Monday, January 12, 2009

The Joy of Life

We had a pretty good weekend around here! We have some good friends who we trade babysitting with and it was our turn to go out while they watched our kids. Woohoo, date night! :) Shawn and I spend a lot of time together, but we don't go out by ourselves very often. We're such homebodies that for the most part we're happy just ordering out, cuddling on the couch and watching a movie and we call that date night. But every now and then it's nice to actually go out on a real date.

So Saturday we dropped the kids off and went to dinner and a movie, although dinner was fairly laughable! We're both doing Weight Watchers now and we're counting every point. I don't mind Weight Watchers until it comes time to go out to eat and then I hate it! I can make low point food at home, but it's hard to find it when you go out and it's hard to know how many points everything is. Oh, and speaking of Weight Watchers, Shawn and I have both lost three pounds. Woohoo!

So our big romantic dinner out ended up being a corn dog and fries from Pronto Pup, across the courtyard from the theater. Ten points apiece since we shared one order of fries. So romantic, huh?! Hey, we're classy people. Only the best for us! :)

Then we went to Bride Wars, which was the cutest movie EVER! I just have to say that I have the best husband ever. That guy will accompany me to any chick flick, no matter how chicky.:) We enjoyed the movie, it was super cute and we had a good time.

This weekend I also did a photo shoot for a photo challenge. There is a website that I absolutely love that does photo challenges every week. They give you a topic and then you have a week to shoot a photo that depicts that topic. There's no prize, just bragging rights for the week, but it's really fun and I learn a ton. The competition is really tough because a lot of extremely talented professional photographers enter, but I think that's what I like most about it. Competing against that kind of talent forces me to really reach high. I credit that site for a lot of my photography skills. That's where I realized how much I love art photography and it has really helped bring out my creativity. Some of the photos posted there absolutely blow me away. I feel like I'm learning from the best and I feel like it's making me really strive to be THAT great. I'm definitely NOT that great, but I'm working on it!

So anyway, this weeks challenge was "Life". That's a pretty broad topic and can be interpreted a million different ways. There were lots of obvious easy shots I could think of to do, but when I enter these challenges I always really challenge myself to think outside the box and try something that I'm not sure I can actually pull off! That's the fun of photography for me, I like the challenge. I can shoot flowers or birds or whatever all day long. Those things are a no brainer to me. So when I shoot for a challenge I like to try to get some big idea in my head and then see if I can pull it off. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. Sometimes I REALLY can't and my idea ends up in the recycle bin instead of in the challenge, but I like to try anyway. There's nothing more exciting to me than having a really specific shot in my head and then being able to create it. I love it.

So anyway, after going on about how much I love being able to accomplish the shot I was after, I don't know that I really did that with this shot! I didn't get the exact shot that I had in my head, but conditions weren't exactly ideal for the shoot. It was really cold outside and it was cloudier than I wish it had been. Doing sillouhette shots in the winter can be tricky. Josh was a great sport, but it was cold. So I shot really quick, got what I could and we closed up shop and went home.

I call this shot Joie de Vivre, which means Joy of Life in French. Sillouhettes are my absolute favorite thing to shoot, but they're also really tricky because everything has to be in the exact perfect position or you get a weird outline. You can't really capture an expression unless the face is at a perfect angle, and when the whole shot hinges on body language, the position has to be perfect.

So anyway, here it is, Joie de Vivre. I was trying to capture the pure joy of life. Did I capture it, eh, I've seen better, but it's not a terrible shot. I entered it in the challenge and we'll see how it does. I still love the idea enough that I think I'll shoot it again in the summer under better weather conditions. It's a shot I'd like to hang on the wall if I can capture it exactly the way I have in my head.

(by the way, I always seem to lose photo quality when I post things here. I don't know why, but you'll have to excuse it. Things look grainer when posted here than they do anywhere else.)

Josh was an awesome sport. I took this up in our favorite spot, which oddly is a cemetary. There is a beautiful veterans cemetary here that is way up on a hill. Just at the edge of that cemetary is the perfect spot to shoot sillouhettes because you're on a hill and all you have behind you is sky. Pretty much every single sillouhette photo I've ever done has been shot there. It's a very peaceful, beautiful place and I absolutely love to go up there. I'm not sure if I've shared Matthews superhero shot, but it was shot there too and in this photo you can see the area a little bit:

That shot of Matthew is one of my absolute favorite because it is so HIM. That kid is obsessed with superheroes and saving the universe from the bad guys. :) I took that shot because I always wanted to remember him at this age in his superhero phase. I want to look back at that photo in 20 years and be able to say "remember how much he loved superheroes?!" He wears that cape a lot and I like the idea of him in his cape and his pj's, looking over the city, prepared to fight the bad guys. That's Matthew.

I also did a shot of the actual cemetary once for a challenge where the topic was "Fallen":

Anyway, I've totally gotten off topic! My point of this thread was going to be about enjoying life. (so why did I post a photo of a cemetary? I just asked myself the same question, lol.)

Taking the Joie de Vivre photo this weekend and watching Josh jump around in the sunset made me happy. It's not the most award winning shot I've ever taken, but there's something about it that makes me smile. Kids are so excited about life. Everything we do is a new adventure for our kids, and I love that. I love to look at the world through their eyes and remind myself that life really is an exciting adventure. We bog ourselves down so much with the mundane things in life, but sometimes you just need to go outside and dance in the sunset.

So my goal for this week is to try to do that. I'll look at that photo and remember to enjoy life. I'm the kind of person that is so busy looking for the destination that sometimes I forget to enjoy the ride. So this week, I'm just going to enjoy the ride.


Unknown said...

Hey any chance you can send me the link to the photo challenge site?

I am so excited, I just ordered my first lens for my canon s series!
A teleconverter.

a SLR is coming next year!

Unknown said...

btw I love your photos, you do a great job!

Susan Lechuga said...

Beautiful pic. You are my inspiration and I know I will never do as good as you with pics. That picture took my breath away. Great job Wendy. Gorgeous

Jenn said...

Those are fabulous photos, I think they turned out great! It must be such an amazing talent to be able to take photos like these, and they'll make your family memories that much better!

Creatively Ewe said...

You dont give yourself enough credit Wendy.

I have been up to Vetrans a MILLION times (okay maybe a few dozen but still) my hubbys gpa is burried up there.

Anyway back to the subject, I have never once seen the photogenic ability of Vetrans the way you portray it.

Meaning, I see a cemetary, with LOTS of photo ops, all cemetary like, not the ability to shoot off a hill into the sky.

Your a VERY good photographer, and getting better every day!!! I with I had the natrual talent you do for outdoor shots like you do.