Monday, May 26, 2008

The wedding turned out to be amazing even with the snowstorm. Everything was indoors, but there was a fire and everyone seemed happy to be up on the mountain in the snow. I didn't take a single photo during the wedding, which is sad. Not even of the bouquets that I arranged. The day before the wedding we drove all of the flower arrangements up and set things up.

The paper cranes and flowers add some great color, which was especially good with the snow outside.

It was pretty with the snow. On the way up there were plenty of aspen buds with a little dusting of snow.

The only sad thing about seeing the snow was that I missed seeing the blossoms on the cacti in our backyard. I missed them last year too. Maybe they just don't bloom for me to see.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Arranging your own flowers

After visiting our fourth grocery store today, we started to wonder if arranging your own wedding flowers might not have been such a good idea. We finally ran into the most helpful and wonderful Safeway florist you could imagine, and we ended up with a gorgeous assortment of sunflowers, tulips, orchids, and iris. We had a great time putting them all into the back of the fit.

They turned into pretty nice looking arrangements for the tables. I'll have to update on the bridal bouquets later because we decided to wait on those.

These are origami lilies for the placesettings. Hours and hours of work (not by me). There are also hundreds of paper cranes strung for decorations. It should be a colorful reception, which is good because they're predicting a foot of snow for this memorial day wedding!

Time to go to sleep. It's going to be another full day of wedding details tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I started this blog as a way to get back to my creative self. Right now all I want to do is watch Friends. Lame. I don't watch TV, just friends. It doesn't matter how many times I've seen it, it's like a way to escape from thinking about what's going on (or perhaps not going on) in my life at the moment.

We got a new chair for our living room. We like to move (well I do anyway), and moving furniture from room to room, getting rid of furniture, and getting new furniture to replace might be a way to sort of move around while being quite sedentary in this house that we own as the housing market slows to the worst it's been since, well at least since I've been old enough to own a house.

tomorrow I'm headed to Flagstaff for the wedding of one of my dearest friends. Even though it's scheduled for May 24th, the forecast is snow, maybe eight inches. We're trying to keep with the mantra that we adopted on a snowy spring break river trip this spring -- an adventure is just a disaster taken well.

Hopefully the wedding turns out to be a fun adventure, if not the gorgeous ceremony and party that she had envisioned. Keep your fingers crossed! I'll probably post some pictures of it next week.

Here are some fun photos to add to my backyard installment.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chris is making dinner this evening. Some of our friends were on their way out of town and offered us their share of the CSA veggies. We got some good stuff. It looks like potatoes are artichokes are almost ready.

There are some more flowering plants in the yard that I have posted before, but they look so different every day.

There was a cactus flower in full bloom when we went out onto the front porch this morning. It was already shriveled by the time we got home. Amazing that something so strikingly vibrant and alive could last such a short period of time.

Oh yeah, and I changed the name of my blog. My new background, which inspired me to change the name back to what I chose in the beginning, is a beautiful photo that Chris took.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Wish List

I'm not writing a wish list here, but thinking about wedding registry. Chris and I went to register for wedding gifts over the weekend. We went Saturday night and stayed until the store closed, and had so much fun that we decided to go back Sunday morning.

We already have a house that is overly filled with the sort of things you might register for and we didn't think registering sounded like a good idea at first. We found out that there were plenty of things we liked the idea of adding to our house. But beyond the materialism of it all, I enjoyed the fact that on a Saturday night, wandering around an empty store thinking about our life together was so fulfilling. Not the stuff, but the ideas -- where we might live, what we might do, etc.

This experience really added to our excitement about having a wedding. It was almost as though it was the first thing we have done to really acknowledge to ourselves that everyone we know will be coming to celebrate this event with us. I think it also helped us remember that there is more to it than trying to plan events, that there are things that we are doing for ourselves, and that after the big event is over, we'll be married! Of course I already knew that :), but it was a fun way to remind ourselves of what we're doing. Even though we were just picking out "things," I guess it felt also like we were making a wishlist for our life. As in the old saying, "picking out curtains together."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cloudy Tucson Day

A cloudy day in Tucson is rare, especially this time of year. It was cool with a refreshing breeze today. This isn't the kind of wind that blows your hair and steals your energy. No, this is the kind of wind that comes with cool air that seems almost eerie this time of year here. How lucky to be able to spend time outside.

This is actually my favorite time of year in Tucson. Despite temperatures of well over one hundred degrees almost every day (which we are looking forward to in the coming months), unlike many other places where I have lived, the tourists and students leave at the same time. It's not, students leave, summer tourists come in throngs. No, in Tucson the summertime is quiet, mellow. It's hot, yes. But it's also amazing. I love the sound of crickets in the evening and at night. I also love the sound of the doves in the morning, and cicadas. To me, these two sounds put together sound like heat. They sound like the desert.

Our attempts to dissuade the hoards of ants from coming inside have not been successful so far. Tonight we concocted a special pot of sweet ant bait with Borax, sugar, and strawberry jam.

We've read that this type of thing should get rid of them eventually. My brother insists that we are just giving them food. He might be right. We'll see.

I like the way these flowers are falling off our desert willow and getting stuck in the cactus thorns. They look decorated.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ants ants ants ants ants ants

There have been ants in our house lately. We get rid of them in one spot and they come in somewhere else. I can't figure out why. They don't even seem to be after anything. they just like it in the house.

I guess this season of flowering plants comes with other living things.

I've been engrossed in wedding things lately. I found a wholesale flower website that has a "wedding in a box" of loose flowers that I'm thinking might be a really great option. The one I like is #10, Calla lillies and dendrobium orchids.

I'm a little bit torn though, between this one, and the one that has white roses and orchids.

Roses? you ask, but they're so ordinary. Well, Rose is my middle name and I can't help but love them. So, maybe both? The only problem is refrigeration. Flowers. Tucson. Summer. Could they all be in the same sentence? I think I might be able to figure something out though. I would love opinions on this. But please don't say "more colors." I'm sure there will be more colors, but I love love love purple. Always have.

Monday, May 12, 2008

How many times a year do cacti bloom?

I've been busy the last few days with my mom here visiting. It was a short visit, but nice to finally not feel like I should have been doing homework instead of spending time with her.

We grilled some stuff on Saturday night and ate outside. Sitting outside in the evening is one of the great things about Tucson.

We also went for a hike (well, really a short walk before we got too hot) in Greasewood park. The blooming cacti add a whole new element of beauty to the desert at this time of year. I've been in denial that it's really time for them to bloom again. Do they bloom more than once a year? Or has this year really gone by that fast...

At the moment (loosely speaking) I'm doing my end of the semester purge of all the stacks of papers that have been collecting dust (wait, did I say that? I meant the papers that I've been reading...) all semester. I feel guilty about the waste of paper but it's so satisfying.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Achieving a sense of focus

Today is my last day of school. I think I won't go back for a while (with the possible exception of a digital photo class at pima). I have some ideas for what I want to do next, but today I just feel a little bit freer. Tomorrow I could take pictures all day... well, I suppose I still have to go to work.

Yesterday I realized something about digital photography. one of the things I always felt was a strong point in my photography when I used my film camera was that I had a very steady hand, and my images we well-focused, even in low light.

I've been frustrated lately with the wind in my yard causing the flowers to move. the movement makes it difficult to get a focused picture. I assumed this was the problem.'

What I realized yesterday was that when I take a picture with my film camera, I press the button and the shutter closes while I'm still looking through the viewfinder. After that photo has been recorded and the film is advanced, I am generally still looking through the viewfinder to see how that photo might improve in the next few seconds.

With my digital camera there is a surprising difference in what I am doing. When I press the button and the shutter closes, I have only three seconds to look at the "preview" of the shot on the little screen on the back of my camera. Instead of continuing to look through, anticipating the next shot, and trusting my ability to judge what is, or is not adequate light, I am checking the image. Looking at the little digital screen instead of at my subject. Sometimes, I realized, I might even be moving the camera before the shutter has completely finished so that I have have more time to look at it. Might this affect the photos? I think so. I think today I'm going to turn off the preview function on my camera. I'll look through the viewfinder at my subjects, and think about the light the way that it looks to my eyes. I'm going to attempt to get back the closeness with my surroundings that I think is getting lost as I look into the digital screen. It used to feel like the camera was an extension of my eye. Although I'm excited to learn the art of digital photography, the sense that I am looking at something real, and that I can see what the light looks like and imagine what it would look like in a photo is something I shouldn't sacrifice.

Imagination is the essence of creativity. If the digital screen robs me of my confidence and ability to imagine what the lighting will look like, what else might it do to my creativity? Just some interesting things to think about.

Here are some photos I took in the yard yesterday. It's amazing just how much is out there.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wedding photography

There was an add on craigslist today advertising for a photographer. The person wanted to hire a photographer for their wedding this weekend. They were offering twenty-five dollars an hour for the whole ceremony and reception. For anyone who has never researched the cost of a wedding photographer,twenty-five dollars an hour is peanuts, and the woman wanted the photographer to do prints as well, which would mean the wedding would definitely not be worth doing for someone who was making attempting to make a living as a wedding photographer. For someone like me, however, who is building a portfolio, it seems like a good opportunity right?

I can't seem to muster the courage to call her. I think, "my camera doesn't have enough megapixels," or "the wedding is in the evening and I don't have a remote flash," or maybe, "I only have one lens, I would need a macro lens for things like the rings and the flowers, and a telephoto to get close enough without being in the way." Truthfully, these are good reasons. I don't think any of them is the real reason I'm not calling.

Part of it might be just how annoyed I am with our wedding photographers who keeps telling us, in a very pompous way, what a good photographer he is. It's not that he's bad, he's just not as good as he says. He does have an incredible camera though.

But, for a woman who is looking for a photographer 5 days before her wedding, and offering less than two hundred dollars, I should jump at the chance to make a little extra money and maybe add something good to my portfolio. I think I'm afraid. Paralyzed by the fear that someone might be dissappointed, even if they didn't care about it enough to hire a professional (or I realize that maybe they couldn't afford it. I'm not trying to be insensitive here).

For fun, I'm going to post what I have to offer as my "wedding photography" portfolio here. These are all scanned from negatives, or from older prints. I have a lot of work to do before I have something presentable, and it doesn't look like I'm getting right out there to do it either.

These two are from Maya's wedding. I was a bridesmaid so I didn't get to do any photos of the actual ceremony.

The rest are from a wedding I photographed last summer for a friend of Tasha's cousin. The bride looked like a model, which certainly makes things easier.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Luminescent Palo Verde

I posted a few photos similar to these the other day. These are completely different though, in the way that the light is hitting the flowers. The blue of the sky is brighter. The last few days just before sunset this palo verde tree has been captivating me. I just want to walk around and around it admiring the way the petals light up in the sun. Less wind let me get a better focus on them this time. I think less wind lets me get a better focus most of the time, whether or not there is a camera involved. Hopefully you can get some small sense of the beauty of this tree.

One more. This is the sage plant in our yard. When we moved in we were sure it was something like a dead, tumble-weed sort of thing. Now it has grown to five times its original size, and is covered with these incredible triple decker flowers.

Chris and I just walked down to Oasis for Raspados. They taste like the most amazing, fruity, creamy snow cone you ever laid your taste buds on.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A stock photo sale

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I sold a photo (sort of). I put a few photos on a stock photo website recently, and somebody used one of them! It doesn't pay much, but it's a little start, and it's still exciting.

This is the one:

I took it on a trip to Mexico with Chris two years ago. We were in Mazunte, on the coast of the State of Oaxaca.

Fun on the weekend

Our Garden is starting to grow nicely. The sunflowers are amazing, they grow several inches a day it seems like.

I spent this morning playing with June. We did some coloring, looking for kitties, and just jumping around with some pillows while Adam and Chris went on a bike ride. Amy is in the middle of studying for what sound like grueling final exams, and we missed her :(

I'm finished writing my paper, I think, and now I'm stalling before I have to move on to the final papers and thing for the other class. The next thing I have to write is about clinical trials for medical procedures and drugs that are being carried out in Russia instead of here because patients are easier to recruit, and doctors make more to monitor research subjects than they do treating patients. Interesting...