Tag Archives: 2015

Photo Blog Challenge Wrap Up

January 2015 – 30 Day Photo Blog Challenge Wrap Up

So it is now going on into the early morning hours of February 1st and I am contemplating the grand finale for this challenge. I found that trying to focus on my own work allowed me a chance to express a little bit of suppressed creativity. I love my words. I love my camera. And to combine them into compositions in answer to the prompts in whatever manner happened was worth the time invested. I found as I went along, the challenge was something that I love do anyway – I am always watching for that perfect shot, that one time chance, that image that evokes a feeling and can be related by words, as well. Although this is a “wrap up” there will be no real end to this for me as it is as natural and as inevitable as sun rise. There are a few prompts on the list that I will admit to passing over, either because they deluded me in attempt or they didn’t spark an interest. Prompts are like that – they either “speak” to you or they are silent. I like to think that I can respond to anything, and I guess I can if I don’t really care what I “say” – however, I enjoyed the posts that happened when least expected. It’s like the moments in life that you either catch on “film” or you commit to eternal memory. So I always look up to the sky for inspiration and light or down to the ground for that unusual shadow or circumstance. I think as I go and realize an offering when it is handed to me. Like spaghetti falling onto the counter, tempting a game of pickup sticks. Synchronicity at work is the greatest compliment to my creative impulse.

Day 26 – Close Up Blog - Jan 26 - image close up>>> The rocks lie below and if you don’t pay attention to them, take a look next time. What do you see? Perhaps, it is just a haphazard arrangement of sizes and colors with no apparent pattern? Do you question the missing spots and wonder if you’ve “left no stone unturned” in your evaluation? Or is it just there, tempting those who might glance down to see something in what is apparently nothing more than a rock gravel parking lot… Interpretation is, after all, up to you and your muse.

Day 25 – Strangers >>> have nothing of note for this prompt so I pass on this one. I have mentioned before that I am not a portrait photographer and think less of imposing upon others around me. I am okay with people watching in order to study habits and characteristics for my writing, but taking pictures of people without their permission would be just creepy. That would be how you would interpret this as “strangers” the noun. Pass.

Horses

Day 24 – Animal >>> Well we all know where this might go given the opportunity… which happened to present itself on a recent drive. Horses will always warrant a stop along the road. It brings back April memories of seeking the wild horses that run west of Sundre.

But, if I keep close to home, the little pest that is poking at my leg to pet him is always around even though he might not be the most willing photo participant at times. He is quick and takes to looking away just as you click the pic. I am going to wrap up Day 20 – In My Bag – by saying that if I had it open on the floor like this box, I can tell you I would have a cat in the bag right quick. So, although I did not really fulfill the Day 20 prompt as best as I think I could, it is another one that gets a pass. So here’s my animal… Squishy in a box ready to ship off. Any takers?Squish

That only leaves Day 21 – Faceless Self Portrait and Day 30 Self Portrait… really nothing has changed enough from Day 1 to insert any other self-portrait here. I embrace creativity, yet have specific things I stay away from – particularly me in a photo. The Day 1 photo was one of those – ah ha moments – it was there on a day out to Elk Island Park and was something to recognize in the moment. It spoke to the challenge and to me and to what I would attempt to accomplish. It really addressed Day 21 as well because with that camera up in front you are, in essence, faceless. What I am going to finish up with, however, is my beautiful Sunshine – it usually makes it into all my photo days because without it I wouldn’t be traipsing all over snow-covered back country roads. The truck is a blessing and has helped to fulfill many adventures already. Memories that will stay with me forever; and isn’t that what life’s all about. This challenge has given me some great opportunity to share, to explore, to create… and for that I am truly thankful.

Sunshine makes winter tolerable

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Too soon for a Celebration…

I am posting this in celebration of my attempt to complete this 30-day challenge – how’s that for stretching it! But, really, I do celebrate “sunshine” in many ways and pay tribute to the sun and its many creative aspects. I used it to silhouette, highlight, shadow, brighten, distort, cause to shine… and on and on…

Day 27 of the Challenge = Celebration 

Blog - Jan 27 - image celebration

You just have to click on the pic to see it in a bigger size 🙂

Oh, yes… and the day is what you make it, but so is sundown.

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Taking it to Day 19… Blog-Photo Challenge

Day 15 - 19 collage blog image 1I am standing in a valley surrounded by large hills and rocks and precipices that tower above, stretching into the darkening evening sky. As the sky changes from brilliant yellow and red and pink, finally fading to indigo, the silhouettes become almost eerie as I continue to take note of my immediate path with a cautious eye to the journey ahead. Even in the darkness there is light and it is a good habit to always try to look for the positive in any situation. I feel overwhelmed, a minute speck in a desert of sand… part of the bigger picture yet so insignificant on my own. I cannot call out – the row of wind turbine sentinels drowns out my voice, and even with all the advances in technology, there is no reception in that low-lying spot. Besides, who would I call to come into my deepest fears with me? I attempt to reason why I find myself alone here staring up into the astronomical abyss…

 Day 15 - 19 collage blog image 2

At times, this is how I feel when it comes to dealing with everything that goes on around me. My desire is to just write and create and yet when I get Day 15 - 19 collage blog image 5stuck in this valley it is hard to focus on my own words. By taking on too much, I make things so complicated that it’s hard at times for me to fill my own shoes.

So I withdraw and I hide. The confusion manifests itself as physical pain and then the climb out is even more difficult – it’s not only mentally and emotionally taxing, it is physically exhausting.

 

Day 15 - 19 collage blog image 3

The golden dream in the dark valley is the reason I push myself. There is something I want and only by working toward it, never giving up, and always dreaming… do I stand a chance of achieving it. I seek it. I reach for it and use it for leverage when I need a hand. Don’t ask what it is because it is hard to pinpoint exactly – it could be happiness, it could be leadership, it could be my passion, it could even be love. It’s not a thing – it’s a state of being.

Day 15 - 19 collage blog image 4

 

The day is what you make it – in a valley or on a peak… dream it. Do it. 

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Eye … Cannot Live Without – Photo Blog Challenge

 

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Eye Blog image January 14

Blog Challenge – Day 13 Cannot Live Without and Day 14 Eyes

This blog is not going to be long and involved

Thinking through options my challenge is solved

I went through the list of things that I love

I thought of all people near, far, and above

There was coffee, chocolate, and all comfort food

Wine, sunset, and roses to set romantic mood

There will always be words and writing no end

Sunshine, spring, and horses – no need to pretend

But imagine a world where you cannot see

Where things are to imagine what they might be

So when I thought about all without I cannot live

I am blessed for my eyes and the insight they give

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Challenge – Day 11 and Day 12 – Creative License

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 11 and 12 – Something Blue and Sunset

Day 11 and 12 Blog image - Blue and Sunset

The sky was the hue of winter Alberta blue…
If we are fortunate enough during the winter in Alberta, we have many of these days where the sky is crisp, clear, and blue – when sunshine is always a welcome addition, and a highway drive is warranted on a weekend afternoon. By contrast, I shot some pictures on January 1st at Elk Island Park and you will notice the grey winter day where sky and horizon blend where air and ground meet. The kind of day that dawned bright on Sunday was opportunity to obtain clear shots of the Alberta blue skies to fulfill that day’s challenge. The vantage point shifted from the apartment catching one of 3 jet contrails tracking across the sky in a short time span, to the countryside as the sun made its way beyond the day, and back again, to capture similar shots the next evening. The amazing properties of working with light are the shadows cast and the deep blue of snow in the sheltered areas; it’s the background it provides to many objects silhouetted; it’s the variance of color that reflects on sky, trees, snow, and other objects. Something blue… The thing about winter afternoons in early January is that no matter how bright they are they begin to fade by 4:30 with dusk bringing its own lingering beauty to the countryside.

To close out any day, the sky is my view and it paints magnificent scenery for me to appreciate from my 4th floor apartment. This vantage gives me a clear shot of the sky and its many colors as I witness many a sunset. Combining the prompts made sense but would have certainly created a huge challenge had the sky been overcast and grey, or if it had been white with snow. Treasures along our sightseeing journey:

  • Jets with contrails streaking across a clear blue sky always remind me of my mother and I feel her watching with me, commenting on their intrusion.
  • Horses pawing the snow-covered field searching for frozen shoots.
  • A companionable silence while driving a snow-covered country road.
  • Millions of stars in a dark velvet sky.
  • Using GPS and a little bit of intuition to connect with the right secondary road.
  • Arriving home with a loved one after a memorable day.

The day is what you make it… so, remember to always appreciate the little things along the way.

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Challenge – Day 10 on 11 – I will catch up…

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 10 – Childhood Memory

Typically, this is not a place I venture unless invited by something that spurs a memory. I have pleasant and memorable times stored inside to do with my childhood. But what would I take a photo of today? The thought of this challenge sparked many ideas and ‘what ifs’ throughout the day. I was on an early trek with a friend and stopped on my way home to review the prompt for the day so it would be in my mind as I drove home – perhaps, something would come up that would suit the assignment. I thought of a lot of things.

As I drove through the country, where it was quiet, I thought about coyotes. Today was the ignorant and cruel coyote hunt and I just happened to be driving in the county where this would be happening. I am not a fan of hunting – sport hunting or food hunting when unnecessary. The Alberta market produces plenty of food for us and by buying it we support the market. I understand hunting for necessity and if I were living in the back woods I may concede…. maybe…. Then again, I could be a vegetarian, too. The sport of killing off as many of anything as you can turns my stomach. I thought of coyotes and thought of my on farm experiences. Now as most of you know, I was born in Edmonton and, by rights, am a city girl with a country heart. I remembered with a smile the time I squealed at my mom to roll up the truck windows because there was a coyote in the field…. way … over… there… Needless to say, no coyote ever threatened us in an enclosed vehicle, and none came out to humor me with their picture.

I talked with my dad today, too, and the conversation involved cousins. I don’t really know my cousins and mostly hold the feeling that just because we are related, it doesn’t mean we have to be friends. The talk wasn’t about anything to do with childhood memories, specifically, but related wholly to memories as it involved the passing of my dear mother and the thoughtlessness of sharing information among st family members. Again, it was something that just happened – how was I to take a picture of that?

As a family, we don’t have a childhood home that I could drive by. I don’t have a doll or teddy bear or other memorabilia that I packed around with me all these years. In fact, most memories just stay in the treasure trove safe and sound. It was coming down to a find “another archive” moment, or “just make an excuse moment.” Then it happened.

I was making supper – spaghetti and sauce with meatballs. Ray was on his way over. I put the desired amount of pasta in the large pan to boil and tucked the rest of the package back into the cupboard. I was not diligent in replacing it flat or with the closed side to the back. As I let the package go, the spaghetti noodles started sliding out onto the counter, spread haphazardly in front of me. Despite my yelling “stop it” they continued to pour out (stupid noodles). There they were in front of me and there was my answer. I just shook my head and laughed at the absurdity.

Day 10 challenge - pick up sticks 2 Day 10 challenge - pick up sticks 1

If you never played Pick Up Sticks as a child, I believe the game is still around. If you cannot find it, just make do with some renegade pasta. The day is what you make it, despite being waylaid, delayed, off course, and late…

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Day 9 late, but here :)

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 9 – Someone You Love 

Day 10 - photo challenge - Someone You Love

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January 6, 2015 – 30 day Photo / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 6>> Obsession

Day 6 Blog image Obsession

I have a confession – I have an obsession … or perhaps even two, or three…

Thesaurus: mania, fascination, fixation, passion, preoccupation…

The definition of obsession in one dictionary indicates that it’s “a state in which someone thinks about someone or something constantly or frequently especially in a way that is not normal” or “it is the object of that attention, as in, an obsession.”

Other variations in defining this term take it to the lesser extreme of “an activity that someone is very interested in or spends a lot of time doing” to a full definition claiming “a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling.”

If I considered the things that are my obsessions, I would not describe them as “disturbing” or “unreasonable” but I guess that could be the case, depending upon what your obsession is. When a writer talks about being obsessed with words, it is because there is the realization that words are a deep part of who we are and what we need to do. It is a passion. A visual artist could be obsessed with the effects of their work and manipulating their work to present something totally different and original. I like using the special effects on my phone or on my computer programs to change the photos I take – sometimes. Most times I choose not to manipulate images, preferring to catch the picture in the moment. Other “obsessions” for me are ones recognized by others, such as the lovely Shakespeare mug, a horse calendar, and horse pocket watch – all received recently from dear friends. Thank you for accepting me and my obsessions – it is what makes me, “me.”

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January 2, 2015 – 30 day Photo / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge   

Day 2 >> What You Wore

It is amazing the places the mind goes…

I guess that is the purpose of a prompt – to take you places you might not have gone on your own. To inspire new insight, to remind, to force creative outlook, to spark imagination, to create consternation and wonderment… I really love the idea of the list created by someone to whom I have no connection. The randomness of the challenges will allow me to go beyond the usual and will most likely ignite a whole new perspective for 2015.

What you wore… it could mean so many things and to each person a different meaning. It also produces different effects depending upon the context of the statement. Point of view is a major concept in writing. Is the list speaking TO me? Or, am I reading it as if I am speaking of YOU, someone other than myself? It provided much food for thought over the course of the day and even though I am not going to get all uptight about “what am I going to write” … it did give me ideas as my mind ran the gamut of memories, but what could I take a picture of for the challenge? Depending on when… what I wore varied:

  • yellow knit bonnet and booties on the ride home – April 1957
  • pink leather lace up walking shoes when just a year and a half – 1958 (I still have these)
  • leg-warming leg-covering colored tights in elementary – 1963
  • orange fish net stockings and brown fake leather mini in junior high – 1969
  • white tennis dress in high school – 1972 (I still have this)
  • matchy matchy ski outfit on the mountain slopes in my 20s
  • Satin wedding dress for marriage #1 – 1984
  • Satin western outfit for marriage #2 – 1990 (I still have this… somewhere…)

So you see my dilemma. Of course, if we turn the phrase around and point it at YOU, well then the concept of YOU depends, too, on who YOU are. If I base it solely upon one aspect, again it depends on who YOU are:

  • A black leather jacket
  • A grey suit
  • A western hat and boots
  • A shirt and tie
  • A t-shirt and jeans…

Day 2 - 30 day challenge What You WoreJanuary 2nd continued on with the momentum of winter as the snow fell overnight and well into the day. Eventually the sun broke through and it looked inviting even though cool upon embrace. I ventured out to clear the snow from Sunshine and plowed out onto the Sherwood Park streets. Nothing keeps us home anymore – there is never too much snow or too little traction to keep the determined from outside action. You could tell the weather was colder with the sun’s rays reflecting “sun dogs” in the ice crystal laden air. Traffic was heavy, but it always is on a Friday afternoon. I wore my down filled jacket, warm winter boots, and ensured I had my new gloves and sunglasses with me. I was ready to make the day mine.

I recall lying in bed this morning thinking of the waning vacation days and decided coffee was in order so I didn’t sleep away my time off. My thoughts immediately go to all the things I didn’t do instead of thinking of what I did achieve and the memories I acquired over the holidays. It is just natural to think of it that way – I must get into the habit of doing otherwise.

Life is what you make it.

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