Fan Art Friday: Sorry About the Mess

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri from Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.  It’s been quite a while since we’ve done one because life sorta got in the way, but we are excited to be back with a mandala featuring everyone’s favorite Rodian, the bounty hunter Greedo.

I immediately had a rough start with this one because the green I initially chose for Greedo was too light and I had to go back and blend in a darker shade to make it look decent. But after that I got back into the swing of things. The color scheme here is mainly inspired by Greedo and his clothing, which kinda gives it a 70s vibe. Kiri also has a lot of say about Greedo’s clothing; you can check out her fashion critique and lovely coloring image on her blog.

It seems pretty fitting to start up again with this theme, considering that the first time I “met” Kiri was when she commented on a post of mine about Han shooting first in the cantina.

It was fun getting back into coloring this month! This one wasn’t my favorite but I’m happy with how it came out. We’ll be doing these every other month for now and I’m happy to take requests of themes you’d like to see us do haha.

Lens-Artists Challenge #133– My Photography Journey

My parents bought me my first camera, a Canon Powershot A500 series, when I was a college student spending a semester in Spain. We paid a ridiculous amount of money for a 512 MB SD card, which helped me take a lot of photos and not worry about film. This was the start of my photography journey! I have no formal training whatsoever, I just like to have fun and record memories.

Next I got a crash course in wildlife photography with a week long trip to Ecuador and the Galápagos. It was a great place to learn because the animals on the islands have no natural predators and will just stand there next to you while you photograph them. During this trip, I started to think more about channeling my grandfather, who was an avid amateur nature photographer.

I really got into photography because I am a scrapbooker. I came back from the week-long Galápagos trip with hundreds of images, which I then made into a beautiful scrapbook.

We were gifted a Canon Powershot SD870 for our wedding, which I used to take pictures on our vacations for many years. Returning to Europe was particularly fun because I could practice what I’d learned since Spain, with slightly nicer equipment.

Starting in 2015, I’ve stopped using digital cameras entirely and just use my phone to take photos. The convenience is worth the relatively low quality (funny considering that my phone has a better camera than that first Powershot did). Since I’m not traveling anywhere at the moment, I’m trying to find inspiration around my home (not hard with two kids to photograph!)

So, here I am, meandering along on my photography journey, learning more from my fellow Lens-Artist participants every week. I have grown a lot as a photographer since that first camera and trip to Spain; someday I hope to find time to make scrapbooks for all these photos I am taking!

Stairs

Here we have both indoor and outdoor stairs in Ireland, both a bit perilous in their own way. We carried our luggage up these stairs when staying in Ballynahinch Castle, but that was nothing compared to walking the stone steps on Skellig Michael in the wind with no handrail.

Street

The streets of Pompeii are a marvel of Roman engineering. In addition to being laid out methodically, they feature sidewalks, embedded reflector stones, and crosswalks.

Salamanca, Spain

I spent a semester in Salamanca during university and a piece of my heart will always remain. A beautiful city, a friendly and fun city, and so full of history. These were my daily sights: the double cathedral, the Plaza Mayor, and my host family’s street in the east part of the old city.

You can find more letter S subjects at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #131-Emotions

Calm

Is tranquility an emotion or a state of mind? Either way, there is so much peace to be found on a quiet, snowy morning. Not even the birds were at the feeder yet and no squirrels had left footprints in the pure white.

Grief

These flowers were from my father’s funeral, a memorial from my boss and our lab. It was October, and the beautiful fall colors of the arrangement brought to mind the cycle of life that plays out in the seasons. Fall is glorious in its preparation for winter and death, a slow fading and a time of letting go. In the back of our minds we know spring will come again, but it can be hard to remember.

Love

I know dogs have the reputation for loyalty, but cats can also get really attached in their own way. Juhani is a lap cat; if you are sitting, she wants to be on you and purring very loudly. She will headbutt you if you are not petting enough. We recently celebrated her “Gotcha Day” and I hope that she will be sleeping on top of us somewhat inconveniently for many years to come.

Find more emotions at the original Lens-Artists challenge.

Welcome, 2021!

How wonderful to be looking forward to another new year here on my blog. Aside from all else going on in the world, last year was not the best year for my blog as it got shunted aside in favor of some more important things going on in my life.

In 2020, Jedi by Knight got over 11,000 views from more than 8,000 visitors representing 118 countries around the world. I posted 70 times, though most of those were my weekly Lens-Artist photo challenges.

The most-viewed post I wrote last year was Engineering a squirrel obstacle course: Practical deterrent, entertainment, or science? regarding Mark Rober’s popular YouTube video. This was a super fun post to write, allowing me to use my zoology background to add even more scientific analysis to the squirrels, and I’m so glad everyone liked it. Phat Gus is still the best.

Phat Gus is my spirit animal

I hope to continue to do some blogging this year, though I warn you that my posting may be rather erratic. I had been doing a lot of my writing during my kid’s nap time on the weekends, but my toddler has stopped napping and my baby hasn’t worked out a set nap schedule yet. Plus, if either of them is asleep, I’m often asleep, too! But I am hoping to post at least once or twice a month.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Here are some things you can hopefully look forward to here at Jedi by Knight in 2021:

  • The return of Fan Art Friday, where Kiri and I both color the same picture from the Star Wars coloring book, often with very different results
  • More doodles from my school notebook margins, as I found a big stack of them when we were moving
  • A few more book reviews; there were a couple books I read last year that I made notes on but never found time to write the full post
  • Weekly Lens-Artist photo challenges will continue as much as possible, though the content will change. Since I am typically posting from my phone now, I will be sharing mostly photos from my daily life taken on my phone instead of images from my travels.
  • What would you guys like to see me write more about? Writing? Books? Star Wars? Nerdy parenting?

I have also come around to the WordPress block editor. It may be a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, but it seems to be working for me, especially when blogging with the WP app on my phone. Which is great, because I’m currently doing almost everything one-handed while holding a baby, and also the WP website is kind of crap right now.

Happy 2021 everybody! What are you looking forward to this year?

Lens-Artists Challenge #130: It’s a Small World

Guest host Anne this week has a great discussion of some of the details and differences of micro/macro/close-up photography. Not having a formal background in photography, these are the kind of details I love learning!

Juhani

Close-ups are the thing I experiment with most, because I’m still learning how to do them well. I use my phone for photos, so no macro lens.

I took like a dozen pictures of this pumpkin stem because it had a neat curlicue. I was trying from different angles with the focus in different place; I liked this shot best. The only way we learn is by practice!

You can find more small worlds at the original Lens-Artist challenge.