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. 🙂

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!

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.

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