Wednesday, May 27

Mini Video!

I stumbled upon this today via 2Modern Design Talk and just love it. He combines a tilt shift lens with stop-motion and time-lapse footage. Trust me, you'll like it too!

Friday, May 22

Pop Quiz (sort of)

Yesterday was a full day, and the soles of my feet can testify to that this morning. The Art Institute was a flurry of people. Did you know you can take photographs of any permanent exhibit in the Museum so long as you don't use a flash? Pretty cool. So, as part of your 10 cent tour of the AI in Chicago, 100 points to the person who can name the artists in the following 6 snap shots. Double points if you can actually name the piece.

And, to wrap up our "mini week" here at But A Shadow, I give you the mini art institute modern wing:

Thursday, May 21

AI here we come!

Well, it is surely and finally feeling like summer here in the big city. The winds swept in and it is a balmy 84 at the moment. After a winter of often working in a wool cardigan, my body doesn't hardly know what to do with these warmer temperatures that call for shorts and tees. Meanwhile my poor nearly translucent skin is crying to be out in the sun in order to get some type of color.

Hopefully today will do just that!

This morning I have an early 2nd to last study visit at Children's Memorial before shuffling off to a clinic visit as well - meet and greet with my new doc. M kindly took the day off to hang out with me. Then it will be onto some light shopping (cross your fingers - or maybe cross my fingers!) lunch and the Art Institute! I've been meaning to get back there ever since we moved last year and just never found the time. But this week admission is free due to the opening of their new Modern Wing. How exciting! It should be quite an eventful day in the city. Plus, don't let me forget... we have cards to conquer! Yes, cards. We have this lovely box of 50 city walks in Chicago and we're trying to do our best at doing as many of them as we can while we live here. I've picked out about 5 for tomorrow (some of them overlap a bit). We'll see if we actually get to all of them.

Wednesday, May 20

Mini Colorado

Sigh. After I put this post together (ahead of time to future publish, I might add) I saw this blog post, which then links to this page. This is why it's sometimes so frustrating to try and produce art... it seems that nothing is new (pretty sure Solomon figured that out long ago) AND in addition to that, there are tons of short cuts to producing what was once a more tedious process. There are times when I'm all for simplifying things, but it can be disheartening when things that you learned to do the "long way" are cut down to the press of a button. This opens it up to the masses. Some might argue that's a good thing. It allows people who previously may never had the chance to be artistic in that way to have access to materials that let them pursue that avenue of expression. But I'll confess, sometimes it makes me want to throw a little tantrum in the corner, mainly just stomp my feet a bunch and wave my arms around, and say, "You don't actually know what you're doing!" I know, it's not a high point for me, please forgive me in those moments.

There appears, the more I think about this, to be some element of pride in my work; the notion of wanting to create something that not everyone can create. When I realize that anyone can do it, it seems to cheapen it for me. So instead of taking joy in the fact that Suzzy Q on Main Street in Quaintville can share in the same excitement of miniaturizing her photos as I do, I start to resent her and the effortlessness with which she can do it. I think the correct response to this would be to feel challenged to push myself further, to expand my abilities, to create better, to dig deeper, rather than slumping over in my chair and resigning myself to the fact that I'll never make anything unique.

Oy vey. That's enough artistic psychoanalysis for today. Although if any of my artistic readers out there have any thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, May 19

More Minis

Now that I know how, I'm just having fun! Here's Mini Chicago:

PS: In an effort to practice my "photographing people" skills, I'm planning my first Anniversary shoot for one of my best friends, hopefully in the next month or so. Let's hope it turns out well enough that I want to share the results with you!

Taking pictures of inanimate objects is really easy, they're not going to judge your work. But people... people are scary. They have opinions and they know how they'd like to look and well, frankly all that is quite intimidating. Not to mention the fact that I browse photography blogs nearly every day of very talented photographers who do it so well that I'm paralyzed by the fear of not measuring up. Unfortunately, this means I never practice, which means I never get any better. So, once again, I'm learning that honing my skills often means making mistakes (or just not being great) and doing that is the only way I'll ever progress.

Monday, May 18


Last week was an inadvertent vacation from blogging. I thought about posting many times and just never got around to it. See my musings on this here. But in an effort to get back on track, I thought I'd share with you my "Mini Italy." I know it sounds odd... but just wait til you see the pictures. They almost look like miniature models, especially the last one.

(Confession: Before you view these pictures I just want you to know that I war with myself about post picture taking editing. If I had my choice I would take pictures like Ansel Adams who rarely ever had a bad negative. Each frame was perfectly exposed through careful calculations of the dark and light areas of the picture. It was a detailed and deliberate process. I like the idea of knowing how to take the perfect picture without needing any post production fingering. But that said, I am not there yet, and so, I am learning the process of editing. I don't know how I feel about deliberately altering what was captured so that it no longer testifies to what was truly there but that's a whole other issue. For now, I'm just going to take joy out of learning new things and sharing them with you.)

Friday, May 8

decisions, decisions

Earlier this week I received the most recent B&H Photo catalog in the mail. This thing is a brick. It's full of just about anything one might imagine they need for photography from printers to cameras to lenses to filters and all kinds of accessories. Looking through it makes me feel like a kid in the middle of Toy R Us, wanting nearly everything upon which I lay my eyes. Well that turned into researching Nikon's Nikkor 50mm f1.4 vs 50mm f/1.8 lenses. Let me just tell you that the debate via the various forums is quite hot and heated. I spent a good hour last night reading comment after comment and walked away just as confused as ever. (sigh.) Obviously more research needs done - forums here I come. But if anyone out there reading this has an opinion, I'd love to hear it.

That's the f/1.8

And that's the f/1.4

The kicker is the f/1.8 is about half the cost of the f/1.4, which is what makes the decision so frustratingly difficult. Some argue that for the price the f/1.8 is just as good, but others say that the f/1.4 (wide open) can't be beat with it's great bokeh and speed.

FYI.. when I say "wide open" it refers to using the lens at the point where the aperture is as open as it can get.

Quick lesson on f-stops: The higher the number, the smaller the aperture, which means the less light you let into the camera, basically. AND... the smaller the lens aperture opening is, the greater the depth of field. Think of it this way: when you squint, less light goes in, allowing you to see farther, essentially "clearing up" what was previously blurry. Same thing happens with a camera. So... the smaller your f-stop number(ex: f/1.4 vs f/22) the smaller range of focus you have. (Gosh I hope I got that right or I'll be really embarrassed. If you notice an error in that explanation please correct me!)

Alright, enough photography lessons for you (and me!) today. I'm off to conquer my Friday afternoon!

Tuesday, May 5

marker love

This weekend I purchased a package of 24 fresh, new, ultra fine point sharpie markers in various colors. Such a simple indulgence has made my note taking for work all the more exciting. And so, with my love of colored sharpies renewed, I present to you this little tribute.

Friday, May 1

friday confessions

Confession time: I have no clue how people maintain their blogs nearly daily.

I realize that part of keeping a blog and being attentive to your readers is posting on a consistent basis. The blogs I enjoy perusing the most are ones that are updated often. BUT... where do people find the time? Granted some of these blogs have sponsors and so they generate income and therefore are part of someone's job and for some others, well they don't work full time or maybe they do it in the evenings. For me, being on the computer all day for work does not lend itself to evening postings because by that time all I want is to be OFF the computer. So, all that to say, I'm trying to figure out how to keep up the blog so it doesn't get stagnant, but also find the time to do it! I'm working on it.

|Ponte Vecchio : Firenze, Italia|