30 Day Photography Challenge



I came across this 30 Day Photo Challenge that one of our friends recently posted on the internet. One of my goals for this year, is to become a better photographer. The more you practice, the easier things become. I have improved quite a bit since I started taking pictures for this blog, but I thought it would be fun to work on photography specifically, and take a break from my usual projects.

There is no time like the present.


Day#1 Self Portrait

Darn it, I wish the first day would have been something else! I hate having my picture taken! But, the bonus is that if I do it myself I don’t have to use anything that I don’t like.

That being said I had to Google some tips on taking a decent self portrait.  A tripod and a self timer are recommended. I don’t own a tripod, and I am still learning how to use the self timer on my camera, so I opted to start with the iPhone.

There were some great tips on taking good photos with your iPhone here. One of the best tips on this site, is that it’s better to take pictures with the back facing camera on your iPhone, instead of the front. Who knew?

The author also says not to take pictures in the photo apps, but just with the camera, then edit as you see fit later. Hummm, mistake number one for me. I love apps! There is even an app for a self timer, Gorillacam. Awesome!


So, there is a little story behind this post. This is me driving incognito to drop off my son at his symphony rehearsal. It was very early, rainy and cold. I don’t do well with early morning anything. So I donned my rain coat and snow leopard scarf (it covers up the bed head), swooshed on some lipstick (distracts from the coffee stained teeth) and we were off. The shades were necessary since I was with out make up.

Shocking I know.

Yup, this is me being incognito.

I never said I was good at it.


On the way home, I decided to stop by this old train car and take a few pictures. No one was around, and I thought it would make for an interesting setting.

I love how colorful it is.


This abandoned train appears to be only used for storage. Such a shame, it is so beautiful! Can’t you just see Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart boarding this train? It’s like something out of an old movie. I love North by Northwest.

Such a classic!


There are business offices located nearby in the former depot, I prayed there was no one working on a Saturday morning.


Last thing I need is to get arrested for trespassing. This could be very hard to explain…..


The train has the Camp Randall logo on the side of it.  How cool is this graphic? Camp Randall was originally a Union Army training camp during the civil war. This train has been here for as long as I can remember.

At one time our city had many trains and tracks, this is one of the few that remains. The others have been removed or are now bike paths. As much as I love biking, I think we have lost something of the past.

Photography tip: Practice focusing on an object in the position that you plan to stand before you take your shot. This makes sense right? I tried out several different camera settings before choosing the one I liked.

I decided to focus on the graphic for my photo shoot. This may or may not have been a good idea.


Capture the real you: There is lots of room for interpretation here. Like me being incognito.  Not sure if I should have the P and A in this shot, but I like their colors, so they are staying. At least for now.


Experiment with different points of view: Try holding the camera at different angles, or even putting the camera on the ground and getting a shot of you in the distance.

 Grace Kelly, eat your heart out!

My son says this photo makes me look really old.

Sigh. What does he know? Bet he doesn’t even know who Grace Kelly was.


Try a black and white setting: Maybe you will look younger in black and white than in color. There is always hope.

Try interesting action shots. Hang dangerously off the side of a train: Pray you won’t drop your iPhone into a puddle.  Try not to giggle at the thought of some unsuspecting guy working in his office who may be laughing historically at this oddly dressed woman taking pictures of her self on an abandoned train early in the morning. 


One of the issues with taking pictures with your iPhone is that it may ring. Ignore a ringing iPhone when photographing.

“Mom, where are you?” Ummmm, I am at the mall, dear. Lie. Big lie.

“Did you forget to pick me up?” Maybe. Sort of. Okay, I forgot. I was busy.

“Busy doing what?”  I don’t think I can really explain that right now, maybe later. I will be there soon.

I am not done being Grace Kelly yet. Darn it, I forgot my stilettos.


Try different cameras, if you own more than one. These photos I took with the aid of my Nikon Cool Pix and a self timer.  It’s more fun to be further away from the lens. At least it is for me. I like the back lighting in this shot. I also like that you can’t see my face. It’s probably my favorite self portrait so far. 

Need more inspiration? I loved this article with 100 Seriously Cool Self Portraits. There are so many talented photographers out there!

I am still working on mastering the art of the self portrait. I read somewhere that if you take 100 pictures of the same thing, you will get at least one shot that you like.


I don’t think I could take 100 pictures of myself. I would be bored to death with my subject matter.

But, maybe by the time I get to Day 30, I will have it figured out how to take at least one picture that I can use as a profile pic and not embarrass my children.

Wave goodbye to Jimmy Stewart. All aboard!



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