a manual to moonlight

August 26, 2010 Candace Morris 4 Comments

The past few nights, the moon has been unreal.  In the time I've had my DSLR, I've managed just about every setting except for FULLY MANUAL (focus, setting, etc).  I have been quite frustrated in the education process, to be honest, and gave up for a bit...shooting instead about 80% manual.  But the moonlight begged, completely pleaded, to be caught.  Here's my process...sparing the technical jargon...mainly because I am still unsure what exactly I did.

Here are my subjects..mini calas and one lone dahlia.
The kitchen light is on here so I can actually see my subjects.  In the complete dark, the screen from the camera blinds me (even though there is a sensor that darkens it when I am looking through the view finder)

Here the settings were picking up on the ambient light from the dining room, but still wasn't what I wanted.

Here I was happier with the exposure, but not the focus.

An improvement in both exposure and steady focusing.

This one was a bit too dark

But this...this one was what I was trying to capture...how the moonlight back-lit the glass in such a magical way.

A portrait version.

I was so happy to have learned something so momentus, and that night in bed looked through my pictures with intruige.  As soon as I turned off the light to go to bed, I noticed how stunning my curtians were also grabbing the moonlight.  I had to get my camera again and start the whole process over.  I have about 6 failed shots of the one above, but finally captured it in the end.

p.s. Did I mention that lots of wine helped these events come about?  If I were too sober, I would have been impatient with the process and given up long since.  


weekend report: the family, the ocean

August 24, 2010 Candace Morris 2 Comments

Every year, my saint and his family head to Ocean Shores, Washington.  It's completely not enough time, but it is one time a year that we all finally get to be together (aside from Christmas).  Last year, we all watched Jenn's prego belly with anticipation, but this year, we all got to hold our lovely Olive Jade.  She is 6 months old, and cute as a friggen button.  I took my journal and books, but truly, there was nothing more I wanted to do than casually leaf through magazines and spend long hours after meals just talking with my family.  They truly nourish me, each of them in their own ways.

Mom and Dad because of their great adaptability as parents.  They've made the transition from raising their kids to having an adult relationship with them.  They engage our ideas as peers and refrain from unsolicited advice or correction, deciding instead to release their fears and buoy us into trusting ourselves as humans.  I find this remarkable; time and time again, it has made me seek them out for advice and wisdom.  These two could seriously write a book about parenting.

Brian and Jennifer because of their "automatic setting" (to borrow my friend Andrew's phrase) of optimism and happiness.  I am not wired this way, so it is really quite nice and importantly balancing for me to be around them.  I see them continually embracing life with a trust that in the end, things will always be okay.  Despite being different from my own mental process, I find it refreshing, I guess.  They've had a baby this year and it's just been really endearing to see them come into themselves as parents as Olive comes into herself as a human.  Olive is remarkably hungry for life, and I just love to stare at her while she attacks her toys and somersaults herself in your arms.  She is a continued source of laugher and sheer joy to us all.

Tim and Julie because they absolutely know how to have a good time.  The phrase, "throwing caution to the wind" might not truly capture their ability to play.  When I was taking a yoga class, the teacher encouraged us to find a spot on the wall to practice handstands.  I am rather uncoordinated at handstands, but she assured us that the benefit was in playing, not in achieving.  Once I could imagine myself as a child, unaware of my own silliness, I could see what it might mean to really play again.  I think of this when I think of Tim and Julie.  She is 26 and has had a rather shitty year, but she'll run out to the ocean like a crazy person, not caring about anything but pursuing the wind in her face and the sand kicking up below her.  Despite this carefree nature, they both still have immense substance.

Abbey because she is so eager to please and well-behaved.

And my saint.  My saint because when I reach into the far-off places of my imagination, both past and future, I cannot dream up a man more suited to loving me exactly as I would wish.  Nothing in me has ever settled down to be with him...or settled at all for that matter.  Plus, he is my favorite person to take an afternoon nap with.


Crawling out of my (bloggy) pants with excitement!

August 20, 2010 Candace Morris 4 Comments

See that montage?  Recognize the bottom right picture?  
Well my very favorite SF blogger put it together and featured it on her blog:

I should play it cool, but man I feel giddy!
And famous!

It feels nothing short of magical.
Here's to a magical weekend for you!!!!


if you lived with me...

August 19, 2010 Candace Morris 8 Comments

...then you might notice two of my following habits...and since I am feeling confessional today, I thought I would reveal them here.
I've begun this (I think) good habit of refusing to turn on my computer in the morning until after I've sat in quiet.  My house may not be quiet, but internally - I try to quiet myself.  This may include a pensive cup of coffee while staring out at the cedars, but it almost always includes journaling and reading.  Perhaps it's a lingering desire from my more religious days ("quiet time"), but  I find that without this sacred space, I am quite anxious and unfocused throughout the day.  This morning, I sat with the most delicious cup of Ethiopian coffee and read a few excerpts of Dillard...from both Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (my favorite chapter "Seeing") and A Writing Life.  I also journaled and had Carson and Rilke at the ready.  It is no formula for a good day, as even now - I still feel anxious to begin the day.  But I believe it to be a soulful practice.

Bobby Pins

I have this horrible (though Joel calls it endearing) habit of leaving bobby pins in my wake.  Joel has found them in bed even...and I don't go to bed with bobby pins in my hair, so I have no idea how they get there.

Afternoon Sun
Lying Around
If you lived with me, you might also notice that every afternoon, I get down on the floor and play with Clara.  I make sure to stick my feet in the warm light streaming through the windows.  I find a great release in simply lying on the floor, playing, daydreaming, watching my niece discover movement and shapes.

What would I notice if I lived with you?
Do share if you dare...



August 18, 2010 Candace Morris 3 Comments

Vignette: short, impressionistic scenes.
I thought I'd take you around my place...

the bar area
print via dearcolleen, Ikea frame
bar set: gift from wedding
whiskey glases: crate and barrel via sister-in-law, Julie
toasts book: gift via taddy porter
citrus press: thrifted
ice crusher: thrifted
birdcage: gift via sister, Teresa

a bowl of citrus always at the ready
bowl: thrifted and repainted white
tea towel: willliams/sonoma, gift via cousin, Erin
citrus: Trader Joe's

out the kitchen window
vase: repurposed Bulleit Bourbon bottle
flowers: mini calas via Trader Joe's

another view out the kitchen window
owl wind chime: gift via taddyporter

my very first tomato!
plant gifted via the saint

checking in on the zook.
also gifted via the saint

another one coming in!


in the works

August 17, 2010 Candace Morris 9 Comments

I've got a new idea in the brain, one I've been journaling about for a few weeks now, but only just started while on my artist retreat.  I was a bit frustrated with the beginning process, but after a long dinner with BC and Umber, I was able to sort of talk my way over the roadblocks.
(Sidenote: Those two are ridiculously helpful sounding boards)

I don't yet have what other artists call their "process." I haven't been committed enough to taking writing as seriously as it demands from me (no doubt out of various fears and stubbornness), so I have not established how to go about BEGINNING a project.  I usually just haphazardly scribble something in my journal or just sit at my keyboard and separate my filter from my typers, and usually I find it a magical combination for expressing myself.  I almost never edit myself (although I most certainly do RE READ my posts) and find I usually am able to express exactly what it is I want to say.

But I realize that I want more out of this writing life than simply blogging.  Don't get me wrong, I am 100% in favor of self-publishing and will defend it to the most dubious critic, but I am just waking up to the idea that I would like to commit to more than "off the cuff" writing.  I rarely PLAN my posts...and I guess I am simply saying I would like to be more...
(I can see Kelly smirking).

And the truth is, I am a bit addicted to the instant gratification of sharing a piece of writing or a photo.  These things are fabulous and so inspiring, but I don't want that to be ALL there is for me.  I want something private, secret...something to unveil only after I've really crafted it, absorbed it, given time its time with it.

So here's my new thoughts.  Thanks to the ever inspiring Plume and also to my own mind, I have two projects in the works.  These are writing tasks, a journalistic canvas that I would like to commit to performing daily and want to tell you about it so you can a) ask me questions to keep me motivated and b) perhaps find some inspiration in your own neglected talents.

  Henceforth, for 30 minutes per day (however often I choose...3 days/week is what I'll start with) I will close all my open (computer) windows and focus only on these projects...one at a time.  I will not blog or scribble in my journal about how I broke yet another egg while poaching.  

Now kitty cats, I must be VERY precarious about self-discipline.  If I let my soul hear the word, it will rebel with a storm more damaging than El Nino. I must rename it, be gentle with myself, side-step the definition.   I am reminded of a quote Umber shared with me...that she actually saw via Red, but it says:

"As for discipline — it's important, but sort of overrated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. [...] Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn't take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness." ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I don't want to chain my gifts down and require them to produce on demand.
 I refuse.
But I do want to give them all the open space they need to breath their way into life.

So I'll just write.
And write and write and write.

I hope you'll read, but I suppose that's not really the point now...
is it?
This time, these 30 minutes...they are all for me.
And me alone.

Of course, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Like NOW.

Off to write,