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Project 366 – Week One

If it doesn't challenge you

In my last post I was talking about spending 2016 rediscovering myself, and one of the things I want to do in 2016 is explore my photography hobby. I bought a Canon 7D this last year to replace the Rebel XT I had since 2007 hoping that would rekindle my love. I was super excited when I bought it and once I got it I was overwhelmed when I realized how different it was from my camera. I played with it a little but ultimately it has been collecting dust. I’m inherently lazy, you guys!

So, I’ve decided I’m going to attempt Project 365/366 again; I’ve created an album on Flickr for it. I’ve tried Project 365/366 a few times and failed miserably. I do have the best intentions but I get discouraged when some days aren’t very interesting. In the past I would look at other people who’ve completed their projects and be jealous of where they lived (NYC, San Francisco, Europe) and all the sights they could photograph and keep things interesting. Then I look at where I live and what I see on a daily basis. I’m trying to remind myself that we get so used to our surroundings and we don’t see the beauty in it.

Goals I plan to achieve:

  • Use my DSLR more often
  • Explore new places
  • Get outdoors which would lead to me moving more — win win!
  • Become more comfortable at low-light environments

Bridge Out
Outtake from week one of Project 366

This is the year that I’m determined to finish Project 365, and one of my friends from work is on board too, so that definitely helps. I’m not going to lie, early in the week I was trying to talk myself into just doing a Project 52 (taking only one photo a week), but I knew it was a cop out which would ultimately lead to me giving up on the challenge yet again. I’ve got to remind myself that some days aren’t going to be interesting — that’s simply what life is sometimes. Also, I need to remind myself that somewhere someone is wishing they lived in a smaller town and wished they could take photos of rural areas like where my parents live. In all honesty, I kind of look forward to spring and summer when it doesn’t get dark so early and I can go down to my parents and take photos there again.

I’m not sure if I’ll update weekly on this challenge but I thought it would be good to write down my thoughts this first week. I hope everyone had a great week in the new year!

Photography Travel


A couple weekends ago we visited Chicago for my birthday. I’ve only visited Chicago once before (aside from passing through the airport), and remembered enjoying it aside from the fact we visited on SPRING BREAK, which is really still Winter for Chicago.

We didn’t do a whole lot of research for this trip, which is unusual for both of us, and so the bulk of our first day there was walking around aimlessly. That weekend I didn’t want to research every little thing we did before going; especially food. The restaurants we picked were not picked out for their excellent Yelp reviews. It was interesting going into a restaurant and not knowing what to expect or what the food might look like. One interesting meal we had was in the back of a jewelry store. It was a very small, very out of place, Mediterranean restaurant that was pretty good. The other restaurants we visited were pretty meh but that’s OK. We did randomly stumble upon Shake Shack! We had already eaten lunch an hour or so ahead of that so we got dessert; Cory got a peanut butter shake and I got the Shack Attack. It was just OK. I would’ve liked to try the burgers just to say I tried them. But alas!

We also visited the standalone M.A.C store on Michigan Ave., and of course, I had to visit the Sephora. Cory is such a trooper. I could’ve went to Sephora in KY and IN but that’s not the point. It was my birthday and I enjoy torturing myself by going to Sephora and seeing all the things I want and can’t buy.

Our favorite part of the trip was the Architectural Boat Tour. It was very informative and relaxing; especially after a day of walking. We picked the perfect time of day to go and the weather was nice too. During the boat tour there was a low flying plane with a camera on it filming Chicago for the film Suicide Squad. We’re going to be in a movie you guys! Who cares if we’re just little specks — we’re in it!!

In retrospect, I probably should’ve played around with my new camera before we went on our trip. I found myself frustrated many times trying to remember where the settings I want are, and unfortunately, sometimes I just said forget it. Aside from that frustration — I did get a few gems here and there. I am noticing with the new camera with the wide-angle lens there is a lot of distortion around the edges due to the lens. As fun as the lens is at times, I’d be better off selling the 10-20mm and going with with a normal lens; maybe the 24-70mm. Perhaps sometime next year when I have some money saved. Why are my hobbies so expensive?! #firstworldproblems On to the photos…



I so wish I was standing back when I captured this but I still love it.

Trump Tower


The Bean


Chicago Architectural Boat Tour

Chicago Architectural Boat Tour


Chicago Architectural Boat Tour




Memories in 8-megapixels

Sometimes I like to open up iPhoto (or as Apple calls it now Photos) and wander back through my past. This isn’t because I’m longing for anything in particular from my past, simply wanting to take a trip down memory lane or see when an event happened, and then I end up going down a rabbit hole.

My interest in digital photography started sometime during my junior or senior year of high school. I was starting to pick up a couple of small web design jobs thanks to a very influential computer teacher I had who always pushed me even when I didn’t want to be pushed. I remember one day, I took our school’s digital camera out with me to take some photos for a client and I knew I wanted one of my own eventually. This was back in 2001 or 2002 so this fancy Sony digital camera used floppy discs as storage. Can you imagine?!

I’ve had a couple of small cameras since high school and in 2007 I purchased my first DSLR camera: a Canon Rebel XT. I played with it a little after I got it but I found myself frustrated by how many features there were and how I couldn’t quite get the photos to look the way I wanted them to. I quickly learned it’s not the camera that takes good photos; it’s definitely the user and their skills!

Since purchasing that camera, I saw many places through its viewfinder. I visited NJ/NYC numerous times. It traveled with me during our cross country trip to Seattle where I spent a summer. I went to San Francisco, explored Kentucky and a slew of states nearby, and the Grand Canyon. It went overseas with me to Japan and most recently to Europe. I’ve experienced a lot of good memories with said camera, like meeting an amazing group of people from Flickr over the years whom I consider friends now. We don’t get together as much as we used to with the invent of social media but the connection is still there.

I’m not going to lie, since having an iPhone my DSLR has collected a little more dust each year to where there would be months that would go by and it would sit in my closet. This made me sad but with my work and school schedules over the years I didn’t have time for my hobbies. Now that school is behind me, and I have a mostly concrete schedule each week, I have time for my hobbies again. Earlier this week I purchased a new DSLR to replace that camera; a Canon 7D. Which brings me to this post and how getting rid of that camera makes me a little nostalgic.

Canon 7D

Also, I want to say I highly recommend buying used from B&H Photo. I had it within two days of ordering it and I saved a couple hundred dollars just by buying used. If I recall correctly, the one I bought was rated 9 on their used scale which means “shows signs of use, but very clean” but it looked brand new to me but without the box. I was VERY pleased. Now it’s time for me to get out there and get used to all the new features on my camera before we go to Chicago next weekend. Eeek! Wish me luck! But first, let’s take a trip down memory lane and some of my photos I’m most proud of.

March 2007 — This is not one of my favorites by any means, but I think this was the first photo I took with this camera.

Space Needle
Seattle. This will probably always be my favorite.

Emi swinging

Lychee Saketini

Beer sampler
I could do food/drink photography for a living.

Union Terminal, Cincinnati
The first trip Cory and I took together. <3

Emi playing in bubbles
Do you know how hard it is to take photos of bubbles?! It was hard!

Emi blowing bubbles
See above.

Life Photography Travel

American Sign Museum

Last weekend Cory and I went to Cincinnati for a low-key mini vacation. We haven’t been anywhere since Europe and we were needing to get away and do little-to-nothing.

One of the few plans we had while in Cincinnati was to use a Groupon he bought for the American Sign Museum. I’m so glad he found it because I wouldn’t have went otherwise . . . and it was amazing! It was a tiny museum; like three rooms, but it was nicely done and very photo-worthy. Don’t believe me? Check out some of these photos:

Or in color? Hmmm…

While we were there I was inspired to take some photos that I could later edit with the Party Party App from the amazing people over at A Beautiful Mess and I think they turned out well for what they are.

American Sign Museum - Cincinnati

American Sign Museum - Cincinnati

I really hate to admit it but my iPhone is replacing my DSLR but I’ll never part with it. It’s so easy to do fun things (quickly) with the iPhone and it’s super portable. I took some photos with my DSLR while at the sign museum, but from what I could see on my tiny screen I liked the photos from my iPhone better anyway.

All of these photos were taken with an iPhone 6 using the VSCOcam app using a variety of filters and the Party Party app for animations.

Photography Technology

Fall is my favorite

After a very hot summer that I thought was never going to end, fall is finally here! Fall is definitely my favorite seasons because of the changing leaves and the cool nights and morning. I haven’t been getting out like I used to take pictures of the fall foliage especially with my DSLR. I hope to change that as Cory and I are headed to Cincinnati this weekend so I hope to bring back some non-iPhone photos with me.

These photos were all taken with an iPhone 6, using the apps Camera+ and VSCOcam for editing. The first image/featured image was edited using A Beautiful Mess’ Mini Action Pack; it’s so worth $10.

Fall Leaves on a tree stump

Mum (golden hour)

Mums (black and white)

Fall scenery

Water on a window

Life Photography Travel

European Adventures

We recently returned from a trip to Europe; London and Amsterdam specifically. This wasn’t my first overseas trip; I visited Japan a few years back. This trip, however, was definitely stressful in terms of traveling. Long story short (in case we’re not friends on Facebook): we had several layovers and our first flight ended up being cancelled after spending almost three hours (!!!!) on the tarmac. The travel gods were on our side that day and thankfully we caught a direct flight to London from Chicago.



We had one full day in London without travel and it feels like we didn’t walk very far but we covered a lot of ground in that one day. We visited the London Eye, Big Ben/Palace of Westminster (MY FAVORITE!), Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, and Buckingham Palace. I was a little apprehensive about spending a lot of money on things but the London Eye is worth getting on. We paid extra for the fast pass and got on almost instantaneously and it wasn’t crowded in the capsules which made taking photos easy. I expected it to be touristy but it showed off breathtaking views of the city. I would do it again!

We spent the most time at the Palace of Westminster because I was in LOVE with the architecture! It was also nice because there was less foot traffic and it made just walking around and enjoying our time that much easier.

London rekindled my love for photography. With my iPhone, I don’t really have reason to break out my DSLR other than special occasions, but I want to change that. I wish I had more to say about London but I guess I shouldn’t wait almost a month in between visiting and writing about it!

Palace of Westminster by Pam Culver on 500px

Houses of Parliament by Pam Culver on 500px

Thames River and London Eye by Pam Culver on 500px

London Eye (color) by Pam Culver on 500px

Buckingham Palace by Pam Culver on 500px



One of the first things we did was get frites from Manneken Pis whose logo is a small child peeing — oh Amsterdam. That’s one of the things I remember Cory mentioning the most about Amsterdam when he was talking about his travels early on in our relationship. Apparently frites are a big thing there; basically they’re just french fries and your choice of topping. We both chose some sort of mayo; the mayo reminded me of a thicker japanese mayo. It was good but a little goes a long way.

We stayed in the Red Light District and there was trash everywhere. Needless to say, I didn’t take a lot of photos while we were there. When Cory visited a couple years back and he said it wasn’t like this. I imagine a lot of was it being peak traveling season and such. With the limited amount of time we had there we couldn’t venture out too far but we still had a good time. We did venture out far enough to visit the I amsterdam sign and the Rijksmuseum and its beautiful library; even if it was super hard to get a decent photo. I’ve never been in a library so quiet. Seriously, you could’ve heard a pin drop which made me super aware of how loud my camera was.

Photograph Rijksmuseum Library

I amsterdam sign

Photograph Red Light District - Amsterdam by Pam Culver on 500px

Photograph Church - Red Light District by Pam Culver on 500px


We also saw Pearl Jam live and they put on a great show. As someone who didn’t know much of their music before hand, I ended up downloading some of their songs when I came back. We spent the rest of our time in Amsterdam just walking around taking it all in. I wish now I had taken more pictures even if there were trash in the photos just to look back on but alas.

Photos were edited with Photoshop CC, A Beautiful Mess’ Mini Collection, and VSCOFilm 01-05