Darrah Parker » Slice of Life Photography

two-montheversary check-in

I quit my day job exactly two months ago and now, this is what I see when I sit in my home office. The books pictured are Creativity for Life by Eric Maisel and The Art of Happiness at Work by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. Appropriate titles for my new life.

I really can’t believe that it’s already been two months. At my two-montheversary, I’m feeling a little out of sorts. I haven’t quite hit my rhythm and part of that is because everything is so new. I’m doing new things and learning new things every day. And that takes time. Two months ago, I thought I would be telling you today that the new website is up and running and I’m juggling lots of exciting projects. And it’s true that several projects are brewing, but they’re not quite where I thought they would be at the two month mark. But you know what? That’s okay. I’m confident that all of those things will come when the time is right. For now, I am trying to enjoy the process.

Before I quit my job, I imagined what life would be like when I worked from home. I imagined I’d be exercising every day, cooking every day, and being super-productive. To be honest, some days are like that and some days are not. Here’s a little slice of what my life looks like now:

  • Some days, I wish I had a “fast forward” button and wish I could move faster, learn quicker.
  • Some days, I am really happy with the slow and steady pace.
  • Some days, I have doubts and some days, I believe I’m doing the right thing.
  • Some days, I work all day and into the night and feel like I’m spinning my wheels.
  • Some days, I work all day and feel like I have conquered the world.
  • Some days, I sleep late, go out for a run, and ease into a relaxing day with the kitty.
  • Some days (like today), I get out of the house and get work done at a coffee shop.
  • Some days, I jump on my laptop as soon as I wake up and before I know it, it’s 3:00 in the afternoon and I’m still in my pajamas.
  • Some days, I watch Ellen and What Not to Wear while writing blog posts.
  • Some days, I meet a friend for a “walk & talk” or go to the store in the middle of the day.
  • Some days, I look at Craigs List and apply think about applying for jobs.
  • Most days, my hubby and I wake up without alarms and share a pot of coffee and a warm breakfast.
  • Most days, I am so engrossed in what I’m doing that I forget to eat lunch. (This is a first for me.)
  • Most days, I am happy and can’t believe this is my life.
  • Every day, I take photographs of the world around me (and a few too many of my cat.)
  • Every day, I look forward and never look back. But most days, I just look around.
  • EVERY DAY, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to do what I’m doing. I do not take this precious time for granted.

As I was writing this list, I was judging it, thinking that my life is all over the place and scattered. But I just re-read the list and am realizing how GREAT my life is. If I had read this list before I quit my job, I would be envious of whoever wrote the list. But this list is MINE. This is MY life. How cool!

Fellow self-bossers, I’d love to hear about your daily routines…or non-routines, as the case may be. What works for you? Do you prefer structure or do you like when every day is different? How long did it take you to get into a rhythm? Or is getting into a rhythm not realistic or an unnecessary goal? Thoughts?

slice of life :: warmth

my warm winter uniform, photographed with iphone

Thanks to everyone who participated in the first week’s Slice of Life challenge, “New Beginnings”! It was so great to see a slice of your worlds and all of the new beginnings in your lives. If you’d like to check out what people contributed, visit the Slice of Life Flickr pool. Every Tuesday, I will post a new challenge to inspire you to photograph the world around you. It’s never too late to join the fun! If you’d like to participate in this group, you can join the group any time and learn more about the group here.

This Week’s Challenge: WARMTH

When I was trying to think of this week’s challenge, I was hearing news of frigid temperatures around the United States. I thought, what better way to stay warm this week than to photograph things that are warm? Not to mention, I happen to know that some of you live in warm climates – on the other side of the hemisphere, so warmth has an entirely different meaning to you right now! (Btw, how cool is it that we can connect with someone on the other side of the world??? This internet thing is pretty nifty!)

These days in Seattle, I’m reminded why some people might suffer from seasonal affective disorder. The days are short and gray and are often accompanied by cold, light rain. People live in their fleeces and keep themselves warm and caffeinated with a constant flow of coffee.

dear latte: will you marry me?

I happen to be one of those crazy people who loves this weather. I’m not originally from Seattle, but I’ve always been a homebody. I love nothing more than hanging out in my pajamas with my cat or sitting in a coffee shop for hours on end. Not to mention, I have skillfully used the Seattle weather as an excuse to collect scarves.

snuggle-fest 2000

Now it’s your turn! Spend this week photographing the warm things in your world and posting them in the Slice of Life Flickr group. If you respond to the challenge on your blog, please leave a direct link in the comments below. If you’re not sure where to begin or are looking for some ideas for staying inspired and photographing on a regular basis, check out yesterday’s post.

Sending you warm wishes as you venture into this week of WARMTH!

365 days of photos

Have I mentioned that I’m participating in Shutter Sisters 365 Project? Well, I am. The concept is that you take at least one photo every day and you post that photo in the Shutters Sisters 365 Flickr Pool. When I first heard about the idea of taking a photo every day, I thought, “There’s no way I could do that.” I have a hard enough time remembering to brush my teeth every day. This seemed like too much of a commitment.

But then I realized that a commitment is exactly what I need. I am a photographer and I need to learn and grow. It’s time to commit myself to this. December Views was a great test to see if I could take a photo every day for a month and I had an amazing experience. I learned a lot in that month and I want to continuing learning. The 365 Project is a way of keeping me accountable. And already, in just a few short days, I feel so supported and inspired by my fellow 365-ers!

You can check out my 365 photos here. And I’ll update you from time to time on the blog, as well.

Now, I am realistic. I know that I’m in the honeymoon phase of the project. Right now, I’m excited and feeling the creative juices flowing. So I made up a few guidelines for myself to make sure that I stay committed. I thought I’d share them with you just in case you are participating in the 365 Project or Slice of Life Tuesday.

  1. Take a photo early in the day. That way, you’ll know that no matter what happens that day, you’ve already taken a photo.
  2. Photograph anything and everything. Don’t wait for the “perfect” shot.
  3. Notice the world around you. Now, I know that sounds simple. Duh, Darrah, of course I’m going to notice the world around me! But think about it this way: right now, what do you hear? Really stop and listen. Maybe you noticed the sound of water running or a car honking its horn. Or maybe you realized your favorite song came on the radio, but you wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t stopped and really listened. It’s the same with seeing. Next time you are feeling uninspired, really look around. You’ll be surprised what you see.
  4. Forget everything you learned and just play! Break the rules! Try interesting angles and depths of field. Take a photo through your legs. Photograph the ceiling. Photograph your toes. Photograph your nose. Just photograph!
  5. The point is to shoot every day. That doesn’t mean you have to post them every day or even share them at all. Everyone has a different reason for doing a long-term project. Maybe you do it as a personal challenge or maybe you want join a community of people who are on a similar journey. Either way, decide why you are doing it. That way, you’ll know why you should take a photo even on those days when you “just don’t feel like it.”
  6. Ditch the camera and take photos with your phone. Both of the photos in this post were taken with my iPhone and Toy Camera app. (My other favorite is the ShakeIt app which simulates the look of a Polaroid.) I left the house on Saturday with only my phone because the hubs and I were going for a run. But first, we stopped at a bagel shop to fortify ourselves with bagels and cream cheese. (We have our priorities straight!) Both of the shots you see were taken at the bagel shop. Yup, even the one of the paper bag! The point is that you never know when inspiration is going to strike, so don’t wait until you have your “fancy” camera. I’m a firm believer that a good photo can be taken with any kind of camera.
  7. And that brings me to my final tip: Don’t worry about taking a good photo. The good photos will come when you least expect it. And the more you practice, the more often those good photos will come.

Are you participating in a 365 photo project? If so, post your links in the comments below and share any thoughts you have on how to stay inspired over the long haul.

If you’re thinking about joining this journey, you can join the Shutter Sisters 365 group here and the Slice of Life group here. Remember, today is the last day of the “New Beginnings” prompt. Check back tomorrow for a new theme!