Child’s Play

Do you remember your childhood obsession?

Inoccent Wonder

*My entry in this week’s iheart faces challenge*

This is hers. She got this box of colored stones (she calls marbles).

She loooooves them.

She counts them.

She categorizes them (by color and shape).

They are people. They are on a journey.

They interact. They imagine. They dream.

They need protection (a box), guidance (direction), and friends (fellow colors).

She cares for them and helps them get to where they are going (home, school, work, play).

They are not just stones. They are important.

I think we can learn a lot from preschoolers.

Don’t you?

Dream. Imagine. Play.

My Photo Lesson: The Art of Jumping

I’ve had two digital photography classes so far. I am no longer terrified of the technical. In fact, I am really looking forward to mastering the technical aspect of photography, then I can focus more on the creative side.

But it’s not easy.

You’d think with a Nikon D3000 DSLR (nice) camera, you could point, shoot, and voila – perfect pictures every press of the shutter. That is just not the case.

Sometimes it’s HARDER to get the pictures you want, especially regarding the intricate focus levels that have to be detected through a very small view finder. In the beginning, I was very eager to try all modes and learn. Then, I learned enough to dislike auto, but not knowledgable enough to go full manual. It put a bind on some of my practices. They would just frustrate me. Then, the 365 project came along. I had to get out my camera EVERY day and shoot something. It really helped get me over the hump. I can shoot auto if I need to. I can switch to manual when I feel confident enough.

Because….. maybe I don’t know everything, but putting the camera down until I do is not going to help in any way, shape or form. It’s day 23 of the 365 project.

One thing I have always wanted to try was jumping photographs. What held me back? It requires technical knowledge to capture.

With two digital photography classes under my belt and a homework assignment looming to photograph stopped motion……well, I just had to try. And guess what? You get to go on this learning journey with me.

I have two eager three willing subjects. Just so you know, a four and six-year old are much more inclined to jump for you (and happily), then say a sixteen-year old I pull off her Facebook page (rolls eyes).

So here they are……

Yes, they are cute as all get out. I can hardly stand it. Look at those smiles. But on a technical side. I forgot to meter the light. I had to edit to get it to be viewable. I also forgot my metering lesson in the Fort Worth store. This is what picking up your camera every day is all about. Using it (especially transitioning from auto to manual). It takes time and it takes mistakes.

I know what my settings need to be for jumping.

Somehow, I miss the mark. It’s not stopped motion. We do this over and over again with same results (see definition of insanity). I can’t get the shutter speed to stick and it results in blurred appendages (but cute happy jumping faces).

I’m real close to giving up and just chalking it up to not knowing enough about the technicalities. You can only get them to jump so many times in a row before they are….tired, cold, or checking their text messages.

So one goes inside (guess who?) and the other two play on the swing. I play with my settings. The light in the backyard is more shaded. The sun is going down. I could have my settings set for more light than I have. I change them.

I feel like I got a pretty stopped motion as Bridget is turning Molly on the swing. She is running.

I ask Bridget (who is MOST willing) to jump for me again.

Then Molly.

This is when I fall completely in love with jumping photos (technically correct or not). You just can’t get faces to light up like that in any other way. What it feels like to jump. To be free. To fly. How can you compare it? Have you jumped lately? Do you remember what it’s like?

I took a leap into photography possibilities.

I know I’m not perfect. I know there are some more settings I can try. I know the focus is off and I need to work more with those. I can definitely try again with better light outside. I think I may have some more jumping volunteers. All in all, it was great practice and great fun.

So let me ask you? What are you waiting for?

Just jump!

Sunday Healthy Reflection

The best inspiration is not to outdo others, but to outdo ourselves.

– Anonymous

    Winning victory against yourself

No one likes to lose. The thrill of victory after competition is hard to match. But the wins that leave the most significant, long-term impressions are the ones where you win against yourself. Beating a friend in a game of hoops is much less meaningful than setting a personal best time while running. We live in a highly competitive world, and everything around us screams that we’ve got to be number one in order to feel successful. Truly though, the best measuring sticks are your past and your potential–not against someone else’s standards. Raise the bar for yourself!

Brought to you by Sparkpeople.

Outdo myself. What a concept.

Seems like most of my life, I tried to be who my mom wanted me to be. Who I was supposed to be. Then, who my husband wanted me to be. Who would make everyone happy. Who would make everyone get along.

When I become a mother. I measured up to other moms. Was I going by the book guidelines? Doing what other moms did? Was I teaching my daughter the right things? Moral things? I beat myself up if i didn’t reach their standards.

Did I live how other people live? Work as hard? Have as much?

It seemed life WAS about measuring up to everyone else around me.

Now, as I near a new year, the year I turn forty, I have finally, not only grasped the concept of potential, but the victory of winning for myself.

I take on photography as an amateur and student of knowledge.

Knowing I’m only as good as my last shot.

And my last edit.

I can do it….for me.

I am not competing with anyone else. I’m just doing what I love. Learning what I love, and not being afraid to try.

I write. I blog. Maybe, it’s not as good as other technical writers. I may not win a writing contest, or be featured, or get published, but as long as I write from my heart, it’s all that matters.

In relationships, I can be me. I am accepted and loved just as I am. I don’t have to pretend to be something I am not. I can love who I am. Because I am true to myself and I believe in what I can do.

As a mom, I can tell my daughter and step-daughters. I am far from perfect, but willing to learn from and help them learn too.

As an employee, maybe my numbers won’t be first, or at the top, but I can take pride in what I do. I can admit to having a bad day and not fall apart over it. It’s okay. Some days are better than others. I can grow in my field. I can be stress-free.

I don’t have to be the best. I only have to be better.

What are you reflecting on today?

Savoir-Faire as the Cookie Crumbles

Keep your feet on the ground even though friends flatter you.

Apparently, my plans of floating away using my ballooned head from the ego boosting review, and the wonderful, uplifting comments has been delayed. Because the cookie said so. And you don’t mess with the cookie.

I will keep my feet on the ground and heed the advice I was given, in such a timely fashion.

My blog will stay the same as always. No bells, whistles, or shining lights; no mad endorsements, or instant fame. I will still write, chronicle, and record. I will continue to laugh, live, and love. And each, and every response I get from you, I will cherish and give thanks, because I appreciate every one. But my flying days? Well, they will be saved for my honeymoon.

So I bow down to the master cookie in the sky (God really does have a sense of humor) and praise you for preserving my character for another day.

I should say tact was worth much more than wealth as a road to leadership…. I mean that subtle apprehension which teaches a person how to do and say the right thing at the right time. It coexists with very ordinary qualities, and yet many great geniuses are without it. Of all human qualities I consider it the most convenient—not always the highest; yet I would rather have it than many more shining qualities.

-M. E. W. Sherwood

**This post also inspired by the fact that the superintendent of the school I went to (elementary-graduation), reads, subscribes, and comments on my blog** What an honor! Thank you Todd. You were an amazing biology teacher and I know you are an amazing superintendent. It was great to see you at the reunion last year. I could really get a big head from your glowing comments. Thank goodness we have fortune cookies to keep us sane. 🙂