Day Zero One Four: January Photo Challenge: RETURNS

Day 3 of the First Thirty-One over at Fourtuitous.com!  Today’s challenge was “Returns”.

I’m not even going to lie, I had no idea how to do this challenge.  I checked Instagram (if you’re Instagram saavy, you can find other people’s posts at #firstthirtyone) …and, I really, really didn’t just want to take a photo of me returning something.  No offense to anyone that did that, but I pride myself on being “outside-of-the-box”

The little wheels in my head turned and turned, so much in fact, that I gave myself a headache trying to come up with something.

I thought “What if I go to the gym today? I haven’t been in a month, so I would be returning to the gym!” …well, I never went.  I made breakfast too late in the morning, and the only way to drag myself is to get up at 6-7AM, eat a quick breakfast, take a quick shower, and head off before the sun’s too high in the sky.  So nope.  No dice.

Then I thought “Well, I could do some yoga in my room for a bit.  I haven’t done that in ages.” …and my mind got all esoteric and I spaced out for a bit imagining high-lit silhouettes of me doing yoga poses, until I eventually realized I haven’t a room in my house where the backdrop wouldn’t be uninteresting, and I don’t actually own any high-powered lights to hide in front of.  Fuck it.

Then I ate lunch.  Who thinks on an empty stomach?

So I chose this.  It’s lame, I’m not happy with it, but…it’s what you get.  I decided that I was returning my house to its natural, non-Christmas state (excepting the Christmas tree, which I’m not taking down until I get the roommate approval.  I’ve learned not to mess with a man’s tree.)  I took down all the lights, and removed the stockings and the ornaments, and packed away my Christmas cards and shiny baubles.  I took the popcorn strings outside for birds to feast upon, and I placed the cedar boughs and cinnamon sticks that were upon my altar into the firepit, for burning later.  The only thing I kept up were the snowflakes on the windows (that’s WINTER, damn it) and the wreath upon my door.

Canon Rebel XS. Photoshop CS5.

And now, to make myself feel a bit better about my photography (and editing skills in general) …here’s some more stuff from the day.

Canon Rebel XS. 1/500sec, f / 6.3, ISO 400.
The sky didn’t actually look like this, this morning, but it was pretty close. We had a crazy sunrise! My camera apparently decided to take a little bit of orange in the sky and turn it to fire – I didn’t even edit this a tiny bit.

Canon Rebel XS. 1/250sec, f / 1.8, ISO 400.
While trying to set up the bokeh shot (which, by the way, was just a glass bauble on some poster board, with a lamp nearby, and I blurred the crap out of it) …I needed something to focus on. So I used a mason jar full of water, and one of the test shots turned out really neat.

Canon Rebel XS. 1/320sec, f / 5.0, ISO 400.
While outside hanging up the popcorn, my cat was watching me from inside the house. I thought I’d play around with the camera before he noticed I’d moved. It turned out kinda neat – like an old-school double exposure but without any of the effort!

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Day Zero Zero One: Happy Solstice!

As Autumn moves into Winter, the snow falls gently from the skies, as though to remind me that today is the longest night of the year.  For centuries, people have celebrated this day, across civilizations, under names which are as differing as the tides.  Candlemas, Yule, Jul…the Winter Solstice.  Tonight is the Longest Night – when the Northern hemisphere is plunged into the darkest of depths, only to emerge at the dawn with something faint, yet tangible.  Hope.  Hope for a new solar cycle, and a hope for warmth in the coming days.  Represented by beginnings, I bring you this.

This blog.  I will still post in my regular travel blog during trips, over at paienne.blogspot.com, but here, here is something new.  I deleted Facebook at the beginning of 2012, and I’ve fallen out of touch.  I’ve become reclusive, and secretive, and I’ve stopped doing something I love – take photos.  So, I guess in a somewhat-related 365 project, I’m going to try and post a photo-a-day.  Some days, like today, I will post more than one photo.  Some days, I suspect I will struggle to post just one.  There may not always be commentary.  But then again, maybe there will be.  That’s the beauty about new projects – they’re so fresh and young, and they haven’t fully formed in the mind of their author!  As Winter turns into Spring, it is my hope, that so too will this little place to put my photo memoires …my photo memories.

Canon Rebel XS. 1/30 sec, f / 3.5, ISO 400.Our Yule log completed!  Wrapped with fabric ribbon, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, cedar, and pine.  Our birch yule log is tied with the wishes of our coming year.

Canon Rebel XS. 1/30 sec, f / 3.5, ISO 400.
Our Yule log completed! Wrapped with fabric ribbon, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, cedar, and pine. Our birch yule log is tied with the wishes of our coming year.

Canon Rebel XS. 1/30 sec, f / 4.5, ISO 1600.The burning of the Yule log to represent the coming year of light!

Canon Rebel XS. 1/30 sec, f / 4.5, ISO 1600.
The burning of the Yule log to represent the coming year of light!

Canon Rebel XS. 1/100 sec, f / 7.1, ISO 400.
The moose came back this morning. This little beauty has been eating my plants all year. I’m surprised she can find anything to sate her hunger, this late into the season.

Canon Rebel XS. 1/10 sec, f / 4.0, ISO 400.
And the stockings were hung, from the wall with tacks, in the hopes I could stop Santa, dead in his tracks. Cedric pounced from the tree, with nary a thought, as Old Saint Nick, dropped the presents he brought. He jumped and he thumped, that poor head of his, and he swore and he threatened to beat us with fish, which is precisely how Cedric got his Christmas wish.

Canon Rebel XS. 1/60 sec, f / 5.0, ISO 400.
The wreath on my ruby red door. I made it from cedar, hemlock, and pine boughs I collected myself, and constructed it from a metal hoop and some hot glue. And cranberries, of course!

Canon Rebel XS. 1/25 sec, f / 5.6, ISO 400.
Bokeh Christmas lights, just to see if I could do it. I still don’t entirely understand this as an art form.