Tuesday, December 22, 2015


I sit here at my mom and step-dad's home in Austin, the house they moved into after they married in 1998, the year I graduated high school. Many of us kids lived in this house at some point (I stayed here for my last two years of college...this was the home I came back to after Zach proposed, and when I moved out it was to go with him to California). 

This house that is too big for the two people who now live here permanently, but at this time of year it bursts at the seams as we all congregate back home again. It is so full of stuff, too-- all the things we kids left behind when we moved out (my high school letter jacket sits in the downstairs closet, still). You can't turn around without seeing flashes of time framed on the walls-- photos of us all through the years. The family portraits we've taken at christmasses past. Aging photos from childhoods, awkward teenagedoms, weddings, barely-recognizable-now newborn photos. The shelves are choked with photo albums, you can pick any one of them up and be transported back in time. 

Many of my brother's things have now joined the fray, moved here from his apartment after he passed. Yesterday my boys played with his vintage Star Wars figurines, originals from the 70s and 80s I am sure, and I laughed in disbelief as I found a pristine-condition gameboy that had been his. 

Zach and I have moved more times than I can count, but through all that I've always had this homebase to come back to. This home where, despite the inescapable occasional family arguments and disagreements, I know I will always be welcome here, be loved and accepted, that my kids are cherished here. That we are supported, not criticized or questioned despite my unconventional parenting choices. 

I sometimes take all this for granted, because I have been lucky enough for this always to be Normal. I know that it isn't, or certainly isn't as common as it maybe should be. Sometimes I take all this in and feel overwhelmed with gratitude. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

just burn it all down

The world has got me down, you guys.

Every other day there are new headlines about some awful thing Donald Trump said, or that his followers did at a rally. At first I was just scared by the thought of him maybe having a chance at becoming our next president. Now I am terrified by his followers-- by the fact that he has said such clear horribly sexist, racist things, and yet they only seem to bolster his popularity. Audiences at his rallies seem to have no compunction about resorting to violence against people with whom they disagree. It is horrifying and chilling to know that there is enough support for this sort of behavior and these views, that someone like Trump is a leading potential candidate for our PRESIDENT. I want to say there's no real chance of him actually getting elected, but... I don't know anymore. I never expected him to get this far, either, or have this much support.

The other day I read a story online about a woman who, out of desperation, attempted to perform a self-abortion...and is now being charged for it. I thought Roe v. Wade had put the days of wire-hanger abortions behind us. But no. It appears the so-called "pro-life" movement is dead-set on returning us back to those days again, legislating away as many clinics as possible, and harassing and attacking anyone who dares enter the few remaining ones that dare stay open.

Or shooting them up. Which brings us to the rash of recent mass shootings, and the rampant gun violence in our country, which by the way mass shootings make up a small percentage of gun deaths in the US. Yet we refuse to do anything about this issue. We treat gun laws with a logic that is reserved only for this one issue, apparently. Because for most other things, we see the point in having reasonable restrictions. But guns? NOPE. ANY restrictions are worthless, right? because the "bad guys" won't follow them anyway. Not that we think that way when it comes to laws of the road or drug trafficking or anything else. We act like there's no possible way we could prevent these shootings, to reduce the violence rampant in our society, refusing to acknowledge that no other developed country experiences this level of violence, and hey maybe we should look at their gun laws and take some notes. 

Tonight I read about how the state of Ohio is proposing a bill that would require women who are undergoing an abortion or a miscarriage to designate wether their fetus would be buried or cremated, and possibly have to foot the bill for it. I shared the link on facebook, accompanied by a rant that was much less angry than I felt. What I really wanted to do was yell and scream FUCK YOU to those Ohio politicians. I'm normally able to let these things roll off my back, but for some reason this one just hit me, I guess it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I found myself fighting back tears as I paced around my kitchen trying to figure out what to make for dinner for my kids.

It felt like just another reminder that so many of the people in charge of running our country, of writing our laws, seem to despise my gender. It just weighs me down sometimes, to the point hat it's hard to breathe.

(and that's me, as a white woman in this world. I don't even have the additional bullshit people of color, women of color, immigrants, lgbtq people, etc, have to deal with)

I am so tired of people who use their so-called "morals" to pass laws that do nothing but make them feel better (nice view from up on your high horse?) while only causing pain and sorrow in others. The ludicrous attempts to pass hate and bigotry as some sort of "religious belief." It sucks, and I hate it, and I hate that I let it get to me, and I hate that I feel like there is so little I can do to change it.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


I published a new exposure story with photos I took on a nature walk while visiting the in-laws in New Mexico last month. See the full post over here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ink on the brain

The other day I stumbled upon a couple of articles about women with tattoos, and how for many women tattoos are a way to celebrate our bodies and empower ourselves. Despite the myths that women get tattoos because of low self-esteem, or as desperate cries for attention, or as a signal that we're "easy" (seriously?), studies are showing that there's actually a high positive correlation between tattoos and high self-confidence. That for most of us, our tattoos are powerful and make us feel even better about ourselves.
Women have been subjected to unattainable beauty standards for decades. Restrictive behaviors intended to modify women's bodies, like dieting and wearing corsets, have largely been part and parcel of the female experience. But tattoos turn this limiting standard of modification on its head by empowering women to determine how they modify their bodies.

"I've never loved my body," Carolina Gerlach, who works in the theater industry, told Mic. "That just seems like a foreign concept to me. My body has always felt like something I could never quite control. There was always a few more pounds to lose or an inch of skin I wished would go away."

Her decision to get a tattoo was partially because "I wanted my body to feel like my own," she said. "It was the first time I've ever felt a sense of control over how my body looked. It became a reminder of my strength and the journey I've been on with my body."
"We're pressured to look a certain way," feminist writer Melissa Fabello told Mic. While more women may be getting tattoos than ever before, "I'd argue that they're still not considered 'conventionally attractive.' And neither, I guess, would the many men who try to start conversations with me with 'I usually don't like tattoos on girls, but...'" 

Perhaps that's why so many women find tattoos empowering — they're not trying to be more attractive to others, but to celebrate and amplify their own beauty.

"It's not something the commercial beauty world prescribes for you; you choose the look for yourself," Mifflin said. (source)
I can definitely identify with the feeling of reclaiming my body as my own. My life over the past many years has been devoted to caring for others-- supporting my husband through his career, including many moves across state and international lines; managing our household; caring for our two boys. My body has spent years literally nourishing, through pregnancy and breastfeeding, my children. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, that those are negatives-- they are choices I have made freely, happily, that I continue to make every day. I could choose differently, if I wanted to.

I like my choices.

But they have meant that almost everything I do is in service of others, at least in part. Even outlets like blogging and photography are both for my own benefit, but also for others-- for family and friends who are far away to keep in touch, for doting grandparents and aunts to see their growing grandkids/nephews from afar, for my boys to have a record to look back on one day when they are old enough to be interested.

My stars tattoo is a family tattoo, a collective tattoo, and I love it for everything it represents. But my first tattoo is a tiny heart  on my wrist. It is a simple, generic heart. "Flash art," not exactly a sophisticated piece of art like so many tattoos are. And this may seem silly to some, but it is symbolic for me, liberating. I decided to get that tattoo, my first ever, after years of thinking it over and over. I went by myself. I got it for me, not caring what others might think. It is one of the few, rare moments when I have done something purely and entirely for myself and no one else. It's a powerful thing.

I want more tattoos. I have ideas floating around in my head (and in a board or two on pinterest). I don't know how many of them will become a reality. Zach has expressed his preference for me not to get more, and I am taking my time weighing my desire to respect his wishes versus how much new tattoos may matter to me... my need to do this thing just for me. My current tattoos just make me happy when I look at them... it's hard not to want to add more.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Batman, Steve, and Alex


I really like black & white photos, but tend not to edit them that way myself... I have such a hard time giving up rich, vibrant colors, and often only go to black & white if the colors are off in the original photo and I can't figure out a way to save it (or if it really does look much better in b&w, vs when it's more of a toss-up). I'm trying to experiment more, get a little more comfortable with greyscale.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

random thoughts 11.17.15

I recently was looking through our pictures from the year to find good ones for our christmas card and I was struck with two things:

1) I have tons of pictures of the boys, but almost none of them are the usual look-at-the-camera-and-smile kind. This always only bothers me at this time of year, when I want a good cute photo to put on a card to send out to people.

2) How few pictures I've taken of my boys using my big camera. The iphone rules all, I guess.

I'm feeling rather blah creatively-speaking, which is weird because it felt like just a few weeks ago I felt so energized and had all these great ideas. I keep going through these boom-and-bust cycles, feeling all inspired for a short while then do nothing for long stretches inbetween.

(...same with blogging...)

I'm also about 5 months behind on sorting photos on my computer. I usually kept a pretty steady 2-month lag, then recently I resolved to spend a few minutes every morning working on photography stuff and to stay more caught up and that lasted like 2-3 weeks before it all went to pot and now I'm worse than ever. To be fair, Quinn has also been stucktomelikeglue lately. like, even more so than normal. That makes it a bit tough to get other stuff done (that's my excuse).

In other news, I'm realizing that while I'm usually pretty immune to "fomo" (the fear of missing out) when it comes to myself, I get it kinda bad when it comes to my kids. Homeschooling means I'm fully responsible for what my kids do and learn, and I keep having to fight off feeling totally inadequate because they're not doing this or that or we didn't make it to this awesome event and there's 500 different awesome things going on every week. It tends to come in waves. I try to keep reminding myself of the cool things we do do, and focus on that.

Monday, October 26, 2015


One day I will come up with a clever unifying title for these posts....

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

(failed attempt at) a grand day out

Yesterday the boys and I went to look at the Greg Brown murals scattered around downtown Palo Alto. I had a walking tour map in hand, so our wanderings could be a bit less aimless. I had a whole plan for the day-- we would explore the paintings, go have pizza for lunch, then join in on our homeschool group's park day that afternoon.

Things did not go as I had planned (do they ever?). Suffice it to say, the boys were not of my same mind... or, I don't know. I think Quinn was enjoying our time, but wanted to do a lot more running around and street-time-wrestling with Donovan than either I nor Donovan were comfortable with, and I had a hard time keeping calm, which means eeeerrrrybody explodes (probably the most important and still hardest-to-implement parenting lesson I have learned-- if I can just manage to stay calm, everything goes about 1,000 times better. When I lose my shit, it all goes down the drain). I'm sure there were a few people yesterday who saw me yell at Quinn and went home to write facebook diatribes about how shitty parents and their out-of-control children are today.

Needless to say, I admitted defeat pretty early on in our outing, and we just went and got pizza (is that a "reward" for difficult behavior? Or is it just accepting that food often makes kids feel better? And that I also still didn't want to deal with making lunch once we got home?) and went home, because they also both insisted that they were not in the mood for going to the park.

The thing is, I have cute pictures that I took during the more pleasant moments of our morning walk, and I could easily post just those and make it look like we had this awesomefamilytime out together. And I don't want to get into the whole social-media-sucks-because-everyone-is-fake myth (it's not, but don't assume you know everything about someone from what they post...none of us work that way), but despite my best efforts I do sometimes get bogged down with looking at the cute pictures others post and thinking, "Wow, their family does so much cool stuff, why are we such losers?" But a) I know we aren't, and b) I remind myself that everyone else also has sibling squabbles and bad moments and all-around family-wide meltdowns from time to time.

Somewhat related, I was thinking the other day how part of the reason that parenting feels so intense and stressful in the early years is that it all feels so permanent. Parenting books and so-called experts don't help with this, as they are usually the loudest voices cautioning against setting up "bad habits" and making parents feel like if we "let" our kids do X, Y, or Z, they will never ever EVER outgrow that horrible habit/flaw and it will ALL BE OUR FAULT.

And the truth is, almost none of what we do is permanent. One benefit of growing older, and of watching your children growing older, is noticing the ebb and flow, the constant change and evolution of their selves. Your kid who could not sleep on his own, suddenly takes long naps in his own bed, or even sleeps all through the night. The kid who needed to be held 24/7, walks away from you contentedly. They depend on breastfeeding or bottles, until one day they don't. Everything that felt so crucial, so crushing, eventually melts away into the next phase of things. Some of those changes happened through our meddling, much of them are often just kids maturing and not needing the same things as they used to.

After 7 years of parenting, it's a little easier for me to step back and see the whole forrest instead of obsessing over the trees (I do like that saying/metaphor, don't I? Feels like I use it a lot), though I still need those reminders. I still worry about whether there are things I should be doing, should be paying attention to, that I am missing. But yeah it's a little easier to step back and remember all the other phases we've gone through, and recognize that the challenge I'm facing right now will likely also change in time.  And that's not to shirk my responsibilities as their parent, I still have lots of work to do in responding with kindness and respect as much as possible, but in many ways my job is to guide them and also just kind of get out of their way.

Friday, October 16, 2015

more photography musings

It's been nearly 8 years since we bought our first "real camera." In that time I've gotten fairly good at photography, and taken probably hundreds of thousands of pictures of my kids, my cats, lots of flowers, friends and family, etc. At some point, most people who gets half-decent at photography starts to wonder... "should I go pro?" It's a fair question, right? Who wouldn't want to make money out of something they already do for fun anyway?

A couple weeks ago an opportunity for a paid photoshoot fell into my lap. I've done shoots as favors to friends and family a couple times before, but this was the first real, honest-to-goodness paid work that was offered to me. The job was taking pictures at a local school, for an upcoming fundraising drive. It was a fairly ambitious project, two days of shooting for about 3 hours each (plus all the editing time afterwards). I was asked to name my price, so I spent a bunch of time researching what the market rate would be for such a job, and made a bid on the lower end of that scale. We talked on the phone about what kinds of photos they wanted me to shoot (while I tried to hush children tugging at my clothes), we set dates, I arranged for childcare for that time, and rented a fancy lens better suited for the kind of photography I would be trying to attempt.

I felt giddy at being asked to do this thing; excited to try a new challenge; irritated at how difficult it was to set up all the details while trying to wrangle my kids who always seem super needy right when I'm trying to get other shit done (I've always been in awe of people who work while also caring for their kids at home, and I felt that even more acutely that week); and as the first day approached, increasingly nervous about being able to deliver on what I had promised. I made note of all these emotions as they took over. The days of the shoots came and went. In the end I think I did a good job, though wish I'd done better. I felt relieved when I finished processing the last batch of photos and sent them off. I have yet to hear back from the school on whether they are satisfied with my photos, so I'm still feeling nervous about that.

The same week, one of my best friends asked me to take newborn photos of her niece. She offered to pay, but I turned her down. Partially because she's been such a great friend that I wanted to do this as a gift to her and her family. But also, because I noticed how nervous the paid shoot for the school had made me feel-- how it upped the ante, added pressure that turned the photography experience from a fun challenge to an obligation where I constantly felt like I wasn't doing good enough work to justify getting paid for it-- and I wanted this infant session to be fun, light, playful. I took the baby pictures on friday, and that session felt so much more relaxed. I wasn't nearly as nervous or stressed out.

I've been thinking all this over the past couple of weeks. Part of me does sometimes wonder about turning this hobby into a (part-time) career. Is the nervousness just a symptom of "impostor syndrome" or other insecurity? Am I just being lazy, to not want to do the work to push myself to the next level?  I don't know, maybe. I certainly see other "pro" work that I think is inferior to what I can do. But mainly, I think, it's that I have really high standards for what I consider pro-level work, and I don't want to have to hold myself to those standards. I think my photos sometimes meet them, but not consistently enough.

I also don't have a niche yet. A lot of photographers are generalists, spanning everything from weddings and events to family portraits to newborn sessions, etc-- each of which require very different approaches and sets of skills. And many people can do all of those things well, but there's something to be said for specializing and really becoming an expert at one kind of photography. The school and newborn shoots were both really interesting, and showed me how much I have to learn about how to photograph events and babies (and how very different they are).

(I also would have to start shooting in RAW and learn how to edit more heavily, which-- and I realize this is sacrilege in most photography circles-- I really just prefer shooting in JPEG. It's simpler, saves me time and space. I don't have a ton of extra time on my hands, and I'd rather not spend more than 30 seconds to a minute editing each image) 

So yeah, it's been a pretty interesting learning experience, on many levels. I wanted to write about it partially to keep all this fresh in my mind, and for future pondering. My creative spark tends to ebb and flow, and I'm sure all this will come up again later on down the road... and one day I'll be ready to think more seriously about seeking work-outside-the-home, in which case something related to photography could make loads of sense. But for now I like it better remaining something I do for fun, for myself, without obligations or deadlines. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

new lens- 85mm 1.8

Last week I bought a new lens-- canon's 85mm f/1.8, to round up my set of primes (I also have the canon 35mm f/2 and sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro). I tested it around our yard, and even got the boys to pose for me (well, Donovan at least. Quinn kinda just looked at me). These were all shot wide open because why would you ever not shoot wide open (says the bokeh addict). The one surprise with this lens is that the minimum focusing distance is kinda far-- you have to be nearly 3 feet away from whatever you're trying to focus on. Which for most things subjects isn't a problem because of the 85mm focal length, but I'm just used to being kinda right on top of my subject. But, this will be a nice lens to get closer-up pics of the boys without having to be right on top of them, since they're not as ok with that as they used to be.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

their toys, take 3

I would say I'm maybe having too much fun with these, but I don't think there is such a thing. Check out the rest over here. =)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

that "turning 35" post I kinda sorta promised

A few days ago I turned 35 years old. It feels like one of those big milestone numbers. Which I guess also feels apt to life right now.

The past year has been one of pretty intense introspection and growth. The past year(-ish, plus a few months) brought a lot of massive changes-- moving across the country, again, to a place that was both familiar yet still different and new; moving away from people who were some of the best friends I have ever had; my brother's death; beginning homeschooling, a venture that has been equal parts terrifying and exhilarating.

Some of these changes were ones we actively chose and had control over, some we did not. Either way, they meant a lot of emotional work. They meant getting to know a new neighborhood and city all over again, finding where all your new favorite local places will be. Trying to make new local friends. Helping my now-old-enough-to-really-feel-the-pain-of-moving kids with the Very Big feelings of loss they felt (particularly D) at leaving behind a beloved home and beloved friends. My first real experience with loss of a loved one. Talking with my kids about death, and facing up to my own mourning and regret over opportunities missed. Examining what I mean by family, who deserves my time and attention, and how to be intentional about making time for those who matter to me.

Homeschooling has led me to re-examining my views on parenting and the relationship between a parent and child, and my attitudes towards many rules/principles within our household. I feel even more firmly rooted in some of my values, and have completely changed my mind on a few others. That is one of the fascinating lessons in growing older, how I keep finding myself finding out about new things, and whole new worlds opening up as I expand my mind to consider new ideas I never would have before.

Zach has now been at his post-MBA job for just over a year, and we've been having many talks about his career and the future, which also include many questions about how we want to structure our life as a family-- what are our needs? What kind of a lifestyle do we want to strive for? What trade-offs are we willing to make?

And among all this, I have also been thinking about my goals. As my own person. About my roles and goals and desires as a Wife, as a Mother, as a Woman. And many of those work together, and many conflict, and how to deal with that? Thirty-five years into life, eleven years into marriage, seven years into parenthood, and these questions remain relevant because the answers continue to evolve and change as all of life does. I used to really shy away from setting anywhere near to concrete goals for myself because setting goals means having to actually start doing work towards them, which is really scary because what if you fail? Or find you just suck? But I'm finding myself feeling more comfortable with thinking about what I want for the future, and what of that I want to try to achieve sooner and what can wait till later. Some of this is smaller things, like taking time to read the books I want to read and watch the shows and movies I want to watch, without feeling guilt at "wasting" time on doing things simply *gasp* for pleasure. Some of it feels bigger, like maybe one day wanting to go back to school or pursuing more with photography.  It's a constant teeter-tottering trying to find that ever-shifting balance between my own needs and wants and those of my family, and how to find that balance, that compromise that feels satisfying without the risk of breeding resentment.

One big goal I have had for myself, and will continue to strive for always, probably, is to be mindful and intentional with my time and my choices. Coping with the shittier parts of life can be a little easier when you chose them as a trade-off for other things you wanted even more. And some things we don't have a choice over-- but even then, we often can make the choice to own the situation we are in, if that makes sense, and try to make it our own.

So it's been kind of a heavy year, and some of it has felt very sad and frustrating, and some of it has been amazing and wonderful.  I have been reminded many times over of what great people I have in my life, who love me and support me and there is no way to describe how incredible that feels. Lately I also have often marveled at how heartwarming and humbling it is to feel so intensely loved and needed by my children, in that way only your children can. Parents, especially we stay-at-home parents, often lament feeling like we have lost ourselves in caring for our children, and I struggle with that sometimes too, but in many ways I also feel the most like MYSELF now than I have ever before, certainly before I had kids. Or, well, maybe like I am at the best version of myself. Like I know myself and (despite that inner critical voice that lingers so peskily) feel most comfortable in my own skin than I have before.

So, I guess, here's to 35 great years, and to (hopefully) many more ahead. And to more pondering and exploring and learning and growing.

Friday, September 11, 2015

random thoughts as I prepare to greet the big 3-5

Things that make me feel like a stereotypical middle-aged housewife:
  • being way super over-excited about a grocery home delivery service
  • day-dreaming of a fancy new vacuum cleaner for christmas
  • thinking that the 90's were only about a decade ago
Things that make me feel like I'm still just pretending to be a grown-up:
  •  our completely mis-matched hodge-podge house, filled with furniture that either came from Ikea or has been with us since college. 
  • my style has changed, like, almost none in the past couple of decades. My daily go-to outfit when I was 20-- jeans, a tank top, and a light hoodie. I still wear the same thing 98% of the time (ok, I sometimes swap out the jeans for yoga pants)
  • I also still pretty much cook the way I did when I was in college (mac & cheese + frozen veggies FTW!)

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

including myself in the frame

I am my family's documentarian. I have always felt drawn to capturing moments in time, but becoming a mother really kicked that desire into high gear. I love creating something beautiful (at least to my eyes), and I love capturing my children as they grow, and over these past 7 years I have been able to merge these two things together and it's been pretty wonderful in many ways.

It also means that since I am behind the camera 99% of the time, I am often left out of the photos. Over the years I've tried to find ways to include myself in the picture (literally and figuratively, see what I did there?), using mirrors, timers, or just holding the camera at arm's length for a selfie-before-it-was-called-that. I have a series of "mommy and me" shots with each of the boys that I started with them as babies and has been made much easier since the advent of front-facing cameras on smartphones (one day I will compile these photos into a photo book). When I was 8 months pregnant with Donovan I attempted a "diy maternity photoshoot" which was kinda fun. I even at one point had a wired remote for my camera that I experimented with some, but even then the wire is only so long so you're kinda limited on what you can do with it.

As it turns out, my current dslr has built-in wifi, which can connect to a Canon app on my phone which makes wireless remote shooting really, really easy and awesome. I'm kinda kicking myself for not having become familiar with this system before now. I've been playing around with it the past few days and am pretty excited by the whole new world of opportunities this opens up. I want to try out a self-portrait project, as something totally different and also because my kids aren't very cooperative models these days anyway (Quinn actually yells "Stop taking pictures!!" at me if he catches me holding a camera near him). I'm REALLY excited about this whole new (and stealthy) way to capture the moments of our days, with me and the boys together. Today I set up my camera in corners of the room and captured us doing things like just watching a movie and reading bedtime stories.

I am also realizing that I should buck up and get myself a proper tripod. I have a gorillapod that works ok, we have enough different-height furniture around that I can set it up in a more-or-less desireable height where needed, but yeah. I don't know why I've held out this long.

These are some of the very first pictures I took after figuring out I could do this (also, before I remembered how to set the timer on my camera so I could press the button and have time to hide my phone away), and they're not the best but I also just really like them anyway. Partially because yeah, they capture a lot about our lives right now anyway (me sitting on the floor looking at my phone? Quinn on my lap? Yeah).

I feel excited and re-energized by all the potential here, and it's a really fun place to be particularly since I've felt kinda creatively low for a while.It feels good to feel inspired.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Our Day: 8.30.15

Sunday. Zach took Quinn to meet up with a friend at the park in the morning, while D and I walked to the store for a few groceries (and made a quick stop by Starbucks on the way back). After coming back home, Zach arranged for a game of TA with Donovan and Andrew. They play through an online server, and then also Zach will call Andrew and have him on speaker phone as they play. It's kinda fun listening to the three of them talk strategy (and D try his hand at banter) as they play.

Quinn and I hung out around the rest of the house, snacking and playing on the xbox.

I've been looking for ways to kickstart my creativity, so today I put a fresh roll of film in my yashica and took a few photos outside. This is the camera I got almost a year ago, and I haven't used it a whole lot since then partially because buying and developing 120 film isn't cheap but also because I've felt a little intimidated by the camera-- it is fully manual; the waist-level viewfinder with everything in reverse is a mind-trip to use for composing and focus; the fastest shutter speed is 1/500th of a second; and the minimum focusing distance is about 3ft. All these factors mean that in many ways this camera requires a very different shooting approach and thought process than what I normally use. But it's a fun challenge, and I'm wanting to spend some time exploring and getting more comfortable with this new format (which will include not letting weeks or months go by between shooting and developing...). 

Zach is kind of like a lizard or a cat, one way he relaxes on weekends is to sun himself on the porch while reading The Economist.
D spent a little time this afternoon setting up a small minifigure battle.
We all walked down to Pizza My Heart for an early dinner, then stopped through the park on our way home. We also picked up a gallon of ice cream (we were almost out at home, *gasp* that is a tragedy even worse than running out of chocolate-covered almonds) to have for dessert back at home.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

grace in small things #16

  • Earlier this week the boys and I checked out the Lindsay Wildlife Museum for the first time. They had several gorgeous birds (who are injured, and so permanent residents of the museum), including these beautiful owls who at right by the window so we got a nice close look at them. What is it about owls that makes them so awesome? 
  • This morning we "interviewed" a new sitter who seems totally awesome, I'm crossing fingers that he will work out. We've had mixed luck with finding steady sitters in the past, I'm trying to make a point to find good ones and USE THEM on a regular basis.
  • This afternoon I managed to run two (TWO!) errands that I've been meaning to get around to for weeks (ok, months). It feels like a major triumph. 
  • Looking back at my goodreads, I realized that I have read over 11 books so far this year (counting adult books, that I've actually finished all the way through). Which is a pretty dang good number, for me at least. I always feel like I never have enough time to read, partially because the list of books I want to read is so ridiculously long (and partially because I'm not exactly a fast reader to begin with), so it's fairly amazing to realize that I am actually reading a good number of books.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

faux-retro fun and camera lust

The other night I was on the phone with Jeremy and he mentioned that he was thinking of getting a polaroid camera. So the next day out of curiosity I started browsing cameras on ebay and found The Impossible Project website, and SHOCKER I'm kinda getting the itch to try out old school instant film as well. I had an newer instax camera a few years back, and it was fun to play with, but I'd unfortunately gotten a model with automatic flash that ALWAYS went off even when you didn't need it and my disdain of on-camera flash lighting kinda ruined it (natural light snob? Me? Well YES actually, yes I am), so I think I eventually passed it on to a friend who really wanted one. But it would be fun to give instant film another shot (har), doing better homework ahead of time to make sure to get the right kind of camera this time, and have fun learning a whole different style of photography.

I've also been eyeing mirrorless micro four-thirds cameras that I'm hearing so much about. A couple weeks ago we went to Lake Tahoe for a week with a bunch of my family, and I rented a canon 24-105mm lens for the trip to have a bit more flexibility than my trusty primes provide. It was interesting shooting with a zoom lens for a change, and was more convenient in many ways, but HOLY CRAP I'd forgotten how heavy and bulky that combo can get.  I quickly found myself wondering about these lighter, smaller options that supposedly offer near-dslr quality. I don't know how serious I am about it, but maybe I'll try renting one sometime to play around with.

Anyway, as my photography wishlist grows ever longer, for now I'm sating myself somewhat by re-downloading the ShakeItPhoto app and having some faux-retro fun with that. And trying to remember to use the cameras I already have before lusting longingly for new ones. #photogwoes


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