Tuesday, January 31, 2012


 This bag was handed down to me from my great uncle. I don't know much about it except I assume it is from Mexico because he visited there often. The design though is a bit more reminiscent of Peru. So I can't say much about this piece because I really don't know but it has some great texture and detail which made it great to photograph.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Beach Weeds

I came across these pretty little flowers this summer on the bay in Rhode Island. 180 degrees in the opposite direction was the most beautiful sunset obscured by some ugly trees and some powerlines. Looking back, I'm glad because I would have spent entirely too much time trying to take pictures of the changing sky instead of these little flowers that popped against the darkening sky. I'm making these #29 because I'm just not happy enough with the sunset pictures from yesterday. There are lots of really amazing sunset shots out there and those ones pale in comparison.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ski Season Redemption

Headed to Vermont this weekend with camera in tow with my sister and mom other sister planning on being very disappointed by the slopes and doing crafty things in front of a fire instead. We were pleasantly surprised to find that, despite the rain and lightning on Friday that closed Killington, Saturday provided some great skiing. We spent all weekend  carving up the mountain and I didn't even take my camera out until the drive home this evening. The sunset mixed with clouds over the mountains was a spectacular sight. See for yourself.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nom Nom

I've been cooking a bit this week, with recipes. As in, I've actually been measuring stuff out. I made a tasty mushroom soup that I found via Pinterest which you can check out here.

I also made some butternut squash. My mom tells me I loved squash as a baby. Then I graduated from baby food and hated vegetables. I am recently discovering how much I really like butternut squash. I came across this recipe at a cookoff which is really simple.

#27 Butternut Squash

And since I'm heading up to Vermont today without internet access and enough cell reception to send text messages only I'll also leave you with

#28 Out at Sea. This shot was taken from Ross University Medical School on one of their picturesque study spots. Why did I got to medical school in New Jersey? As much as I love the Canadian Geese infestation (not) this would be a slightly better view. The ship I think is actually from Portugal or something like that. The people living on it are helping to clean up the harbor full of broken down ships (see photo #3). Also worth mentioning, this is the island that a lot of Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed on.


Anyone with an iPhone 4 needs to know, your camera phone 1. Probably takes photos better than that 2 year old point and shoot you use and 2. probably takes better landscapes than your average dSLR (read uber fancy big camera) user. I say it all the time and people don't really believe it. I've seen it with my own eyes though. Landscape often has difficult lighting. Top catch a subject against a pretty sunset, you either have to silhouette your subject or blow out your background. For example:

Silhouette shots are cool, but not if you want to see your subject
Now we can see the subject but not the sunset
 Alternatively you can use your flash as a fill to expose the subject and the sunset. Except sometimes it still looks like flash, which is bad. And the sunset doesn't even look great.

So then you pull out your iPhone, switch on the HDR and take an amazing photo that would put my fancy camera to shame. This is especially hard to deal with looking at an old album of photos you took back when you weren't too familiar with the camera and didn't even use RAW. There are a lot of tutorials out there on HDR which basically takes three different exposures of the scene and stacks them so everyone looks just the right brightness. You can achieve the same thing with a fancy shmancy camera with a little learning, which I have yet to do. But with the basic concept in mind I created the photo below. I actually made a duplicate, editing each photo separately. In one I made the boat look right and as a consequence the sky turned to basically nothing. In the other I darkened the sky to bring out the real colors from the scene and as a consequence the boat turned almost completely black. Than I took these two images and stacked them on top of each other with the good sky on top and used an eraser to take away the bottom half of the photo revealing a nice boat. The result is a composite of two different edits on one photo that looks much better than the original.

#26 Catamaran Composite

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Problem With RAW

For those of you who don't know what RAW is, my general understanding is something pretty basic like this: Normally you take a photo and it downloads to your computer as an image, usually a jpeg. With RAW, the camera takes in a lot more information about the scene so you can change a lot more when you download it to your computer. The two biggest perks, I find, are the ability to change the white balance (ie if you're picture is too yellow you can completely fix it, not just try to cover it up) and the exposure (basically how bright your picture is). A lot of times I find myself adding a little blue to balance out some severely yellow indoor light and increasing the exposure to really brighten things up. There are a couple problems you'll encounter- RAW takes a lot of memory, you need some good editing software to actually open a RAW file and make it usable, and now I dislike every other picture I've ever taken! The first two, not really problems. The third is ruining my resolution! I look at an old photo that I could edit but it's only a jpeg. I always adjust white balance and exposure now on my photos, even just slightly. Not being able to do that with the older ones is extremely frustrating. That is why I've been taking so many new photos. But I am going to do it anyway. Post some pictures taken before I started shooting in RAW. It makes editing harder, but I guess that's good practice!

 #24 BC Swank. This photo was taken at a science conference for... yeast genetics! O yes, yeast geneticists, we're a wild bunch. Actually yeast conferences are better than most because it necessitates free beer... because you know yeast make beer. This conference what at UBC in Vancouver. Vancouver is such a great city- a highly suggest a visit. And what made it better was being a guest at UBC and enjoying cocktail hour in a garden on a cliff overlooking the bay at sunset. Talk about the perfect setting for a wedding!

#25 Pot O Gold. I took this one a while ago visiting my now boyfriend while he was living on the island of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic). We went on a whale watching tour and saw no whales. But we did enjoy some rum punch, a big boat in the sun and watching a storm over the island develop into a full rainbow. Unfortunately I didn't have an ultra wide angle lens to capture the whole thing but the rainbow did a full arch over the island and then a second lighter one appeared! This was truly the most fantastic rainbow I have ever seen! Dominica is a gem of an island- it just might be the gold at the end of this rainbow. PS. A polarizing filter at the right angle can really make the colors of a rainbow pop.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Two posts in one day.... INCONCEIVABLE!

As a kindergartner, I used to lay on my bed in my underwear and say to my mother "Dress me aya!" A reference to the Disney movie A Little Princess . My mother finally decided one day that I would have to dress myself. I came out looking great- I got my sister to pick out my clothes! My ability to pick out an outfit has improved drastically over the years and yet, a lot of things today just don't match, except they do. I have a shirt from Anthropologie with multiple fabrics that just don't match, but it's a great shirt! And so this principle seems to apply to more and more things. Scroll through wedding design and interior improvement sites and you'll see the mismatching. Bridesmaids dresses that are all different in styles and cuts and a slight variation on color. I even saw a wonderful jewelry organization idea at MarthaStewart.com and I loved it. I went out to the antique store and bought lots of mismatched china. Dishes like these are a challenge because of the way they reflect light when photographed. I'm still working on my ability to photograph them, but this is what I've got for now.

#23 Mismatched

Moving Cars

I have A LOT of photos that were taken from moving cars. They usually come out awful or with the blur of bug splat on the windshield obscuring a nice photo. As this resolution is about getting better at editing this photo isn't the most spectacular one I've ever taken. It is just okay. And when it came out of the camera, it wasn't even noteworthy. I liked the clouds on my way out to Michigan but nothing else about the picture really worked. So today, I used content aware to make it work. So, like I said, this is nothing spectacular but it is really about the before and after.

Cross my heart that is the same photo. Content Aware on Photoshop CS5 allows you to just circle things and eliminate them. Some techy genius made photo editing so much easier.  So, although it isn't a spectacular shot, it fulfills my New Year's Resolution requirements. So photo #22 Take Me Home, Country Roads. Like I said, this was taken from the moving car on our way out to Michigan. Whenever B and I get in the car for along road trip I put on some John Denver and belt it, off key. It's lovely. Really.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thank You 8 Year Old Me

Sometime in my childhood I decided that skeleton keys were the coolest thing ever. I guess I was born a vintage-savvy hipster. Since I was many years ahead of the trend, I picked them up for pretty cheap from garage sales and flea markets. My parent's friends even gave me their spare skeleton keys belonging to some long lost piece of furniture or trunk. I had quite a collection. And now that vintage is becoming THE decorating trend, skeleton keys are getting more expensive. Gone are the days of spending 10 cents at the flea market to pick up and intricate little design. I recovered my little collection from the deep dark drawers of my childhood desk below essays from the 7th grade and pokemon cars (guilty). As a child I had planned to procure a type set drawer to display them. Sometime around high school and college this idea was lost completely as I traded my sponge painted walls for clean lines and crown molding. And now as a medical student trying to keep both hemispheres of my brain alive, my artistic juices have me crafting and designing and photographing. Now my salvaged keys reside in a type set drawer hanging on the wall in my bathroom. This one below is one of the more typical skeleton keys. They are probably the prettiest but also most common ones.

I found the handkerchief at the antique store. This place picks up estate sales and plops them in the store. That means that unlike a typical little antique store, stuff is EVERYWHERE but it is also less expensive. I had to open drawers in dressers to find the handkerchief below. It felt intrusive even though the owners are long gone. One drawer had neck ties and yarmulkes, another had pictures of the family, and many had handkerchiefs and scarves. Talk about a strange way to get to know someone you'll never meet.

So picture #21 The Key to the Past:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snow Day

If I was a kid, this would be the worst winter ever. Late January and still no snow. And the day it snows is a weekend and 3 inches will be cleared up my Saturday night with no hopes of a day off from school As a skier, this is still the worst winter ever. Buying a season pass to a ski resort is like entering the lottery. Some seasons, it's the best decision you ever made and you ski for 2 weeks straight on a pass that pays for itself in 5 visits. That was two years ago. The American Ski Company must have known about the amazing value I got 2 years ago. I'm guessing that the exact moment that my parents purchased a season pass for me, someone decided that it would not snow this winter. And so, here I am, with a season pass and I've skied one day this season. ::Throws herself pity party:: #firstworldproblems I know, I know. Anyhow. I was supposed to be in Vermont this weekend but somehow my parents ended in Miami, Vermont got snow, and I am sitting in an apartment in the burbs of Jersey while my class mates tear up White Face in Lake Placid. "I'm not bitter at all!" she says quite sarcastically.

So here is my picture of snow in the burbs. My attempt to sprinkle rose petals on snow was thwarted by wind and the fact that the snow wasn't really powdery. Powdery snow is great for photography.

#19 Not skiing

And since I needed a way to procrastinate and the snow wasn't too photography worthy I played around with the natural light of my living room, pinterest eye make up tutorials and (failed) no heat curls tutorials.

#20 Still not Skiing

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

At the end of second year, every medical student across the country has to take the boards. I just recently scheduled mine transforming them from some figment of my imagination into a rapidly approaching event that should be consuming my life. This New Year's Resolution is a lot of things. One is procrastination, another is denial. With third year starting this summer, I'm not sure if my goal is realistic. Regardless I am trying until then. And since I need some sort of reward at the end of this test, I'll have a week's vacation between boards and the start of third year. My mom's been taking French lessons so Paris was on the agenda but with flight tax being sky high (bad pun, I know) I'm not sure how realistic that goal is either. But, I've decided to pretend I'm going to Paris anyway. I pulled out my Paris Vacation piggy bank which actually has some change and bills in it. So picture #18 The Light at the End of the Tunnel.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fungus Photo

This photo is yet another example of me being a weird science geek. I find the growth on this log extremely interesting especially with the lines of color. My mom's reactions when I was taking this photo was "O great! Fungus." Well, I hope other people think it's a nice one too. Come one, I needed a picture of something, this seemed suitable. And just to prove my point, I made a color swatch that goes with the photo. Look at that, it's so creative.

Now, if only I could combine these two things for a great little pinterest color inspiration pin. O look at that:

Welp, that's #17. Two in one day! And I actually edited a bunch more, just not ones that are going to be the picture of the day.

It's Hard to Come Up With Titles When You're Posting Every Day

#16 Neutral Tones. I randomly snapped this one the same time as the first photo of the day during a walk through the woods in near our farm house. It just kind of sat around populating the unposted folder of Vermont pictures. I decided to edit it today and give a bit of a vintage feel. The original is low on color and I thought it had some potential. I took a lot of the information on how to do an edit like this from a tutorial I found on youtube.

I'm still behind from my birthday weekend and intend to make up for it. I'm really running out of things to take pictures of. The winter weather means I'm in no mood to go outside and get new photos and I'm running out of things in my apartment to take pictures of. Textbooks? I think not. Might me time for yet another stop my an antique store to find some interesting subjects. Or perhaps a trip to the city... o yes, that just might have to happen.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Diamond's are A Girl's Best Friend

Stopping in briefly to say: Diamond's are a girl's best friend. Taking picture of them is hard. I'm working on it but I don't have a macro lens that will let me get a really sharp focus close up. Luckily my ever day lens does a decent job, although not as good as I'd like. Add it to the wish list!

#15 Diamond's are a Girl's Best Friend. Boyfriend did good for Christmas. I'll probably be wearing these everyday next year when I'll have to abandon my extra large Forever 21 costume jewelry for a more professional, working-in-a-hospital look.

I really need to play catch up with these photos so I'll probably be stopping in later today with another picture.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Last Year of My First Quarter Century

This weekend I started my 25th year of life, which means... I turned 24. I once got into a bit of a misunderstanding with B when, in an attempt to be poetic and different I wished him a happy start to his 25th year of life and he got mad at me because I didn't know how old he was. I knew he was turning 24, but on your 24th birthday you start your 25th year of life. Sheesh. Just like at your first birthday you've been on the world for a whole year and then you start your second year. So anyway I got a little behind on posts because I just got off a 2 week study binge and decided to abandon the computer for a weekend whilst celebrating. There has been far too much cake and icing consumed this weekend and still remnants of chocolatey deliciousness sitting around my apartment. A quick rundown of the weekend included:

Friday night revelry with friends with wine and cupcakes:

beautiful cupcakes made by T-Hens

Dinner Saturday night at the Chart House which was amazing. A beautiful view of the NYC skyline, absolutely delicious food, and great company to top it off. Sunday my BFF came to visit and we did fantastically girly things like watch a chick flick and paint our toenails. My boyfriend sent a lovely vase of longstem roses.

And Kate came on Monday (thanks for the day off MLK!) and we made cake and worked on my wall.

Kate can decorate a cake!
 I went to the antique store on Saturday with my mom and sister and found some really great stuff to add to the wall. I would still call it a work in progress but it is progressing quite well. Many thanks to Kate for her help. It was most definitely a two man job.

And the pictures for the day, well I'm behind and none of the above are really resolution worthy but at least to keep up #14 A Spot of Tea. Also at the thrift shop I found some cute china and some tarnished spoons. The utensils are mostly for picture taking. Shiny spoons are hard to photograph. I don't plan on dipping these tarnished ones in my mint tea!

These thrift store finds are becoming more and more important in my resolution. I originally tried to take this on a white table and it just didn't look great. Throw it on top of a Coke crate from 1972 and you've got a nice little backdrop. My more useful thrift store finds have been handkerchiefs, luggage, and wood crates. Old books, china, and utensils make great subjects.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Learnin' to Fly

I'm running on three hours of sleep and thought I would just get behind for a day on my resolution (remember I said that was allowed). Then, I happened upon something while driving back from the grocery store! Once against did not have my camera but luckily it was in my neighborhood and still there when I got back. It was a great chance to use my telephoto. So thanks, Society Hill, for my wildlife shot of the day. It's not the best quality, but it's a BLUE HERON. At least I hope that's what it is. I'm a medical student, not a bird watcher.

Today after our exam I worked on my red wall. It is an ongoing project but here's a little peak. Excuse the low quality- it's an instagram shot.

And on top of that tomorrow is my birthday today was the end of our block, and thanks to MLK it's a three day weekend! BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! Annie made me a cake:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Not Sleeping Tonight

Big test tomorrow. Cardiopulmonary. Not much time, must study more.

I took a needed break to edit a photo. This Photoshop eye tutorial had me messing around with a photo I've already posted other places. I fixed up the eyes, exposure, color, what have you and ended up with something I really like. This one was taken while I was in India. Sometimes it has nothing to do with skill. I had tied a scarf on my head and turned the camera around to snap a picture because I didn't have a mirror, and this is what I ended up with, funny face and a colorful scarf. I was a little hesistant to post a self-portrait but I don't have time to care about it. The before image is below.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Playing Catch Up

I woke up before the sun today which is quite a rare occurrence for me especially on 4 hours of sleep. My life is medical school, with a little bit of photography sprinkled on top. The morning sky through my window is beautiful. Normally I squint at it through one eye, think about getting up, and then bury my head in my pillow. These pictures do not do it justice but I don't have time to be picky and it's a nice use of the negative-space-oo-lala-i'm-an-artsy-photographer principle. So picture #10 Up with the Sun

 Also, I am running short of things of which I can take pictures. People love pictures of kids and brides and pregnant ladies. Unfortunately there are not a lot of children in medical school, there are some though :-P

And since I just love wedding photography I got all inspired by the classic shoe shots and decided to take a try at it. Ideally I would have gotten these a little sharper using a tripod but I was shooting far too high (on top of a bookshelf) to use my tripod. That also would have required I go to my car and get the tripod out of my trunk. I still like the colors and how they turned out though. Just because I don't have a wedding to shoot doesn't mean I can't try! So picture(s) #11 Shoes!

My Michican antique store purchases are really coming into handy as props! Handkerchief was $1 and the fantastic antique luggage, only $8. And the shoes are Enzo Angiolini (Macy's clearance right after Christmas!).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Give Me a Break

Did you know you can get some severe neck and back pain from hardcore studying? I mean, I was a pretty dedicated undergraduate and never had that sort of problem until medical school. Walk around the cubicles and you'll see fancy book stands. At first I chuckled at this extreme nerdiness and then somewhere around my second exam I had these shooting pains down my back, coincidentally every time I would look down at my book. I now own a book stand. It's exam week which means I get behind on things, like resolutions, consume too much caffeine, spend too much money at Starbucks, and my back hurts. So, I'm a little late on this one, but give me a break! And what is the only thing I have to take pictures of? Caffeine and notes of course!

#9 The Art of Coffee. I never drank coffee before medical school, I hated it. My sister jokes that even now I don't like coffee, I like over-sugared milk with a tiny shot of espresso. Nevertheless I've been working on my coffee making skills with a Bialetti espresso maker. The milk is really the artful part. Figured out how to really get it frothy with the wisk. Making my own means saving money AND the added bonus of not having to change out of my pajamas and traipse outside.

My morning coffee is a bit over romanticized. Life looks a little more like this right now:

i own every pen in every color, ever

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cheating the System

Do I carry my camera everywhere? Trick question, my phone has a camera. Do I carry my dslr everywhere? No, and I inevitably end up kicking myself for not having it. Today for example. I had a great little procrastination lunch with good friends and then dropped by Starbucks for a deliciously overpriced grande 2 pump hot chocolate to make a day full of studying the heart a bit more bearable. On the way I passed a dilapidated farm I've been wanting to take a great photo of but I am waiting for everything to be just right. I have a couple ideas of lighting scenarios and clouds and at 3:30 today the heavens opened golden light onto that farm with dark clouds behind it and I kicked myself. So I did what I should not do and continued to not study. I drove to my apartment, picked up my camera gear and went back and wouldn't you know it, those clouds moved and the shot was ruined. One of these days I am going to get the shot, although it may be so idealized in my head at this point that it will never happen.

And so I have today decided to cheat the system. When in doubt, take a picture of something old, overexpose it, add a warming filter and voule!


And if you really want people on Pinterest to like it, add a basic word. There we go!

And there you have it. Day #8 Vintage Books. These were a gift from a quirky old uncle (via my grandmother). There are all old books and in Spanish! Ole! The top one is a translation dictionary and has written on the title page "16/3/907" Spanish date system so this book is at least as old as March 16, 1907. They have stamps inside from the old bookstores they were sold in. Pretty neat.