2008: a year in review

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Well, I did not think I would make it - but here I am, 31 days later, done with a month long challenge of posting something every day. It was actually lot's of fun, and not as hard as I thought it would be - once I stopped fretting about what to post. I am painfully aware of the fact that I did not post about certain things I told you I would, but they are on my to-do list and I will get to them in the next little while.
For now though, to wrap up 2008, here is a small selection of some of my posts from last year that I thought you might enjoy...

rainbows and boxes.

we've decided to go in another direction.

he's got moves.


this is no ordinary lens, baby!

i'm no granny...

because it's friday.

it only took one take. ahem.

navel gazing.

i really do
new york.

last supper.

kids in Akka.


♥ new york - a black and white love affair.

the photographic exercise.

last stance.

i ♥ new york - coney island

by the mediterrean sea.

holding on.

why i am never coming home.

31 days.

i ♥ new york - holiday lights.

Thank you so much, to each one of you out there, for stopping by, taking the time to read, comment and encourage. It is more appreciated than I can express.

I wish each one of you, your friends, families and dear ones, a happy, joyful New Year.

Today's Soundtrack
Auld Lang Syne (I am partial to this instrumental version.)

as promised

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I gave you a little taste of a story I shot a few days ago - about this wonderful woman who has been living above Carnegie Hall for the past 40 years.

It was an absolute joy to take photos of Editta - a person so full of life, energy... gumption - that I just said a little prayer in my heart that if I live to be 96, I may be even half as amazing as she is.
You can read the full article over here (some of my photos are there too), but here are just a few more images of her that I liked.

I simply loved the way she posed for this shot, with her knee slightly bent, standing proudly next to the camera that belonged to her father, that has captured so many famous faces.

Her studio was simply packed with old photos, papers, letters...

I instantly fell in love with black and white checkered floor - and I wish I had photo of the amazing view from her window...

Today's Soundtrack
Patrick Watson - The Great Escape

guest photographer: saleem vaillancourt

Monday, December 29, 2008

I cannot properly express how much I am enjoying the guest bloggers' contributions over at Every Morn and Eve. Did you see this photo and this one from Sarah? Breathtaking for sure!

Joining me this week is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Saleem and I went to college together and in the company of another very talented photographer (that will be joining us later in the project) spent many hours hanging around the school cafeteria, talking about everything, anything and at times really nothing much of consequence.

Here is a bit more about Sal, in his own words - and in his photos...

"My name is Saleem and I like taking photos for fun. Other things are hard work and photos can be too, but i don't take them that seriously, it's jut a whimsical skip and dance for me. I also like taking photos because that way it's impossible to appear in them. As a writer on the far side of the world from most of my friends and family, I have learned to love the enforcement of anonymity. Godspeed! Here are some photos I took that were lucky shots:


New York



Hong Kong

my friend Amy, our host.


Welcome Sal - I look forward to your photos this week!

Today's Soundtrack
The Beatles - Norwegian Wood


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Can you handle more photos from India? Really? Good, because here are some from the three short days we spent in Goa. It was gorgeous, beautiful, relaxed, perfect.
I miss warm sunshine on my skin, and sand between my toes.

Our little scooter motoring us along the small roads, quiet roads.

Rundown buildings, even more beautiful once they hand over the reins to nature.

Long walks on the beach at sunset. As painfully corny as that might sound.

Today's Soundtrack
Dixie Chicks - Landslide

a movie to watch

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We watched Slumdog Millionaire last night. I highly highly reccomend you watch it. It was truly fantastic. And it made me miss India ever so much.


Not to mention, songs from one of my current favorite artists were sprinkled throughout the movie, so today's soundtrack (and yes, I've posted this song before, but I love it so!)
M.I.A. - Paper Planes
(the video is a scene from the movie, so you get a little preview too)

editta sherman

Friday, December 26, 2008

I took photos of Editta Sherman (not the one in that article -- I wish!) for work a few days ago. She lives above Carnegie Hall - where she's lived for the past 40 years - and is being evicted. She is a celebrity portrait photographer. Walking into her studio was amazing - all over the walls are photos of famous people she has photographed over the past 50 years. Yes, she is 96.
I'll share some more photos later next week - but here is one of her in her studio...

.. and a close up of a photograph she took of Andy Warhol.

Today's Soundtrack
The Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You

photo inspiration

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Here are a few pretty places for photos. Enjoy.

- americana
- bloom, grow, love
- brian's project 365
- ciao, chessa!
- [daily dose of imagery]
- huffmania
- maine momma
- me between you
- my polaroid blog
- nectar & light
- the 10 cent designer has lost her head
- strandgut

What sites inspire your photography? Please let me know!

Today's Soundtrack
Guy Sigworth - Elephant in the room

Today's Soundtrack

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Edition. If you can stomach anymore, I think you'll find a few unusual choices.

Mixtape from http://favtape.com/amysahba/december 24th 2008


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

They remind me of winter afternoons, by the fireplace, in my parents' home.
Peeling them, with my feet in wool socks, up against the fire.

Tossing the skins in the flames, the room smelling of orange zest, and olive, from the wood.
Sitting until it was too dark to see.
Until your cheeks were so warm, and bright red from the heat.

A good book on my lap, someone I love in the chair beside me.

Today's Soundtrack
Coldplay - Viva La Vida

guest photographer: sarah-j

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Monday again, which means we have to say goodbye to dear Elizabeth, after her week-long appearances on Every Morn and Eve. Elizabeth really had some fabulous shots this week - I particularly liked this one and this one. Thank you Elizabeth!

So, I am sad to see her go, but on the bright side, I am excited to welcome Sarah as this week's guest photographer. I've actually never met Sarah, other than online, but she was one of the early, staunch supporters of Every Morn and Eve when we started back in March. And her photos are also, of course, beautiful.

I asked Sarah to tell us something about herself - and to share some of her favorite photos...

"From my earliest childhood, my father’s musical instruments, his camera, his plants and his ham radio were ever-present, and wherever we lived, these items were a comforting and familiar part of our landscape. Taking photographs of nature gave my father joy, and what I appreciate most, looking back now, is that he shared this enthusiasm with me. He is the one who bought me my first camera so many years ago.

My mother let me borrow her Olympus when I was first learning how to take photographs in high school, and she helped me pay for photographic paper and Cokin filters. But more importantly, she introduced me to the Baha’i Faith, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I am most at home doing macro nature photography but also enjoy using a wide angle lens to take photos of our family and people when we are out and about. I prefer natural light but wouldn’t mind learning how to use my Speedlight successfully, as others have. While there are things I wish I could do, such as illustrating and/or writing a children's book, photography is something to which I can devote hours, and instead of becoming discouraged when the picture doesn’t look like the one I had in mind, I just want to keep with it. Seeing other people’s photographs stimulates my mind and heart in the same way that music does, and the Baha’i Writings fill my soul. Thank you, Amy and Leila, for starting Every Morn and Eve and for letting us participate."

Sarah - I am thrilled to have you join us! Our first post will be up later tonight!

Today's Soundtrack
Benny Goodman - And The Angels Sing

winter trees

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I am in awe of the snow, the sky, the trees. It's magical, that light, that haze.

Flakes nestling where birds should be perched.

Those dark, deep, heavy clouds, with the long, skinny, bare tree branches, like fingers, crawling through the empty space.

Today's Soundtrack

Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now

it promises to be a good one...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter that is. Especially with my neck nice and warm in this beautiful cowl that I was gifted today. And by gifted I mean I basically stole it from her hands as she was still knitting. And then forced her to write this cute note...

It's so gorgeous, beautifully made with the softest, warmest, coziest yarn ever.

Thanks Elizabeth! Seriously, I don't deserve friends like these.

Today's Soundtrack
Sarah McLachlan - The Path of Thorns (Terms)

and snow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

This morning I found myself by the sea again, but it was a different experience from the one I posted about yesterday.
For one, it was snowing.

And it involved boats. And snow.

And flags. And snow.

And lots of wind. And waves. And did I mention the snow?

It was fun, but I spent the afternoon bundled in a blanket on my couch. Just to recuperate.

Today's Soundtrack
Johnny Cash - Walk the Line

three friends

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Taken on some beach in Goa. Sorry, details are irrelevant when you're whizzing around on a little scooter all day, beach hopping.
I just loved how they were all wearing bright, mono-chromatic t-shirts, staring down at who knows what. Reflecting the angle of the boat on the horizon.

I think I even bothered getting up from my sunbed for a whole 10 seconds to took the photo. It took a lot of effort.

Today's Soundtrack
The Beatles - Come Together

i ♥ new york - holiday lights

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

They warm my heart.

Make the cold more bearable.

When shot like this, out of focus, it's like watching the world with tears in your eyes.

But there is nothing sad about it.

Today's Soundtrack
Simon & Garfunkel - 7 o'clock news

first fall

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I woke up to a gray, heavy sky. It started snowing heavily around noon. I was so pleased to be at home, warm, dry, cozy, watching those giant snowflakes fall slowly.

It 's sticking. I know I shouldn't be pleased about that, since I am going to spending most of tomorrow outdoors, but today, from the comfort of my own home, I love seeing the Brooklyn rooftops covered in a cloud of white.

Today's Sountrack
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal
(Perfect song for today. Thank you Aimee for introducing me to it!)

guest photographer: elizabeth sabet

Monday, December 15, 2008

This past week has just been wonderful - it was so refreshing to have someone posting photos over at Every Morn and Eve with me, and Ryan's photos were just beautiful. Thank you so much Ryan - I hope we are able to work together again soon!

This week, one of my dearest friends in the whole wide world will be filling in the guest spot over there. Elizabeth is a very talented photographer - she's been an incredible source of support and inspiration for me, pretty much in so many parts of my life: marathon running, work, photography, blogging, knitting, reading, movie watching, world traveling, cooking. Thankfully, she lives next door, so there is plenty of time for us to hang out. This very moment in fact, she is sitting at my dining room table playing Settlers of Catan and knitting a cowl, while I type this, lounging on the couch. Here are just a few of my favorite photos of hers... take a look at her Flickr stream.

I also asked Elizabeth to share a little bit about herself...

"I vividly remember my dad placing a camera in my hands when I was about 5 years old, curling my fingers around the lens, and trying to teach me about focus (right around the time this photo was taken, as a matter of fact). I recall the excitement of developing my very first roll of pictures (the majority of which, predictably, were black). That early excitement about photography was rekindled a few years ago when my husband gifted me with a
DSLR, so that I could "rediscover my creative side." Since then, taking pictures has stimulated my imagination, engaged me creatively and become a source of daily joy. Mostly I love that I see something differently every time I pick up my camera--that photography makes me pause and take a moment to see the beauty in the world around me."

Our first post on Every Morn and Eve is already up!

Today's Soundtrack
Lighthouse Family - Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone
(Which Elizabeth has been humming all evening. I didn't even know Lighthouse had done a version of this song!)


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Possibly too much fun smooshed into just 2 days.

Today's Soundtrack
Billy Idol - White Wedding

photography q&a

Saturday, December 13, 2008

When I asked you if there was anything in particular you wanted me to blog about on this month long adventure, photography was one of the topics that got the most requests, so here's a little Q&A for you that I hope you'll find useful. Let me start by stating the painfully obvious: photography is just a hobby for me, so my knowledge is incredibly limited. There are a million, zillion people out there that have been doing this for a lot longer than I have and with much more life-changing, emotion-stirring, glorious results.
That being out there, here we go...

Q: What cameras do you use?
I've owned my Nikon D80 for exactly one year - and I love it dearly. It was a huge upgrade for me at the time… I had only ever shot on a point and shoot and I was a bit lost those first couple of months. I pushed ahead through, and know my way around that baby a bit better now, but it still has so many function that I don't take advantage of. Maybe reading the manual would help with that? Also, I recently stole borrowed my brother in law's film camera (also a Nikon) and I can't wait to develop my first roll of film. Since that clunky thing is essentially 100% manual I'm not expecting much from my first set, but I feel like it is helping me learn more about how to take photographs.

Q: What about your Polaroid?
Yes, I also own a Colorpack II which I picked up at a thrift store for $5. I was very late to the Polaroid obsession (so late in fact, that I started taking Polaroids once the company announced it was no longer planning on making the film) but I am trying to make up for missed time.

Q: Mmmhhh, but if there is no film….?
Luckily, when I impulse bought the camera I knew nothing about, I picked up one that uses peel apart film. It so happens that Fuji makes a film that can be used with my camera, so there is no risk of me running out of film. Oh yeah, AND the film is about $3 cheaper than its Polaroid version. TAKE THAT POLAROID!

Q: Ok, so back to your DSLR - what lenses do you use?
A 50mm f/1.8, a 18-135 f/3.5-5.3, a lensbaby 2.1.

Q: Which one is your favorite?
You can't ask me that! It's just not polite.

Ok, fine, just don't tell the others. My 50mm is the one I use the most, and I adore it. It is extremely light, which is key since I carry my camera with me everywhere.

Q: Wait, so do you carry your camera everywhere? Are you insane?
Yes and yes. Everywhere. I actually used to carry my camera bag with me everywhere, in addition to my handbag. Then I located a couple of spare brain cells and bought myself a nice cozy sleeve for my camera, made out of what I can only define as 'scuba diving suit material'. So I just stick that puppy in my handbag along with my wallet, keys, book, metrocard, lipgloss, and the 17 pens I routinely carry with me.

Q: What's it like to take photos for 'Every Morn and Eve'?
I wrote about that here.

Q: What are your favorite types of photos?
The ones that others take. Seriously. I can spend hours browsing other photographers streams in Flickr. So much amazing inspiration to be found! So much to learn!

Q: What format do you shoot in? And in what mode?
As of June I started shooting exclusively in RAW. It means a lot more memory usage on both my cards and my computer but it also means that I can play around more with my photos and rescue many a monster. And as of June, I also shoot mostly on my cameras manual setting. I revert to auto when things are a bit crazy, if the light is changing to frequently, if I absolutely NEED to get the shot and I only get one go at it.

Q: Do you use a flash?
As of 4 days ago I do! I was just gifted a very fancy new flash so I am just learning how to use it. My preference is taking photos in natural light, but I have to say I am blown away at how convinient owning a flash is, especially in the winter months and for indoor shoots.

Q: Do you edit your photos a lot?
Not a lot, but more than I used to at first. Since I started shooting in RAW, I've started using photoshop to edit all my shots, so a little tweaking always takes place. It's usually only a matter of boosting the contrast, sometimes playing with temperature and exposure. Never anything major. I'm not quite smart enough for any of that fancy stuff - like actions and layers? Way out of my league.

Q: How do you manage your photos?
Ha. I deliberated long and hard on this very matter and here is the solution I've come up with. It works for me, for now. I access my photos through Adobe Bridge, which allows you to view RAW files. Since I take photos every day, I create a RAW and a DEVELOPED file for each day, and then sort it by month and by year.

Q: Does taking photos of strangers make you nervous?
Yes. No. Sometimes.
I am very shy about taking photos of people I don't know, so I rarely do. In India, I really felt that I was free to break lose a bit and snap away to my heart's content - people were happy for me to take photos of them, and actually really played along with me. In other situations I still need to built up the courage i need to snap away. But I'm working on it!

Ok - that's it! I hope it was useful - but if I missed anything... just leave me a note in the comments!

Today's Soundtrack
Amos Lee - Southern Girl

a friday of favorites

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm headed out of town for the weekend, to a big Baha'i conference. They have been happening all over the world - and you can read a bit about them over here. I'll leave you today with a small selection from my flickr favorites...

Today's Soundtrack
The Cure - Friday I'm In Love