Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Group of Three

Kat Sloma over at The Kat Eye View of the World has a wonderful series called Exploring with a Camera.    I decided it was time I test myself with a challenge after giving them up for the winter.  The current challenge is Groups of Three.

Using my niece Miss M as an assistant, I attempted to capture some decent photos of my 3 silver boxes (given to me by a friend just before I left India.)  I decided while I was experimenting I was going to really go for it - so I put my camera on Manual - first time I've every posted a photo taken while using the Manual settings.

I still have a lot to learn about the Manual settings, setting up a still life, etc.  But it felt great to experiment. What was the last thing you experimented with?

While we are on a numbers theme, I've been waiting for an excuse to post this song - I'm going to go ahead and force it to fit with this post:

Gemma Hayes - Two Step

SWAP reminder:  If you are participating in the swap you should be sending out your package to your partner in the next couple of days. Pin It

Monday, March 28, 2011

Super Powers

Using Design House Digital Paper
A little experimentation

A few days ago I was having a conversation with my niece Miss M, I asked if I could help bake cookies.  She told me no, that her mom was doing it, I said that was fine, I'd just supervise.  She asked what super power you needed to supervise.  I thought was adorable, so Saturday when she had her mask and cape on I asked if she'd do a photo shoot for me.

We resorted to a bit of bribery to get her going, but pretty soon the entire household was involved.  "Work it baby"  "Give me fierce."  "Show us some attitude."  She got so into it that we ended up staging several more photo shoots over the weekend, she even worked as a photo assistant for one set of photos.  I've now gone from someone who hadn't taken more than 50 photos in several months, to someone who took at least 4 times that in two days.  Feels good to have the mojo back!

Have you ever wanted a superpower?  I wish I could fly (and thus avoid airports and all of their delays.)  To go along with the superhero theme - one of my favorite superhero songs:

3 Doors Down - Kryptonite
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Friday, March 25, 2011

A Moment in Time

Sunrise Silhouette
Thanks to the time change, I happened to be working one morning last week and caught the beginnings of a gorgeous sunrise.  I knew I only had seconds to get this shot, so I grabbled my tiny point and shoot camera and shot through the glass.  A reminder to myself that photography isn't always about having a fancy camera or perfect styling.  Sometimes it is about capturing that one moment of beauty.

I had my mellow mix out and when this one came on I hit repeat a few times, love it!
Rosie Thomas - It Don't Matter To The Sun (Album Version)

Swap Update:  All of the swap assignments have been emailed out, if you haven't received yours, please contact me so I can resend.

I hope you all have a beautiful and relaxing weekend.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gorgeous Light

Kids on St. Patricks
I FINALLY found a place in my house where the light is just right for photos.  I discovered it by accident when I was trying to snap a couple quick pics of my niece and nephew on St. Patrick's Day.  I had them stand in front of a wall to the side of my bedroom window and started snapping.  I had a feeling the light was good, but I didn't know how good until I started editing, what a happy surprise.

Miss M on St. Patricks
After working the photos a bit, I suddenly realized why having foam white board could come in handy to cut the shadows on the side away from the window, so I finally went out and purchased some and can't wait to give it a try.  (I'm in love with her "mona lisa like" expression)

Tiny T on St. Patricks
I feel like my lost photo mojo may be on its way back - especially if I can talk these two into doing some more posing.  Miss M seems to love it, Tiny T likes to see his picture on the camera, but hasn't quite grasped the fact that he needs to stand still for a few minutes to make that happen.  If you look closely on that first shot you can see Miss M is holding on pretty tightly to get him to stand still.

I also finally figured out how to open a photo in Camera Raw from Adobe Bridge and make adjustments (thank you Ashley Sisk.)  But suddenly most of the actions I've been collecting for the last year have disappeared from Photoshop - any ideas why that would have happened - and how I can get them back?

I LOVE Alexi Murdoch who released a new album a couple of weeks ago, it is brilliant, one of my favorites so far in 2011.  Here's a great cut: The Light (Her Hands Were Leaves)

If you are curious about the swap - all the partners have been assigned and I plan to start sending emails to partners tonight - but it may take a day or two to get them all out.  So watch for an email from me for the next couple of days. Pin It

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Monday Inspiration

I think I've posted a version of this song before at I-Studio as part of this playlist, but the video was released last week, and I just can't resist sharing it agin here.  I love the video - but take a minute and listen to the lyrics, they are amazing.  I get chills thinking about it - such an empowering message, I've decided to use this song as inspiration this week.

Mindy Gledhill - Whole Wide World

There is still time to sign up for the swap, just let me know you are interested by the end of today!  The response has been amazing, thanks to everyone who has signed up and helped spread the word.  It is such an amazing group of people, including some great "new to me" blogging friends.  As far as I can tell the joy is already spreading.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, mine was so lovely and relaxing Pin It

Friday, March 18, 2011


Sending my prayers and support
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Totally Random Wednesday

I'm having a hard time concentrating today and collecting my thoughts into something coherent (could be because I'm dreaming of being back on this beach, or any beach for that matter.)  I'm completely scattered so this post is full of the random things that are on my mind.

First, thank you so much for your response to the Spring Swap.  I was afraid I'd post it and not have one person interested, so the fact that so many of you are thrills me.  A huge thanks to all of you who have helped me spread the word too - we've already reached some 'new to me' folks, which is so exciting since connecting with people is half of the fun.  Remember you have until the end of day Monday to let me know you are interested, see details here.

Next up - did you know we are celebrating COLOR at i-Studio for the rest of the month?  If you need a bit more color in your life or are looking for inspiration, be sure and pop over.  Better yet, take a minute to share your color photos in the i-Studio Flickr group, we're featuring several colorful photos each day, the next one could be yours.

Finally, my mind is full of sorrow for all those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami, but my heart has been warmed by the generous things some folks are doing to help them out.  If you are looking for a way to help, and get a little something beautiful for yourself at the same time, check out some of the things I've seen this week.

Have you found other ways to help?  If so, please share them  in comments.  I read today that donations are coming in much slower for this tragedy than they did for Haiti - and I understand that is likely due to the differences in wealth in the two countries, but it is going to take years for Japan to recover from this and they need our help and support.

This was recorded as part of the fundraiser for Haiti, but I think it is gorgeous and appropriate:
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Announcement: Spring Swap, Spreading Joy

I shared with you the sweet gift I received in the mail from Bethany, and last week I was surprised by another gift in the mail from the incredible and talented Kristine, who managed to send me the very thing I needed most to brighten my day.  The thoughtfulness of these ladies blew me away and made me want to give back, in fact I wanted everyone else to experience the happiness that comes from receiving a package full of love in the mail.  So, I've decided it is time to spread the joy through a Spring Swap!

What's a swap?  It's simple - I'll collect the names of all those interested, match them up and then everyone will prepare, send and receive a little something special in the mail.

What should go in your package?  Things that would bring someone joy: a much love book, a mixed cd, something you lovingly handcrafted, a beautiful shell you picked up on the beach, your favorite chocolate, prints of your best photos, the list of possibilities is endless.  Just remember, it doesn't have to be expensive, with a bit of creativity you can make someone's day.

A few years ago I participated in a swap and was matched up with the amazing Maegan of Madeline Bea and Creativity Bootcamp fame.  Thanks to Maegan I started exploring photography and began connecting with other bloggers.   I don't think it is an exaggeration to say being matched up with Maegan changed my life in a very positive way.  I hope everyone who participates takes the time to follow the blog of their partner, gets to know them a bit and at the very least makes a new friend.

To participate email me at: auroraforever (at) gmail (dot) com.  Send me your name, blog address and mailing address, and let me know if you are willing to ship out of your home country.  I'll accept participation requests until end of day Monday, March 21.  In a week or less I will have emails back out to everyone with the information on their partners.   You'll have 1 week to 10 days to put together your package of joy and get it in the mail and then you'll be able to start watching the mail for your package full of joy.

One last request - help me spread the word.  The more participants we get, the more fun it will be and the more joy we'll generate.  You can spread the word on your blog, send an email to your friends or post about it on Facebook or Twitter.  Feel free to copy and use the photo above in your efforts to spread the word.  Doesn't that red door make you happy - kind of the way you can't help but smile when you hear this song.

I'm trying to create a button to help spread the word but can't figure out the html code, so if anyone out there has any tips, please send them my way. Pin It

Friday, March 11, 2011

Do Something

I had a post planned for today - I was going to share this awesome song my sister introduced me to (this house sharing is already paying off) and tell you all to have a relaxing, lazy weekend.

But after getting up this morning and hearing about the earthquake and tsunami I have a different message.  Instead of being lazy this weekend, why don't we all do a few things:

  • Send up some prayers for all those affected
  • Consider a donation to the Red Cross or your favorite charity 
  • Take a minute to take stock of how prepared you and your family are for an emergency.  Do you have a 72-hour kit?  Some extra water in the house?  A plan to communicate and meet up in case you are separated?  If not, maybe it's time to get a few things in place.
  • Make sure those around you know how much you love them -  take a minute to say the words.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The wanderer in me is getting antsy.  I don't remember the last time I went more than 4 months without getting on an airplane, so as much as I have loved being home I'm ready to travel again.  With spring just around the corner I'm starting to think of all the places I want to go - I've planned a Caribbean cruise in November with a girlfriend, but that is much, much to far away.  I need something in the next few weeks.  Some place with a little sunshine.

I saw a quote from C.P. Cavafy's Ithaca on one of my favorite blog's Gypsy Girls Guide yesterday that just spoke to my traveler's soul:

Keep Ithaca always on your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.

This quote had me thinking a road trip - one I can just take slow and easy might be the way to go.  Getting in the car with my camera, no real agenda and some great music just might be the thing.  Any one else starting to plan their Spring/Summer travel?  Any brilliant trip ideas?

Here's a song from one of my favorites that has always spoken to the traveler in me.

Alison Krauss - Gravity

And before anyone asks - this feeling was coming on long before my house filled up with loved ones.  I'm loving the noise and hustle that fills my formerly silent house, I'm just ready to leave my winter hibernation behind. Pin It

Monday, March 7, 2011


Remember a few weeks ago when I showed of my office remodel?  Well, here's what it looks like now....

Office after move
This room is now my office slash storage unit which contains all the furniture from nearly 3 rooms in my house - all part of the big changes I hinted at on Friday.

Over the weekend my sister, her husband and two small children moved in with me.  They are building a new house and got extremely lucky in this tough economy and sold their house in 3 weeks and needed a temporary place to stay, so we all decided we were up for the adventure of living together.

My house was not designed with kids in mind - my furniture choices are less than kid friendly, so we decided it would be best to move a lot of my stuff out and theirs in so the kids could be comfortable and just be kids.  We spent the weekend packing, moving, combining households and caring for a little one with strep throat.  Thankfully we have great families (on both sides) who stepped in a did a LOT of heavy lifting - including trudging through mounds of snow to get the kids playhouse on my back patio.

Miss M watching TV
The move was a lot of work but we are having a good time together.  I get to see faces like this every single day.  I get to hear my nephew call for me when he wakes up (I'm pretending he really wanted me, not just to have me turn Dora on for him.)  I even get to laugh over the fact that my sister and I ended up in the same dress Sunday (just different colors.)  We know it won't be easy, but in the end will be worth it.

David Bowie - Changes
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Learning Some New Tricks

I just finished taking Kim Klassen's Photoshop Skinny Mini class - and can I just say wow!  I've bought photoshop books and been playing around with it for more than a year, but thanks to Kim it is finally starting to make some sense.  I still have a lot to learn, but Kim and her amazing teaching techniques have make a huge difference for me.  Best of all, the generous Kim offers this class for FREE.

I can't wait until I can find time to take her other two classes - given what I learned in this quick basic's course, I can only imagine what she has in store for the other classes.

I hope you all have an amazing weekend planned, I know mine will be FULL.  There are some major changes going on in my world and this weekend is the start of it all (more details later.)

Am I the last person on earth to discover Azure Ray?

Azure Ray Make Your Heart
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One Last Storm (hopefully)

We had a good sized storm in my neck of the woods over the weekend (well over a foot of snow.)  And while I am very much hoping the switch from February to March means this will be the last of the winter storms, I did find some beauty while I was out shoveling the walks on Saturday.  The kind of beauty that made me pull my camera out - something I haven't done much of lately.

Even as tired as I am of snow and winter, I have to admit mother nature is the ultimate artist.

I've been thrilled to see Mumford & Sons on top of the charts in the weeks since the Grammy's.  I want to do my part to keep spreading the word, so here is a bit more from them:

Mumford & Sons Winter Winds from their Sigh No More album
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