Friday, March 30, 2012

On Rock Walls and Balloons

Sometimes I hate coming up with a title. Nothing I think of seems good enough, nothing encompasses what I really want to say.

Anyway, it's Friday! The week has seriously blown by. Today started off great; turned in physics homework and got an email that said my french class was cancelled. Then, five min before I left for my cal II class, I realized that I had homework due in cal, homework I hadn't even started.

D: Cue stomach-sinking-what-am-i-doing-with-my-life-i-am-going-to-fail feeling. What, overreaction? Nahh.

I really want a good grade in the class, and after looking at the syllabus I realized that I could do the homework after lunch and then turn it in for only a 10% reduction.

So that's what I did; ran from class to lunch, rushed through lunch, then with only a slight amount of frantic worry I threw myself at the homework, and finished it. I could barely restrain myself from running all the way to his office, on the third floor, to turn it in.

*whew* It's an odd feeling, when all the stress is gone. It's Friday, but that hasn't fully caught on to my stressed out brain.

Anyway, Wednesday was 'outback' lunch. It was amazinggggg, as themed lunches always are. There was chicken covered in cheese and bacon, coconut shrimp, delicious Australian deserts and more ;) After stuffing myself with as much food as I could possible eat, my friends and I walked out of the caf to get our books. Just then, one of the beloved caf workers, who knows everyone's name spotted me.

'Anna!' she called out. 'Do you want any balloons?'

In her hand was a bundle of perhaps twenty balloons. I couldn't say no, so with some difficulty and stares, I tried to manhandle twenty balloons down the stairs and out the door.

I felt like I was pregnant; I took up some much space with my balloons. I took up almost the whole stairwell.

Yesterday, like usual, some friends and I went rock climbing. :) It has become a Thursday tradition, and it's lots of fun. It took me a couple of weeks before I made it to the top. Once I made it to the top of one, however, nothing was impossible. I've made it to the top of all the ones we have tried, though we are all scared of the crazy routes so we haven't even looked at those :P

I was sitting on the ground, cheering my friend who was climbing on, when I decided to snap pictures of the belay-ers. If that's a word. Which it's not. Totally should be. The person who belays-- a belayer.

Um, anywayyyy, I edited this one with two separate iPhone apps. The first was Camera+, an amazing editing app. I had to expose for the bright windows behind my friend, so the picture was really dark. Camera+ was able to lighten all the dark areas drastically. Then, I put it in Instagram, and was able to blur the picture and add a black and white picture.

It won't win any awards, but I like the pictures :) Just small snapshots of my life, I guess

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Perfect Spring Evening

On Monday, my friends and I were sitting in the caf, eating lunch. We were marveling at how beautiful it was outside. Coming back after Spring Break it was as though the campus had suddenly decided to embrace this idea of early summer. All the trees were laden with huge, green leaves that cast shadow over the ground. The flowers had all suddenly bloomed, the campus painted with all the different colors of life.

Sitting there I suddenly thought of the perfect way to enjoy the weather.

'It would be amazing to go to that lake outside of town' I said, thinking of the lake we had driven by once.

To my surprise everyone else enthusiastically agreed.

'We should go,' I said, the idea still existing as a dream only. From that, a plan was born. We couldn't go then, people had class. Instead, we decided to go there after band, and have a little picnic.

It was a beautiful evening, the setting sun, the warm wind, the blue water.

The light made for amazing portraits. My poor friends; I made them all get in the perfect light for a portrait.

The light was fading rather quickly; it was like a game, follow the light. When the trees obscured the light of the fading sun I drug some of my friends out to this little peninsula where the light still fell.

We had bought some supplies for sandwiches and had that for dinner by the lake.

It was very picturesque, to say the least.

So I think my friends were tired of being the models ;) one of my friends grabbed the camera and started taking pictures of me. I found out that I would prefer to be behind the camera.

The images tend to speak for themselves ;)

Over all, it was an amazing evening, and the perfect way to enjoy a spring evening :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One year anniversary!

I promise this is more than a creative form of procrastination from my AP Chem homework.

And from that, a blog was born. Exactly one year ago by baby, this blog in case there was any confusion, entered into the world. Or at least the internet world.

I started without the intention of growing a large audience. Rather, I just wished to have a forum where I could post my photos and talk about my life. Readers were just a bonus, something I wanted but wasn’t sure how to achieve. I kind of thought that my blog would become popular on its own, as if it had some magic force attracting readers.

I had just begun on my photographic journey at the beginning of my blog. I was still using my trusty iPhone 4 as my principal camera. To me, the iPhone was as good a camera as I could ever want. It accurately reflected what I saw, and seemed to be the best camera for me.

I wasn’t only interested in nature photography in the beginning; I also liked taking pictures of food, especially as I was making it. Thus, my phone endured a lot of abuse, and being coated in various substances. One day it decided enough was enough and quit working. Luckily it was under warranty so I sent it off to be fixed. My biggest worry about sending my beloved phone away was the thought that I would be without a camera for a couple of days. What if I saw something really beautiful, and wanted to capture it? What would I do? I pulled out the family compact camera from where it had been stashed once we got back from France with a sigh. I didn’t like the compact. It wasn’t as user friendly as the iPhone; I had to think a bit to use it. I could never get the pictures to turn out like I wanted them to.

But I was stuck with it, so I decided to make do. I took it outside, and on a whim, aimed it at some random brush and snapped away. The resulting photo took my breath away. It won’t win any awards, but that photo was priceless to me. There was such a clarity, and saturation; it captured the scene with such beauty. I never realized that the compact had such power. It surpassed my iPhone. Granted, it took some getting used to, but it was well worth it.

I haven’t looked back since that first photo. I attacked the compact with unwavering curiosity and checked out as many photography books as my library had. I shot pictures almost every day; each day finding new angles, new ideas that I liked.

The folders of my photos tell the story in short hand. There is the ‘Senior Year’ folder, exclusively taken by my iPhone. Then there is the ‘Actual Camera’ folder, one that grew rapidly. Once I picked up the compact I never went back to the iPhone.

Sometimes I think that I have progressed so far, and learned so much about photography. Then I go back to my earliest photos and am surprised that they aren’t took different from the ones I take now. They have their own unique qualities to them. They generally are cooler than photos I take now, and slightly underexposed.

I have learned a lot, and my photos do reflect that.

Last year:

This year:

I have learned the importance of lighting, focus, aperture, and all the other components of photographer. I'm still a little sketchy on focal length but I know by next year I will have that down pat.

Last year:

This year:

The biggest change has been, of course, the change from compact to an SLR. I love my SLR and the pictures I get from it. I know I still have a long journey a head of me, learning more and taking better pictures. Still, it's nice every now and then to reflect and see how much I have improved in just a year.

Last year:

This year:

Aside from my photography, a lot has changed in my life in one year. This time last year I was a senior in high school, living at home, not particularly sure where I was going to college. Since then I have graduated from high school, moved away from home, started college, meet a ton of new friends, studied new subjects, ect.

I am surprised that my blog has made it this far. I've tried to do blogs in the past but they've always suffered the same fate as my diaries; I start them, then get bored and abandon them. However, this little resilient fellow has made it to the one year mark, a mark that I am proud of.

What I am also proud of, or rather mostly grateful for is you, my dear reader. You are the reason why I try to post somewhat regularly. You are the reason why I love writing posts. When I started this blog, I was happy if I got five visitors in one month. Yup, a month.

You are the reason why, in the month of January, I got 268 page views. :D

So, thanks :)

Happy blogiversary! ;)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Early Morning

This morning I woke up at 8:30. No alarms, just naturally woke up then, feeling totally rested. Why can't this happen at college??

Anyway, I glanced outside, and was blown away by the crisp, morning light. I grabbed my camera and headed outside. Since I was out of town for the majority of Spring Break, there was still plants/trees/ect that I hadn't photographed in my yard. Now, when everything was dappled with this beautiful morning light, was the perfect time.

I mean, look at that sky! It's just so beautiful. Granted, I was probably shooting a little after the 'magic' hour, but still, it was pretty magical.

This little guy I stumbled upon right out the door. The light was striking just the bloom, while everything else was in the shadow. I would have preferred that the background not be so dark, but hey, I worked with what was there.

This is a broccoli plant ;) I love this angle; right on the ground near the stem offers a unique perspective. (an unique perspective? who knows; that's why I'm a Physics major..;)

This is me experimenting with a larger aperture number (small aperture, not that that's confusing or anything..). What this means is that there is a deeper depth of field; the background is more in focus. Oddly enough I'm starting to try and achieve that recently. When I first got my SLR I was so enamored with the shallow depth of field that was allll I shot in. Now, I'm trying to break out and try something new ;)

Such beautiful light! While I never like restricting my shooting time to a specific, short slot when the light is 'perfect', I have to admit that the light is beautiful during the magic hour. You just have to be up early enough to see it ;)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Hike Through the Woods

Today, we went for a drive, buzzing through my father's old hometown. Before we made it there, however, we stopped by the church where my aunt was married. It was just a small little white church nestled amongst the woods.

It was actually part of this historic preservation site.

As we started to meander our way through the site, I caught a glimpse of an animal rustling through the bushes. It was large, and I assumed it was some sort of dog. That is, until it, and it's friends stepped into the clearing.

It was a deer! Rather, it was a herd of deer. Four of them were just picking their way through the forest, nibbling at the grass.

They viewed us placidly, chewing on their leaves. I was able to get this close, but when I tried to get closer they just turned and disappeared into the forest.

We picked our way through the thin paths, stumbling upon historic buildings, such as a schoolhouse, or a general store.

Overall, it was a very interesting detour, considering it wasn't even part of our plans.

I have like a hundred more picture of this site, which I'll put on facebook/post later.

So as I write this blog post, my grandmother and my mother are on my grandmother's dating site, picking their way through the men. :P It's quite a funny scene.
"He doesn't look blond! He looks gray..."
"Does he even like women?"
"*groans of horror* the liver spots!!!"
(to me) "this is taking forever to load; are you using up all my internet??!"
(me, uploading ten pictures at once) " nooo."

Um, anyway!

Is it odd that I like old cemeteries? I like looking at all the weathered headstones, wondering what their life had been like. What stories they have to tell.

Most discernible stories are sad ones. A mother who outlived her son and her husband. A child who lived to be ten.

Still, I know there are happy stories there. They're just harder to hear.

There actually is a normal reason for us stopping in this cemetery, by the way. According to the sign at the road, it is Ronald Reagon's ancestral cemetery. And, after hiking up a small hill, we saw the plots of his great-grandparent's grave.

Next, we continued our scenic drive, stopping in a small, old town.

Did I mention how much I love reflections? Quite a lot I should say ;)

The town was small, but had history, so it was cool.

Anyway, that's all for now! I'm going to go meet with the cousins/family that I get to see about once a year to have dinner :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Pretty Kitties and Pretty Skies

And the blogging streak continues! Just kidding! I just realized I was too busy to post yesterday....opps. Oh well, close enough ;)

My grandmother has two beautiful kitties and recently mentioned that she didn't have any pictures of them. To which I pulled out my camera and set to remedy it.

This is Maria :) She acts as dainty and beautiful as she looks. It took years before I even knew what she really looked like. Every time we would visit she would run and hide underneath a bed for the entirety of our visit.

Look how far she has come ;)

After dinner we took a walk around the neighborhood just as the sun was setting.

This picture was intended to just be a quick check to see how the light looked, and what the angle was. My intention was to hide the sun behind one of the signs. However, I liked this picture out of the series the best ;)

A couple houses were already festive and decorated for Easter. This shot involved me dashing up to the yard, glancing around for the neighbors, finding no sign of them, then yanking my camera up and taking a quick shot.

I haven't perfected the art of taking photos of other people's plants/yards yet. Just give it time ;)

Just another lazy day of Spring Break :) I have to post this now because my computer is about two minutes away from bye!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Road Trips

...or How I Ended Up Stranded in the Middle of Nowhere, MO.

So I put something to that effect on facebook as my status. Facebook, being the tricky creature it is, automatically tagged exactly where I was. I'm not even allowed to exaggerate anymore on facebook. o.o

Okay, so maybe I'm not the in the midddlee of nowhereee, MO, but it kind of feels like it. Though we are really close to St. Louis so that's a plus.

Anyway! We aren't supposed to be here, in an air-continued hotel with free food and drinks at happy hour in the middle of nowhere, MO. We are supposed to be in Iowa, actually. Visiting relatives.

So, why, you ask, am I in Missouri? Well, it's kind of a long story...

Okay, not really. Our car started to leak funny looking stuff so we checked it out and realized that our radiator fluid was leaking out. Since the radiator fluid is what helps the engine from overheating, this was kind of a big deal. Since it's Sunday, the only place open is Walmart, and that's not of much use. We poured more radiator fluid into the...thing, along with someone other...stuff that actually was supposed to go into another...thing. Long story short, something in our car is broken. Since we have like another four hours to go in our trip, the car cannot be safely driven.

Which brings us to the present. A hotel room. With free popcorn and soda AND an awesome happy hour that is basically a free dinner.

So, can't complain ;)

Anyway, we packed our lunch, and expected to stop at a rest area to eat. However, lunch time rolled around and there wasn't a rest area in sight. So, we pulled over in a small town, searching for the tourist information center where we hoped to find a picnic table. No such luck buttt we spotted a picnic table outside of the courthouse so we just ate there.

The courthouse was rather old. There was a sign that said 'This is a Fallout Center' posted on it. Should've taken a picture of that come to think of it. My little photo shoot was on a whim; my mom asked me to take a picture of the old building so I grabbed my camera. And then climbed over some chains to get a picture of that column. ;) All for the shot!

The courthouse is so old that the U's are actually V's. ;)

I'm still sorting through all my yard pictures :)

I'm getting better at taking self-portraits. Sometimes the light is too beautiful not to take a portrait, though most of the time I'm just surrounded by flowers. ;)

Anyway, I should really take advantage of the unexpected stay in MO and start on my film paper...oh the work never ends. ;)