Ground Level


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A couple weeks ago I posted about a self-assigned photography project

cemetary arc

After I left both the Food & Light and Mexico City workshops, my teachers and mentors from both events urged all of us in attendance to challenge ourselves, push ourselves, and assign ourselves projects.

So when Jess asked if there was any interest in doing a photography project that she assigned, I said sure!

The project was extremely open-ended: Ground Level


I was really stumped about what I wanted to capture.

Ground level.


I pondered it but nothing was coming to me.

Then a couple days ago I was walking with Skylar and came across broken glass

Broken glass on groundVery Ground Level in the most literal interpretation

The sun was reflecting from the glass and it was shimmering and sparkling and I had a teaching moment explaining about glass: it’s sharp, we don’t touch it, why it was broken and fragments were on the grass, what crime is, why someone would break another person’s car windows.

The broken glass was a tool in that moment.

All this while the sun was shining on our backs in a very comforting way that happens on those perfect, crisp fall days.

Skylar crouching on the sidewalk

Unfortunately, I know these images are only made possible because another person had the misfortune of having their car windows broken, which saddens me.

But on the bright side, the start of fall, walking with my little girl after school, the sun shining, being outside, helping her understand some bigger concepts, and just soaking up life together all felt ground level and back-to-basics.

And that was a gift from this self-assignment.  Or Jess‘ from assignment.

Broken glass on ground

So even though the broken glass is a result of misfortune, at the moment I took these pictures, I felt very blessed to be with my daughter and just be.

As I mentioned previously, one of the messages in the event I attended this week was that people don’t want pictures; they want memories of how they felt when the pictures were taken.

As I look at these pictures a week later, I remember exactly how I felt.

So this self-assignment was successful in that sense.

Broken glass on groundIf you look closely, you can sort of make out my reflection in the lower right hand corner

And I think I have a budding photographer on my hands.

Imaginary camera, squatting down, making sure she gets.the.shot.  <–Monkey see, monkey do

Skylar crouching on the sidewalkGround Level at it’s finest


1. What’s the last project, goal, or challenge you gave yourself? Or that someone else gave you?  What did you learn?

Not just about photography, but about anything.

The last project I gave myself was to meet other like-minded professionals and I checked that off my list.  Foot in the door and starting somewhere, that’s all I can ask for at this point.

Another project was to increase my running speed just by a tiny bit.  After a month, a run that used to take me about 27 minutes now takes 24.  I made progress.  (I don’t time myself scientifically at all.  I look at my microwave clock when I leave the house and check it when I get back)  Plus, I feel faster, so the self-assigned project was a success.

Another self-challenge is to get more sleep.  I get a fail on that one.   Too much to do, and I cut out sleep before I cut out the other things I want or need to accomplish.   But I’m working on it.

2. Weekend plans?

Not sure what we’re up to yet.  Hopefully some family time, some cooking time, and whatever else happens, I’ll just go with the flow.

And now, I need to have some chocolate.  

White Chocolate Cookies & Cream Fudge is calling my name

White Chocolate Cookies & Cream FudgeLong day, long week = chocolate time

P.S. Thanks for the Case of Odwalla Bars Giveaway entries.   Keep them coming!

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  1. The last project I gave myself was to treat school like a full time job. I’m currently at classes 8 hours a day and doing homework 2 or 3 hours a day so I think it’s going pretty well. I feel like I’m going to burn out soon though.

  2. I love the meaning that the glass photo holds for you now! So true, that it is all about the emotion/memory in a photo, not always the photo itself.
    There aren’t many websites where I vividly remember some of the photos posted, as in I could match them to your blog if asked, and I think that is because often you do so much more than take a beautiful photo but you really capture an image. Being able to capture vibes and emotions in a photo AND evoking aforementioned in a viewer are such a skill! That cheerful street vendor in Mexico City, a couple of images from the Pride parade, the incredible beach shot (the one with the chain)…and the chocolate cream (?) strawberry shot to name a few… amazing! All the hard work, time and effort you have put into advancing your skills as a photographer have really paid off and the difference between your photos a year ago or so and now is incredible!
    I obviously don’t know you personally, but I have no doubt in my mind: If you want to make a career of being a photographer you will do it and be successful at it! Your drive and determination are inspiring and infectious!

    1. What a lovely, kind, supportive comment…thank you so much for your praise and for reading my blog and the great encouragement on if I ever decide to go pro :)

      1. I am excited to follow your journey and thank you for sharing with all of us :-) And your reply at 3.31 am (!!??) just proves my point re the drive and determination ;-) I am so glad that I re-discovered your blog a while back- since then I have not missed a single post and am loving your blog (my laptop loves it too, it never freezes up anymore, which it used to do when I had too many windows of the old LV&Y open).
        Quick question; I subscribed via email and was wondering: does it make a difference to you whether I click though to the individual posts or just read them in the email format? I read but sometimes don’t go to your website unless I want to leave a comment. Thanks!
        Love the new header/design btw :-)

      2. Thank you so much for your support and for reading all the posts! In terms of the way my sponsors count my page views, I only get “credited” for views/reading directly from my site, i.e. when you come to comment or browse around my site but really it does not matter to me! AT ALL! I am just happy to know you are reading and for the high praise….it made my day. Thank you :)

      3. I didn’t know that- will make sure to click through if it makes a difference to the sponsor!
        You come across as such a kind and compassionate person, and so humble!
        One more thing and then I better go get some work done… I really like how you so cleverly link back to your older posts in your posts. Even though I didn’t read for a few months I don’t feel I missed out or have to trawl through your archives (although I do that just for fun too), because of your great link backs! Your best posts will pop up again over time, I love that! It really shows how much time and effort you put into your blog and your posts!
        Have a great Sunday!

  3. A day trip to the beach is order I believe for me. Not sure how it’s all going to work out, but I need to see ocean and sand to focus my mindset. It’s not close, but it’s not too far and I am used to heading there about twice a year. I’m itching to go since I haven’t been in over a year. Far too long! That’s my only assignment for today. Peace and focus.

  4. What a fun project and great pictures! Beautiful color and light.

    1. I haven’t done any photography assignments yet, but I might actually have time soon – woohoo! I have been challenging myself with running and races which has been a huge challenge lately finding time, but also feels good that I have been.
    2. Not much – relaxing, chores, shopping with my sisters, and running.

  5. That picture of Skylar, the last one, is priceless. You should frame that one.

    I time myself with the microwave method if and when I do ever run too. I haven’t actually done that in months though. Pretty sure I’ve not ever done it at my “new” house.

  6. A project that is constantly on the periphery of my mind is going completely Raw for one week. I want to see if I could do it and how it feels. I don’t have time for it right now but seriously, next summer? It is on.

  7. that’s neat that a teachable moment came out of someones misforture. Plus you got a sweet picture out of it!

  8. Gorgeous picture, but even better story and meaning behind it, like you said. I’m hoping to have some time this weekend to go on that same self assignment!

  9. that is a wonderful photo, the very last one, of skylar. but i also really like the first one of the broken glass. that’s a really neat perspective to look DOWN. so often we look straight ahead, or up – at least i do!
    i like to challenge myself to create patterns out of yarns that intrigue me. i’m drawn to texture or to variegated colours. it’s really neat how some knitting stitches do well with either of those concepts…while others flop completely. i also like fitness challenges, be they running, cardio, strength, stretching, yoga…always something new you can focus on.
    i have mega work hours this weekend…as i know you do, too! parenting, home chores, paid work…the cycle continues! have a good one!

  10. Your photos are so gorgeous! My last assignment was probably some school assignment. Wait. That doesn’t count, does it? But I’m graduating this year! Woohoo! As for weekend plans, I’ll probably be reading this blog. What a great weekend, right?