Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Week of February 21-27, 2011          Theme:  Spirit

"But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness
and self-control."
~Galatians 5:22-23

Spirit...another cerebral Photo Theme Project topic.  I was hoping for something concrete...sidewalk, flower, dog.  Although I am still enjoying this endeavor, I am finding that time limitations are hindering what I want to achieve each week.  I probably just need to adjust the expectations I have for myself.  As with previous themes, there are many interpretations of spirit.

In Native American culture, the Medicine Wheel represents spirituality.  It symbolizes the individual journey each Native American must take to find his or her own path.  On the Medicine Wheel, the color for North is blue which represents sadness and defeat.  Winter (go-la) is a season of survival and waiting.  The Cherokee word for North means "cold" (u-yv-tlv).

Signe made this sculpture in high school and it reminded me of a Native American spirit woman.  I started off photographing the sculpture on a blue leather chair.  I thought there would be a nice contrast between the blue leather and the softer looking sculpture.  It did not work.  The contrast was too stark and not the look I wanted to achieve.  By wrapping the sculpture in the soft folds of a light gray scarf, the photo takes on a more serene look.  I also experimented with taking pictures of the woman at various angles and this was my favorite.

Sadness, survival and cold are descriptive words for Winter and North on the Medicine Wheel.  How appropriate for February in Minnesota.  Though, not all is gloomy.  Our Christmas cactus is showing some Spring spirit.

Ryan, our moonshining friend, concocts the infamous "Rhino Juice."  As the label indicates, it is best to enjoy this libation in moderation.  I am partial to Root Beer Rhino Juice, but the Blackberry Rhino Juice, shown in the photo, is gosh-darn tasty, too.  For the photo, I used a white background screen to focus attention on the subject.  Shooting the Juice jar and glass proved to be a little boring, so the grapes were added.

Imbibing great quantities of alcoholic spirits may cause one to see other kinds of spirits.  Steve and I have played around with light painting/writing before and this topic seemed to lend itself to trying it again.  To do this, we set up my camera on a tripod in our cul-de-sac.  Steve helped with the camera settings...self-timer (5 seconds), shutter speed (8 seconds), aperture (f10), white balance (shadow).  The longer shutter speed allowed enough time to write, and the higher f-stop setting limited the amount of light so that the shot didn't get washed out.  Basically, we were trying to get a long exposure without getting too much light.  I used a red laser pointer to "write" on the snowbank across from our house.  Quincy had a blast chasing the laser beam.  I am a little surprised that he doesn't show up in the photos.


I was going to spell s-p-i-r-i-t.  However, dotting i's and crossing t's can be tricky.  And, in sticking with the theme, ghostly spirits say "Boo!"

Steve used a flashlight to get the floating head/ghostly image in these photographs.  Our photo shoot was cut short due to frozen fingers.  It was much warmer last summer when we first attempted this technique.  Please forgive the apparent misspelling of Duluth.  It's good to keep in mind the length of the word when setting up the shot.

Who says penmanship is a dying skill?

Feeling confident with my cursive, I thought I would branch out into stick people.  Who knew I could draw an anatomically correct stick man?  My skills never cease to amaze me...

Our neighbor, Mary, came home during the photo shoot, so she tried her hand at light writing, too.

Speaking of Mary, she throws an Academy Awards party every year.  This year I wanted to get in to the "spirit" of the event.  A couple of months ago, I ran across a recipe for Golden Globe cupcakes, which called for popcorn flour.  This intrigued me.  Planning ahead for party day, I went online and bought some Amish Country popcorn flour.  On Saturday, I started making the cupcakes.

My hopes were high.
My intentions were good.
I tried really hard.

An inkling of things to come crept in when, after three hours, the cupcake dough did not rise.  Not wanting to give up, I did some quick internet research and consulted with Steve. We decided to preheat the oven to 200*F.  The muffin pans were placed into the toasty environment.  A cloth was laid gently over the placid dough.  In hindsight, soothing music (or maybe some rock-n-roll) may have been helpful.  An hour passed and the dough seemed to have increased slightly...or was it a mirage?  I proceeded to make the "gooey" stuff that was to be placed on top of the dough before baking.

Again, my hopes were high.
My intentions were good.
I tried really hard.

Exactly 20 minutes later...

In the "spirit" of "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade," my epic fail Golden Globe cupcakes resulted in a trip to Yum! in St. Louis Park.  Yum, indeed!


Mary's Academy Awards party was filled with awesome friends, great food and, not counting Mary, my voting ballot came out on top.  I'm still waiting for the promised Facebook recognition of this incredible fete.

Community spirit can be shown in various ways, but I daresay, nothing brings out community spirit quite like free food.


Not everyone wants community spirit shown in his yard, but I'm not naming names...


He who shall not be named, bowling for squirrels.  FYI:  Squirrels are fast little buggers.  You try to get a picture of fleeing rodents.

I chose the fruit photo at the top of this post as my "spirit" entry for this week's Photo Theme Project.  The picture is a metaphor for the "fruits of the Spirit," as relayed in Galatians 5:22-23.  I am timid about sharing my faith sometimes, but the Holy Spirit is what I first thought of when the theme for this week was announced.  My faith is real, strong and shapes who I am, and who I want to be.  The fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  For the photo, fruit was placed in a basket, rather than a bowl.  I wanted the more earthy, rustic feel of a basket versus a ceramic bowl.  I played around with different lighting and perspective.  This shot was chosen because the alignment of the basket is skewed and I think it makes the photo more interesting.

Next theme:  Vegetables


To capture school spirit, it would have been an obvious choice to take a current-day photo at Elk River High School.  This week, our girls hockey team made an appearance in the State tournament.  But that would have been predictable.  Here's a blast-to-the-past, school spirit circa 1979-80.  Recognize anyone?


"We've got the spirit, yes we do!
We've got the spirit.
How 'bout you?"

Related links:

31 Days to Better Photography
Golden Globe Cupcakes (You've been warned!)
Elks Ousted by Duluth East

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