Day Zero Three Eight: January Photo Challenge: SOMETHING WITH A “J”

Day 27 of the First Thirty-One over at  Today’s challenge was “Something beginning with J”, and I’m CRAZY BUSY FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS, so posts will be delayed, but I’ve promised myself that I would still take the photos every day, but they aren’t gonna get posted till later.

Also, I’m drinking wine, this might not be very literary.

Wine is awesome.

(I read three chapters in Chapters (see what I did there?) and then I had to buy it. Yep.  Starts with a J.)


Canon Rebel XS. 1/60sec, f / 5.6, ISO 800.

Here’s a picture.

Day Zero Three Seven: January Photo Challenge: CHILL

Day 26 of the First Thirty-One over at (oh my god, I’m almost done with this!).  Today’s challenge was “Chill”, and ain’t nobody chiller than Cindy!  

I always have this little check-list of friends I have to get through whenever I come home for a visit, and no matter how short or long my visit to Vancouver, I’ve always got to go see Cindy.  (but the visits are never long enough…)


Canon Rebel XS. 1/50sec, f / 6.3, ISO 800.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/8sec, f / 3.5, ISO 800.
Meet Zoey!


Canon Rebel XS. 1/13sec, f / 5.6, ISO 800.

Day Zero Three Six: January Photo Challenge: HEAT

Day 25 of the First Thirty-One over at, and the challenge was “Heat”.

I’m going to be pretty busy for the next 24 hours, so I took this picture early this morning before the sun came up.  My mother’s pet lizard, Leroy, laying in the heat of his heat lamp in the early morn.  It’s not a great photo, but it’ll have to do.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/200sec, f / 1.8, ISO 1600.

Day Zero Three Four: January Photo Challenge: DOORS

Day 23 of the First Thirty-One over at, and the challenge was “Doors”.

“Hippies, please use the back door.” – a random sign I found in Vancouver.  Home sweet home!


Canon Rebel XS. 1/50sec, f / 5.6, ISO 400.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/30sec, f / 5.0, ISO 400.
(The Sistine Chapel found its way to the sidewalk on Robson and…and…that street with the Chapters building. Thurlow?)


Canon Rebel XS. 1/50sec, f / 4.0, ISO 400.


Day Zero Three Zero: I made a mistake.

I made my previous decision last night at 11PM (a time of evening when I am rarely cognizant).  Nothing good ever comes of being awake past 11PM in my mind, and this is another instance of which it is utterly true.  So, after your comments (and a text message or two), I apologize.  In reality, I was shamed into continuing, simply because I never finish what I start.  Ever.  And I am hard on myself – I honestly believe almost every decision I’ve ever made has ended in failure.  So, shamed and embarrassed for being such a twat, I’m going to continue the January Photo Challenge over at  Today is Day 19, and the challenge was “Fur”.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/20sec, f / 5.6, ISO 1600.
(my bus sitting on a rabbit fur pelt)


Day Zero Two Nine: I quit.

Day 18 of the First Thirty-One over at  Today’s challenge was “Close up”, and it will be the last photo I do for this challenge.  I have spent eighteen days struggling to keep up with the photo prompts, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t find most of them to be all that interesting.  Some of the prompts have led me to take what I consider to be rather interesting photographs, and perhaps ones I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of, such as Slumber, Change, and Growth, but for the most part, I’m just taking “photos”, when I would rather be taking art.

If you have an Instagram account, I recommend searching out other people’s photos, at #firstthirtyone, as some of them are quite good.  But this photo challenge, I’m discovering, just really isn’t for me.

On Wednesday of next week, I leave for a conference in the city, and I just simply won’t be able to fulfill some of the prompts for that week.  In fact, if I manage to post photos each of those days, I would be surprised, with how busy I’ll be.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/60sec, f / 5.0, ISO 1600.
Close-up of our fire this afternoon. I’m sorry, but no amount of editing can make this a decent photo.


So, I leave you with this.  It warmed up to +8C today, when we should be having -15C weather.  I built a snowman outside, in a t-shirt, and then we built a fire, and had hotdogs with some homemade baked beans I spent the day making.  I ended the day with a few glasses of wine at Linda’s house, and after my cup of tea just now, I’m about to head to bed.

Bon soiree. 


Canon Rebel XS. 1/400sec, f / 11, ISO 400.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/500sec, f / 14, ISO 800.
(Mr. Snowman)

Day Zero Two Six: January Photo Challenge: BUNDLED


Day 15 of the First Thirty-One over at!  Today’s challenge was “Bundled”

I’ve gotten really good about taking my camera with me whenever I go out and about these days.  Because of the crazy weather yesterday, everything was covered in hoarfrost today (why couldn’t you have been covered in frost yesterday? WHY?) and I went for a walk to the post office and to grab a bite to eat at a little organic diner we’ve got in town.  So I took photos!

But first, my Photo of the Day:  About once or twice a year, I settle in for an entire morning, and make homemade beeswax candles.  My haul for today is this set of a dozen drip candles (plus six shotglass candles), all bundled up and ready to go.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/40sec, f / 4.0, ISO 400.

A few more shots from making candles this morning:


Canon Rebel XS. 1/13 sec, f/ 5.6, ISO 400.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/50sec, f / 4.5, ISO 400.

And now a few from my walk this morning.  It turned out to be a pretty nice day!


Canon Rebel XS. 1/400sec, f / 14, ISO 400.
(trees covered in hoarfrost)


Canon Rebel XS. 1/250sec, f / 11, ISO 400.
(taken through my sunglasses, not edited)


Canon Rebel XS. 1/100sec, f / 8.0, ISO 400.
(om shanti, om)

…and that brings me to this.  I went to Two Sisters for lunch today, and these pretty flowers were on the table I was eating at.  So I snapped a quick pic in the sun, and for the LIFE of me, I can’t decide which edit I like the best.  What are your preferences?


Day Zero Two Five: January Photo Challenge: FROST

Day 14 of the First Thirty-One over at!  Today’s challenge was “Frost”.

It warmed up to just a couple degrees below zero today, bringing in a massive fog bank that hasn’t bothered to lift all day.  Haven’t been able to see much further than this tree all day, thanks to the frosty little molecules in the air.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/400sec, f / 16, ISO 400.

Day Zero Two Three: January Photo Challenge: FLAKES

Day 12 of the First Thirty-One over at!  Today’s challenge was “Flakes”.

With two-plus feet of snow on the ground, today’s challenge wasn’t much of a challenge at all (which is wonderful, because I’ve really struggled with a couple of them – for the sake of keeping things interesting, and all that…)

My photo for the day is lovely Lorraine during our snowshoe hike today.  The day started wonderfully, and I dragged my sorry self out of bed and headed down to the farmer’s market to meet Linda (and get some fresh eggs!  our chickens haven’t been producing lately in the valley, so eggs are in short supply).  After lunch, we headed to Lorraine’s house and went snowshoeing up on the ridge overlooking town, and then down and across Col Lake.

It was a lovely way to spend the day.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/250sec, f / 13, ISO 400.
(lovely Lorraine)

And now a few extras!


Canon Rebel XS. 1/30sec, f / 3.5, ISO 400.
(the coveted item: farm fresh eggs)


Canon Rebel XS. 1/400sec, f / 13, ISO 400.
Hey look, I’m actually in a picture! I asked Lorraine to take a photo to prove I was on the hike (instead of the one photographing, like usual)


Canon Rebel XS. Photoshop CS5.
A pretty panorama of our ski slopes – Hudson Bay Mountain (on the right)

Day Zero Two Two: January Photo Challenge: WARMTH

Day 11 of the First Thirty-One over at!  Today’s challenge was “Warmth”.

After 30 frustrated minutes of trying to make my less-than-always-functioning camera take a decent self-shot of me being warm, I cajoled my roommate into ‘looking warm’ for me.  His idea of ‘looking warm’ was to throw three quilts on, steal my cat, and snuggle on the couch for a minute.  Thank you roommate for being a photo saver!


Canon Rebel XS. 1/50sec, f / 2.0, ISO 1600.
(bee’in warm)

Day Zero Two One: January Photo Challenge: SOCKS

Day 10 of the First Thirty-One over at!  Today’s challenge was “Socks”.

I have lots of pretty funky socks, but…how on earth do you make socks interesting?  Here’s my best attempt with the socks I chose to wear today.  They mismatch.  I like it.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/100sec, f / 2.5, ISO 400.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/60sec, f / 2.2, ISO 400.

Day Zero Two Zero: January Photo Challenge: CHEEKS

Day 9 of the First Thirty-One over at!  Today’s challenge was “Cheeks”.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to take a self-photo with a 50mm prime lens?  I had to strain my arms as far as they’d go just so it’d focus.  But man, look at those sweet cheeks.  Just look at them.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/200sec, f / 3.5, ISO 400.
WHAT is that face I’m making?

Day Zero One Nine: January Photo Challenge: HOME

Day 8 of the First Thirty-One over at!  Today’s challenge was “Home”.

Home is a superfluous idea.  Some people have one definitive place that they call home, but I’ve never been one of those people.  I remember reading an article while I was traveling last year (and sadly, I can’t find it, so I will have to paraphrase), but the gist of it was – home is a definite idea for people who have never strayed far from home.  The further you stray, and the more often you go, the less and less the concept of home remains to a person, because ultimately they’ve left little pieces of themselves in every place they’ve been.  What used to be this idea of ‘home’ becomes harder and harder to find, leading you to travel to more and more places, cycling back in upon itself.  Long term relationships are tossed aside for shorter, but more meaningful interactions with other humans, and you’re stuck forever trying to find the perfect place to call home.

I have many homes.  The homes of my friends and my family, where my bicycle is, where my boyfriend is.  A small cafe in John O’Groats where I ate a piece of shortbread, in the centre of downtown Mumbai, or sunrise at a Thai market.  The lavender fields of France are as much home to me as the house I currently reside in.  It is a curse and a blessing, but one I gladly make for myself.

For today’s photo, I took a picture, not of a place, but of a feeling.  For now, until I can fund another adventure or a trip back home, home is wherever this little guy is, and right now, that’s here with me.


Canon Rebel XS. 1/80sec, f / 2.5, ISO 400.


Day Zero One Six: January Photo Challenge: FIVE

Day 5 of the First Thirty-One over at!  Today’s challenge was “Five”.



Canon Rebel XS. 10sec, f / 22, ISO 400.
(not that great. today wasn’t a good day for photos.)

And a present.  Two 1920×1080 wallpapers for your desktop.  Both of them were photos I shot in Ontario in October 2012, which I entered into Photoshop CS5 and used a plug-in I’ve just recently got called Topaz Simplify.  Enjoy.



Day Zero One Five: January Photo Challenge: SOMETHING NEW

Day 4 of the First Thirty-One over at!  Today’s challenge was “Something New”.

I’ve had a craving for banana bread lately.  But my favourite recipe has wheat, and I have to ration out how much wheat I can tolerate in a week.  I wouldn’t have a happy tummy with an entire loaf of delicious, wheaty banana bread (“just like mom used to make” – actually, it’s her recipe).  So I modified it (and forgot an ingredient, but that’s besides the point).

I have some Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour mix (I think it is chickpea and fava bean flour, tapioca and potato starch, and…hm, maybe one more thing).  I made some scones with it a few weeks back that turned out so well that I fed them to my roommate’s father, and he didn’t know they weren’t wheat.  It boded well, so I thought I’d try and alter my mom’s banana bread recipe to use it.  And I did.  1:1.  No dirty xantham gum, or anything.

And it was so good, I ate two slices, right away, hot with butter.


Canon Rebel XS. Photoshop CS5 for the triptych.

Day Zero One Four: January Photo Challenge: RETURNS

Day 3 of the First Thirty-One over at!  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!

Day Zero One Three: January Photo Challenge: BRANCHES

Day 2 of the First Thirty-One over at!  Today’s challenge was “Branches”.  At first, I thought it was going to be really difficult.  How on Earth do you take a picture of barren, winter branches and make it look interesting?  Well, it turned out to be really easy.  I was stressing over the fact that the sun was just about to set upon the mountains (meaning any significant daylight I have left to me is going to dwindle in a hot-damn) and I stared out my bedroom window, realizing that there was just enough sun shining to illuminate the trees in my yard, turning them into a beautiful silhouette.  I took this out of my bedroom window!  It was almost perfect upon capture – very little editing was done to this (read: just a snippet of cropping, and a little noise-reduction).


Canon Rebel XS. 1/800sec, f / 7.1, ISO 400.
(so magical)

Day Zero One Two: January 2013 Photo Challenge: RESOLUTION

Happy New Year!  As Mark Twain once said,

“Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.”

A quote picked in particular for today’s photo.  Last night, amidst the chinese food packets, the champagne, and the Fellowship of the Ring playing on  the television, I scoured the internet for a month-long photo challenge to ring in the New Year.  After much searching (for alas, most of them are now Instagram based), I found one which suited my needs of being simple, yet challenging.  Over at, I found this:


Today, for January 1st, 2013 (a date which frankly, sounds like it belongs to the future), my challenge is Resolution.  A challenging word indeed, when one takes into consideration the simple fact that I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  They are a silly thing, and while the intent is often grand, by spring, most people have forgotten all about their goal of losing weight, eating healthy, drinking less often, or being truer to one’s self (all nobles paths when one is deep into the champagne).

So I took this a different route.  I shot a picture of what resolutions often are for other people.

Canon Rebel XS. 1/13sec, f / 2/8, ISO 400.
(no, those aren’t my cigarettes)