The Fourth Time Is Not the Charm

You may be aware that I’m currently in the midst of my fourth Project 365 – my fourth year of daily photos (although the years have not been consecutive; I’m crazy but not over the top crazy, I guess). I started Project 365 the first time in the fall of 2006 because I wanted to learn how to take better pictures, or, I suppose more accurately: I just wanted to take pictures, period, and practice makes perfect. And I still think everyone who’s remotely interested in photography should try a daily photo project at least once, because you learn SO much in the process.

My creation

And when it was over, I needed a break; it was a relief to accomplish what I had set out to do… except in the few months that followed, I hardly took any pictures at all. And I really, really hated that, and loved having my days documented (especially since that first year saw me go from an administrative assistant in a long-term relationship who lived with her parents to a newly-employed librarian in her own apartment and dating someone else). So I started round two on January 1, 2008. It had always bothered me in round one that I didn’t start neatly at the beginning of the year, or, hell, even the beginning of a month. But by the end of that year? Cole, Summer and I started a “save us from our craziness” mini scavenger hunt and I tagged a bunch of photos with the phrase “help we’re struggling we’ll never make it uuuughhhh year two” … which says a lot.

My creation

And then it was over! And I was relieved. And a few months went by and I hadn’t taken any photos so I did a month of photos here and there… and then sneakily started again on October 1, 2009, saying all sorts of reasonable things like “I’ll only go as long as I want” and numbering the photos straight through, rather than xx/365, because that simple thing would CLEARLY allow my borderline OCD personality to just quit whenever I wanted. And I started telling Project 365 to bite me. You know, the project that I keep signing up for of my own free will. I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense… and yet it does. So Jodi asked one day, surreptitiously, how many pairs of shoes I thought I owned… and suggested doing a month of shoes to limp my way to the finish line of round three. And it was awesome.

My creation

September 30, 2010

And again I said I’d never do it again, except if you look closely, right after “done forever!!!!” I wrote “probably” … because I’m an idiot. And then my 30th birthday got closer and closer and I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to have my 30th year documented entirely….

And here we are. Again. And I’m struggling more this time around, maybe because I’m tired of my end of the day back up shots. Or because I’m commuting an hour and working more hours and planning my wedding and I’m just tired. And more of the photos than I’d like are cell phone shots, and there have been days where I just plain forgot. And all of that is okay because this is my project and I say so, even if the only one scolding me is the voice inside my own damn head.

My creation

I love you Project 365, and I just can’t quit you, except now I really, really kind of need to quit you forever and ever. Maybe I’ll test out a weekly project. Or a monthly project. And I know I said this all those other times, and maybe I’ll document every year of my future children’s lives or something but nothing like this. Because honestly. I have some new crafty projects lined up that I’m really looking forward to, and my new camera will still need to be learned and used but… you know.

But first, I have to get myself through the remaining 63 days. And I was again talking to Jodi, trying to come up with something, because having a theme makes it more fun and less pressure, not to mention themes are fun. So starting today and going through day 365 on July 19 (I could have done 366 because of the leap year, but day 366 will be my sister’s wedding day so I think I’ll be a little bit busy for a big deal “Last Photo” type of thing), I’m going to do eight straight weeks of color.

Each week, I’ve got a color lined up (thanks to Dan’s 8-sided die, it’s randomized, even), and I’ll look for that color for the week. Sixty four colors lite, if you will. Without the pesky colors. I think it’ll be good.

Week 40: Photo Safari


A few months ago, I spotted a groupon for New York City Photo Safari, and it seemed way too cool to pass up. I was able to convince my friend Irma to sign up with me, and we picked a Saturday in October for our safari on the High Line. I was pretty concerned when I saw the forecast for Saturday, though, and with good reason, because as it turned out? We were walking the High Line with our cameras during Snowtober. We met for brunch first, and thought we were bundled pretty well (me in my rain boots and gortex nerd raincoat, and Irma in her winter coat and boots) until it started snowing in addition to the wind. We stopped for extra scarves, gloves, and hats before meeting with the Photo Safari group. I spent most of the days leading up to the safari worrying about how to keep my non-water resistant camera safe during torrential rain/snow. I ended up bringing a gallon ziploc bag and felt like a tool, but during the parts of our afternoon that weren’t under cover, I was really glad to have it.

lines. or stripes, depending on who you ask.
101.365 :: urban jungle

I’m not really sure what I expected out of the experience, and I think part of that was that worry about the weather took over my brain before Saturday. Our guide explained a few rules, and we introduced ourselves, and then got down to business. We started out in a covered part of the High Line park, and focused on abstract concepts – first lines, and then curves. It was difficult at first, because getting feedback like “yes, but what’s interesting about that?” and “we’re not looking for STRAIGHT lines” was a bit strange. I wasn’t ever sure I understood what the goal was, just that I wasn’t quite getting it. After the abstract shots, we were instructed to put them together and keep composition in mind. Again, I got some that seemed good, and some that weren’t quite there. We then walked to a different part of the park, but it was so windy and our hands were sooo frozen and crampy, so we ended up heading to the Chelsea Market to shoot for a while indoors and out of the snow. Talk about a relief to be inside! At first I was just over it, the being told that I wasn’t there yet… (not that I think I’m perfect or anything) but I kept shooting and eventually everything just clicked. It’s hard to describe. I took a ton of photos of the same things over and over, and the guide was really complimentary about my progress from the beginning to the end.

curves and raindrops

I was disappointed that the weather impacted the day so much, just because we were limited to such a small portion of the High Line and our focus was so abstract that I still don’t feel like I saw it at all. Plus, it would have been so interesting to have more subjects to focus on during the projects. I do think, though, that I learned some things about composition and maybe even something so simple as taking different angles, because I often find myself focusing primarily on light. So I definitely got a lot out of it and am glad I went. Despite being freezing and soggy and super exhausted by the time I got back to Penn Station to get home. It was an Experience, that’s for sure!


Week 33: Wide Angle Love

I sometimes forget that I built an escape clause into this whole Handmade52 project, namely that photos could count if I needed them to. (Yes, again, that old refrain about how my own rules are too strict and I promise I can stop this project any time really I mean it blah blah.)

But a few weeks ago, I asked my friend Pete if I could borrow his wide angle camera lens, just for something different. I knew I wanted to get some good shots of our new apartment, and I figured it would come in handy during my brief trip up to Cape Cod, too.

I didn’t expect to love it so much that I kept “forgetting” to give it back. I guess I know what’s now at the top of my Camera Lenses I Would Buy Assuming I Had An Extra $700 Anyway list.

The lens is the Tokina 11-16mm, which is great indoors and just all around fantastic. I rarely took it off of my camera during the three weeks I had it, and I think I could do a lot of damage with a wide angle and the 50mm. Here are some of my favorite shots with the wide angle lens.

20.365 :: just sit

25.365 :: clam chowder

the salt marsh

Nauset Light

27.365 :: early morning beach

the living room!

32.365 :: draft day

the picnic area

at the paddock


I feel like I have been talking about turning thirty all year. And I guess I kind of have, what with the 30 Before 30 list and everything. (I am still working on a few of the items, and will definitely write to wrap up the list once things calm down a bit.)
July 21, 1982 :: 1
July 21, 1982. One.

As a kid, I had a strange history of putting way too much importance in my own birthday. There were a lot of years of stressing about what the perfect gift might be, or how to spend the perfect day. I have been afraid all along that the oh-so-typical Birthday Stress would be exponentially larger, since Turning Thirty is such a Big Deal And Whatever.

July 21, 1984 :: 3

But now it’s here, and I didn’t really end up coming up with anything outrageously noteworthy to do today, unlike most of my friends who have planned big parties or super fun things to do with large groups of everyone who loves them. I couldn’t even think of what to tell people I wanted. And the biggest surprise to me, the same girl who used to FREAK OUT the week before every birthday (it’s the last time I’ll ever swim in a pool while I’m 13!!), is that I’m totally okay with all of it. I am wearing a striped dress and giant pink, red and purple earrings with my purple saltwater sandals, I’ve eaten a bagel and will soon consume frozen yogurt, a beer sampler, and some cupcakes. I’m spending the day with my love. And that is pretty damn great.

July 21, 1985 :: 4
July 21, 1985. Four.

29 seemed like it was going to be The Year, and really? It turned out to be not great at all. There was so much stress and hassle and tears and frustrationĀ and for a really large part of the year, it felt like nothing was going as it should, and that everything was more difficult than it needed to be. Right up until this past week, when I almost broke my foot and had unexpected and expensive car repairs. So, no, 29 was not what I expected. But I think that fact is what has helped me approach 30 with increasing excitement and hope the closer it got. My teens were spent knowing somewhere deep down that I just didn’t fit in. My twenties were years of endless searching. For my place in the world, for a career, for fulfillment, for love, for friendship… And as I sit here, newly 30 and perhaps a bit too reflective, I can’t help but feel for damn sure that everyone who has ever told me that their thirties were the best years EVER was SO RIGHT.

Because Dan and I just moved in together and even though the last few weeks have been unsettled and chaotic, things are coming together SO nicely. And I have some of the best friends in the universe. And a craft room. And a brother and a sister and parents who know me better than anyone and who have carried my shit way too many times. And someone who really loves me. And I’m having a really great hair day.

So thirty, bring it on. I simply can’t wait to see what you have in store.

365.1 :: 30

#21: Make a Photo Book out of Project 365 Photos

#21: Make a photo book out of Project 365 photos

I started by going through all three years of Project 365 photos and adding any that grabbed me to a set on flickr. It was so interesting to actually take the time to click through every photo again, because some are so familiar, but the descriptions and tags aren’t as fresh in my mind. I tried to pick photos that I am most proud of, or ones that were taken on important or noteworthy days… but I also wanted to include some of the more mundane shots, too, because if that’s not at the heart of a daily photo project, I’m not sure what is. It became a bit of a labor of love as I added the photos to the layouts in the book, because my old habit of resizing photos to 800×600 or 1024×768 before posting to flickr meant that almost half of the photos I wanted to include were too low resolution to print. So I had to find the original files and re-edit as necessary. That was an adventure, too.

june 003
(I included the flickr captions for all three day 365/365 shots, because they make such nice summaries.)

june 004

june 005

june 006

Not only has doing this project gotten me all jazzed to start another round of daily photos, but it has reaffirmed my love for photography. Maybe I’m just the kind of person that needs rules to motivate myself creatively. (You’re shocked, I know.) What I do know, more than anything, is how glad I’m going to be that I got this book made in five, ten, twenty years. When I can pull it out and show kids, grandkids, old friends what I was doing, how I looked, how I found so much happy in the details way back when.

june 008
(The book was printed using I chose that solely based on a half off Groupon, and would be interested to compare quality to books from Snapfish/Shutterfly/Adorama, all of which were recommended to me by my photography pals. Using the software on my very old laptop wasn’t always…quick, but it was easy enough to use and very customizable. I went with the standard 10×8 landscape book with an image-wrapped cover. I LOVE the cover. The pages are a bit on the thin side, but I don’t wish I had upgraded. I’m very, very happy.)

64 Colors in 64 Weeks

Jodi and Dani’s sixty-four colors project has been one of the most inspiring projects I’ve seen in a long time. The fact that they invited us to participate alongside them was so great, and I have had the BEST time with this project. It has inspired me to see things differently, to look for colors everywhere, and satisfies my perfectionist side at the same time. While some of the colors were duds, so to speak, and I got reeeeally tired of dark purples and how purples never look on the computer screen like they did in real life, I am so glad that I followed this project through from start to finish. I’m sad it’s over, but I have a feeling that I will keep adding shots to my sixty-four colors set for a long time.

May 10, 2010

Here are all of my “official” sixty-four colors shots. I love seeing them all together like this!
sixty-four colors, January 2010 - September 2010

sixty-four colors, September 2010 - April 2011

Week 13: Kickstart

Back when I came up with this whole Handmade52 project idea, I intended to make myself create something (food or otherwise) each week. I gave myself the option of taking a photo as a backup in a week when I needed some help, or got busy, but the truth is that I never really intended to let a photo count. I didn’t really realize how I’d be feeling about life this winter, though, and while having the project to force me to be more crafty and to cook more has been a lifesaver, in the past few weeks I just haven’t been feeling it. I haven’t taken any photos, nor have I felt like it, I haven’t been as jazzed about crocheting or knitting, and my schedule has been so nutty that I haven’t been home many evenings to cook. It was starting to feel like work, and that was not something I was happy about at all. (Because giving up is allowed, but I really just don’t want to.)

Picnik collage

The good news is that I found some inspiration for knitting and crochet projects in the past few days (wait until you see what I finished on Friday!), and I actually took photos that I’m happy about three days in a row. I suppose in a way that returning to such overdone subjects (bokeh and the Asbury Park boardwalk) might be too obvious, but I’ve been in such a creativity rut lately that perhaps I needed to ease back into things with something obvious. And the extra side bonus? “Revisiting something you’ve photographed more than three times” is an item on the Super Mega Exciting Radical Scavenger Hunt, which I have been meaning to start for three months now.

Picnik collage

with a little flare for good measure.

So things are feeling a little better, and that’s emphatically a good thing.

#101 and Done!

Way back in January, I started a new photo project for the new year (because sixty-four colors and my third year of Project 365 weren’t enough, simultaneously): Scavenger Hunt 101. When Pookie and Schnookie suggested it, I was really skeptical. There were a lot of items on this list (a child crying, someone meditating or praying, a public display of affection… I could go on) that really didn’t inspire me at all. But I went for it anyway, and carried the master list, written in a notebook, in my bag all year. I’m really glad that I did this, now that it’s over. It got me shooting things I probably wouldn’t care so much about normally, and it really challenged me to think outside the box for some of the more pesky scavenger hunt items. I thought it would be fun to feature a few of my favorite shots from the whole set, which you can see over here, in order.

he's the best non-human creature I know
#2, the home of a non-human creature.

February 3, 2010
#6, winter.

as if there could ever be another
#15, a toy.

in repose
#23, a flower.

stripes in the (contained) wild
#45, a fish.

a few of my favorite things
#49, your favorite color.

April 13, 2010
#79, an exotic animal.

the towering oak
#80, your favorite shade-tree.

May 21, 2010
#84, the place where you eat most of your meals.

stripes in the shadows
#86, a shadow.

Is it possible to make ugly NJ Transit seats almost pleasing to the eye?
#93, a train.

see you next year!
#101, a self-portrait.


It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a roundup of photos from the archives that match the week’s color for sixty-four colors. I think it’s mostly because there are so many crayons that are so similar, and I may have already posted old shots for those colors. Either way, this week’s color was red, and you know I have a lot of that. The first shot was this week’s photo, and the rest are old favorites.


dartboard on film

June 25, 2010

we took refuge under a tent of stripes



December 29, 2008

November 8, 2008

April 27, 2007

Sunrise at the Beach

I don’t know when I last watched a sunrise, let alone one at the beach. I’m fairly certain I haven’t ever done that. So way back when I started working on Scavenger Hunt 101, I felt like I should do something special for #73, a sunrise. You don’t live 15 minutes from the beach on the east coast and not watch at least one sunrise. So on Tuesday, I woke up super early (and I may or may not have waited until the last week before daylight savings time ended so I didn’t have to wake up THAT super early) and drove to the boardwalk in Asbury Park (even though the universe is probably SO over my photos from that spot, I just can’t help it) in time to watch the sun rise.







It was pretty amazing. Even if the bagel place on the boardwalk is closed, but only on Tuesdays. If you ever get a chance to watch the sun rise, you should do it. Really.