a new blog and a side project

I’m unsure what I want to do with this blog at the moment, whether I want to let it die or not.  I’ve been doing something else as a side project, but I wanted to post a bit first and see if I’d keep up with it or not.

I’m enjoying it for now, so I will share the link with you guys.

http://togoagatewards.wordpress.com/

It’s a simple blog about the things I find, or the things I make, or the things I do.  I don’t go into a lot of detail, but if you like pretty pictures, and maybe want to learn a thing or two down the road, then…you should check it out.

At some point, I’m going to consolidate all my blogs into one site-hosted thing, but that’s a bit in the future yet (aka, I need money to pay the domain fee).  I have my travel blog on Blogger, but I don’t like the site interface anymore, so I’m thinking of importing it to that wordpress address I linked above.  But again, future goals!

 

So yeah.  Check it out, follow me, and I’m sorry I’ve been away so long.

Apologies

I didn’t mean to stop this, and then I did.

The last post I made was a few days before I left Yellowknife, and I was really busy.  I still have the photos from those days, but I skipped a day flying home because my camera battery needed charging, and then…I got home, and completely fell off the bandwagon.

I originally started a 365 project because I wanted to get better at photography, and practice makes perfect.  But it didn’t.  117 days in, I was taking worse photos than when I started.  And I realized that’s because finding something new to take a photo of, that has an engaging subject, and is generally an all-around good photo in my eyes is impossible on a day-to-day basis.  Others have done it, and I congratulate you.

I also find it tedious to bring my dSLR with me everywhere I go.  I often have my iPhone, but I feel like a photo with my phone isn’t photography at all, and therefore doesn’t count.  It’s not any more tedious than bringing my wallet, or my phone, or my sunglasses.  But I feel like it is.  And I was beginning to loathe trying to find something to shoot each day.  I was beginning to loathe having to use my camera.  I’ve taken I think, five photos since I stopped this.  My camera’s been in my closet collecting dust.

And I’m okay with that.

I’ve been unemployed for nine months, just come out of six months of winter, and all of my efforts have been geared towards finding work before I run out of money (which will be very shortly), and try and stay happy enough to have a will to live.  Some days I succeed, and others I don’t.  But between that, I’m stretched too thin to be focusing on other things.

So accept my humblest apologies, I never meant to stop, but now that I have, I don’t mean to continue.

I’d really like to keep blogging, but I struggle with telling the faceless masses about how my day went, or sharing my artwork or my poetry, which is why a photoblog really worked for me.  I’m trying to remedy that.

If you have any suggestions, or words of wisdom, I’d be happy to hear them.

Io!

117: goodbye, jerkface

One of Tim’s friends is leaving Yellowknife for a house he bought in Nova Scotia, so yesterday we baked him a cake (filled with rum) and went out for dinner at a local burger bar.

(and in case you are wondering, the blue icing on the side is a bunch of penises)

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1/30sec, f / 2.8, ISO 400.

115: aurora

Stayed up late last night to get some aurora shots.  It wasn’t a great night, because it was really faint, but I’m tired of waking up every night at 1am in the hopes I’ll see some good aurora.  There isn’t anything good forecasted until next week now, but…this’ll do!

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30sec, f / 9.0, ISO 800.

114

Just a pic of Tim being silly in the local hunting/fishing/northern store.  We played Little Big Planet all afternoon, and just came back from an ultimate frisbee game at the soccer arena.

AWESOME.

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1/40sec, f / 1.8, ISO 400.

WHY DID YOU FOCUS THERE, AUTOFOCUS?! WHY?!

Hmph.

113

Dinner in Chez Baker is always a bit of an ordeal.  We both like to cook, but don’t really enjoy cooking alone as much as we enjoy cooking for others.  So when one of us is visiting (in this case, I’m visiting) …we make it a bit of a big deal.  Tonight’s menu was grilled asparagus and peppers, homemade hummus, crackers/cheese/olives/pickles, fresh salad, and the remainder of our wine from the previous night.

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1/80sec, f / 2.5, ISO 400.

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1/50sec, f / 2.0, ISO 400.

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1/50sec, f / 2.0, ISO 400.

111 + 112: no pew, no camera, and a dinner

I lied.  No video, because I shouldn’t be uploading firearms videos to my blog.  In which case, I missed 111, because I forgot my camera and I didn’t take any photos with my iPhone either.  I’m sorry about all the shittiness lately, I’ve been taking naps in the evening and waking up in the middle of the night to try and get aurora (northern lights) shots lately, but every night when I wake up at midnight-or 2am the aurora hasn’t been great, and it’s really messing with my sleep to sleep like this.  Anyhow…

…here’s 112:

Dinner last night.

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1/50sec, f / 2.0, ISO 400.

 

110: ptarmies

Running a bit behind.  I haven’t had a lot of time since I got up to Yellowknife, and I was stupid, and forgot my camera for the last two days.  So here’s an iPhone pic, and tomorrow’s will be a video.

photo (2)

ptarmies!

109: airplanes, and a brief foray into Vancouver

I’m flying to Yellowknife today, but I had a six hour layover in Vancouver, so I headed downtown to see some friends (and my friend, the sea)  I forgot it’s actually Spring in other parts of the province.

Oh Vancouver, how I miss you so.

 

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1/640sec, f / 7.1, ISO 200.

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1/800sec, f / 7.1, ISO 200.

108: the guilty party

Packing to head up to Yellowknife tomorrow, and this guy has been giving me the evil eye/third degree/how-dare-you-abandon-me face all day.

 

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1/60sec, f / 2.0, ISO 1600.

107: Hello Toms!

I’ve been lusting over this hipster pair of shoes for months.  In perhaps poor judgement, I now own them.

And it amuses me to wear my grandpa’s name on a shoe.

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1/60sec, f / 2.2, ISO 1600.

106: nectar of the gods

So…I MADE MEAD TODAY.  In a bucket, because I’m the epitome of class, and because I can’t seem to find 1 gallon carboys or 5L demijohns anywhere.

Have some pictures of my ingredients!

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1/125sec, f / 3.2, ISO 400.

Weighing my mead in the only way I can.  Spoon meet bucket.  Spoon meet scale.

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1/125sec, f / 3.2, ISO 400.

My must (a must is the honey water mixture).  This is 4 lbs of honey, 5L of water, an organic orange, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, and 25 raisins

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1/60sec, f / 2.2, ISO 400.

I pretended I was Elvis and shook up my mead to aerate it (“I was all shook up” …if you didn’t get it)  This is before I’ve pitched my yeast, which I’m still waiting to do.  Just gotta get to the right temperature!

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1/60sec, f / 2.2, ISO 400.

I can’t wait to drink this.  I really can’t.

101: lavender syrup!

Trying my hand at food photography.  It’s tough work!  I made some lavender simply syrup earlier today (1:1 sugar: water, handful of dried lavender blossoms) …and it’s delicious.  Not only that, I’m perpetually impressed by the colour, which is why I thought I’d try to photograph it.

How all those food blogs do it, I’ve no idea.  These were the best ones I got…

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1/100sec, f / 2.8, ISO 800.

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1/100sec, f / 2.8, ISO 800.

099: a little fun outside

My roommate and I have been having fires more frequently since it’s been getting warmer out, and earlier today, I finally got around to fixing up my glow poi, so I wanted to give ‘em a shot outside.  I had our friend Ryan take the first couple of shots, because it was easier than using the self-timer.  I’m really rusty at my poi – it’s been well over a year since I played with them last, and now that they’re on chains instead of in socks, the weight difference throws me off again.  But I’ll get better!

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2.0sec, f / 11, ISO 1600.
possibly a 3 beat?

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2.0sec, f / 11, ISO 1600.
Buzzsaw!

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2.0sec, f / 11, ISO 1600.
Extended buzzsaw!

Then I found where all the fire spirits have been hiding…

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0.6sec, f / 5.6, ISO 1600.

After a while, I gave up and put my camera on a timer on the BBQ on the deck and ran around my yard like a six year old.  I giggled, and shouted, and screamed “Wheeeee!”

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10sec, f / 14, ISO 1600.

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10.0sec, f / 8.0, ISO 1600.

…and it looked like so much fun that my roommate joined me with the other poi.  That bit in the middle where everything stops abruptly is where we accidentally ran into each other and almost fell over.

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20sec, f / 11, ISO 1600.

 

098: natural predator

I’ve seen their tracks everywhere, but they often pass through, silently, in the midst of the night.  Unseen.

I saw [my] first deer of the season this evening.  And my cat saw his first deer, ever!  And he turned into a little predator!  When the moose were around in the winter, he’d hide under my bed, or under my covers for hours on end.  Deer, though?  I think he thought he could hunt them.

My tiny little killer.  He didn’t stand a chance.  Two steps outside the doorway is as far as he got before they took off.

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1/30sec, f / 5.6, ISO 1600.

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1/30sec, f / 5.0, ISO 1600.

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1/15sec, f / 4.5, ISO 1600.

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1/20sec, f / 5.6, ISO 1600.

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1/25sec, f / 5.6, ISO 1600.

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1/30sec, f / 3.5, ISO 1600.

096: a view from a different angle

 

I take a lot of pictures of Hudson Bay Mountain.  But I realized yesterday while I was walking in the evening, that I never take pictures of it from IN town.  So here’s one.  I think it’s a pretty good representation of how it looms over us.

 

(by the way, this is late, but my internet was down last night and most of this morning)

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1/250, f / 13, ISO 400.

095: slumber

My cat fell asleep in the sun, and the longer he slept, the more and more his mouth opened, until his entire pink little tongue was sticking out.

(by the way, the mouse died overnight.)

:(

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1/30sec, f / 5.6, ISO 400.

 

094: run little mousie!

We have a bit of a mouse problem at our house.  Today, I found the third one in the little over a year that we’ve lived here.  We can’t figure out how they get in.  The last one lived in our house for WEEKS before I caught him.  I won’t use mouse traps, because I don’t want them to die.  So I usually leave out food, and wait until I can catch them.

I didn’t know about this one, though.  I don’t know how long it’s been in the house, though with a cat, I suspect not long.  My roommate said that my cat was unduly interested in the bottom of our lazy-boy chair while I was out today, and then when I got home, I saw my cat checking it out again.  Curious, I went to see what he saw – and it was a little mousie!

I popped my cat into the bathroom (my roommate thought I should just “let him get it”), and I put him outside.  Poor thing has a bite mark in his head though, and his back paw was broken.  I gave him a big BIG piece of cheese outside, and I hope he makes it.

…I wanted to make him my pet.

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1/50sec, f / 5.6, ISO 200.

093: in times of joy, chop wood.

I borrowed the car today and drove to Hazelton.  It was gorgeous there – Spring comes to them before it comes to us (they’re further west, closer to the coast).  Roche de Boule looms over the town, and by the afternoon, it was clear enough to take some photos of it.  As well as an art studio I popped into, that sold all manner of interesting trinkets, and they even want me to bring in some of my artwork.  If they like it, they might want me to sell some of my things, which I thought was a pretty neat idea.

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1/800sec, f / 8.0, ISO 200.

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1/80sec, f / 5.6, ISO 200.

092: HEY EGG!

I finally finished my chocolate eggs!  AND I’M NEVER MAKING THEM AGAIN, GOOD GRIEF.

Chocolate got everywhere.

 

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1/100sec, f / 2.8, ISO 200.

091: please keep weed off the trail

So my backcountry excursion was a bit of a botch.  My roommate injured his ribs a few weeks ago snowboarding (…into a tree) and they flared up this morning while we were hiking.  We had some friends along, and one of them was really struggling to keep up, and didn’t think he could make it the whole 12km with overnight gear on his back.  So we hiked four kilometres in, had a snack and a bit of a rest, and assessed that it probably wasn’t terribly wise to go on.  Then we hiked out.

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1/125sec, f / 10, ISO 200.

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1/100sec, f / 8.0, ISO 200.
Dave!

090: a ghost in the kitchen!

No, not really.  I found my poi hidden away today while I was trying to find things for camping.  The batteries were dead, so after replacing them, I decided to play with them a bit.  I was hoping for a brighter light, but they didn’t deliver, so I turned the lights on and ghosted around the kitchen for a bit.

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10sec, f / 22, ISO 800.

PS: I’m heading into the backcountry for the weekend.  I’ll update once I’m back.

089: the death star

I had an old coffee painted background that I never did anything with, so today I drew a Death Star on it.  Background is coffee stain/salt, drawing done in ink.

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1/25sec, f / 1.8, ISO 800.

And the part of the drawing I’m not showing you is an Eddie Izzard quote…which I’ll share with you, and if you don’t laugh hysterically, you aren’t human.

088: Eastery things!

I am very crafty by nature, and I can’t help myself in that regard.  I just see things, and then I create.  Well, when I was little, for Easter, we used to get these chocolates from a friend of the family, and it was INSIDE a real eggshell!  I always loved them, and thought they were magic, because silly chickens, you don’t make chocolate.

So I’m making my own this year.  I spent a good portion of the morning blowing the yolks out of some eggs (which is super dizzying, let me tell you what), and then I sanitized them, and dyed them with one of those PAAS children’s dye kits.  They’ve got to air dry for a few days, but then I’m gonna fill ‘em up with tasty tasty chocolate.  Thank you Martha Stewart!

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1/125sec, f / 7.1, ISO 1600.

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1/125sec, f / 9.0, ISO 1600.

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1/320sec, f / 5.0, ISO 1600.

 

087: a library gala and a spring celebration

Today is the day of the vernal equinox (the Spring Equinox!) and it has snowed pretty much all day.  I haven’t done much for celebration, since it’s less fun when I’m alone, but I woke and lit all the candles in the house until the dawn came.  Now, I’m sitting here on my third glass of sweet mead (a mandatory drink on almost any holiday), and I cooked myself a delicious vegetable pot pie.  Most of the things other people do (by this, I mean other pagans) I tend to like to wait until Easter to celebrate, like dying eggs, eating chocolates, and cooking massive dinners.  Easter is still one of my favourite holidays, and it just doesn’t feel right to dye eggs before Easter.

Anyhow, inebriated ramble aside, today’s picture is from the Smithers Secondary School Art Gala at the library!  A bunch of students in the photography class got together and took and framed some photos, and have been selling them this month through a silent auction, so I went to check it out.  As a photographer myself, there was little there to interest me, but the fundraising goes back into the school and the library and the community, and it was fun to see people come out for it.

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1/30sec, f / 4.0, ISO 400.

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1/25sec, f / 4.0, ISO 1600. Edited with Holga filters for fun!

 

Have a happy Spring!

086: Catan night!

I missed one again yesterday.  I’m sorry.

Here is todays: Just finished a game of Settlers of Catan, and apparently, I was really intent on rolling my dice.

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1/13sec, f / 3.5, ISO 800.

Bit blurry, but my cat sat like this the entire time we were playing…

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0.6sec, f / 5.0, ISO 800.

084: nasty hobbitses

In my internet travels today, I came across a really neat link for how to turn your EF 50mm f 1.8 II into a macro lens.  How she did it without a horrendous amount of light leak, I haven’t a clue, because I really struggled to hold my lens on my camera backwards the way she shows in the tutorial.  Nonetheless, it’s kind of a neat effect.  

THEY’RE TAKING THE HOBBITS TO ISENGARD, TO ISENGARD!

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1/200sec, ISO 800.

(yes, I own Hobbit lego.)

083: muffins!

I had a bonfire until really late last night (2:30) and I didn’t post this before midnight, so I decided to just wait until morning.  I suppose I could have taken fire shots, but….meh.

 

PANORAMIC MUFFINS!

 

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1/30sec, f / 4.0, ISO 800.

082: I’m back

So I didn’t take photos for the last two days, but I’ve been fairly anxious for the last couple of days, and it was impossible to get out and take photos.  I had things to take care of.  I’m better now, and photos have resumed.

Went hiking at Call Mountain today – it’s snowed for three days straight.  Yep.  It’s Spring…somewhere.

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1/320sec, f / 14, ISO 800.

Notice:

I’ve had a pretty stressful couple of days, and I’m behind on posting.  Regular photos to resume tomorrow. 

080: it’s all a fog

I wanted to do something which represented how I feel today.  The desaturation is a bit messy, but with the first full day of my fast coming to a close, I’m having a bit of trouble with my concentration and my vision.  Seriously, life is a little blurry right now.  Feeling good, though!  I have a few of the ‘usual’ suspects of a fast: lightheadedness, chilled, lack of concentration, and stomach cramps.  Mostly though, I’m just incredibly dehydrated, which is crazy, because I’ve had two litres of water today, and 5 16-20oz juices.  Oh, and two herbal teas.

So I present to you, my blurry life:

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1/6sec, f / 1.8, ISO 800.

079: garden of eatin’

(See what I did there?)

Tomorrow marks the first day of my juice fast, so I’m trying to get into the habit of chopping up my veggies the night before to save myself two hours every morning.  From left to right, all of this bountiful food is my Lunch, Midmorning Snack, and Breakfast.  That’s right.  Three giant bowls of fruits and veggies, and…that’ll only take me until lunch.  The middle bowl has an entire cucumber in it!

If you think this is bad, you should see my fridge.  I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, but it’s never got this much in it!  The tentative plan is to juice for three days, and if I don’t feel like dying, juice for seven, then ten, then fourteen, then…well, we’ll see.  I plan to stop in time to have Easter dinner, at the very latest.

Wish me luck! (for the first 72 hours, I’m going to need it!)

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1/50sec, f / 2.0, ISO 800.

…and on an unrelated note, I spent the day getting my restricted firearms license.  I can shoot with little guns now!

078: dog walking

I promised to walk a friend’s dog today (I do this pretty often, actually) but it was a gorgeous day out.  By the way, taking a photo of a dog who wants a treat is really hard!

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1/200sec, f / 4.0, ISO 100.
Roofles!

And the pretty, pretty Hudson Bay Mountains (which is actually my photo for the day, somehow, they got switched when I uploaded them…)

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1/500sec, f / 6.3, ISO 100.
(I really do love taking photos of this mountain)

077:

We don’t have a washer and dryer at our house, so I often go to a friend’s house to do laundry.  Her neighbour’s have this cat that they leave outside all day, even in the depths of winter, and I’m pretty sure she’s neglected.  Every time she’s outside when I stop by, she runs to me and jumps on my lap or my shoulders and purrs and purrs, and I feel awful for her.  So when I saw her today, I brought her a can of wet cat food, and she was so happy!

If the poor thing didn’t legitimately belong to someone, I would have brought her home already.  She’s really fluffy, but she’s clearly been in a few fights (missing parts of her ear) and if you feel her, you can feel ribs underneath all the fur.  There’s not a lot of meat on her.

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1/320sec, f / 5.0, ISO 400.

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1/800sec, f / 8.0, ISO 400.

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1/640sec, f / 7.1, ISO 400.

076: just chillin’

Completely unrelated to the picture: Don’t spray your paintings with finishing varnish in the house with all the windows closed.  My house is the land of headache fairies and unhappy cats.

 

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1/40sec, f / 1.8, ISO 400.

 

075

My picture of the day looked a lot better in my mind than it did in execution, sadly, but I still think it’s a neat effect.  And I included a picture of my cat, because, well…

I’m always taking pictures of my cat.

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1/1000sec, f / 9.0, ISO 400.

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1/100sec, f / 2.8, ISO 400.

074: coconut oil

Everything I touch is currently getting covered in coconut oil, because after seven days of not washing or brushing my hair, an oil treatment was the only way I was going to get my comb through my hair.

(before you ask, I don’t wash my hair, and I was too lazy to comb it)

So, a small handful of hair and a substantial amount of grease later, my hair looks like it is SUPA’ STYLED.

PS: I hate all the little torn hairs, but my hair is really thick and hard to brush, and it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE not to break the strands when I brush it (even when I do on a regular basis…)

 

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1/13sec, f / 1.8, ISO 800.

073: I hate sundays

No, really.

I don’t own a car.  Nothing is open, except the grocers.  Not even the gym.

Sundays are the bane of my existence, here.

Here’s two things entirely lacking in creativity:

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1/15sec, f / 1.8, ISO 800.
(Reflection in the window)

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1/60sec, f / 2.8, ISO 800.
(my bear. I bought him in Iqaluit, NV.)

 

071: stupid clouds

Today was really dreary and overcast.  With the fresh snowfall yesterday, it made it almost impossible to take scenic photos today.  Clouds kept rolling in and obscuring my view.

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1/250sec, f / 11, ISO 100.

070

Snowing heavily all day today.  Despite me buying spring flowers.

Jerk weather.

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1/50sec, f / 5.0, ISO 100.