Category Archives: photography

The Art of Photography

A few weeks back I had the pleasure and privilege to attend an Art Wolfe seminar at Portland State University. I’ve admired Art Wolfe’s work for quite a while and when I saw he was going to be in town I had to go.

First off, I want to say that Art (I can call him Art now that I’ve met him and he signed one of my books and he’s my new BFF, right?!) is a super nice, funny man who does not convey any sort of pompousness that one might think a person with his talent might have. I was actually a bit surprised at how down to earth he was.

I’ve been a quasi-photographer ever since I took my first photography class during my sophomore year in college. I enjoyed it enough that I minored in it (with a major in journalism) at Purdue. Since I’m not much (or any, really) of a painter, drawer or sculptor, photography is my form of art. I love looking at photography and dreaming of going to exotic places to shoot photos – especially after the Art Wolfe seminar where he talked about the trips he’ll be hosting to places like China, India and Japan.

But since it’s not in my immediate future to travel to such places, I have to make due with local opportunities. Which is fine, for now. Here are a few of my recent shots…

Another one of my take-aways from the Art Wolfe seminar was that he said a photo is more engaging if you capture a scene/person/animal/landscape not as you normally see it. Find a unique perspective, use a lens that offers a wide angle, use filters to change the color or exposure, change the depth of field – it’s all OK. Art admits that though he’s in the business of documenting culture and wildlife, his work is art.

“You should live in a place that uplifts your spirits,” Art said. “If you live for photography but don’t have your photos in your house, there is a disjunct.” When I got home, I got to thinking about this statement and realized that maybe I’m on the right track – I have lots of my own photos hanging in my home plus some photos taken by a friend of mine – and Art Wolfe books on my coffee table!

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Summer Is Over

I don’t know where the summer went. It’s been a while since I blogged. Summer activities and trips took over our lives and something had to give. I’m sure you know what I mean.

My son started 2nd grade yesterday, and my daughter started pre-school today. As my husband said, this is the first free five hours I have had in a few years (lots of alliteration there!). I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. I guess I’ll blog!

Since I haven’t posted in a while I thought I’d just ease back into it and share a few of my favorite photos of the kids from this summer. Despite their bickering, I think they like each other.

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San Francisco’s Chinatown

We went to San Francisco last month. I posted some photos from the Steinhart Aquarium a few weeks ago but forgot about the Chinatown ones until I was going through some other photos.

I’ve always loved San Francisco’s Chinatown. I find it nostalgic. The first time my hubby (who was just my boyfriend at the time) and I went to San Francisco we stayed in a little place called the Grant Plaza Hotel which is right in the heart of Chinatown. It was clean and inexpensive. No frills, but to two people who were barely making a living, it was perfect. So perfect that we stayed there again when we went to San Fran on our honeymoon a year later.

It’s always a trip to walk through Chinatown – the touristy junk, dim sum, barbecued chickens hanging upside down in the windows, dried fish parts.

I love red. And there is so much red in Chinatown.

I don’t usually take photos of people. It seems very invasive to me, but I took this photo under the ruse of photographing the building behind her. I think old Asian people look like they possess so much wisdom.

I hope I look wise when I’m old and wrinkly!

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Glimpse Into Past Lives

Good morning, my Junk Lovin’ friends!

As you may have gathered from past posts, I love photography. Capturing moments in time is fascinating to me. It doesn’t even matter if the captured moments are from people that I don’t know or are from a time when I wasn’t even born, which actually makes it even more interesting to me. So today, I’d like to share a photo album I purchased when I lived in Minnesota.

"State Fair 1952"

Like the 8mm movies I posted about a few weeks ago, I love that these photos are a glimpse into a couple’s life together in the late 1940s and early 1950s. There are no names on the back of the photos, but I do know that the photos were taken all around Minnesota as there are city names and dates on the back of most of the photos.

"Campsite Close To Hibbing Aug 49"

"Lunch Stop - Return Trip Crystal Cave 51"

I used one of the photos in a little collage I made.

Enjoy your day!

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Giving It All You’ve Got


nicholas by David Robert Bliwas

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but for some reason this photo speaks to me. I don’t know if it’s because this boy is trying so hard – you don’t know if he really knows how to play or if a horrendous screech is flowing from the horn. Perhaps it’s the determination on his face – he wants so bad to play the horn well. I think that every child has this kind of determination to do something – maybe it’s to throw a baseball or ace a spelling test.

Whatever it is, it’s fabulous!

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Underwater San Francisco

During our recent trip to San Francisco, my husband and I went to the Steinhart Aquarium, which is part of the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. And since he’s stoked about getting the new aquarium, my husband had to visit.┬áIt’s really quite a wonderful aquarium full of more than 38,000 live animals from around the world.

It’s difficult to take photos of the many remarkable animals behind the glass, but here are a few of my “pretty-OK” shots.

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Junk Love Movies

Good morning, Junk Lovers! Today I’d like to share my vintage 8mm movie projector and films. As I’ve mentioned before, when we lived in Peoria, Ill., we did lots of antiquing. This was one of our best finds ever!

Yes, the Kodak movie projector is cool, but the find of the close to 20 movies is even better. We have two cases full of home movies from a couple who traveled the world. When we first started watching the movies we felt like we needed to give the couple names – so we named them Helen and Walt.

Helen and Walt traveled a lot during the late 1940s and 1950s. The movies show them in places like Sweden, Canada, Mexico, France, California, and New England. They filmed a bullfight in Mexico (not my favorite but quite interesting), a fishing trip in Canada, and beautiful scenery in Europe. It is wonderful seeing these places through 1940s/50s eyes – the clothes, the cars. Unfortunately the films do not have audio, but I guess that adds to the mystique.

It’s a shame that Helen and Walt’s family didn’t keep these films in the family. I’d be devastated to lose such wonderful glimpses into my parents or grandparents lives. But alas, we now feel like Helen and Walt’s family – and we’ll never give up the films!

Until next week!

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