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This morning I spoke at a MOPs meeting about how to take better pictures.  Funny, it seems lately I’ve been working a lot on that myself.  How to make a better composition, find better light, be more present in our everyday and document it.  I was excited to talk about something I love so much, but not excited about getting up in front of a room full of people to speak.  It’s just really not my thing.  Never really has been.  This time though, was a little different.

At the beginning of each year as everyone is setting resolutions I have found myself instead setting goals.  I’m not a resolution person, I’ve tried.  I always fall short and end up frustrated.  What I’ve learned is that I am a slow work in progress.  Setting goals seems, for me, to be a better method to chip away at becoming the person I want to become.  I don’t write them down or anything official.  I just make them in my head, say a prayer for guidance and set off on my way.

So, this year one of my goals was to push myself to get a bit out of my comfort zone.  To do a few things I dread (like speaking in front of a large group) so that just maybe I might grow a little and learn a bit along the way.

As I was standing up there this morning so nervous, these thoughts ran through my head,  “Here you are. This is what you came up with as a resolution, this is what you prayed about and here you are.  Just do it.”  And you know what?  I did.  And it wasn’t so bad.  After the initial shock of being handed the microphone (yikes! a microphone?) and swallowing the lump in my throat I was ok.  I might go so far as to say it was even a little fun.

There’s a lot of 2011 left.  In just the first 2 weeks I have started a personal blog and spoke in front of a large group.  It’s a good start for a girl that has been pretty comfortable in her own little box.  Stepping out hasn’t been too bad.  Not too bad at all…

alison

From the last two days of Picture Winter…

Picture Winter Day 6: Cracked Open

“let’s celebrate the cracks today and capture them in photos”  -Tracey Clark

Picture Winter Day 7: Quiet Beauty

We were supposed to capture winter’s beauty outside today.  Well, if you live here (Nebraska) you know that 40 mph winds and cold doesn’t offer up much beauty.  So I looked to my house instead.  This is a picture from our kitchen.  It is the hub of activity in our home, except in the afternoon.  With the big boys at school and the little one napping it is quiet.  The light coming in the back door, from the gray winter sky, was beautiful.

Have a good weekend!

Day 4 Picture Winter

Today we were to find a little sunshine in the world around us…and not necessarily the kind that shines in the sky.  With winter, at times, being a gray and gloomy season we were encouraged to look to our surroundings for signs of sunshine and the colors we associate with it.

I had a few ideas, but it wasn’t til I was going through some art supplies that I stumbled upon a bit of sunshine hidden in my dark storeroom.

These are acrylic paints given to me by my mom a few years ago.  I used to love to paint with them, but with the busy-ness of life they don’t get used as often as they used to.

One of things I love most about these photography assignments is that it makes me look at things differently.  Not just looking for something to fulfill the assignment, but really looking at all I see.  When I do find something, I want to photograph it from several different perspectives, look at it from all sides, see the way the light hits it at different angles.  I’m always surprised at what can happen when I look just a little longer and just a little closer.

alison

Our prompt for today in Picture Winter from Tracey Clark…

“Promise and possibility might be intangibles, but you know that feeling when you see something that fils your heart brimming.  Be on the lookout today for something that speaks of promise or possibility–something hopeful, touching, soul stirring.  Something that reminds you that anything is possible and we have everything to hope for.”

This is a shot of a eucalyptus branch on my kitchen window sill.  I was at Whole Foods this morning and once again found myself in the floral area of the store.  I can’t help it.  I am a sucker for flowers.  Whenever I go to the farmer’s market I end up coming home with my treasure bags of produce and a lovely little bouquet for the kitchen table.  Having flowers in the house is something I love.  It feels comforting to me…not sure why.  I especially love it in the winter.  When the view outside my window has turned to the color of a b&w photograph it feels good to have some color inside.  Something that is alive.  It is a reminder of the season of green that will come after this season of gray.  A reminder of the possibilities to come.

alison

So today is day 2 of Picture Winter.  Our email prompt today was to head outside and find some inspiration and a little fresh air.  I’m all for fresh air AND inspiration, but it has been so cold here lately that the only thing that has felt inspiring is my quilt, kindle and a cup of tea.

Still Henry and I headed out anyway.  We took a short walk and I really wasn’t feeling it. What I was feeling was cold.  I’m not one to push myself to feel ‘inspired’.  I’ve tried it too many times to know that the only thing I end up with is a memory card full of disappointment.

So we headed back inside.  As we were stomping off our shoes I looked down…

Turns out inspiration was walking with me all along.

alison

**It’s not too late to sign up for Picture Winter with Tracey Clark.  I just completed Picture Holiday and LOVED it!

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