The Unknown

Why The Unknown? Another fitting title could be “Be Careful What You Wish For”

My post (yesterday on FB) stated “I hope to learn something new in class” – thus, Be careful what you wish for.

To be completely honest, I was pushed by Jack (my photography teacher) to do something I have not perfected. Something that makes me uncomfortable. The unknown is where I’m headed and I’m scared. Let me explain.

The Final Exam looms and we have just over a week and 1/2 to complete the assignment.

The assignment is “Free Choice” – in other words, we can shoot what we want. We must present 6 pictures mounted and ready for presentation by Monday, December 10. The assignment also calls for “HIGH RISK“.

What is high risk? I want to know. I want to nail it. I’m hungry. And I think Jack sees that in me.

This photo is not related to this post. Just a shot I took yesterday morning to calm my every nerve for the upcoming exam.

While other students brain stormed with a range of ideas from landscape to macro – in class (this week – Monday). I sat in a trans wondering “what does Jack want, what will he consider high risk, what can I possibly do?”

After much talk and strategy during the open discussion, I asked the question – What is high risk? PEOPLE! Jack blurted out PEOPLE! People are high risk, he said. And he went on to say, not the cheesy posed couple with the guys arm draped around his lover’s shoulder with the cheesy grin. It’s the shot that captures emotion, feeling, attitude…And he spoke those words with such passion.

He gave us an assignment Monday to come prepared for class Wednesday (yesterday) with ideas we’ve gathered online of the direction we want to go.

You guessed it, I selected “people”. I want high risk, I’m up for challenge, I want to go after something where I have the potential to fail.

I came prepared with 5 pages of ideas and each page had a total of 12 pictures for a total of 60 inspirational shots. I made my pitch and presentation to the class stating that I was going to use my husband and me as my subjects.

Oh NO you won’t! Blurted Jack. You WILL take shots of people you DON’T know. You will go to ____________ he even named the place I’m going to go stating that I will find all sorts of interesting people to shoot. He stated the above so firm as tho my assignment were no longer free choice but Jack’s Choice.

I spun my head around and gave him “the look”. It wasn’t pretty. My eyes were of the beady nature, my brow narrowed and wrinkled and my expression was none other than “oh no I won’t!”

And he laughed! Of all things my teacher let out such a belly laugh at my expression alone.

And then he said (to the students) “you should have seen her expression!”

And then he pinned me in a corner and said “I want to see what you can do – you have it in you – I want to see it!”

It’s then when I realized that Jack sees a hunger in me that lacks in many of his students. And he is pushing me like no other student.

I’m scared – No, it’s not about the grade – I’m worried – And it’s not because I don’t believe interesting people will not be there that day – I can’t sleep – It’s because my head is spinning a million miles a second – I have a tear trickling down my cheek this second – Why? Because I’m hungry, I want it bad, I really want it bad. More tears just trickled as I wrote that.

I’m GOING to do this! Honestly? I’m still scared, but I’m not going to let fear stand between me and the outcome. And I’m going to thank Jack for it.

Sometimes we are pushed over the edge. And the only hope we have is our wings. We can choose to spread them or allow the weight of “the fear of failure” to crush us.

Blessings – Debbie

The Grade

It’s one of those days when you wake at 5am and the wheels in your head start turning.

A day when coffee is consumed all day, because it’s soothing and calms me while I work.

It’s a day when you know then and there you will not be going back to sleep.

A day when you have better things to think about than to go back to sleep.

And all of this started (for me) yesterday afternoon.

I was sitting in photography class when I learned of our final exam. I sat in what felt like a state of panic. What was I going to do? You have no idea the questions, doubt and concern that flooded my thoughts at once.

I don’t want to do a good job, just to get the grade. I really want to do well and know in my heart that I did my best. And that to me, that is more important than the grade I get in the class. My wheels have not stopped turning and I’m already well on my way to figuring out how I’m going to execute the photos for the exam.

Speaking of grades, it’s something I’ve been obsessed with all semester. While I’m concerned with giving my best shot, I really want the grade to reflect my work. I started off getting 100 on every assignment for the first several weeks. And then…KA BOOM! Just like that Jack (the teacher) announced that he would not be passing out any more 100’s in this class. As he said, “there is always room to improve and nothing is ever 100%.” And you know what? He is absolutely right. But that didn’t stop me from doing my best. In fact, it pushed me.

If I can be perfectly honest, there is one grade that I’m not proud of. Yes, there was that one assignment when he dished out an 85%. I was devastated, but I deserved it. It was not because of the quality of the print, in fact he said the shots I presented were excellent quality. Only I failed to follow the directions. Even tho (at the time), I thought I nailed it. It was my best, but it still killed me.

After that, I continued to get really high grades on my assignments and he even gave me a few 100’s even tho he said he would not be giving them.

But yesterday was a pretty exciting day in class. A day when my grade shot up over 100. In fact, Jack dished 100% + I got an additional 20%. Here’s how it went down.

So last week our assignment was to edit a picture (everyone in the class did the same picture) by taking things out. But the goal was to make the shot look real, as though none of that stuff were there to begin with.

Below is the shot we were to work on. Circled in white are the areas I corrected. The bummer is, I had already spent 2 hours at this point. A car was already removed in the lower right and several of the lights and posts had already been removed.

So here’s where I was two hours in. The white circle in the bottom right corner represents the spot where the car was before I removed it.

11 hours later. Yes, I timed myself as it was insane! + it was the first time I’ve worked in Photoshop in nearly 15 years. Trust me, it’s not like picking up and riding a bike once you’ve already learned.

With that, Jack (our teacher) had us line up our work for critique. Then he had the students judge who came in 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Followed by saying “the student who comes in first, gets an extra 20 points for this assignment.”

I was humbled when the students in unison agreed that my work came in first.

That added 20 points more than made up for that lousy 85% (back when). In fact, that little extra bumped my GPA from a 97% to 99.2% in the class.

Now if I can pull thru with the final exam, I’ll feel pretty lucky. But most of all, it’s about giving my best shot. That “to me” is more important than “the grade”.

Blessings – Debbie


We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving day with family.

I’m especially happy that the hubs made a note years ago of how much I enjoy Thanksgiving when we don’t have to slave in the kitchen for days.

I can’t help but smile.

But we did one thing wrong this year. We decided to take pictures after dinner.

Full tummies and picture-taking do not go hand in hand.

But the question remains. Is it better to take family pictures when we’re starving or after dinner when we’re ready to prop our feet up?

Our nephew had a fun time on the ice working off some of that turkey…

Our daughter posed while we watched her cousin skate…

I got kissed on camera…

There’s something magical about my guy that makes me smile…

I/we had to bribe our daughter to (PLEASE, pretty PLEASE) let me take her picture…

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is walking on this wonderful soft sand. It’s hard to describe what sand between my toes does for me on Thanksgiving, but it’s magical.

Proof we all had turkey. Truth be told, the fixins’ here at Hotel Del Coronado are amazing.

I love our Thanksgiving tradition. And I love that the hubs equally enjoys this day as much as me. I love that he suggested he wear a coat and tie and I like that he is all about the festivities this time of the year. It’s these little things that make these special days so extra special for me.

I have so much to be thankful for.

Blessings – Debbie

Who Cares

So I’ve been thinking…That’s nothing new.

This time change has really done me in. And why is it that this year feels worse than any other year?

Somebody break out the violin, because it’s one of those kind of posts that I’m going to need it.

I mean, keeping my eyes open much past 8:30 is a very big deal for me these days. BIG – HUGE! Every time I say that, I think of that line in Pretty Woman. Not that it has anything to do with this post, I just thought you would like to know.

And just a few nights ago, I was fast asleep by 6:30 pm. Don’t ask what time I’m waking (in the middle of the night) in the morning.

I believe this time change has everything to do with me wanting to spread Christmas cheer way before Thanksgiving. In fact, this cheer become a part of our Thanksgiving tradition years ago.

And I’ve already declared that next year I will put up the Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. And I really don’t doubt that one bit.

Who cares? I didn’t think so, as I feel pretty alone in this. For those of you who picked up the violin, thank you, I needed the sympathy. Truly, I did.

But I’m feeling extra happy that the hubs enjoys this spirit with me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings – Debbie

That Time of Year

It’s that time of the year!

The time of year when I’m rushing to finish up things on the to do list.

A time when I look forward to quality time with family and friends.

A time when I’m ready for the rush to settle.

Perhaps somewhere in all of this, it’s the reason I started (years ago) putting up the tree a week or so before Thanksgiving. It’s one less thing I have to do over my much cherished Thanksgiving weekend with the hubs.

Here I am, enjoying having a week of no class. And thinking about the assignment that’s coming up on the syllabus. It looks like a self-portrait is in the making next week. I’m not going to worry about that now, but I can’t help but wonder what the instructions will be for that assignment. I already know the internet will be involved…

In honor of having the week off. I had my hair cut and colored this morning.

My nails and pedi were checked off the list last week.

So now all I have to do is work up an appetite for Thanksgiving as I’m not cooking! It should be good.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Blessings – Debbie

A Little Post For Catching Up

It seems days, no, weeks since I last posted.

Days have come and gone, the hubs was out of town, classes have come and gone and here I am learning more than I ever thought possible in one semester.

Like the other day, for example.

While filling the pool (I was indoors at the time), all of a sudden I heard what I thought sounded like rain. I had my doubts that it was rain as we had the most beautiful sunny day. But pray tell what could be making that noise?

Upon investigation, the hose had formed a bit of a fountain in the pool.

I found it to be a bit intriguing, so I used the motion tools I learned in photography class the other week.

It was fun toying with the camera settings to make the effect of freezing/stopping the water in its tracks.

On Veterans Day, I remembered Pa (my father-in-law) for serving our country during WWll. I wish I could have gotten to know you. And I wish I could have seen your humor and love in motion. I’m thankful for the stories I’ve heard and the pictures that help to put the pieces together. And thank You for my Dearest Hubby too, he’s amazing! I know you already know that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For this pic, I took a pic of Pa’s flag and then edited it in Photoshop by using the oil paint tool.

On Sunday, November 11, our pre-lit Christmas tree went up.

On Monday, November 12, the Christmas tree took shape but not without a few troubles.

A Rough Patch = When some of the lights on the old girl no longer work. Light At The End Of the Tunnel = When you just add more and forgetaboutit. A Rough Patch = When the old ribbon topper doesn’t work this year – Light At The End Of The Tunnel = When you go get more where that came from.

As we’re studying Photoshop (in class) this week, I put it to work on several pictures.

More Photoshop fun.

I never knew Photoshop could be this much fun!

Over the weekend, I narrowed it down to the exact photography class (Digital Darkroom) I’m taking next semester. There’s a lot to look forward to as I look to the New Year!

It’s that magical time of the year. I feel so blessed to be in this together with the one I love.

On that note, I hope to update more often than this last stretch.

Blessings – Debbie

Happy Day

It’s a happy day when I get to say I’ve successfully wrapped up another week of photography images.

This week I needed 60 images. That nearly put me over the edge as I did not have a lot of time last week to work.

But have no fear as I was finally able to wrap things up today.

My little double walled teapot made the cut.

I like the way the yellow flowers spill cheer as though they are spilling out of the pot.

I took a late afternoon stroll in the hood. I like this old contraption.  Don’t ask me what it is though. I just thought it made for an interesting composition.

A shot of the wheel of the above mentioned contraption.

And I even had a little fun shooting from our pool table. I like the shallow depth of field in this shot.

I’ll close this assignment and wait for the next assignment to be given tomorrow afternoon.

Cheers to moving on to a new assignment, it should be another fun week!

The best part of my day was meeting the hubs for lunch, I will never take these special dates for granted.

And last but not least, Happy Election Day to all of you too! The hubs and I mailed our ballots in a little over two weeks ago. Here’s wishing our president the very best these next four years.

Blessings – Debbie

Free Choice

The assignment this week is Free Choice! And it could not have come at a better time as this has been one of the buzziest weeks for us in a very long time.

The instructor scratched our 3 page writing assignment this semester and I literally had a jump for joy party. So there will be no more talk about writing that paper. (Sigh)

We were in LA for three days (over the weekend) helping our daughter get settled into her new home sweet home. And to be honest, there was not a lot of time to take pix up there. When I asked our daughter if I could use her as one of my subjects this week, she was not a fan stating she was a “hot mess”. I understood and honored her wishes and kept the camera tucked away.

Guess what? I went to two brand new places (for me) for the very first time in my life this week! The first place was Cheesecake Factory = major YUM factor + I had the best red velvet cheesecake in the world at that fine establishment.  AND we stepped inside IKEA for the first time ever, with our daughter as she was in the market for furniture.

We had quite the productive weekend, but now we are pretty much in the mood for some good relaxation.

I was able to get just over half of my assignment finished by shooting when I had a chance. I should be able to finish up by the time it is due for class this Wednesday.

I could not think of a better subject than autumn. It’s that glorious time of the year, so why not shoot it? So I did.

The steps I took:

  • All shots were taken on the sidewalk leading up to our front door.
  • The leaves were soaked with water as I had it in my head that they should be wet.
  • As the water ran off the leaves (in the early shots), I noticed a hint of reflection.
  • So I saturated the leaves and the sidewalk with water, creating a makeshift looking pond on the sidewalk.
  • And with the snap of the shutter, here are a few creations.

I think this shot below is my absolute favorite. In fact, I’ll be mounting this on mount board this afternoon during class.

Another shot – I’m still amazed that a little bit of water created such a cool reflection. I’ll have to remember this…

I’m thankful for the little things that pop up to make the average shot a little more exciting.

That said, it’s time for me to call it a wrap and get myself ready for lab work and mounting today.

Blessings – Debbie