Saturday, January 31, 2015

Build Strong

Photo #25
Thank goodness for whoever came up with the idea of a cameraphone. I wasn't out to take pictures - I was just looking for some lunch. Then the lines of this building struck me as interesting and since I always have at least one camera with me, capturing it was almost too easy. A bit of graduate filter lovin in Lightroom, and this was ready to become Photo 25. Also, it sort of looks like a giant robot if you squint your eyes just so.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Modren Man

Photo #24
The end of the third full week brings us our first robot. I am under a self-imposed 50 moratorium on statues, Legos and other toys, and this comes darn close to breaking that. Technically this is not a toy - it a trackable geocaching travel bug. Actually, it is the thing that came with a trackable geocaching travel bug. The actual travel bug is 6000 miles into its journey, and is currently in PA. Anyway, what this picture represents is me getting to the end of the week and not having 7 odyssey-worthy pictures. It was all too easy to fall back into the old habit of taking a macro shot of something sitting around my office.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Let the Water Hold Me Up

Photo #23
Something of which I'd like to take a picture is an orange-footed duck standing on the ice. That may be happening in this picture, but it is hard to tell because it is still dark. This was a 1-second exposure using a simple MacGyver tripod (the railing along the path we call The High Road). I am facing mostly east, but it was either too early or too cloudy to get the cool sunrise sky I was hoping for. Even so, I like the way this came out.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Before Sunrise

Photo #22
I blame the dog for this. It was dark and wet and unpleasant out, and I was planning on exercising on the elliptical. Then she gave me that look, and the next thing I know, we were headed out into the dark, wet, unpleasant world. The lesson here is that while it is good to change how you see, where you see and why you see, it is also good to change when you see.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dr. Pierce

Photo #21
What interrupted me from shooting the woodpecker? It was this hawk. He flew right by in a way that conveyed the question "What's so great about woodpeckers?" Of course the first question is, is this the same hawk from Photo #13 I don't know! What am I, some kind of bird expert?

Would He?

Photo #20
Another shot from the Sunday tree hunt, which I realize is really getting out of the spirit of a photo a day. Let me tell you, though, it is going to get worse before it gets better. I was nearly back to my house when my four-legged photo companion alerted me to the presence of a squirrel. Squirrel! While trying to shoot the critter, behind me I heard "tap tap tap tap tap". I turned and scanned the trees but saw nothing, so I went back to the squirrel. Once again, "tap tap tap tap". This time I turned around and caught a flash of red, which I quickly identified as a red-headed woodpecker. I followed him back and forth along the path until finally I got this decent enough shot. Right after taking this, I got interrupted by something even better...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Peeling Tree

Picture #19
Another shot from the Sunday tree hunt. This is a photo that was made better by some aggressive cropping. What is no longer in the picture is the other trunk of this tree, which because of how I had the aperture set, was very blurry. Cropping is your friend!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Photo #18
This week's photochallenge had me out Sunday searching for trees. There are many trees here and that makes it feel like home to me. I'm sure I've walked past this one over one hundred times, but it has been case of not seeing the trees for the whatever else I had on my mind. I also was once again thwarted in getting a picture of the heron, this time due to a combination of lens malfunction and a disloyal dog. I did see some other cool birds later, but that is for another day.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bad Idea

Photo #17
This shot took me 4 tries. The first try was right after I took the guitar pictures, and since I had everything setup, it was easy to swap out the guitar for the lamp. The problem was the daylight through the windows reflected off the bulb in a way that I did not like. The second and third tries were after sunset, but had issues with focus, exposure, and fingerprints on the bulb - all of which were my fault. After the third try I cleaned the bulb. For the fourth try, I adjusted the exposure in the camera before taking the shot, to get it so you could just see the glass outline of the bulb. This wound up being much more effective than trying to fix it later in Lightroom. I feel like this experience caused me to level up.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Two Tone

Photo 16
Remember when I mentioned I had a better idea on what to do for this week's challenge? This is it. I didn't say it was a great idea, just better than using 1111 for a number 10 and under. So here we have the knobs on my trusty Strat. Sadly, the first time I've touched this guitar in months is to take a picture of it, but so it goes.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

1111 19th St

Photo #15
I took this picture for this week's photo challenge, which is Numbers: 1-9. I felt bad about it since 1111 is not actually in the range of 1-9. So, today I took a shot that actually meets the criteria, and you'll see that later. Meanwhile, I have this somewhat interesting shot of a building in DC, which just happens to be the building in which I work. On the 11th floor, actually.

Lampshades Are Cool

Photo #14
This is one of those shots that looked better in my head than what I was able to capture. I've found for every ten times that happens, you get one time where the photo looks better than what you imagine. Nine more of these and we all should be in for a treat.

Grove Hawk

Photo #13
I don't love this picture, but I am glad I took it. It was a cold rainy morning and me my fellow commuters were waiting for the 7:55 Red Line train into DC. Most of them had their attention on screens and did not see this mighty hawk land on the sign across the tracks. Perhaps I am getting back in the groove, because after noticing this avian visitor, I took out my best camera, walked into the rain and shot him.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cold Dock Morning

Photo #12
By this point I felt about as frozen as the lake. I was on my way back, trying to increase my chances of making this frosty excursion worth it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

19 Degrees

Photo #11
It was a very cold day, but I was warm in my bed. It was early, but I didn't have to get up. It was still dark out. Then I remembered Roth 365. A new week was beginning and that meant I had 7 new pictures to take. I put on my warmest gear, grabbed my trusty old Sony Alpha a55 and my trusty dog, and off we went. Soon the sun began to light the sky in blues and pinks and colors in between. I watched as a Great Blue Heron flew majestically silhouetted against this sky, forgetting I had a camera in my hand then cursing myself for being an idiot. Eventually I found myself on Black Snake Bridge, where I took this shot, which made the whole trip worth it.

Monday, January 12, 2015

In Love on the Metro

Photo #10
I need to shoot more people. Posed portraits are not my thing, but I what I do enjoy is when I capture a moment where people are unaware they are being photographed. A long time ago I decided I was going to shoot 100 Strangers. This puts me up to 8. What I like about this couple is that I can imagine they've been together a long time, yet still seem to genuinely enjoy each other's company. We should all be so lucky. I also like that the man is still wearing his trolley tour bus sticker as a reminder of the fun day they had seeing the sites in DC. Based on the fact that they both have new looking New Balance sneakers, I also imagine they enjoy shoe shopping together. Most men wouldn't want to go shoe shopping, but not Mr. Trolley Man - he knows his time with her is nearing an end, and even a tedious thing like shopping or riding on Metro is an a opportunity he welcomes to spend more time with his wife. That is the fun thing about strangers - you can imagine whatever you want to about them.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Photo #9
One great thing about working in the city is being able to take a quick break, stretch my legs and see what there is to see. I've always liked the repeating patterns of bike share racks, and since it was super cold this day, most of the bikes were in the stable, which makes it even better.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Photo #8
We are still in the part of the year where I don't mind snow too much. This particular snowflake only flies when you light a candle under it or when you want to take a picture of it. Life is a moving target.

Daily Tines

Photo #7
If you followed along during either of the first two jaunts at this, you'll see that taking macros of stuff in the kitchen is something I do. I always considered it a fallback on days when I did not have a good idea. So here we are, a mere seven days in, and I'm taking a picture of a old stupid fork. This time I had a good reason though. Some of my photo buddies from way back in the Zooomr days have a website called on which they give a weekly challenge. This week was MACRO: KITCHEN. And there you have it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

For Cats

Photo #6
My dad does not like cats in general. As far as I know, he does not like our cat Mitten in specific. I'm not saying he dislikes cats - he is just generally indifferent to them. That being the case, I can't understand why he sent Mitten her very own free standing cat brush wicket thing. Whatever the reason, Mr. Mittens really enjoys it. Is is like catnip to her. It now sits in a predominant position in our foyer, right outside my office. That is why when I saw the afternoon sun lighting it up in an interesting way, I did what anyone on a 365 odyssey would do - I grabbed my camera. Thanks, Dad.

Eye of the Dragonfly

Photo #5
When I did my second photo odyssey, I would sometimes use the first Roth365 as inspiration by trying to take a different look at the same subject. Turns out I am doing that again, just without knowing it. I had completely forgotton about this picture of the same snow covered insect made out of a spoon. For what it is worth, I like the new one better.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Golden Stepper

Photo #4
I shot this one with my iPhone after seeing Into the Woods at the super fancy iPic Theater. I guess part of the movie experience is the decor you have to walk through to get to and from and theater, because even the steps were super fancy. I spent more time in Lightroom with this one than usual, mostly erasing people that if I had waited 5 seconds would have just erased themselves. I guess I am still a bit rusty.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Great Turtle

Photo # 3
This is a perfect example of what I've been talking about. Imagine you go to a school for four years, and in front of the main building of this school (the building is actually called "Old Main") is a statue of a turtle with some kind of globe/sundial thing on its shell. Four whole years, plus many visits since then, and either you don't notice this thing, or if you did, you don't remember. If you can miss The Great Turtle (what this myth is called by the Lenape Indians, one of several cultures that has some variation of this), just imagine what else you are missing.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Main Clock Tower

Photo #2

Clocks are cool. The whole idea of splitting time into regular bits and displaying information about the passing of these bits seems metaphorical of something. Clock towers are even cooler. Not only do they make the clocks easier to see, but if you need to harness the power of a bolt of lightning, they make the make the perfect thing from which to string your wire.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Keystone State

Photo #1
Schwab Auditorium is an historic building, and not because it was built in 1902. I'd walked by in countless times during my years at Penn State, but it wasn't until I returned this year that I really saw it. Since the point of this project is to notice things you would otherwise walk right past, I though this was a good inaugural shot for the third wave of Roth365.

Roth 365x7 - The Third Odyssey

Each and every day there are things in our lives that are worth noticing and worth remembering.

This is how I started this project 7 years ago on the first post of this blog. Through 2008 I managed to take a picture every day. One of the things I learned by doing this is that some days there are lots of things to see and remember, and some days not so much. This was a lesson that was reinforced when I started a second attempt in December 2010, and is a big reason why that attempt ended after 145 days.

Since then I have been sporadically posting pictures from the archive. While this allows me to be more selective in what I post, it provides no motivation to shoot, and thus no motivation to notice or remember - which was the point of this.

What I needed was a more balanced approach that would give me motivation, but also flexibility to let some days go by without being forced to post subpar pictures of colanders or salmon. That is how the idea of a 365x7 was born. Instead of having to take one good picture everyday, I must now take seven good pictures every seven days.

To be honest, I am already worried about accomplishing this challenge. The dreary weeks of winter still stretch out ahead. The routines chaos of life is already returning after a nice holiday respite. Even at this moment I wonder what seven good pictures I can take this week. But then I remind myself that the opportunities are there, it is just a matter of seeing them. And, it is supposed to be hard - that is why it  is called a challenge.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Arc Second

Add this to my collection pictures of famous landmarks in which I try to be at least somewhat original. I am of the opinion that if more than one person is standing in the same spot pointing their camera at the same thing, all but one of those shots will be redundant. Obviously this is an over simplification, but the point is, being unique is a good thing. Luckily for this shot the light and the clouds cooperated.