A Different Perspective #7- “Still Present”

3-7Those of you have followed my blog for a while will recall the post I made in my 365 Project- Day 105- “Ribbon”. It is…. One of my posts that dives a bit deeper into my life.

So. Drew, Aubrey and I went to Boulder to visit Celestial Seasonings. While going back up to Greeley, we stopped off in Longmont… I dragged my friends to the park with me, not explaining why we were there. I went to the tree in question, gazed up…. and saw the ribbon. Still there.

Still caught in the branches.



A Different Perspective #2- “Ice Birds”

3-2Last night, I went over to Aubrey’s and we worked on homework together. Eventually, she completed hers and went to bed, and I stayed at her kitchen table working on a project while her cat Monkey intermittently watched me, slept, or tried to get me to play with him. Around 4:30 a.m., I finished my project and went to the spare bedroom and tossed and turned a bit. I slept for about an hour, then very abruptly woke up around 6:30 a.m. I decided that the time had come for me to go back to my own apartment, so I ventured down to my car. I sat freezing waiting for the car to warm up and for my newly repaired defroster to kick in. The sun was starting to come up, so I pulled my car forward about a foot so the frost on my windshield would melt a bit. And then I saw it.

On my window, there were thousands of ice specks, frozen in a dance that would soon be lost forever, and could never be replicated in the exact same way again. They looked to me to be like birds, with small, delicate wings, flying into the rising sun. I sat, awed, for a few minutes, and realized that this was the sort of thing that I needed to share. Not having my camera on me, I sped back home and snatched my camera up. By this point the sun was rising more, and the beautiful, pure, cold light of the early morning was fading away into the harsh light of day which would melt my ice birds. Luckily for me, I still managed to snap a few photos of them.

I found today the simple joy of my craft again- finding beauty in things that normally are passed over by more “important” things, or passed off as a nuisance, such as scraping ice off of a windshield.


Day 365- “Saxophone Keys”

365The other day, my saxophone broke. A vital piece of cork fell off of it, therefore the octave key stopped working. I took it in to the Music Depot here in Greeley for them to fix. It was sad, because I took it in during concert band rehearsal time, and when I returned, I sat moodily in the audience following along in my music. the next day, I attempted to play my scales test on my friend’s borrowed saxophone, which my teacher said I got a great sound on, but it still wasn’t mine. The next day, I got a call from Music Dept saying that my sax was ready to be picked up. When I went and got him, I almost cried with relief, first of all because I had to practice for my upcoming jury on Tuesday, but mostly because I felt a weird sense of relief that I had my saxophone back.

There is a joke among musicians that our instruments are more valuable than our lives. In a way, it’s false but true- surely no hunk of metal or wood is more valuable than a human life, but when you’ve invested thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into your craft, when you suddenly are not able to play it, you’re not quite sure how to function without it. Your artistic, musical voice is gone.

I spent four years playing the flute before I switched to bari sax. When I came to college, through strange circumstances, I was only able to play alto sax. But, last year, I volunteered on a spur of the moment decision to play tenor sax in concert band, as opposed to the alto, which I desperately hated. I was given the hunk of metal featured in the photo above last year, and there it was. I found my musical voice. Any saxophone player who has ever had the opportunity to hear me play tenor is dumbfounded by the tone I have on tenor, which I found out a few months after playing it is extremely difficult. (What is it about classical tenors that is so hard to make a good sound?)

I may be a photographer on paper and in practice, but I’m a musician at heart.


Day 360- “In Memory of Walter Smith”

360I don’t know Walter Smith, and yet I can darkly consider him a friend whom I have known for at least five years. I am going to post here something I wrote in March of 2009.

I like to ride my bike up to the old cemetery  While that sounds weird, it’s nice and quiet and I can actually hear myself think. I’ve gone around and seen all of the gravestones and wooden cross and simple rock markers many times, wondering who these people were. But I wonder most of all about Walter Smith.

Walter Smith died on April 20th, 1891- one hundred and one years and a week before I was even born. The thing that affects me so much about seeing Walter’s headstone, more than anyone else’s, is that he was sixteen. Sixteen years, six months, and twelve days old when he died. As of now, I’m one month, two weeks and three days short of seventeen. It’s pretty much guaranteed I’ll be seventeen, but it should have been for Walter too.

I wonder about how he died, why he died. Was he sick? Did he get thrown from a horse or something? Did he think he was going to live to be seventeen, and not even consider that he would die on April 20th? I wonder if he had siblings, and what his parents’ names were. “T.C.” and “L” don’t give me much to go on. I’m guessing their family must have been well off to have such a nice tombstone. I’m guessing his family moved or are buried elsewhere, because he’s the only Smith in this cemetery.

I wonder about who Walter was. What did he want to do with his life? Be a farmer, go to college, something like that. Could he have ever imagined that people would be able to fly? Could he have ever imagined that someday women would have the right to vote? I wonder if he had a girlfriend, or whatever they were called in the late eighteen hundreds.

I wonder why he died, and why no one else. Not that I’m implying that I wanted someone else to die instead of Walter, but why Walter? His life was barely even started and it was taken away from him. Why did no one in this day and age die when they were barely sixteen and a half? What gives me the right to be seventeen when Walter never got the chance?

For some reason, standing next to the grave of a boy I don’t even know who lived a hundred years ago, makes me appreciate life so much. And the weird thing is, I’m probably one of the only people who even knows that Walter even existed. No one else knew about Walter until now, and now he’s sort of immortalized on an Internet page. It’s an accomplishment of sorts, because now people will remember Walter even though he’s gone, and I have that credit for myself now.

So, I’ll end now, leaving everyone to ponder that.

I was kind of deep sometimes.

And I can’t say it any more articulately now than I did then.


Day 353- “Remembrance”


This photo, Day 353, should be for November 27th. November 27th is an extremely important day for me, for many reasons. It’s my brother-in-law’s birthday, it’s my goat Stoney’s birthday, and it’s Founder’s Day, the day that my fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi was founded at Oklahoma A&M College in 1919.

It is also the day, a year ago, that I came to terms with why I chose to major in photography. It’s a long, difficult story, involving guilt, depression, death, and acceptance.

I… I can’t really explain it again. It’s really a pretty tough story for me to even think about, but if you’re curious, check out my post from September 14th.

Sometimes, I wish things were how they used to be. The cemetery where I took this photo was a place that I used to go to as a kid. I used to take my dog Jenny there- since she was the only one of our three Corgis that I could trust off of the leash. She would run around happily, sniffing out rabbit holes while I gently placed flowers on all of the graves. This is an old cemetery; I think the most recent burial was before 1920. It’s a friendly cemetery.

But now, my Baby Girl is gone, after being hit by a car this summer. (You can read that post here.) I wandered around the cemetery alone, looking out at the sunset and down at the old, faded out flowers I placed on the graves back in March, when Jenny was still with me.

Jenny is gone, Alicia is gone, and sadly, there is nothing I can do about it, except keep moving forward.

And I do. November 27th was the first time I’ve ever played in the saxophone studio class. All of the saxophone majors get together every Tuesday and play for each other, then receive critiques from the saxophone professor. To me, it’s a bit awkward as a non-music major, a junior making a third attempt at the sax studio, to stand up in front of everyone and play. Nervously, I played my Telemann Fantasy,  and when I was done, I looked up at everyone and saw smiles and nods of approval. I don’t know why I was so worried. They’re are all my friends and they all want me to succeed, and they were all happy for me and all encourage me in my musical pursuits.

I would have continued pursuing art, had it not been that fateful moment on November 27th, 2011, when I realized that music is what I need to do. Jut keep pushing forward, and I will reach my dream.

Day 329- “Chalked Music”

For lack of a better title.

Even with the kind of bad title, this photo is significant. On Friday, I hit a breaking point of sorts. I’ve had a lot on my plate with school, money, Kappa, and all of my first world college girl problems. Either way, I sort of had a breakdown, but at the end of the day when I was practicing, I realized that the best part of my life is always music, and my saxophone. Even with how stressful it is, it is always the best part of my life.

Day 320- “Bari Sax Number Two”

It may seem weird that I run a photography blog, and yet my online name is “barisaxnumbertwo”. Well, there’s a great story. When I was in high school, I was primarily a bari sax player, whereas now in college I play mostly tenor sax. The original bari sax players at my school named the three Yamaha saxophones according to these rules: They would be three syllable female names, ending in an a. Thus, Bari Sax Number One became Elvira, Bari Sax Number Two become Condoleeza, and Bari Sax Number Three became Shaniqua. I learned to play saxophone  on Condoleeza, or “Condie” as I affectionately called her. The first horrible squeaks that eventually developed in scales and then into etudes and jazz came from her and I.

For any non-musicians, you must think I sound insane, referring to an inanimate object as a “she” with a name. Well, maybe I am, but most musicians are, and maybe that’s why we all name our instruments and such. But as musicians, it’s hard to not be attached to your horn. It’s your life, in so many ways. In a fire drill at the dorm my freshman year, I watched people grab their laptops and the like. Almost every music major walked out holding their instrument. It was actually kind of funny, looking back.

Anyway, I now play on Sir Scrap Metal, the name I’ve grudgingly encompassed all of UNC’s bari saxes with (I’ve played on three of them). They all come with their own set of problems, which is unfortunate since I love playing bari sax. Because of that I’ve had to throw myself into playing tenor sax (I’m hopeless on alto….).

So… barisaxnumbertwo. That’s what’s up.


Day 313- “Inspiration”

This is on one of the professor’s bulletin boards in Frasier. It makes me think about who I inspire. I had a friend talk to me today about my 365 project, and she wanted to know if I was going to keep up with photo projects after my year is up, because she really looks forward to seeing my photos. So, there’s one at least.

I hope to inspire people someday. May be young children, maybe teenagers, maybe adults. People can look at my photos and feel something, anything.

I don’t mean to diss on either of my arts, but I feel like music is a stronger artistic form for me. I can retake a photo many times, and even if the photo opportunity happens to change (the animal moves, the sun sets, etc.), I’ll still have the computer to edit my photos. with playing my saxophone, especially in front of people, I get one shot to make it right. I’m not saying that it takes more skill… But it takes a different kind of skill. And to me, doing both, it does seem harder.

Anyway, I apologize if none of this made sense, it’s late and I’m tired.


Day 307- “Secret Pathway”

You’re probably looking at this photo thinking…. “That is not actually a secret pathway…. It’s very much a used and visible path through UNC’s campus.”

Well, yes. Very literally, it is a pathway straight through Central Campus, diagonally connecting the buildings.

And no. It is not a clear-cut path through campus. I have the creative mind of an artist- a musician, a photographer, and a writer. When I see this path, with branches of the large trees growing over it, my mind is transported to someplace far, far away from Greeley, with the worry of classes and money and work and such. I actually posted something similar on Day 211 (https://myownphotoproject.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/day-211-unexpected-beauty/).

This place is something similar to a Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons that my friends and I played once. (Yup. I’m a huge nerd.)   Me being me, I sometimes wish that I could be in that world, where I’m myself, but a better version of myself- the person who I sometimes wish I could be so I can escape my first-world-problem-filled life. I say that because my life isn’t bad- but sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a rut here. You know?

It’s like being a kid again. I drove by an elementary school the other day; the kids were out at recess. They were playing on the equipment, playing around the basketball court, and the like. I saw three girls running together and laughing, and it was clear that they were in some sort of imagination land of their creation. The innocence and wonder or their minds, taking them away somewhere with no effort at all. So as an adult, I feel both cursed and blessed to still have the creativity of my child-self. Cursed to be forced to realize the worlds I wish were real are not, and blessed to be able to see them and have the power as an artist to convey them to everyone else.

Day 304- “Scott’s Angel”

When I was in third grade, one of my classmates passed away, Scott. At his memorial service, they gave out these little angel pendants. My mother still has hers,  and the other day I found mine in my car. It made me smile.

I was never really friends with him, even though I did know him. My mom is friends with his parents though, and she took it really hard. I never understood why, because he was the first person I knew who had passed away.  However, when my friend Alicia passed away, I understood completely. I’ve started carrying it around with me, partly to remind myself of how precious life is, and also to remind myself how much my friends mean to me.