Week 19 of the 365 Day People Picture Project was an extra special week! I had two VIP subjects - My brother and my friend Shauna, who is basically the reason this project even exists. Day 127 - Man Walking Dog on the Lake Trail
This man and his dog, Tramp, were leaving the trail just as I arrived for my Sunday morning walk. It had been raining that morning and they were both pretty soggy.
Tramp is a sweetie and one of the most gentle dogs I've ever met. He's an old fella, but he gives you irresistible puppy-dog-eyes.
Tramp and his human walk the trail twice a day. I only get to walk those trails on the weekends and it is one of my favorite things to do. Walking those trails grounds me and keeps me happy. When I asked Tramp's human about the happiest thing going on in his life, he responded, "this right here." We visited for a while about our appreciation for the trail and Tramp accepted a biscuit and some lovin from me.
Here are a couple more pictures from my walk the morning that I met Tramp and his human.
It was so foggy and misty that the sky was absent of color, so the photos actually came out looking black & white. (These have been enhanced slightly, and one is now more sepia-looking.)
Day 128 - Shauna, AKA - Nubby Twiglet
Shauna is truly an amazing and inspiring person. The girl does not stop. She doesn't take no for an answer and if something can't be done, she'll find a way to do it. And, she'll push you to do the same.
Shauna is basically the entire reason you're reading this now. I've been acquainted with Shauna and have followed her blog, Nubby Twiglet, for years. I didn't really understand blogging, but what I did understand is that I enjoyed seeing snippets of her life and her evolution as a designer and blogger. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would someday have my own blog - but if you hang around amazing people who are constantly pushing themselves, eventually you'll absorb some of that energy and you'll push yourself to do things you would have never imagined, no matter how far out of your comfort-zone things may be.
In addition to publishing Nubby Twiglet, Shauna recently launched her own design studio, Branch, and she's one of the Headmistresses at the blogging workshop, The Blogcademy. I'm telling you, the girl does not sleep. I've texted her at midnight and she's awake and working, and I've texted her at 4am, and she's awake and working.
One thing I love about Shauna is that she's so encouraging of others. Esthetically, her blog is perfection but she'll be the first to tell you that you shouldn't let your desire to be perfect stand in the way of starting where you are and then working to improve. This thought is also one of the core messages from The Blogcademy - perfectionism is a form of procrastination. It is because of Shauna and the Blogcademy, that I decided to start this blog and the #365 Day People Picture Project. Shauna is the type of person who will tell you something like - so what if you're not a photographer and you want to challenge yourself to take a picture of a person every day for a year…just take the first step and strive to improve as you go!
From day one, it was important that Shauna be one of the subjects in this project because not only is she a friend, but she's also the main source of inspiration for missellanea.com. I knew the day would come when it was time to take her picture and I've been so nervous! I've explained before that I get really nervous when taking pictures of friends, family and acquaintances - sometimes even more so than when taking the picture of a complete stranger. I know, it doesn't make sense to me either. However, in Shauna's case, it is completely understandable why I was so nervous. When you check out Shauna's blog, you'll see that she's been photographed by some of the most talented photographers in the world and she's a graphic designer with a great eye and high standards. She denies it, but she's also a pretty talented photographer herself!
I realized that I was worrying for nothing. Shauna understands that I'm just a beginner and it turned out that I was more relaxed taking her picture than I have been with anyone else! She actually coached me and the result was something we were both pleased with.
The one thing that made it easy, is that Shauna is such a great subject/model. I've learned from this project that it is still possible (and very easy) to take a bad picture of a beautiful person. I didn't want to blow it and I really wanted a picture she would like. Shauna is fair complexioned and she explained to me that we were working with challenges because of her make-up look that evening. She did her best to coach me on how to compensate and I learned a lot from her in just that short time.
One improvement I've noticed in myself is that I'm starting to see things differently and I'm beginning to think like a photographer. However, just because I see a beautiful image before me, I'm still learning how to capture it and present the image as beautifully as it appeared in real life or in the viewfinder. This picture is the perfect example that I still have a long way to go. Shauna and I were sitting next to mirrored glass and as she was talking, I could see both her and her reflection in the mirror. The image was so striking, I interrupted her mid-sentence and grabbed my camera. I love this picture, but it's nowhere near as beautiful as I was seeing it in real life.
Shauna has made some great things happen in her life, but when I asked her about the happiest, she summed it up by saying, "realizing that it was possible to work for myself."
Shauna continues to inspire and help me, although I try my very best not to ask her for help. She's among the most popular bloggers out there and I just don't want to take advantage of her and her many years of experience. I need to learn things on my own, often the hard way. However, I am going to take her up on her offer to let me practice and take pictures of her, so don't be surprised if you see more of the little Nubby Twiglet.
Day 128 Bonus - Andrew
While Shauna and I were taking pictures on the patio of the Doug Fir Lounge, we were approached by this guy. This is Andrew, of the band 1491. He wanted to know if we were doing an interview for a magazine or something, so we told him about the project and made him a subject. He was a funny part of the evening so I wanted to include him a bonus person. Andrew not only let me take his picture but we also worked on the "squinch."
Day 129 - Two Stranded Travelers
I met these two at the Cascade Station shopping center, by the airport. After approaching them and explaining the project, I started to get a read on them that they were going to decline me. It turned out, they had just had a really long and tiring day. They were both really nice, but they were tired and hungry. Their flight had been delayed and then cancelled, so they had been at the airport all day before learning they would have to catch a flight the following day. Although their day was probably stressful, they were both optimistic about their trip and happy they would be traveling the next day.
I attempted to introduce a new question but it's not as smooth as the "happy" question. I asked them about an event has been a turning point in their lives. The traveler on the left responded that he's going back to school for forestry.
Day 130 - Rebecca and Boo
Wednesday was a tough day. I had to run to the Lloyd Center Mall to do some shopping and figured it would also be a rather easy place to find a subject. I was definitely mistaken. I was declined so many times, at one point, I thought I was going to cry. (Yes, it was that bad. My feelings were crushed.) Feeling discouraged and almost-defeated, I was questioning if that was going to be the day that the project came to an abrupt end.
I decided that I shouldn't ask another person at the mall and that I just needed to look for someone on my drive home.
After leaving the mall, I spotted a Christmas tree lot across the street from a convenience store and I knew I would definitely be able to find someone at one of those two places. When I parked my car, I looked over and saw a beautiful dog, attentively waiting for his owner in the store.
When Rebecca came out of the store, I asked her if the dog was her baby and she said yes. I then asked if I could take her picture and she agreed.
I started to ramble about how I'm not good with taking pictures of people with their dogs but then I decided to just shut up and take a picture. It's a good thing, too, I would have been wasting my breath. Boo was such a good little subject, I didn't struggle at all this time! I just asked Rebecca to crouch down with Boo and we immediately got a nice shot. It felt like Boo totally understood that we were trying to take a picture!
Rebecca explained that they just had family portraits taken with Boo and their other two dogs, so Boo really did know the drill. I didn't tell her that I had just done my first-ever family + dog photoshoot last weekend. I just told her that Boo was probably a dream subject for their photographer.
When I asked Rebecca about the happiest thing in her life, she replied, "I'm going back to school to get my masters degree."
We visited for a few more minutes, I thanked Boo with a biscuit and then they were on their way.
After my interaction with Rebecca and Boo, I was actually kind of glad I was declined so many times at the mall. Had I not been declined, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet the two of them.
Day 131 - Kevin at Plaid Pantry
I was happy to see a new face when I stopped at the convenience store on my way home. I think we now have every person who works the swing shift from this particular store.
It was a rare moment because I was the only customer in the store, so I took advantage of the opportunity and asked Kevin if I could take his picture for the project.
The happiest thing happening in Kevin's life right now, is that his band, Between Cities and Skies, is nearly finished with an entire album. His enthusiasm is contagious and I left there feeling excited for his band and happy to have met him. You can check them out here!
Day 132 - Donny, My Brother
This is my Brother, Don.
I don't see my family as often as I should, but they're always in my heart and my thoughts.
My Mom called last week to tell me that Donny would be in Portland for a Tribal meeting and she wanted to make sure that I set aside time to see him and attend the meeting. She was pretty insistent that I also take his picture for the project. I laughed and told her, "I'm already all over it, Mom."
We met friday and only had about an hour before the meeting, during which time my brother updated me on the issues affecting our Tribe and towns where we're from. I'm proud of the work Donny is doing for our people and for the environment. I just wish our Dad were still alive to see it.
We had a few laughs when we were taking pictures. Donny humored me and tried the "squinch" but we ended up laughing and our attempts at the squinch either looked goofy or angry. The "squinch" isn't easy, and that's usually what happens with most people. It was a little emotional taking my brother's picture because he's really starting to look like our Dad. I was disappointed in myself because I wanted to get the best picture ever taken of my brother. I know I could have done better - so I'll just have to make it a point to go home to visit more often and try again.
My brother is a pretty talented guitar player but I never realized just how good he was until I was in high school. I thought that everybody who played a guitar, played as well as my brother. I didn't realize that not every guitar player takes their guitar with them every place they go and practices for hours upon hours and then practices some more and does so nearly every day. It wasn't until I was approached by one of my high school crushes that I realized just amazing Donny was. The "crush" asked me if I was related to Don and when I said that he was my brother, crush-guy told me that he was taking guitar lessons from him. Crush-guy went on for a good 10 minutes telling me just how good Donny was and how much he admired him. He talked about Donny as though he were a rock star! I was blown away! I should have been blown away by the fact that the hot guy even knew my name, but what struck me most was that I had no idea Donny was so talented. I always thought it was something my brother just did - playing a guitar was just as much a part of him, as were his own two hands. I heard my brother play all the time, so I didn't realize he was exceptional.
I was so glad I attended the meeting Friday. I didn't need someone to point out to me how special my brother is. This time, I was able to see clearly with my own two eyes.
I admire Donny and I'm inspired by his life. We were so busy catching up that I forgot to ask him about the happiest thing in his life. I'm just going to share what I think his answer would have been - I think he would have said that he loves his wife and his family.
Day 133 - Ray
I've been looking at the same fallen-tree in the lake for a few years and I've always known there was a good photograph in there somewhere. I'm just not skilled enough to get it. I've tried so many times but I've never managed to capture it.
The fog was pretty thick this morning and as I was nearing my second favorite trail, I looked over to the familiar fallen-tree and thought that today might be the day I finally get the picture. Having discovered earlier in the week my new appreciation for shooting in the fog, I realized conditions had never been better. I had to try again, even though I've never been able to capture the picture as beautifully as it appeared in my mind.
As soon as I started shooting, several ducks came swimming toward me. Although I love ducks and normally welcome the photo-op, I was annoyed that they were putting ripples in the otherwise glass-like lake. They were going to "foul" up my picture! I did manage to snap a few photos before they got too close. The ducks kept swimming toward me and it was obvious they thought that I was going to feed them. I was empty-handed though.
I gave up trying to get my picture and headed back across the street to the trailhead. Just then, I noticed a man had pulled up to the lake. He got out of his truck, went down to the bank and he proceeded to feed the ducks. Aaahaa! He was the person who the ducks were expecting to see!
I approached him to ask if I could take his picture and he agreed. He told me the story about how two little orphaned baby ducklings somehow ended up in his back yard when he lived in California. He fed them and took care of them until his wife told him that they needed to be freed. He took them to a park with a pond and released them back into the "wild." He was worried that they wouldn't be able to fend for themselves because they had grown up in his back yard, so he would go to the park and feed them every day. Now that he lives here, he's adopted these ducks to care for.
When I asked Ray the happiest thing happening in his life, he responded, "I'm alive. I'm 82 years old and I'm alive."
If you have been a subject this week, or any week, thank you. Not only do I appreciate you, but you're part of the happiest thing happening in my life right now. (Donny, if you happen to read this, thank you and I love you. Shauna, thank you. Thank you for everything.)
Thank you for following along so far. My friend Shelly shared this video the other day and I wanted to share it with you. This project is sort of like my own personal little "ball pit" and I hope this project and this video will help to inspire you to open up to a stranger, and perhaps, meet a new friend.