Monday, October 31, 2011

Hot Yoga and Film Photography

This morning I had a conversation with my yoga teacher about hot yoga and how I just can't get into it. "I try to be open minded every time I go, but I just don't like it", I said, to which he replied, "It's ok, you don't have to like it". He's right, there's no need to feel [Catholic] guilt about it, it just doesn't work for me and there's nothing wrong with that. After a month of shooting digital, I have to say that I share a similar sentiment when it comes to photography. I keep trying to like digital and although there are things about it that are irrefutably awesome (viewing your images immediately, never having to buy film, etc.), film definitely holds a certain magic that digital just can't replicate (the photos below are a perfect example of this).

I had fun this month getting back out there and remembering what it is about photography that quickens my heart. I wasn't as prolific in creating work as I had hoped, but I definitely snapped out of my slump and going forward, I'm going to make an effort to break out my Mamiya more often and even just take more every day shots (which will be much easier seeing that my iPhone shipped today! eee!).

I'm super excited to close out photography month with some pictures that I just got back today of my 2009 cross-country road trip that I took with my dear friend Jess (it only took 2 years for me to drop the film off, NBD). They were all shot with my medium format film camera, and by some force of sheer magic (most likely when I left the film in my 90 degree bedroom for an entire summer), the film got totally distorted and the strangest/coolest effects happened (none of this is photoshopped, I swear).

Happy Halloween and I'll be back tomorrow introducing November's Lent: I Love Watertown.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shoebox and The 3%

I just found out about an awesome new iPhone app by 1,000 Memories called Shoebox. It allows you to scan and adjust old paper photos easily so that they can come out of the shoebox (or in my family's case, an old Ruffles duffle bag) and into an online, sharable space. I'm extra extra excited about this because I just so happen to have impulse bought the new iPhone 4S on the way out of the mall the other day, whoops! Get ready Ruffles duffle bag, when my phone ships next week, I'm coming for you...

And on another note, the polls are officially closed and I managed to nab 3% of the votes for SHAPE's Best Blogger Awards, coming in 8th in my category of "Blogs That Keep Us Happy and Sane". Although winning would have obviously been pretty cool, I know that opportunities like this just beget other opportunities, and I feel so grateful for all of the 12 Months of lent love that everyone has shown me in the past month. Thanks you all so much for voting and spreading the word. xoxo times 10,000!

Friday, October 28, 2011

October...wait, what?

Um, is anyone else wondering where October went? I just looked at the calendar and realized that it's November next week, which means that Thanksgiving might as well be tomorrow. What? How did this happen? Is it really almost time to bring the Christmas decorations up from the basement? Wasn't I wearing a tank top, like, last week?

Considering that this is the last weekend of my photography month, I'm going to try to fit in as much photo time as possible (although we're apparently getting a blizzard here in Boston so we'll see how that goes haha, I have no comment on that). The weather is looking clear tonight so I'm planning on heading out to shoot some of the afore mentioned wacky Watertown storefronts, and maybe even some of my neighbors crazy outdoor Halloween setups.

Also, I've had 5 rolls of 120 film in the fridge for about 2 years that I dropped off to be developed and scanned today (let's be honest, Dan dropped them off for me, thanks Dan!). What's on the film? Pictures from my cross-country road trip in 2009, YES! I'm going to pick them up on Monday, which just so happens to be the last day of the month, so I'll make sure to share my favorites.

Happy Halloween everyone!

A picture hanging in my kitchen, I thought this was a good Friday shot...

Oh, and today is the last day to vote for 12 Months of Lent in SHAPE's Best Blogger Awards. Take a second to vote if you haven't yet, thanks guys!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eat More Kale Throwback

Some of you might remember my lent from July of 2010 where I vowed to "Eat More Kale", and turn myself from a kale hater into a kale lover (p.s. it worked, I'm totally hooked now). Since then, and especially since I put an "Eat More Kale" bumper sticker on my car, people always ask me what my favorite kale recipes are so I thought I'd share a few (this one's especially for you Helen!)

1. Kale Chips: If you haven't tried kale chips then you're really missing out. They're super easy to make and surprisingly tasty. Here's a good recipe from my friend Jess Powers: Kale Chips

2. Lemony Chickpea and Kale Stir fry: This recipe is delicious, easy to make, and great hot or cold: Lemony Chickpea and Kale Stir fry from 101 Cookbooks

3. Spaghetti With Braised Kale: This recipe is one my favs. Simple and delicious: Spaghetti with Braised Kale from Bon Appétit

4. Kale and Lentil Soup with Saffron Yogurt: Again from Heidi Swanson. I just made this one tonight and it was awesome. The $10 bottle of saffron is definitely worth splurging on too: Kale and Lentil Soup with Saffron Yogurt

5. Everything! What I learned in my month of eating kale was that it's pretty easy to sneak kale into just about anything: scrambled eggs, muffins (seriously, just cut it up into tiny pieces and you'll never know it's there), smoothies, you name it. It's always great as a side dish too, check out this simple kale recipe from Two Blue Lemons.

What did I miss, what's your favorite kale recipe?

Monday, October 24, 2011

West Dennis Beach

A few shots from a walk that I took this weekend with my mom on West Dennis Beach, Cape Cod:

How did I ever complain about growing up here?

Sorry for the exploitation Mister Skunk, but it's impossible for me to pass up photographing a dead animal.

Dennis and Yarmouth have a plethora of old motels from the 1950's. Gotta love a good hand painted sign.

Just a reminder too that it's the last week of voting for SHAPE's 2011 Best Blogger Awards. If you haven't voted yet, please take a second to do so, it only takes 2 clicks!

Vote for 12 Months of Lent

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Memento Works

I just stumbled upon this site, The Memento Works. Basically, you snail mail them your cherished sentimental objects and they beautifully photograph (and frame) them for you, before mailing them back. Although I love the underlying concept, I might be a little hesitant to send my favorite possessions off to a stranger. An interesting concept nonetheless.

It reminds me a bit of a project that I worked on a few years ago where I photographed people's prized possessions, the things that they would save in a fire if their house were burning down. I'd go to their houses and arrange a still life of their objects, and then shoot with a 4x5 view camera.

Then of course, a few years later a friend sent me a link to this project, The Burning House, which is essentially the same idea. Drats, someone beat me to it. I should at least submit my personal still life, right?

The things that I would save in a fire. Excuse the poor quality, but I'm so old fashioned that this is a digital shot of my c-print haha

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Work Week Slump

When I was dreaming up this month's lent, I had visions (more like delusions) of carrying my camera around with me everywhere, snapping shots of whatever caught my eye, photo documenting my entire month frame by frame (ha!). While I've definitely shot more this month than I have in the previous 9 months of the year combined, I've fallen victim to the work week slump. As good as my intentions are, it's just really hard to get in a lot after work, especially now that the daylight hours are dwindling (and especially because I really only like shooting during golden hour).

So, since we're already halfway through October and I don't want to see the rest of the month slip away to the slump, I've decided to give myself some weeknight homework to stay productive during my non-shooting days:

1. I'm going to read the entire Nikon D80 manual, cover to cover.

I'm going to watch some technical tutorials online (any suggestions?) and catch up with my favorite photo blogs.

I'm going to brush up on my night photography skills and finally get some pictures of one of my favorite local phenomenons: Weird Watertown storefronts at night. If anyone knows the area, you know what I'm talking about. Does anyone have any good night photography advice/resources for me?

And since I haven't picked up the camera since Grammy's house and I can't really justify having a photo-less post this month, I'll leave you with this shot that I took in 2006 while on vacation in St. Maarten. Crazy, huh?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

To Grammy's House I Go

As I mentioned yesterday, my 91 year old Grandma Helen's house is one of my favorite places to photograph. She's been living in her 103 year old home in Brockton, MA since the early 1940's, and her house tells the history of her life, and of our family, through the possessions that adorn it.

I've photographed her house numerous times over the years, but it's definitely been a while, so I was excited to pay her a visit during photography month. In between stories of my Italian ancestors and brushing up on current affairs (she knows as much about what's going on in politics as she does about Dancing With the Stars), I managed to snap a few shots when the light was hitting the dining room just so.

The house where I've spent almost every holiday of my life

Grammy's hutch

A family portrait that my mom drew (and Grammy had put onto a plate) when she was a child

A photograph of my Aunt Carol (who passed away from Lupus 8 years ago) and my Uncle George at my parents wedding in 1978

I'd love to say that I took a photo of Grammy today, but I'm pretty sure that this one from 1975 is the last time that she allowed a photograph to be taken of her, seriously...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday Shots

A few shots from my morning excursion into Belmont (I'll always be a diehard Watertownie, but I have to say, Belmont is really growing on me. It's full of photographic gems).

From an antique shop in Cushing Square

Old newspapers from the same shop

Belmont's music shop

The organ inside the shop

I love this door

Tomorrow I'll be visiting my 91 year old Grandma Helen in Brockton (her house is incredible and my most favorite place in the world to photograph) so expect a post tomorrow evening full of funny still lifes and relics from the past century. YES.

And in case you haven't voted for 12MOL yet in the SHAPE Best Blogger Awards, you can do so here, every vote helps! Thanks guys!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Brief History of 12 Months of Lent

Since I’ve recently had an influx of visitors to my blog (yay!), I thought I’d take a minute to give a more in depth description of what 12 Months of Lent is so that new readers (especially those of you who don’t know me personally), have a better understanding of what exactly it is you’ve just stumbled upon. So, here you have it:

A Brief History of 12 Months of Lent, by Danne Dzenawagis

In December of 2008, I sat down to brainstorm some ideas for my 2009 New Year’s Resolution. Being my typical Type A self, I started by making a list of things that I wanted to work towards in the coming year, and as expected, the list was about 23,000 pages long. Great, how could I actually expect to make any real progress with such an intimidating/impossible list? Well, I thought, at least Lent’s in a few months, maybe I could work one of my goals into Lent…and that’s when the light bulb went off. Maybe I could work all of my goals into a series of “mini-lents”, one for each month of the year, which would break down my original list of resolutions into a clearly defined and manageable plan. Perfect. Type A sigh of relief…

Disclaimer: For anyone out there who may be reading this and thinking “Um, cool idea, but this sounds nothing like the Lent that I practice each year”, yes, I know, I use the term Lent very loosely. Having grown up in a Catholic household myself, I’m well aware that I’m pushing Lent to it’s limits, but really, I’m just borrowing the underlying concept: Personal sacrifice and dedication in order for personal growth and fulfillment. It’s as simple as that.

So what types of thing do I do? It’s honestly all over the map. I’ve spent a month picking up every piece of litter that I came across, another month not making any trash (it’s much more possible than you think), a month limiting my wardrobe to only 6 items (which I highly recommend that everyone try), a month cooking 3 new recipes a week, a month getting rid of 100 things a week, and other months committing to much more simple tasks, like writing in my journal each day, taking more photographs, and doing more yoga.

After almost 3 years of 12 Months of Lent, I can honestly say that this quirky little project has changed my life in such an incredible way. It's affected (and continues to affect) me in the most positive way possible and at this point, I honestly can't imagine my life without it. Thank you all for your encouragement and inspiration, and of course, for reading in the first place.

Love, Danne

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What My Weekend Looked Like

Besides a weekend long yoga workshop and a Pizzeria Regina excursion for Marissa's birthday (HB MC!), this is what my weekend looked like:

Catching Fanne up on the bed where she knows she shouldn't be...

Intimidating her enough to jump off...

Laying cuttings from my herb garden out to dry in our beautiful new salad bowl (thanks Mark and Carol!)

Making it to Fresh Pond just in time for golden hour...

and incessantly photographing the kaleidoscope-esque reflections on the pond...

And now? Fanne and I are sitting out on the back porch, enjoying the moonlight and the unseasonably warm weather. Ahhhh Indian summer....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

SHAPE Blogger Awards (eeeee!!!)

So, in case anyone missed my post on Facebook, I am super excited to announce that SHAPE magazine has nominated 12MOL for their 1st Annual Blogger Awards (um, omg?). I received an email from their associate web editor yesterday with all the details, so here's the scoop:

There are 6 categories in all, with 20 nominees in each category. Voting is done on the SHAPE website and goes until Friday, October 28th. Based on the number of votes, 6 finalists will be chosen, one from each category) and from those 6, the editors of SHAPE will choose a grand prize winner who will win a paid video series to be featured on, as well as a possible mention in an upcoming issue of SHAPE magazine.

Totally awesome, right? Again, omg...

So, this is where I kindly ask all of you to follow this link and vote for 12MOL. Once you've voted, pass the link on to anyone and everyone, post it to your Facebook wall, tweet it, whatever you want. I wholeheartedly appreciate all the love and support I've received in the past few days. I love you all times 10,000.

Vote for 12 Months of Lent!

Also, if anyone out there is the person responsible for pointing SHAPE to my blog in the first place, please let me know who you are so I can find some way to thank you for being so awesome.

Digicam in the Belmont Victory Gardens

I’m not sure if this dates me (and I’m not even that old) or just makes me sound like a total hipster, but umm, confession time…I’ve never really shot digital before. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t used a digital camera—it's just been reserved for the more candid “hanging out” shots, whereas film has been saved for my more defined personal projects. Even in my digital photo classes in college, we shot film, scanned our negatives, and printed digitally. Again, I’m not even that old, this was only 5 years ago. It’s truly amazing how much has changed…

As much as I’ll always love film, I think that it’s probably time to get with it and figure out how to work a digital SLR. I’m not fortunate enough to own one myself, but I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend who does, so this month I’m vowing I’m to navigate the analog to digital transition (or at least make some headway).

First step: Taking digicam out on a field trip.

Since I have Fridays off (working part-time is a dream come true), I had a chunk of free time this afternoon and decided to pack up digicam and take Helga II (my car, apparently I love naming inanimate objects) out for a drive until I found something compelling enough to stop for. Driving through Belmont during golden hour (the most glorious time of day), I decided to pull over at the Rock Meadow Conservation Area. Hoping I’d get a few magically lit shots of some suburban agriculture, I trotted down the first path I saw and was lucky enough to stumble upon the Belmont Victory Gardens. Total goldmine.

While I’m definitely still trying to figure out the mechanics of the camera, I had fun just poking around and trying to get back in the swing of things. As expected, I was drawn to the personalization of each garden’s individual space. How the owner adorned their tiny piece of land and left their personal stamp on it. Below are a few of my favorite shots: