Photo Project: Wrap-up…

At the end of January 2015, I began this Photo Project. Now, I end with a few last photos and a bit of wisdom garnered from the experiment. Check out my first Photo Project post here. Or you can click on the Kitchen Window tab at the top of this page and scroll…all…the…way…to…the…bottom.

In my previous post, snow had arrived after higher than normal temperatures for Christmas Day. December’s snow almost disappeared by the second week in January.

Pardon the general fuzziness of these first photos…I’d been experimenting with new filters that I got for Christmas and must have left the camera on Manual Focus. Oops!

Then the snow came again…

and began to fade…again.

It snowed a few days later…but that was outside the scope of this project.

What I Learned…

My goal in all of this was to grow in my understanding of photography and to learn more about my camera in particular.  And I did…(while learning a few things about myself along the way). For example, I discovered:

I could choose my subject more carefully next time.

The scene outside my window is peaceful. But that translated into boring when I was hoping for a measure of entertainment! The birds and other wildlife didn’t show up much. And facing northeast at sunrise misses a lot of light and color happening just a few degrees to the right. Oh, well!

There are a lot of settings on my camera!

I’m fairly certain that the settings I ended the project with are not the ones I started out using a year ago. I’d make setting adjustments for other photographic endeavors and then forget to adjust back. Or I’d forget what the previous setting even was! This was definitely not what you’d call a controlled experiment. 🙂 I did learn a bit about the different “white balance” effects this way!

Remotely triggering the shutter is possible and easy.

The last time I “remotely” triggered a shutter, I was using a cable release. The shutter release button on my D3200 isn’t an open hole lined with threads to screw in a cable release. I didn’t know what to do. But I took the easy steps necessary to find a handy little remote device made for my camera and voila! (I should mention that when I first received the remote, I couldn’t get it to work. I complained to the seller and then poked around inside it, digging out a small piece of plastic that had slipped between the battery and the contacts, fixing the problem instantly.)

Change is not as gradual as I thought.

I expected to capture all the subtle changes of the seasons. What I found instead, were long weeks of sameness and then (Bam!) a frenzied week of change! The melting snow at the end of spring suggested a gradual change, but then I went on vacation for a week in May and came back to a fully greened landscape. The autumn colors seemed subtle at first, but then, within a week or two, they were blazing. And within a couple of rainy, windy days, all the leaves came down! The mild temperatures in the fall kept the grass fairly green…until it was all white with snow. In the past, I would’ve chalked up the sudden changes to my not really paying attention. Now, I know…all I have to do is blink!

A year is a long time…and a short time.

I found myself resenting the self-imposed mandate towards the end of the year. As a result, I got lazy. I’d “forget” to stop in the middle of getting breakfast or I’d decide that my sleep was more important and I’d stay in bed past 7:30am. But now, I can’t believe I did it for a whole year already! I won’t be starting another yearlong project anytime soon. I think shorter photographic experiments are in order this year. So, it’s a wrap!

And that about sums it up. Thanks for checking in. 🙂

 

 

 

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New Year, New Adventures…

 

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Well, January has come and gone. How are those 2016 New Year’s resolutions holding up? Personally, I don’t like making them any more. I’m done promising myself that I’ll fix this or eradicate that in pursuit of perfection. Instead, I try to treat everyday as an opportunity to learn something or try something new.

This year, January brought two interesting new adventures. The first is still ongoing, while the second only lasted for a long weekend.

The first involves lower back pain. That, in and of itself, is nothing new. I’ve had back problems for years – probably more than half my life.  Degenerative disc disease, I’ve been told. It amounts to a chronically bearable level of lower back discomfort that flares up (becoming unbearable) once or twice a year. On the few occasions when I’ve bothered to involve my doctor in my misery, I’m directed to pain-killers, anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxants, ice and heat. Once, she actually sent me to physical therapy where I learned how to move correctly and, more importantly, how NOT to move. Somewhat helpful! 🙂

The flare-ups seem to be occurring more frequently these days, so when my back started complaining again a few weeks ago, I thought I’d try something new: a chiropractor. I know. Everyone has an opinion about chiropractors. And most people will share those opinions quite freely! (This doctor hurt them more than helped or that doctor is wonderful and made them feel so much better, etc.) A friend had recommended her chiropractor to me months ago. She liked him because of his medical background and incorporation of traditional medicine in his thinking and his practice. He’s a former EMT (emergency medical technician). That sounded safe to me.

I’ve now experienced electrical stimulation, ultrasound therapy, decompression, and minor “adjustments”.

I’m trying to keep an open mind, but pain can be a tiring thing. It’s been three weeks. A normal flare-up used to last me a week to ten days. I do admit that my lower back feels better, but now it’s migrated to my hip. This could be totally unrelated to the arthrosis, scoliosis, sclerosis, and any other -osis or -itis that might be going on in my back. All I know is that it still hurts. And I won’t blame “getting older”. That’s a cop-out! So, anyway, the jury’s still out on the whole chiropractic thing. I’m torn between cooperating with his treatment plan, which consists of two visits a week, and scrapping the whole idea. THAT has been my first adventure of the new year.

My second adventure was a LOT more fun! I joined my husband in Arizona, where the executives of his company had been meeting for a few days already. The whole company, plus significant others, spent the weekend together at the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale. A beautiful place with an incredibly attentive staff!

Here’s the “adventure” part: we toured a section of the Sonoran Desert, driving Tomcars! (My chiropractor wasn’t too keen on the idea.) Similar to an ATV or a dune buggy– actually built as an off-road military vehicle– the Tomcar can drive over boulders, through ditches, and across uneven terrain with amazing stability. DSC_0031 (1)A few dozen of us rode two and four-person cars following a tour guide along trails on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Reservation. My husband drove and I rode shotgun. I even managed to take a couple of bumpy iPhone movies – sacrificing a pair of suede gloves to the desert out the car’s non-door along the way!

 

During the tour, we learned about cacti, local wildlife, and a bit of Native American history. We were even lucky enough to spot a couple of wild horses.

The scenery was breathtaking and so unlike anything up here in New England. And the variety of cacti, astounding.

I don’t know if anything will top that in 2016, but as February kicks into gear, I look forward to more beautiful (wintery?) scenery and more excellent adventures…

How ’bout you?