Ordinary Objects are Beautiful Challenge ~ July and August

Summer is already drawing to an end. It’s been a good one and I’ve been quite successful at balancing quality family time with my busy photography career. The Fall workshop season will start soon, I am planning to continue photographing the ordinary around me wherever my travels will take me.

Here are the things, among many others, that caught my eye in July and August: An empty glass in the morning light on my kitchen table, ‘Normandy blue’ on the beach, WWII mementos at a friends’ house, violin cases at a luthier, a dark stairway, a hotel bed in the low evening sun, the sun shining through the window of an old casket factory, 3 chairs having a meeting and a very old grocery list. To see all 45 weeks, please visit this gallery.

Click on each picture to see it larger.

Mirrored Me

I’ve never used a selfie stick, I promise! ;) But I like reflective surfaces such as antique mirrors, gritty windows or shiny surfaces. And I do shoot self portraits with a real camera once in a while… Here are a few that I collected over the past few months in various locations around the world…

Click on the first pic to see it larger.

In-Between

The ‘in-between’ photo workshop season is always bittersweet. I definitely need the break to catch up on many office tasks, plan the next season, open registrations for the following year, catch up on writing and record several podcast episodes to be as worry-free as possible when I am traveling again. It is also the family time I need, both in the States and in France. The tough part is that I don’t get as much quality time with my camera as I wish I could. But then again, it’s never too long until the next photo adventure and I already can’t wait to lead my next workshop!

I’ve been back for 3 weeks and really haven’t had much time to escape with my camera. So I am applying the same exercise as when I am on a family vacation: The camera comes with me everywhere I go but doesn’t always get used. I grab a shot here and there, whether I am out for a drink with friends downtown Minneapolis, going out for ice-cream with the family or attending a concert. It’s very important to practice those visual push-ups as often as possible. There is no excuse not to, you have a camera in your phone! Everyday events are opportunities to make art, to turn the ordinary into extraordinary. The challenge is to make it work by blending it with your daily activities.

Here are a few images collected while on family outings, out with friends or running regular errands over the past few days…

Please leave a comment and tell me about your experience blending your photography into your daily activities. Thank you for visiting my blog! :)

©Valerie Jardin

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Seen at 16mm

There is a place I visit regularly in Minneapolis, that’s Architectural Antiques. I know the staff there, they’re super friendly and always let me spend time in some dark corners hunting for treasures with my camera. This week I received the new Fujinon 16mm F/1.4 lens which prompted me to take the XT-1 out of the closet (I’ve been shooting at 23mm with the X100S and now the X100T for so long, I never even think of using a different focal length any more!)

This is not a lens review, I don’t do those. I find them boring to read, let alone write them! Just a few pics shot with a pretty incredible lens which I am going to take on the streets once in a while now too. It will by no means replace my X100T for street photography. I don’t think the camera that will, is even born yet!

This week the Architectural Antiques had some cool old film reels and canisters lying around the store. I had fun shooting them in very low light with the cool new fast prime. Photographers are never bored!
©Valerie Jardin - XT-1 16mm-1 ©Valerie Jardin - XT-1 16mm-7 ©Valerie Jardin - XT-1 16mm-2 ©Valerie Jardin - XT-1 16mm-14 ©Valerie Jardin - XT-1 16mm-13 ©Valerie Jardin - XT-1 16mm-5 ©Valerie Jardin - XT-1 16mm-6 ©Valerie Jardin - XT-1 16mm-1 ©Valerie Jardin - XT-1 16mm-10 ©Valerie Jardin - XT-1 16mm-8

Then I went across the street and found a window that gave me the moody and contrasty light I love…

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iPhone photo walks on the beach

This will be remembered as the minimalist photographer’s summer vacation. As you read in my last posts, I am now finishing a 3 week family vacation. The emphasis was on the family, not the photography. You may think that it is only normal, and that it doesn’t require much effort. Well… It is not that simple. For people like me, photography is like breathing. It is my life. It is the way I express my feelings, good or bad. It also becomes therapy if I have a bad day.  

I am very fortunate to make a living out of my photography and I can shoot whatever I want, wherever I want the rest of the year. So it is really important to make my family vacation time extra special by not letting the camera get in the way too much.  The last posts, week 1 and week 2 where a collection of images collected here and there with my Fuji X100T camera while on family outings. Today I want to share a few iPhone pics I collected while on my morning or evening walks on the beach.

The best camera is the one you have with you, and my smart phone is always with me and just click away. The ultimate exercise in limitations! I don’t even use any apps, I choose the iPhone setting I find the most appropriate for the scene  and press the button. All shot with the iPhone 5S.

Alone

Alone

Waiting for the tide

Waiting for the tide

Not walking another step!

Not walking another step!

Morning fog

Morning fog

Evening ride

Evening ride

Coming and going

Coming and going

Storm coming

Storm coming

Waiting for the sails

Waiting for their sails

The Adventure Continues ~ Week 2

Or maybe I should say the ‘non-photographic’ adventure continues. I just finished week #2 of my family vacation, the camera always by my side but no time devoted to photography exclusively. I’m managing to grab a shot here and there. Happy with a keeper at the end of the day as I rarely shoot more than 15 frames while enjoying family time. Do I find it frustrating at times? Yes I do. But I keep looking at it as a challenge and I’ve always believed in quality over quantity.

Home base this July is my family home in Normandy. We also took a road trip to the Eastern part of France and visited Metz. We enjoyed a short visit to Luxembourg as well, before heading West to Brittany and the medieval town of Dinan. Back in Normandy now for another week of vacation. I may take a few hours to myself during the last stretch of the trip and go out with the sole purpose of doing street photography. Honestly, taking a break it is not as hard as I thought it would be. I am so fortunate to spend all my time (outside of vacation time) with other photographers and my camera for the sole purpose of shooting or teaching. Life is good!

Here are a few of the street photography keepers this week. I am also shooting other things in preparation of a new keynote presentation titled The Art of Seeing Photographically. More on that later . 

All shot with the Fuji X100T.

Do you have a favorite? Thank you for leaving a comment!

 

Mystery man in Metz ©Valérie Jardin

Mystery man in Metz
©Valérie Jardin

Happy under the same umbrella in Luxembourg. ©Valérie Jardin

Happy under the same umbrella in Luxembourg.
©Valérie Jardin

Tête-à-tête in Arromanche, Normandy. ©Valérie Jardin

Tête-à-tête in Arromanche, Normandy.
©Valérie Jardin

Silhouettes under the lifeguard station ~ Lion-sur-Mer, Normandy. ©Valérie Jardin

Silhouettes under the lifeguard station ~ Lion-sur-Mer, Normandy.
©Valérie Jardin

Evening bikes ride ~ Ouistreham, Normandy ©Valérie Jardin

Evening bikes ride ~ Ouistreham, Normandy
©Valérie Jardin

Into the light ~ Bayeux cathedral, Normandy ©Valérie Jardin

Into the light ~ Bayeux cathedral, Normandy

Two men and their ice cream cones - Ouistreham, Normandy. ©Valérie Jardin

Two men and their ice cream cones – Ouistreham, Normandy.
©Valérie Jardin

"It's this way" ~ Dinan, Brittany ©Valérie Jardin

“It’s this way” ~ Dinan, Brittany
©Valérie Jardin

The lone window ~ Dinan, Brittany ©Valérie Jardin

The lone window ~ Dinan, Brittany
©Valérie Jardin

Dog crossing ~ Dinan, Brittany ©Valérie Jardin

Dog crossing ~ Dinan, Brittany

She walked from the darkness into he light wearing black & white ~ Dinan, Brittany. ©Valérie Jardin

She walked from the darkness into the light wearing black & white ~ Dinan, Brittany.
©Valérie Jardin

Paris in July

Family vacation time! Mandatory stop in Paris for a few days on our way to the coast. It’s a short visit, Paris in the summer is not my favorite time of the year to be there. The capital loses some of its authenticity with many of the locals gone on vacation and hoards of tourists invading every street corner. I don’t make time for photography during those family trips, my camera just follows as an extension of me and I grab a shot here and there. It can be a bit frustrating at times when you are a photo addict like me, but if you make it a challenge, it can also be very rewarding. How many keepers will I have at the end of the day without sacrificing family time?

Here are a few of the keepers from 3 short days spent in Paris earlier this week. All shot with my beloved Fuji X100T which is the only camera I am traveling with again this summer.

 

©Valerie Jardin

Walking through a sunburst, Ile de la Cite ©Valerie Jardin

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At M ‘O ©Valerie Jardin

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The Mystery Bride ©Valerie Jardin

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The Pigeon Whisperer ©Valerie Jardin

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Let’s Dance on Ile Saint Louis ©Valerie Jardin

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Time for Love ©Valerie Jardin

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Appeared like a blur in a ray of sunlight ©Valerie Jardin

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The stare… ©Valerie Jardin

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Dans le metro ©Valerie Jardin

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Minimalist pigeon story ©Valerie Jardin

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Business as usual at La Defense ©Valerie Jardin

Light and shadows ©Valerie Jardin

Light and shadows
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©Valerie Jardin

Cleaning time ©Valerie Jardin

 

The Streets of Chicago

I just had a fantastic weekend in ‘The Windy City’ where I was a presenter at the Out of Chicago photo conference. I met such amazing people, both among the attendees and the other speakers. So much energy, creativity and camaraderie were packed in 3 days! I can’t wait to participate again in 2016. There were many highlights to my weekend, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I also had the honor to become an official X Photographer for Fujifilm USA, which marks the beginning of a new adventure!

Here are a few snapshots gathered while roaming the streets of Chicago…

©Valerie Jardin

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Ordinary Objects are Beautiful Challenge ~ May & June

No worries, I haven’t forgotten to photograph a weekly ordinary object.

Here are the things, among many others, that caught my eye in May and June: A discarded sofa, my hotel room pillows in Canada, a lost toy found on a window sill in the streets of Paris, modern cafeteria patterns, a rooftop view from my bedroom, light on an indoor shutter, balls from a game I never understood and a rope seen at the dock while walking by the lake during the sweet evening light…

Click on each picture to see it larger. To see all 36 weeks, please visit this gallery.

Paris, encore Paris…

Bonjour! I finally had time to look through more of my photographs of Paris from my last trip in May. It was such a great week. I am thankful everyday to be able to live my dream and make a living teaching others how to see and capture everyday life. In case you missed the previous post, you can see it here. And if you want to join one of my upcoming photo adventures, please visit the workshop listings on my website

Thank you for visiting my blog, please leave a comment if you enjoy your time here. Merci!

 

©Valerie Jardin

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©Valerie Jardin

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