In a file on my phone lies dormant ideas full of descriptions, just waiting to see their light into the world. And yet, it’s been a  long time since I had fun with my conceptual photography.

Not that I have lost my passion, no, far from it. My husband Paul and I embarked on a new business journey a year ago. Although it took us a while to settle in, we’ve finally figured out who does what–and not surprisingly, one of my responsibilities is garnering the photos for our blog,

At first, I photographed everything myself. Truthfully, if I didn’t have other–you know, life–responsibilities, I would continue to arrange and explore and photograph to my heart’s content.

It is through photography that I lose my sense of time, and through Photoshop. Paul sometimes texts me from bed to tell me it’s late. “I know,” is the reply, “I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

And the few minutes turns into several more hours when suddenly my eyes can’t focus on the screen, it’s 2 AM, and I have to get the kids up at 6:15.

Photography to me is a pure peace –like I’m in a bubble wrapped up with no one else around. Time dissolves, worries disappear, and it’s me, the camera, my subject, and ideas.

Some things work, and some don’t. Several of my composites have languished in boredom from themselves. One’s just dumb. Another isn’t quite right. I’ll never get rid of them but visit them from time to time to see if there’s any hope of resurrection.

The dumb one, no. But it means something to me–it’s a composite of myself not literally juggling

(BTW: it make me CRAZY to hear people say, “It was literally the most amazing cake/food/moment ever.” No, it wasn’t. It was figuratively perhaps the best thing ever. Rant over.)

but of my struggle with learning, reading, Photoshopping, etc. The other is an element that’s not quite right. The rest of it is the bomb-diggity (not literally), but I’ll dust it off when there’s a little more time.

Last month, I got to drive a few hours up to Zanesville, OH to photograph the butchering of family raised pigs. That was fascinating. Thank goodness I’ve done (human) cadaver studies for massage school, or I may have upchucked. And there are a few weddings to photograph in the next month.

A couple of weeks ago, a Meetup group to which I belong invited its members to “self-assignment” projects to improve our game. We were assigned, thus far:

  • week 1: selfie
  • week 2: something red
  • week 3: landscape

Because it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, I immediately RSVP with a “yes”.

Week 1: the selfie. I needed to do something different than everyone else would do, so I donned our 14-year old’s rabbit hat (it looks like it belongs in Siberia) for a little texture and played around outside with it.

Frankly, I was too lazy  busy to get out the tripod and self-timer, so I plopped on a short lens and explored.

This is not my favorite photo of myself. I’m not sure I really like it, even. My eyelid’s sinking (it’s always worse in the morning) and the deep furrows between my brows are not pleasing either, but I figured I may as well be a character since I’m not a supermodel.

Although I didn’t fix those 2 things post production (“PP” as the nerds would say), I did add make-up. Not so much that I really look like I belong in a “what not to do” photo of a magazine, but enough that I wasn’t totally embarrassed by how I look.

On to week 2: Red.

The tomato (at the top) was the 1st thing that worked out. I had been eating fruit salad when I red what the challenge it was, so I picked all of the non-red fruit out, ate it, and placed it in a pretty clear bowl.

Unfortunately, fruit really only looks good when fresh, and this was not, so I ate that and pulled whole strawberries out of the fridge. Their greenery left a lot to be desired, and I decided that I’m not cut out to be a food stylist yet.  But the tomato was only a little squishy, so we went outdoors where the light was lovely.

As it had rained recently, and droplets look nice on food, I rolled the tomato in the rain drops on top of the grill and played around with the DOF (depth of field).

“Tomato” does have a few minutes of PS (Photoshop)–I cloned out something light in the background and sprinkled a little PS fairy dust on it.

Next, Elmo. Lying on our basement floor, he looked like he wanted to come out and play. Actually, it looks like he lived outside for a while–at 15, he’s not in mint condition.

Elmo played on the swing–although he no doubt had fun, I didn’t get what I wanted, so we explored a tree a little. Which worked out great, until I realized after we were done shooting that his eyes weren’t in focus.

The eyes should always be in focus.

So we headed back outside, tried a couple of poses and called it a day. He’s had a little PS fairy dust too, but just a little.

Both the “red” photos were manual focus and manual settings.

The Meetup group honored me by using my tomato shot as the featured image. How fun is that?

The theme this week is landscape. Hmm. I’m not a landscape photographer by any stretch. But you know what? I’ll give it a go.

Because trying something new is what gives us a breath of fresh air and lets us know what we’re made of.