Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 366 - A New Year, A New Chapter

Today I signed the lease for my new apartment—the first one that’s ever been truly mine. This is a silly shot of Brian looking through the enormous peephole in my front door.

Hard to believe that this challenge has finally come to an end. It’s been an eventful year—perhaps the most eventful year in my life—and I’m thankful the blog was here to record it all: the vacation in South America; the breakup with Nick; trips to Big Sur, Encino, Riverside, and Yosemite; the countless little adventures with the amazing friends I made and then said goodbye to; the promotion at work; and, of course, the move.

I’ve learned a lot about photography, although I know I didn’t push myself as hard as I could have. Some days this challenge felt like a chore—something I just had to muddle through. But then there were days of motivation and inspiration and days of accidentally stumbling upon an amazing shot. So, in other words, it was just like life—a mix of active pursuit, serendipitous chance, and, mostly, just showing up and putting in the time.

I wanted to say more in this last post, to wrap things up neatly, but I’m running into the same problem that plagued me for the entirety of this challenge: It’s so hard to strike a balance between taking the time to document your life and taking the time to actually live it. And right now there’s so much living I need to do—new places to explore, new people to meet, new things to discover. A new chapter of my life to start.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 365 - A Day to Relax

Linda's house is amazing, and she's one of the nicest, most laid-back people I've met. This week will be a weird combination of vacationing, moving, and staying at someone's house, but today was mostly a rest day. Since it's Labor Day, we drove around a bit and then I bought a new bed, but that's about all we got done. Jennifer and I (and later Linda) did a fair amount of drinking by the pool, while Nell and Brian horsed around in it. I like this shot of Brian falling off his floaty into the (quite cold) water.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day 364 - Moving Day

This was the day I've been working up to for the last few months, and it was about as stressful as I thought it would be. On the plus side, the stress prevented me from being sad. Woke up at about 6:00, my parents were here by 7:00, and we left for the Ontario airport around 7:30. The cats were fighting the sedative hard in the car, so the three-hour car ride (three hours because we missed a freeway change, which added a whole new level of stress) featured nonstop yowling and frantic scratching to get out. Perdita even managed to claw a decent-sized hole in the front of her carrier (although luckily there was a flap that covered it). Met Jennifer at the airport, and the cats settled down and slipped into drugged stupor. Luckily no one asked me for the health certificates I didn't have, and walking with the cats through the metal detector in security proved to be no big deal. A few minutes before boarding, I discovered I'd left the extra sedative in the car, but luckily my parents were still around and were able to run it up to security for Jennifer to pick up.

The flight from Ontario to Atlanta, the layover in Atlanta, and the flight from Atlanta to Albany were all uneventful. The cats were high as kites and didn't even mind the little girl in the Atlanta airport who wanted to pet them. I had so much pent-up stress, though, that on the first flight I ended up chugging a beer and taking a quick nap. Brian was there to pick us up at the airport, and it was only a 15-minute drive to Linda's house. The cats managed to hold it the entire 12 hours of travel!

I'm pleased with how well this sunset photo came out, considering I was using my point-and-shoot and it was through the very dirty window of the plane.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Day 363 - Best Parents Ever

I spent the morning and early afternoon hanging out with Jeff, Carey, Nicole, and Bryant. I'm trying to subscribe to Carey's method of dealing with goodbyes (by pretending they're not actually happening), but it's not really working. Then I met up with my parents to do the last bit of cleaning, collect the final boxes, and have dinner together at The Palace Grill. They really are the best parents ever, and I will miss having them close by. But, because they're so awesome, I know they'll support me in whatever I do... even if it's a crazy move across the country. (Decided to make the photo black and white because the lighting outside Palace was kind of meh.)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 362 - A Final Drink at HBC

Today was my last day of work in the office! I think I'll miss it more than I expect. We got to leave early, so I went to sushi with my coworker Cathleen and then ran a few errands. Carey and Jeff made me an amazing stir-fry for dinner, then we headed off to Hollister Brewing Company for one final drink together. After hanging out a bit at their house, Carey drove me home and we came thisclose to getting skunk'd right outside my front door. I don't even want to think about how much extra stress that would have added to the next few days.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 361 - Lily, (Mostly) All Growed Up

My coworkers threw me a going-away party! They all signed a card and got both a pie and a cake. As much as work has slowly eroded my soul over the last seven years, and as much as I generally dislike being in the office on a day-to-day basis, I'm really going to miss the regular face-to-face interaction. Tonight I had dinner with Andrew and Liz (I love how everyone has been feeding me this week). Their puppy Lily is now six months old and has grown a lot since the last time I saw her.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 360 - The Marketplace

I spent the evening finishing up a bunch of moving-related tasks (although there's still more to do) and so decided to take a quick photo of the Camino Real Marketplace while I was over there picking up my dinner. It's not the best shopping center in the world (and this isn't even a good shot of it—plus I realized after the fact that I should have gotten a shot that included HBC), but it's where I've come for farmers' markets, movies, carousing with friends, and shopping for the last seven years. I'm excited to explore the little plaza that's across the street from my future apartment.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 359 - Food Bonanza

Today after work I hung out with Carey, Jeff, Nicole, and Brendan at Nicole's house. I had them divvy up my remaining food items (there were more than I expected) and in return I got some spontaneous and fun shots of them posing ridiculously. We also tried mulling some mead, which was… not nearly as tasty as I'd hoped. I am going to miss these bastards!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 358 - Joey, One Last Time!

I have less than a week left before the big move, so I decided to focus on taking photos that document important places and friends (and their pets!) rather than trying to find artistic or technically challenging shots. Today I hung out with Carey, Jeff, and Joey while I did my laundry. They made me a delicious vegetarian pizza with three types of cheese, mushrooms, olives, garlic, and artichoke hearts. (Well, Joey didn't help with the pizza, but he was awfully adorable.) This shot didn’t come out very well, but I sort of like the muted colors.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

day 357 - A Day at Avila Beach

Today I went up to Avila Beach with my awesome friend Ash. We rented a hot tub at Sycamore Springs (which was the perfect thing after all of yesterday's hard work—it helped relax my ankle and the sulfur is so good for your skin) and then had lunch at Woodstone Marketplace (which was amazing—I had a delicious wrap with a sun-dried tomato tortilla, greens, chicken, slivered almonds, avocado, mango chutney, and a balsamic vinaigrette). I took the shot of the ocean as we were driving past on the way back home. Little did I know that there's apparently been a pod of humpback whales right off the coast for awhile now. If I'd only known, we would have stopped and done some whale watching.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 356 - Trimmer

Today was an exhausting day. My fantastic parents came down and helped clean up my apartment and I packed like it was going out of style (it is). Although I had an opportunity to take a good shot before or after they left, I didn't think about it until right before I collapsed into bed. So I quickly searched for something and ended up with this (pretty shitty) shot of the blue trimming attachment on an electric shaver. I'm pretty disappointed in myself for "wasting" one of my last shots on something so dumb, but what can you do?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 355 - My Street

Since I'm nearing the end of my stay here in Goleta, I want to take a few photos of all the familiar places. And, since I've lived on Davenport (at various addresses) for the last almost 6 years, a shot of the street sign seemed appropriate (and low-stress). I did it in black and white to give it a somewhat stronger impact (and because the sky was really overcast and boring that day).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 354 - Cat in a Box

Today was kind of a meh day. Not only did I miss the bus and end up actually walking the two miles to work (not a great idea on my still-fucked-up ankle), but I was not feeling the photography at all tonight. Since I spent a lot of the evening packing, I decided to just take this quick shot of Elim in one of the boxes. The composition is kind of messy, but I guess I could say that that messiness is just a reflection of the overall state of disarray in my house. Or something.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 353 - Baxter

Tonight I spent some time with Nicole at Jeff and Carey's house (getting in as much friend time as possible before the big move). Their new roommate has a big goofy dog named Baxter who is completely ball obsessed. For this shot, I just held the ball near the camera in order to get him to stay still and look at me. I wish I'd tried harder to get an action shot of him jumping for the ball.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 352 - Dramatic Lighting

Even though I spent the evening hanging out with Carey and Jeff (which would have provided a ton of great photo ops), I managed to get my photo in by 8:00 am! As I was getting ready for work, I noticed Perdita relaxing in a ray of morning sun. The lighting looked so striking that I had to take a photo. I love how her whiskers are all lit up!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 351 - Oil on Mirror

Tonight I decided to take a photo of drops of olive oil on a mirror (weird, I know). I'd tried this once before but it came out so poorly that I ended up using another shot for that day. This time still wasn't that great, but it was good enough to use. You can see the kitchen window reflected in the droplets.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 350 - Overmedicated

It's getting harder and harder to come up with photo ideas. Not only am I running out of steam, but I'm also running out of things to photograph as I start packing up. Today I decided to take a shot of a bunch of various pills and supplements (some of which Jennifer had accidentally left behind). Not the best shot, but at least it's very colorful.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 349 - More Babies!

Today I went up for a party at my parents' house and got to hang out with my newest second cousin Lauren, who just turned eight months old. She is definitely the happiest baby I've ever seen and she absolutely loves the camera (and kept wanting to get close to it).

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 348 - Baby Ezra

Today I went up to Lompoc to have a farewell dinner with Jennifer, Jenna, Heather, Ashly, and Irene—the old gang. I also got to meet and hold Heather's two-week-old son Ezra, who is absolutely adorable. Unfortunately, the shots I got of him weren't very good because of the lighting in their house, but this one of him in Carlos's arms was very cute.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 347 - Om Nom Nom!

Wasn't sure what to take a photo of today, so I followed the cats around the house for a bit to see if they'd do anything interesting. Elim was hungry, so I tried to take some close-up shots of him eating. Even though this shot isn't sharp at all, for some reason I was really captivated by the blur of colors and the lines of the food dish. So I decided to post this one instead of a very sharp (but boring) picture of him sitting staring off into space.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 346 - The Spice of Life

Today I decided to take a shot of my spice rack, which looks like a collection of test tubes. I even got my tripod out! I like this one, although the cloudy plastic the tubes are made of doesn't look as nice and clear as glass. Also, the blur progression could be better.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 345 - Streeeeeetch!

Today I tested out the sedative the vet gave me. To be honest, I couldn't tell a difference—those little bastards sleep all day anyway. I happened to be fiddling with my point-and-shoot camera when Elim woke up from his drugged sleep and made this epic yawn and stretch. The movement made this shot blurry, but I think the pose is adorable.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 344 - Raspberries

Spent the day working from home and taking care of my still-swollen ankle. Yesterday Alex got some groceries for me, including these really fantastic raspberries. I actually dragged out my mini-tripod for this shot, although the use of the close-up filter still made it a bit blurry.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 343 - Sunday Morning Tradition

Alex is heading back to France tomorrow, and I realized I didn't have a single picture of him! So I took this shot of him taking some cinnamon rolls out of the oven. It's become our little tradition: every Sunday he makes us cinnamon rolls and then, later in the day, I eat the remnants of the little tub of frosting. He was a fantastic roommate and I will miss him. But now I know that if I'm ever in Paris, I totally have a place to stay!

Ankle update: Carey drove me to Urgent Care today, where I spent most of the morning. X-rays confirmed that it's not broken, but I do have a moderate sprain (ligament tearing, but not completely in half). There will be much icing and ibuprofen in my future. The timing is pretty shitty, but hopefully it'll be more or less healed by the time I move.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 342 - Joey Has a Thing for Condensation

Wow, what an eventful day. Spent the morning organizing my remaining stuff, then went to see Total Recall with Alex. Beers at HBC afterward, then a nap and some more organizing. Got some frozen yogurt with Jeff and Carey and then went back to their house to watch Mean Girls (again!) and wait for the Perseid meteor shower to peak. I figured I probably wouldn't get any good shots of the meteor shower, so I took this photo of Joey licking the condensation off of Carey's frozen yogurt container (he has a thing for condensation... don't ask me why).

Then we piled blankets and sleeping bags into Jeff's truck and headed up to West Camino Cielo to watch the shower. It was absolutely amazing! I saw at least 20 meteors while laying in the bed and sharing a bottle of wine with Carey. I do wish, though, that I'd tried a little harder to take a photo of them. Oh well. The best part was laying in the back of the bed while Jeff drove us back down to 154—totally reminded me of childhood! Then it was off to Freebirds to get a late-night meal.

And then things went terribly, terribly wrong. Drunken me thought it would be a great idea to have Carey teach me some ballet moves. In the process of doing one, I landed wrong and my ankle sort of crumpled in on itself. Definitely one of my more painful life experiences. But Jeff and Carey took good care of me and got me back home, where I promptly fell asleep.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 341 - Dignity: It's What Sets Us above the Animals

This is a favorite phrase of mine. I was super burned out from the workweek, so i decided to simply take a cat photo. I managed to catch Perdita chewing on her foot, and although the shot could be clearer and better lit, it totally makes me chuckle. But, lest she lose all her pride, I also took a dignified shot of her (done in black and white, to make it extra dignified).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 340 - Bubble Wrap

In preparation for my move, I ordered a 175–foot roll of bubble wrap, which came today. I thought a close-up of the bubbles would make a great shot, but this proved much harder to do than I expected. I ended up shining a flashlight on them and using a pillowcase as a background.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 339 - Flower Innards

Tonight, before meeting a friend for dinner and drinks, I took a quick shot of the center of this pretty flower a few streets over. Thanks to my finicky close-up filters, the focus wasn't the best, but I really liked the colors and the late-afternoon lighting.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 338 - Ring Pop

Another busy day. Luckily, I'd been holding on to this watermelon ring pop the apartment people gave me a few weeks ago, so I didn't have to resort to a cat photo. On a side note, ring pops are both less delicious and more unwieldy than I remember them.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 337 - Slinky!

At work today I rediscovered my mini-slinky, so for once my choice of photo subjects was clear. Unfortunately, this little guy is too small to do any fun stair-stepping maneuvers, so I had to settle for a simpler composition. Still, I like this shot.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 336 - Just a Kind of Boring Flower

Today I was super busy (to make up for all the slacking off I did yesterday). I took a quick walk around the neighborhood and found some nice flowers to photograph. The shots looked really good on my camera screen, but later when I was transferring them to my computer, I realized they hadn't come out that great. I hate when that happens! Oh well.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 335 - Oscar, Dignified

I had big plans to get up early and go downtown to take photos of the Children's Parade, but then sleeping in turned out to be so much more appealing. In fact, I spent the entire day just relaxing and vegging out. When I realized I still hadn't taken my photo, I didn't even have the energy to go hunt something down outside, so I took this shot of Oscar (who I'm babysitting again). He looks quite dignified in this photo, and I like how the colors turned out.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 334 - Fairy Wing

While waiting to go out to dinner with my roommate and his parents, I started sorting through stuff in my closet. I found this set of fabric fairy wings I bought at the French Festival a few years ago and decided they'd suffice for my daily photo. The shot wasn't that interesting, so I fiddled with it a bit in Photoshop, really bumping up the contrast. Still not that exciting of a shot though.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 333 - Fiesta Flower

It's Fiesta time again, and my work celebrated by feeding us food coma–inducing breakfast burritos, having a Fiesta-themed trivia contest (I totally won one of the prizes!), and bringing in one of the Flower Girls. The flower she gave me, combined with the background of my patio table, actually made for a pretty nice shot.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 332 - Unobservant Maxine is Unobservant

While cleaning up my backyard a bit this past weekend, I found a pile of seashells right by the back door. They aren't mine, and I don't remember anyone ever bringing them, and it looked like they'd been there for awhile. Apparently I can be very unobservant sometimes. Anyway, they solved my "what to take a photo of?" conundrum for the day.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 331 - Cat Toy

I came very, very close to forgetting my photo today. I blame Jennifer (who's up in town for a few days) and her beer. This shot of a cat toy isn't very interesting, but at least I remembered to take it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 330 - Please Drink Responsibly

I was looking around my house for something colorful to photograph and rediscovered my collection of tiny bottles of flavored vodkas. I actually kind of like how this shot turned out.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 329 - This is the Face of a Moron

So, after owning my phone for at least two and a half years, today I discovered for the first time that the wall charger is actually a USB cable plugged into a wall charger and I can, in fact, use it to easily transfer photos from my phone to my computer. Durrr. So, to celebrate this momentous discovery, I took a phone self portrait. A little silly, I know, and the quality of the phone camera isn't that good, but whatever, my photo for the day is taken care of.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 328 - Seriously? Roses Again?

Even though today was a busy Saturday (six hours of overtime and a lot of other chores), I managed to get in a walk around the neighborhood while the sun was still out. I really, really tried not to take a flower photo. I took some photos of backlit leaves, some blurry bee shots, and even some photos of a super depressing lost cat poster. But, in the end, this amethyst rose was the most striking (and they are my favorite of all the rose colors). The yard they're in has seriously every color of rose ever.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 327 - You Know, Just Perdita

After such a busy week, I had no energy to think about photos, so I phoned it in tonight and just took a shot of Perdita relaxing in her new carrier (which she absolutely loves).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 326 - Cat Silhouette

Tonight I went out to see if the moon was doing anything worth photographing (it wasn't) and noticed that the silhouette of Elim in the kitchen window was quite striking. I actually really like how this one turned out—it sort of makes him look like a ghost.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 325 - Corkscrew

I actually managed to think of a neat photo idea in the midst of all this overtime and getting-ready-to-move business. This shot of a corkscrew could have been a bit clearer (story of my life), but I like the shape and the shadow it casts on the pillowcase I was using as a background.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 324 - The "Santa Barbara" Flower Revisited

Since I knew I was going to be super busy, I took a few photos of a white "Santa Barbara" flower (which I have since learned is called Agapanthus, or Lily of the Nile). Unfortunately, I didn't look at the shots until late at night and when I realized they had all been pretty blurry, it was too late to do anything about it. Stupid flower. Oh well.