Archive for February, 2011
Two months into my personal project…..
I’m pleased to say that my enthusiasm and stamina have not yet diminished. The goal remains simple: shoot a photograph every day (or in reality, shoot several) in an attempt to download, upload and maintain a daily archive. In addition, I attempt to shoot something different each day, as both a way to challenge myself and to maintain interest.
My growing passion for photography is a journey in creativity, technical skill, attention to detail, patience, chasing the perfect light, and maintaining a constantly “open” eye to the surrounding world. For me, photography is like music, in that it has the ability to both capture and convey emotions — different art forms, but both capable of rendering strong emotional responses.
I greatly appreciate all of you who take the time to look at my photos. Any thoughts, complimentary or critical, are welcome. I am no expert in this endeavor. A big reason why I am doing this blog is to share my photos (as scary as that is for me!!) and to learn from the helpful comments from you. If there is (are) photos that you really like or do not like, please let me know and tell me why. Your opinions matter.
Earlier this month, I took a 2 hour private lesson with a professional photographer. Among many things that took place in the lesson, one of the most helpful was to sit down with him with my laptop and show him last month’s photos from this project. Talk about a very revealing process………….. Some of my photos that I really liked and felt pride in, he was less enthusiastic; with others that I was not as excited about, he was very enthusiastic. It wasn’t always easy to hear his criticism (my skin had to grow thicker!!). But helpful? Absolutely!
And so………I present my photos from February: Project365/2011-February
You truly redefine the meaning of being 60 years of age.
My brother AND my friend; longtime partner to Ray; you are loving and loyal to the rest of our family; most importantly for me, you are the beloved uncle and godfather to Sean.
I love the 2 older photos of Sean in your arms when he was a baby and a toddler. Ever since Sean was born, you’ve been “holding” him and never letting go — always keeping such an emotionally close tie with him — well within an easy grasp of both of your hearts. I know how much you love him and I also know that Sean will forever be able to depend on and trust you. It is the same for me.
Happy birthday Tim!
“……………..Sixteen springs, and sixteen summers gone now, cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town……….,” (from The Circle Game, by Joni Mitchell).
Today, Joni Mitchell’s timeless song has been running again and again through my mind. The Circle Game tells of the bittersweet passage of time. The events occurring today in Egypt, with the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, indeed mark a milestone for its people. But in the small world of the Hall family, a milestone also took place today. It does not compare at all in international scope and importance, but it is of no less personal worth.
This past Wednesday, Sean became 15 1/2 years of age, and thus eligible for his driver’s permit. Eager to have what was now lawful for him to obtain, we went to the local DMV directly after school. Success in the written exam followed and Sean was issued a permit to begin to learn how to drive a car. Oh boy! Drivers on the road — Beware!!
This morning Sean had his first 2 hour session of Driver’s Training. The session began at 8AM, and I was amazed and amused to see Sean get out of bed so early and so easily — interesting, what motivation can do for an eager individual. At the stroke of 8 o’clock, the instructor drove up our driveway in a rather sporty Mustang vehicle. In a matter of seconds, Sean was out the door and into the driver’s seat. I started snapping photos while the instructor spoke with him and as he made adjustments to the car’s rear view mirrors.
In a few more seconds, my little boy was driving the Mustang (albeit very, very slowly) down the driveway. He drove away……….
It was quite a bittersweet moment for his mom……… Time goes by so quickly — never a more true cliché. I went back in the house and began looking through old photos of Sean in his various “driver’s seats.”
This is an exciting time in my son’s life. I too share in his enthusiasm and excitement in this milestone. His life is moving forward, as it should be. The reality is that it will greatly simplify my life when Sean gets his driver’s license and is able to motor himself to all of his various activities. I’m even looking forward to the day when I can say to him: ”Hey Sean, I’m busy photographing, can you pick up some milk at the grocery store?” But for right now, Joni Mitchell’s lyrics from The Circle Game continue to resonate:
“…………take your time, it won’t be long now, till you drag your feet to slow the circle down.”
(I invite you to double-click on the images in order to see them enlarged.)
During the months of January, February and March in this “neck of the woods,” the fields and vineyards lie dormant for the winter season. Yet during this time, a yellow hued visual feast crops up on many of those sleeping fields. It never ceases to wake up my eyes to witness another one of nature’s seasonal beauties.
Wild mustard flowers are currently in their full blooming glory — enveloping fields, hillsides, and vineyards. The mustards are indeed magnificent — whether looking at a tender bloom up close, or from afar as it carpets a field with its glistening yellow lawn.
The mustard season is so quintessentially “Sonoma.” As I was setting up this blog several months ago, it was an easy “no brainer” to decide which photo I would post on the Home Page — a classic “mustards in the vineyards” shot.
During this time of year, the cameras (both professional and amateur) are loudly clicking away, as the beautiful blooms provide an incredible subject matter.
In the past few weeks, I have been scouting out different locations to shoot. On Sunday (an atypically warm day for this time of year!) I drove around town to the chosen spots. It was a solitary effort — just me, my Nikon, my tripod and the mustards. But on the last location, there was a young family: a husband, wife and their 2 sweet young daughters. The father was photographing his daughters as they frolicked through the blooms. I struck up a conversation with the mom who told me that photographing their daughters in the mustard fields is an annual tradition for them. She was delighted to allow me to photograph her husband and daughters as they partook in their annual tradition.
My son is now 15 years old and probably would not want to frolic about in the mustard fields for the benefit of his mother’s camera. I guess I have missed that photographic opportunity!! But I think the mustards themselves will provide my own annual outing to capture them in their blooming beauty. These final 2 photos are from my 2010 edition.
The project’s format: shoot a photo each day of the year.
I came across the idea of this project sometime late last year in one of the many online photography websites that I read. The challenge of such a project sufficiently intrigued me, and so on January 1 of this new year, I embarked on this particular photographic journey.
I have read of many photographers beginning this type of project with the same determination and enthusiasm that I had on January 1, yet for many reasons, were unable to complete the project. An entire year — 365 days — well……it is rather ambitious. Is it an unrealistic goal?
Today is February 1 and I am happy (and also relieved!) to say that I indeed shot photos on all 31 days of this past January. I have now compiled the January edition of my Project 365/2011.
My hope is that I am on a path to expand and develop my skills. Each day of last month, I always shot more than 1 photo — I needed to!! Once I had decided on a certain subject to photograph, it often took me SEVERAL shots to finally capture something I felt was worthwhile. I tended to gravitate to shooting different subjects and genres with each day. I think it was, and will be a good formula to keep me interested and motivated. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because thus far it has worked, though I also realize the year is still young.
So wish me luck and continued stamina in this endeavor. I am taking this project 1 day at a time and 1 month at a time. Hopefully, by the end of 2011, there will be a compilation of 365 photos. I’ll keep you posted!
Here are a few of the photos I captured this past month. If you would like to see all 31 of the January photos, please click on the following link to my gallery on Flickr: Project365/2011-January. You will have the option to view these photos as a slideshow or you can click on the photos individually to view them with their titles.