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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Various Birds about town

I don't know if I've mentioned this yet, but I love birds. There's something about them, and it's not in a symbolic wings = freedom kind of way. I just like the way they are. They are pretty and each species is so different from the others. I mean yes, they have their downfalls (doesn't everything)? They poop all over (enough to shut down swimming areas around here due to "contamination from waterfowl droppings"), the Canadian geese are pretty aggressive and used to chase little kids in a nearby city (I'm serious), and worse yet, the migrating geese refuse to fly in the pre-selected V-shape formation around here! :)

But birds are quite interesting creatures. I like how they walk, how they prepare for take-off and landing in water, their songs (okay, maybe not the cawing of crows and honking of geese...), when they fluff themselves up in the cold and look like a big ball of fluff with a beak....

So anyways, take a look at these birds from around campus!

First, yes, Canadian geese. They always stand in and around Drumheller fountain when it's not on during the winter. Unfortunately, they poop everywhere. And they're loud. But on a nice day, they're a good break on the eyes from the overcast skies and gray sidewalks.

This picture was taken during a bright sunny day, so the light is a bit off, and the shadows a big dark...

First robins of spring? In January (when this picture was taken)?

I like the vantage point here. I was trying to get to "eye level" of the robin, and took this picture right as he kind of "stood up" a little.

This little song bird was such a cheery sound last week. It was warbling a bit, and flitted around from branch to branch. I managed to take a picture while he was still for a few seconds :)

Unfortunately this bird is all earth colors on a branch, so it's hard to see. But hey, that's survival of the fittest, right?

Like I mentioned, I like how birds walk, haha. Their waddle is kind of crazy and silly looking. There is no way you can take a duck like this seriously when it walks.

I really like the color of the head of this mallard duck (yay "All About Birds" badge from Girl Scouts!)

Anyone else like birds??

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pictures from today: simplicity and life

Today's pictures exhibit the simplicity of life. There are little things that help us live happily.

(I'm kind of on a happiness kick because we're studying happiness and emotions in psychology. If you haven't watched it yet, you must watch the documentary, Happy. It is a powerful documentary that explores happiness, what makes people happy, and where it exists all over the world. It won many awards, and is totally worth watching. It may change your life! It did mine.)

I really liked the visual balance of the picture.

Also, the word DANCE is quite powerful. It reminds us to let go, and have fun. To live.

And this lady is living life. I don't see a lot of older people on campus (you see a lot of young children, though), but I like it when I do. There's something about knowing that this campus can attract such a diverse set of people.

Hope everyone is enjoying life! If not, put down your electronic device, go outside, and take a walk. See what you have been missing, but know that it's not too late to catch up on it! :)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Today's picture: 

I love hydrangeas because of how their flowers can change color depending on the acidity of the soil. When their season is over, and the flowers look like this, I find the petals are still quite delicate and fragile looking. 

This one had just been cut by the gardener, and was about to be hauled away. I really like the intricate texture of the petals I was able to capture, and how the background is blurred away.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Some shots at night - with The Boyfriend

Hello! It's been a hectic week, but here are a few pictures from a relaxing night with The Boyfriend. We got dinner at a Thai restaurant on the Ave, and I took a few pictures on the way home. Enjoy!

 This is from of the same street from my first post, but the night was rainy and wet, reflecting the lights off the street. Also, this is the straight-on perspective from the island in the middle of the road. I think this is one of my favorite spots to take a picture/look at at night.

The flower itself was an interesting shape and color, but I like the added effect of the rain drops. Because it was night, I used the flash, and I like how it removed the background due to the color contrast. It also gave the water droplets some dimension, which is nice.

Also, credit to The Boyfriend for pointing out this specific flower to photograph right as I thought it too! Great minds think alike :)

The moon had an eerie glow with the clouds that night. But I liked how it lit up only a section of the tree branches. For this shot, I really needed a tripod, but had to improvise using The Boyfriend's shoulder =P

I think I could have centered or moved the light to a certain region of the frame, but oh well.

Hope everyone is staying warm!

Monday, February 18, 2013

morning, midday, and evening

Here are a selection of pictures which I thought conveyed different emotions and parts of the day. All of them were taken on the same day, but throughout the day.

Morning:                            lkjljlkjlkjljlj;lkjlkjlkj                                      
The dew on the grass coupled with the harsh morning (overcast) light represents the morning

I liked how I was able to get the water droplets in focus!

Midday:              ldkajfdlakjljljlja;fkldjsa;djs;ojlja
Midday is when people travel around and there's still opportunity to have an adventure.

I really like the arch created by the trees in this picture.

Afternoon:                                         jlkjlkjlkjlkjl
The day starts to wind down, and there are two modes: either people are frantically running around before dinner, or the pace of the day is slowing down, and the day feels old.

I like this sign. It feels antique with the color palette and the old, broken sign. But the word "Flowers" itself is a bright and cheery object, and I like that contradiction.

In this particular photo, I tried to frame the object with the tree and pole since I couldn't get them out of the way. (If you can't get rid of it, use it!)

Evening:                                    lkjlkj
With evening comes serenity. It is calm outside, and we have a chance to pause and reflect on our day--the things we did, and the people we met. 

The pastel color palette that started the day also ends the day, and perfectly conveys our tranquil harmony found by day's end. 

I particularly like the colors reflected off the rain-slicked tennis courts in this picture.

Fencing: Prize Fight!

So, I'm a fencer. Just thought you should know :)

Yesterday evening, three people in my fencing school had their prize fight. They fenced all the other scholars (yes, every single one) who tested them on their fencing ability, their reactions to different circumstances, and their ability to stay calm and in form. It was a long event, starting at 4pm, and ending around 8:20ish. All three of them passed the test, received their white garters, and patch, marking them as official students of the Salle! I unfortunately don't have any pictures of the garters, but here are some pictures of the fencing! (And that's the important part, right?) 

I also realized that I needed to clean the lens of my camera, so these pictures are not the best quality (darn...) But the good news is: I cleaned the lens! So hopefully the next round of picture will have less noise. Also, the prize fights were at an awkward time of the day for photography, where it's still daylight, but it's indoor with the bright lights in the Salle...

Steve, in Rapier, saluting. We do the formal salute, where you salute to the right (above), left, and then center. Also, Steve is a lefty. Those lefties are difficult to fence :)

Josh in the neutral position in long sword, at the beginning of his bout with Jenny.

Jenny, who was the first to go for her badge in Longsword.

Rachel, with (Italian?) rapier, fencing Brian.

Rachel versus Josh. The thing about rapier is that you move all over the place in circles and far away, and close in. So you have to be careful when you're a spectator :) But part of fencing is that you have to be aware of your surroundings, and be courteous to the spectators so they don't get hurt.

Steve fencing Brian in Rapier. Brian is really heavy handed, but fun to fence with (in my opinion). He makes you adapt on the spot, because he does weird things, haha.

Jenny in longsword against Mr. Slocombe (I personally find him intimidating! He's really tall). I think he was testing Jenny on her ability to fence heavy handed opponents, but Jenny held her own, and was really relaxed and fluid in her motions, which was great.

Jenny with longsword against Nathan (I think) who was using sword and buckler. One thing I like about historical fencing is that you can fight with different weapons, and it still works :)

Steve against Ezra. Ezra is amazing and rapier is his thing, so he comes out with things like ^this^ that work, and you never saw it coming. But I really like this shot. I happened to be at the right place at the right time :) Too bad my camera doesn't like lights and had a dirty lens....

Also, Ezra likes to mix things up.
Meet Ezra. And his Cloak.

Steve getting a touch on Josh. He did what he was supposed to do, which is block the high line (with his hand), and attack the low line (which is now open).

I should mention, you can use your left (in Steve's case, right) hand to help you close the line of your defense. This is sort of another way that historical fencing is different than Olympic style fencing.

Brian really likes Dusack. It is basically a large wooden knife. He made all of the dusacks in our Salle (you can see them in the background hanging).

Honestly, this reminds me of a monkey...

So in part of testing the potential scholar, there are unconventional movements, stances, and actions. This is to test how you deal with them, as you would perhaps run into them outside of our fencing school. Normally though, we do not fence impractically.

This is what happens when you piss of a woman :P
This is Torah with a small sword, fencing Steve. Again, you can use the left hand to bind the opponent's weapon, and stab them wherever you desire (as long as it's on the acceptable target).

Also, just a side note: Small sword is the best weapon ever :) You can tell what weapon I fence....

Congratulations to Jenny, Rachel, and Steve for becoming scholars!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gymnastics meet!

The Boyfriend and I went to a gymnastics meet yesterday. I absolutely love gymnastics (it's one of the only parts of the Olympics I watch), and was quite impressed by some of the routines! We competed against Utah (number 7), and the meet ended with a tie down to the 0.001 point. That was surprising, as I had never heard of a tie in gymnastics. I assume it is quite difficult, as the scores are so close together that it would be more likely to be 0.001 point different?

Anyways, when I want to take pictures at these sporting events, I take a lot of pictures of the first few routines, and then leave the camera alone so I can enjoy the present with The Boyfriend. After all, we're here to have a good time.

Also, tip I found on the internet (after these pictures were taken, unfortunately): Up the ISO on the camera for taking pictures of sports. I'll try this next time!

We were high up in the arena, so my pictures are all zoomed in a bit (or cropped), and the content is a bit washed out. But enjoy some of the better shots! (We are the dark pink, Utah was the lighter pink. The unusual colors were in support of Breast Cancer awareness.)

Utah lining up for their introductions

One of our girls preparing for the vault

Success on the vault!

Utah preparing for the bars

Apparently it is important to nail the vertical handstands


Darn that blurry hand

Our team has a brief circle and pep talk before the last rotation to the floor routine 

Utah between rotations. It looks a bit like they are trying to ignore their nervousness

Utah on floor

A good laugh before the last rotation.
I really like ending this post on this pciture, as I think it conveys the fun that these girls are having during this meet. They were nervous, yes, but also out there doing what they love.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Trip to the outdoor shopping mall

A few days ago I walked down to the outdoor shopping mall by my dorm. It's very small, and the shops are kind of expensive (except for the QFC =) ) but I find it peaceful to just walk around, and there are a lot of families playing on the statues and play structure. It had just stopped raining before I went, so everything was a bit damp but also had the air of new beginnings. This is why I love the rain :)

This is a typical shot of a [whatever this plant is, it looks a bit like cabbage...]. But I really liked the white leaves and contrasting purple veins. I've never seen a plant like this before!

This is something like a purple version of the plant above. But the leaves were different. This one's leaves remind me of Italian parsley (I should mention that I like food, too). To make this shot a bit more interesting than just another plant, I decided to take a picture from the side, focusing on the leaves' textured edges. I like what I could get focused. Looking back, I realize that if I had everything in focus, it would have been too busy. But I think this could be cropped or something...

Lights on a tree, looking from the bottom.

I didn't notice it until I was right next to it, but there are these tiny little metal (brass?) cast frogs! They are so cute! They were positioned in pairs facing each other and interacting, next to the outdoor cafe tables. I think the frog looks a little warped or off balance in this picture, but I liked the water droplets on its back, and the differing colors it creates.

There were cacti on one of the outdoor cafe tables. I LOVE cacti (I have a jade plant named Sula--short for it's latin name Crassula Ovata), and this one was interesting, regarding color and leaf shape (they looked like hearts!)

I just saw this security guard walking by, and noticed he was carrying a bunch of the complimentary bright yellow umbrellas. I assume he was re-distributing them evenly to all the umbrella stands around the mall. Apparently that's what security guards do when they aren't fighting crime :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hello, Happy Valentine's Day!
Here are some photos from today:

These two are not so much photography shots, but more that I just liked these signs. Someone put out these signs bordering the pathway in the Quad for Valentine's Day. They were all handmade by different people (telling by the handwriting), and encased in plastic ziploc bags because it was raining in the morning. But I like the quotes! Both I have heard before, but were fitting for today. And everyday, really.

Another sign :)

I found this bouquet of flowers and handmade card by a bench (see picture below). At first I was really confused, and thought someone had died here or something, but then I read the card: "I love you Grandme(sic) and Happy Birthday". It was clearly written by a young child. 

Then I realized that the plaque on the bench read a woman's name, followed by "loving grandmother...", etc. etc. It was a very astounding realization when I connected the flowers and card to the bench in memory of the same woman. How very thoughtful to leave flowers there! This really brightened my day, and I thought this picture really showed the emotional connection between the flowers and the bench.

Raindrops on a rose. A new beginning, or tears?

Not a very good picture :( I was trying to show the contrasting tissue-paper flowers above with the rainy students below. 

This is actually a piece of gum stuck into the non-slip lines on a step. I thought it looked like a heart. Too bad the picture is blurry though. It was hard to focus.

Close-up of one of the more colorful tissue paper flowers hanging in the Quad. I'm very happy that I managed to use the flower to block out the building in the background. This way the background doesn't take away from the flower.

Hope you had a happy Valentine's Day! I know I did :)
(Thank you Boyfriend)