Week 28 - Storytelling: Your Culture

“The role of culture is that it's the form through which we as a society reflect on who we are, where we've been, where we hope to be.” - Wendell Pierce

#dogwoodweek28 #2019dogwoodr52 #dogwood52 #reflection

#dogwoodweek28 #2019dogwoodr52 #dogwood52 #reflection

In reflecting on this week’s prompt, this part of a poem I wrote a few years ago came to mind (You can read the full version here).

For the first year of my life, I didn't have a name: I was Jane Doe. A year later, I was adopted, chosen, given this name: Melinda Marie Larson.

  • Melinda: gentle, sweet

  • Marie: the French variant of Mary "Star of the Sea," A name for a girl who grew up on the water, for a woman still most content upon it. I was named for my maternal grandmother. I was named for the Blessed Mother.

  • Larson: A noble surname, ethnic and geographic, “Son of Lars,” Scandinavian for Lawrence — a laurel, fragrant, ever green, a wreath to adorn the heads of heroes...I am child of noble victors, of Door County Scandinavians.

My name is the gift of my culture.

2019 Dogwood Challenge Week 1 - Story Telling: Self-Portrait

“All my images are self-portraits, even when I'm not in them.” ― Nuno Roque

Take a picture that tells us who you are, without actually showing your face. #dogwood52 #dogwood2019 #dogwoodweek1

Take a picture that tells us who you are, without actually showing your face. #dogwood52 #dogwood2019 #dogwoodweek1

I am a planner, a francophile, a collector of vintage cameras, a traveler, a writer, a photographer, and an acceptor of challenges. Although last year was sometimes daunting, the Dogwood 52 Challenge taught me to experiment with photographic and editing techniques, to give and receive constructive feedback, and to step outside of my photography comfort zone. So, OK, let’s do this again!


Week 1 - Story Telling: Self-Portrait - Take a picture that tells us who you are, without actually showing your face.

Week 2 - Composition: Rule of Thirds - Motion - You know what the rule of thirds is, now is the time to use it. Use Rule of Thirds to show motion in your picture.

Week 3 - Inspiration: Black and White - Your inspiration this week is to simply take an amazing Black and White photograph of any subject you want.

Week 4 - Story Telling: Warmth - Tell a story that makes us feel warm inside.

Week 5 - Composition: Symmetry Landscape - Use Symmetry in a Landscape to create a new viewpoint for this week's image.

Week 6 - Inspiration: #NoFilter - No limit on what you shoot as long as the image is pure. No filters, presets or other edits. Basic exposure corrections only.

Week 7 - Story Telling: Love Story - Make us feel the love in this week's photo. Tell a love story in one image.

Week 8 - Composition: Leading Lines - It is easy to use Leading Lines to show depth in an image or guide the eye to a specific spot in the image. Instead, this week use leading lines to show the concept of infinity.

Week 9 - Inspiration: Mood - Your Artistic Inspiration this week is the mood you are feeling today. Take that mood and use it to create art.

Week 10 - Story Telling: Hometown - Tell us the story of your hometown (a famous landmark, something the town is known for, or your favorite place to relax.

Week 11 - Composition: Fill the Frame - Using Fill the Frame is a great way to isolate your subject and create interest in your photo. Fill the Frame with one color.

Week 12 - Inspiration: Trash - Trash is your inspiration. Tell a story or create something beautiful.

Week 13 - Story Telling: New Beginnings - Our world is full of circular patterns; as some things end, others begin. Tell us a story of a New Beginning.

Week 14 - Composition: Center Frame Portrait - Isolate your subject. Use this knowledge to create a portrait that exhibits loneliness.

Week 15 - Inspiration: Anonymous: This week's inspiration is Anonymous. Interpret this how you wish.

Week 16 - Story Telling: Shadow - Tell a story. Make it compelling while only using shadow.

Week 17 - Composition: Balance - Shoot a balanced image in the Accidental Renaissance style.

Week 18 - Inspiration: Weight or Mass: Heavy as a stone, light as a feather. Find inspiration and shoot an amazing photograph.

Week 19 - Story Telling: Aging - Love it or hate it, aging is something we all experience. So tell us the story of aging in a single photograph.

Week 20 - Composition: Negative Space - Create a powerful landscape using Negative Space.

Week 21 - Inspiration: Serenity - What does Serenity mean to you?

Week 22 - Story Telling: Stranger - It is easy to tell the story of someone you know. So for this week's challenge I want you to tell the story of a stranger.

Week 23 - Composition: Leading Lines - You have already used leading lines to show Infinity. Now try to use strong leading lines in food photography.

Week 24 - Inspiration: Who inspires you - Inspiration comes from many places. Tell us about who inspires you.

Week 25 - Story Telling: Freedom - Tell us a story about what Freedom means to you.

Week 26 - Composition: Geometry - We live in a world surrounded by geometry. Use Geometry in your photo this week.

Week 27 - Inspiration: Gratitude - What are you grateful for? Show us.

Week 28 - Story Telling: Your Culture - Photographers participating in the challenge come from nearly every country and culture. Tell us the story of your culture.

Week 29 - Composition: Depth of Field - Use DoF to make a subject appear part of something larger.

Week 30 - Inspiration: Exit - "Every exit is an entry to somewhere else". Be inspired by the Exit this week.

Week 31 - Story Telling: Friends and Family - Telling the story of someone you know well is sometimes the hardest story to tell.

Week 32 - Composition: Frame within the Frame - Using only natural elements, frame your subject. No actual picture frames allowed.

Week 33 - Inspiration: Tell a Lie - It is said that the "Camera Never Lies". Prove it wrong.

Week 34 - Story Telling: Color without Color - Tell a colorful story, but do it in black and white.

Week 35 - Composition: Symmetry Portrait - Symmetry is a strong compositional technique most often used in landscapes and architecture. So break the mold by using Symmetry in a portrait.

Week 36 - Inspiration: Your Habits - Some habits are good, and some are bad. Your inspiration this week is either.

Week 37 - Story Telling: Seasons - The weather is changing! Find inspiration in the seasons.

Week 38 - Composition: Rule of Odds - Use the rule of odds in an Urbanscape/Architecture photo.

Week 39 - Inspiration: The Elements Earth, Fire, Wind, Rain, and Spirit. Find inspiration in the elements of our world.

Week 40 - Story Telling: Modern Convenience - What modern convenience of 2019 can not you live without? Create an image that looks like an advertisement for your favorite Modern Convenience.

Week 41 - Composition: Color Theory - Color Theory is a huge part of composition that most photographers don't explore. So it is time to explore it. Use Color Grading to create an image that looks like it is a still from a movie.

Week 42 - Inspiration: Work Work Work - Let it inspire you this week.

Week 43 - Story Telling: Film Noir - Film Noir is a dark and moody type of photography well suited to storytelling. So tell us a story using Film Noir.

Week 44 - Composition: Viewpoint - Changing your viewpoint creates a different perspective and is often used by photographers to create interest. Shoot this week from the viewpoint of another person.

Week 45 - Inspiration: Musical - Music is part of the soul, so let it inspire you this week.

Week 46 - Story Telling: The 7 deadly sins are Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth. Tell us a compelling story about one of the 7 deadly sins.

Week 47 - Composition: Rule of Thirds Emotion - The rules of thirds is so popular because it is so versatile. This week use the rule of thirds to show emotion.

Week 48 - Inspiration: Current Events - What is happening in the world today? Be inspired by current events.

Week 49 - Story Telling: Storms - Storms are a powerful force of nature. Show us weather at its best.

Week 50 - Composition: Patterns- Patterns/Repetition are another well known compositional rule, but have you ever tried to use it in Macro Photography?

Week 51 - Inspiration: Food - Be inspired by Food. Yes, it really is that easy this week. You made it this far you deserve the break. A sweet, delicious break.

Week 52 - Story Telling: Self-Portrait - In the first week you took a self portrait and told us who you think you are. To finish this off take a self portrait that shows us who others think you are.

Week 52 - Creative: Self Portrait

(357/365) This year it's in a creative category, so be creative. You really have room to express yourself. You can interpret the assignment literally or figuratively. Unlike the other categories, the idea of this category is to let your artistic impression shine.


“Look out 'cause here I come; And I'm marching on to the beat I drum; I'm not scared to be seen; I make no apologies, this is me!" - The Greatest Showman. This is it! This is me! #dogwood52 #dogwoodweek52

French Friday: Château de Chenonceau

May 12, 2017 (132/365)

« La maison d'un homme est son château. » - François Mauriac

Mauriac may be right that a man's home is his castle, but a woman's castle is Chenonceau. Know as le Château des Dames -- the Ladies' Castle -- Chenonceau was home to seven powerful women, including Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. There are bigger and perhaps more beautiful châteaux in the Loire Valley, but Chenonceau, spanning the Cher River with its bright gallery, private chapel, extensive kitchen, and elaborate flower arrangements, has always been my favorite.

This French Friday is also Flashback Friday to me at Chenonceau in 1998.


October 3, 2016 (277/366)

"Homecoming means coming home to what is in your heart." - Anonymous

It's Homecoming week, both in Pewaukee and at Marquette.

As a traveler, I've realized that whether you stay for years or just an hour...

...some places remain in your heart forever and remind you of who you are.

"...the sense of homecoming that follows, when you suddenly remember what it feels like to be yourself.”

- Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers

This place reminds me of who I am and what I'm meant to do.

"To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward." - Margaret Fairless Barber


July 18, 2016 (200/366)

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time."

- John Lubbock, "Recreation," The Use of Life, 1894

A very good year

February 24, 2015 {55/365} "1967"

Millenovecento sessantasette - un anno molto buono! [85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah from Tuscany, Italy Strawberry, black cherry, black pepper, spice, and violet notes]


February 23, 2015 {54/365} "Gotcha"

"I am blessed, chosen, adopted" - Ephesians 1:11

Superman, Marilyn Monroe, Steve Jobs, John Lennon, Ingrid Bergman, Nelson Mandela, Babe Ruth, Truman Capote, Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, Eric Clapton, Jack Nicholson, Debbie Harry... and ME!


August 27, 2014 Photo (239/365): "Black-eyed Susan"

In Act II of Shakespeare's tragic tale of "a pair of star-cross'd lovers [who] take their lives," Juliet tells Romeo that names are meaningless, an artificial convention. Juliet declares: "What's in a name? / That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet." (Romeo and Juliet II, ii, 1-2). 

She loves Romeo, a person who is called "Montague", not the Montague name itself or the Montague family with whom her Capulet family has feuded for years. Romeo, out of his passion for Juliet, rejects his family name and vows, as Juliet asks, to "deny [his] father" and instead be "new baptized" as Juliet's lover. 

Yet, Juliet may be a bit mistaken. Names do hold great meaning and importance. New parents pore over books until they finally discover the perfect moniker and initials for their babies. A person's name is an integral part of her identity (I am especially proud of the evolution of my name - read more here). Certain images immediately come to mind when one hears the name "Poindexter", "Tiffany", or "Butch." "A rose by any other name" may smell as sweet, but certain flowers do have prettier names than others like "Jasmine" and "Lily". . . poor "Black-eyed Susan" aka "Rudbeckia".