365 Day People Picture Project - Week 26

Hello! Thank you for checking in on week 26 of the 365 Day People Picture Project! Have you realized, we're basically half-way through the project?  (Technically,  182.5 is the half-way point.)  I constantly relate my life's experiences to the stages in completing a marathon.  It helps me to trudge through, no matter how difficult things may seem.  We're at 13.1 miles - now the hard work is about to begin!

So far in this project, I'm feeling like I didn't "train" hard enough for the marathon. I've not improved in my photography skills.  I'm making small progress in learning how to compose a "street portrait," but I've made zero progress on the technical side of camera operation.  Basically, it's like I set out to do a marathon with no training, other than a good pair of running shoes.    But, it is also my outsider naivety of photography that has enabled me to make it this far.  I'm discovering that many real photographers, often professionals, have a horrible fear of the thought of approaching a stranger on the street.  Because I didn't know any better, I just went out and did it!  It's funny, had I known what I was doing when it came to photography, there's no way I would have even started this project.  I had no idea what I was doing, and because of that, I'm doing it! Are there things in your life that you would have never done, had you known what you were about to do?

My delay to join a photography class until after the actual Portland Marathon last year, caused me several more months of being on my own.  I learned that most of the photography classes in the area are offered spring through late summer/early fall.  I missed my window of opportunity.  It was a great coincidence yesterday when I received an e-mail from a photographer, telling me when his next Portland workshop is scheduled.  This e-mail came  on the very same day that we hit the half-way point. It's all going to work out.  I'll keep my head on during these next few months and hopefully we'll be able to look back and observe a change or improvement in the quality of the pictures in this project.

Day 176 - Mary


This is Mary, owner of the Muddy Paws DIY Doggy Spa.  (I call it the doggy spa - it's actually a do-it-yourself dog washing facility and it is such a great place! It's a hundred times easier bathing your dog at a DIY dog washing place, than it is at home.)

It's been a while since my dog and I have been in, and I've been meaning to go back. I figured I'd have a better time taking someone's picture without my dog in tow, so I didn't tell him I was going to the dog spa.  My dog loves people, but he's really not much of a "dog person."   I was nervous for my dog the first time we went there, thinking he might have a hard time with a lot of other dogs around, but Mary helped settle us both down and my dog loved it!  We need to go back soon, so I wanted to pop in to say hi,  find out the least-busy time to go in, and also take advantage of the opportunity and ask Mary to be in the picture project.

The happiest thing happening in Mary's life right now is that she's getting married in June!  Congratulations!  I asked Mary if she's performed a recent act of kindness and she told me about a runner who was in recently with her injured dog.  The runner was on her last training run before a marathon, and her running buddy (her dog) had injured his paw.  (Muddy Paws is close to a popular running/bike trail.) The runner didn't know what to do since she was out on her run and didn't have a cell phone.  She remembered Muddy Paws, so she took her dog to the "spa" and Mary and her team performed a little paw first aid (at no charge), let the runner use the phone, and hang out until her husband could come pick up the dog.  The runner was then on her way to finish her last run before the marathon.  This is actually pretty huge. The runner would have been fine, but I totally understand that if she didn't get to finish her last run, it would have messed with her psychologically.

I wanted to ask a dog-related question to see if Mary had any great advice for us but the only thing that came to mind, was if she had any tricks to trimming your dog's nails.  She joked, "yes, bring them here, when Jessica is working!"  She then said the key to being able to trim your dog's nails is that they have to be comfortable having their paws handled.  It's best to start when they're puppies, but get them accustomed to having their paws handled and then trimming will be much easier.

Day 177 - Mark


I was wandering around looking for a subject when I met Mark.  It was freezing this day and I was so relieved when he agreed to let me take his picture.  Yes, you know by now that if it's a picture of a furry Portland guy, wearing a Carhartt jacket,  I'm completely compelled to present it to you in black & white.

Mark is the Race Director for the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby.  This is a huge event in Portland and although it's lots of fun, the amount of effort that goes into designing the race cars, and the potential for bodily harm, are both quite serious.  The event happens at Mt. Tabor Park, which is were I met several of the earlier subjects in this project.  As soon as the sun returns, Mt. Tabor will again be one of my go-to places to find subjects.  If you've ever considered racing, be sure to check out the new site:  soapboxracer.com and remember, the deadline for registering is tax day!

I asked Mark about the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he said, "steelhead season is coming."

178 - Kenneth


I spotted Kenneth as he was headed to the bus stop.  Once again, I had to chase after him for little ways, but I had to persist. It was so cold out, there were few people and few potential subjects for the day.  I'm always afraid someone is going to turn around as I'm "chasing" after them.  How embarrassing!

I asked Kenneth about the happiest thing happening in his life and he responded, "my 4 year old boy."

After I had taken Kenneth's picture, someone stopped me to ask if he was running for office.


Day 179 - Theresa


This is Theresa, at I Heart Retro.

I've seen Theresa a few other times  when I've been looking for subjects. I usually see her right after I've taken someone's picture for the day.  I finally decided I was going to check out I Heart Retro, and I was glad when I saw that Theresa was working.  Although Theresa was so nice and agreed to let me take her picture, she then started to re-consider because she said she felt tired, looked tired, and wasn't wearing any make-up.  She looks beautiful, even if she may not have been feeling it.

Theresa was stumped when I asked about the happiest thing happening in her life. She was having trouble thinking of an answer.  To ease the pressure, I told her that one guy answered "doughnuts," and another guy answered, "my cat."   After hearing this, she then immediately answered, "my cat - he's a good little kitty!"

I asked Theresa if she's performed an act of kindness and she told me that she recently purchased food for a homeless guy and his dog.

Day 180 - Jennifer


This is Jennifer, from Lowe's.

It started snowing in Portland/Vancouver on Thursday.  Snow is pretty rare for the area and when it happens, it's a pretty big deal.  The city nearly shuts down.  I was hoping to get a great picture of Jennifer out in the parking lot which was covered in a layer of fresh snow.  However, that was the first picture I had taken in the snow and it didn't turn out at all like I wanted.  Luckily, we had taken a back-up.

Jennifer is joining the Navy soon!  She's taking the test in March and she'll be leaving shortly after she passes the test.  When I asked about the happiest thing happening in her life, Jennifer replied, "being around family and friends."

I asked Jennifer if she's recently performed an act of kindness.  Jennifer explained that she gave her extra Taco Bell to a homeless couple  who hang out near there.  It's an odd coincidence that this particular homeless couple, and their dog, has been the recipient of the good deeds of at least two or three people in this project.

Good luck in the Navy, Jennifer!


Day 181 - Kyle, Eddie and Robert (from left to right)


I met Kyle, Eddie and Robert as they were walking in the snow storm.  They had just come from the grocery store.

When I asked Robert about the happiest thing happening in his life, he explained that they were on their way to get some food and then go home to watch "The Big Lebowski."  The happiest thing happening in Kyle and Eddie's life right now - Kyle is happy Eddie had flown in from New Jersey, and Eddie was happy he was on vacation.   It's pretty clear that these three guys were enjoying their snow day!  (I was really wishing I had a 35mm lens to better capture the guys amidst the snow storm!)

I asked if any of them had recently performed an act of kindness and they said that Eddie had just helped a lady at the grocery store.  She couldn't reach the half-and-half, so Eddie got it for her.  This was just the most recent example but Kyle said they try to do something all the time.

When I asked the guys if they had anything they would like to promote, they said, "good times," and "world peace."  Kyle then told me that Trial and Physical Challenge were putting on a show at Branx which was to occur yesterday.  The show is to benefit Team Aiden.   The show was cancelled due to the snow, but it will be rescheduled.  You can keep an eye on their Facebook page for the announcement of the new date.


Day 182 - Jose


This is Jose and he's also from Lowe's.  This week could have been entirely dedicated to Lowe's employees.  I think my husband has been there nearly 100 times in the past week and a half, and I've been there at least 20 times.   In addition to Jose and Jennifer, we could possibly end up with a few more Lowe's people next week...we're not even close to finishing our "little" project.

It was almost closing time when I met Jose in the parking lot. He was bringing in the carts from the freezing rain.  It was a mess, but Jose was happily working away and then he was nice enough to let me take his picture.

I asked Jose about the happiest thing happening in his life right now and his news was pretty exciting. He's saved enough money from his job at Lowe's to start college!  Classes start on Monday!

Jose also told me about his personal story, one which I won't share because I think it was "off the record."  I'm so glad he shared though. It made me realize what a great company Lowe's is and that they treat their employees well. That would explain why they provide the most helpful and friendliest customer service of all home improvement stores.  It makes the fact that we're going over budget in our little project a lot less painful, knowing that we're shopping at such a great company.

I didn't ask Jose if he's performed a recent act of kindness because I didn't want to keep him out in the snow and freezing rain.  I suspect he would have had an answer though, because he was a pretty nice and helpful guy. (Good luck, Jose!)

Thank you for following along!  We're half-way there!  If you've been a subject in this project, thank you for letting me take your picture!  This project couldn't exist without you!

I've spent so much time at Lowe's this week, it seems appropriate to close the week with their slogan -

"Never Stop Improving!"