Photo Challenge Day 8 – Lego Robot

I was struggling with a subject for day 8. I was running around all day and didn’t have any time to even think about photography. When I finally made it home I walked in and saw my son’s lego creation sitting on the counter. He let me take it outside and get this shot. The sun was low on the horizon and gave some great backlight. I love how it comes through the opaque pieces.

30 Days of Photos – Day 8

Day 8 – Lego Robot

Photo Challenge Day 7 – Dirty Old Engine

My photo a day for 30 days challenge is almost a quarter of the way over already! It’s already been a lot of fun but I definitely find it a challenge some days. I’m used to taking pictures when I get inspired by a scene or have a theme in mind. But this is forcing me to actually think about subjects that aren’t immediately obvious.

Picking up the camera every day and telling yourself that you have to find something interesting to photograph makes you much more aware of your surroundings. It makes you observe the things you pass by without thinking about on a regular basis. It helps you reimagine objects based on their shape and color rather than just their utility.

Today’s photo is of an old Briggs and Stratton engine sitting on a lawn edger. I liked the color of it as well as the lines made by the cooling fins. Click here to see all of the posts in this challenge.

30 Days of Photos – Day 7

Day 7 – Dirty Old Engine

What Makes a Fulfilling Day

If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day.
You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

Jim Valvano

How many days do you spend just going through the motions? Sticking to the routine you’ve become comfortable in? Thinking that you’ve lived a full day because you made it through the day without incident?

But maybe it’s the incidents that actually make your day full. It’s the times you discovered something new because you took a different route to work. Or you actually read that Facebook post about someone’s friend with cancer and allowed yourself to feel for them. Perhaps it’s intentionally looking for the humor that life presents all the time but we don’t look for.

Jim Valvano made a good case for living this way in his well known ESPY speech from 1993. Suffering from cancer and not knowing how long he had to live, Valvano presented a three prong approach to living each day fully. “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.” These words of his are simple but so often ignored on a daily basis. I’m as guilty of it as anyone. There are many days when I do one of these things. Maybe days when I do two. And to do all three is rare. But there are more days when I don’t do any of them at all.

When you have a health problem or other major life event, conciously living in the present and embracing emotion is often easier. You begin to see life as a finite resource. Your whole life you might have heard that you don’t live forever. But it’s hard to conceptualize this while you’re young, in good health and living comfortably. But being young, healthy and comfortable doesn’t mean you’re living a full life. It just means you’re still alive.

Don’t get me wrong, being alive is good. Living, however, is better. It’s a skill that Jim Valvano seemed to have for much of his life and that he took to a new level after he got sick. Watch his speech below and take notes. Then make it a point to live intentionally. Laugh, think and let your emotions bring you tears of joy or sadness. Done daily, you really will have something special.


Photo Challenge Day 6 – Independence Monument

Today’s Photo was taken from my backyard. I was thinking about what to shoot when I noticed the shadows giving Independence Monument some depth where it usually blends in with the background. This was the laziest shot I’ve taken for this challenge but it turned out nicely.

30 Days of Photos – Day 6

Day 6 – Independence Monument


Photo Challenge Day 5 – Cactus Flower

For Day 5 of my 30 day photo challenge I ended up in the desert. I spent two hours exploring and photographing flowers, landscapes, bugs and animals. It was a great time and the most enjoyable of the photos I’ve taken for this challenge so far. 

I think I took over 160 photographs and I liked a majority of them. The picture I chose for today’s post might not be my favorite. I can’t really tell because I have so many favorites.

If you want to see more from my hike you can check them out on my Flickr page

30 Days of Photos – Day 5

Day 5 – Cactus Flower

Finding Color in the Desert

I went out for a hike in a desert area to visit a lone tree where migratory bluebirds come to feed on the berries each year. I was either too early or too late because there were no bluebirds. So I decided to turn the hike into a desert color photo walk. I was also trying to get a good picture for my 30 day photo challenge and this was the perfect opportunity.

The tree

When you first look out onto most desert landscapes you might be tempted to assume it’s just a brown, arid, lifeless scene. Nothing could be further from the truth. Once you learn to observe the desert closely you’ll see that it is teaming with life and is full of color. Sometimes it takes being still and waiting for your ears to acclimate to the sounds and your eyes to the shapes and colors the desert provides.

I hadn’t eaten much for breakfast since I was trying to get out to the tree while the sun was just coming up. I realized that I was getting pretty hungry and should probably get back home soon.  But now that I was out looking for colorful subjects and finding them at every turn, I just couldn’t break away. I was having too much fun and it was so peaceful being the only person in sight.

I spent about two hours walking the hills and trying to avoid getting skewered by cactus needles. I came away with over 160 photographs. I knew I was going to like a lot of them. After I brought them home to look at on the computer screen I realized I liked too many of them. How in the world would I be able to choose one for the photo challenge. In the end I did choose one although it’s hard to say any one of them is a favorite. You can see it at my Photo Challenge Day 5 post.

Here are a few of the photos from the day. The rest can be seen on my Flickr page.

Photo Challenge Day 3 – Watering Can

[bctt tweet=”Using things that are beautiful and functional is more enjoyable than using something designed only for utility.” username=”RyanDavisons”]

This watering can and the pots were left at our house by the previous owners. I thought the can was unique and interesting. I have a bigger one that I actually use for watering plants. This one is mostly for show. But, perhaps I will use it anyway. Using things that are beautiful and functional is more enjoyable than using something designed only for utility.

30 Days of Photos Day 3 – Watering Can

Just for fun, I’ve included a few other photos of the watering can that I had considered for this post. Comment below if you like one of them better than the one I chose.

Photo Challenge Day 2 – Train Signals

Yesterday I declared that I would take a picture each day for 30 days and post it to this blog. I’m not backing out. But I am changing the rules a little.

While I’ll be taking a photo a day, or at least choosing my favorite out of multiple photos, I’ll actually post them the next day. This will give me a chance to choose, crop, resize, touch up or otherwise get it ready to post.

It will also give me a chance to actually take the photo. During the week, If I don’t get it early in the morning, it will likely be taken late in the evening. So I don’t have much time to do the other things I mentioned above.

Yesterday I was busy from early in the morning until about 7:00pm when I finished grocery shopping. I was on the way home but was scanning my surroundings for a likely photo subject. I saw it suddenly and pulled over into the dirt shoulder underneath an overpass.

I was about to get out of the car and start working out my composition when I realized that everything was framed just the way I wanted it. So I rolled down my window and got ready to take a shot from the car. Right as I was about to release the shutter, a truck with a car carrier pulled in front of me and stopped.

That was almost the end of my shoot but the guy didn’t stay long. He backed up a few feet (further into my field of vision) and then just drove away. Who knows what was going on in his mind but at least he got out of my way. I like photographing industrial things with strong lines line power poles, fences or unique structures. This time it was railway signal lights. With the stormy sky as the background I think it looked interesting.

30 Days of Photos – Day 2

Day 2 – Train Signals

A Photograph a Day for 30 Days

Last week I started trying to take one new photograph per day. My goal is to get the camera in front of my face every day and improve my photography. Some days it feels like a chore. I’m tired or feeling uninspired for a subject.

Other days I’ve found that I can’t wait to go exploring to see what catches my eye. Maybe I thought of a subject earlier in the day. Or sometimes the morning or evening light is just so beautiful that any subject will look good.

Regardless of how I feel on any day, the discipline of picking up the camera and forcing myself to use it will pay off.

I didn’t start off doing this as any sort of 30 day challenge or 365 day project or anything. But I think it could be fun to turn it into something like that for the blog. I wouldn’t be able to guarantee a good photograph every day. But hopefully they would get better over time.

All right, let’s do a 30 day, photograph a day challenge. Today is May 2nd and there are 31 days in the month so it works out to start today. Some days the photograph will be in place of any other post. Other days I’ll probably just use it as a supplement.

In a way, I’ve already been participating in this challenge since my one-a-day photos have appeared in my posts Raspberry Leaf, A Nest In The Rocks, The Secret Life of Dandelions, No Matter the Beauty and Potting Up The Garden.

But going forward it will be official. I’m putting myself on record as having to do this every day. Hopefully, doing this live will give me the motivation and accountability to keep up with it. If I can make it through 30 days, I’m sure I can keep it going well beyond that. 

I’m going to make things just a little easier on myself by using a photo from a couple of days ago as my first one. That’s because I haven’t had a chance to take one today yet but I want to get this post out of the way. You can call it cheating if you want but oh well. So here’s todays photo to start things off:

Day 1 – A barbed wire fence post