Wedding Rings and Baby Toes.

Posted By: randomandodd  //  Category: Random

I had a photo shoot with a couple I will be shooting for their wedding. We decided to incorporate their engagement pictures with the a family shoot and go over the details of the wedding all in a couple of hours.
I’m so lucky to do what I do. I get to meet some of the neatest people and this couple was so much fun. The kids are going to be models. They MUST become models!

Before my photo shoot I did a 5k race downtown. I knew a half mile into it that I had made a Arrested Development sized HUGE MISTAKE. My feet have been killing me for a solid month, but since I have taken on a new client for Couch to 5k, I HAD to lace up and head out.
As we started week one and would start running I would nearly cry in pain, but I wasn’t going to say anything or let her see how bad I was hurting. I’m not giving her an out.
The 5k was the final straw. I had to walk the majority of the race and the only part that didn’t hurt my feet was the very limited uphill sections. My mind kept flashing back to those stupid New Balance Minimus shoes that screwed up my feet and I wish I could just go back in time and make the choice to never leave my Vibrams.

Out of running commission just means I need to get out and get more pictures. I have stuck with my photo a day challenge. There have been a couple of days I just ‘phoned it in’, but with my new phone I’m not complaining because DAMN that thing takes amazing quality pictures.
I was going through some photostream photos on Flickr and I found a local photographer who takes pictures on rail road tracks. It’s not that uncommon, but the woman in this picture was nude.
After I went through the set I sent my daughter a text that said, “I’m a snob. I was looking at these pictures and it wasn’t that his iso was way off…because it was. It wasn’t that his composition was sloppy…because it was. It wasn’t that his pictures had zero depth and were very flat…and they were. I was more pissed that he picked such ugly rail road tracks!”
There is a photographer in my group and his pictures are so amazing it makes my teeth hurt. I’m sure he looks at my pictures the same and just shakes his head at me, but at least I don’t have ugly rail road tracks! yes. I’m a snob sometimes. I can admit it.

Speaking of my amazing group of photographers. I am planning a day trip out with them to get to know them and learn some new ways of shooting. I have always been the teacher and now I get to learn new things from people WAY more talented than I am AND FOR FREE. Did I mention for free?

Today and the rest of this week is sitting in front of a computer and post processing these pictures.
Back to work.

You Catching This?

Posted By: randomandodd  //  Category: Random
, by Random and Odd
,, a photo by Random and Odd on Flickr.

He happily agreed to let me take pictures today because I said I needed it for homework I was doing for my photography class.
As I switched lens he asked me why and I explained to him depth of field and f/stops. He didn’t really care much as he was too busy snapping a branch in half.

About six months ago I tried taking his picture and he was a grump about it, hiding behind something and being coy. Today was a complete change and I was afraid to make any sudden movements or he would switch off his smile and run off.
He spotted a spider and asked if I would get a picture of it for him. I’m not sure what he will do with it, but for now it’s tucked in my computer files.
I had an idea for a shot of him peeking through the chain link fence that is covered in vines and spider webs, but he had another idea all together. He grabbed the fence and started pretending like he was locked in and was fake yelling to let him out. He stopped mid scream and said, “You getting this?” I looked down at my camera and was disappointed that the pictures didn’t portray what he was doing.
“Yeah, buddy. Kind of.” I snapped off a few more and he asked to look at the pictures. I showed him and he said, “I wish there was a way you could hear sound in this one picture, then you would get it.”

I knew I wanted to capture what he was expressing. I didn’t nail it with the post processing on this one, but I learned something about photography that wasn’t technical or something a professional teacher could teach me. He taught me to listen to the person and try to see their vision, because sometimes it’s going to be way better than what you were going to do. That’s why I picked this picture for today’s picture. It’s not the best one of the day, but it’s the one that taught me something and reminded me why I am doing this.

Upgrading…always.

Posted By: randomandodd  //  Category: Random

I joined an online photography group. Knowing myself I figured I would add them, find some cool, secret location shots and then put them on ‘hide from newsfeed’ and forget I was even on the group in the first place.
What I didn’t expect was to become friends with these people and for them to teach me so much. I know photography, but these guys have so much knowledge about things I didn’t even think was important…or that it was even an aspect to photography.
Now I am excited when I see a new post and I get involved in the conversation and instead of being worried about feeling stupid, I just jump in and ask questions.
This has now added to the addiction of my art. Someone posts a question, I go and research it and find, “Oh hey, yeah…I need one of these!” 3 out of 10 times I am figuring out in my head how much I can afford to spend and then finding a way to pull it off and then saying, “I can’t afford it, but I am going to buy it anyway!” I figure it this way; I am not spending money on smokes anymore and I would say that is about 35 bucks a week I am saving. I haven’t bought smokes in 2 months and I have only bought 3 things totaling out to 80 bucks. If I do the math right (and I did because I had to use a calculator) it looks like I should have 200 bucks left in my ‘SPLURGE BECAUSE YOU DON’T SMOKE!” fund. Sadly I do not have 200 bucks sitting around. How is it that I don’t? TEENAGE DAUGHTERS THAT DRIVE and Dutch Brothers is why I don’t have money. It’s also the reason that Alyx doesn’t have money and the reason she will be getting a job at the Dutch Brothers in Rocklin soon!

Last night my wireless shutter showed up. My extra batteries came last week. My secondary grip and LED light source was the week before that.
I’d like to say that I don’t think there is anymore that I could add to my arsenal of photography crap, but I don’t want to jinx myself. Today a guy posted a 3 point axis to the page and I was so grateful that I don’t shoot video or I am sure I would have been searching Amazon.
I love that we all have our different things we are into, it makes for interesting reading and entertainment. I love all the guys that like to do the Milky Way shots out at the lake and they seem like a group I would fit in with, except for the fact that I would die of boredom out there because that’s not my thing.

So this is the first picture with the wireless remote. I let Dan borrow my tripod so I had to use that cheap one you use on your P&S cameras and it didn’t hold up the 12 lb Nikon. It didn’t work. I wouldn’t advise trying it…especially if you have a 400.00 lens on your camera at the time.

September 2

Posted By: randomandodd  //  Category: Random
September 2 by Random and Odd
September 2, a photo by Random and Odd on Flickr.

It’s been a long, long time coming….

my first camera…and my baby

Posted By: randomandodd  //  Category: Random

I took Alyx out a month ago and did her pictures for her. This weekend it was Shea’s turn.
We had planned this total whimsy shoot, but we were limited on time and every place near was yellow and dead. We gave up on the idea and decided to just try to get as many pictures we could and try again when the surroundings matched the idea we had in imagined.
Regardless of the time restraint and the craptastic surroundings we had a good time.

I love September 1st. It’s the doorway to the next season and I unlike all the other seasons, this one is always a mystery to me as to what good things may come. I know in the spring that things will be green and my birthday will be the thing on everyone’s mind. I like the unknown of what the weather is going to do until it settles into its season and we forget the complaints of it being too hot.

Today we did a lot of the things that we have been putting off. Lester hung the picture shelves and has been working on bringing my coffee table back to life so we can bring it into the living room and start decorating around it. There are not enough words to describe how happy I am to be able to have it back.

At the end of the day I noticed the last bit of sunlight hitting the fence. I grabbed my camera and ran outside in hopes of catching something. I took 35 pictures and the “snapshot” I took of the sunset is the one I like the most.
There is a challenge to take a picture a day for a week, a month, or even a year. I keep trying to do this and I keep getting a month in and then I forget to upload a picture and I just stop doing it.
This time I am starting slow. I am going to try for a week and see where it goes.

This means more writing as well.

Old Hwy 40

Posted By: randomandodd  //  Category: Random
Old Hwy 40 by Random and Odd
Old Hwy 40, a photo by Random and Odd on Flickr.

I quit smoking.

Those are 3 words I wasn’t sure I would ever want to say because I usually go back and then feel like a dumb ass for saying I quit. This time, I can say I quit.
Lester and his daughter had this deal to quit smoking together. I knew it would be easier for his daughter because she smoked about 3 a day and he smoked a whole pack and had been smoking for years.
Lester and I tried to quit last year when I first moved in and then the skunk died under the house and it was really stressful. He showed me he had the willpower to do it though. It was my fault he failed on that attempt because I kept a pack of smokes and he went from bumming some to just going and buying a pack.
This time I decided that I wouldn’t do that. I had bought one pack because I was stressed the fuck out because he was quitting and let’s just say…he wasn’t exactly shooting rainbows out of his ass friendly-like. After I finished that last pack, I went down to the smoke shop and bought an Ecig. I knew I was only going to be using it at night (I’m a night smoker) and I wouldn’t need the nicotine, just the motions and act of smoking is what I would need. I got the 0% nicotine and it seems to be working. There are certain situations I can’t break, like at night I enjoy sitting outside while playing my online game and listening to the crickets and the frogs. Normally that is when I would smoke. Now I take a few puffs of the fake cig and it seems to suffice.
Yesterday I was so sick. I have never been violently throwing up like I did yesterday. This is coming from a woman who had morning sickness from the second I got pregnant to the minute I had my children and also was sick for 6 straight months while trying to figure out what antibiotic my body wouldn’t reject. I felt like my body was rejecting everything I put in it…with great force. Violent is the only word I can describe it. I didn’t start feeling better until about 2 am this morning and I realized that I only took a few puffs off my Ecig last night while I sat outside to listen to the cricket/frogs. It won’t be long before I won’t even need that. I’m proud of myself. I did it.
Lester even stuck with it too. If someone is smoking he doesn’t need to walk away, he will just have you blow it in his face. Yes, I know how odd that sounds, but as a smoker– I get it. I will walk through a cloud of smoke and try to suck in as much as I can because OH MY GOD it smells good when you really want one. It doesn’t smell good when someone comes in from smoking and stands next to me though, that doesn’t have the same effect and for that…I am sorry for everyone who had to put up with me.
He said that it is helping with his skating too.
I haven’t had a chance to see if the lack of smoking has helped with my running because I am battling some feet issues and have only got to run at the Color Run last weekend where I was inhaling copious amounts of colored cornstarch.

In other news, I ran in the Color Run last weekend with my running team and while I was there I had a conversation with one of my new running teammates and she told me about an email she got from a childhood friend that caused me to cry. They weren’t tears of joy or sadness…just hearing this bit of news made me realize how long I had held onto this notion that was untrue and it was good to know that I was wrong about it.

Last week I also got to spend some time with Liz, Dennis and the girls, remember them? DB’s step kids from his first marriage? ((he’s collecting step children)).
It was so nice to finally see them again and get my hugs and kisses. The girls have gotten so big. They are two very loving little girls. It was nice to see Dennis looking so happy with his life. They both turned into such amazing parents and I couldn’t be more proud of them both.
They are the only tie to that part of my past and they have been nothing but fair with me. I asked Liz on different occasions if I should remove her from my friend’s list on Facebook to cause her less drama from the other side and each time she said no. She’s a strong woman and I am glad she never took me up on my offers.

Last weekend I also took another road trip. This time it was up old Hwy 40. I turned off my radio this time and just enjoyed the quiet of the ride. Interstate 80 is so loud and I didn’t realize it until I was off of it and just sitting on the side of the road, next to this strange lake in the middle of nowhere…yet not too far from the freeway. I love where I live now! I am learning so much about it by getting in the car and getting lost on purpose.
Next weekend I have a photoshoot, but I want to head out right after and go investigate this other area of town that I have heard about. My Flickr will have all the pictures!!

remember me.

Posted By: randomandodd  //  Category: Random
DSC_6925 by Random and Odd
DSC_6925, a photo by Random and Odd on Flickr.

With Kara in town for her summer visit we have been spending a lot of time going places and trying to make as many memories as we can pack into a month. Each road trip we have been on has had a soundtrack and I know whenever I hear a certain song now I will hear my kids singing it from the backseat and think about where we were going that day.

Yesterday on our way to San Francisco we had the music going and Usher’s ‘Yeah’ came on and it has been in my top 20 favorite songs since it came out. The girls know this and as I listened to them sing it I knew that this was going to be one of those songs that they will forever relate to me, their mother.
That got me to thinking of the songs that I directly relate to my mother. Beautiful songs like, “Still of the Night” and “Misty Blue” are represented in my memories. I think of all the times dancing to every 1950’s song with my mother in my Auntie Shirley’s kitchen while chicken fried on the stove.
The pure sounds of Do-Wop times and the missing elements of synthesized artificial crap we have now days is what I get when I think of my beautiful mother and her music.
The Four Tops and all of the Motown family was played at high volume in our home as a child and we would grab each other and dance around the room. We did the bop and swung each other around as we sang Jackson 5. The Commodores greatest hits is the soundtrack of my youth. It can make me sad and nostalgic…but it will always be the quickest way to think of ‘family’.

As the girls bounced around to Usher’s ‘Yeah’, I felt kinda sad. THIS is the song they are going to remember me with? Yes, I shared every song from the 1980’s and I am proud to say they were raised right because they know all the words to “Baby Got Back” and every Beastie Boy song from License to Ill.
They also have an extensive knowledge of the 1950’s/1960’s music my mother listened to and know that I love them because I would make them dance with me in the kitchen to some Chubby Checker or Al Green. Alyx has more knowledge of 1970’s music than any 15 year old ever should.
I started to feel a little bit better as some of the other music came on and they knew the words and would say, “Remember when we went….” And I know that the song is what triggered that memory.

I relaxed back into my seat and listened to the singing girls in the backseat when, “It’s Getting Hot in Here.” came on.

“OMG! This song reminds me of Grandma!”

I closed my eyes and held back bursting into laugher because I HAD to hear why in God’s name THIS is the song that reminded the girls of MY MOTHER.
They just all said, “TOTALLY!” and sang along.
I realized that is their memory of my Mom, their grandma. They didn’t get the woman barefoot in the kitchen, ciggerette hanging from her fingers, dancing and laughing with my Auntie and telling stories of how they grew up in Oakland in the 50’s and how much their Mom loved this song.

I’ll take Usher’s “Yeah” as my song…at least it’s not “Hot In Here”.

Falling Apart…

Posted By: randomandodd  //  Category: Random
DSC_6627 by Random and Odd
DSC_6627, a photo by Random and Odd on Flickr.

My camera just got back from Nikon the other day and it has a 90 day on the repair and I needed to get it out and use the hell out of it with all my lenses.
With a full tank of gas I headed out to a local quarry. I was pretty sure I had been there and when I pulled up I was sure of it. I kept driving until I found something I liked. The road kept going and going and I decided to always go left and see where I end up. Lost was where I was going to end up, but with that tank of gas and old 70’s music on my radio, I didn’t care where I ended up.

The first thing I found was a tiny street that lead to an airport in the middle of nowhere. The thing that caught my attention was a Hiking Trail sign that clearly wasn’t a hiking trail. It was covered with blackberry bushes. I got out the macro lens and I snapped off a few shots before I grabbed a ripe berry off the prickly vine and popped it in my mouth. For the next 20 minutes I was 7 years old again, picking the berries from the vine and putting them in a bag I found in my trunk. The thing I was most amazed with was the silence.
I looked up and thanked God for getting me out of the house and reminding me that there is a whole world out there.
The kept stopping along side of the road and snapping pictures. I picked streets that I liked the name of and would drive until it ended or spit me out somewhere new. At mile 77 I pulled off the road and walked into the cemetery. That’s where I found this bush with the flowers at different stages of life. The fact that it was falling apart and it wasn’t what it once was, is what I loved most about it.
There was something beautiful about where I was. I turned around to tell the person I was with to come look at this headstone I had found and remembered I was out there alone.

Getting back in the car I kept the navigation the same way as before. No turning back and just turn when I see something I liked. It brought me to this rusted out old truck. I snapped a few shots and pulled over to stare at a building. That is when a guy pulled up next to me. The volume of forensic file shows I have watched has made me leery of strange men in one horse towns.
“How you doing young lady?”
I smiled and was grateful I had on big glasses when I lied, “Fan-freaking-tastic! How are you?” He said he was due for a raise, complained about our government and asked me where I was from. He said he too was from Sacramento years ago and decided to get out of the race and just come out here and avoid getting eaten by bears. The whole time he was talking I was wondering if he already had a hole dug in the backyard for my waiting body.
“What’s the speed limit up here?”
He got all serious and asked me, “How fast do you wanna be going when a deer steps out in front of your little car?” I didn’t think he could get more serious when he said, “After the deer dies, the bears come out. Watch out for bears, they don’t move out the way. They will eat you.”
I thanked him for the advice and he repeated, “The deer determine the speed limit, remember that.”
He said, “I’ll see you on the flip side!” and turned up his Grateful Dead music and was off.

The road headed me out to this town called Volcanoville. How can you pass that up? This road had to lead to something cool. It did not. I also found another road that lead me to a prison. I turned around, but on the way back I found a cool lake.

On the way home I stopped to get a picture of the sun going down through a big oak tree. I needed that road trip.

Where it grows…

Posted By: randomandodd  //  Category: Random
IMAG2711 by Random and Odd
IMAG2711, a photo by Random and Odd on Flickr.

Out of the blue a couple of weeks ago we decided to do a little hike.
It was actually one of those really good days in the middle of some rough ones. (quitting smoking).
The hike turned into a bit of rock climbing and on the way back as I was scrambling down a rock the size of a parking lot, I noticed this.
It always amazes me where things can grow and thrive. I had to stop and get a shot of it to remind me that some of the most beautiful things can grow despite the harsh conditions.

Moo-AH!

Posted By: randomandodd  //  Category: Random
IMAG2626 by Random and Odd
IMAG2626, a photo by Random and Odd on Flickr.

It was another year of volunteering for Western States 100 mile endurance run at the Foresthill aid station. I was pretty sure that nothing could beat last year, but this year was even better! Kara came with me and she just kept making me smile with such pride. She jumped right in as we unloaded the moving van, she put up barrier cones, 6 pop up tents, food, stations, tables. She was an animal. I was given the job of being head of drop bags and crew station. Since Kara was a last minute add she was going to just jump from station to station and help out. I thought it would be fun to have her helping me as I crewed the crewless runners and helped the runners that did have crew make sure their runners had everything they need when they hit our station.
Kara decided she wanted to help out with the people that support us volunteers. She cut up food and stood out in the sun while she helped cook and serve us. After lunch she came over and hung out with me for a bit, but after the first few runners came through she moved over to the cooling station to help out making sure that the runners were drenched in cool water and that’s where she stayed for the remaining 8 hours. Everyone just loved her and I was so incredibly proud of her. When we were leaving the guy who runs the whole volunteer shindig insisted that she come back next year.
Cowman and I hung out for a little bit and he gave me his pacer bib. It was another very memorable year and I will sign up for next year’s race.

Kara’s been here for a month and I feel bad that I can’t afford to do anything with her. Between rent, saving up for registration/smog/insurance for my car AND the unthinkable; CAMERA REPAIR…I am tapped. So we have been doing lunch and going to see movies as it seems that’s about all I can afford lately. My own fault and I will remedy that problem soon enough.

I haven’t been writing much here. It’s not that there is nothing going on or I am so super busy that I don’t have time. I just don’t want to turn this into bitchfest.