Winter Blues

I’ll admit it. I don’t care for winter when it comes to photography. If there was snow on the ground, it would be better…in some respects. I was even looking forward to it in this post. But it’s January and the thing about the mid-Atlantic states is, well, it can be cold and snowy. But most of the time it’s cold and not snowy. And still, everything is dead. There are no leaves on the trees. Flowers blooming. There is nothing outside, except for some spectacular sunsets and sunrises. Funny enough, today hit 60 degrees. But with gale force winds and torrential rains.  So how does one cope with this and still continue to shoot pictures?

I’ve gone to antique stores. Well one. The one I know that has beautiful natural light and really cool things. Now they’ve added a salvage, re-purpose area for homes. After I shot a couple rolls of film and saw how they came out, I’ve vowed to return with a child or two, or maybe three, to take some portraits. I’ve also decided I would find more salvage yards to photograph. And more antique or auction houses that display items before they are sold. 

This week when I was on my route to the film shop, I spotted an open house sign for a beautiful center hall colonial. One that was located in an older section of town. The open house was scheduled from 12-2PM and I was thinking hard about this one. Loading a roll of film in my Yashica and wandering around the house snapping pictures. I am not sure what people would think, but all I thought was wallpaper and oldness would equate into great pictures. And it was a sunny day too. I’m sort of mad I didn’t snatch up this opportunity.

I see many pictures in the winter of people going out to eat. While I love this idea, if I brought my camera on a date with my husband to shoot pictures of glasses and what we ate, after paying a sitter to watch our three children, I may not go on a date again. Because that would be like my husband dragging along his computer to dinner. I’ve learned there are just some places a camera should stay at home.

So the question is, how do you get through the winter blues?


I Love Valentine's Day

I’ve seen so many lovely items out there for Valentine’s Day. I just love it! For some reason I can’t stop looking for ways to to spread the love to someone. Maybe it’s because 11 years ago, on that silly day, my husband proposed to me. Or, maybe it’s because my children love looking through the Valentine issues of Martha Stewart for ideas. In any event, I thought I’d share with you some lovely ideas to spread the cheer February 14th.

“I heart baking” cards by Abby Powell Thompson

Heart tea towel by Elisabeth Bentz

Some chocolates from Vosges Chocolates – PLEASE!

Because Italy is so romantic – Little Italy by Jenifer Altman

Cupcakes by Saint Cupcake because they deliver

Romantic Handwritten Valentines from Hello Handmade

For the kids to give to other kids –Vintage Valentines by Golden Books

Butterfly Necklace by Pyrrha


Or a romantic dinner with a bunch of strangers – Outstanding in the Field

Hmmm…seems like I am throwing some subtle hints out there to someone.

Hint. Hint.






Fade to Black

Land Camera – 600 film

Oh, I love Polaroid. I have since I was a kid and I am much, much older than Lady Gaga. I have to say more of my success with the brand has been with my 600 film Land Camera. A cheap camera in comparison to my sx-70 I bought off of eBay. I am just not sure about the sx-70 and I am wondering if something wonky is going on, or, like all of my film cameras, I just haven’t figured it out. Probably the later, but I’ll figure it out some time. My story starts with I’ve been slow to bring some film to be developed and was browsing PolaPremium one day. I felt an itch to buy some film and was really stuck on the Fade to Black film. I saw the images they had and thought, “oooo, I like that.” So I bought a pack (and some others, eek!) and decided to give it a whirl.

SX-70 Fade to Black film

It is pretty similar to Artisitc TZ. For some reason the images coming out my camera have heavy blues and greens to them, which made me think of the similarities. Artistic, as does Fade to Black, changes after the initial shot. I remember my shots with Artistic TZ becoming lighter, which Fade to Black, darkens as the day rolls on. It’s kind of amusing. There are ways to stop the process, or, you can just scan the changes. I wasn’t sold on the film at first. I guess I like things to be the way they are when you shoot them. I’m not into processing and maybe that’s why I was weirded out by the “changing” thing and the fact the colors are different than what is there.

SX-70 Fade to Black

There is almost an antique-quality to the film. And sometimes the shots look like negatives – mainly when there isn’t a ton of natural light. I am sure most of this varies from camera to camera and I by no means call myself an expert. I just like my cameras. And I like to take pictures. And I sometimes need a change of pace with what I take pictures with. So after using the film, I grew to like it more. I think for me it works really well with natural light. But I can’t say I like it more than the norm – 600 film in my Land Camera.

Land Camera – 600 film

But I just used 669 film for the first time too and whoa. I think we have a contender. 

Guilty as Charged

I have a thing for the paranormal (did I just lose you?). People who know me, know my guilty pleasure is watching Ghost Hunters on the Sci Fi channel. It stems from my Polish grandmother telling me tales of her ghost when she was a little girl. The one that would pray in Polish at the foot of her bed. I was probably 8 when she first talked to me about it and I believed her, because it’s just not something you make up in your 70’s. But I would still believe her today. 

I am not some geek. Awkward yes. Geek, not so much. But I just love a good ghost story. I love watching the real film of things unexplainable. I saw “Poltergeist” when I was about 7 or 8. It freaked me out. And a television never quite looked the same to me after that. Especially if there wasn’t reception. I know that it wasn’t real.  It sure seemed it at the time. I often think about why my parents allowed me to watch that at 7 or 8 years of age too. But Amityville Horror. When it borders the whole evil spectrum, I start to freak. Anything including Ouija boards. You can turn it off, thank you. The Exorcist…um, no thank you. Not interested in watching someone become possessed, spit green things and twirl her head around 360 degrees. Rosemary’s Baby. Need I say more why this one “irked” me.

I like my ghosts to be funny, witty and interesting. Like Gus the Ghost, or Casper.  And I am OK with the grumpy ones too. So when the movie “Paranormal Activity” came out and everyone was making a big deal out of this low-budget, documentary-type film, I really wanted to see it. Netflix finally had it and we got in the mail. I thought it was going to be one of those Ghost Hunter – type of things. But it wasn’t. Long story short, there are two characters in the film. A girl and a boy. The girl has been haunted on-and-off by something for years. The boy decides to buy a camera to document these things for proof. Pretty simple and could of been a good idea for a movie. But when I caught wind the thing was not a ghost, it was something else, which starts with the d-word, I told my husband, “I don’t think I want to watch this thing anymore.”  We kept it on, even though the first loud sound the “thing” made was somewhat humorous. To make matters worse, one of the characters bought an Ouija board to communicate with the “thing”. I was pretty much done then. Oh, it gets better though. The guy leaves the camera rolling while they were out of the house. Oh, and he left the Ouija board out too. You can imagine what he caught on film. Yes, the thing moved around the board and then it caught on fire somehow and left a secret code in dots. Yup, lost me completely by this point. 

The movie is scary. I’ll give it that for points. But I’ll stick to Ghost Hunters for thrills.

While we are on this subject, one of my favorites: The Sixth Sense. Just one of the all-around, best movies about this subject. And I went to sleep without the light on after it.

P.S. – I am so not a geek, OK?

I Loathe Being in Front of the Lens

I do.

I will not deny this fact. It is just not a comfortable spot for me. And when I am in front of it, I wind up going nuts and being a goof. Never really showing a serious side or myself as well as I could. To me it shows many imperfections I’d rather not talk about. But when I take other people’s pictures it’s different. They are beautiful and seamless to me.

A part of me feels this needs to change, especially so my children can look back and see their mom in pictures with them. So maybe I can get over the awkwardness and make this a goal for this year: take more pictures with my family. Not just of them. Yup. That’s what I will do. Are you with me?

It's What I do

One of the things Jen and I talked about on our visit was the importance of blogging. I began blogging for my company, Beebee Mod in 2006. It became a popular little blog for me and was the source of many successes I would of otherwise not had. But soon enough it became less and less “me” and I decided to stop. Which probably hurt my business because I think many people, me included, like to feel connected to a company, and the person behind it all. They don’t want to hear about sales and discounts and new products all the time. They want to know you are a real person, with real struggles and goofy children. Or, that you are goofy. That you have good days and bad. And you are not bionic because you “do it all”.

So I am back to blogging. I vow to blog more this year. I may not talk a huge amount about personal things, such as family. But I will talk and try to keep this space amusing.

The first thing I will let you know is I am a competitive athlete. I was a swimmer. And now I am a triathlete. After a four year break (you know, children and stuff) I decided it was time to start training again last year. I am a person who needs to train hard and have races scheduled, or else I am a mush of blah. It keeps me sane and healthy. So I have some big races scheduled this year. May: marathon. June: Half Ironman. July: Sprint. August: Runs. September: Ironman. It will be the most I’ve ever done in one season and some of the longest races. And it will require more training than I’ve done in a long, long time. I am both nervous and excited to see how far I can push myself. 35 changes a lot of things with regards to recovery and being more prone to injury. So I hope my body holds on and keeps strong. I hope to share some of this journey with you as the year progresses.

Come back tomorrow for another little tidbit.

Walking Through Her Pictures

Over the holidays, we drove to western Iowa. From Pennsylvania. 1200 miles. One way. It was a great trip in many ways and one of the best things was I got to meet my friend. I think it was two years ago I found Jen’s work through someone’s blog and I was smitten with her polaroids. There was something about the light she captured, that left me speechless. But what developed out of this was a friendship. Someone I felt I had know my whole life. And then there was this little sliver of hope to meet. And it happened. 

So I drove a couple hours one wintry day, to meet my friend. Hoping that Ms. GPS would get me there and she did (with the exception of one wrong turn). As I pulled up to Jen’s house, I nearly peed myself. I was so excited, so, so excited. I was like, “Omigosh! I am here!” And there she was at her front door, and I was hopping like a bunny because I was meeting my friend. And I think her neighbor was watching me, while unloading the car. 

If you follow Jen’s blog and her flickr stream, you know her beauty. Everything is as it is. And I walked through her pictures. I met her beautiful little girls. And I wanted to eat them up because they were so lovely. She took me on a tour of her home. She gave me cookies (you are jealous, aren’t you) and an ornament I know the girls helped make. We went on a tour of her city and ate lunch at a great Italian restaurant. I have to say I think we talked more than ate. We talked and talked about everything one could in three hours. And there was not enough time, not enough at all, before I had to drive back to Iowa. 

So we said our “goodbyes” and I was sad to leave, because I felt like there was so much more I wanted to talk about and that it would have to wait until next time. And what I can say is that Jen is exactly how she is. She is as lovely and wonderful and full of life as she is in the pages of her blog and her pictures. And I just feel immensely grateful for having the chance to meet her.