Friday, February 28, 2014

February Contest Entry

I've been running this great FaceBook group of about 60 photographers who are all working on personal 365 projects together.  I thought it would be a neat idea to have monthly themes and competitions to help motivate us through to the end of the year, and was working with our personal budget to see how I could afford to do this for the girls.  Then along comes my husband with a genius idea that resulted in a couple emails back and forth with a community I am a part of online, and a terrific outcome!  ClickinMoms generously agreed to partner with us and sponsor our monthly competitions with awesome prizes!  Honestly, this community has been the BEST thing to ever happen to my photography from the networking, to the forum, to the workshops.  To have them agree to sponsor us was just the icing on the cake!

This month's theme is black and white, so this little guy will be my February contest entry .

Beautifully Imperfect

I wanted to share a photo-heavy post of some of my "rejects".  Each day I take a single photo to add to my ongoing 365 project.  However, I rarely (read: never) walk up to something, pull out the camera, press the shutter button, and think "there, I'm done now".  Usually multiple photos at different angles are taken.  Often there are "back-up" shots grabbed in case nothing better comes along that day.  And sometimes I love the shot but it ended up being not as in-focus as another one, so I trash it.  And by trash it, I mean it sits on my hard drive never to see the light of day.  (At the very least, anything that sits on my hard drive gets a quick edit, so they're not totally unloved.  The absolute rejects are deleted permanently).  

Well, I went back through my LightRoom Catalogue over the past month and a bit and looked for photos of the city in particular that didn't make the cut.  I'm starting to see a certain beauty in this big, dirty city as I intentionally seek it out every day.  Some are editing experiments that I wasn't sold on.  Some almost made it except for something technical that threw me off (i.e. the last photo - the beak is slighting out of focus).  Some are good, but I didn't feel there was enough of a story attached to them.  Some are totally fine, but just got bumped for something better.  So here they are:  imperfect photos of an imperfect city, but still there is beauty.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 50 - 56)

We're officially 8 weeks into our project and it's going great!  Out of the 60 of us that started together two months ago, more than half are still going strong and posting almost daily.  Here's hoping that we all make it to the finish line!

Wednesday I headed out to our old city to teach my 5 piano students there and managed to snag the best seat on the train after watching it like a hawk for 10 stops:

Thursday Nick had to pick up some footage to edit downtown so I scored a rare ride in which bought me an extra 25 minutes of sleep and a warm commute the entire way with no pesky transfers.

Friday night I had my dear friend and mentor come over for a quick visit that ended up with us completely losing track of time and chatting til past 11pm that evening!  Nick was out playing some games with a group of guys so it worked out perfectly.

Saturday morning I had to drag my butt out of bed to go to a bank appointment and pick up a credit card.  Nick came with me and we bought Timmy's together which was a treat.  That afternoon I headed downtown for a friend's baby shower, which I posted HERE if anyone is interested.  I also took some photos for my dear friend, Tara's, blog.  She hasn't posted them yet or else I would link up :).  Tara is responsible for all of the beautiful decorating at the shower as well as the cute little chalkboard labels throughout her house as pictured below:

Sunday Nick and I attempted some baking.  While it tasted great, it didn't stay as pretty as it looks in the photo below.  I think we'll grease the pan a little better next time around ;)

Monday it snowed.  I mean REALLY snowed.  Downtown it didn't really stick, as you can see below.  But let me tell you - I was scared out of my mind driving in it up the mountain where we live later that night.  Going to my students' house, I eventually just threw the car in park, slid it back into a snowbank, put the emergency brake on, and announced to all the onlookers that I'd be back to deal with it in an hour.  I was running late and had three more back-to-back lessons to go at that point.  (I should also add that the whole ordeal was a lot more scary and aggravating that that cavalier sentence made it sound).  On my way home, my anti-lock breaks decided to kick in on the way back down the mountain, and my tires didn't grip the road again until almost the bottom of the one hill section.  Which was perfect being that there was a blind stop sign at that point!

Today my wonderful coworker came back to work out of our office location for the day and it was a lot less lonely than it has been!  We all went out for lunch to say goodbye to another coworker that found another job with more suitable hours for her.  I got stuck as the only girl at the guy's table, but that's probably alright since guys generally have more interesting things to say anyways.  I ran around after lunch grabbing a handful of photos so that I would have one to use for today, but it was in vain, as this caught the corner of my eye as I walked up the steps tonight.  I've always loved the way the setting sun bounced off the gold buildings across the street, and after the previous night's fiasco, I think a photo with a little snow in it is fitting!

And I'll leave it at that as I have a piano student arriving in less than 20 minutes and should "get off the computer" now (which is really code for waste 10 more minutes of Facebook).

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Baking Attempts

Very rarely does baking get to happen in the Froese household, but when it does, well, it's always an interesting experience ;)

It always starts off fairly under control:

About half way through things start to get a little less Martha Stewart than we originally hoped for:

However, our hope is renewed as they actually start to rise like they're supposed to:

And then it all falls to pieces.  Literally.  Nick picked all the pieces off the floor before I could grab a photo, but here's the counter aftermath:

What we like to show the world:

And reality:

Ah well, at least they taste good!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tough Choice for a Daily...

Sometimes I struggle to find a shot to represent my day during this 365 project I'm working on.  Other days, it's so hard to choose!  Today was the latter.  I waited for the guy to surrender the front window seat and pounced on it like a cat as soon as he got off :).  Sometimes there are benefits to being almost the last stop:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 43 - 49)

Life is moving a little quicker than normal lately.  I'm having to be smarter with maximizing moments to work on photo projects, and blog, and the like.  Being down to just me at work is doable, but the pace has quickened and thus I'm always having to be "on".  I don't get the same emotional/intellectual downtime that having a constant partner to work with gave me.  I've also signed up for another photography class that starts later next month, so I'll deal with juggling that when the time comes.  It's only offered once a year, thus, I jumped on it when the chance arose.  But enough about the future, here's a little glimpse into my past/present:

Wednesday there was a treat waiting in the mail for me.  A friend who read a recent blog post I wrote about my relationship with God not only recommended a great book, but also bought it for me off of Amazon, bless her heart <3.  It's proving to be very worth giving up some of my sleeping time on transit to read:

Thursday I was training solo at work for the first time since my coworker left.  When the students dispersed for the morning, I took a moment to grab this shot.  This is the GOOD training room.  We don't get to use it as often as we would like.  Normally we're down in the basement of the hospital with no windows and a LOT of mice.  Yes, mice.  I'm so dreading my upcoming classes as the little traps that are set are not winning the battles let alone the war down there... Shudder....  Despite the gloomy title of this picture, I really am glad to be chained to a desk beside such nice windows.  They just tease when it's nice out:

Friday was Singles' Awareness Day.  Seriously, don't get me started on how much people complain about Valentine's Day.  When I was single, I just ignored it!  I don't get what the big deal is.  Then again, I never really was much of a romantic.  However, my husband is, and he's slowly winning me over to the sappy side.  He picked me up from the train after work with a bouquet of flowers and made dinner while I worked on getting the shot below (which would have gone so much faster if I had realized I could auto focus through my macro filters...).  We had fondue and watched the last StarWars movie that we didn't finish on the long weekend.  Then, being the great romantic that I am, I fell asleep during the movie around 6:30pm and didn't get up for oh.... about 16 hours.  Yeah, I'm awesome like that ;)

Saturday Nick dropped me off for worship practice which went surprisingly well.  I'm getting more and more used to playing on the grand piano and not freaking out quite as much.  He picked me up again after the evening service and we had the rest of the night together.  We picked up some snacks from the grocery store and settled in for a marathon of watching the newly released season of House of Cards on Netflix.

Sunday after playing (me) and filming (Nick) at both services we headed back for a quiet afternoon.  I edited photos (and wrote the majority of this blog post even though I'm not going to post it until Tuesday).  Nick worked on some video sequences he took during the morning and ran to pick up Sushi so we could resume our House of Cards marathon.

Monday was exhausting.  Between the emails that kept coming in and the vastly different learning speeds in my class room that day, I didn't even get a chance to stick a bit of breakfast in my mouth until 3:30pm.  I also had one piano student absolutely melt down into hysterics because I didn't know how to play the game "jinx" and apparently I was NOT supposed to keep talking/teaching her after she called it?  Oh the joys I still have to look forward to in life as a parent one day!
The good parts of the day, however, were 1.  I left work half an hour early to make up for missing lunch and caught the early train home which gave me almost a full hour to relax before my first student.  2.  My first student was new, incredibly friendly and bright, and I'm really going to look forward to working with him.  3.  My regular students actually practised for a change (which is always a nice surprise, haha!).  4.  Nick and I cuddled and watched a movie for the rest of the evening which we still need to finish on Tuesday.  Well, I also edited the below photo for a REALLY LONG TIME while we watched because it's not easy to remove a bright glowing Mac logo from behind a white sock!  PS and I are getting better acquainted through these long evenings spent experimenting on various ways to get it to cooperate with what I want, ha!

Tuesday thankfully slowed down a bit.  Not a ton workload-wise, but the work was quietly sitting on my desk in piles vs. asking me questions every 20 seconds!  I appreciate work that sits and waits for me to finish my thoughts vs. interrupting me all day long.  But I can't really complain when students actually WANT to ask questions and engage.  I'm just really thankful for a desk day after Monday since no one signed up for Tuesday afternoon classes.  I'm also really thankful for a desk day in this weather!

And thus concludes another week at a glance :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 36 - 42)

Is it possible that last week already seems like a month ago?  I look back on these photos and they don't seem recent to me, yet they are.  

Last Wednesday (or Tuesday late afternoon to be precise) I found out my only coworker is being taken away until the Fall to work on a project.  My work load just doubled, which is doable, but... I sure miss her.  Add to this, the skytrain breaking down that day making me late for all my evening lessons on my busiest teaching night and Nick getting stranded in the cold for a while due to a car / communication mix up, and Wednesday was not my favourite:

Thursday it was so cold my hands would turn red within seconds if I didn't keep them deep inside my pockets.  BUT I did have a lovely walk back from a remote training location at work and even got home a little early that day, which is a rare bonus.  We used the extra time to pick up a few new friends for Bacon:

On Thursday night, one of Bacon's new friends didn't quite make it, so we headed back to the fish store on Friday to replace the little guy.  And boy, do I have a story for you.  Bacon decided to attempt suicide that night with a flying leap out of his tank.  You can read about his dramatic rescue HERE:

On Saturday, I left Bacon under Nick's watchful eye while I headed down to the States for a photography lesson / hang out with a friend.  Nick had a handful of guys over for games, so it worked out well.  These next three pictures are from the long weekend, which you can read about HERE if you like:

And lastly, today.  Tuesday.  Which feels very much like Monday after the extended weekend.  I've been super busy flying solo at work and also squeezing in some errands over lunch.  I had to pick up and mail out a prize for the winner of January's daily photo competition in the group I'm running that is doing this 365 project with me.  And I was very good, and didn't buy any for myself ;)

And now, I have a lot of work sitting on my desk, and lunch ended 5 minutes ago, so I'm signing out :)

Lazy Long Weekends

I think in a perfect world every weekend should be a long weekend.  BC celebrated "Family Day" yesterday.  As sentimental as that sounds, I'm fairly certain someone probably just said, "Hey, it's a long time between New Years and Easter without a stat.  Let's add one in February and call it..... something legit sounding.  I know - Family Day!".  But I'm not complaining!

Saturday I got up "early" (8:30 is early for me on a weekend), and headed down to the States.  I won a free flash trigger / receiver set and a one-hour Skype lesson online on a photography forum I'm a part of.  However, I happened to be friends with the person extending the offer, so I went down for an in-person pick up and visit instead :).  She sent two of her kids out for an adventure with their dad and we kept the most cooperative "subject" at home with us.  Here are some shots from the day practising natural light and then also flash for a head shot.

Sunday was my one super lazy day where I refused to leave the house at all.  Nick ran out to drop some stuff off at church and pick up some sushi, but I didn't even get out of my pajamas the entire day.  It was amazing.  We started watching all the Star Wars movies later in the evening, and pulled out our mattress to the living room to watch them on the tv with the proper speakers.

Monday we finished watching all but one of the Star Wars movies, and I had to be a little more productive than the day before.  Even though it was a stat, that doesn't mean I don't still teach piano.  Before I headed out for my first set of students, we had a nice fondue dinner.  I'd never heard of fondue before meeting Nick's family, and I have to say it's a favourite now!  I remember being so jealous when I watched him open a fondue kit for Christmas when we were dating, and now I get to enjoy the benefits of that gift as well :)

After I came back and finished off my last student of the evening, in keeping with the fondue theme, I cut up some fruit and pulled out some chocolate chips to melt.  There was no point in trying to go to bed at a reasonable time after a three-day weekend, so I just accepted the fact that coffee would be a necessity the next day, and we settled down with another Star Wars movie on the couch and worked away on our own hobbies while we watched (me catching up on editing and Nick making some clay game pieces for friends of ours).  We may have also spent a bit of time chucking the marshmallows at each other in an indoor snowball fight instead of eating them...  And that pretty much wraps up a perfect long weekend :)