors not to overwhelm the color of the skin.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Full Moon

Okay, so taking a picture of the moon is a lot harder than you'd think.  It was so beautiful tonight, and the clouds were amazing too.  But, alas, my camera did not want anything to do with it.  It took me about 20 minutes of tweaking just to get something usable at all.  I've already done some reading tonight and have an idea of what I can do next time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Burning the Midnight Candles

Sigh, it's been a long day and it's not quite over yet, so this is all I could manage.  Not much energy left to write either, so goodnight!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Icicles (how I hate you)

So this one will never be hanging on my wall, I'll guarantee you that.  I think I should get extra points though for fastest photo taken yet on this project.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Care for some tea?

I tried to recruit some models at my mother-in-laws tonight at Sunday dinner, but the only taker was her Chihuahua.  So this is what I found to photograph in her house.  Not the most interesting photo I've ever taken, but I guess it's not bad.  I started out taking shots more like how you would expect to see a teapot, from the side, but then moved to other angels trying to capture the more interesting parts of it.  With some more time I think I could have gotten a better shot, but I was making everyone nervous wandering around with my camera.  They'd better get used to it, or it's going to be a long year!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Josie's favorite place to play is in our bed, and it was a lot of fun to photograph her while she jumped, read, and pretended to sleep, among other things (like kicking my butt in a pillow fight).

I seem to be on a black and white kick.  I actually really tried to keep these in color just so my last three posts wouldn't all be black and white, but I just found the color to be really distracting.  There is something very different about portraits in color and black and white, it's really hard to explain.  It's sort of a difference in volume; black and white is quieter somehow.  I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it is interesting to try to think a little more about what is behind an artistic decision.

Friday, January 14, 2011

And I'll say a little mantra for you...

I know this photo is pretty similar to yesterday's, but I was interested in doing more hand photographs and this just sort of evolved out of that.  Plus I wanted to learn to use the timer on the camera, so it seemed like a good time to do this.  I'm getting tired of being my own model though, I really need to make a plan for finding more (interesting) people to photograph.

This is sort of a portrayal of me saying a mantra, though it is pretty staged so that I could get both the mala and this necklace in the photo.  I thought they made for an interesting pair, and I have actually taking to wearing this when I say my mantras.  I'm not sure why, it is something I found in an antique store and I've just felt very attached to it.  I'm not (nor have I ever been) Catholic, and I'm not sure what all the symbols mean or who the saints are that are pictured on it.  But I like it, and that is enough for me right now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Apple a Day

I'm actually pretty pleased with this photo.  Starting this project in January is both good and bad I guess; I prefer taking photos outdoors but being stuck inside (we are still buried in snow) has forced me to try a lot of new things.

Here is a wide shot also, though I like the close up better.  By the way, these are both my hands and I didn't have someone help me.  I didn't use the timer either because I haven't figured that out yet, but I am more motivated to after this.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Beheaded What?!

So I feel it may be time for a bit of an explanation regarding the name of this blog.  My husband's reaction when I first told him about it was basically to give me a look that said, "Okay crazy hippie lady, whatever" (I get that look a lot) but after a couple of days he came to me and said, "All right, what does mean?"  I found that question a little hard to answer.

I actually can't take much credit for it, a friend of mine who has an amazing gift for words and language actually came up with it for me as a name for an Etsy shop (which is in progress, should be up soon).  I loved the way it sounded immediately, even if I was a little intimidated by it.  It was inspired by a conversation we were having about a certain Hindu Deity, but as I started thinking about it the name started to have many layers of meaning for me, which only made me gravitate towards it more.  I found that it perfectly described the way I felt about the world around me, about the state of womanhood in our culture, and probably most importantly the way I feel about myself.  How I feel that I may be capable of much more than I currently am, but am crippled by so many things, most of all the barriers I put in my own way. 

So that's pretty much the story behind the crazy name for this blog.  If you have any further questions please consult my severed head.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Models Needed

I really need some models.  Not that I don't love and appreciate my husband Phillip for letting me photograph him (thanks honey!), but I really need to branch out.  I find people endlessly fascinating as subjects and I'd really like to do more portraits but I'm not sure how to go about finding anyone willing to let me photograph them for this project.  I wish I weren't so mousy and shy; I wish I could just walk up to strangers and ask them to pose for me. 

I think I could start with more people in my family though, and try to capture something about them in the photo.  The photo of my husband above does just that, this pose is probably how he spends 90% of his day (he's the network administrator for the school system in our town). 

I also found this shot interesting.  I was using the tripod because I wanted the only light source to be the computer screen and therefore needed a very slow shutter speed.  Phillip did a great job holding still, but sometimes our daughter, Josephine, would run in and out of the shot in the time it took the shutter to open and close.  It made for an interesting ghost-like affect that might be fun to play with sometime.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Up in Smoke

Well, I had a plan for my photo today, but it didn't work out, so this was my plan b (my first plan was "up in smoke" get it? I'm so clever).  I don't think this photo turned out too bad, a little grainier (is that a word?) than I would have liked but I think that had to do with using the telephoto and having to be fairly far away.  I really didn't want the background in focus at all though and my other lens seems to keep everything in focus no matter what I do.  I'll have to do some reading on this I think, see if there is anything I can do about that because the 18-55mm does so much better in low light situations like this one.  Anyway, it was mesmerizing watching the smoke and waiting for interesting shapes to appear.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Story Board

I was having a hard time figuring out what to photograph today.  I think that will end up being the most difficult part about this project; if it is hard after only 9 days to come up with an idea I can't imagine what it will be like a few months from now.  Eventually I landed on the idea of photographing myself again, and decided I wanted to be doing something ordinary, a part of my daily routine.  This shoot was fun just because of the technical challenge (using the tripod, remote, and flash in a semi-dark room), but I really enjoyed picking through the photos on my computer and laying them out in a mini "story" sequence.  I would definitely like to do this more.  What I would ultimately like to do with my photography is use it to tell stories of people in my community.  I've worked for a couple of different agencies serving the homeless, and what I loved most about it was meeting people I would have never otherwise had the chance to meet and hearing their stories.  And being surprised by their stories.  I think that photography could offer me the chance to share some of those stories with others, and in some small way help people understand those who at first glance seem very different from them.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Home Baked Photos

If I had an unlimited budget and 50 pounds I needed to gain, I would totally bake something everyday for a year. 

Today we were completely snowed in.  More than a foot of snow fell overnight and was still falling the first half of the day, so we decided this morning to just hunker down in the house.  I love to bake and my 2 year old daughter loves to "help", so this was the perfect stuck inside activity for us.  Unfortunately I was out of eggs, so these cookies were a bit of improv (basically brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chips), but they turned out pretty good.  As far as the photos, they're all right, but after I got them on to my computer I thought maybe it would have been better if I used my 18-55 mm lens instead of the telephoto.  Usually I like a really short depth of field, but I wasn't all that pleased with the effect in these photos.  Overall though I had a great time playing out my fantasy of writing (and of course, photographing) my own cookbook.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Procrastinate Now!

So, I waited until pretty late tonight to take any photos, so my options were pretty limited.  I basically wandered the house with my camera looking for anything interesting.  The only thing that caught my eye at first was the texture on the top of an old milk stool.  But then I started working with my desk chair, and I actually started getting some interesting images.  It reminded me of being in art class and doing a "study" of an ordinary object, like a chair or a piece of clothe or anything at all.  The goal was not only to improve drawing skills, but also to find something interesting about something ordinary.  It that way shooting tonight reminded me the most of drawing.  Once the chair stop being a chair and started just being an collection of shapes and textures, light and shadow, the possibilities opened up.  I actually have a ton of usable photos from tonight, but just chose the few above to post.  Finally, procrastinating pays off!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I suppose the one redeeming thing about Winter is how pretty it can be.  We are having one of those classic Michigan lake effect snow days, with huge wet flakes falling steadily since about 7:30 this morning.  All the snow had melted recently, so today everything has been covered by a fresh, clean blanket of the cold stuff (what my dorky Grandpa used to call it,  he also called Hell the "hot place").  My fingers were totally frozen after about 2 minutes, but it was nice to be shooting outdoors again and Josie appreciated the chance to make snow angels and throw snowballs at me.  Why is it that kids never get cold?  I've got some cute pictures of her too, but there is obviously snot dripping from her nose in most of them, so I think I'll keep those to myself.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fun with Bubbles

Apparently you're never to old to appreciate the simple joy of blowing bubbles.  My husband, daughter (the very disheveled looking little girl pictured above) and I had blast doing taking these photos.  I finally told my husband that I had started this blog and my goal of one picture a day for a year, and of course my fears of being laughed and and told I would fail were completely irrational and he was happy to help me by being the bubble blower while I snapped away. 

I should have called this one "Fun with focus" because that was the challenge tonight!  Focusing on a bubble is much harder than you'd think.  Somehow without trying at all I seem to have devised little "lessons" for myself over the last few days.  I've been forced to practice a skill I don't use much or learn something new about my camera more than I would have expected after only five days.

By the way, in defensive of my daughters hair, we did this about 5 minutes before bath time, she doesn't always look like an orphan.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Okay, today was a total cheat, but at least I'm posting something!  The dress above is a wedding dress my mother bought for me that I didn't use (not because I didn't get married, but because I bought another dress).  It's been in my closet for almost 6 years now and I'm sick of looking at it, so I'm selling it on ebay.  So that is the very boring reason I am posting this very boring image today. 

I was working today on putting watermarks on some of my better photos from several different outdoor shoots from this fall because I'm planning to start trying to sell prints on Etsy.  Just because I'm a little embarrassed of how unimpressive the few photos I've posted on this blog, below are a couple examples of those.  Looking through all these made me remember how much I enjoy "nature photography".  I think I need to get out and try some winter landscape/nature subjects.

The Ant's Flagpole

Pink Flower

Yellow Leaf

Monday, January 3, 2011


I'm thinking of calling this one "Competition".  I'm not yet sure if I think that is clever or just dumb.  I tend not to be very creative when it comes to giving titles; the file name for this image is just "Tree and power lines".  Which, actually, to be technical, the branches in the foreground are not a tree, but a Rose of Sharon bush not more than 4 feet tall. 

I'm torn about posting this one at all, but I know I probably won't have any more time to take photos today and this is what I was able to get this morning before my daughter woke up.  I'm not sure I really like this image, but I think for me just sticking to this project is going to be more important that producing an image that I absolutely love every day.  And, even though I only spent about five minutes taking this I had to switch lenses and use the manual focus to get it the way I wanted it, so at least getting to work on my skills a bit.

I really want to do some portraits, I think I need to start thinking about finding some people willing to model for me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Adventures in Still Life

So this morning I got to try another type of photography yet unexplored:  still life.  I have already told myself that I don't want to fall into taking this type of photo most days just because it is "easy" (again, I was wrong about that), but since I haven't tried it before, it is about 20 degrees outside and I'm still in my pj's I thought it would be a good option.  Definitely not as easy as I thought it was going to be.  I had these keys in mind from the beginning; I bought them at an antique mall near me a couple of months ago just because I thought they were cool (and cheap!) but haven't had a use for them yet.  I tried several uninspiring shots with just the keys and realized I needed something more.  Nothing felt right until on a whim I grabbed a whisk from the kitchen and then finally it started to feel right.  In the end it was actually kind of hard to choose just one photo.  There were some others that were real contenders, that put more of a focus on the shadows from the whisk (by the way, I was not using a flash, just the morning light coming through an east facing window), but I chose this one.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

This is me.  Meg.  I won't go in to too much about myself at the moment because that is not the reason I started this blog.  I am a photographer (or at least I'd like to be) and in order to improve myself as such I decided to put a little pressure on myself.  The mission:  take at least one photo every day for a year.  It sounds a little crazy now that I am actually seeing it in writing, but I've become a bit of an underachiever and I feel I could use a kick in the ass from myself (hmm, strange image). 

I thought today that a self portrait would be an appropriate and easy way to start this project.  I was wrong about the easy.  I don't consider myself very photogenic, and I'm pretty uncomfortable getting my picture taken, so after you combine those factors with the technical challenge of shooting indoors on a cloudy day this was actually pretty challenging.  But that's good, that's what I want.  I hope that this project challenges me to think differently about the images and subjects I attempt to capture.  I truly have no idea what I am going to find to photograph every day, but I'm learning that creativity comes from limits and challenges (it certainly doesn't come from sitting on your ass everyday just thinking about all the things you'd like to do, I know that from experience).

So here we go.  I'm not much of a writer, so I may not say much at times, but I'll try to provide a little commentary.  Happy New Year.