Friday, August 31, 2012

State Fair Photo Contest Update

I know some of you were interested in the results of the photo contest, so here we go. Pardon my grouchiness, but I'm going to vent.

In previous years, the fair would mail me my scores about a week after the judging. A certain score was required to have photos exhibited, so it felt special to get to display a photo even if it didn't win any awards.

This year, I waited eagerly to get my scores, but day after day I would check my mail and find nothing from the fair. Finally, I emailed asking when I should expect to find out which photos would be exhibited. After a few days, I had not heard back. Then on Friday, the first day of the fair, I got a text from Hollie (pictured above in the middle) saying her friend just saw her in a photo at the fair! So I called the fair to get more information. They put me on hold, and I waited for several minutes before I gave up.

Shortly after the attempted call, I finally received an email response! But it had no information, it just said:


and that's it. Somehow they accidentally sent the response before telling me what I wanted to know. I replied almost immediately with, "Yes? :)" but they did not respond. Three days later (it was the weekend, to be fair--ha! get it? fair), I got another response to my email with an apology about the prematurely-sent response. Then I was told that the scores had been sent that day, and also that every photo entered was being displayed at the fair.

She said this cheerfully, like it was great news, but I was really annoyed. Every photo is displayed? Where's the accomplishment in that? In the past, only 30-40% scored high enough to be displayed. I'm often competitive, and I want to feel like I qualified for something by doing more than just mailing photos out. It was disappointing to learn this, especially when I was already kind of annoyed at the entire process this year.

The next day I received my score in the mail. Yes, score, singular. Apparently they only send you the scores for photos receiving at least 10 points (out of 27 possible), and only one of mine did. That was the Hollie photo (center), which got a score of 11. My other two obviously received less than 10.

It's fine if I didn't score very high. I realize there are lots of much more talented photographers contributing to the exhibit, and I am not mad or being a sore loser. That's just the way it goes! But the way the whole thing went down annoyed me, and then of course it didn't exactly feel good to learn my highest-scoring photo got a measly 10 out of 27 points (that's 37%, or like an H+ in grades).

Anyway, I think this is it for me and the Oregon State Fair photography contest. It was supposed to be fun, like it had been before, but it turned out to be frustrating instead.

Gosh, this is a chipper post! Happy Friday. :P I'll try to post something better soon.

Friday, August 24, 2012


I know I haven't been as bloggy lately. Aside from work stuff, I haven't been taking very many photos. Certainly nothing naturey. There are other things I can post here, but I still feel like I need to have photo-filled blog posts. Someone recently mentioned that they noticed I wasn't focusing as much on photography here, and it made me a little self-conscious about the blog.

This past month I've been not quite myself. At first I was sick, and then various other factors have just thrown me off.

Anyway, I wanted to check in. The photo is of some berries I picked at work the other day. I made some cobbler (it wasn't photogenic) and also froze some for smoothies. Have you been blackberry picking this year?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Frog Tree

No Thankful Thursday today. Just a frog picture.

I've shown you photos of a frog in this tree before, but this is slightly different. Back story: there's this tree with a hole right near my office, so my coworkers and I often check for frogs. This time of year, there's almost always one, but sometimes we've even seen two little heads! Who knows how many can fit in there.

Today I was looking at the little frog buried in the hole, and I automatically blew on him, and he opened his little mouth and then started climbing out of the hole. For some reason blowing air into the hole causes him to move out. Weird.. I'm not totally sure why, and I hope he's not suffering because of it, but it's fun! And so I took some pictures.

Something else interesting I just realized by comparing the two images: The tree hole is apparently healing itself and growing smaller. This frog might be a bit bigger, but not that much bigger. Here, compare:

That's the difference after just ten months!

I never really thought about trees doing anything but growing wider and taller. Pretty soon there won't be any room for the frogs! Thanks a lot, tree.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Portraits - Abby

The other day I did a brief portrait session with Abby. It was arranged for a work-related project, but I decided to do it in the evening (better light) after work and extend it for some personal practice (plus it's fun!). The weather is so nice that I like to take advantage, and Abby cheerfully went along with my different ideas.

I love this larger one. She's a beauty.

The wind kept blowing her hair back and we kept having to bring it forward again.

For some reason the area by this ivy wall had really nice light (I even used it the following day on another photo shoot). I guess the building might've been reflecting a bit. Anyway, this is another one of my very favorites.

Thanks, Abby!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

10 things


This week has been busy and I haven't made time to blog, so I thought I'd check in briefly. I just came across this old list I made in another forum back in early 2005. The prompt was to list ten things I've done that other people probably haven't done.  I would probably change a few things now, but I'll just post it as is. Obviously some of these aren't all that unheard of, but this is just for fun.

I have...

  1. Seen Mt. Rushmore at 5am.

  2. Camped on the beach in Mexico for a week (twice).

  3. Made Jello for the sole purpose of slicing it up.

  4. Taken pictures of Jay Leno's backyard.

  5. Spent a week at boyscout camp.

  6. Gone through the Carl's Jr. drive-thru in costume and makeup between my scenes in a school play (in which I played the role of an old woman).

  7. Been fired after working at a job for three weeks.

  8. Recorded myself saying things backwards (like "eepaaah") so that I could play the sound clip backwards and see how clearly it ended up sounding forward ("happy"). With my mom encouraging me. (Mom, do you remember this?)

  9. Hid by an old woman's house, in a scary town at night, so my friend and I could scare the rest of the carolers (from our church) who never showed. :(

  10. Asked a big, strange man at a gas station in the middle of nowhere (South Dakota) if he would kindly remove the bird foot that remained stuck in our windshield wipers after a run-in with a pheasant.
Your turn! Tell me 10 things you've done that other people likely haven't done. Or even just three, if you're strapped for time.

PS The other day my friend/former roommate texted me with a picture to show me that she happens to have the exact same bedding as I do! How cool are we?!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hotness and my bedroom

(The subject of this post sounds misleadingly scandalous.)

Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year so far. The prediction is something like 102° F (depending on the source), and it's currently 98. But at least it only feels like 94. :) Actually, having a few days of hot weather each summer is common here, and I don't necessarily mind too much. I grew up in a much hotter climate. The difference was we had air conditioning growing up (at least most of the time).

My place does not have a/c, and though every year there are usually a couple of days when I swear I'm going to buy a window unit for next summer, I never actually do it. I have fans and plenty of windows, and with the temps going into the 50s and 60s most summer nights, it's not a huge deal 95% of the summer.

But when it does heat up, I have to do all sorts of things to keep my home as cool as possible. This year I tacked old comforters over the larger windows that let in a lot of heat. The place looks like a cave now, but it'll be worth it tonight and over the next few days.

What I hadn't planned on, though, was losing power. It went out at around 9:30 this morning while I was watching Veronica Mars in my cave. I went outside to bring out the trash and overheard a neighbor saying they called and learned it would be out for about two hours. I hadn't planned on going out so early in the day, but I went ahead and did some shopping. When I returned at almost 2pm, the power was still out. Now I'm at my office, where the a/c is crazy.

How did you like that long update on my day? As a reward, I have pictures I've been meaning to show you.

A couple of months ago, my coworker alerted me to some Ikea nightstands on Freecycle that were in really good condition. I've never used Freecycle in my life, but I decided to snatch them up for my bedroom, since I've never had two matching nightstands before. (Don't be fooled by the godly stack of books. Most of my bedtime "reading" involves catching up on Words With Friends.)

I used the new nightstands as motivation to slightly rearrange and organize my bedroom. A friend of mine also hosted an organization challenge, so I had to take these photos to show my handiwork.  No, I'm not going to post my "before" photos here in public. Sorry!

I know what the ladies (and probably my dad) are thinking right now: why are her walls blank? Well, I tend to put my bedroom last in terms of decorating priority, so I have not hung anything up. It takes time and money, and I just haven't felt like doing it! Plus, I actually don't mind the clean, sparse look of the walls.

Those of you who have seen my room might remember that this dresser was on the other side. It was also pretty cluttered and had a small TV (that I never use anymore) on top. I decided to clear out as many things as possible.

I also hung some cheap curtains just to soften the windows. It makes such a big difference even though they are a plain color. 

I love the new arrangement. The best part is that it created more room so that my twin air mattress fit right at the end of the bed when my niece came to visit. We had a nice little slumber party setup in there without causing many problems with getting around. Here's how it looked.

Eventually I will put up some pictures (if I don't move first), and I'd really like some nice matching lamps for the nightstands. I have shopped for them a few times, but then I never feel like spending the money on something that won't matter that much. (Sometimes I wish I didn't live alone just so I'd be more interested in finishing touches.)

Now, fellow bloggers, I challenge you to show us your bedroom! It's fun to see living spaces, and the nice part about putting up photos is that it's a great incentive for me to clean. My bedroom definitely doesn't look like these photos all the time.


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