February Photo Challenge - Days 1-7
Updated: Feb 11
Starting a consistent habit of any sort takes diligence and motivation. That has been my specialty this year thus far. Due to the nature of my work from home job and slow season for photography, I imagined this would be a challenge as I did not have much other than myself and whatever I could find laying around the house to serve as my subjects. I did not plan what each day would produce, I just went with it.
1. Self Portrait - Inspired by a true artist of inner sense, inner beauty and incredible talent, Jamie Beck. As I finally opened my ever cherished copy of the newly published, An American in Provence, I shuffled to the ‘Winter’ season section of the book. It took me over a month to actually bring myself to start reading it in fear that I may never be oh so inspired, never as good an artist and surely my life wasn’t as magical as the Earthly wonders of Provence France.
Nevertheless, I’d been anticipating the treasures that this book would offer. So I sat down on the very 1st of February, 2023 and decided to see where it might take me. Page 87 - The Awakening, offered me a perspective I might never have considered without her vulnerable words. A vulnerability that the bareness of Winter provides. “There was nothing left but me” she said. I felt that! The stillness, grayish attitude that seems to cast upon near everything in winter and the lack of my inner artistic confidence, pushed me to use this as a starting point. I edited with dull tones, enhanced shadows and wore black and white to represent the vibe for how winter suits me. So here I am, day 1, expressing myself through myself. I sat next to the window in my bedroom that displays the age old trees. They remind me daily how all life transforms, rests, and rebirths itself again. I believe each photo tells the story of seasons in my personality: 1. A smiling, well-put-together woman who is joyous (summer). 2. A pensive, curious soul full of deep colors (Autumn). 3. An annoyed, rather bored and disinterested yet thoughtful listener (Winter). 4. A cheeky, smart mouthed inquisitor who says, ‘watch what I can do’ (Spring). So, thank you to the absolutely honest and always inspirational, Jamie. May your stories and creations continue to wake me up and provide me with an eternally growing version of myself that I can exude authentically, in public, and in the private quiet moments of solitude.
2. Tea for 1 - I’m not one to drink much tea, let alone HOT tea. Living in the south can be partial to a delicious iced tea, though. I prefer coffee or espresso.
But this dreary, gloomy weather seemed appropriate for a pot of tea. That, coupled with my most recent Netflix binge, Anne with an E, set in the late 1800’s of rural Canada, I figured why not. They drank tea in almost every episode. Traditionally, tea can be an extravagant occasion or it can be a daily occurrence with not much fore thought. I would have loved to throw a dashing tea party with little sweet cakes, homemade breads and jams, along with some favorable company all dressed to impress--but alas, the February lull has me drinking in solitude. One of my favorite chefs said yesterday, “we may not have much right now but at least we have citrus” and to that, I sliced up a lemon, peeled a baby clementine, opened my prepackaged store-bought pistachio biscottis and brewed myself a pot of Jean’s apothecary tea. Lonely days and dragging boredom do not provide much artistic inspiration... and I am not about to leave the house just so I can create something more dynamic. Today’s simplicity will suffice.
3. Anticipation - Amidst my lowly winter moods, the sun finally came out after several gray days and rain.
On those days, I take the pug for a walk as he needs sunshine just as much as any creature. It was on my walk that I noticed the buds beginning to form on all the trees in my neighborhood. North Carolina doesn’t stay too cold for too long but February always feels like the final stretch of winter and it was in that walk I found the slightest anticipation for Spring. My front yard does not get much sunlight during the day and so the buds at the bottom of the tree hadn’t come in yet, but these tiny babies were trying their damndest to find the sunshine too.
4. Imitation - just like charades, I shook this photo out pretty fast. It’s not the clicking that took the effort, it was the baking.
In order to get the pic, you gotta first make the dough. I should apply this concept to life. I rarely want to slow down but lately, between a personal transformation and it still being winter, I’m somewhat forced. I love the sun, garden, flowers and long days. But I sure find joy in making delicious comfort foods. A “salty date” biscuit. How fitting. Recipe by Molly Baz in “Cook this Book”
5. Colorful Object - Per my mentioning the lack of substance that winter provides, I sought out Pinterest for a fun photo idea. I didn’t expect I would already be running low on inspiration by day 5.
I needed some color, a vibrancy to spice up all the gray. And here you have it, some bright beautiful colors to accompany my favorite stemware. Champagne is my number 1 alcohol of choice… and it has been very absent lately. Even here, I don’t have any to fill the glass but it’s more about the inanimate objects that fill my home and the bright colors that make my heart sing.
6. Bird - For about a year and a half now, we have had this little birdhouse affixed to our tree in the front yard. No birds have taken a home there but in the last couple of days, this little one has been eyeing it and visiting often.
I placed a bird feeder right next to it as I imagine that food is more scarce in winter for the birdies as well. This morning, I waited for him to arrive while I drank my coffee but there was not a bird in sight. I heard them chirping but alas, no luck. However, later that morning, I saw him, back to guard his new found territory. Out the front door I crept quietly and was able to snag a couple shots. What a cutie. A great liveliness to add to a rather still life collection I’ve created these last few days. He’s an Eastern male blue bird whom spends his life year round in North Carolina and usually starts searching for nest holes in late February and early March.
7. Bouquet - Fortunately I had to venture out for groceries this morning and another fortunate occurrence was the stock pile of fantastic flowers on display for Valentine’s day at the local Harris Teeter.
Many of my "off brand" flowers were $5/bunch. Typically in the other, more colorful seasons, I’ll buy random flowers every 2 weeks and create arrangements to lift my spirits. My favorite thing in the world to photograph are flowers. They’re fleeting, alive, full of wonder and no two are ever exactly alike—just like a photo, a thumbprint or moment passing in time. It was exactly the bright and cheery pop I needed on the 7th of February, 2023. On the tech-y side, I wanted to try out my "white box" made from foam boards. Amazing what a few bucks can create, not bad if I say so myself.