Archive for the 'Visual Media' Category


It was gorgeous out today, and I had the camera out. I totally should have snapped some pictures of the garden, and posted a little update. Perhaps tomorrow (even though it’s supposed to rain).

Instead, I took pictures of haybales. Round haybales, to be precise.

A normal person might ask me “why?” Why indeed.  Well, it’s a long story. Let me shorten it.

My mother asked for one thing for Christmas. A picture of a haybale, preferably black and white, to go above the fireplace.  The catch(es)? I had to take the picture, and it had to be a round haybale.  I’ll cut the drama and just tell you than I failed miserably.  My mother was not thrilled.

Tomorrow is her birthday.  51. I was not home for 50. I think I may have failed pretty miserably at whatever gift I gave her for 50. So I spent my afternoon searching out round haybales. I found them.  The results are below.

My question for you, then, dear readers (of which I think I can count on three. You know who you are.) is: Which photo should I get printed, all nice and professional-like at Foto-One, for my mother’s birthday? Keep in mind these things: 1) she will mat it and frame it so that it is square, 2) it will go above a stone fireplace mantel, 3) the frame will be wide and black (she and I have similar aesthetic senses when it comes to framing), and 4) she requested black and white (but i kinda like the tri-color one). Respond in the comments section, plz.

Oh, I’ve been digging the Flash-Animation Gallery builder on Lightroom lately, ever since I re-did my portfolio for a grant. Hence, the Flash-Animation gallery of the haybales.  When voting, plz use their number (i.e. 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4). Thx!!!

Also note: if you’re typing in the following URL, it’s case-sensitive.


Cat on Books


Winter Break Recap… in Pictures

What a fabulous 3-week break!

First, E. and her adorable puppy, Renly, visited.  The cats were not thrilled, but they recovered. A little excitement is good for them.


We (E. and me, not Renly, though he supervised) made delicious food, including this Moroccan Chickpea and Kale soup with leeks braised in lemon juice and chicken broth.


Then I went home and visited the family (see previous two posts). And then it was back to Ann Arbor for New Year’s!  D. came for a visit, and we made some creative pizza for our New Year’s Eve dinner (while puppy-sitting Renly 🙂 ).


The pizza in the back has a caramelized squash and onion sauce, and the one in the front has my marinara sauce thickened a bit with tomato paste. Both are topped with sauteed kale, chicken sausage, parmesan and goat cheeses.



(yeah, okay, they’re not champagne glasses. whatever.)

After starting New Year’s day off with some fluffy whole wheat pancakes and peach butter (sorry, no pic), we went right in to lunch preparations.

According to D. (and other people too) it’s good luck to eat black-eyed peas, collards, and pork on New Year’s Day. He fixed a variation of Hoppin’ John and sauteéd up some heritage pork sausage to have with our collard greens.  We threw in some comfort food (mashed potatos) and leftovers (pizza!) for good measure.


I’m pretty sure we spent most of the remaining week cooking and hiking, but it went by in quite a blur. Of course, despite having cameras in tow, we took a total of about three pictures.

This sweet potato, caramelized onion, spinach, and goat cheese frittata was pretty durn good though, and I got a picture!


Sadly unphotographed: broccoli soup; roasted chicken and veg; homemade buckwheat pasta and homemade bolognese sauce; chocolate cheesecake; chicken- tomato soup. Like I said, a fabulous break 🙂

Now it’s back to reality.

Olson House

Our field trip yesterday was to Olson House. Below are the pics I chose for critique in class:

Nature as graphic design…?

We had our second field trip today, this time to a nearby beach.  Our assignment was to think about what emotion(s) we were feeling and create a photograph that represented those feelings.  Then we had to consider what the opposite feeling might be, and create an image that represented that.  We submitted two pairs of images each for critique this evening.  Below are my two pairs (unfortunately I can’t get them to display as pairs, and lack the energy to tweak around with WordPress tonight 😛 ):

I think it’s safe to say that my tastes (at least, for today) tend more towards the “graphic” side of things… I like geometric shapes and “suggestions” of people, places, or things, if you will. Not always true, but it’s what I was feeling today (and Monday, for that matter).

1. Open Mouth, 2. Insert Foot

I take back a large portion of what I said yesterday. Also, I must plead that most of my irritability was due not to the class, but to other events. Gr. Anyway…

Today, we learned how to use Adobe Lightroom, a photo-editing program. I have been using a similar program called Aperture (by Apple) for about a year and a half, and am finally feeling like I have the hang of it.

In half a day today, we learned how to do everything I know how to do in Aperture, in Lightroom. And then some, because Lightroom is a much more powerful program than Aperture. Add to that it’s streamlined workflow and total transparency in regards to exactly what it does to your files, and I am one happy girl. Plus, there are books written about it! There are no instructional books (that I have found) written about Aperture.

I finished editing my photos from yesterday and find the new versions preferable to the ones I posted last night. However, they are on the lab computer, not my laptop, and I was not going to waste precious lab time by uploading them to a website 😉

Then I imported my portfolio from Aperture, only to find that (despite shooting in RAW format) Aperture had ever-so-conveniently compressed all of my Master files into JPEGs. Gr. I’m sure that if I had a better grasp on Aperture I could have prevented that. But now I know how to prevent that from happening in Lightroom. Hooray!

I re-edited many of my portfolio photos, and am pretty thrilled with how they turned out. I plan to organize , file, and catalog them in Lightroom (and then import the rest of my library… slowly).

Tomorrow we are going to a beach a little south of here for our second field trip. Our instructor has promised that the assignment will push us “beyond” yesterday’s assignment. Hooray!

Guess what program I will be investing in when I get home? Yeah. Lightroom.

For now, I am going to watch Senator Clinton speak at the DNC. I wish they would cut the drama (do we really need to know her pants suit- selection process??), but it makes for good television.


I tried to come up with some clever pun/ play on words involving “Maine,” as so many poetic-comedic business owners do around here. But I have failed.

Maybe later in the week.

So I’m in Rockport, Maine. I am here for the purpose of learning about digital photography. See, everything I know about digital cameras (and taking pictures with them) I either picked up from my old roommate or taught myself. I think I have a pretty good handle on things, but I wanted to solidify the foundations a bit.

Today was day one.  We went over aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, auto focus. The basics.

Honestly… I hope we pick up the pace a little. I’m pretty frustrated. The battery on my camera died almost as soon as the class started, but it didn’t really matter because I already knew how to fiddle with all of the things we went over. That’s pretty much all I do– fiddle with those things.

I was hoping to learn some new techniques, gain a little direction, get an honest critique of the work I already have, and definitely gain some organizational skills. How the hell do I *store* the 5,000 photos I have on my hard drive right now?? Some tips and tricks for that would be super helpful.

I want to stretch myself! I want someone to look at my photos with a trained eye and say “look, you’re being trite/ gimmicky/ lazy/ etc.” I want someone to give me assignments that are unusual and challenging and force me out of my comfort zone. Something that I couldn’t come up with on my own to do.

So far… not so much. I spent the “field trip” today doing what I always do with the camera: playing. I finished the “assignment” (one shallow depth of field, one deep depth of field, one stop motion, one in-motion, a variety of ISOs) and didn’t really get a whole lot out of it.

Here are the photos that I liked from today… most of them are *not* the ones that I took for the assignment:

Tomorrow morning we are learning how to do essentially what I just did by first editing and then publishing these photos here.

What do I do?? There aren’t any other photo workshops this week, so I can’t really switch. I’m here, right? Should I suck it up and get what I can out of it? Apparently they have a “no questions asked” policy if you’re unsatisfied for some reason. Perhaps I should talk to the instructor first, but I’m a little intimidated. He’s only two years older than I am! It would be easier if he were some middle-aged dude, I think.

I should stop whining. Other than already knowing how to do what we’ve just “learned,” I’m in a beautiful place and get to take pictures all week. Hooray…! I just wish I were getting a bit more out of it.