Bernheim Arboretum and Research Center. Clermont, KY- last day of winter 2019. [Helios 44-2. film]
13 x 18 = Large = $53
8 x 10 = Medium = 33
5 x 7 = Small = $18
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13 x 19 = Large = $53
8 x 10 = Medium = $33
4 x 6 = Small = $18
There’s a reason I chose the username Monochromejunkie: It’s because I’m obsessed with black and white photography. To me, nothing is more beautiful than a bold black and white image with heavy, dark blacks and stark whites. These days, people are so used to simply slapping a filter on something or doing a quick and easy B&W conversion.
it takes a well-trained eye to look out upon a landscape or street scene and be able to convert that over to a B&W in your mind and truly “see” a black and white. Because reds, greens, and blues all convert into various shades of black, white, and grey, you need to know what would truly make a good black and white, because not every scene does.
This past year, I’ve been in a photographic funk and sorely uninspired. 2018 was one of the hardest years of my life. So many troubles with some of my children and their private struggles, along with the death of close friends and loved ones. It really kicked me in the teeth and that alone can kill your passion for your art.
After coming back to my blog and writing again, I rediscovered my friend Gav’s black and white photography. He’s an excellent street photographer, but what he’s really good at, more so than anyone else I’ve ever known, is staying in black and white mode. Nevertheless, year after year, he continues shooting in black and white and never seems to grow bored with it.
Seeing his beautiful black and whites have woken up my first love: black and white photography. I’ve wanted to shoot in B&W mode (only) for a year straight- for a long time, but never had the courage to take that plunge. I know though, that if I don’t do that, then I’ll never commit. And if I don’t commit to truly knowing the ins and outs of black and white and really learning it, then I never will grow as a photographer and artist to the degree that I want to.
I’ve decided to finally take the plunge! I’m putting my camera in monochrome mode and leaving it there for an entire year. It actually began yesterday, so until March 8th of 2020, I’ll be shooting in nothing but black and white. This way, rather than focusing on various colours, I can keep my focus on lighting and exposure. So Gav, if you’re reading this, thank you! You’ve been a major inspiration and have woken up my love of black and white again. It’s not for everybody. But for people like us, it’s what drives us.
I took these yesterday, at Sellersburg park (Indiana) while taking Chance and Diamond on our mile walk. Just as we were getting ready to leave, it started snowing. That was a nice touch. 🙂 (These are basically SOOTC/straight out of the camera.)
A new bud gets its first taste of the snow. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35-2.8
Fire in the pie hole, that is. Initially, I stopped blogging for a while because I have a crazy sibling who stalks my every move here at my blog, and after discovering her footprints all over the place here (such as, seeing her key word searches that she used- which were disturbing, to say the least) – I just really grew disgusted at the notion that she poured over my every word, and it really just creeped me out, altogether. I began feeling like my posts were going directly to her, rather than feeling liberated and being able to express myself freely. (She has a long history as a stalker, and I’m betting she’s changed very little in the past 5 years.)
Alas, I can’t live my life based on other people.- especially her. So I’ll pick up where I left off and simply do what I’ve always done: document my life in words and pictures so that my children and others will have a digital “life album” that they can access, both now and in the future. Apart from that, blogging is really healthy, and sometimes, getting those feelings out through writing is the only way to move past them. So, I’m going to try and blog every day again, and the purpose is not to entertain others; if I wanted to do that I’d just be a You Tuber instead. I don’t really care if I’m blogging about peas, just as long as I keep writing. I’ll only be able to free up emotional space if I’ve made room for new things. So, if you’re here and reading this, be warned- you may eventually be reading about peas.
Since switching to a plant-based diet, Josh and I have considered our options where “meat” is concerned. We’ve been researching meat alternatives, and came across a protein-rich, wheat-based, gluten-heavy protein called tempeh. Basically, tempeh is fermented soy beans that have been fried into small “cakes”. It’s packed with gluten, because gluten is the part of wheat that’s thick and sticky and keeps the bread together. Tempeh is a concentration of the sticky parts, so if you’re eating Tofurkey– which is a vegan meat substitute- you’re eating a gluten-bomb.
I thought I’d be o.k. eating it, because I’ve never had signs of being gluten-sensitive before and have eaten wheat all of my life. But almost immediately after making spaghetti with Tofurkey, my tongue began to burn on its underside. At first, it felt like I’d been burned, and then it progressed into a full-scale attack in which the top of the bottom (of my tongue) felt and looked like it was split open. It clearly had swollen and split apart and appeared to be growing in both size and intensity. Before long, my right ear felt pressurized and my right eye began to burn as well. Within 12 hours, I couldn’t talk and it hurt so badly it took my breath away. When I woke up this morning, I was in excruciating pain and could barely chew my food.
It’s been almost 24 hours now and the pain hasn’t let up at all. I’m guessing I’m gluten-sensitive! Josh got some Orajel for me and it’s helped relieve some of the pain. So, I’ll be adding that to the list as well:
Thank God for Almond milk ice cream! Adopting a (mostly) vegan diet doesn’t mean food has to be boring. I’ve been making my own cashew milk too. It’s amazing! Josh discovered that almond milk has the nutrition of only 28 almonds, so we found a great cashew milk recipe that’s simple as well as wholesome and delicious. None of the pulp is thrown out, so nothing goes to waste. It’s actually tastier than cow’s milk. Lately, cow’s milk had begun to taste like water, so it’s nice to have a creamy milk that is rich in flavour and nutrients.
I’m taking the day off and resting in bed. I can’t believe January is almost gone! One month left of the cold and then the spring will be here again. ❤
Lewis and Clark’s cabin- overlooking the Ohio River
-Click on print to purchase-
It’s been so long since I’ve been into my (almost) daily groove of writing. Usually, I’m in a end-of-year funk that lasts until February, roughly. It doesn’t have anything to do with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) because I love rain, snow, the cold, and bleak days. But usually, it begins to creep in just before Thanksgiving and lasts into the New Year and every year I’m just so glad when it’s all over. (I know I’m not alone in how I feel.)
I really thought that I’d be loving my time away from school, but the truth is, I love the pressure cooker! I love the grind and the deadlines and the small goals that I check off to feel like I’m accomplishing stuff. Lately, I’ve barely taken any pics or have done anything significant or worthwhile, and I’ve been extremely depressed. I’ve taken my anger out on Josh and that’s just not o.k. God knows I’ve had/studied enough psychology to know how to fix things, and so I’ve taken out my camera, and have decided to practice my “Photo Therapy”, once again.
Usually, when I’m depressed (which isn’t often), it’s because I’ve been looking through a twisted perspective. Anger or sorrow bends the truth in matters and leaves me with a shattered view of how things truly are. But they’re not really like that. It’s just my damaged filter. And so, I know that I need to change my perspective- both emotionally and literally. First, I like to change up my environment. If the house is semi-trashed; I’ll go on a cleaning spree and do some deep-cleaning and disinfecting, etc. I like things super clean, but I don’t have any problem with allowing things be a bit “lived in” too.
After that, I break out my gear (camera, multiple lenses, etc.) and try to learn something new regarding photography. I’m aching to get back to my roots: black and white; and I’m tempted to put my camera in my monochrome setting and leave it there for an entire year. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for the longest time- but I always back out of it after a few weeks. I always tell myself that I’ll rob myself of hundreds of beautiful colored shots and wimp out. But I know that unless I stick to it, I’m never going to grow as a black and white photographer! So, I’m going to do my very best to do just that: throw my camera into monochrome- and leave it there for a whole year (starting yesterday). Not everybody sees everyday life in black and white (and is able to do that even without a camera), but I’m one of those people who can. Also, when you shoot in black and white, you’re not basing your shot on colour and colour schemes, you’re basing it on tones, lines, textures, and lighting. It changes everything.
I picked up an old Sigma 21-35 film lens that I’ve been itching to take for a spin. maybe I’ll do that this week. Josh and I had a bit of Pecan Pie moonshine last night and went for a late night trip to the waterfront down at the Ohio River.
Sigma 21-35/handheld/ISO 1600/1/25 sh. sp.
The shot would have been SO much better with a tripod, and perhaps a few shots less of moonshine, alas, for handheld using a a tank of a lens; it’s perhaps not too shabby.
Regarding my health, I’m happy to report that I’m no longer a migraine sufferer. I no longer get migraines- at all. Not even that rare once-a-month one. I’ve just begun to experience the beginning stages of perimenopause (which is a bucket of fun, let me tell you), and I suspect that that too is contributing to my depression, but perhaps it’s contributing to y lack of migraines as well, and that’s a trade I’m willing to make.
No matter what, when I do begin to experience depression, I know what to do to change things. So, today I’ll clean the house and prepare to go on a photoshoot in the rain with my camera’s new rain coat. 🙂 Although I really don’t have much to say, I’m a firm believer in journaling, and even if I’m just farting around and writing about my toenails, I’m still writing; and that helps too.
And it’s called that because it’s my last day of my bachelor’s (in Psychology) program today, and I’m taking my last final exam in the morning. I can’t believe I’ve made it through! As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be graduating with honours and I’ve finally been fully inducted into the Society of Leadership and Success.
I’m so excited to be getting my life back. Everything feels SO GOOD right now and I’m beyond ecstatic. There’s a certain feeling a woman has after giving birth. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a feeling of indescribable triumph. As if she made it through death itself and escaped with her life.
Well that’s how I feel. 🙂
Anyway, I didn’t want to go on about all of that again. Just had to jot these feelings down while they’re here, because God knows that those dark clouds are just over the hill and they’ll be rolling in soon enough.
But today, it was beautiful. The sun was shining down and there was a golden-grey glow covering everything in sight, despite the cool rain falling down and splashing on me…
Lensbaby Composer/ f/ 5.6-Spring Mill Park
Everything looks better in black and white. 🙂 (I know a few hundred people who’d agree.)
Spring Mill Park- Mitchell, Indiana – a warm day in February, on a day trip with Josh and Brianna- very little editing/Lensbaby Composer/ f/5.6
I don’t remember a crazier time in my life than the past 6 months.
I’ve been dealing with a dying family member, the hospitalization of one of my children, an ongoing legal situation that has drawn on for more than 3 years, and 9 months of freezing cold “Arctic showers”, thanks to a rickety old water heater.
Believe me when I say, those cold showers are no joke. I’m not at liberty to expound on any of the (aforementioned) scenarios- save the water heater- but suffice to say, this year has already damn near killed me.
But, you know what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you
stronger bitter as hell! 🙂
But really, thankfully, we’ve finally been able to replace the water heater and are at long last taking scalding hot showers once again. The legal situation seems to be coming to an end, my child has made a miraculous recovery, and life seems to be slowly stabilizing once again, making me believe that it just might be doable. What’s made everything particularly challenging is the fact that I’ve battled through all of these things tackling 5 classes as well. The 5 classes alone are enough to take someone down, but combined with everything else, it’s really tested me to the fullest.
As long as I can come through it all with some compassion left in my heart and serenity in my soul- I really can’t ask for more than that. Understandably, I blew an exam in one of my Psych. classes- (unacceptable!)- but still have 4 strong A’s in my remaining 4 classes, so I’ll be working extra hard to repair my grade in my Psychology of Personality course. My GPA is still right at 3.6, but I’m working hard to try and boost that up to a 3.8 before applying to grad. school over the next few weeks.
I’ve been working hard trying to complete all of my requirements (on the side) for the Society of Leadership and Success, and I’m 3 small projects away from being fully inducted. Afterwards, I’ll be able to take advantage of most of the Society’s scholarships. I’m racing against so many deadlines! I’ll be graduating in May, so I’m continually racing against this merciless clock- and the world seems to be spinning so fast. The days are just flying by.
I’m so busy that I haven’t been able to go out on a proper photo shoot, except for the picnic at Spring Mill Park last weekend that Josh and I were able to take with Brianna. She’s been staying with us for the past week and I’ve been so happy to have my little girl back, if even for a few days. Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences is going remarkably well; I can’t believe I have an A in the class still. On that note, I can’t believe I’m still making the Dean’s List so far this semester. I’m almost at the halfway point: I just have to keep hanging in there. I nabbed a shot of a few (mock) soldiers out at the Pioneer Village on Saturday; it would have been better if the modern-day cars weren’t included in the shot, but I don’t have time to clone them out right now. Still, it’s a cool shot. And that super furry dude isn’t Wild Bill Hickok, it’s Josh, with his winter beard that I love.
The last of the snow- taken last week
Josh, overlooking the Ohio River at a restaurant called “The Overlook”
View of the Ohio River at the Overlook
Spring Mill Park/Lensbaby Composer/ f/5.6- manual- Feb. 20- Pioneers
Note to self: clone out those cars!
Josh and Brianna on our picnic
Josh, in the Weaver’s House- Pioneer Village
One of my favourite pics of Josh ever- love that BG.
Taken yesterday. Lensbaby Composer f/4.
The obligatory selfie/taken yesterday/Lensbaby Composer
This is the sunset that almost got me arrested yesterday:
Modified Lensbaby Composer + Canon Rebel XSI + golden hour lighting
Josh and I were out driving through the beautiful country of Starlight, Indiana. We’d had a glass of Apple Spice wine from the orchard and were enjoying the sunshine. I glanced over through the trees and saw the sun beaming through and knew I had to get that shot (shown above). I didn’t alter any colours in it: it’s SOOTC (Straight Out Of the Camera). What you see is how it looked in person. It was incredibly beautiful.
So I parked the car a quarter of a mile down on the side of the road, and as I tiptoed through the field (barefooted, naturally), I happened to notice there was a man standing on the road directly to my left. He didn’t speak, he just watched me. If I could count the times strange people just showed up to watch me shoot. Grrr.
I took my cue to go, and as I was going, he said, “I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.”
That translates to, “I live right down the road and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you take a picture of this here field.”
I showed him the shot and let him know I was harmlessly taking a pic, and skidaddled off to our Rodeo Isuzu. Not even 45 seconds later, we passed a cop car going in the direction of where we had just come. Jimbob had called the law.
Not that we were doing anything wrong. But out in redneck country, you’re either going to get shot at, or have to outrun the police like we did. And so began our hurried exit, snaking through every jijagged turn we could make, and flying back to the city. Believe me when I say, photography is not a boring hobby! “Dealing” with the cops is part of the package.
Alas, it was worth it. 🙂
And a few more from the day:
Modified Lensbaby Composer + Canon Rebel XSI
And last, but not least, my partners in crime!
Life is whirling by way too fast these days!
Josh and I just returned from a late steak dinner (or early, depending on which end of the clock you’re watching) and I probably shouldn’t have had almost 3 cups of coffee this late. I’ve been working at a frenzied pace, finishing up my semester, and taking on side projects as well, for others, mostly. I have to say, life is pretty sweet these days. 🙂
I want to get back to my art, but that too will be on hold for another 6 months or so. I’m salivating at the thought of taking a year off for my art and music before beginning work on my Master’s degree. There just aren’t enough arms on my body or hours in the day.
I’m dabbling with the idea of opening a semi-organic lollipop shop; it’s still just a thought as an embryonic idea, but I could see it growing over the next few years. And then there’s my children’s book. (Sigh.) I really wanted to move that around a bit but I’ve been so busy with school- it’s practically consumed my life for five years.
I think five years in is a good time to take a break, however. After next (spring) semester, I’ll be able to take some down time, relax, and just make art. Josh, being the genius that he is, modified my Lensbaby (as if a Lensbaby needs any more modification) adding a disc-shaped cardboard cutout- replicating a pinhole a bit, causing the edges of the frame to be less exaggerated but heavier on the in-cam blur.
The result is a dreamy, romantic quality to the sides of the frames, such as seen in this river pic from last week:
Time for late night cuddles with my baby. ♥
(7:00 a.m. comes way too early.)
I’ve got until Sunday to cover 400 pages- midterms. [Insert scream here!]
Midterms (and finals) are always so much freaking pressure! I’m still at a B+ in Behavioral Neuroscience and a strong A in Cognitive Psychology, but any ole way you slice it- midterms are crazy. I find myself using straight up avoidance (which is actually worse than denial, because at least with denial, you’re not always aware that you’re in denial, but with avoidance, it’s sort of like knowing you’re in denial and choosing to do so anyway- and yes, I’m aware that I’m starting to sound like a psychologist!) and so it’s Friday night and I’m down to the wire.
What am I doing? Installing Still Life II. I actually get to be the detective and the abducted person who’s trapped in the psycho serial killer’s booby trap-laden house (think : “Saw”).
Avoidance. Utter, blatant avoidance.
But fun! 🙂
And this is for you, Gav. I know you’ve been down lately, and you’re not feeling much inspired, but I want you to know just how much you inspire me. I have so much respect for you because over the past 8 years or so that I’ve known you (originally from Redbubble) but here too these past few years, you go out – day after day- and shoot nothing but black and white/monochrome. Street scenes, people- life. And, you have a prominent talent with shadows and lighting- which I love. I’ve only shared this with one other person, but I’ve decided to devote an entire year- all of 2015- to solely black and white/monochromatic photography. No colour allowed! For an entire year. it’s going to be great. 🙂 So, while you feel “blah” lately, please know that your work and talent continues to inspire others. This is for you:
Dried flower stems in a small vase. Simple. Beautiful.
So the last of the Mohican’s is gone. My youngest daughter moved out a few days ago and Josh and I are now left to our own devices! It’s really quiet around here now: This is going to take some getting used to.
We spent Christmas with his family, which was really nice. I no longer spend the holidays with my own (extended) family because my sister and I really can’t stand each other and haven’t spoken in more than two years. I’ve made 3 separate attempts to wave the olive branch but she’s perpetually bitter and refuses to make any efforts to mend our broken relationship. Each Thanksgiving, she continues to “host” the Thanksgiving dinner for all of our siblings while purposely not inviting Josh and me. It’s beyond tacky. She’s truly the coldest, most hateful person I’ve ever known in my life. (But technically speaking, she has narcissistic, histrionic personality disorder.)
So then, we choose to celebrate the holidays with Josh’s family instead. They’re great people and we always have a great time. We’re planning on taking over Brianna’s former room and have decided to paint it Granny Smith Apple green. That colour looks great with chocolate brown accents and so for Josh’s late Christmas gift, I’m buying him a Queen sized chocolate brown bed. It’s gorgeous.
It’s a great deal for $250 and I love the large panels.
Nothing new to report. Time to watch Snapped! Hope all are well tonight.
Josh and I have been having a bit of a party around here because my semester is finally over. Although I was aiming for mostly A’s, I think I got away with two A’s and 2 B’s in the end. For me, that’s slacking, but I’m pleased that I finished at all this round. I really haven’t had a break in over 4 years!
Josh and I are talking about saving up for our trip to Puerto Rico. I need two strong sales and that would cover our chalet in the rain forest, round trip flights- the whole shebang. But instead, we’re planning our vacation like everybody else: we’re going to save up $200 each for 4 months. I’ve been researching Puerto Rico for 5 year now. I spoke with Sue in the El Yunque rain forest and she has the cutest chalets there, in the jungle. A private waterfall lagoon that you can swim in is only a 15 minute walk away and the white sand beaches of Luquillo are 10 minutes away also; kisosks pepper the beaches that are loaded with tapas and such. Most importantly, it’s not too far away from Dead Man’s Chest island, which is a private island that houses an old abandoned lighthouse- a photographer’s dream come true.
By April, if we’re diligent, we’ll be able to fly out for a 4 night 5 day stay there. We’re not setting it in stone, but we’re certainly making plans for it. And now that school is out, I’ll be able to lounge around doing absolutely nothing at all but nomming on snacks, watching Netflix, reading biographies, playing adventure games and taking leisurely photo walks. Not a bad life. 🙂
Yep. (Gas station lighting.)
Zeiss Jena Flektogon film lens/35-2.8
I’m honestly too tired to think of a clever title. I’m beginning to think I was mad to attempt 5 classes this semester! Alas, the boat has left the shore so onward I go. Here’s what my schedule’s looking like for the next few days:
Cross-cultural Communications– Read chap. 1 & do DB/Discussion Board-respond to 2 classmate’s posts/take exam
Research Methods of Experimental Psychology– Complete CITI training/DB postings/Read chap. 4- take Ethics exam
Ethics– “Think & Write” assignment/Read chap. 1/Read Plato’s Republic (various chapters), Lord of the Rings commentary and chapter excerpts & discussion along with The Rings of Tolkien & Plato, DB/Discussion Board on Chap. 1/Respond to 3 classmate’s threads
Everyday Psychology– Read chap. 1/Journal entry/Do both DBs and take exam
Statistical Techniques for Health Professionals– do 90 more Stat problems on descriptive and inferential Statistics + 2 quizzes and 1 test
That about wraps it up for week two!
My day began with me taking my Mom to her doctor’s appointment at 9:00 a.m. Her medication levels were off and she was toxic. Thankfully we caught it in time. Afterwards, my day was a flurry of activity but I managed to squeeze in a mile walk at the park with the dog- back to flurried activity- supper (Mom and brother fed- check!) 5 hours of schoolwork- milkshakes at Steak ‘n Shake with the fam-back outside for another late night walk with the dog. I’m pretty sure my punctuation is blown all to hell but I’m too tired to check.
So, at almost 2:00 a.m., I’m off to slap some Proactive on my face and brush my teeth- slam an Ambien and drift off into blissful nothingness. I’ll be back when I come up for air!
Taken today at the park- Helios 44-2/manual exposure
Downtown Jeffersonville/Louisville, KY in the background
“I feel beautiful,” he says.
Helios film lens 44-2/Flooded field/manual/natural lighting
Upside down reflection-taken yesterday
…things have been so hard. I don’t like to complain, so I try not to, but really, when I look at the string of events I’ve experienced in just the past 6 months, it’s really quite incredible that I’ve managed to remain in college. Let’s recap:
a. The irreparable breakdown of my off again/on again relationship with my former fiance
b. The irreparable breakdown of my car
c. The great internet apocalypse (and subsequent loss of my electricity/phone/and Netflix)
d. Picking up a vile bacterial infection by “the cougher”
e. Missing my own graduation as a result of a systemic infection and U.T.I (and again, “the cougher”)
f. The death of my beloved cat, Carl
g. A severe burn to my belly
h. A bone-deep dog bite to my right ring finger
i. Unspeakable stress from tackling my 5th academic year
I’m a tough cookie, believe me. I can handle pretty much anything that is thrown my way, but sometimes, it just starts to get to you. Little by little. Drop by drop, and in the end, it’s not the catastrophic tsunami that wrecks it all, but the water drop that hangs on for a second too long.
I’m feeling severely depressed. My emotions stay on a fairly predictable plane, daily. I’m not what could be classified as “ecstatic”, but I rarely get depressed either. Tonight, I’m black. So black, I’ve contemplated quitting school, bolting my door, and retiring early. I’m supposed to do 30 hours of internship at a drug rehab/Behavioral Health facility of my choice and I don’t even have a freaking car! I really wish my former room mate (name withheld) would give me the money he owes me already. He owes me thousands of dollars and he knows how hard things have been for me. He hasn’t given me a cent- I would never do that to anybody. How could he be alright with taking advantage of somebody like that? He’s owed me a significant amount of money for almost a year now. It’s quite pathetic.
I’m tired. And tonight, I’m having a bit of a meltdown. I can’t always be the strong one. I want to have a good scream or break something but alas, that takes raw energy and I have none of that at the moment. Truly, I want to quit. I want to quit everything, but I’m not a quitter, so that’s out. I have enough alcohol here for 10 New Year’s parties but I don’t like to drink, so…that too is out. I’ve had enough psychology for the past few years to diagnose and assess 100 people, but I fall short assessing myself. I miss my daughter, and I miss my son already.
Brian was over for the weekend with his girlfriend, Amanda. I let them take my room over when they’re here: my wide screen monitor doubles as a mini-theater, which can be swiveled around easily. They left only yesterday but already this places feels like a crypt.
I snapped a few pics of them. They’ve been together for almost a year now. They’re absolutely adorable together. :0)
Ghosties (snuggling in the snow)