I’ve waited a year and a half (that is, since I first moved to this particular home) for a legitimate snow covering at my place! The timing isn’t perfect, as I have company coming and airport trips to make, but I think that’ll be fine. Meanwhile, this is what I woke up to this morning:

(Well, for the record, this was like an hour after I woke up.)

It was a little too dark for sharp duck photos, but I wanted to show you the snow on this Ringneck’s back! These are diving ducks, but the snow was coming down hard enough at that point that it collected between dives.

Before I headed down to take photos, I debated whether I wanted to take my larger telephoto lens. I decided there would be no need, and now I’m kicking myself! These deer were wandering around the forest and I could only use my stupid kit lens to photograph them. Can you even see them?

I circled them for you, if not. 🙂

I guess this is Lake Bella? 🙂 I’ll have to ask about that sign sometime…it hasn’t been up the whole time I’ve lived here. The lake right next to it is Lake Edward. 😉

Some of these are kind of similar…sorry about that.

Some of these look black and white, but I left them all in color. That’s a beaver lodge off to the left.

Lake Renesmee.

Okay, I guess that’s enough for now. Hey, we get snow so rarely that I had to get a little crazy with the pictures. Who knows when I’ll see it again? Maybe tomorrow, actually, but fingers crossed that I won’t. I need nice, dry roads.

I think Food Friday is going to be postponed. I’ll show you double next week!


Lifety Life

I haven’t posted recently, so I feel like I should. That’s probably not enough of a reason, but I don’t always need good reasons for things. Ready for some random stuff?

1. There is currently a hummingbird on the feeder outside my back door. Be so amazed.

2. It wasn’t long ago when I got a new battery for my car’s remote, but it’s already not working! I feel like a cave man putting the key into the car door to open it. What’s next? An antenna for my cell phone?!

3. I’ve been working on naming/captioning my photos for the work gallery, and I’m reminded of how bad I am at that. For starters, I am not big on poemy-creative titles for things. It’s just not me, so I’m not going to name a flower photo “Spring’s Colorful Song” or “Winter’s Daydream” or anything like that. I’ll just call it “Dogwood,” or whatever it actually is. It may be a little boring, but as I said to my coworker, I would way rather be boring than corny.

For nexters, it’s hard to caption the photos in a way that doesn’t seem like I have some kind of love affair with my pictures. I don’t. I have reasons I like different photos, but I don’t want to come across like I think they’re all magical and capture a feeling or subject so amazingly. Because let’s face it–there are millions of better photos out there! However, my boss encouraged me to explain my thoughts about the photos because he says people enjoy it, so I really do need to say something more than the title. I probably just need to get over myself and not worry about whether people misunderstand me, but that’s just one of my struggles in life.

4. That hummingbird is STILL on the feeder. He’s a hungry bungry.

5. I updated my site. It’s far from perfect, but at least it no longer contains Hello Butterfly logos. I had to force myself to come to a stopping point for now because I started obsessing over little things like the speed of the photo rotator, the pictures chosen, the size of fonts, etc.

6. Firefox thinks “rotator” is not a word.

7. Number five reminds me that my coworker recently read me a quote that said something about how only a graphic designer can take a simple web page and make it annoyingly complex and impractical. I keep laughing about how true that can be. (Did I mention I’m a graphic designer? So is the coworker who read me this quote.) I do sometimes worry about details that other people will never notice, but I can also be overly practical and non-artistic compared to others in my field. Sometimes my motto is, “Eh…good enough.”

8. My friend mailed back some stuff I had loaned him, and since I had asked him to throw a few Benjamins in the package, I got these:

It took me a minute to realize it wasn’t some kind of mistake.

Since the power was out the other night, I attempted some long exposure photos (star trails, etc.). Unfortunately (for me, at least), there was a full moon, so it wasn’t dark enough. You can kind of see a couple of star trails in this image (the pale streaks in the sky), but mostly I love the adorable star effect on the house lights across the lake. They’re kind of mocking me with the power outage, but I’ll forgive them.

A pretty scene outside my back door the other day.

11. I put the checkbox of “You don’t know me” down there so that maybe strangers passing through would click on it sometimes. It’s like signing a guest book, only it takes just half a second, and you remain anonymous! But no one has ever marked it.

12. I’m hungry now, so I need to make dinner.

Food Friday

Sorry, just one photo this week. I didn’t put much effort into the rest, so they didn’t make the cut.

02/15 – P sent me home with awesome leftovers (she and I hung out on Valentine’s evening). So good!

Things have been pretty busy this week, and mostly in my brain. I feel like I’m having to make lots of little decisions and keep track of a billion tasks at the moment. None of them are very difficult on their own, but together I’m getting drained. TGIF and it’s a holiday weekend!

Last night I had the typical dream for how I’m feeling: I’m in school and have 3,000 projects due today and I haven’t started on any of them. It’s fun to stress while I sleep!

Photography has been consuming most of my thoughts, lately, due to the name change, the upcoming workshop, a new lens I’m planning to buy (so I’ve been obsessively tracking the price and double-checking reviews), and now I’ve agreed to show my photos in a little work-related gallery next month. So many decisions to make! Whenever I see my own photos a lot, I start feeling really tired and critical of myself, so that’s part of the drain. I’ve been second-guessing every decision and just feeling incompetent overall. I’m sure it’ll pass.

Boy, I’m chatty!

There are some great things coming up in my life. Next weekend I have two friends (from two states!) visiting so we can hang out and they can attend my photo workshop. Did I already tell you this? If so, it’s just because I’m very excited! How awesome are my friends, near and far? And then after that I’m going to Death Valley to camp with my parents! I’ve never been, and March is supposed to be an ideal time for photos. Oh and that’s Death Valley, CA. I’ve been surprised at how many times people have asked me where it is.

Have a great Friday and weekend! Sorry this post was lacking in photos and abundant in my rambling. I’m sure it’s full of mistakes, too–I’m not going to spend much time proofreading.

PS It’s snowing!


Brenda posts links to different articles/etc. that she has recently enjoyed, so why can’t I? (I’m such a biter.) I’m just going to scroll through my starred items in Google Reader and see what I should share.

How They Built a Glass House for The Lake House
I recently added the Hooked on Houses blog to my reader, and this post was interesting. The Lake House is actually a pretty bad movie (sorry! love you, Sandra!) that I strangely watched twice, therefore I’m double-sure it’s bad. I won’t go on and on about that (although I could, believe me), because the point is that the house is pretty cool (even if impractical), and I found this entry fascinating.

G’day mates!
This wedding photography couple made a funny spoofy video about themselves as photographers. I don’t remember a ton about it except that I found it cleverly amusing. And dorky.

Jess: Abbotsford Grad Photography
I think this old post was what made me start following this photographer’s blog, and for some reason it was reposted. I love the dress. Beautiful! That’s my whole point in linking you, and I’m not even a fashiony person.

Explore your doubts, but do so in peace
For whatever reason, this post spoke to me, and then a few days later I heard a talk about almost the same topic. It bothers me how sharing doubts can freak other Christians out and so we tend to just hide our true feelings. It’s better to acknowledge our struggles and tackle them, knowing most people have times when they feel far from God and question things like his promises and the Bible’s validity.

And to end on a lighter note…

Herb Scissors
I want some of these. It’s not that I’m all about the herbs (I don’t even know how to pronounce some of them), but I have dreamed of this sort of multi-blade slicer before. Only, in my head it was like a pizza cutter, not scissors.

The New Name + Snapshot

As you’ve likely figured out from my watermark* on the pancake photos, my new photography name is Greengate Photography. (I need to update and add to that site, but there’s a logo at least.)

Greengate is the name of a street I lived on for several years. I like the two words in that name–green is my favorite color, and gates have some nice symbolism attached. There are some other reasons why I ended up with the name, but I’ll spare you. Just trust me that I know it’s not perfect, but choosing a name was a long and difficult process, and I’m very glad to be done. I’m satisfied, and that’s what matters. (Yes, it’s all about me.)

Various circumstances have me all reflecty about photography and how it’s become more prominent in my life over the past eight years. In my mind, I have snapshots (no pun intended) of moments that I feel contributed to where I am now. One can be represented with an actual photo:

This man was the State Librarian and was associated with my then-employer. It happened that I knew the most about our new office camera and had been asked to take some of the photos we needed for a brochure I was designing. One was a portrait of this man, so I met him in his office one day and took a bunch of horrid photos (technically speaking), but got this lucky shot that turned out decently. He was so pleased with it that he wanted to use it for some other purposes, and I even got paid by a publisher who used it once. (Heck yes I took a photo of that check before depositing it!)

He didn’t know me but, because of this photo, he was very supportive and encouraging. I think he’s just that kind of guy anyway, but it still meant something to me. He kept insisting I should pursue photography, and that he could be a reference for me if necessary.

That’s one of the many situations where I feel I did nothing special, but was blessed by God through others, and given a bit of momentum to move forward. I may talk about some other snapshots in the future, mostly because I think it’s a good reminder to me of how God paves a way in areas where he has assigned our passion and interest.

*Which is subject to change–I just quickly came up with that for those photos.

Pancake Party!

I wanted to do something the weekend before Valentine’s and ended up deciding on a pancake brunch, inspired both by the awesome pancake recipe I tried, and my friend’s New Year’s Day brunch. I kept it to girls only, mostly to limit the number since I have a small place. I was very pleasantly surprised when all eight of my invited guests were available to come!

This isn’t the world’s finest photography, but it’s the memories that matter, correcto? I normally wouldn’t post this on a Saturday, but I just couldn’t wait! 🙂 Thanks for coming, ladies!

Drink station.

P (left) was my assistant 😉 and she was so helpful!

My somewhat failed attempt at a heart pancake. I see that this picture is missing the gray border on three sides, but I also see that I’m too tired/lazy to fix it. Oh and how beautiful are those pancakes on the top right? That’s it, I’m applying at IHOP.

Oh you’re so lucky you get to see my cluttered computer desk. And my laptop was only open because I had music playing. No, I wasn’t emailing or anything. 😛

I thought it would be fun to have a drawing for a little gift. B won! And wow, how fantastic is my tissue arrangement?! You’d think I was a professional present wrapper.

J has many faces.

See? Here’s another.

After pancakes, I brought out some supplies to make Valentines.

I was surprised at the Valentine diversity!

K, for some reason I hardly got any photos of you compared to usual! Weird. Well, we’ll make up for it with another portrait shoot soon. 🙂

N shows off her Valentine while J feasts on glue stick.

I had candy to add to the Valentines because who wants a Valentine without candy??

I think N secretly wants to be in the greeting card biz. 🙂

M is a rebel with her non-traditionally-colored Valentine.

I told T to show us her tiny cup of tea…I bought those little plastic wine glasses because they are so cute and fun for orange juice! And she had iced tea in one, which I think is practically a crime. Everyone knows iced tea deserves a huge glass. Meanwhile, D designed a Valenshirt!

A closer look at the handsome shirt.

I didn’t make a Valentine (yet) because I was all crafted out from decorating.

M got creative and put some of my Real Simple magazines to use (since they are otherwise pointlessly resting under my coffee table).

D’s rock star Valentine. The question of the day was: should she add a line of glitter above that red pick?

This is J’s “Road to Love.” She says that it’s a lifelong journey. 😛

T sweetly brought me this awesome mug and tea!

And K brought me that chocolate bar. I wasn’t expecting presents! And the funny thing about that Divine bar is I had just seen a blogger talking about it this week and was looking at the Divine site. I had never heard of that brand before.

Are you doing anything special this weekend or on Monday? I forgot to ask my parents if they are. Mom and Dad, feel free to chime in.

Since I probably won’t post for a few days, happy Valentine’s Day to all, and to all a good night!

Just Friday

No food photos today. I’m not crazy about any from the week. I’m struggling with how to do this for a full year. I’ve been eating a lot of the same things and am apparently too lazy to come up with unique ways to photograph them.

February is a full month for me, and it’s been fun planning and anticipating. That’s partly why I haven’t been very consistent with the blogging, lately. Also, I have finally (finally!) decided on a new brand/name for my site and photography stuff. I’ve been mulling it over for like a year, and have decided to just moved forward instead of waiting for perfection. You’ll start seeing that new watermark soon.

I do like Hello Butterfly, and it’s kind of sad to see it being phased out, but it just doesn’t work for various reasons. You know what’s weird, though? No one ever asked me for the story behind that domain. I didn’t necessarily plan to share, anyway, but now it’s too late. 🙂 TOO LATE.

Have a good Valenweekend!

A scene at work yesterday.

A foreshadow! I’m having a Valentine get-together and am hoping to blog about it later.

PS I don’t really know what to put for those checkboxes below. I’ve been trying different ideas, but I’m not happy with any of them. I may just remove them altogether.

PPS Quick poll: Do you think the captions for photos should be before the photo, or just under them? I put them under/after, but have been wondering if it’s confusing.

Computer Tips: Google Reader

Let’s talk about blog readers! How exciting does that sound? I only bring them up because many of you might benefit from using one. There are many out there, but the one I use is Google Reader. It’s pretty popular.

The purpose of a blog reader is to automatically gather up recent entries from all the blogs you’d like to follow and put them in one place for easy reading. Then, instead of visiting each blog separately to check if there are new posts, you can go to one place and the new entries will show up.

To get started with Google Reader, you need to create a free account with them. Many of you might already be registered with Google without realizing it. If you have a Gmail (Google’s email) address or use a personalized Google start page, you are all set. I sign in with a non-Gmail account–you don’t have to use Gmail to use the reader.

Once you sign in with your new account, it’s very easy to add blogs to your reader. In most cases, all you have to do is copy the URL of the blog you want to follow, and paste it in the “Add subscription” box. Make sure you’re copying the main blog, not just one of the specific entries. (For instance, if you were adding my blog, you would add NOT one of the entries, such as, etc.) It’s usually a matter of clicking on someone’s title banner or “blog” link to get to the main blog as opposed to a specific entry.

Once it’s added, the latest entries will show up in your reader window and you can scroll through and read them. Here’s what mine looks like. Click on this picture for a larger version:

I put in a couple of pink arrows to show you the useful buttons to know right away. The “Add a subscription” button is, obviously, how you add a blog–just like I mentioned above. The “previous” and “next” buttons were two I never noticed for months but wish I had. So often I want to go back to the top of an entry (each entry header/title links to the actual blog post outside of Google reader where you can comment on it and see other comments) and it’s easiest to just hit “previous.” Or, I can tell an entry is not something I care to read, and I can just click on “next” to scroll down past it. Sooooo nice!

You’ll notice along the side I have created my own folders to be categories, but you don’t have to. I opened one (Bible and Faith) to show how they work just like in Windows–click on the + to see what’s inside. You can drag and drop blogs to folders, or you can click on a blog in that menu and go up to “View settings…” to unsubscribe. Mass actions can be handled in “Manage subscriptions” (small link at the bottom left).

I use the “Add star” button to mark recipes or other entries that I want to keep on hand, or I mark “Keep unread” when I don’t have time to read through something but intend to later. Note that as soon as you scroll by an entry, it becomes “read” unless you mark it otherwise. At first this seemed so hasty, but now that I know my way around, it doesn’t bother me. I can always go back up by hitting “previous entry,” or I can go directly to that blog on the side panel and find the entry again.

I’m no expert, this is just how I use Google Reader. I’m sure I’m missing lots of cool shortcuts and features–what are your favorites?

Do any of you use another blog reader that you recommend? Who here uses Google Reader already? Who wants to try it now? Talllkkkkk tooooooooo meeeeeeeeeee.

Food Friday?

I totally forgot about posting my Food Friday stuff this morning! But it’s kind of okay since I didn’t make a very good effort this week, and don’t really have many food photos to show you. I did manage to photograph a food each day, but most of the photos were not very thoughtful or well done. So I present you with just a few food photos and some spring (almost!) progress photos to compensate. 🙂

This wasn’t a 365 photo, just some sugar cookies I made for friends. I took the picture thinking I might post the recipe, but I don’t think I liked these enough to pass it along.

01/28 – Leftovers! Rice pilaf.

01/29 – Free sandwich from Safeway. 🙂 It looks like tuna in this photo, but it’s not. It’s turkey with a little mayo and mustard, plus lettuce and provolone.

Annnnnnd that’s all the food photos I’m showing you. Flower time!

Please excuse all the crocus photos–there are a bunch (flowers, not photos) on a hillside by my office, and I can’t help but take pictures of them as more and more are blooming. I always get excited about the first blossoms and like to record new growth and compare it with previous years.

Don’t get mad if you think these look like spiders and are now creeped out. They’re just these fuzzy seed things on a tree at work. I think they’re kind of pretty.

A little weed, but it’s a flower, so it’s good enough for me to photograph.

I can’t guarantee you won’t see more crocuses on this blog. They get extra attention since there’s not much flower competition right now.

Have a great weekend! Oh and thanks to those of you who watched my portfolio video. I was surprised at how many were willing to use almost 8 minutes of their life on that, so thank you very much. 🙂 The nice comments are very encouraging.

Portfolio slideshow

It’s kind of long, so I understand if you don’t want to watch, but I thought I’d post this video of my portfolio slideshow that I will play before my upcoming photography workshop. It will play as attendees filter in so they have an idea of where I’m coming from (skill-level, style, etc.) when I teach. Also, it gives them something to do while they wait.
This took awhile to create (I made it in PowerPoint and converted it to a video…it was kind of complicated), but it’s actually boosting my spirits to watch it because I feel so fortunate to have photographed all of those beautiful scenes. I have a long way to go where photography is concerned, but there are plenty of lovely subjects on which I can practice! I realize this show doesn’t have the largest variety of people and places. Sorry if you were hoping to see yourself and you’re not here. (And sorry if you were hoping not to see yourself, and you are here. :P)
There is music with this, so check your volume.

Untitled from J M on Vimeo.