Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review (January-June)

It's hard to believe it's already time to do my year-end posts. Sometimes it feels like the days go slow but the years go fast. I enjoy these posts because there's so much I forget, and it helps remind me that my time wasn't completely taken up with work, sleep and phone games. ;) Here we go! This is some of the more positive stuff. I'll spare you the lows of 2013. You've seen most of these photos before, but there are a few new ones interspersed.


We began the year with a lot of frost, which gave me some nice photo ops. Otherwise, I guess it was a usual January--not a lot going on since it's so cold and dark outside.


In February, I had my first giveaway in my blog--a Valentine's package. That was fun! I hope to do more giveaways in the future.

My mom came to visit again for an annual women's conference I help with for work. I can't remember if this was her second or third time visiting for the conference. We also did a puzzle, watched movies and relaxed.

I also started a 40 Days of Thanks project for Lent (see posts here).


The weather was awesome for March! I loooooved it. This is when life gets going again.

I had a spring party for my girlfriends. We decorated cookies and painted eggs. These types of gatherings can be a lot of work, but they are generally so worth it. Not only do I enjoy the prep, but we have a lot of fun and make some memories. Well, at least for me since I have pictures to remember it by. :)

I went to Deepwood for some picture-taking.

I did a portrait shoot on Easter day, and it was not only enjoyable, but I felt pretty good about the resulting images. And the weather rocked so much.


In April, I had my first experience with a macro lens. I was so, so excited to rent one and try it out. I can remember being super impatient waiting for FedEx to drop it off!

My friend Mariel let me be her photographer for some graduation portraits!

I took a trip to CA to visit my parents and get even more practice with the macro lens. It was a fun, sunny visit full of photography and probably many episodes of House Hunters.

I also bought a Fitbit One this month and started tracking my steps. My Fitbit is one of my favorite 2013 purchases!


The Fitbit, lovely weather, and scenery motivated me to walk a lot this month. I started listening to audiobooks on my walks and really enjoyed my neighborhood. I felt like this was a high point in my year--I was full of motivation and in love with my surroundings.

I started watching and photographing some goslings that were growing up behind my home.

I took portraits of Bella for her first birthday.

Memorial weekend was rainy and I mostly stayed in and hung out with a friend, playing games and watching DVDs. I revisited Twilight (both the book and movie) and laughed a lot at the silliness.


My parents gave me my very own macro lens! So began some experimentation with droplets and anything else I could try the lens on. I'm still practicing--there's a lot more I want to try. I hope to have some fun stuff to share in 2014.

I went up to the Seattle area to spend a weekend with my friend Dan and his parents. It was great, as usual. We played games, saw bunnies in the neighborhood, and visited Marymoor Park (above).

I went with some friends to a local art store where they let you do glass projects. I've always been interested in doing something like that but never had. It was definitely harder than I had imagined!

I decided to divide these highlights into two posts since it's getting kind of long. July through December are in this separate post.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Portraits: Pami, Sydney and Sasha

My friend Pami recently adopted two adorable Shih Tzu sisters, Sydney and Sasha. She wanted to include them on her Christmas card this year, so we went out and did a really quick photo shoot once the temps finally warmed up. The weather and light were perfect, and everything went very smoothly.

According to Wikipedia, two other names for this breed are Chinese Lion Dog and Chrysanthemum Dog! How awesome is that? Mum Dog. Put a pot of them on your porch in the fall.

I haven't done a lot of pet photography, but these dogs seemed like very easy subjects. For one thing, they are fairly mellow and love to stay close to Pami. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get many photos with both looking at the camera, but it turned out to be pretty easy. I just called their names and they'd look over and hold the pose. They're naturals.

Fun fact: I used my macro lens for all of these pictures. I definitely want to do more portraits with that lens!

This is Sydney. She's larger, braver and kind of the leader of the two.

And little Sasha. A bit fearful, but really sweet!

I can't believe it's just a week until Christmas. I hope you're having a nice holiday season so far! Mine has been fairly stress-free, which is great. I'm just about done shopping and will be heading to my parents' house this weekend. I'm excited to hang out with them and I'm also looking forward to a little San Francisco trip I have planned with my friend Dania! I'll talk more about it later (like after I get back? :)). Meanwhile, if I don't post again (chances are so-so), have a very good Christmas. Spend some time doing something merry.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Coldness and snowflakes

Like many places, it's been really cold in Salem, lately.

Being a west coaster, I am not used to seeing single digits, but this is what I saw at about 8am this morning.

The days leading up to now were slightly warmer. There wasn't enough moisture for snow, but at first we had some frost.

(Granules of frost on a leaf.)

The lakes behind my place had begun to freeze in some sections. And then finally on Friday...

...we had a little snow!

It was nothing major, but of course Salem can't handle even the minor, so we got sent home at around noon. :D I'd been wishing for a snow day! The drive home was a bit stressful, as the roads were pretty slippery from packed-down snow and 20-something degree weather. But eventually I got home and I spent much of the afternoon taking pictures.

"My" lake.

Its appearance changed with the temps. I really want to see how thick the ice is, but I haven't found a good rock or stick to break it with. Oh and did I mention that it's cold outside?

But the most interesting photos I was able to take were of snowflakes!

Thank God for my macro lens and the light, powdery snow. :D Now if only I could keep track of my tripod mount. :( :( I was extremely bummed to not be able to use my tripod for these, so they were all taken without. Handheld, fading light and a camera with low tolerance for high ISOs isn't the greatest combination, but let's not pay attention to the quality, and instead look at the flakes. Plus, this was just my first try. I am hoping that I get another chance to practice this winter. Let there be more snow!

The ones that are on this blue background were on a plastic lid I had. I held it out to collect flakes and then found individual ones to photograph. As it turns out, that lid had lots of spots and scratches that I wouldn't usually notice, so I did a little editing to smooth out the background on many of these.

Some were taken on the railing of the deck.

A double-decker (no pun intended).

A squished one.

This looks plastic, like a cheapy piece of jewelry.

This one looks like a show-off.

I also used my jacket as a background, but the weave is pretty distracting in some of these. I hadn't considered that. These are all things I'll try to improve upon if I get another chance at this.

He lost a couple legs!

This looks like a bush of snow flowers.

A crop of the previous photo.

This one's just strolling along.

Man, I so hope I can try this again. I didn't think much about it, but all the conditions were right (except my tripod situation!!) for this to happen, and I'm not sure when that'll happen again. The type of snow, the time of day (so I had some light on my deck), and the fact that it was cold enough that they weren't melting were all important factors. Thankfully I do have image stabilization on my lens, so that helped too. :) I love my macro lens!


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