Saturday, March 26, 2016

Project 52: Shot 14

True Happiness (March 26, 2016)

Yes, Mexican Coke tastes like true happiness to me. No, I am not being paid to say that. Mexican Coke in a glass bottle reminds me of the time I would spend visiting my family in Mexico during the summer as a little girl. (I remember being so excited when I discovered I could buy a case of it at Costco!) This photo was taken at Mariscos Enriques, a Mexican seafood restaurant in South Ontario, and what you can't see is that a Cantinflas movie was playing on the TV in the corner--another reminder of my blissful summers in Mexico. 

Visiting Mexico as an adult isn't the same as it was when I was a child--mainly because I am now aware of some of the cultural differences which make me feel out of place at times. I remember someone once told me he could tell which kids had spent some time in the states based on how they walked. At the time, I didn't quite believe him, but now I understand what he meant. I imagine that the way I walk is one of the initial giveaways (among other things) that I'm not from down there when I visit. According to my aunt and mom, my clothes are another giveaway, but opening my mouth to speak probably removes any doubt. The self-consciousness of being an outsider now colors my experiences in Mexico these days, but true happiness was feeling I belonged anywhere I was.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Project 52: Shot 13

For the record, when I first saw this shot on my Project 52 list, I was really excited and imagined myself shooting through something and creating a really unusual, artistic shot. Maybe next year . . .

Shoot Through Something (March 25, 2016)


On Thursday night, I was taking some pictures of the moon from the Alta Loma High School parking lot. Those pictures were not for my Project 52; I just really like taking pictures of the moon despite the fact that they rarely come out the way I imagine they will. (To be fair, every time I shoot the moon, I imagine myself coming out with a shot that could be on the cover of National Geographic.) When I got home, I looked outside my living room and realized I could shoot the moon through the trees and that could be for my Project 52! 

Unfortunately, my backyard-moon-through-the-trees shot will not be gracing the covers or pages of any magazine in the near future. The shot would have been more impressive (atmospheric?) without the new two-story houses across the street--thank you, urban sprawl! These are the same houses whose occupants--according to my boyfriend--will now be able to look through my windows and see all the things I do with the shutters open. (I am only marginally concerned about this, but he is very concerned.)

After I was done taking my moon shots, I turned around and saw Starr in the window and I proceeded to shoot her through that which reminded me of one of my favorite quotes . . .

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land a good one of Starr.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Project 52: Shots 10-12

Again, I know this isn't the way I'm "supposed" to work my way through a Project 52, but it works for me.

Water (March 21, 2016)

I love the ocean. There is just something about being in its presence that I find soothing. I think it has a lot to do with the sound and steadiness of the crashing waves. I went to Santa Monica during my spring break and before I even got out of the car, I knew I wanted to take my water shot there. I took this one from the pier and looking back now, I think it could have been more interesting if I had gotten part of the shore in it. I might have lost some of the detail of the foam and the swells in the background though. I'm sure there's a life lesson in there somewhere--something about no regrets and being at peace with the decisions we make in the moment.

If I learned how to do nothing else during this project other than be okay with my decisions, it would not be a wasted year. 

Warmth (March 21, 2016)

I took this shot a few minutes before sunset. I couldn't remember the last time I watched the sun set until my boyfriend reminded me it had been with him in Puerto Vallarta this past summer. (I have an excellent memory.) Frankly, I'm a little frustrated that it took some editing to get the picture to look as warm as I wanted it to or thought it should. The colors in the sky were "warm" which is why I thought it would work for my warmth shot, but, ironically, it took a Lightroom effect called Old Polar to make it seem warmer. I think maybe the darkness of the water cools it down a little.

And for the record, there was a very cold ocean breeze blowing at the time.

Sky (March 21, 2016)

I cannot even begin to tell you how many gorgeous skies I have witnessed this year. Unfortunately, the sun waits for no woman to reach her destination and pull out her camera. So after watching the sun set into the Pacific Ocean, I turned around and noticed the moon already in the sky with a few pink clouds and I just had to take a couple shots. I didn't even intend this to be one of my Project 52 shots, but I wasn't pleased with the ones I did take post-sunset because the clouds seem blurry. Mainly because I still have problems getting my camera/lens to focus on the sky.

I had the same issue when I was taking some moonshots back in December. I think it has something to do with focusing on infinity. I think there's probably another life lesson in there, but I'm not ready for that one just yet. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Project 52: Shot 9

A Furry Friend's Favorite Activity (February 27, 2016)

This photo was difficult to take mainly because I knew it was the last time I would ever see Moochie eat. Later that day, I took him in to be put down.

It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life.

He was almost 16 years old and I knew it was time to do this when I saw his appetite had changed. I had slowly noticed other changes as he grew older. Many of the articles I had read online encouraged me to identify some major changes and decide when it was time based on those. I was supposed to figure out what his favorite things to do were and then set some kind of limit like "when he can no longer do X out of Y things." I knew it was time when I noticed he would no longer race downstairs to eat after hearing the automatic feeder start dumping food into the bowl. Between that and some other things he had been doing for a while, I finally accepted that it was time.

Some of you know that I "adopted" Moochie from a little boy in the apartment complex that I lived in back when I was first married. Poor Moochie was dragged from Alta Loma to South Ontario to Rancho, from one side of the city to the other and back again. I credit him with getting me through my separation and divorce. (I "thanked" him for that by getting him a little sister a year later.) I remember he would always keep me company at night no matter where I was or how late I stayed up. It didn't matter if I was grading (and eventually sleeping) on the sofa or working on grad school stuff in my home office--he would be curled up nearby, patiently waiting for me to finish so we could go to bed. I can't even begin to count the nights that I slept on the sofa and he slept right there with me.

Moochie started his life as an outdoor cat and I can only hope that it improved when he met Justin and me. He took care of me when I needed it the most and I can only hope that he felt I had taken care of him in the years after that. I'll eventually get an impression of his pawprint and I know his ashes will be sprinkled in the ocean at Point Loma. My boyfriend showed me photos of how beautiful it is and I'm hopeful that we can go down there so I can shoot some more photos--maybe even another shot for this project. Until then, I guess this is definitely a moment from 2016 that I want to remember, albeit a painful one.