Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Much too long.

More than a month between posts? Much too long.

Simultaneously, there has been a lot and very little happening in my photo life. I've been going strong with my 365 project (today makes photo number 343). Not too much longer now! Even though I see the number and I know I've been doing this almost a year, I can still hardly believe that it has been a year since I started it. Lately I'm feeling very guilty about it though, because I've submitted so many cellphone photos. They are still photos, so they do count, but they're not exactly my best work.

On the whole this project has taught me a lot about my creative process, my willingness to commit to a project, my ability to persevere when things get difficult and what kinds of photos I really want to share with the world. When I look through the photos, I'm definitely not proud of them all. And it's not just the cellphone entries. A fair amount of my dslr photos are very lackluster. Most of them I wouldn't have normally chosen to share with anyone. Even though I've almost come to despise this endeavor, I am extremely glad that I decided to do it.

I've come across a few ideas that I'd really like to flesh out, and that aspect alone has been absolutely worth it. I now have a whole year's worth of ideas to extrapolate on at later times if I so choose. That's pretty great.

In even better news, my laptop has been recently upgraded! Still the same casing and processor, but there's a new (and much larger!) hard drive and now I have 4 gigs of RAM. I am so very happy. The day after I arrived in Ireland my hard drive told me it was too full to continue to add photos to my Aperture catalogue. This made me very sad. Now, five months later, I can finally add the rest of my pictures! This is a serious setback in the overall process of having a completely searchable database, but at least I have the space now. I can thank my mom for this, it's her big Christmas gift to me :)

As you may recall, between now and my last entry, I have also had some (mis)adventures with my SB800. It decided to take a huge dump on me and stop working. It was awful. So, I sent it off to Nikon. $130 and about two weeks of waiting later and it was returned to me. They didn't tell me what was wrong with it, it was just noted that "major parts" were replaced. *shrug* It's working now and that's what matters. Although, last night I thought it was broken again. Imagine my horror and sadness. I did not react very well to the fear (crying was involved) that I'd have to send it to Nikon again.

Really, it would appear that I just happened to buy a total shit pack of batteries. I put five in and the flash popped once.... then no more. "Hm". So, I put in five new ones. Flash popped once and then... no more. Commence crying. I gave one last shot, put in five more new batteries and... it worked? I was baffled and relieved. I have a pack of 36 Energizers from Home Depot and a lot of them haven't worked very well. As long as my flash is working though, that's what matters.

I have taken my new found appreciation for my SB800 and turned it toward my shiny silver umbrella quite a bit. Tonight's photo saw my TTL cable in action while I held the SB800 into the umbrella. The light is so nice and I have hardly begun.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Inspiration. Maybe.

I need some inspiration.

I have a folder on my external that contains shots that inspire me. Will I ever do anything about it? I go through the folder sometimes, and I'm careful about what I add. I look at a lot of photos, more now than I ever have before, and sometimes I see a shot and before I know it I'm going to right click and save. Perhaps it would behoove me to study the photos more frequently and attempt to pin down what exactly about then I love so much.

Even though I have said it a lot recently, I'm still having issues finding motivation to take pictures. The newest issue/excuse is that my sb-800 broke. I am in bummerville about that right now. During my Halloween party I set up a backdrop and my umbrella and took tons of pictures of my friends all dressed up.

It was the best idea I've had in a long time.

My fondness for black and white continues to grow. I'd like to put some effort into doing high-key shoots. This definitely requires getting my flash repaired. I think the light bulb is burned out. Please tell me that I'll remember to take it to the post office tomorrow, and double-please let Nikon be fast with turn-around.

The other day I ordered a smaller umbrella, a 30 inch. I was only able to utilize it in a shoot one time before my flash bit it for good. The inside of it is silver which created an awesome amount of contrast. I was taking photos of Unjuy and they were really nice. It'd be great to get photos of him with his eyes open. We were in a dark room and his pupils were extremely dilated, plus I currently use the built-in flash on my camera as a remote commander for my sb-800, so that trigger flash gets him blinking before the flash can actually go off. Damn his double set of eyelids!

I have a list of photo ideas that I have yet to dive into. I keep forgetting about the ideas, and when I remember them it's usually too late in the day and I can't execute them properly. Must fix this.

This photo would be much better without the distracting background elements.

While I was taking photos on Halloween I started to think about how much I can't wait to have more equipment and space. It would have been awesome to have a backdrop that was wider and covered the floor. A second light coming from the right to get rid of the harsh shadows would have been good too. I feel good about what I managed to accomplish with just the one light/umbrella though. We all had a nice time and that's important too.

I just love to photograph people. It was a dream come true. I had a room full of dressed up, high-energy people that wanted to have their picture taken. I rounded them up and called them in front of the sheet and just snapped away to my heart's content. It was so awesome. I felt so happy about it all.

In February of next year I'll be returning to Ireland. This excursion will see me there for a full 12 months. Just think about what I can photograph in 12 months. I didn't use my camera enough during the second half of my three months there over the summer. I need to plan a bit better. I also need a better bag for while I'm there this time. More planning, definitely. I have so many places that I want to see. Ger does a lot of walking/hiking/outdoor things and I am hoping I can go with her on some of those adventures and get amazing photos! It will require getting up early and I'll want to just pass out but I'll get to see some incredible things so it will be worth it and maybe it'll toughen me up a bit. ... but most likely not >.>

It's high time that I put the energy toward a sunrise photo. I've always wanted to, but then it comes time to wake early and I think, "Eff this" and I go back to bed. Tsk tsk.

I'm fast approaching the tail end of my 365 project. I am looking forward to being finished with it. Lately I've been doing a lot more camera phone photos than I'd really prefer, but as I already stated I am having some serious motivation issues. I can't think of something to photograph every day, and I am sick of uploading a dumb photo. It's important to me to finish this though. Today was photo number 309. It has helped me to think a bit more creatively and to find interesting aspects of the maybe not-so-interesting things around me. I don't regret starting it. All the same though, happy that it's almost finished.


Monday, October 25, 2010

I have been slacking.

I really enjoyed blogging on a daily basis in Ireland. Not as much is happening here in Washington. Or perhaps, I have been pretty darn busy and I haven't spared a thought for my blog. It is true that I've been busy! Working working working. Either way, Owen said he needed to read my blog and I remembered that I hadn't posted anything in a while so I thought I'd make an update :)

And sadly, I have been slacking on my photography. I have submitted far too many cellphone photos in lieu of real pictures. I have a list of photo ideas and yet I feel uninspired. No, not uninspired. I have been lazy. Unmotivated? Either way, I just haven't been putting forth the effort. 

After about two and a half weeks I finally adjusted back to Pacific Standard Time. Even though that has happened, I am still sleeping poorly. If I wanted to make a project of it I could photograph how tired I look every morning, but I think that might get a little depressing :P

Last week I helped my mom make dinner! It was meatloaf and it involved me touching raw ground beef in a very serious way. I am very proud of myself. Tonight I was going to help her make a roast, but my Grandma made it first so my mom wouldn't have to cook on her birthday (happy birthday mom!). I think we're going to decide a different meaty dish for me to cook for more practice.

I have yet to attempt driving stick shift. It is high on my list though! My volunteer never got back to me regarding availability, so I may need to get more aggressive. I really want to learn. That would be a major accomplishment.

Tonight I realized that most likely I won't get around to painting my 40K army while I'm here. Thus far there has been so much else going on and I think I'd prefer to make a few blankets instead. I do love sewing! I have some sewing to do for my Halloween costume. I am really looking forward to taking pictures of my friends in their costumes. I may set up my large umbrella and try having a fun shoot, so long as my friends are in compliance! :D


Saturday, October 9, 2010

A birthday and a dog.

But not a dog birthday. I don't think I know anyone that hosts birthday parties for their dogs. That's OK though.

Today was Elijah's 3rd birthday! He had a party with lots of friends. This is the first time I've used my camera in just over two weeks. It felt good to be taking photos again. I've had a hard time getting motivated to take photos during my transition back to the States. I should be fine going forth and completing my 365 now.

There were many children in the house today, I wasn't entirely sure what to do. I wanted action shots of course, but there were so many limbs and toys and balloons flying around that it was difficult to get FACES in the shots. I came away with a few that I'm happy with though. Some very nice ones of Elijah enjoying his super awesome train cake.

I made a big effort to really use my SB-800. I was fiddling with the controls almost the whole time. I found that the TTL wasn't really working as well as I would have liked it to. I know that there's a bit of an issue with relationship to the aperture on my lens, so a lot of the photos are a bit darker than I wanted them to be. Not a huge deal, I can lighten them in post, but it would be nice to not have to worry about it at all. There's still so much to learn!

In general it seems that upping the ISO to 200 makes enough of a difference to lighten photos that are taken while I'm zoomed. Of course if I forget to put that back to 100 and I take a photo of someone as close range the photo is completely blown out. It was an exercise in quick transitions, so all in all it went well.

After the party I went to visit Jacki :] and finally meet her puppy, Hiro! I brought my camera with me, still in shutter bug mood, and planned on taking many photos. I'm happy to say that I succeeded in taking many photos. I would have taken even more if my flash batteries hadn't 100% died on me.

No problems though, because I got some super cute photos of this fantastic doggie! Another exercise in acting quickly with a squirrelly subject!

All in all, a great return to my 365 project.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Still not feeling it.

I still haven't taken any photos. My camera is packed in my suitcase still. I've thought about my 365 every night for the past four nights as I climb into bed, but I'm just not feeling it yet.

When I set out to do this project I had very high aims of not missing a single day and seeing it through to completion. I'm standing firm at photo number 276. Less than 100 left. Originally, my full circle would have ended about a week before Christmas. As it is now I'll be into the new year before I'm finished.

Not really sure what happened in Ireland to make me stop taking photos there; I was mostly just pretty distracted I guess. Since arriving back in Washington I've been busy non-stop with packing and unpacking and moving and organizing. My 365 is important to me, but not living out of boxes is a more pressing matter.

At the rate I've been going I should be completely unpacked and settled by the end of the week. I know I'll definitely have photos from this coming Saturday, it's Elijah's 3rd birthday! At least I know that the latest I'll be starting again is then. That's nice.

On Friday I ordered test prints from a printing service that I've been reading about. They should arrive in the mail today and I'm really excited. I'm closer and closer to having my etsy shop up and running! I have it 'open' but I have nothing for sale. I've been going through my photos and deciding which ones I want to offer for sale and I also have a large list of ideas of photos to take to help with my shop.


I just remembered that I need to backup my hard drive to my other external. If I lost all of my Ireland photos I honestly think I would die.

I may take a break from moving and packing today to put up Halloween decorations. I would like to be festive as hell for the next three months.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ireland Days 81-84 and back in Washington

See? This is what happens when I don't blog: I can hardly remember what happened.

I'm back in Washington now, but not for long! I'll be heading back to Ireland sometime in February. That certainly made leaving a bit easier, knowing I'd be back.

Sunday saw a social gathering at Owen and Ger's place where I was able to spend a last night of card games, drink and talk with everyone.

Monday I did last minute souvenir shopping. I may have done other things as well but I can't remember.

Tuesday I slept as long as I could, packed, then had tea and conversation with Miriam. I received a call from Steve wishing me a good-bye and safe travels. He wasn't around at the weekend so we didn't have a chance to say good-bye then.

I asked Ger if I could stay at their place that night so I could walk to the bus station and avoid the taxi fare. She said yes, so Miriam took me over there around 8:45 or so and I read and watched TV until she and Owen got home.

They, in their fabulousness, bought me a going-away cake :3 So we ate cake and watched X Factor! It was a pleasant and quiet last night, glad that I saw them! <3

I barely squeezed in 4 hours of sleep on their couch (I was restless so it didn't go very well) and then got up and walked to the bus station.

What commenced was a full day of exhausting travel. Bus from Galway to Dublin, then a little over 8 hours from Dublin to Atlanta (yuck!), then some serious "fun" with my luggage in Atlanta, and a break-neck hustle to my gate, followed by about 5 hours to Seattle.

My mom had Gardettos waiting for me in the car! And we had Olive Garden for dinner. At the house there were gummie bears, jones soda and waffle mix. It was a nice night.

Apparently I'm taking some sort of 365 hiatus. I have been so distracted and just... otherwise mentally occupied this last week I haven't even thought about taking photos. Maybe I'll start back up tomorrow.

I'm so tired. Is it 8:30 at night or 4:30 in the morning? Why do we say 'at' night and 'in' morning?

While I was on the planes I flipped through the provided Sky Mall, Duty Free and other magazines that were offered in the seat pocket. The products weren't of much interest to me so I decided to focus on the perfume ads. They are certainly interesting. I had fun trying to decide what the lighting setups looked like. As well I liked assessing whether or not I thought the ad was effective, and then trying to figure out why based on lighting, body position and facial expression.

There was one perfume ad in particular that was not good in any way. It was bright blue and covered in diamonds and the lighting on the model was incredibly flat. It didn't pique my interest whatsoever. There was one that starred Scarlett Johansson that was really good. Maybe it was for Dior? I don't know, but it was all gold and really interesting to look at.

I love studio lighting. I can't wait to be working in the studio :)


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ireland Day 78/79/80 -

Apparently I have a bit of back tracking to do.

Thursday was Arthur Guinness day. A few friends and myself purchased tickets to go to the concert at the docks and it was a very nice time. The celebration started at 5:45 so I jetted over directly after work. I met up with Estella and Roger outside of the entrance and hid my naggin in my coat in preparation.

We spent the first bit of the concert sitting at a table and chatting, which was very nice. We were far enough away from the state that we could hear the music but it wasn't so loud that we couldn't talk to one another. At 17:59 the speaker on the stage led a 'world wide' toast "To Arthur", and everyone drank a Guinness. We didn't though. I didn't actually have any on Thursday, although I meant to.

After a while we were joined by Dave and then Paul! Roger took my wrist band and let in Eoin and Caitriona too. Glad I could help! :D

Estella and I had a nice little excursion outside of the concert while in pursuit of a bathroom and more naggins. She left for London today for college (sad!), so I'm really happy that I got to spend some time with her right before she left!

The main act of the Galway Guinness celebration was David Gray. As it turns out, I am familiar with his music. I didn't realize this. He's pretty great! And very good live.

Something very exciting happened during his set: I heard a song that I have had in my head for the past six years. I had never known the name of the song or who sung it. I saw it on a movie or a tv show years ago and every so often it pops into my head accompanied by the visual from the movie/tv show and it always drove me nuts that I didn't know who it was!

I was elated. Still am, really.

Once the concert was over we wandered to McSwiggans. I believe that's how it's spelled. We unwound there for a bit and then all went our separate ways. Caitriona and I shared a cab together, that was a first! :D

As for Friday?

Well, two naggins, a concert, a bag of popcorn and 2 am later, I was not on top of my game. Friday was rough. I ate non-stop horrible food and it was delicious every time. Thinking about it now I'm a little disgusted, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

I had a pleasant surprise while I sat drooling at the computer though: Steve dropped in to say hi! He talked to me a bit out his and Caitriona's trip to North Carolina. They had just returned the day before.

We talked about Wal Mart and Target, mostly. It was fun! Sounds as though they had a great time, so that's good. In my mind I kept thinking, "North Carolina? Hm!" But they went to kayak and visit one of Steve's relatives, so they certainly had more reasons to go there than I do.

My day was pleasantly wrapped up with Geraldine and Owen! I stopped into her work to say hi and ended up sticking around until closing. Unexpected, but a good decision I think. Geraldine, her friend/co-worker Keira and myself wandered to Geraldine's place. But not before stopping for wine and McDonaghs chips!

I really wanted pizza, so I awkwardly asked if it would be awkward if I ordered pizza to her home. Geraldine looked at me like I was crazy and laughed and told me it was perfectly OK that I did that. Yay!

We watched TV and chatted and it was a very nice evening of enjoying company. As the night wore on we were visited by Roger, Eoin, Tara, Paul and Liz. I don't know Liz super well (met her a few times) but she seems nice!

I caught the 11:15 bus and then went to bed, completely neglecting the fact that I desperately needed to do laundry.

And now we are caught up to today.

Today has been fine. Very low-key.

Work was busy with walk-ins and difficult situations.

I delightedly devoured a large portion of mashed potatoes at Lynch's Cafe.

When ordering I asked the man serving the food, "Would it be possible to get two scoops of mashed potatoes?" because normally you just get two, and he smiled and said, "Anything is possible." which made me smile super huge and had me in a good mood throughout the remainder of my meal.

Sometimes I forget how powerful an impact a stranger can have. In a positive way. I am all too familiar with how negatively a stranger can impact me. I'd like to work on that.

I finally did laundry tonight, which is good because I am out of socks. I don't want to talk about it.

Most of my evening has been spent skyping with Cass and mom. I am making some serious changes in my life, my extended stay in Ireland next year is ever closer and real. It has just helped remind me that I'm going to be close with them both even though it will be hard.

I am going to get what I want because it's all worth it and I'm willing to work at it.


Oh, and apparently I'm taking some sort of photo hiatus. No photo for the past two days and I'm not going to take one tonight. No real reason, I'm just not going to.

Tomorrow, perhaps?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ireland Day 77 - Sensory Assault

The biggest one being my walk from the bus to home this evening.

Wandering through the cul de sac with the overgrown street sign, it's a shortcut of sorts, shown to me by Catherine and Maisa. Sometimes the bus drivers don't stop at the park and go to Cotter's. This different way of finding home makes the most sense if that occurs.

Turning down the street, wondering to myself if the dog will show up again, I come across a black cat. "Looks like Loki." I thought idly to myself. And then I stopped. "... Looks a lot like Loki."

My eyes burned a bit at the familiarity of it, rapidly remembering that this time next week I'll be on my way to Washington. I asked myself, am I homesick? I stood surveying the animal, pondering to myself, thinking harder about the cat that it so forcibly resembled.

And I came to the conclusion that it wasn't homesickness. I don't know one word to describe what it was. I said to myself, "I don't want familiarity." I thought briefly about all of the things that will surround me soon and how familiar they're going to be.

It's not that they're bad, that's not the case at all. Never is it that simple! Never.

After recovering from the black cat incident I started to muse over the fact that Halloween is fast approaching. As though the nature surrounding me was eavesdropping on my thoughts, I was suddenly struck still, again, by the overwhelming scent of Autumn: sweet, aromatic dead leaves.

I was still for more moments then, taking in a breath so deep that it almost hurt, willing myself to overfill with it all. And then a fresh wave of how badly I want to be in Ireland for Halloween and Christmas settled itself over me.

I have been informed that Shop Street decorates rather completely during the season. Lights everywhere, I was told. Geraldine said that Brown Thomas fills its shop windows with various Christmas displays that are impressive and fun to look at. She waits until Christmas day to finally view them, opting to cover her face to block the displays up until then. I think that's really awesome. Oh, and she does this with hot chocolate in hand. Even more awesome.

Next year. Next year.

My evening was settled with dinner and then tea. That would be the last sensory assault of the day: I burned my mouth but I found tasty biscuits to go with the tea. I think that evened things out.

I started to read Eat Pray Love today. I can't resist my curiosity anymore! So far I am really enjoying it too.

Does it bother you that this is backwards? I'm feeling so lazy tonight. 
Look at how long my fingernails are, it's insane!

Oh, I suppose I did have a fourth strong sensory experience today: the sound of a brief but torrential downpour about half an hour ago. I'm really hoping for good weather tomorrow, and for a few reasons!

One being the Arthur Guinness Day festivities plus concert, as well as wanting some specific photos that require people being outside and enjoying themselves. The weather lately has not been conducive to personal success in that area. Here's hoping!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ireland Day 76 - Gym!

When I woke up this morning I didn't think that I'd be going to the gym this evening!

My plans included heading to town to take some specific photos, lunch with Dave and buying a new book. However, the day turned into so much more than that!

I rolled into town and the weather was not nice. There was no rain but it was very cold and frustratingly windy. I was attempting to scout out groups of students busily enjoying themselves in the Square, the Spanish Arch and along Shop Street and the Latin Quarter.

Surprise! No one hangs out in this crappy weather! Lugged around my stuff for no reason >:O

Not all was lost though! Met up with Dave at Bella Roma and had more of their delicious food. I hope that they never disappoint me.

I was assured that myself and my fellow Americans are idiots because we make up too many words and don't just speak English. A few examples would be 'faucet' and 'cleats'. Nevermind the fact that to me a 'tart' is sweet; it is not anything related to goat cheese.

As fact would have it though, I am wrong.

My further explorations led me to a nice afternoon with Owen wherein we talked about jobs and career wishes, and then we went to the bookstore where I picked up a copy of Eat Pray Love. My curiosity is getting the better of me after both Maisa and Catherine were reading it and the ads for the movie are on the TV constantly.

Most of my jewelry that I wear everyday, chillin' on the nightstand. 

I was looking for a copy of The Dresden Files, but they didn't carry any of the books, which I find extremely odd. Suppose I'll find another bookstore tomorrow and try again.

We went and visited Geraldine (yay!) at her work and it was decided that we would all eat burritos for dinner! This was very exciting. I do love burritos, and they beat the pants off of having pizza for dinner again. I love pizza too, but this was definitely the better option.

This is around the time that they decided to invite me to go to the gym with them! I was very resistant at first, stating that I had no workout clothes and I wasn't really in the mood. They persisted and said it would be fun and that Geraldine had clothes I could borrow. I greatly enjoy their company and I enjoy being out of the house AND I haven't been to the gym in ages and realized a thorough workout would do me good, so I went ahead and decided to go.

So glad that I went! We ate dinner and watched The Inbetweeners (which is a freaking hilarious show) and then we walked to the gym! It's out past NUIG, so the walk home afterwards provided a nice bit of additional cool-down.

Once we arrived we realized there was a bit of a mixup in the schedule and the class we were going to go to wasn't actually happening. Instead there was a rather girly aerobics class happening, so Owen left us at the door and went off to do his own thing. Probably for the best!

Geraldine and I proceeded to have a great time and just about die for the next hour. It was so great to be in a gym again! I am definitely joining one once I'm back in Washington, and then again when I return to Ireland!

Currently I am a bit sore. I've had a bit of water and Geraldine even made me a protein shake =3 I should feel great tomorrow! I'm super glad that they insisted I join them! What a nice day!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Ireland Day 75 - Around Connemara

Today saw more exploration adventures!

I mentioned recently that I hadn't been out and about lately. I've been sticking around town and tending to my current routine, not having many chances to do anymore touring. Funds are tight and I'm not interested in doing tours by myself. These aspects do tend to restrict my options!

Tra Sáilín, a small beach past Spiddal. 

However, knowing that I'll be back before too long makes me feel less sad about missing out on popular places. There will be time! :)

After spending some time with Miriam she asked me if I'd had a chance to see Connemara yet. I told her that I had not but that I wanted to, just didn't want to do a tour alone.

So, she ever so kindly offered to take me today! And we had a very nice time.

We explored down a random road and met this nice fellow here.

One thing that I miss out on while being part of a tour? Stopping wherever I want. Miriam was awesome; she stopped wherever I asked her to and even pulled off on a few places that she knew of that she thought I'd enjoy.

Since she was in no hurry I was allowed to take my time photographing one thing over and over again and stopping randomly in the middle of a conversation.


For the most part we had very fair weather. The first half of our excursion was almost too warm. There was mist hanging over the ocean and it was beautiful. On our way back down to Galway clouds and fog started to settle over the landscape, obscuring the views rather heavily.

Another random stop shortly past Maam Cross. I wanted that valley in the background and this is where the sheep ran from me!

A few times we passed some pretty spectacular views but the lighting was just so bad that I didn't bother to have her stop. It wouldn't have hurt for me to snap a few shots, but I knew I'd be disappointed with the results so meh.

I got a lot of shots that I'm very happy with! My only let down is my lack of sheep photos D: I badly wanted to get some cute sheep pictures! At one point we pulled over near some sheep grazing behind a fence and they freakin' ran like crazy when I got out of the car :( :( Even after standing still for a while to prove I was harmless they still wouldn't come back.

Kylemore Abbey.

Next time! Grrr.

But speaking of sheep, I was rather surprised when we turned a bend in the road and there were two sheep moseying nonchalantly down the center line!

"Sheep!" I exclaimed. Miriam laughed and said that they're everywhere.

"But who do they belong to?" I asked. She said most likely some farmer nearby.

"What if something happens to them?" I was so amused and curious. She explained that cars are used to sheep wandering the roads so they rarely get hit, and there aren't many predators in the area. On top of all that the farmers generally have so many sheep that they probably don't even notice if one or two go missing.


Early Autumn leaves resting at the top of a small waterfall at Connemara National Park.

She decided to take the route that the tour buses take, therefore ensuring plenty of beautiful sights for my camera and myself. We went up past Maam Cross and around to Kylemore Abbey. We walked around outside of the Abbey but didn't pay to go in. I'll leave that for another time.

After that we rode out toward Clifden and then stopped at Connemara National Park. It was mostly just trails but I saw some dogs swimming in a pond and that was cute. We stopped in Clifden because she was thirsty and she bought me a Loop de Loop, which was a lemon/lime partially chocolate covered popsicle. It was good too!

We stopped at Joyce's for some groceries and then I made dinner. To my great dismay (and pain) my sciatic nerve in my left side decided to freak the EFF OUT and I can barely walk right now. I have been stretching as much as I can and now I'm just laying down. I wanted to do the dishes but standing is friggin'... just no. So I hobbled upstairs and collapsed into bed. I do NOT know what's going on but it had better be finished when I wake up tomorrow.

I forget what this flower is called. I like it.

I'm sleepy. Today was fun.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ireland Day 74 - Rough

Today was rough.

I didn't feel very well today. I'll leave it at that. I ended up curling up at home and recovering while watching Friends and zoning out. The nicest thing was seeing Estella before I stumbled home. She's swell.

For dinner I decided to be bold and order pizza. I have no idea how many minutes are on my phone, so I thought I'd just order through the website.

That didn't go too smoothly.

So, forced to call, I hoped that I'd have enough minutes on my phone to fully place my order. I called my mom yesterday and we spoke for a while, so I believe I am precariously low.

After the guy picked up the phone he asked if he could place me on hold and I felt a bit panicked. Everything went OK though.


I ordered a small cheese pizza and the garlic pizza bread. The woman taking my order told me about a nice deal they were having that was only about 50 cents more and included more toppings, a second side order and two cans of coke.

I politely declined and she asked if I was sure. This happened once more before I said, a bit awkwardly, "It's just me, so I don't really need that much food". She was quiet for a second and said, "Oh, OK."

Thanks pizza lady! D: But seriously, it was a good deal, I think she just wanted to make sure that I knew that I could get quite a bit more food for only 50 cents. It was nice of her and would have been great if I weren't eating alone, heh.

I'm starting to really enjoy X Factor.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ireland Day 73 - Good Day


Sleeping in actually happened. I was so happy when I woke up this morning and saw that it was almost 10! I proceeded to loaf happily in bed, reading the internet and watching Friends.

Around 1:30 I decided that perhaps I should get out of bed and venture out of doors. I had lunch at this pizza place near Joyce's that Miriam suggested. The pizza was super good! I also ordered tea. I'm not really sure why. I guess I'm getting used to drinking it.

The weather has been a bit miserable. One of those especially dark overcast days, feels as though the sun has never quite come up.

I have my sights set on being out and seeing people this evening. Should be nice.

In all of my attempts to avoid doing a countdown, I still look at the calendar and say to myself, "In two weeks I'll be in Washington... :| " I have to follow that up with, "But in five months I'll be back"

Then I just change the subject.

My fingernails grow really rapidly here.

Lazy photo! I'm really truckin' through this book. What will I read on the plane!? D:


Friday, September 17, 2010

Ireland Day 72 - The Prom at Night

Today was uneventful. The sun was out, and that was nice. I ate at McDonaghs (oh gosh I forgot how it's spelled) and I liked their chips better than the first time.

I have this shot two different ways; one with the woman and one without. I feel like her presence lends more context and familiarity.

My biggest issue is that their chicken is super delicious but it's all on the bone and it's all over the plate and I'm hacking away at it in the crowded restaurant and bits of bone and skin and meat are flying onto the table and I get really self-conscious because I don't know how to eat chicken and then I get up and leave even though there's still meat on the bone but I'm too embarrassed and exhausted from trying and I'm full on chips anyway so I figure it's a wash.

To make myself feel better after the whole ordeal I bought another Snapple Apple =3

Fairly 'meh' shot, my favorite part is the very reflective sliver near the bottom.

My sights were set on going out this evening since I have tomorrow off (woo!), but that didn't happen. I pondered over how I would spend my Friday night when I remembered that I can always spend some time with Miriam! She live across the street from Steve and frequently hosts interns. She's very nice and I have severely underutilized her presence since I've been in Ireland.

We ended up going and getting dinner and then walking the Prom! We went to Supermacs because she was feeling like a quick meal. First time I've had it since my arrival, it was OK. She doesn't usually eat fast food and she was unimpressed with her sandwich and near the end of the meal a bug landed in her ketchup. It was hilarious.

Black Rock on the Prom. My favorite shot from the evening.

Our walk on the Prom was so so so great. It was a beautiful evening with a wonderful sunset and the tide was out. The moon was peaking through the small puffs of clouds and the light reflections on the ocean were plentiful.

Fortunately, she told me we'd go to the Prom before we left the house so I had my camera with me!

A very satisfying photo taking session did follow.

Looking down the Prom from Black Rock.

Salthill and the Prom: I love you.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ireland Day 71 - Series of Random Events

Really, the title could apply to any given day.

However, I believe that today has been exceptional in that area.

There have been a bunch of random things that have occurred that I find to be interesting and like finding a dollar on the ground or something. Quite enjoyable, but really not that big of a deal.

First of all: the bus. It was running late, as per usual, so I was unperturbed. However, once the red bus did finally decide to grace me with its presence, I saw not my 33 Knocknacarra bus, but the 36 Salthill bus.

"WTF?" was my initial reaction, followed quickly by, "Is it going to stop for me?"

It did indeed stop for me, and a strange bus ride did commence.

Apparently, the Salthill bus is much busier and crowded than the Knocknacarra one. This trip was, I'm sure, far beyond its legal capacity. I was intrigued because we went on a different route! This shouldn't have been as novel as it was, but oh well. I was all "New route! New things to look at!"

Although, the bus didn't actually go anywhere that I haven't already been. It buzzed past Joyce's, then down Knocknacarra, then went to the Prom! After that we hung a left onto Lower Salthill Road and ended up going out past NUIG. Next thing I knew we were overtaking Eddie Rocket's. What a ride!

But really, I enjoyed it more than I should have. Plus, this bus stopped I swear every ten feet and picked up at least five more people. Absolute madness.

The day continued on at a normal pace until I went to lunch.

And then, the most exciting thing happened to me.

Ok, that's an empty bottle, but the sentiment is still there. Do you have ANY idea how long it has been since I've had this flavor of Snapple?! It is entirely possible that it has been over six years. SIX. I used to have it every day at lunch in high school. I'll have you know that it was just as delicious today as I remembered it being. Thank you Cambridge's, I will be back for another one tomorrow <3

Just like with the Salthill bus, I was probably more excited about the Snapple than I should have been. I was standing and waiting to order a sandwich, the line was rather long. My eyes wandered over to the drink fridge that was close at hand. "Oh, Snapple" I thought to myself, "I wonder if they have the same flavors here". As I scanned the racks for Strawberry Lime, I froze on the word "apple" and I swear that my heart stopped just a little bit.

I reached out a disbelieving hand and read the label closer, then held the bottle up to the light to observe the color of the drink.

Definitely Snapple Apple colored.


At the tail end of my break I decided to unwind from my Snapple high by reading a few blogs. My internet snooping brought me to something magical. She is a freaking comedic genius. Her posts had me laughing harder than I have in a while. I wish I had found her blog sooner! Although, reading the back logs is not a bad thing.

I promptly sent a link off to Cassidy, who I knew would appreciate the humor. Just another good thing to happen today.

The bus gives me really mixed feelings. Some days I just can't stand it and then other days it's really not so bad. Days like today though just give me something to think about and focus on.

My seat mate was an interesting fellow, I will say. He was young and in a nice looking suit. He spent the first few minutes of our shared journey untangling his earphone cord with a look of intense concentration upon his very Irish face.

After he finished, placed his earphones in and had his music playing, I assumed that he would cease being a point of interest for me.

I was wrong!

He appeared to be talking to himself. I see nothing particularly bad about this. He wasn't creepy or smelly or old and his clothing didn't have holes in it. What caught my eye about it was that he was reminding me of myself.

I wondered for a bit if he was actually on the phone. His music came from his phone and he had a mouth piece dangling down the cord a bit. This suspicion was put to rest when he received a phone call and he said 'hello' and moved the mouth piece closer to his mouth. Settled that one.

There was a moment where we were both sitting perfectly still and then, almost simultaneously, we both shifted and resettled and stopped moving. A second "WTF?" moment in the day.

Lately I've been wondering to myself if other people talk to themselves as often as I do, or if people will randomly smile to themselves all alone in a public place, you know, like I do. I look around the bus every morning and evening to see if I can catch someone doing those things but they're always obnoxiously still.

Actually seeing this guy do the things that I do was incredibly interesting. I had so many questions for him! He seemed distracted though, so I kept my headphones on and my mouth shut. I was slightly sad to see him go even though I knew I was never going to actually ask him if he were talking to himself, and if so, what about?

My departure from the red bus (it was the 33 Knocknacarra this time, no worries) faced me first and foremost with this.

I am alight with curiosity. Wind? Vehicle? Angry dog?

And speaking of angry dogs. I had an encounter! Now, I can't say for 100% sure if this dog was angry or not, but he was certainly formidable. Sadly (smartly?) I did not stop to take a picture.

He was coming at me at a fast enough pace, but not running. The big black mouth was open and there were small barks issuing from it. I looked at him once and kept walking. It was very difficult to not keep looking back, but I'm pretty sure if you do that then they'll be more inclined to chase you.

My only response was to not run, but continue my pace, and remove one side of my headphones to listen for growls, barks or rapidly padding feet. "Am I about to get mauled by a dog?" I asked myself. Once I was certain that the dog had dropped chase I said aloud, "No I'm good" and then I noticed someone standing next to their car about five feet to my right.

So I ran the rest of the way home.

After all the neat-o events of the day I am full of some wicked energy. To dispel it I am singing as loudly as I can with my headphones on and the volume up. I will only sing if I can't hear myself.

Oh, one more thing.

This didn't happen today, but actually last Thursday so I think it counts.

At Steve's birthday party I wore a hole in one of the knees of my jeans!

I'm done now.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ireland Day 70 - Pictures of my freakin' hand

Isn't it odd how some days go by remarkably faster than others?

Suddenly I was rushing out the door to head to lunch.

And I looked at the clock and it was 5:30.

It is twenty minutes to 9.


Today almost seems as though it hasn't actually happened.

Although, I do have a minor accomplishment: I finally found a song on youtube that I have had in my head for the past two months. I had no idea what it was called or who it was by and when I would remember to try and look it up I suddenly couldn't remember what it sounded like and therefore couldn't search for lyrics. Predicament, right?

Well here it is.

(the official video cuts off 20 seconds early [???] so here is one with lyrics instead)

I feel really good finally knowing what it is. And now I can't stop listening to it. It gives me goosebumps.

Gosh I am so anxious and itchy to take photos, I am experiencing a major lack of inspiration though. This is a frustrating situation. Even though I am aware that I am literally surrounded by situations, objects, life just waiting to be photographed, I just look around and shrug, absolutely not feelin' it. What the crap is going on? Supposing that blocks are common among all creative endeavors, it's still irritating as all hell. What am I waiting for?

Perhaps the biggest issue here is that it is getting seriously cold outside and I am lacking in the coat department. Makes it difficult to want to explore outside. Initially my plans were taking me away from here at the beginning on the month, so why bring a heavier coat? As it is, I have two weeks (two weeks :( ) in the ridiculous wind, rain and autumn cold to contend with. Maybe I'll take pictures of how damn thin my zip up is.

I had two sodas today and that was a horrible mistake because now I have that obnoxious pain in my chest. Caffeine whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

This is a horrible ramble. 

I just took a long break to take a ton of photos of my hand. It is now almost 9:30.

And now it's 10:01.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ireland Day 69 - Happy Happy!

This is my 100th post here on My Photo Life. That's kind of special.

Today has been pretty awesome. I'm in really high spirits and it feels quite nice. Last week wasn't my best week ever, dips are to be expected though. The upswing is here, my face can smile again!

Plans for my return to Ireland are almost entirely finalized. Fantastic madness! At this point what remains is saving the money and getting my visa. Those will be easy-peasy though, simply a matter of time! I feel so good. It's an indescribable feeling to know that what I want is falling into place. I'm working hard for it, I'm not saying it's all luck. Working hard enough and getting what I want in return though... just fantastic. I am so grateful.

Various types of inspirations and realizations have occurred since landing here in Ireland. They are numerous in number. I have listed/described some of them here over the past 2+ months. Right now I suppose I'll mention another one!

Everyone here keeps so busy. They all have multiple hobbies and interests in their lives. If they have downtime then they have something to do. I think it's great! I don't have enough to do to fill the space between work and sleep. If I don't have a friend to talk to or hang out with then I get a bit bored. I'd like to be more proactive with my free time and to fill my life with more things that make me happy.

So, I've been compiling a list. On the evenings when I've been sitting kind of bored here I've thought to myself, "What would I be doing in Washington?" and the answer? The exact same thing. Sitting bored, not utilizing my time. Such a shame. Back to the list! A list of things that I'm going to do for the time that I'm in Washington. I will take advantage of my time, I will not sit quiet wishing I were doing something else.

I am full of words but am sadly photographically uninspired tonight. Here is my TV remote. Forgive me.

Chief among this list? Learning to drive stick shift. I'll be putting out a call to anyone I know that owns one to see if they'll teach me. I'm horrible, so it may be difficult to find someone willing to let me use their clutch. I will buy them beer, tea or coffee. Whatever they want. Second! Learning to cook with meat. Disgusting, squidgy raw meat. This will be more difficult than the stick shift thing. Third! Finish my 40K army. I am really excited about that last one. Truly. I have wanted to finish it for over four years. There is high likelihood that I will never play again, but having a fully painted army would be immensely satisfying for me.

There are other things on that list, but those are the big three. I'm pretty excited to fill my five months with learning and personal enrichment. What will I bring back to Ireland with me? The ability to eat more than pasta and pb&j? That'd be nice. I love them, but expanding my palette... that'll be nice.

I'm going to bring my Wii with me, I know that much.

I also have a little list of things that I wish I had with me right now. I miss some of my belongings. Particularly high on the list in my jean jacket. I'm going to sleep in it when I get to Washington. Next? My colorful array of Converse. My sketchers are great for my posture and my muscles, but I miss having a colorful shoe to wear. Damn. Plus, the sketchers are so ugly. Can't handle that much more ugly on my feet. There are a handful of shirts that I especially wish I had here. I know what to make sure to pack next time!

My afternoon was super awesome. I spent a good chunk of the day with Owen and Geraldine! They are the absolute best. Lunch was had, walking happened, and a fabulous evening of simply chatting. Social interaction. Owen left to play soccer, so Geraldine and I settled in to conversation. We talked about St. Patrick's Day and how pumped I am to be in Ireland for it next year. It's going to be great! We also talked at length about shoes. Did you know that Crocs come in more than one style? I am intrigued. This is frightening. She had to leave around 7:30, and I realized the next bus wouldn't roll by until around 8:20/8:30. I got all sad and she told me I could stick around their place and watch TV until I had to leave for the bus. So nice of her! It was windy and potentially rainy outside so I was extremely grateful. I watched part of Independence Day and called my mom to tell her about my fabulous day.

I'd like to add that I actually enjoy watching X Factor and, even worse, the Jedward reality show. What is going on?!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Ireland Day 68 - Dinner!

Delicious Italian dinner.

Even though the entire comic isn't relevant to Italian dinner, Penny Arcade really nailed the subject in the last two panels. Nothing weird like that happened, but Estella and I conversed about how everybody likes Italian. Made me think of this comic. Wanted to share!

We went to Bella Roma, which made me very happy. I ate there about two months ago on my big shopping day and I've wanted to go back ever since. Their bruschetta? So good. This time I had lasagna, which was also pretty tasty. Next time I think I'll get the pizza again!

It was nice to hang out with Estella for a bit. She's very nice! She lives out of town so I don't see her as much as I see everyone else, which is a shame. This evening was fun though. She ordered raspberry cheesecake and it looked really good. I should pop in there and just get that like she did. Yum!

I had today off, and I have tomorrow off too. Nice to have some sleeping in time. Although lately I'm having a difficult time sleeping. Even though I'm tired I just... lie awake. Once I finally do fall asleep I wake up (almost every time) around 2 in the morning and I feel wired. After I actually get back to sleep, I wake up again around 4, then once 7/7:30 rolls around I am so super tired. This is a bit vexing.

This morning I woke up around 9:30 and my body refused to go back to sleep. So I loafed in bed. Music and tv and photos, all while under the covers and in my jammies. It's nice to laze about once in a while.

Once evening plans were made with Estella I decided to actually take a shower and find something to eat (laziness overrides hunger). Then I set to more preparations for my Etsy shop. I believe I've found a printer that I want to go through, just need to order a few test prints. I've researched prices and will decide on those soon. As for shipping, similar with the regular prices. The last thing is deciding which prints I'm going to sell! So, I started going through my photos.

You like my fake moon?

I have a lot of photos. An exhaustive amount, really. As a preliminary round, I started copying files over to an Etsy folder. These photos are my favorites, ones that I'm particularly proud of or that I think have something universally appealing to them. Next I'd really like to go through them with a few different people and get some feedback. Just because I like a photo that doesn't necessarily mean someone will want a print of it. What factors go into that decision? I need some marketing help.

It was enjoyable to go through so many photos. Coming across ones just from earlier this year I have so many critiques for them. Whereas initially the photos looked great to me, and now I can think of what I would do better/different next time. Move this arm there, turn the face that way, move the camera perspective lower, more to the right, change the horizon placement, add another light, move the only light, etc etc.

Good to know that I'm still learning and growing and thinking critically about my photos! Now I just need models. I feel pretty good about landscape photos, been taking so many of them. More people please!

My evening rounded out by calling my dad! Yesterday was his birthday and I fell asleep before I could call him :S He was really pleased to hear from me, and it was quite nice to talk to him. Got to catch him up on everything that has been going on. Been a pretty nice day! Now I will make hot chocolate and watch the rest of 27 Dresses on TV! It is actually exciting when a movie I already own/have seen comes on TV spontaneously.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ireland Day 67 -

My camera was with me today and I didn't take any pictures. That's not a big surprise though.

I've been thinking about my lack of photographs lately. I haven't gone anywhere new. Galway is so amazing and I can easily continue to take a lot of photos. I want to show new things though. I wouldn't have to go very far to find them, it's more a matter of time and money. Now that I have friends here I'd rather spend time with them than go off for a full day alone on a bus with people I don't know. Maybe that's wrong of me to feel, and maybe I'll get over it! But the company is so enjoyable, right now I can't see me choosing more isolation over company. When I'm here for a full year I'll do more tours. Or maybe I'll get a car and drive myself. There are just so many options!

As it is, though, I have been in a routine for a little while now. That initial 'photograph everything' wild hair has calmed significantly. Everything is still so so beautiful and interesting here. It has become part of my life though. So it melds seamlessly around me as I walk off the bus and up Shop Street. I know enough side streets to duck around traffic and faster routes if there are cars in the way. I know where my favorite shops are and which buildings still fascinate me. I have a favorite place to go when I have free time and I know when to hustle to the Latin Quarter because the light is beautiful, there are a few ways to go and some of them I like better than others.

Seeing these things everyday has brought about patience when I'm waiting for the perfect moment to snap the shutter. It makes me happy to be able to say that some of my (self professed) most successful shots are from stopping and waiting with the camera pressed to my eye, maybe in the rain or in the chilled wind of the setting sun. The familiarity has not become mundane, but comfortable. And when the feeling strikes I can take advantage of knowing where things are.

And there's still so much to see and know and do in this area. I have hardly a thimbleful.

Don't stop now.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ireland Day 66 -

Work was steady today. Had a walk-in shoot. Full of surprises.

Trying to decide what I should do for dinner.

I actually took some real photos today. The sun was nice this morning. I was bombarded with rain while walking back to work on my lunch break. The sun was out again on the bus ride home.

And now.



Friday, September 10, 2010

Ireland Day 65 -

I've had this open for about twenty minutes and I can't think of anything to write. Things are happening, and yet I'm not in much of a blog mood.


Happy Friday night.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ireland Day 63 - Rain

And lots of it! Night before last there was a spectacular thunder/lightening/rain storm and last night there was just a lot of rain. I left for the bus stop a few minutes early because I was running early (how awesome is that?) and I was greeted to a rather neat sight near the park: super deep puddle!

If I hadn't left early I wouldn't have had a chance to stop and take pictures :3

The rest of the day wasn't super eventful. Pretty average, really. I've been in a very good mood the whole time though, so that's nice! I spent my lunch with Caitriona and Steve which certainly helped with the good mood! I ate at a new place as well, delicious sandwich accomplished! Steve discovered Curiosity Cola, endorsed by a dog. It was good times.

I wondered what I would do with the rest of my day, but nothing particularly brilliant came to mind, so I decided I would just shoot on home and skype with Cassidy! Plans formed. I had mini pizzas for dinner. I need to learn to cook.

The rain was so interesting today. It was a nice day for the most part, and then while I was walking to the bus stop after work it started to sprinkle, and then rained fairly heavy. So I stood and smiled at the sky with my headphones on. I would have spread my arms wide if I hadn't been in public. The bus ride was kind of funny, there's new upholstery on the seats and halfway through the route we got a new bus driver! When I got off the bus it was overcast, and then ten feet from my front door is started to just. pour. It was exciting.

Rain like this never seems to last long so I didn't have a big enough window to experiment and get exactly what I was looking for.

I wanted to take a photo so badly but I had to use the bathroom even more (I have had an extreme amount of water today). By the time I ran back and flung open the front door there was no rain. NONE! It had stopped. "Are you kidding me?!" I yelled. After trudging upstairs and unloading my bag, to my great delight, the rain started again! So open went my bedroom window and I took as many photos as I could until the rain stopped.

Remaining droplets.

Now I am watching 17 Again (brilliant film, by the way) and wondering. Wondering wondering.


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