Monday, January 10, 2011


“One kind word can warm three winter months.”  ~Japanese Proverb

I have entertained the idea of doing a 365 Photo-A-Day project for several years, but have never started because I thought it would be overwhelming for me.  I do, however, want to keep experimenting and learning about photography and improving my skills.  This year, Steve and I have signed up for our photo club’s photo theme project.  For this challenge, there will be a topic for each week of 2011.  We will be taking photos of the theme during the week and posting our favorite to the Photo Theme Project Facebook page.  This photo theme project is open to anyone, so if you are interested, please join us!  I plan on recapping my experience and thought process each week here.

Week of January 3-9, 2011  Theme:  Cold

I immediately thought of a wintery landscape.  However, I wanted to “think outside my box,” and kept pondering “cold” throughout the week.  I could take a picture of the freezer section of my grocery store.  Or, how about a picture of a bottle of Nyquil with Kleenex strewn around.  My daughter would be a cute subject all bundled up and rosy cheeked after a trek outdoors.  As my mind wandered and my belly churned, a trip to the Dairy Queen to snap a couple of shots of my favorite frozen treat sounded like a great “research” idea.  A shoulder shot of a certain someone would demonstrate a very frustrating situation.  I could play around with the color “blue,” since it holds a cold connotation for me.  Steve and I discussed trying to capture smoke from a chimney and breath from a person.  He tried both of these and it is a little harder than you would think.  We also thought about trying an experiment by boiling water and then throwing it outside to see what kind of effect it would produce, but we ran out of time and energy.

We settled on going for a hike near Elk River’s Lake Orono dam on Sunday afternoon.  Steve is the “photographer,” and I am the “newbie.”  I have my own digital SLR camera (Nikon D90), but it was really cold on Sunday and I didn’t want to freeze while trying to figure out the settings I wanted for aperture, shutter speed and ISO; all of which still feel like math equations to me, and I hate math!  I also didn’t want to slow Steve down by having him constantly help me.  Thus, I used my “point-n-shoot” Kodak camera, and I think my thumb still got frost-bite!

As you will see, I have much to learn about photography, but I am trying and hopefully this photo theme project will keep me practicing!

The first thing I noticed were the awesome ice crystals on the pond behind the Elk River, below the dam.  I love the texture and the pattern.  I didn't use this photo because the color of the water is too dark and I'm not sure that I like the composition, even though I tried to use the "rule of thirds."

The ice crystals on the bank of the river were awesome, too.  I like the lacy, frosty shore and the ripples in the open water.  I didn't use this photo because I'm not sure I like the weed.

At the top of the dam, the ice was creating a frilly crust.  I liked the transition between the ice and the falling water.  Notice the fuzzy part of the photo on the left?  In my defense, I really needed my mitten!  Thus, I did not use this picture.

Can you imagine how strong a beaver's teeth are?  I couldn't figure out a connection between this gnawed on tree and cold, so I didn't use this photo, but I thought it was pretty neat.

It was hard to capture the pond reflection with the entire tree in the background because the path between the pond and the river is not very wide.  This is the best shot I got.  I almost used this one.

As I started back to the warmth of the car, this milkweed caught my eye.  It looked cold and lonely.  I like how the milkweed drops into the photo.  It is very hard, with my "point-n-shoot" camera, to have the snow show up white instead of blue.  Thus, I did not use this photograph.

Since I didn't really like any of the photos I took on our hike, I chose to submit the photo at the top of this post of a kayaker on Lake Superior near Duluth.  I took the photo in January 2010 with my Nikon D90.  It was my first time using my new camera.  I like the color in the sky and the juxtaposition of the icy rocks with the kayaker enjoying the day.

Next theme:  Breakfast
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