I’ve been trying to take my own advice and really look around at my surroundings for interesting things to photograph. I decided to search for the ugliest thing in my neighborhood – and realized that it’s all of the manhole and drainage covers! Those are probably the most obvious eyesore in every neighborhood!

Since I had never really taken a close look at drain covers before it didn’t occur to me that they actually have some design elements to them! I took a series of funky shots and prettied them up with app filters. I kinda really love the patterns and orange/rust colors and I can’t wait until I’m in New York in August so I can look for some different ones. I might actually have to keep this series going!

Here’s a few of the photos I’ve taken so far:

So what do you think? Are manhole covers still ugly, or do they have the potential for beauty? What other typically ugly things should I take another look at?

let’s just say arizona is freaking gorgeous

Geez! It’s been an entire week since we got home from vacation. I’m like, the worst blogger ever. I had every intention of showing you pics as soon as we got home and then I got sucked back into 12 hour days at work…eh.

Anyway, I really wanted to show you all some of the best photos I got with just my iPhone. I haven’t even had a change to LOOK at the photos we got with the other cameras yet. Between all of the cameras we had with us we probably have close to 1,000 images to wade through. Eek! If you’re friends with me on Facebook you may have seen a couple of these, but not all of them.

We had perfect weather for most of the trip – and this sky? Was UNREAL.

Wupatki Pueblo. This was an unexpected detour on our first day of driving and one of our favorite spots of the whole trip.

I’m so happy we made time for that!

Then we headed up north to Monument Valley Utah the same day. We made it there close to sunset and it was crazy beautiful.



Next day we headed back south a bit to Page, Arizona. Page alone was worth the entire trip!

This is Horseshoe Bend, on the Colorado River. Seriously, my photos just don’t do it justice. Google it y’all.

You need a wicked wide-angle lens to get the whole thing in one image. What you’re looking at is a 1,000 foot drop to the river. We had to crawl out onto a ledge to get the photos. As I said on FB, it was the scariest damn thing I’ve ever done. I swear I almost threw up watching other people just stroll out to the ledge and look down. I was sure the wind would blow someone right off! And then, if the fall doesn’t kill you, the hike back to the road will – 3/4 mile uphill on deep shifty sand at 4,200 feet. My poor sea-level lungs! Even so, this was mine and Josh’s favorite place out of everything we saw.

Our other stop in Page was just as good but completely different, Upper Antelope Canyon. (I wish we had stayed and extra day and gone to Lower Antelope as well!)

I have hundreds of photos of just this one place. It was truly unbelievable. It was Damon’s favorite spot on the trip, and a close second for me. Antelope Canyon is what’s called a slot canyon, with the light coming in from above. You walk along a path naturally carved out by periodic flooding. We had a fabulous Navajo tour guide who clearly had respect and reverence for it. I wished we could have stayed much longer and watched the light change throughout the day.

The next day we headed for the Grand Canyon itself, and stayed there for a couple of days. I don’t think I need to tell you how gorgeous it was.

First glimpse.



After this we wended our way (on Route 66) over towards Las Vegas. On the way, we made a last minute change of plans and stopped at the Hoover Dam. It’s almost impossible to get a good photo of it, it’s so huge! This is taken standing on top of it, looking down. I just like the texture.

I did get this one I liked of one of the support towers.

Then Vegas. Blech. We only went because we were flying out from there. I thought it would be fun but compared to everything else we saw that week it was just garish and gross. If I could do it over again, I’d skip that part, and would have flown back out of Phoenix so we could have spent more time there, and could have gone back through Sedona. Oh well! It still was the trip of a lifetime for all of us and I’m so glad we did it.

Did I mention by the end we drove almost a 1,000 miles? And our rental car was a red Mustang convertible? This isn’t one of my best photos, but it is one of my favorites.

Man, that poor car looked like we’d gone mud running in it by the time we were done. đŸ™‚

happy pi day and other random bits

I love geek holidays, I can’t help it! Are any of you baking pies in honor of Pi day today? I wish I had time! I’d like a blueberry pie, or maybe a chocolate cream pie, or oooo, a bacon quiche? That totally counts as pie right?

In case you noticed my lack of internet presence, I’m completely swamped with work right now. As great as it is to have plenty of contracts and a good chunk of money flowing in, it makes my life completely insane. I never want to be someone who complains about work though, because oh, would it suck to not have any. This is just me saying, I miss you guys!

I really want to be a better blogger though, so in light of that, I’m going to Blog Better Boston in a couple of weeks. It’s just a one day thing, but I suspect I’m going to get a lot out of it! I’m really looking forward to the food photography course I’m taking there. If you’ve ever tried food photography you know it’s wayyy harder than it sounds.

I also decided I’m going to go to BlogHer 12 in NYC this summer. I’ve haven’t been to BlogHer since 2009, the timing just hasn’t been right for me the last few years. I’ve heard it’s gotten sooo much bigger and intimidating but that’s okay with me. I have a pretty good idea of what to expect, I want to spend some time seeing the city through my camera lens, and I have a fabulous roommate who I know will let me tail her like a puppy when I don’t know what else to do with myself. đŸ™‚ Will I see any of you there?

Okay, so speaking of photography, we bought the cutest camera you have ever seen! It’s small like a point and shoot, but has interchangeable lenses. I’m kind of in love with it and kind of afraid of it! I’m really hoping someone will buy me a macro lens for it. And teach me how to use it??

Soooo, that brings me to the reason we bought the camera – because we’re going on our first “real” vacation EVER. I think every vacation we’ve ever taken has been either to visit family, has been part of a business trip, or has been a staycation. Since we managed this one car thing for so long, and are planning to continue it indefinitely we decided to use some of the savings we would have spent on a second car and go on a trip to the Grand Canyon.

You guys! The Grand Canyon! This is truly a trip of a lifetime for this New England girl. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do but never thought it would happen. I’m sure I’ll have much more to tell you about it as it gets closer. Or hey, no promises, I might not have time to blog again until after it’s over! Either way, I guarantee you I will have a million and one photos to share with you. Heh.

I hope y’all don’t mind if this ends up being a photography blog!

Hello Spring! So glad you’re almost here!

the problem with pinterest

This is going to be a really unpopular post. Some of you might even get pissed off at me. Why? Because so many of you LOVE Pinterest. Believe me, I want to love it too. The concept is fun, photos are gorgeous, the recipes and crafts are inspirational. All of that is exactly what it is meant to be and it does it well. That’s why its popularity is exploding.

Except. Do you know what else is happening on Pinterest? Massive amounts of copyright violations.

I’m personally really struggling with this. In real life I’m a photo editor. I find publication quality photos, I contact photographers, I sign contracts with them, and I PAY them for the use of their images. It’s my job and my eyes and brain are trained to look for copyright issues.

In some of my spare time I go online, hang out on Twitter and FB, read blogs, take photos and share them on Instagram. A few weeks ago I realized Pinterest wasn’t one of those social media sites that flames quickly and then dies. It’s going to be around for awhile, so, I caved and joined. And loved it. So PRETTY! SO ADDICTIVE!

Then I took another look. Deeper into where these gorgeous images were coming from. Who shot them? Who do they really belong to? Who is getting the credit? The link love?

And then I started to squirm.

I followed trails back to original sources. A few were linked to the actual photographer. Great! PIN AWAY! Some pins were from Tumblr sites or other blogs that had pulled the images from Flickr or the like. If the original photo was listed as creative commons, well fab, but what if they weren’t? Some of the pins I looked at were actually watermarked with copyright information but there was no link back to the website clearly on the watermark. Just as grievous – that many pins are pulled directly from Google images, a clear violation of any copyrighted image.

SO MANY of these are stolen photos my friends. Stolen from the photographers who took them, some who make their living off of them.

This is not okay.

Pinterest does address this issue in their Copyright section. I suggest if you haven’t read it then you should before you add any new pins or repin any existing ones. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

So, here’s the part that really bothers me:

If you are a copyright owner, or are authorized to act on behalf of one, or authorized to act under any exclusive right under copyright, please report alleged copyright infringements taking place on or through the Site by completing the following DMCA Notice of Alleged Infringement and delivering it to Pinterest’s Designated Copyright Agent. Upon receipt of the Notice as described below, Pinterest will take whatever action, in its sole discretion, it deems appropriate, including removal of the challenged material from the Site.

This puts the onus on the PHOTOGRAPHER to make sure none of their images are on the site without their permission. Really? How the heck will they ever know?? And if you do find a photo in violation, and jump through the hoops to get it pulled or properly linked, how do you keep the next person from pinning it yet again? You can’t. It’s impossible. So copyright infringements will proliferate.

Now let me be clear about this. I think that 99% of the people who pin stolen photos don’t do it on purpose. Most people just don’t think about it at all. They just pin or repin what they like, without any concept of copyright law. People think twice when it comes to copying WORDS – well everyone knows that’s plagiarism! Except the same is true for photos!

If you are a blogger, or a photographer, (whether professional or amateur doesn’t matter) how would you feel if you found one of your images pinned directly from your blog or your Flickr account or wherever? Great, right? Someone really liked your work and you get the clicks and everyone is happy. Now think how you would feel if if you found one of your photos on Pinterest but the link went to some other blog post that someone created using your image with no credit back to you? A little different right? Yeah.

Clearly Pinterest is not going anywhere any time soon, and neither is this rights issue. So I ask you, please,  if you are on Pinterest, please be mindful of photographer’s property. If you are uncertain about a photo’s original source, try to find it and if you do, pin it from there instead. Most of the time it only takes a few extra clicks to pin from the actual owner, instead of from the person who knowingly or unknowingly stole it from them. At least give the copyright holder the credit and the click-throughs.


look up, look down, all around

This is my new photography mantra! * I constantly have to remind myself of this when I’m out to take photos. We like to go for family walks and I find myself constantly just looking at my feet and the tree roots in my way and nothing else. Mostly because if I don’t look at my feet I tend to fall a lot. Like, a lot. Well, I still fall even when I do look at my feet, just not as much as when I don’t. Gah.

Anyway. I’m so busy looking at the path I’m on that I miss so much else around me. I forget to look up at the hills and trees, down at shadows and patterns on the ground, and right next to me at rock formations and little ponds. I’m trying though. I’m making my husband crazy in the process, stopping (!) every 10 feet to take another shot, but I’m trying!

Look up.

Look down.

All around. **

* Maybe this should be my new LIFE mantra, not just when I’m taking pictures?

** And now you have that song stuck in your head, don’t you? You’re welcome!

the itty bitty football shirt

You guys.

This was 8 years ago.

This is today.

Can I cry now?

His attitude hasn’t changed much.

I found the old shirt. We decided it was good luck since the Pats beat the Panthers that year.

We put it on a stuffed bear but that wasn’t nearly enough fun.

So we put it on George.

No cats were harmed in the making of this post.

Mostly he just wanted to lie down.

Or rip my face off.

Best photo shoot ever.

Fingers crossed the Patriots win this one!


a little iphoneography

I’ve been playing with my iPhone camera more and more lately, using apps to play with filters, and borders, and cropping. It doesn’t seem like so much fun when I’m stuck at my desk editing in Photoshop but it’s a breeze to edit in apps like Camera+ and Instagram.

I think it’s making me a better photographer if only because I’m noticing the world around me more. I always have my phone with me, so it’s easy to snap a shot when I see it instead of wishing I had a camera. I’ve been focusing on playing with patterns, light, and textures so I’m doing more close ups. Eventually I’d like to get a real dslr and learn how to do all of these cool things by messing with f-stops, shutter speeds, and different lenses instead of relying on filters but for the moment the apps are helping get the end product I want without the frustration.

I’d love to know what you all think of these, and if there is one you like best.

Stairwell in an old mill building, from below.

Conveyor belt close up.

Wooden railing.

Zakim Bridge in Boston. (No, I wasn’t driving, and yes, we were stuck in traffic.)

Granite wall.

Filler on paved road.


Could you say no to this face? Of course not. I’m too dang cute to say no to.

Would someone please tell that to these humans I live with. They won’t let me do ANYTHING fun anymore. No chasing birds, no leaving dead moles on the doorstep (best present evah!!), no eating grass, no nothin’ fun. Humph.

The only thing I get to chew on anymore is my own freaking foot. Much more of this and I swear I will bite the hand that feeds me. Um, again.

BUT MOM, IT’S SOOOO NOT FAIR!! He’s on MY porch!! I am really not liking this whole being an indoor kitty thing. I. am. a. mighty. hunter. and I need my freedom.

This is totally beneath my dignity. I must nap now so I can romp and mrroww all night and annoy the humans until they relent. Resistance is futile.

Go away.

Unless you have kitty treats.

blooming cactus

For all of the many years I’ve had a Christmas cactus, it’s never actually blossomed at Christmas. It’s bloomed in October, it’s bloomed in June, it’s bloomed twice in a year instead of once, some years it didn’t bud at all, but it never ever flowered in December. Well, this year it finally did when it was supposed to, and right when I needed it.

Merry Christmas peeps, I hope you all have a little something beautiful in your lives right now too.

xoxo Annette

granite and foliage

Damon was speaking at a conference this past weekend and Josh and I tagged along so we could all spend a little time in a part of Maine that we don’t know particularly well. We were waaaay the heck up Rt. 1, in Northport. The hours and hours spent driving in the rain on that horrid road was well worth it the next day though!

This was the cutest little cabin you have ever seen:

It smelled like fresh pine inside, but had all the amenities of a 2 bedroom hotel suite. We really didn’t want to leave!

We did some sightseeing on Saturday and I took the opportunity to work on my photography skills. The rain made it difficult but I think the pictures turned out better than if all that granite had been dry.

These are of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory and Fort Knox, in Prospect, Maine. It was well worth the trip if you’re ever going that way!

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