Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September Challenge!

Bottom of the third quarter and we are all tied up at 4. Not the score I wanted but I look back so far and smile at what I've tried. I'm reminded of the famous quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem In Memoriam.  One of the MANY reasons why this all started was to learn a thing or two. After visiting the Ranch and learning several foreign skills that are commonplace for a manual laborer, I desired to learn more skills that would help me now, in the long run, improve the quality of my life, be fun to know or just be something a guy should know.

Many have suggested it, and I agree...

This month's challenge is a skills challenge.

I will seek to learn several skills this month. Many of those skills will be determined throughout the next 30 days, but include learning how to:

Sew on a button
Change a diaper & wrap a baby in a blanket
Determine north without the use of a compass from anywhere.
Change spark plugs
General household handyman maintenance.

As usual, I recommend you challenge yourself. Are there any tasks you have always wanted to learn? Anything you should learn to improve the quality of your life? Anything that would at the very least be interesting to experience?

Turn off the video games, close off your Netflix, put down your sandwich and tell her you will call back later. Its time to learn some skillz.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

August Results!

It's no secret that I have some issues with some of the conveniences of modern technology, and it's no secret that when someone puts a camera in my face without asking, I tend to react like they work for TMZ. I like to enjoy myself, and too often I've been at gatherings where cameras, phones or other recording devices were brought out to showcase all the fun "we were having". I'm all for theatrics, but staging an event or a memory for the sake of showing other people rubs me the wrong way. Why are we recording this? Is this because I have a horrible memory? Is this for my good friend on the Isle of Man who would appreciate seeing this? Or am I seeking validation or even worse, envy, from my peers. I'm the type of person that enjoys stopping to smell the roses, to marvel at their magnificence and then move on.

For awhile now I suspected that my attitudes toward photography might not be balanced, so I devised this month's challenge as a way for me to get inside the mind of a photographer, by becoming a photographer myself. Frankly, I've come to see that not everyone is the same (Shocking) and some people enjoy stopping to look at the flowers, side step, pull out their camera and capturing that magnificence. Some people, real photographers, can see beauty in a way I don't see.

So how did the challenge go? Was I able to stick to the photo challenge? Arguably the easiest challenge yet?!

Results: FAILED

Analysis: "Are you serious, bro?!" I'm so upset I didn't pass this challenge! As I said, it is arguably one of the easier ones, and one I was very excited about participating in. The first half of the challenge, I went out with my camera every day. My friend and I would go out to lunch and look around at the city. I honestly looked at my environment in a new way. (Success!) I took the time to make a simple every day object appear special for my project. Though I lack the skills and natural talents as my co-blogger this month, I took a few photos that impressed her, and left some readers wondering who had taken the photo in question.

However, as life attacked and many external factors caused me to fumble. I got busy and preoccupied. This is no excuse though, as I still had plenty of free time. I made the decision during my free time to not put forth the effort in bringing my camera with me every where I went.

I do feel I got a glimpse into a photographer's mind. And I definitely feel I can take a DECENT photo if I need to.

I love Los Angeles.

However, I am so disappointed I failed to even scratch the surface of the Bonus Challenge. I don't often blow horns, but I'm going to go out and say this month's bonus challenge was a great idea. An idea, that I failed miserably. Computer issues played a factor this month. (Lack of updates, delay in posts/promotion, lack of uploading pictures)

I will say that despite missing 5 letters, I enjoyed this challenge, and thoroughly enjoyed having the talented Jennifer Glen as my co-blogger this month. Thank you Jen! She is an amazing photographer that loves the art. I would love to have you back, and hopefully for a challenge I can pass. As for the rest of you, go check out her blog! This one is pretty good too:

As for all you "photographers" out there. Keep snapping photos. Keep uploading them to Facebook. Don't let my frustrations stop you from enjoying yourself or sharing your life and your experiences with your friends. Sometimes life gets lonely so capture and share! /shameless plug. But if we are out together, can it wait until you get home? The world can wait 30 minutes to know how much fun you had with me. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

August Challenge - Jen's last words

Umm…August is over already?? This challenge just flew on by, didn’t it? It didn’t really go as expected for me; I wish I had been able to post daily and connect more with Jon and the three of you during this month, but with school, work schedules, and state-skipping all battling for the front burner, it just wasn't possible.

I was a little (a lot) nervous about the pictures I was expected to take and post, not because I didn’t know what to photograph, but because 1. Let’s face it, there are some pretty awesome people reading this blog (that’s you) and some easily intimidated people guest-posting on this blog (that’s me), and 2. I didn’t want this challenge to make me annoyed with photography. When I was taking photography classes (read: 1 photography class), I had to shoot a certain number of rolls each week for an entire semester. Awesome, right? Not if you can’t choose what you want to photograph - I was shooting roll after roll of expensive beautiful film on subjects that my evil professor chose, and not having much fun doing it. After that class, it took me a solid month to even think about picking up a camera again. You can see how I would be worried about entering a challenge that locked me into 26 ridiculous rules, eh?! Fortunately for all of us, the month went very well and I only cried the one time.

One thing I wanted to mention along with each picture was the reason why I took that particular picture. Don’t get me wrong, there were days where I just yelled “what starts with the letter _?!” repeatedly until those around me became irritated enough to locate anything around them that started with that letter. I, for instance - not my best work. Planning ahead is for winners. Write that down.

My favorite letters of the month were A, G, and V. They were the favorites because they came to me naturally; I saw what I wanted in my mind before the camera was at my face. For A, I was at my mom’s house in California, relaxing and listening to my brother Jonah play his guitar. If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear that kid play/sing, make it happen – it’ll break your heart. His guitar is to him what my camera is to me. A for his arms - around his guitar - was the obvious choice for day one.

The letter G fell ever-so-gracefully on the day I went wine tasting in Napa with some awesome friends, so a picture of grapes wasn’t at all difficult to procure (I have about 400 other vineyard/grape pictures, if you’d like to see).

V for vitamins was so much fun to set up. That’s it.

This challenge was an interesting one. It was good to force myself to see beyond what was right in front of me, if only to recognize what letter something started with. As the days went by, I began looking at everything in terms of this challenge. It’s refreshing to view your surroundings a little differently sometimes. I suggest challenging yourself with this or another photo project - what you're able to see might surprise you.

Thanks to Jon for allowing me to join him in this challenge, and thanks to you for following along! I hope to be back soon. 

Happy end of summer...