{Community} A Walk to Make a Difference: Red Storm Strikes Out Cancer Raises Money For the Maine Cancer Foundation

On a dreary day, people walked to help raise money for a cause. I went to support my brother, and stayed just for the photos of Thunder.

Spoiler: it’s my nephew in that mascot costume.

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Red Storm Strikes Out Cancer has been walking and fundraising or the last 7 years (or maybe 8? 10?). I’m trying to dig for the info, and may need to clarify later - but either way for what seems like roughly the last decade of our lives my brother has created and organized a team at his school to participate in and raise money for Mary’s Walk and the Maine Cancer Foundation. Starting last year they moved the walk to the school, while still donating all the money to the Maine Cancer Foundation.

I missed last year’s walk, but my cameras and I were able to get there this year.

How could I miss it? Besides being for a great cause, my nephew was the school mascot and that made my camera’s day. But also, it was great to see all these young people taking time after school to be part of this and make a difference.

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This makes me laugh every time.

This makes me laugh every time.

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Thunder (the Neph) and my brother (creator of Red Storm Strikes Out Cancer and two time cancer survivor).

Thunder (the Neph) and my brother (creator of Red Storm Strikes Out Cancer and two time cancer survivor).

Ray from Maine Cancer Foundation came to the walk, and made a great speech reminding everyone how they are making a difference.

Ray from Maine Cancer Foundation came to the walk, and made a great speech reminding everyone how they are making a difference.

The niece thanked everyone for supporting her dad and so that made some people cry. Maybe.

The niece thanked everyone for supporting her dad and so that made some people cry. Maybe.

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Waiting for everyone to finish the walk..

Waiting for everyone to finish the walk..

Here they come! The niece and Neph … I mean THUNDER are ready to greet all the walkers.

Here they come! The niece and Neph … I mean THUNDER are ready to greet all the walkers.

So, once again a community of people came together and proved that we can all make a difference. An idea can grow into an event and people will show support and donate their time and money in the name of helping each other /a cause / a neighbor/friend/teacher who needs a little extra boost or is trying to help others.

The odd positive spin of having cancer impact your own family so much. Which isn’t the worst thing that could happen.

xo ~ jb

{365} Photo Project: April

April. Month 4 of the 365 photo project for 2019. A time in Maine when we think YA winter is over! Maybe. Well, ok here’s some more snow and actually it’s still kind of cold but also here’s a bunch of rain and also some occasional sun so might as well start trying to wear flip flops but keep your boots in the car just in case. At least that’s how it goes for me.

April was an interesting month in my world. Things shifted in my life and some changes were made and some drawn out things were over and I felt perhaps more focused. There was also some family health stuff that was tough but also came with some victories and showing of great support. Birthdays, doctor visits, worry, laughter, silliness, tacos, snow, rain, ice cream, sweat, and hard work. So, maybe it was like any other month..

It wasn’t. But thankfully my camera helps remind me of that.

4/1.

4/1.

4/2 | Signs of Spring | Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

4/2 | Signs of Spring | Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

4/3 | Soy. This was a tough day for law enforcement in Maine. His dad is a trooper and we showed up at their house with food and distraction. We thought we were distracting him but kids are pretty great at being silly enough to make adults forget tough stuff, even if for just a few minutes.

4/3 | Soy. This was a tough day for law enforcement in Maine. His dad is a trooper and we showed up at their house with food and distraction. We thought we were distracting him but kids are pretty great at being silly enough to make adults forget tough stuff, even if for just a few minutes.

4.4 | Boston with the brother for a follow up post cancer surgery.

4.4 | Boston with the brother for a follow up post cancer surgery.

4/5 | Trying out a new camera. I didn’t end up buying it :D

4/5 | Trying out a new camera. I didn’t end up buying it :D

4/6. | When the sky gets all crazy and you’re headed to the grocery store. | South Portland, Maine.

4/6. | When the sky gets all crazy and you’re headed to the grocery store. | South Portland, Maine.

4/7. | The Neph and his pals celebrating a birthday. His. He turned 16 this month!

4/7. | The Neph and his pals celebrating a birthday. His. He turned 16 this month!

4/8 | Visiting my pals at Mad Gab’s | Yarmouth, Maine.

4/8 | Visiting my pals at Mad Gab’s | Yarmouth, Maine.

4/9 | Oh, hi snow! Went out in my pj’s and into my neighbor’s yard because 365 life.

4/9 | Oh, hi snow! Went out in my pj’s and into my neighbor’s yard because 365 life.

4/10 | A happy accident while walking around Portland/ perhaps my one selfie for the year in this project.

4/10 | A happy accident while walking around Portland/ perhaps my one selfie for the year in this project.

4/11 | I got to see these two and remember how much I miss collaborating with them. SO get ready for their upcoming Port Fringe project!

4/11 | I got to see these two and remember how much I miss collaborating with them. SO get ready for their upcoming Port Fringe project!

4/12 | Finally got to meet Molly. And have ice cream together and smear chocolate on our teeth.

4/12 | Finally got to meet Molly. And have ice cream together and smear chocolate on our teeth.

4/13 | On this day the family celebrated the Neph’s 16th birthday and took a family photo in matching shirts celebrating my brother’s 2nd win against cancer. This was my favorite image of the day, but I went back and forth because I ‘thought’ I should share a more birthday like photo. But this is not only my favorite of the day, but one of my favorites from the month, and I had to remind myself why I am doing this project and what I’m working towards.

4/13 | On this day the family celebrated the Neph’s 16th birthday and took a family photo in matching shirts celebrating my brother’s 2nd win against cancer. This was my favorite image of the day, but I went back and forth because I ‘thought’ I should share a more birthday like photo. But this is not only my favorite of the day, but one of my favorites from the month, and I had to remind myself why I am doing this project and what I’m working towards.

4/14. I didn’t sweep, but maybe someone in my house did on this day. Who really knows?

4/14. I didn’t sweep, but maybe someone in my house did on this day. Who really knows?

4/15 | Once April hits I start to spend afternoons or the second chunk of my work day on my three season porch (which is also a writing or napping spot). Sometimes I work, sometimes I need to get away from computers, and sometimes I look at the light and try to find new things to photograph. This day this caught my eye. I decided to take 2019 off from doing the TRI For A Cure, and then my brother got a second cancer diagnosis and I had a moment of feeling conflicted about my decision to take this year off. However, I now know I made the right choice. Not sure why, but taking this year off is the right thing to do.

4/15 | Once April hits I start to spend afternoons or the second chunk of my work day on my three season porch (which is also a writing or napping spot). Sometimes I work, sometimes I need to get away from computers, and sometimes I look at the light and try to find new things to photograph. This day this caught my eye. I decided to take 2019 off from doing the TRI For A Cure, and then my brother got a second cancer diagnosis and I had a moment of feeling conflicted about my decision to take this year off. However, I now know I made the right choice. Not sure why, but taking this year off is the right thing to do.

4/16. This was my 365EFFYA moment. Where all the carrying my camera all over the place paid off with this quick moment between friends as we all started to head out the door and go home. I stopped here to say hi, even though I wanted to go home. I got the bonus of seeing more people I knew and had my camera out when this happened. Multiple levels of why I am glad I was there and glad I am doing this thing where I photograph people living life.

4/16. This was my 365EFFYA moment. Where all the carrying my camera all over the place paid off with this quick moment between friends as we all started to head out the door and go home. I stopped here to say hi, even though I wanted to go home. I got the bonus of seeing more people I knew and had my camera out when this happened. Multiple levels of why I am glad I was there and glad I am doing this thing where I photograph people living life.

4/17 |The Neph. He is a hand talker but maybe I am too…? IDK :D

4/17 |The Neph. He is a hand talker but maybe I am too…? IDK :D

4/18 | Birthday Fun | El Rayo | Scarborough, Maine.

4/18 | Birthday Fun | El Rayo | Scarborough, Maine.

4/19 | I have been watching her a lot lately. 6 is hard sometimes and she is filled with fun energy and sometimes frustration. She was sick this month for about a week. It seems like April was a challenging month for her but she’s 6/almost 7 so she bounces back and plays hard and laughs that awesome laugh and we high five and take photos and talk about life stuff and she makes up new rules and tells me what to do and we invent games and compliment each other. It’s all pretty great.

4/19 | I have been watching her a lot lately. 6 is hard sometimes and she is filled with fun energy and sometimes frustration. She was sick this month for about a week. It seems like April was a challenging month for her but she’s 6/almost 7 so she bounces back and plays hard and laughs that awesome laugh and we high five and take photos and talk about life stuff and she makes up new rules and tells me what to do and we invent games and compliment each other. It’s all pretty great.

4/20 | Saturday Night View because SNL and couch napping.

4/20 | Saturday Night View because SNL and couch napping.

4/21 | Easter. She insisted her uncle and I sit with her on a bench that really wasn’t big enough for all 3 of us. :)

4/21 | Easter. She insisted her uncle and I sit with her on a bench that really wasn’t big enough for all 3 of us. :)

4/22 | i GOT A MIRRORLESS CAMERA! So here’s a photo I took with it. More soon…

4/22 | i GOT A MIRRORLESS CAMERA! So here’s a photo I took with it. More soon…

4/23 | Sopo side of the bridge.

4/23 | Sopo side of the bridge.

4/24 | Time to sweat then play with the old nifty fifty.

4/24 | Time to sweat then play with the old nifty fifty.

4/25 | She wanted me to come over to see what she was wearing to school the next day. It was this - a fox outfit. It has a tail.

4/25 | She wanted me to come over to see what she was wearing to school the next day. It was this - a fox outfit. It has a tail.

4/26 | This is where a thing called Social Media Breakfast happens these days.

4/26 | This is where a thing called Social Media Breakfast happens these days.

4/27 | Birthday party for the niece. Hard to pick on a day with so many funny kid photos!

4/27 | Birthday party for the niece. Hard to pick on a day with so many funny kid photos!

4/28 | Here’s a peak into my brain while doing a 365 project… many days when I work from home or don’t see too many other people and I ask myself WHAT IF and What would it look like if…? Let’s see what it’s like inside the dishwasher. Ok, That’s cool, actually and I like the light and color in the top rack. So, not let’s try it with the 35, the 50, the 85 and see how that works. Went with the one shot with the 35 at 1.4

4/28 | Here’s a peak into my brain while doing a 365 project… many days when I work from home or don’t see too many other people and I ask myself WHAT IF and What would it look like if…? Let’s see what it’s like inside the dishwasher. Ok, That’s cool, actually and I like the light and color in the top rack. So, not let’s try it with the 35, the 50, the 85 and see how that works. Went with the one shot with the 35 at 1.4

4/29 | Pasta!

4/29 | Pasta!

4/30. Afternoon hang time with these two/ when the Neph puts on a Hairspray song and the Niece pops out of the laundry basket she was trying to stuff herself into.

4/30. Afternoon hang time with these two/ when the Neph puts on a Hairspray song and the Niece pops out of the laundry basket she was trying to stuff herself into.

So, there we go! April in a nutshell, minus all the moments that didn’t get captured and all the photos that didn’t make the cut. It almost doesn’t matter that May started with coats, scarves, and mittens while getting ice cream, because today as I post this the sun is out and Summer is on its way!

And I think roughly all of the people I know are so ready.

{365} Photo Project: March

Here we are, month 3 of 2019. March is a funny time in the Northeast. There are sparks of hope for warmer days, coupled with snowstorm excitement.. Ice cream stands dare to start to open for the season and Mainers line up next to piles of dirty snow to get that taste of the Summer treat.

Frankly, it’s a bit confusing.

So, my camera and I spent time inside, but also tried to get out more, and chased light around my house, neighborhood, and community. Fun with the niece, and food with friends. Splashes of color and looking for something that would work well in black & white. My journey with the 365 project seems like a mixture of predictable and we’ll see what happens! That feels right.

Here is how March and I walked together. Ups and downs and laughs and aches and pains and challenges and rewards and ending feeling like a shift was happening. Seems like the right way to end the month and the winter season….

3/1 The niece {Button} and my mom {Jamma} being entertained by animojis.

3/1 The niece {Button} and my mom {Jamma} being entertained by animojis.

3/2 My Pal Karen and I like to get together every so often for what we are now calling “Pirate Brunch”. I am on a quest to photograph the people in my life, and I finally got her! :D

3/2 My Pal Karen and I like to get together every so often for what we are now calling “Pirate Brunch”. I am on a quest to photograph the people in my life, and I finally got her! :D

3/3 After the Neph’s one act play.

3/3 After the Neph’s one act play.

3/4 Snow!

3/4 Snow!

3/5 These. I have missed them.

3/5 These. I have missed them.

3/6 Office time.

3/6 Office time.

3/7

3/7

3/8 Button at the salon. My new favorite thing to photograph.

3/8 Button at the salon. My new favorite thing to photograph.

3/9 Brother in law broke his leg. Last time we saw him he was recovering in the hospital. Progress!

3/9 Brother in law broke his leg. Last time we saw him he was recovering in the hospital. Progress!

3/10

3/10

3/11

3/11

3/12

3/12

3/13

3/13

3/14 My kitchen shows me different light and colors and it’s pretty great.

3/14 My kitchen shows me different light and colors and it’s pretty great.

3/15 THAT JOJO BOW! More ladies hang time with Button and Jamma.

3/15 THAT JOJO BOW! More ladies hang time with Button and Jamma.

3/16 Selfies at roller derby where all my derby pals talk to her and make her feel awesome and I’m super grateful for that.

3/16 Selfies at roller derby where all my derby pals talk to her and make her feel awesome and I’m super grateful for that.

3/17 Projects for Spring.

3/17 Projects for Spring.

3/18 I didn’t go in, but I liked the light and the composition so I dropped my grocery bags and took a photo. or 5.

3/18 I didn’t go in, but I liked the light and the composition so I dropped my grocery bags and took a photo. or 5.

3/19 Home nook. Metal owl by the hubs.

3/19 Home nook. Metal owl by the hubs.

3/20 Feeling uninspired on this day, so I went to Smaha’s to get some yummy eats and saw this as I was headed to my car. So, again, I dropped my groceries and took out the camera, framed it a few different ways, put the camera away and picked up groceries and continued on my merry way like one does when photographing in alleys or on other people’s property.

3/20 Feeling uninspired on this day, so I went to Smaha’s to get some yummy eats and saw this as I was headed to my car. So, again, I dropped my groceries and took out the camera, framed it a few different ways, put the camera away and picked up groceries and continued on my merry way like one does when photographing in alleys or on other people’s property.

3/21 Hung out with this kid after she got off the bus. I think this was the second outfit of the afternoon.

3/21 Hung out with this kid after she got off the bus. I think this was the second outfit of the afternoon.

3/22 My Friends are fun.

3/22 My Friends are fun.

3/23 Sopo.

3/23 Sopo.

3/24 Hangman and personal space invasion with these two xo.

3/24 Hangman and personal space invasion with these two xo.

3/25 More kitchen colors, etc.

3/25 More kitchen colors, etc.

3/26 Pasta steam. This is something I keep wanting to get better at shooting. So, just in case you see a similar photo again during this project…

3/26 Pasta steam. This is something I keep wanting to get better at shooting. So, just in case you see a similar photo again during this project…

3/27 I decided I might like Yin Yoga.

3/27 I decided I might like Yin Yoga.

3/28 This day’s cycle class kicked my butt. I have been working on not letting that happen in the future. Or at least not as badly as it did this day. Anyway, this little space on the wall spoke to me.

3/28 This day’s cycle class kicked my butt. I have been working on not letting that happen in the future. Or at least not as badly as it did this day. Anyway, this little space on the wall spoke to me.

3/29 I surrendered to a sick day.

3/29 I surrendered to a sick day.

3/30 A roller derby baby shower.

3/30 A roller derby baby shower.

3/31 in the final days of 15 he sat in a chair, chatting with me, and played with his sister’s homemade ‘fortune teller.’

3/31 in the final days of 15 he sat in a chair, chatting with me, and played with his sister’s homemade ‘fortune teller.’

So, that was my March! I am sure I am not alone in being ready for Spring to show up and for more time outside. And with that, I am off to get caught up on April images….

Personal: My {2018} 365 Photo Project

In 2018 I decided to take part in a 365 photo project with a few other photographers in my area. The challenge is to make a photo EVERY DAY for the entire year. In 2017 I had done a photo a week project, and loved how the project made me bring my camera out more often. It’s easy as photographers to silp into only bringing the gear out for paid shoots, and maybe the occasional family gathering. I needed a reminder of how much I love to photograph every day life.

So a photo a week turned into a photo a day. And now that the year is done and the images are edited and the slideshow has been made, I can see that this was no small task. A year stretching out on the horizon seems like an exciting oportunity and a daunting task at the same time. 365 chances to make a photo! But also holy cow 365 days of making photos!! I had to break it down for myself, so it would not feel overwhelming.

First, I had to develop the habit. I did a 21 day habit building exercise, where i wrote every day about this habit and then put the lesson to work. The mindset here is the belief that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit.

Second, I decided to take things one month at a time, but also one DAY at a time. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I was hitting the end of my first month, and then struggled with feeling like I ended the month with an image I wasn’t happy with. This happened a few times if I’m being honest — I would feel great about another month under my belt, but then finish with an image that wasn’t that strong.

{reality check: THAT’S OK}

SO, Third, I reminded myself that YES there are 365 opportunities but some days will be better than others. Some days we are just better at some things, some days we are making sure we get to the end of the day. Learning to be forgiving and let some days feel maybe mediocre, and remind myself that part of this project was about honesty and a splash of perseverance. And the less exciting/inspiring/focused days are like resting spots between the days where there is fun, food, conversation, love, and adventure. So, take them all.

At first I had a small struggle realizing the other photographers doing this had children and adorable fur babies. A constant plethora of photographic subjects. I work from home a lot, have no kids, no pets, and a better half who doesn’t like the attention of a camera. I loved the work I was seeing from others, partly because there was so much energy and honesty. They were capturing these amazing chunks of their everyday life, and the messier the better. I buckled in for a long winter of figuring out how to work around the lack of subject matter in my living space.

But I also knew my option was to work with what I had or go looking for something. As a winter hibernator, I was actually glad for this project and the times it made me bundle up and head out the door. Drive until you find something, head to the beach until your fingers hurt from holding the camera, go visit your family or meet your friends for nachos, even if you already ate. Chase light and life and see what happens. And on the days where that doesn’t happen, slow down and look at things around you and figure out how to photograph it.

I had many moments throughout the year where I was so glad I was doing this project. Glad to the point of feeling incredibly grateful. Grateful for the push, the support, the drive, and for the people in my life and the things we share. I brought my camera to a rally against gun violence. I saw friends and strangers stand together to have their voices heard. I watched people feel the emotion of this time and felt the weight of the moment as I witnessed some of it unfold through my viewfinder. When I loaded the images something looked strange in some of the frames, and I grew concerned I had done something to my gear. But I was in the middle of photographing life every day, so let’s keep going. The something became more of a problem and when I brought me camera to get cleaned I was told there was a hair sharing space in my camera. I looked back through my photo a day project and realized I brought my camera to the hair salon the day before the march. The price of bringing your camera everywhere!

Some days I took over 200 photos, some days 2. One day I looked at my phone will watching Saturday Night Live and saw a post from my photo pals, which made me jolt up in panic that it was 11:42 pm and I had yet to take a photo! I scrambled to get my camera and figure out what to photograph in my dark house. Behold, the refrigerator door! Because when you open it, there is light. Anddddd then I was wide awake for awhile.

I photographed my friends having as much Summer fun as we could in the short time we get it here in Maine. The laughter, the food, the floats, the drinks, the singing. I listened to my friends talk about their struggles with life and family and such, and had moments of wishing the relatives who criticize these friends could see what I see. Photos unfolding in front of me telling the stories of friendship. There are times when this project was humbling that way.

And, of course, the multiple times I got to be with my niece and nephew with the camera. I really like them (super obvious, I know) and actually want to hang out with them often, but we all have lives. This project had me making more efforts to visit and do things with them. Summer evenings in the unicorn castle, excuses to get ice cream, or just show up and play. I would get my photo (and sometimes end up with too many to edit) and would get to hang with them. Works for everyone! Plus, the amount of photos I had at the end of the year to give my family members… it was actually somewhat overwhelming. I printed off close to 300 prints to give to my family both to thank them for supporting my through this, but so they could see how a year in our lives looked. PLUS, the importance of printing your photos! That’s another topic for another blog post. Or several posts.

So, 2018 is a wrap. I’m so glad I got to capture as much of it as I did. Since I didn’t feel like stopping on 12/31/2018, I have continued on with a repeat project for 2019!

Thank you for following along!

Here’s to more real moments for all of us in 2019! xo ~ jb