Monday, October 28, 2013


I knew when I picked this theme that I would probably focus on one of my favorite subjects - the changing fall colors. However, I challenged myself to find a new way to shoot this familiar subject.

I traveled to Branson, Missouri this weekend, and had plenty of opportunities to photograph bright leaves. However, I struggled with finding a new perspective until I noticed wonderful colors blurring past my passenger window. I decided to point the camera out the window, set a slow shutter speed, and click away. The rapidly changing scenery actually provides wonderful brush strokes of color, and in this particular shot, we even get a peek of trees in the distance, between the gaps of foliage closer the road. -Cort

I too, love this time of year with all of it's changes. The trees are really kicking in their changing of color and everything is so beautiful. But I decided not to go that route for this theme. I couldn't get the the line "I've got a little change in my pocket going jing-a-ling-a-ling" from the Georgia Satellites' song "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" out of my head this week.  The only reason I like the song is that a local cover band mashed it up with some other song (can't remember what right now) and we always had the best time dancing to it. Because I had this line running over and over through my head for the entire week (I blame you Cort! ;0), I decided to photograph this type of change. -Dina

Next Week's Theme: [cue spooky music] Halloween!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I chose this theme because this past week, the Turco family got to walk down memory lane. Growing up, my family spent every Sunday morning at my Nana and Nanu's house. I can count on one hand the number of times we didn't go; usually due to weather or illness. Other members of the extended Turco family would come too..some every week, others a couple of times a month. There was always delicious food--Orsi bread, spaghetti sauce and meatballs (for breakfast of course), homemade cookies, cake etc. There was also a lot of laughter and a lot of yelling. It wasn't real yelling, but more "Italian family talking loudly over one another" yelling. My Dad would bring his barber tools a couple of times a month and there would be haircuts. There would also be projects, mowing the grass, fixing up things around the house, etc, etc. We would also spend a lot of time sitting around, listening to my Nanu's stories and just hanging out. It defined my idea of what family is, does and should be to this day. Like most good things, I didn't realize what a gift those Sunday mornings were until they were gone. My Nana and Nanu's house still belongs in the family, but the family who owns it is ready to sell the house.

Last week, we had an impromptu gathering at the house, for probably the last time ever. There was delicious food (Thanks Aaron and Tracy) and lots of laughter, and some "yelling" and a lot of memories shared. I'm sure my Nana and Nanu were really happy to see their family gathered in their home one more time. My Aunt Mary was in town, so all of their living children were there once: Mary, my Uncle Tony and my Dad. My Uncle Louie passed away too long ago, but his kids and grand kids were there too. It was also fun to show off the house to Lucy and Sophie who had never been there and we took lots and lots of pictures.

The house has been modernized so there are a lot of changes, but the screen door to their porch is the same screen door that was around back when we were kids. We were all in and out of the house a lot that day and I couldn't believe that every time I grabbed the handle to open the door, it felt so familiar and memories would rush back of the 25 years worth of Sundays I spent there. It was comforting and bittersweet at the same time. And amazing that just one little thing, a screen door handle could do that. So out of all the photos we took that day, this picture, which is pretty ordinary to most, will always bring back memories and remind me of the blessings of family I had and still have to this day! Thank you God for the gift of my familia!   -Dina

About a mile from my house is Shoal Creek Cemetery, which was established when the area was first settled in the mid-1800s. There are many gravestones from then until the 1920s. Obviously I don't have any memories of these people, nor does anyone else still alive. However, whenever I visit a cemetery, I always wonder what the stories are of the people who are buried there. For a long time, survivors came here to remember their loved ones.

I also love the imagery of this particular photo, with the tombstone in the foreground, the dead tree not far behind it, and a living tree in the background, perhaps providing a glimpse of what the bare, stripped trunk once looked like. All in front of a setting sun. Not a bad metaphor for a cemetery.  -Cort

Next Week's Theme: Change

Monday, October 14, 2013


I knew that at some point during this one-year project, I would want us to do a self portrait. It's always a lot more fun to do this outside, and to do it when the weather is nice. It occurred to me suddenly that we're rapidly running of nice weather, so I decided this would be the week.

I think it's important when doing any portrait, whether it's yourself or another person, to do it in a setting that says something about that person. I always feel at peace when I'm alone in nature. One of my favorite places close to my house is Maple Woods Nature Preserve. It has a few miles of hiking trails, and for an afternoon I can pretend I'm far from civilization.

This was a challenging shoot. I wanted to use a long lens so that the foreground and background would blur out. That required that I place the camera about 50 feet away. I would set the timer, click the shutter release, and then dash through the woods to that log in 10 seconds or less. Then, with whatever time remained, I had to compose myself so that it looked like I was relaxing on that log the whole time. I did at least a couple dozen exposures, so let's just say I got my workout. -Cort

Here is a photo I took of me taking a photo of myself.  :) -Dina

Next Week's Theme: Memories 

Monday, October 7, 2013


My dog Johnny and I attended two pet blessings this weekend. The first was at Cathedral and there were a lot of fun animals there. I adore how the Police make sure to bring one of their horses and one of the police dogs along. They were even mentioned in the blessing...prayers for the those animals who help protect us. What I love about this photo is how the dog is standing on his police officer partner and looking back at the horse. I don't know if he is saying my officer is cooler then yours or just checking in to see if his horse buddy is still there. The horse has such a gentle look on it's face. The added bonus to the photo is the awesome photobomb: the man in the back whom I assume is asking the boston terrier to pull his finger.   -Dina

I attended the Kansas City Renaissance Festival on Saturday. There was an interesting assortment of animals there, including horses, camels, and donkeys, and I got some photos of all of them. However, I was most drawn to the stage where they were showing birds of prey. The bald eagle has always been one of my favorite animals, and I couldn't resist focusing in on him. This poor guy is in captivity because he was hit by a car and his wing was broken, leaving him permanently grounded. It took awhile for him to position himself in such a way that showed off his magnificent profile, and it took awhile for me to position myself in such a way that the background was not cluttered and distracting.  -Cort

Next Week's Theme: Self-portrait