artismysanity

My words and my pictures. All I have


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Almond flowers and dewdrops

Hello, everyone! I’m trying to post more often, hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up. I’m still super busy, but also super happy. Last Thursday was my birthday, and it was awesome, the best one in many years. I ended my birthday week shooting a beautiful sunset, and decided I’m going to try to do that every year from now on.

These shots are from a few months ago, and this is my favorite tree in the world, the almond tree around the corner from my house. Every year it finds a way to look lovelier :). Hope you enjoy them!

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Almond flowers

Happy spring and autumn, everyone! I’m so glad spring’s officially here. I think it automatically takes away my sadness and every bad feeling and puts a smile on my face.

I’ve decided to go for a morning walk now that the days are warmer. There’s a path that runs parallel to one of the main streets in my city. It’s a beautiful place to walk, separated from the city by tall, green trees that make it feel like a wholly different city hidden in plain sight, a quiet place away from the cars, the fumes, the shoppers. I love starting the day on an energy surge, and I had no idea we use so many muscles when we walk. By the time I came home today all the soreness in my back was gone, and I hadn’t felt that relaxed in months.

These are some shots of the lovely almond tree that grows around the corner from my house. This tree and I have a history, it’s very special to me and when it blooms (some years it does and some years it doesn’t) I stand under it and I feel very peaceful. Hope you enjoy the photos!


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Positively beautiful

Frosty greeting, everyone! My cat Robin and I have spent the last few days trying to come up with new means of surviving the cold wave. I resent winter for the way it deceives us, dangling the promise of spring in front of our eyes only to snatch it away and leave us red-nosed. I’ve knitted all sorts of things to keep myself warm (leg warmers and turtle necks being my favorites), and my cat has found a dark, comfy spot inside my parents’ wardrobe (which, you can imagine, doesn’t make my parents very happy).

But being faithful to my commitment of focusing on the positive side of things, I’ll write them down and share them with you.

This week’s class with my kids led me to the beautiful realization that being a teacher is more than just about sharing whatever knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years with your students. It’s about bonding with them, too. As part of my residence one of my college teachers came to oversee my class last Wednesday, and the kids shifted into best behavior from the first minute. Not that they usually misbehave (you see, not all teenagers are monsters), but I didn’t see a cell phone or hear any music for two hours, and everyone was even more cooperative than usual.

One of the girls actually argued with her classmate that she likes the way we work and finds it easier than the work they used to do with the other teacher. The second great thing that happened that morning? The boy that misses more than half the classes and sleeps on his desk when he does come to school, was actually paying attention, reading and working that day. I don’t think I’m going to change the world, I don’t even think I’m going to change his life, but at least something I did managed to interest him enough to break him out of his usual apathetic state, even if it was only to make me look good in front of my own teacher.

When I was a teenager I used to think teenagers were the meanest beings on Earth. It’s amazing how much perspective being on the other side of the classroom can give you. I’m having more and more fun planning classes for them, seeing how creative they are when I give them space.

More flowers from the little paradise around the corner from my house. I’ve been trying to get out and take some more pictures, but I really don’t feel like catching a cold right now, there’s too much I have to do. Can the warm weather please come already?


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Mysterious

I don’t want to say it out loud in case I jinx it, but my photographer’s block is gone!

Today I was trying to get my cat to come inside when I noticed my tulips are sprouting and my crocuses are showing the tips of a few leaves. I would never have guessed that winter would bring more beauty than autumn (I know it’s not officially winter yet, but we’re closer to winter than we’re to autumn by now). That’s probably because I’ve never liked winter, and I’ve never paid enough attention. I’m sure I’ll learn better this year.

On Thursday, I got up ready for a boring day, and then I opened my window. I’m sure I looked like a cartoon, rubbing my eyes over and over to convince myself that I was really witnessing all this beauty. It was very, very foggy outside – I don’t think I’d ever seen so much fog here. In sixty seconds I grabbed the first items of clothing I found, threw a jacket over my pajamas, put on my boots without zipping them up, and rushed outside with my camera. It’s a good thing is was foggy, maybe no one noticed the crazy looking woman with the disheveled hair and the unzipped boots. Living across the street from the small park is a true blessing, I’ll miss it a lot when I move to my own place.

These are my first B&W shots. I’m a fan of color, but since it was foggy I decided to try it out. I considered downloading a trial version of Silver Efex Pro 2, but then I read online that you can do pretty much the same with PS, it’s just more complicated. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I decided to work with PS, and I played with contrast, saturation, curves, and maybe other things that I forgot.

What I love most about these shots is that they put an end to a photographer’s block that was driving me nuts. Beauty truly keeps the soul alive.


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Autumnal beauty

Today I finally took the time to hang the pictures I printed last week. I simply hung a line across my bedroom and clipped the pictures to it (no money for frames when you’re a student!). I could stare at them all day, not because they’re the best photographs in the world, but because they show all the beauty I’ve been able to capture and create in the past four months. I’m eager to keep learning and improving!

It was a good decision to hang them today, it cheered me up a lot. I have a cold and I’m feeling under the weather, with chills and a runny nose and an appetite for soup only. I’m one of those people who hate feeling sick; luckily I don’t have the tendency to take it out on my family, I just feel bad about all the things I can’t do because I feel depleted.

I hadn’t taken any pictures for two days straight (barely mustered the energy to take myself to college), until something happened this afternoon. My ninety-two-year-old neighbor fell from her bed and couldn’t get back up, and when we went to see if she was alright she complained about still being alive since all she has is an ill health. Then I saw the fading dahlias in her garden, and I decided I’ll undertake a photographic project – I’ll start shooting as many fading flowers as I come across.

My favorite writer is eighty-one, and she’s still writing the most amazing and thought-provoking books. Sadly, my neighbor belongs to an era when women were supposed to be housewives and mothers only, and now that she’s a childless widow, she feels her life is empty. My eighty-seven-year-old grandma belongs to the same era, but luckily she’s got a completely different take on life. She’s always cheerful, and she keeps herself entertained watching tennis matches on the TV. Now that she can’t play anymore, she can at least watch others play.

No one, absolutely no one, should feel their life is useless because they’re not young and healthy anymore. I’ve made up my mind to look for a different beauty in nature, one that is not young and blossoming, but is beauty all the same. I couldn’t have chosen a better time to start this project, since autumn is the season of passing, the season where young spring beauty has grown old and is about to die – to be reborn next spring.

Today I’m posting some autumn shots that I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks, and as soon as I can I’ll start editing some of the fading flower shots I’ve already taken. Anyone has an idea for a title for this project?


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Random bits of color

Today was a superb, great and wonderful day (please feel free to add any other adjectives you can think of). I’ve been nervous and jumpy for a couple of days, but now I know I shouldn’t have bothered. The class was SWELL. Everyone seemed interested, they discussed among themselves like I asked them to, they participated in the general discussion, and all the key points I had expected would come up did come up. I think I made a great choice of materials, above all.

The best part was when my classmates, who are studying to become literature teachers just like me, said they enjoyed the class and that the topic I chose was a very good one. We discussed the different definitions of literature that circulated in the last century based on a few short texts belonging to different genres and a handful of definitions from theorists. The hardest part was getting all the material together, the class flowed by itself. And people from History and Philosophy (it’s a class for future college teachers shared by all three careers) enjoyed it just as well, so I couldn’t be happier.

This was my trial by fire. If I enjoyed this, teaching was my calling in life. And boy did I enjoy it. I’m bursting with energy and I want to teach, teach, teach every day. In a little while I’ll start my residency in a secondary school, at first observing the classes and then teaching some myself. I’ve been told the school my teachers chose for me (they choose where we do our residencies according to where we live, bus lines, and so) is a very good one, so that’s another reason to be happy about.

These are some random shots from last week and this week. I felt they worked well together, and they’re just as colorful as I feel today. Enjoy!

And here is the wild beast, aka Robin. I’ve been trying to get a good shot of him for weeks, but he refuses to stay still for longer than a few seconds, and my camera has issues with moving subjects. But he’s taken to following me around when I shoot close to our home, so I could finally snap this one. He’s a miniature panther, but he’s so sweet, chasing his mommy around all the time :).


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Sunset silhouettes Vol.II

Tomorrow (or I think it’d be today, since it’s past midnight) is the day I have to teach my class. I’m excited rather than nervous, and I really want to do this. I want to teach.

So wish me luck, and enjoy the rest of the silhouette shots (and the other ones, too!). Tomorrow I’ll tell you how it went, and hopefully I’ll be super happy :).