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And so do my posts...I got a bit behind mostly because I chose to keep this project fun and stress free.  If I ran out of time or inspiration, I allowed myself to set it aside until I could enjoy taking my photos, sifting through them, picking my favorite.

Here are the photos from last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  I'll do a bit more catching up tonight and post more tomorrow.

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Today's prompt was "simply divine."  I see the divine, the beautiful grace of the universe, in many places.  But there  are two things that always make me feel closer to the divine--the ocean and the sky.  I wasn't able to get to the ocean today, so I took some sunset photos.  I was hoping to get a sky full of stars tonight, but clouds have rolled in.  Still, the sunset photos from my studio seem right because I often sit looking out the window at the sky and the clouds in the west, and I always feel that expansion in my heart that comes from communing with the divine.  I still haven't decided which of these I'm using for the project, so they appear here in the order I shot them.

 

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I missed yesterday.  Well, not entirely.  I tried to get a photo to go with the prompt "shaping up."  I shot some photos, but no fabulous shapes jumped out at me, so I informed the Picture the Holidays group that I'd be trying again today on that one.  And today came through for me.  Once again I was captivated by the sparkling sunlight on my little gilt Christmas tree so I took some photos of it.  When I was looking through them after, I found that I had captured a tiny, shiny little galaxy all my own:

I'm using that one for the photo project, but I also really loved this shot, so I'm sharing it here:

Today's prompt was easy.  It was "a whole lot of happy."  I work in an office with a big black lab.  We also have a couple of regular doggie visitors, and one of them stopped by today.  Look at this face and tell me that doesn't just make you laugh out loud:

And finally, because our office dog doesn't want to be left out, here's a picture of both of my happy doggie pals today:

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A photo of the little star on top of my mini, wire Christmas tree.  It has some sequins and sparkly bits anyhow, then I put a candle next to it to catch some pretty twinkles.  I used the first picture for the Picture the Holidays book, but the second picture came out pretty great, too, so I had to put it up here.

 

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Today I knew immediately what I wanted to shoot.  I just didn't have a chance before tonight.  I made these little banners for 2010 to remind me of things I wanted to hold and build in my life, and the past few days I've been thinking about what I want to have more of in 2012.  Since today's prompt is about signs, it seemed like a good time to revisit my signs for writing, moving, and praying and see how I want to have those things in my life in the coming year.

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I'm going to be brief today, mostly because I'm a bit overbooked.  Well, my brain feels overbooked because it wants to be working on outlining and it wants to be writing.  And then in the middle of all of that it needs and wants to take pictures!  It's a tough life sometimes, being a creative brain.

Anyhow, today's prompt is about reflections.  I love looking at things in reflection and rarely remember to photograph them (although once, in 1998, I got an awesome shot of the Space Needle in the side view mirror of the car I was driving. I was at a stop light at the time, though, so it was perfectly fine).  Reflections are hard, by the way.  In case you've never tried to get a photograph of one.  After many, many attempts, I finally got this great shot of my pretty, sparkly little Christmas tree I keep here at work.  I used my little pocket compact mirror.  What looks like lights is really lots of sparkly sequin sorts of things on the tree catching the light from overhead and from the window.

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To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.  ~e.e. cummings, 1955

Today's Picture the Holidays prompt was "express yourself."  The post mentioned self-portraits.   The whole thing made me a little twitchy.  My hair is awful today--I'm weeks beyond needing a cut.  It needs coloring, too.  I'm feeling tired and have dark circles under my eyes.  I don't photograph that well on a good day.  Today?  No way was I taking a picture of myself.  So I worked on writing some things about what being me means to me.  Who am I?  What am I?  What is important to me?  What makes me me?  I thought maybe I would do a quick collage or art journal page.  That's self-expression, right?  And then I could just take a photograph of that.  But this didn't feel right.  So I let the thoughts simmer all day.  And then I knew.

I'm a writer.  I'm a lot of other things, too, but it always comes back to words for me.  Books and writing and pens and journals...those are the things that are nearest and dearest to me, at least in the inanimate categories.  And then I knew.  A self-portrait was exactly the right thing.  Here it is:

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Today I was on the lookout for little, pleasing things during my day to capture with my camera.  I went through my usual routine, opening mail, processing transactions, still looking around for that special little thing that wanted to be pictured.  While opening the mail I found several pretty, brightly colored stamps on some of the envelopes, and as I often do I cut them out and set them aside for later to put into my journal or just into my little collage stash.  I was still looking for my pretty little thing.  Then, work finished, I started playing with my stamps, shuffling them around to get the most pleasing configuration to paste into my journal.  Hey, what's that?  Oh!  A pile of pretty little things!

I believe this is what is called a lesson.  Don't get so hung up on looking for something that you miss what is right in front of your face!

I'm sharing two photos.  The first is the one I chose for the Picturing the Holidays project, but the second one was a close runner up.

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I am at work, looking for a good image to embody the view from my windows.  I can't seem to escape the power lines!  It's actually pretty frustrating.  I've taken a couple dozen pictures today, and none of them capture a view of the winter holidays to me, so I'm going to go with my favorite.  It's an accidental photo--I hit the button while I was shaking my iPod to randomize my settings (yes, I'm using Hipstamatic to shoot my photos--I love it, what can I say?).

So here's the view from here today.  Bright blue skies carrying frosty breezes.  Some trees hanging on to their brilliant leaves while others have given them up and stretch their bare, unencumbered branches to the heavens.  And the parking lot, because around here there are cars everywhere I look.

Of course, this one is also good. It's a Japanese maple, mostly leafless now but holding onto a few red fronds.  And underneath its bare, scratchy branches a bed of ferns growing wild, mixing their greens with the maple's reds to create a Christmas tableau of their own.

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Today's prompt is about finding or remembering the things that help you slow down and feel calm, peaceful, relaxed.  This is something  we should all take some time to pinpoint, really, so that when we're feeling frazzled, frantic, and generally out of sorts we don't have to try to figure out what to do to help ourselves.  If we know the things that soothe us, we can just turn to them when we need to.

Here's my soul soothing photo:

A good book, my journal and a favorite pen, a hot drink in a favorite Matisse print mug--these soothe my soul
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