Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 21

I really like the idea of today's challenge: the faceless self-portrait. It made me think outside the box and and consider how I would take a self-portrait without portraying my face. I had to think about my actions more than my facial expression. If you haven't had the chance to do a faceless self-portrait, I would recommend you do it!

Here is my first execution for a faceless self-portrait.

Faceless Self-Portrait

 I am most comfortable in nature (besides my own apartment). I thrive in the beauty that God as created for us and I especially enjoy walks with my handsome hubby. So I felt that taking a self-portrait of sorts here was a pretty accurate depiction of who I am: a nature freak. I also really love this path. You may recognize it from my wedding photos. It's one of my favorite parts of BYU campus and when I walk home from work I'll frequently take this way just because it's so nice and shady.

So there is this picture. I'm very pleased how it turned out and wish I could've taken more but it started raining and we obviously needed to get out of it.

All while I was doing the first photo session above I kept returning to the fact that the best faceless self-portrait would be one where I was behind a camera; whether it be filming or photographing, I am almost always behind a camera and love it. But at the time before I took the first pictures, it felt like a cop-out doing one of those "picture of me taking a picture" things, especially since I've done photos like that already and it wasn't branching out.

Now that I had the first picture, though, I decided to snap a few of my true "faceless self-portrait" picture because THIS is really who I am and who I want to be (though I do love the first picture A LOT). So here is my second execution of the "faceless self-portrait".

It's weird, but I absolutely LOVE my bathroom lighting. I think I've said this before but the corner where the toilet sits is the best pocket of light ever. And it's just white walls, so with my dark hair there is automatic contrast. And I can do so much with the white walls with the light.

Today is the first day that I actually notice a difference between my photography at the beginning of the challenge and right now. I don't feel much different, but the photos are coming out much better than I could've anticipated. I am exceeding my expectations and it feels GREAT. And I know that I can only improve from here. Especially if I just pull out my camera once a day.

Someday soon, I'll post some photos of our fake camping trip. It was a BIG success and I want to share it with you all. But I've got a busy evening and will have to make you all wait.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 20

Well, here I am! I lied when I said I would post twice on Saturday! Muahahaha!

Actually, what happened was that when we got home from our half-day at work today, we realized that the only reasons why we wanted to camp were to eat s'mores over a fire and sleep out in the open. So the effort of actually camping and doing all that work in less than 12 hours wasn't appealing. So...we're gonna do all of it in the comfort of our apartment! We bought ourselves a cheapie outdoor grill to cook hot dogs and get those delicious s'mores and then we'll set up the tent in the living room, throw open our windows, snuggle in the sleeping bags and spend the evening in lantern light and playing card games. So that's the plan, Stan.

And that's why I'm here. Blogging. Instead of sweating.

Today's challenge is titled "In My Bag". You get a peek into what I carry with me when I go around town and whatnot.

I was going to blog what I carry around in my backpack, but my backpack is quite ugly, so I decided to model my cute and favorite purse and all the things I can cram into it.

In My Bag
1. Kindle Touch (featured in a previous post)
2. Reading/Driving glasses from Costco
3. Fingernail grooming kit. And underneath it is my pill case, full of ibuprofen, Benadryl and extra doses of Claritin. I guess I forgot to number it (oops!)
4. Wallet (fun fact: I got this for my birthday from Ryan last year)
5. Epi-pen, a must since I've been known to burst into anaphylactic shock at odd times.
6. A regular pen
7. iPhone, though it's usually in my back pocket for optimal availability to text or call anyone
8. Headphones
9. *Ahem* Tampons. These are Tampax Sport, for what it's worth. And I love them.
10. Sunglasses
11. Inhaler. This is more for treating symptoms when anaphylactic shock occurs. I've only used it twice in the 3-4 years I've owned it. But I keep it with me just in case.
12. Burt's Bees chapstick
13. Hand lotion. This kind is midnight pomegranate from Bath & Body Works.
14. My actual purse. Yes, it can hold all of this! I love the yellow on the outside and the lovely navy pattern fabric on the inside.

So based on my contents, I've come to realize that I'm very paranoid about having another allergic reaction. The last serious one was more than two years ago. But I was told to keep it with me and it just became habit. But the pill case is more for the ibuprofen than the Benadryl. And the inhaler could really be left home on most occasions.

This was a fun challenge. I don't have a lot of random things in my purse because I move from bag to bag quite frequently, so I never accumulate odd items or trash. When I'm in a rush, I'll usually just carry my wallet, phone, epi-pen, chapstick and phone in the purse. And most of this stuff can be found in my backpack when I go to school.

Here are some more pictures of the stuff:

See ya tomorrow!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 19

So today's challenge is "Something I Want", another difficult abstract thing to photograph. I could drive down to H&M and take a picture of all the clothes I want, but I wanted to go deeper than the surface level of something I want.

Luckily, I had a package that I needed to mail, and the nearest UPS drop-off was a couple of blocks south of where I live. So I dragged Ryan with me and we took a quick walk while I photographed different components of houses/neighborhoods I want in our future "forever" home. That was what I decided to focus on for the "something I want" challenge. And here are the results.

Something You Want
I want a white picket fence with a green lawn.

I want ivy growing on the side of the house, dark and thick and luscious.

 I want long sidewalks with tall trees with plenty of shade (thankfully I do have this right now after a short little walk down to center street in Provo).

 I want cute, old-fashioned, interesting architecture.

 Hammocks in the sunlight, but with plenty of shade too.

I want cute colors and large porches.

And I want a garden. A large one.

That about sums up what I want. I didn't find a good picture of a balcony and a house with as large of windows as I want, but those two are also important things. Lots of light and places to sit outside. Oh, and a wrap-around porch. 

I have a lot of things that I want for my future house. But mostly, I want to be happy and I know that wherever I end up living I'll love it. Heck, I love my apartment right now, flaws and all. Sure, I want to paint the walls, hang some pictures, buy new furniture, add more plants and whatnot, but I'm okay without those things.

Anyways, I wish I had more to write but my brain is pretty fried after my long work-days staring at a computer screen. Tomorrow is my last day at my morning job and our last day working full-time until Christmas break. And we're going camping. So I probably won't have time to blog tomorrow. I'll do a double post on Saturday to make up for it (hopefully). 

See ya Saturday!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 18

I have results!

I called the Imaging center that took my ultrasounds and requested they fax the results again to the student health center and they did as asked. By this afternoon, I got a call from the nurse practitioner who then told me what was going on.

Drumroll please....


I have a few very small gallstones in my gallbladder that I guess have been causing a few moments of pain. Nothing serious. My gallbladder isn't inflamed or scary so my nurse practitioner told me that surgery isn't needed unless the pain becomes consistent, persistent and I'm vomiting or feverish. Then surgery is very much needed. So I just need to eat smaller meals, less fatty foods and all that jazz.

Phew! What a relief! I'm glad that I know what is going on in my body. And that it's nothing serious. I had moments where I thought it could be stomach cancer or something crazy like that and how my life would change drastically. But it's just a couple of pesky gallstones. And not anything to be worried about.

Anyways, now to the challenge.

Today, Ryan and I went to the City Creek Center to give Ryan's macbook pro a new battery. Turns out, though, he didn't need one. So we took an evening trip to Salt Lake City for no real reason except to spend a nice night together. So the pictures I took were while we were on the road.

Your Shoes

It was a nice little getaway, even if not a lot of shopping was done. But that's what Labor Day is for!

Today was a good day: found out about my freaking ultrasound, went to Salt Lake City, and we're one more day closer to the weekend (a weekend where Ryan and I are going CAMPING! So I'll try to blog on Friday before I go, but no promises...)

Alright, I'm done for now. Gilmore Girls is calling.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 17

Today has been much better, in case you were wondering. I've been in a better mood overall and it was just pouring rain/storming not too long ago and I made a delicious meal for dinner without any complaint! It was definitely a good day. And now I get to show off my pictures for today's challenge: technology.

Basically, what you are about to see are the three gadgets that travel with me from home to work and back home again and in my purse when I go out to shop or visit people. So here they are!


Lens: Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens
(various ISOs, aperture and shutter speeds)

So this is my little pile that is almost always near me when I'm going throughout the apartment. Right now in these pictures, the pile is sitting on my new nightstand that Ryan and I found along the side of the road. But that's another story for a different day...

 My cellphone (iPhone 4S currently). The phone case came from Etsy and is supposed to be dandelions, not a fancy shattered screen look.

This is my (previously Ryan's) Nintendo 3DS. It has been featured a couple of times on this blog and at least 1-2 times during this challenge. I am sorta addicted to a came on it right now and so I keep it close. Plus, it doubles as a pedometer! Awesome!

On the screen is the game I'm addicted to (Animal Crossing: New Leaf). That's a room in my house that I've filled with many many instruments (including a harpsichord!). Anyways, I love this game...

 And here's my kindle inside its fancy-schmancy kindle case (that rectangular piece at the top of the kindle is a flip-out nightlight that is powered by the kindle through the case. Pretty nifty!). The current book I'm reading is "Alloy of Law" by Brandon Sanderson. It's sort of a follow-up to the Mistborn trilogy that I read earlier this summer.

 And here is the pile of technology sitting next to the pile of books I'm reading or will soon be reading. And some pictures of me and family members in the background. And my mildly distressed nightstand. Is it weird that I'm super excited to FINALLY have a nightstand?

And just for bonus material, here's Ryan with one of his favorite pieces of technology: his iPad mini with a Legend of Zelda Hyrule Royal Crest decal on the back (we love nerdy things in this household). A lot of the time when we're relaxing, this is how I'll see Ryan when I go to look at him.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 16

Today has NOT been a good day. I'm getting to this challenge so late because I've been in a funk that started the moment I got home from work and realized I didn't want to be a responsible adult who makes dinner each night and does things that adults do like washing dishes or planning a quick FHE. But I bit the bullet and eventually did what needed to be done, including taking these pictures. Sure, I did everything a little later than I should've, but it got done.

So, here are today's pictures: over-saturated on account of having terrible lighting in my apartment, and very uninspired because I was dragging my feet all day.

A Good Habit

I took all of these pictures with my Nikon 50mm lens and am trying to really explore this lens to its full capacity. I'm pretty pleased with the depth of field and how versatile it is. But someday soon, I'll actually use this bad boy for something truly epic!

Also, my good habit is exactly what you see: working out. For the last year (on and off, mind you), I have been working out in the morning before I go to work. Typically this means I work out at 5:30 in the morning so that I have enough time to get ready and eat breakfast before my 8am shift. The three DVDs seen here are the three I'm currently doing, not in the same day though. On my tougher, longer workout days, I do the Jillian Michaels DVD and on my lighter days, I do portions of the Bob Harper workouts. Not that his DVDs are any easier, they just focus more on strength and less on cardio whereas Jillian does a LOT of cardio that makes me sweat A TON. I could probably boost my weights, but for now they do the job and keep my biceps/triceps burning.

So there's my good habit. Though I'm contemplating skipping tomorrow on account that I am feeling crummy and my muscles are sore from the tough, 65-minute workout on Saturday. But I set my alarm every night for 5:20am so that I still wake up and guilt myself into working out. That's what I did this morning. I was fully ready to roll over and sleep a little longer. But I was awake and so I just got up and did what needed to be done.

Moral of the story, both in the "good habit" thing and in life in general: the world will tell you to give up and you'll even want to listen to it, but you just gotta push through and you'll feel better at the end.

That's it for Monday. Tomorrow is another day. I hope it's a good one!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 15

Ah, silhouettes! I was pretty excited to try out this challenge since I have in my possession a large china ball that can diffuse the light coming from a 500 watt lightbulb pretty well, and so doing a silhouette would be easy and fun!

This is what my china ball looks like approximately. Though I think mine is bigger than this one.

But...the 500 watt lightbulb I had went kaput. And I didn't know that until this afternoon when I tried using it. Drat! So now I had to resort to using natural lighting and I was pretty sure the sun wasn't going to be visible all evening (lots of clouds and possible thunder storms), so there wasn't a chance for me to do a really pretty lens flare-y silhouette during a sunset.

That's when I decided to use the window in my bedroom. Not as fun as a china ball, but I think it worked out just as well.

Lens: Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/4.0-5.8 zoom lens
ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/500
(crushed the blacks and bumped up the white/medium light)

Here's Ryan facing the camera, modeling while I got all the settings figured out. Hehe!

Close-up. I love how you can see my eyelashes with good detail.

And a goofy one. My hair is making a strange loop up on my shoulder! And see the black spot on the left-side of the window sill? Those are the rocks I took a picture of not too long ago, tee hee.

I'm pleased with how today's photos turned out, though I wish I could've used my china ball. day. And if any of you want to do your own silhouettes, all you need is a lot of light behind you and tell your camera to focus on the light instead of trying to get your face. And that's it! Oh, and turn off your auto-flash. I put my camera in black and white so that it would look even more contrasted with the light and dark, but you can do silhouettes with color just as well.

And that's it for today! Thanks for reading!

P.S. Still no word on the ultrasound. And there is a week until school, so...yep. Not too happy. But what can I do? March down there and DEMAND results? Cut out my own gallbladder? Neither of those sound really nice, so I'll just deal with it.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 14

Hooray, today is the day I get to blog about eyes!

I love taking pictures of eyes. They're so complex and have more to them than being the "windows to the soul". 

Anyways, I don't have a lot to write as an introduction. So here we go!

Lens: Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 lens
ISO 1250, f/4, 1/160

Lens: Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens
ISO 1250, f/2.8, 1/160

Obviously, this is my eye and Ryan's eye. I used a little bit of photoshop to make our eyes pop. But not much, just trying to enhance the color. Ryan has traditional brown eyes with what looks like veins of light green weaving towards the pupil. I love his rich, brown eyes so much.

My eyes are mostly green with a brownish/hazel ring in the middle. I've always loved my eyes and have considered them my favorite feature of my face. I just think eyes are so cool!

Still nothing yet on the ultrasound. Seriously, this is getting annoying. I now only have one week until school starts and I really want to solve this problem before homework and classes get in the way of trying to deal with what could be a gallbladder issue.

But I do have some good news: I've been officially hired as a TA for the Intro to Film class here at BYU! As of right now I'm TAing one class of 24 students but this could change and I might have 2 classes. It all depends on what I decide about my schedule this semester and if I want to finish officially in December or take more classes for winter semester. So that's all still pretty iffy, but at least I'm hired! Yay! I can't wait to try out my ability to be an instructor of sorts.

And that's all for now. I hope your saturday has been as great as mine has!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 13

I was at an absolute loss as to what I was going to do for day 13-"Cannot Live Without". Every time I would think of something, like music, movies, Harry Potter, or showers, it would seem superficial. Sure, in the figurative sense I can't live without those things, but it just never seemed right. And unfortunately, I don't have family members readily available to photograph right at this very moment, so I took the "cannot live without" challenge QUITE literally. So here goes:

Cannot Live Without


I literally cannot live without FOOD. Brilliant, right?!

Okay, so I kind of did this day half-heartedly. But can you blame me? It's Friday and I was way excited for our easy-going date night. We opted out of camping this weekend (it's been quite rainy and is predicted to continue to be rainy all weekend long) and so Ryan and I decided to try a delicious Asian cuisine restaurant right around the corner from our apartment. And I had been craving some good Japanese/Chinese food.

So I decided to snap some quick pics of my meal. I got a Chinese Bento styled meal of sesame chicken, a salad (the white stuff in the left corner), what tasted like potato tempura (in the center top), fried rice, and gyoza (bottom right). Ryan got Kung Pao Chicken with a side of fried rice.

All in all a good evening and we finished off the night by watching "Lars and the Real Girl": I have to watch this movie at least 2-3 times a year it is THAT good. Check it out, folks!

And here are some other pictures I snapped.

Yum yum! This may be a bad thing that it's so close. I may keep coming back for that gyoza.

Tomorrow, I PROMISE to take this challenge more seriously. But I mean, come on, what kind of picture challenge is "cannot live without"? I guess I could've taken a picture of my laptop or phone or something VERY materialistic like that, but I like my answer.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 12

I was really excited to take pictures of a gorgeous Utah sunset today. Some of them can be quite splendid, so I was really looking forward to the opportunity to taking some artsy fartsy pictures of the sun slowly setting behind the western mountain front.

But then there were rain clouds.

And the best I could get of the sunset was this.


Do you see those ominous storm clouds?!

So then while I was there (with my visiting teacher, Jordan, who so graciously drove me up to Rock Canyon trailhead since Ryan had our car to do laundry), we saw the most spectacular lightning and I decided to take advantage of my location and take some pictures of the lightning.

An hour and 500 pictures later, with 497 of those pictures misses, I got some pretty decent shots. Check them out!

This was my first capture. See the lightning bolt in the distance? I forgot to bring the ISO down so that the contrast would be greater. So I kept going.

This was my next capture. But it still wasn't good enough. At this point, I was doing a high shutter speed on continuous picture-taking in hopes that I'd get something. After 490 pictures and very little success, I thought that I ought to try long exposure. Except that I didn't have a tripod.

But it was very much successful.

 First capture without a tripod (15" exposure time). The lightning is SUPER clear, of course, but everything else is blurry. Kinda looks neat, huh?

But this shot is the MONEY SHOT. Jordan brought her car down to where I was (we parked it up higher and came down for a clearer shot) and I set the camera on that. And that's how I got the super clear awesome lightning picture (I still probably ought to have had a lower ISO since the lightning is a little blown out).

Pretty sweet, huh?! I could do without the power lines, but what are ya gonna do?

Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy/stormy too, so maybe I'll get a better spot and take some nicer pictures...

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thirty Day Photography Challenge: Day 11

Okay, so this particular day is going to be a little lame. BUT let me just say that I had a full day of work (8am-4:30pm to be exact), and then only a little time after I got home until Ryan and I had to go to his high school best friend's wedding reception. And now I'm finally at home, in my pajama shorts and oversized shirt and reviewing my pathetic "something blue" pictures.

I say pathetic because the wedding reception colors were white...and BLUE. So I should've gotten more, right?


They had a cookie bar. As in a counter/table space full of different types of cookies. And your choice of white or chocolate milk. And I was too busy stuffing my face full of those delicious peanut butter blossoms and milk chocolate chunk cookies and snickerdoodles and gingersnaps and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies...I could go on. My tummy is bursting with yumminess, but my camera SD card was starved as a result.

So here are my (pathetic) something blue pictures.

Something Blue
Lens: Lumix Vario 14-140mm zoom lens
ISO 2000, f/4.7, 1/1300 (these numbers were a little ridiculous, but I also had LITTLE time to really pick my settings without being mistaken for the wedding photographer)

See?! How in the world am I supposed to take pictures when those little delights were calling out to me? Cookies are probably my biggest weakness. But the evening was absolutely gorgeous, the reception area enchanting, and the company was fantastic. It was a good evening, even if I shamefully didn't take as many pictures as I would've liked.

But there you have it. My "something blue" pictures. It's kinda funny that the "something blue" day would end up on the day I go to a wedding reception. And both Ryan and I wore blue to the reception (can you see his blue button-up shirt peeking out from the left side of that second picture?). I would've taken some pictures with my lovely, flowy blue with white-stripes maxi skirt, but by the time I remembered to do it, the lighting was too dark. Boo. Guess I'll have to showcase that piece of clothing another day.

Update on my ultrasound: Nothing yet. Called again today, actually got ahold of the nurses at the doctor's office instead of a message, but they said that my ultrasound hadn't yet arrived (I went to an outside imaging facility). But they'll call me the minute they are there. So another day of uncertainty and wondering if my gallbladder will suddenly erupt because I accidentally ate something to irritate it. In the meantime, I'm keeping the Tums handy...