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Another installment from my photography class. I only have 3 more classes and one more assignment, “Love”. Tricky.

I wasn’t so fond of my results on this Stop Motion assignment. Not for lack of a beautiful and cooperative subject…It was me, and very dark, grey winter days. (These were taken in January.)

The top one, the hair photo, was the one I turned in. You can see my dear niece was so willing to try anything in the cold snow! She’s 11 and has such a great spirit. Can you tell by her outfit? Neon, glitter Uggs, monster hat. In retrospect I’m wondering if eliminating one of the brightest colors would have improved the shots. It would have been something to try.

I also tried tossing some flowers up in the air…but I just couldn’t get the focus. And now I see I need to correct the color in the tree branches, which I now know how to do in Lightroom using the Lens Correction: Remove Chromatic Abberation tool.

One of the photos I liked the best from my classmates was a shot taken of a young woman in a swing…the shot was taken from the ground so she was framed against a blue sky (he went out on the right day). Her swing was twisting, she was laughing, her curly hair was flying…and he had specifically asked her to wear a red jacket. The red jacket against a bright blue sky was perfect. Hmmm. Another lesson from a classmate: If you’re going to direct a shot, then direct the shot!

Our next assignment was panning motion which was a giant fail for me. Maybe I’ll try to take more of those before posting.

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what's making me happy this week 04.21.13: cowboy boots, love revolution and label makers

photos
1) my daughter studying in her cowboy boots
2) a never ending stream of colorful finches at my mother’s birdfeeder
3) my niece discovered her mother’s new label maker

What a week. Every day contained deep sorrow at the news from both here in the U.S. and around the world, and joy for time with my dear sister from Seattle who came for a too short visit.

My sister left yesterday and the world spins madly on. Thank goodness the sun is finally out or I may not have made it out of bed today.

While some of the items below may not have actually made me happy, they did make laugh, and that’s a good step.

1. Cowboy boots and my daughter make me happy. (Definitely not in that order.)

2. My mother lives in the country and has a constant stream of birds at her many feeders. I spend a night at her house a couple of times a month and it is so relaxing to sit a her kitchen table in the morning, drinking coffee and watching the birds, and to be in her company.

3. Family I visited with this week– my sweet sisters, my hilarious niece and my dear mom.

4. The only way to deal with heckling from opposing fans – balls.ie

5. Have you seen this? The girls who burns her hair off with her curling iron “how to” video? 12 million hits in 5 days. I don’t know if I would have thought it was funny if I hadn’t also watched her appearance on Ellen. So watch both. Girl wins in the end because she is just adorable.
Watch this one first:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdVuSvZOqXM

Watch this one second:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVzbds5tOOw

6. My son and I volunteered at the Ark last night for Brother Jocephus and the Love Revolution Orchestra. Just what the doctor ordered this week. So much energy! I have never seen our little music club so full of dancing people. They play a mix of New Orleans type gospel/rock, and some interesting covers— like ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky and Queen’s Somebody to Love. The lead female singer, Samia Michelle Mounts, is amazing:
See her here singing Somebody to Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eL_FGjyCuA
Another video of the band here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPZCnwdlTVc

7. ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky. Old School. So appropriate for those of us living in Michigan. Finally a sunny day!

“And today is the day we’ve been waiting for.”

8. My son and I have a “night time” photography assignment due for our photography class. So, last night after volunteering at the Ark, we drove around Ann Arbor until midnight taking night time shots. It was a lot of fun. We ended up in places I wasn’t so comfortable being at 11pm, but my son reminded me he was big and buff. Haha. Tall and lanky, yes. Big and buff, not so much. It was fun being out and about taking photos in the dark.

I think 8 is more than acceptable for this crazy week. I so hope you have found something that has at least made you smile this week.

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photo 111: i am the eggman

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1) this is the one I matted and turned in: eggs in a tubtrugs bucket with old green onions peeled from the bottom of the vegetable drawer, winter, sunday morning light
2) outtake: egg on “radioactive: marie & pierre curie: a tale of love and fallout” by lauren redniss. redniss is a “graphic biolgrapher” and if you have not seen her books, you should. gorgeous.
3) outtake: eggs in bowl my sister-in-law made. do you think our windows need a little work…ugh.

In January I signed up for an introductory photography class at our local community college. Blogging was a motivator, but also, I was looking for something that would interest my teenage son, something that would get him off of his computer. He was interested, so we signed up together. Since he is only 15, and dyslexic, I wanted to take the class with him to make sure he wasn’t in over his head. Turns out he helps me more than I help him. (Turns out we also have to keep one empty seat between us in class so we don’t argue.)

We have an assignment every week that we edit, print and mount on matte board in class on Monday night. On Wednesday nights in addition to a technical lecture on our camera, or Lightroom, we have a critique. Our work is displayed anonymously and we have to vote on which photos we like the best—with the idea that clusters of votes will help illuminate key elements to a good photograph.

The matted photos are pinned to a bulletinboard/wall and the instructor puts a push pins above each photo that gets votes, one push pin per vote. Then we go in order, from the most push pins to the least talking about our process and getting critiqued.

I have had many weeks with no pins (votes), but two weeks ago my son and I tied for most votes. He gets votes almost every week and frequently gets the most votes. Once I told him it is even more exciting for me, as a mom, when he gets votes, than if I do. His response was, “No! You don’t get to claim credit for my work! No!”

For our egg assignment, we had to take a photo of an egg with the goal of getting a well-exposed, sharp image. I liked my image and technically it was good. But it received no votes from my classmates. My son put his egg on our pool table and had it in the foreground sharply focused and all of the colored pool balls in the background out of focus. He received many votes. One girl broke an egg in the snow and had a small LED flashlight illuminate it from underneath. There was a layer of snow between the egg and the light. The whole critique was really eye opening to me. Think creatively, or, take the egg out of the kitchen.

We only have 3 more weeks left and both my son and I are sad it’s coming to an end. As much as missing the photography class, I will miss the time with my son. He will get his driver’s license at the end of the summer, and it’s clear to me he can handle the classwork on his own. He is planning to take another photography class in the fall, without his mom. Of course, as a mom, I am proud of his growth toward independence, and I will let him know this, at the risk of him accusing me of claiming credit.

what my daughter made for me

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1) the chick my daughter made in her dorm room for me. made from cardboard, legal paper, a sharpie and…a paper clip?
2) my mothers day card from last year made by that same girl
3) mother’s day card detail

My daughter gave me this chick last weekend, and the card last May. I love that girl. I think she should be in art school. She’s more of a Tim Burton than a Michelangelo, which is why I love everything she makes so much.

She will be coming home soon! Less than a month– can’t wait!

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photos
1. the sapphires, http://images.smh.com.au/2012/09/21/3654873/sapphires_wide2-620×349.jpg
2. my new favorite mint chocolate chip gum, http://www.extragum.com
3. from the red shoes blog, this is her store, where I want to live, http://redshoesa2.blogspot.com

It’s been a crappy week. I don’t’ know why. Hormones? The never-ending cold and gray weather? The news report about the treatment of women in Egypt? I’m feeling better today. In part because I do keep this list during the week.

My dear old friend Paul once said to me decades? ago, “Anyone can find some reason to be unhappy. Sometimes you have to work to be happy.” He wasn’t talking about people who live in poverty, or have diseases. He was talking about those privileged people in the world, like us, who really do have the power to change their perspective.

What’s making me happy this week:

1. My friend Paul and his positive perspective.

2. The film, The Sapphires. You MUST see this film. You will love, love, love it. Chris O’Dowd from Bridesmaides is it and is wonderful, the music is great, the story is great, the 4 female leads are all just awesome. I just saw it last night and I want to see it again today! I WILL end up owning this DVD. Please see it.

3. Extra, Desert Delights, Mint Chocolate chip gum. I don’t chew gum in public, because I know I get obnoxious about it. Most people do. But I chew it in my car to freshen my breath, or I chew it to keep myself from snacking at home The checkout guy at Bush’s saw I was buying Extra peppermint gum one day and said I HAD to try the Extra Mint chocolate chip flavor. Man I am hooked, as is my family!

4. The Red Shoes blog makes me happy, as does the web site and the store here in Ann Arbor. I want to live there. Catherine is real. And an amazing artist.

5. This in particular video Catherine linked on her blog is making me happy this week—because EXACTLY. It’s called “What’s Making You Happy.”

6. I finally saw the musical Spring Awakening last weekend when I was visiting my daughter. It was much heavier than I thought it would be, but I really liked it.

7. Listening to the Detroit Tigers home opener on the radio while driving to visit my daughter. Tiger’s baseball on radio was the soundtrack to my childhood summers. Listening to it gives me a warm feeling inside.

8. f***yournoguchicoffeetable blog makes me laugh. As my sister who sent it to me said, it’s a great reminder, “Not to take ourselves too seriously.” Oh so many antlers, ladders, stacked old suitcases with globes on top. As I read it, this blog is both saying, “I’m so jealous of your cool home design, f*** you!” and partly snickering at people who have tried so hard to be “cool” it’s just a fail. I guess It’s up to you to decide which is which!

9. Invisible bike helmets. So much to love about this video. The design throughout, the shoes and then finally they reveal the helmet design, by women. It’s genius.

10. I love new words. I misunderstood my son today. He said something about hanging out with his hooligans, but I heard it as “cooligans”—which I kind of liked.
And even though this word is like finger nails on a chalkboard to me for it’s hipster speak-ishness, I like that it’s new to me– “daylighting”, as in, “thanks for daylighting that issue for us. We didn’t realize it was happening.” Thanks to my sis for that one that she learned when having a conference with her son’s teachers. I would likely want to choke anyone who used that word with me. Still, like that I know that usage.

Go see The Sapphires, it will make you happy!

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you say belstaff, i say i want that

photos
1) women’s trailmaster jacket view 1, http://www.belstaff.com
2) women’s trailmaster jacket view 2, http://www.belstaff.com
3) skyfall’s eve moneypenny in a belstaff, http://www.ingredientsofstyle.com/2012/11/bond-style.html
4) more of eve’s pretty wardrobe (yes, his suit is pretty too), http://www.ingredientsofstyle.com/2012/11/bond-style.html
5) and more,
http://www.ingredientsofstyle.com/2012/11/bond-style.html

Like vintage lambretta scooters, I so salivate when I see an image of a Belstaff jacket. I am not sure when I first saw one, it was years ago. Watching Skyfall last week with my son, I was pretty sure I spotted one on Eve Moneypenny. Turns out I was correct. (I loved all of Eve’s wardrobe.) Belstaffs are too pricey for me, but a girl can dream.

stuff i don't need but like to look at

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photos:
1) i need this storage shelf for the stuff I have but don’t need
2) barbie thermos
3) this is a daisy-covered 60s hat. i couldn’t get a good shot. it looks similar to this one, but with more flowers!
4) i love old radios, such great designs
5) and more radios
6) i love old typewriters too
7) i’m bought you these babies for your birthday.
just kidding.
they look like something found on regretsy. seriously, why? who?…when?…what?!!
8 & 9) i find old photos mesmerizing. i wish i had taken a sharper photo of this one. do you see her delicate little glasses? did she like her glasses because they made her look smart? or did she hate them because they made her look school-marmy? or did she not bother with such thoughts; she needed glasses so she wore them.
did you notice her simple wedding band? And her lovely boots, legs crossed at the ankles? do you think her feet look big? do you see the beautiful details on her black wedding dress? the design around the neckline and arms? near the wrist? The buttons down the top layer of her skirt? Is it her wedding dress, or is this her post-wedding dress?
who were these people? did they not have children who cared about preserving this photo? or maybe it was passed on to grandchildren to whom it meant nothing? there is no name or year on the photo.
did they love each other? did they have a happy life? hmmm…this photo is so compelling to me. now i wish i would have purchased it.

My daughter and I visited one of the several antiques malls in her town this weekend. What I like about antiques malls is that there is always a lot of crazy, cool and interesting stuff, pretty clearly displayed so you don’t have to dig.

I haven’t visited many of these malls, but some seem to have great prices, others, like the one we visited this weekend, not so much. It seems like you can always find great vintage linen table cloths and napkins, and vintage aprons for very cheap. (I have some pretty great vintage aprons. I wish I could wear them to work.)

The only thing we purchased this weekend was a yellow plastic bracelet for my daughter and a necklace for me—I haven’t taken photos yet. At about $11 per piece of costume jewelry, I didn’t think it was much of a bargain…but we liked them.