When I first decided to start blogging almost two years ago – I was in a completely different mindset.  I read quite a bit about how to start a blog and the main instruction I took away from my research was it is important for a blog to have a clear theme, direction or message.  I still don’t have that, but, I did give myself 5 years to find it.

I have realized over the past couple of weeks that I am not depressed anymore. Previously I have had this same thought … but … I think maybe I still was in a bit of a funk.  My husband even noticed and said as much to me completely out of the blue. I think it is very hard to see when in the midst of a depression how bad it has been or currently is and now that I’m on the other side, the past few weeks have been shit-balls-my-eyes-are-wide-open surprising! My doctor told me when I first inquired about sterilization, and after reviewing my miscarriages with me, that I was going to be so happy and relieved once it was done.  She told me that seeing so many women go through experiences just like mine and after a permanent choice is achieved that takes away the option completely – her biggest observation has been the happiness and relief.   I feel completely connected to the entire experience now that there is closure.  No regrets and now – no more fear.

So – can I now focus on a theme for my blog?  My husband has started a craft brew/beer blog and honestly, I’m a bit jealous of the fact that he has unquestionably clear and fun subject matter for his blog!

So, I consider focusing on running/hiking and outdoorsy stuff, then again, I love to travel too and know I would want to write about those experiences.   I like visiting wineries and breweries, but, I certainly can’t copy my husband – lame.  I want to blog and share parts of me with the great wide world, but, what parts?  Maybe I have a repressed fear of commitment.   Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah … on Thursday Lyzi and I attended a Travel Photography class at REI – it was very informative for someone like me who knows jack-shit about photography.  Our instructor went over all classes of cameras from those on a typical iPhone, compact cameras – standard and advanced all the way to DSLR camera technology.  We learned about all the settings for each of these types of cameras too and spent the last hour reviewing pictures he had taken and what he felt were positive or negative aspects in each of the photos – what he’d do different or why he wouldn’t change a thing.  I have been itching to play and practice!

Below are some of the pictures I took on our Wind Cave Trail hike and I will attempt to describe what I was trying to accomplish or practice.  If you are experienced in photography and would like to offer up suggestions or exercises to practice I would love to hear it – so don’t be shy.  I am currently a dry sponge … eager to soak up any knowledge I can as I hope to learn fittingly more with the objective to take attention-grabbing pictures for both our blogs.

We got to Usery Mountain Regional Park at 5:15 a.m., which was a little later than I planned on because my first goal was to catch as much of the sunrise as I could. Someone, and I am not naming names, was a little hard to wake up AND left zero gas in the car yesterday – therefore we started late with an unexpected detour.  Eddie’s observation was, “You are a grumpy photographer!”

Sunrises in Arizona are notoriously colorful and I wanted to play with the different settings in Eddie’s camera as I had learned more about what those settings typically did to a picture during our class.  The only difference between these two photos is a 1/20 sec. exposure time from what I can see on the details of the photo settings.   The picture with more blue to purple hues was taken with the Landscape setting and the other with the Dusk/Dawn setting:

Once the sunrise started to dissipate I tried to capture fun images of the PHOENIX sign over the Usery Mountain Shooting Range.   I have always enjoyed the humor in this sign but, none of the pictures I took captured any of that emotion for me.  Next time I am going to head out at sunset and see if capturing some color behind that bland mountain and being a bit closer might get me more excited about this view.  I tried using the black and white setting to see if it would make the PHOENIX sign pop more, but it was unsuccessful.

Speaking of black and white – I really like these two pictures.  One is of man-made steps and the other looks like steps but it’s boulders that must be climbed up during this hike. Similar, but different.

Last, but certainly not least, I took some pictures of Eddie; I like the different cacti in this one.

I hate it when you leave, but I love to watch you go.

At one point during our hike I came upon four young ladies all taking selfies and landscape pictures with their phones at the same time.  They were laughing and giggling as they were discussing their posts and appropriate hashtags. I really wanted to take a picture of that as a testament to our current culture of Social Media-ing The Shit Out Of Everything. Which I love by the way, certainly not making a dig on the trend.  Alas, I was feeling shy so I didn’t ask them if I could snap a photo and kept hiking by.  I regret that I missed that opportunity.

Until next time, kids!

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