No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do – the golden hour is universal. That late afternoon*, golden, yummy, relaxing, end-of-day light is pure magic. I’ll happily eat that blown-out sun flare for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And luckily for us here in Southern California, we get to experience it most days of the year thanks to the perpetually sunny weather. It seems that luck also runs in Nevada, where these photos were taken.
*Granted, you could experience something similar at the start of the day, but what boys are having this much fun with their uncle at that hour?
I liked the crisp green and white of this photo from my last post so much (shocking, I know, considering my color scheme) that I decided to play with it as a desktop background. And who doesn’t love a little dinosaur lurking in their houseplants?
This quote – oh man, when I read it over on the Nesting Place, it really stuck with me. Not because it’s something you wouldn’t already know, but it just spelled it out so perfectly – and on bad days, it helps for me to keep this in mind.
Late last year, I realized I was seriously in need of a big kick in the pants for my personal photography. Honestly, I hardly picked up my camera the whole year. While packing for my new place I came across the book I made the last time I did Project 365 and realized it was the perfect jump start. Three months in, I’m so glad I started back up! I’ve done it in years past and occasionally just for a month at a time. I can hardly believe it’s been so long since the last time.
Being such a visual person, I’ve found that these snapshots of my life help trigger all kinds of memories. Do you guys have that too? It’s amazing the little daily habits or events that you forget about – some changes happen so slowly, over such long periods of time, that this is often the only way I have to look back and see how far I’ve come as a person (which is one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place).
Side note: do you guys visualize when you’re reading a book? I’m terrible at remembering titles and quotes, but I can probably remember the storyline start to finish because I make it into a movie in my head. Just me? Yes? Okay, moving on….
So, to remind myself, and hopefully inspire others to give it a go, here’s a few tips about photo projects/challenges that I’ve learned over the years:
1) Chill. The. Fudge. Out.
This can be a tough one for me, but really think about it: in the end, it’s a project for no one but you. So cut yourself some slack if you miss a day. If you do it for 6 months and not 12 – HOORAY! You now have 182 more photos than you would have! And not every photo is going to win a contest – what counts more is what it means to you.
For me, this also applies to sharing online. I really don’t worry about posting on the day so much as shooting on the day. Sometimes, I just don’t want to turn my computer on or look at my phone anymore – and that’s okay.
If you find every day is too much, how about once a week? Sarah Cornish of My Four Hens Photography has been doing Project 52 for years and is super supportive of her group. The team over at A Beautiful Mess recently launched Capture Real Life in 52 Weeks, a self-paced e-class that I’ve been thinking about doing myself.
I find myself mentally chanting this every few weeks: it is whatever you want it to be.
2) Stop the comparison-itis.
I know, it’s really hard to avoid sometimes. Everyone falls prey. But there’s just no comparison because we’re all snowflakes. Don’t make me sing the Frozen song.
You’re going to have days when nothing around you seems interesting, the light isn’t right, you’ve shot it all before. It’s inevitable. On those days I either check my Instagram feed, try Capture Your 365 for a theme or check my friend Melanie’s blog – she’s been doing P365 every year, without fail. Such an inspiration! Her tips are super helpful too. My photog buddy Paul gets super creative with his P365, I love seeing what he comes up with.
I also use those days as motivators to go somewhere I’ve been meaning to, or check a shot off my mental photo wish list (such as with my beauty essentials below). Two weeks ago I finally went and explored the park I drive past every day.
5) Organize & Back It Up
I’ve been sharing many of them on Instagram and uploading them to a Flickr album, which not only serves as an extra backup of full-res files, but it’s also a way to get my thoughts and memories down before I forget.
To make it easier at the end of your project, I recommend keeping a separate folder on your computer/EHD of those photos. I copy them in maybe once a week (if they’re on my phone I’ll email them to myself) and then rename them with the date (i.e. 02-13), so they’re all in order and ready for me when I go to print.
Don’t just let them sit on your phone or computer! I love doing a soft cover book from Blurb – it turns out to be cheaper than getting 365 5x7s printed and put in an album, and I like having the dates and words to go along with the photos. The quality is fantastic and they’re completely customizable. If you do everything through Instagram, Blurb can pull straight from your feed. Printstagram also does these amazing posters of your photos for a really reasonable price, but I haven’t seen the quality for myself yet.
Do you guys like a challenge or does it become more of a burden than inspiration? Any other Instagram stars I should be following?
P.S. I love my dad’s pinkie in that last photo, don’t you?
Once upon a time I was a regular, good little blogger. Then I changed day jobs and started dating an amazing man and life got a whole lot busier! And you know what one of the best parts about being an adult is? Deciding what your priorities are and what can fall by the wayside (to a degree anyway, amiright? ah, taxes…).
But I’ve come to find that I miss blogging. I love photography, but I love pairing photos + words just as much. I miss the interaction it brings and the people I meet through this form of expression. So I’m finding time wherever I can and whenever I feel inspired, and most of all giving myself the freedom to do so. Does anyone actually read and comment? Who cares, it’s more for me anyhow! And that’s the best part about this being my blog – I get to do what I want!**
So without further ado, I’m returning from a long absence bringing back my old 10 Things series, but making it a little more digestible for all of us by sharing 5 things that are making me happy.
1) Revamping Project 365. More thoughts on this coming soon, but for those of you who haven’t seen it before, it’s a photo-a-day project. It’s been years since I’ve done it and I’m so glad I picked it back up again.
Some favorites thus far~
New desk! In the new place! With giant windows!
Sunday snuggles, binge-watching The Fall.
2) Scribd. If you read on a device, this is awesome. It’s like Netflix for books, and if you read more than one a month it’s completely worth it. My parents gifted me 6 months for Christmas and I’ve been tearing through Kathy Reichs’ Bones series (which inspired the show). They even have cookbooks and graphic novels! And I love that you can save the book to your device, so for a tablet like mine without a data plan, I’m not dependent on wi-fi. I know you can get e-books with a library card, but I’m way too impatient for a waitlist.
3) Day trips. Here in SoCal there’s so many amazing things within driving distance it’s a crime not to take advantage and get out every one in a while. Last month Mr. Handsome and I took the train down to San Juan Capistrano to have lunch and meander around the mission. It was perfect weather (that blue sky was no joke!) and as we thundered past cars going bumper-to-bumper it made the train fare SO worth it. Other places I’d like to get to (again) this year are the LA Natural History Museum, Joshua Tree and Big Bear Lake.
4) Teux Deux. I don’t know what I would do without this to-do list service. I got hooked back when it was free, and have happily paid for it for the last couple years (I think it’s only about $24/year?). You can schedule ahead, set recurring tasks, have category lists, and whatever you don’t do that day automatically rolls over to the next. I also like being able to look back and double-check when I did certain things (ahempaybills). The web version automatically syncs with the app, which is a necessity because I’m one of those people who has to write it down immediately or it’s gone. And now I no longer have 12 slips of paper floating around my purse.
5) CND Vinylux nail polish in Rouge Red. My nail polish addiction is well documented, and I don’t think I’ve ever used a single color so many times in two months. It lasts a few days longer than regular polish, you don’t have to destroy your nails like you do with gel, and it comes off like normal. Sold! I think my only complaint is that the finish can dull a bit, so after a few days I just reapply a quick-dry topcoat while I’m watching TV (I tried the recommended topcoat, didn’t notice a difference).
So what are you guys loving right now? I’d love to hear your suggestions of things to see/do/watch/read!
** Sidenote: does anyone else get super bothered by bloggers who constantly apologize for not sticking to the schedule they’ve set for themselves? If anyone is yelling at you for not posting at a certain hour, tell them to shove it while giving thanks for such a rabid audience.
When I first met with Rachel to chat about their upcoming session and get to know them, I knew it was going to be an awesome collaboration. Rocky is a sweet, easygoing chub of a pug that people can’t help smiling back at. Rachel works for a major nail polish company based in the area (you might remember I have an addiction?) and loves Star Wars and South Park, so we were obviously meant to be besties.Her dad was visiting from the East Coast, so we all got together one gorgeous afternoon on Main Street in Seal Beach. There’s really nothing like that beautiful late afternoon beach light.
These three made my job so easy, it’s hard to take any credit for these images. I’m so lucky to have amazing clients that keep me smiling through the whole session!
I have no idea how she says no to this face. None.
If this amount of cuteness came running at you, you have to snuggle it. It’s a universal rule. Kind of like when a tiny child hands you their play phone and says it’s for you, you’re required to hold it to your ear and say hello.
I can’t even.
I also have to say a huge Thank You to Rachel for the giant goodie bag of nail polish she brought for me. I died and went to girly heaven! I change my color pretty much every week and still haven’t tried them all yet.