Darrah Parker » Slice of Life Photography

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!

slice of inspiration :: for the love of oprah

For the very first installment of the soon-to-be regular “Slice of Inspiration” Friday, I wanted to bring you something light and fun, cuz mannnn, sometimes it gets too darn serious around here! This aired a while back, but I saw it for the first time this week and it just made made giddy. I’m wondering why there aren’t more dancing flash mobs around? The world would be an entirely happier place!


P.S. Only Oprah could have a microphone that matched her outfit. She’s my idol.

P.P.S. For those of you who are curious, I did clean my office yesterday and will be working on making it more fun and inviting in the next week. More updates coming soon.

P.P.P.S. Unfortunately, I did not find any chocolate.

P.P.P.P.S. (Are that many P’s allowed?) Please share any music or dance videos that have inspired you to get up and dance!

is your mental space a reflection of your physical space?

Now, I’m about to share a deep, dark secret. Something I’m not proud of. Something that most people usually don’t want other people to see, let alone complete strangers. And that secret: I have a messy office. There. I said it.

Recently, I read this post by Cairene that talked about making deals with your “future self.” The idea is that we look at our to-do list and decide what would make your “future self” most happy. It may be something that your “present self” doesn’t feel like doing, but you know that you will be so grateful that it is completed in the future.

This idea really got me thinking. There are so many things I procrastinate about, but lately, I’ve been procrastingating about my office. Why is it that I put off the most simple things? Like cleaning my office. And the longer I put it off, the more messy the room gets. And the more messy the room gets, the more excuses I make for not cleaning it. Even worse, I use it as an excuse for not getting “real” work done.

When we moved into this house over a year ago, I couldn’t believe my luck that I would have my own space. It was a given that Jason would have his own space because he worked from home. But me? I’d always dreamt of having a room with an easel and a desk and pretty things that inspired me. So I set up the easel and desk, I even blogged about creating a studio space.

And that was that.

When I quit my job in November, I thought I’d be using my office all the time. I would spend my days in my office and Jason would work from his office and…ladeedadeedaaaa! Instead, I walk into my office twice a day – once in the morning to change my clothes and once in the evening to put on my pj’s (my office also holds my clothes.) I have taken to camping out with my laptop at the dining room table while my office gets messier and I find more reasons not to go in there.

I’m starting to think that this is a test. My manipulative little brain is telling me it’s okay to let things accumulate, but that accumulation is weighing on me. Just knowing that the room is messy and abandoned is almost like I’ve abandoned something bigger. It’s like I’ve given up on something. And after several attempts at cleaning the room, I’m starting to realize there might be something deeper going on here.

I’m not exactly clear on what all this means and I’m not trying to read into something that might simply be a messy room, but I know it’s time to take action. I can’t move forward until I make space for growth and ideas. And right now, my mental space is a reflection of my physical space. Or maybe it’s the other way around. And to be completely honest, I’m just plain sick of complaining about it. There are so many more important things in life to be concerned about. This should be no big deal.

So being that this week’s Slice of Life prompt is “New Beginnings,” I thought it would be appropriate to have a fresh start. I will be putting away the dress I wore for New Years (finally), going through the pile of old jeans that don’t fit me anymore, putting away remnants of the wedding (we got married in SEPTEMBER), and sifting through the papers and letters strewn across my desk.

Maybe by sifting through all of the mess I will uncover the reason why I’ve let it go this long. Or maybe I’ll find some chocolate. That would be awesome.

Take a look around you. Is your mental space a reflection of your physical space? Are you postponing a project around the house or making excuses for not putting away that basket of laundry? What would happen if you tackled it today? I bet your “future self” would be grateful that your “present self” made the space in your life that you so deserve!

And on that note, my “present self” is off to clean my office.