One Word Project: Self

One Word Project: Self

This wraps up our year of the One Word Project, film shooting based on a theme. Its been so exciting and challenging at times to shoot film again, but I remember every time I get a roll developed why I truly love film photography! There’s a rawness, clarity and richness that shines through each careful shot. When shooting film one is definitely more intentional with each shot. This has been a great push for me to continue to develop my skill and don’t worry, there will be more film shooting coming your way!

This One Word Project is titled “self.” Its been a while since I last posted, but its been a busy summer to say the least and I have to say this theme of “self” (that Shelly chose by the way) totally stumped me! All I could think was ‘how am I going to photograph myself? My camera doesn’t have a timer.” So I got creative.

I figured the best way to solve this creative dilemma was to use a mirror and I have a great antique one that worked perfect.

I think the ironic part about this shoot is that generally when photographing, I’m really careful about shooting mirrors, windows, etc to make sure you can’t see me in the reflection. In this shoot is was hard to make sure I was in the reflection.

One Word Project: Rhythm

One Word Project: Rhythm

This One Word project film shoot was really fun because I actually shot my roll while in St. Louis visiting Shelly a couple weekends ago! Shelly Goodman, in case you forgot, is my college roommate and best bud, who also happens to be a sweet photographer who started this One Word Photography project that I jumped in on a year ago. So remember to check out her site for her version of the One Word Project as well.

The Word for this shoot was Rhythm, one of my favorite principles of design! While in St. Louis, Shelly takes us on awesome tours of pretty much anything we can find that we haven’t seen and happens to be free. She mentioned visiting this beautiful cathedral in St. Louis and the portion of my heart that beats a love of architecture and architecture history caused me to jump at the chance to visit a classically designed, grandios, and well appointed space on this side of the pond! So I grabbed my film camera and Shelly grabbed my iphone camera, Matt grabbed his iphone video camera and we had a great artistic afternoon adventure.

I have to say this lovely structure didn’t disappoint. Classically designed cathedrals also happen to be spaces filled with repeated elements creating a sense of beautiful Rhythm throughout the space. With my love for architectural photography and film this was the perfect opportunity.

From the exterior stone buttresses, to the interior marble columns, to the lifted arches, to the endless rows of pews, to the illuminated devotional candles, to the glimmering mosaic tiles Rhythm is an essential design element in these cathedrals. Rhythm guides your eye to the altar. It breaks down the massive space to a human scale. It layers the space both on a vertical and horizontal plane. Rhythm brings consistency and continuity from the exterior all the way inside.



One Word Project: Uncharted

One Word Project: Uncharted

This word for the One Word Project is “Uncharted.” When I was back home in Indy over Christmas we had a huge snow storm roll through. My family lives in a beautifully wooded area, so snowy weather always makes for gorgeous scenes. As soon as the trees were covered we headed out to frolick in the snow and I grabbed my camera to capture the “Uncharted” winterwonderland.

Taking photos of snow can be really tricky because of the high contrast with the snow, so I used a gray card and I’m really happy with the results.

These photos look up the hill at the back of my parents’ house…Love it!

One Word Project: Home

One Word Project: Home

This next One Word Project is “Home” and I was really excited to get to take these at my childhood home back in Indianapolis! I took these during one of my favorite times of the year to be home: Christmas! My family has so many Christmas traditions that Matt and I both look forward to each year, so here are some of our traditions captured on film.

The two photos above, Matt and my sister Sara baking Christmas cookies.

One of my favorite Christmas decorations is this little candlelit manger Carousel that acts as our dining room table centerpiece.

Every year we select a 9 foot real Christmas tree. We bring it home, string over a thousand white lights and hang hundreds of ornaments collected by all or us over the years, each with memories and stories behind them.

This is our Christmas dinner feast in action…all of us in our festive outfits, eating our traditional American Christmas dinner.

In a lovely historic area in Indianapolis there’s a little neighborhood where every Christmas Eve the residents line their neighborhood sidewalks with candlelit lanterns. Every Christmas Eve after our church service we drive up and down the streets admiring the beautifully lit sidewalks and yards.

This particular project was a challenge for me because these were all low lighting situations, but again this project just reminds me how much I love the rich quality if film!

One Word Project: Unpolished

One Word Project: Unpolished

The One Word Project for November was Unpolished. In November Matt and I went on a road trip down to a family reunion in Missouri and stopped to stay with Shelly and Andy in St. Louis. I brought my 35mm camera along and Shelly and I went out early one morning in search of this coffee I love from the local brew in Benton Park. I took these photos along the way. Quite a few seriously ‘unpolished’ and a few just slightly ‘unpolished’ buildings that shine with a beautiful history and a rich note to the beauty that once was. You can’t walk through these historic streets without wondering what once was, as these lovely brick structures undergo complete overhaul (most of which thankfully preserve the historic nature) as the gentrification of the various neighborhoods has slowly transformed and restored. As you see in these photos, some of these areas have been more restored than others. Enjoy!





Gluten Free BBQ Meatballs

Gluten Free BBQ Meatballs

Its been a while since I’ve posted a recipe and I have to say this one is a great one to lead in with. These are Gluten Free (dairy free, egg free) BBQ Meatballs! I saw this recipe on “The Pioneer Woman.” She writes a blog and now has a show on the Food Network.

Last weekend our church was having a potluck, or “pitch-in” as I’m used to calling them, and I had no idea what I was going to bring. Then I saw Ree Drummond on her show talking about what she makes for church potlucks and this recipe for her “BBQ Comfort Meatballs” was always a hit she said. Excitedly I watched, waiting to see what these tasty little pieces of comfort were made from; waiting to see if I could turn this traditional comfort food into an allergen-free comfort food, fit enough for a church potluck. I was thrilled to see that I could, with the most minor of modifications and they were indeed a hit!

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I love my church! At our potluck there was even a Gluten Free line with all the dishes that were Gluten Free and all of us who follow this diet were extremely grateful! Imagine, a potluck with more than 2 dishes I could eat!!!! So, for all of you who loved these meatballs and wanted the recipe, here is my modified version that I used for the potluck. Enjoy!

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Gluten Free (dairy free, egg free) BBQ Meatballs

Meatball Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
3/4 cup (Gluten Free) Oats
1 cup milk (Rice Milk)
3 Tablespoons finely minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Plenty of ground pepper to taste

Homemade BBQ Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons (Gluten Free) Worcestershire Sauce
4 to 6 Tablespoons onion, finley minced
Dash tabasco sauce

For Frying Metaballs:
1 cup (Gluten Free) flour
Canola oil

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1) First, stir together all the BBQ sauce ingredients and set aside.

2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3) Combine all Meatball ingredients and roll into balls and place on a baking sheet. I found it was helpful to wet my hands with cold water before rolling each one. Place pan in freezer for 5 minutes.

4) Immediately remove the meatballs and dredge each one in flour.

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5) Next, in about 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pain, place the meatballs in the pan to fry (carful not to over crowd the pan). Just enough to brown all sides.

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6) Place browned meatballs in baking dish and cover with BBQ sauce.

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7) Bake at 350 for 45 minutes and enjoy!

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I made a double batch and froze half the meatballs after they were fried (not quite cooked all the way). I thawed them in the fridge today and cooked them the rest of the way in the oven with the sauce.

One Word Project: Stranger

One Word Project: Stranger

This One Word Project word is ‘Stranger’. I took a bit of a different approach to this one. These photos are of my good friend Mary. As you can tell, she’s 9 months pregnant here and glowing! One Saturday morning Mary and I met up for brunch and I happened to bring my camera along. I gave her no warning what-so-ever, as it was a last minute thought, and fingers crossed I asked if she would graciously model for me. Being the good friend she is, Mary was happy to do so.

Although Mary has been a friend of mine for years, her little one is a ‘Stranger’ for now but not for much longer. Looking forward to meeting this little one soon!




One Word Project: Close

One Word Project: Close

The focus for the One Word Project for September was the word “Close.” I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for this one and then it dawned on me…ping (light bulb)…I should take a roll using my telephoto lens. I was kind of excited about this one because one of my favorite qualities about photography is the ability a camera has to capture an ordinary object in a new light.

I enjoy seeing the world through the eyes of a camera lens because it gives me the ability to focus in and also to crop out. I enjoy seeing the beauty that the things in our everyday lives posses and to me a camera captures that beauty so well.

So, here are some things I see in my everyday life. I walk past them all the time and rarely take time to notice the beauty they really do hold…from a worn out volkswagon bug to sunflowers in my garden, here I’m taking a “closer look” at the everyday.





The black and shots of the peppers below is my ode to one of my favorite photographers, Edward Weston. He’s well known for his series of black and white images of peppers. Love the form, shadow, shape, and all those lovely elements of design that are displayed in the little guys in these images.


One Word Project: Shadow

One Word Project: Shadow

The One Word Project continues and for August…yes August (Shelly and I are a little behind, but September is already coming along) the word is Shadow. I was really excited when I heard that it was shadow because I’m so drawn to high contrast compositions and a composition with an emphasis on shadow, in my mind naturally thinks of high contrast. For these shots I decided to take a trip down the street to the small down town of West Dundee on a sunny afternoon (the perfect makings for shadowy shots).

The photo above is what I would call my classic style of shooting…not so much about what I’m shooting as the composition that is created through the lens of my camera, one full of pattern, line, and a highly contrasting range of shades and tones.

While shooting for “Shadow” a new revelation popped into my head, as my ordinary eyes put on their shadow-finding-filters. The realization was that shadows really are like mini alternate realities of everyday objects. Shadows are beautiful compositions in of themselves as they are an altered version of the objects they mimic. With this realization you can see how my view shifted from focusing on the shadows pouring from an object, to focusing on the world of the shadow and the object as a secondary character in the story. So, hence the shots below of the table and chair sets.


Above: One of my favorite photos of this shoot.

Below: I love the way the shadows play on the facade of this old building.

Some of my favorite subjects are old buildings…it must be the architecture side of me coming out. I really enjoy how classical buildings have beautifully thought out detail work that truly is illuminated and made more pronounced when put in daylight that allows shadows to both shade and highlight these details all at the same time.

One-Word Project: Ordinary

One-Word Project: Ordinary

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I’m back and kicking off this new blogging season with a monthly photography spot called the “One-Word Project.” I have a passion for photography that started when I was in high school, where I had a great opportunity to take several black and white film photography classes. Over the course of 4 years I got pretty good. I successfully used the film camera on fully manual settings and developed all my own photographs. I even won some portfolio competitions. Then the digital camera came into my life and I was more concerned with capturing the moment and just used fully automatic settings. But, my love for film has remained.

I’ve been wanting to relearn using my 35mm film camera, but just haven’t had the push to do it until now. My best buddy and roomie from college, Shelly Goodman, is a wonderful wedding photographer and came up with this wonderful idea to start the “One-Word Project.” The concept is to have one word a month that is left up to the photographer to interpret and post on their own blog. Each individual photographer sets their own rules. My rules are that my photographs for the “One-Word Project” will be taken on fully manual settings on my 35mm camera (and its completely old school, my parent’s from way back when). So follow along as I relearn my 35mm camera and recapture my love of film!

The word for July (yeah, we’re a little behind) is Ordinary. And in July what I think of as ordinary are lazy days on the beach. Whether its the ocean, a lake, a river bed, or an old quarry filled with water, in America days in July seem ordinarily filled with laying around on the beach on a weekend with friends or family vacations on a shore. Some of the best summer memories for lots of us are on a shore somewhere and what a blessing that these days are ordinary and common to us.

My photographic focus (even from the start) has always gravitated toward finding the beauty in the ordinary and everyday. Above I tried to capture the beauty and elegant contrast of a fun sun hat against the earthiness of the sand.

A lifeguard’s post is found at every beach and pool, but beauty is found when this ordinary structure is contrasted by an organically painted backdrop of small waves and spotty clouds.

This is my handsome hubby, Matt, posing for a photograph on the beach. As usual, he was a good sport as I was bugging him to let me take photographs of him while he was trying to enjoy his time. You can faintly see my reflection with my camera in his sunglasses…an ordinary sight that you’ll see once more in this post.

Once again, just an ordinary day at the beach with some friends (who shall remain nameless :) and I’m so thankful it’s an ordinary event to just hang out!

Ordinary was really the perfect word for me to jump on board with this project. Because regardless of straying from film for a while all my friends and family will tell you that any ordinary event I attend, I’m always peering one eye through a camera lense. So, now I dive back in and rediscover my photography roots: film!

A little background on the photographer who started this endeavor:
Shelly Goodman, like I said my best bud and college roomie, started this “One-Word Project” as a way to encourage herself and other photographers to just create for the sake of creating and developing skills. Shelly and I spent many late nights in the dorm painting, drawing, and designing as we were both design majors (Shelly: visual communications and my self: architecture). We went through design school together, critiquing each other’s work and encouraging each other to strive for excellence and throughout the years we’ve continued to spur each other on to create and design. Shelly is an amazing wedding photographer out of St. Louis and for this project specifically will be using medium format film. We hope you’ll follow us on this journey!