NaBloPoMo 2017: To Blog or Not to Blog? [Black and White Photo Challenge]

I spent the last few days trying to decide if I should participate in Na(tional) Blo(g) Po(st) Mo(nth) this year. I found no information about NaBloPoMo 2017–not even from Blogher, which normally hosts and offers prompts and support for participants–so I decided NaBloPoMo would be a no-go for me this year.

The blog goddesses had other plans.

Just a few moments ago, I received a message that someone added me to the NaBloPoMo support group on Facebook, so here I am…with an almost last minute post for the first day…because I can’t miss day one.

Have you seen the seven-day black and white photo challenge on Facebook? The challenge is simple: Someone tags you to post a black and white photo daily for seven days. You must tag a different person every day. There can be no people in the photos and there can be no explanation. Easy-peasy, right?

My brother, Dennis, tagged me, so of course, I had to do it. I completed the challenge yesterday, so I’m sharing the photos here with “brief explanation” (since I suppose the rules do not apply to blogs).  [With the exception of “The Birds,” the photos were shot with my iPhone].

Day 1:

Day 1: Look Toward the Light

I captured “Look Toward the Light” as I was leaving work one day, weary and ready for bed. The clouds were dark with promise of rain, but the sun burst forth and gave me the energy I needed to get through the evening.

Day 2:

Day 2: “Bearer of the Keys”

While waiting in the carpool line for my son to get out of school, my eyes locked on my favorite keyring. I bought the keyring almost two decades ago in England (which has the cutest teddy bear items). This bear has been carrying my keys ever since.

Day 3:

Day 3: “Out to Lunch”

The Instagram page “I Have This Thing with Bikes” (which features amazing bicycle photos from all over the world) has me hooked on photographing bikes whenever I see them. I caught this one on the way to pick up lunch from the Market on campus. Its owner was obviously “out to lunch” too.

Day 4:

Day 4: The Other Love

This camera and I are still getting to know each other. The shot is the result of my waiting for a program to end. I placed the camera on a chair next to me and we sat quietly studying each other.

Day 5:

Day 5: Love You Always

This is the top of a box filled with goodies from Aleta, one of my besties. She loves giving gifts and she takes so much care with presentation. Her signature style involves enclosing gifts in decorative boxes that can be used for storage and/or display.

Day 6:

Day 6: The Strength of an Elephant

This little baby elephant is part of my little one’s elephant collection. The day I shot the photo, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and weak–my to-do list was exceptionally long and I was not feeling well. The elephant reminded me:

You were born into this life because you are strong enough to live it.

Day 7:

Day 7: The Birds

I stepped out of  my office yesterday to take a quick walk and get some fresh air. What I encountered felt like a scene straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. There were hundreds of birds on the lawn a few feet away. When someone walked near the birds, they (all) took flight in a seemingly single move. The photos show they were not as uniform in movement as they appeared, even from a slight distance. But the sound of hundreds of birds suddenly moving “in unison” was a bit unnerving. After watching the birds for a few minutes and capturing a few photos, I decided to take cover in the safety of my office, just in case the birds had other ideas.

This is a fun challenge. If someone tags you, go for it. It’s a nice distraction from the everyday normal.

First day done, 29 more to go. Eek! Let’s see if we’ll make it to the end this year.

There’s Something About Vintage Photography

Not too long ago, I printed an “oddly sized” photo with my printer that left me with top and side borders and a slightly larger bottom border.  Instead of trimming the borders, I  kept them and wrote a description and date at the bottom.  It reminded me of Polaroid prints. The nostalgic moment compelled me to purchase a set of vintage photo reproduction postcards from Amazon for pennies–literally.

Vintage Polaroid Postcards from Spectrum

“The Impossible Spectrum”

The collection is called The Impossible Spectrum Collection: 100 Instant-Film Postcards.  The postcards, as you can see from the image above, are simple and elegant, reminiscent of times long gone. The box sits on my desk and I look at the postcards almost daily.  There are two of each design in the box and I have been having a hard time sending any of them just yet.

Because of my recent obsession with vintage photos, I’ve been playing around with my own photos in various apps, adding vintage effects, and searching for an app that would make my photos look like Polaroid photos, frame and all.  Of course, no matter how much I try to “replicate” a vintage photo, there’s little I can do to fully capture the experience of what is now vintage photography.

My friend Cy, on the other hand, can.  She has this cool Argus 75 her grandmother gave to her many years ago. Before I even saw the camera, I decided I would feature it in a postcard design. So when she brought it to campus for a quick visit last week, I had a only few seconds between student conferences and classes to take some shots.  Jasmin, my student and mentee, was killing time in my office and kindly agreed to be my model.

The camera is the cutest! I captured at least 15 shots of it and then edited it in various apps.  Here are a couple of the ones I like best:

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Discovery: The Argus 75

I wanted the image to have a vintage feel, so I edited it in Snapseed using the retrolux effect.   This one (below) uses a different retrolux effect.

Discovery: The Argus 75

Of course, I had to create a landscape postcard with a different quote. I edited this one in Pixlr.

Vision: The Argus 75

Vision: The Argus 75

Jasmin and Courtney (one of my other students) weren’t impressed with the “vintage look.” They prefer little to no tampering with the original photo, so this was their pick:

Vision with Diamonds: Argus 75

Vision with Diamonds: The Argus 75

I don’t know much about vintage cameras, but I love the look and feel of them.  In my search to learn more about the Argus 75, I found a detailed blog post on the camera that featured some images shot with it.  If you, like me, are curious about the Argus 75, you can see the post here: Random Camera Blog: The Argus 75–Toy or Tool.  Or, if you just want to see shots captured with the camera, go to Argus 75 1958-1964 (also referenced on Random Camera Blog).

I’m seriously considering putting this camera on my Christmas wish list! 😉