Sunday, January 31, 2021

Project 365 - January 31, 2021

Last Day of the Month

Sundays are always poignant for me. Yes, I get up early. Yes, I do my morning walk with Greg. Yes, I get lovely greetings from the Vishnu dog down the block.

But Sunday always signals the time to prepare for the upcoming week. I used to go shopping on Sundays with Joel. He would make a trip to Walmart and Publix, an adventure. And once home, we would figure out what we wanted for dinner and the house would usually smell like some Italian dish while we curled up on the couch and watched TV. 

Now, I am creating my own path for Sundays. If I didn’t work on Saturday, I try to get the chores like laundry and house cleaning done so that Sundays are my own.

Yes, Sundays still involve shopping and cooking. But more time is spent outside or playing with photography or a bigger project like emptying out a giant file cabinet and shredding and scanning stuff.  

For me, busy is the key. And making lists for myself so that I don’t forget what I wanted to accomplish. 

And, a nap is always in store for me. Even if it is right after breakfast!  

Back to photography ... I love this image because of the rays of sunlight that are streaking across the old golf course that is in the shadows. I cropped the light poles out this time, but you may still see the electrical lines. Today brought more clouds to the sunrise because the humidity levels have increased a bit. But the clouds lend themselves to this morning’s image

Project 365 - January 27, 2021

Chasing the Shadows

Trying to catch up a bit. I made this image on Wednesday last week and thought I would post it today. 

I was taking a lunch break and sitting on my patio. The light was hitting my bamboo plant and making this shadow on the concrete. 

I felt like this image had a life if it’s own.  As the wind moved the leaves around, the shadows danced and changed. That’s why I appreciate photography because a still image needs to tell a story. If the viewer can figure out what is happening, or create a story of their own in their mind, then the photographer has done their job without words. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Project 365 - January 30, 2021

Breath of Fresh Air

There is nothing like February in Florida.  It is the best of both worlds.  The mornings are a bit crispy with low humidity and temperatures ranging from 55 to 65. But, later in the day,  the sun warms the ground and the air and although the humidity is still low, shorts and tee shirts are perfect. In the shade, you might still feel cool, but in the sun you warm up quickly.

Today was that perfect mix of cool and warm and I started my day at 6 am. I stayed in bed until about 6:30 just scrolling through emails and news of the day.  I indulged in my guilty pleasure of playing Words with Friends. And then I finally got up, leaving Gracie still in bed under the covers. 

Last night I slept in my yoga clothes so all I needed was my sneakers  I also layered a thermal shirt with a sweatshirt because it was a bit cool for me. Then at 7 am, I met my friend, Greg in front of our houses and off we went through our neighborhood.

We are usually totally engrossed in conversation for the entire 1.5-mile walk. But I am always conscious of photo opportunities.  In the mornings, I don't take the Nikon, instead, I opt for the iPhone. 

Sometimes the phone captures the images better than I could do it on manual on Nikon.  But I do like the challenge of getting the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture correctly. Not to mention the focusing.

As Greg and I were on the way home, the sun was just about to peek up over the treeline, and this is the image that I made. I used a bit of Photoshop but only to fix the levels in CMYK and then transferred back to RGB.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Project 365 - January 2 Part 2

 Morning Walk

Today is the first time in more than a week that I took a walk in the morning. I really love walking with Greg and the discussions we have as well as the people we meet along the way. 

Today, as we rounded the bend on Spring Bluff Terrace, we both had to stop and take a photo of the setting full Moon. It looked so large in the sky and bright even though the sun was rising and the moon was setting. 

It was a perfect moment.

Then, we ran into our neighbors who have a Vishnu dog and I got quite the welcome because I haven’t see them in almost a year! We spent a very long time chatting and I got to know his girlfriend while Greg and Bob caught up on condo business! 

It was such a South Florida moment!  And the weather couldn’t be better. Clear skies, 57 degrees and no wind. Just a perfect start to my weekend. 

Project 365 - January 29, 2021

 Good Shabbos 

Growing up, I spent almost every Friday night at my Nana and Pop-pop’s house so that we could have a traditional Jewish dinner. And boy did we eat!!

Dinner always started with gefilte fish and matzoh on a  tiny plate. The next course was a tiny plate of sweet and sour meatballs that were probably smaller than a 1/2 inch wide in a tomato-based sauce and a small slice of challah. 

After the plates were cleared and washed, out came the soup bowls, with the two handles, one on each side of the bowl, with chicken soup, carrots, celery and thin egg noodles. 

The reason we didn’t get full is because all the plates were quickly removed and washed and dried and put away before the next course was served. 

Then, out came the broasted chicken (boiled in the chicken soup and then roasted in the oven to ensure that it was not only toasty and brown but juicy!).   The sides ranged from noodle kugle and candied carrots to boiled and parsley potatoes and a salad. And of course more challah. 

After dinner there was also a dessert. Sometimes it might be honey cake made with thick and dark buckwheat honey.  Other times it might be sweet rice pudding or baked rice pudding. My mom loved to make a noodle kugle topped with corn flakes and orange zest.  

The entire meal lasted for at least four hours. So if my pop pop went to temple we would start dinner at about 7 pm when he came home. It was a treat to stay up that late!  

My mom and I lived down the block, so if I fell asleep, sometimes she would just leave me there and get me in the morning. 

It’s just how we rolled as a family before she remarried. I loved those years. 

Flash forward to today and I had the urge for chicken soup. It won’t be quite a tradition Jewish dinner because my daughter wanted tortillas for dinner, but at least I have my soup!!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Project 365 - January 22, 2021

Misty Morning

On my way out to a doctor's appointment, I stopped my car as I approached the guard gate because I had to capture this image.

The temperature was 58 degrees, it was damp and cool and that made for a wonderfully misty froth across the grass of the former golf course. And then, the sunshine through that mist made it even more beautiful to me.

So, I got out of the car and shot several images. This is the one that I liked the best because I can see the rays of the sun and the mist looks like a thick, white blanket on the ground. 

I didn't overthink it, just focused, snapped and got back in my car, and drove off to the doctor.  Now that I am sitting on my couch and looking deeper at the image, I wish that I had more time this morning to get up and outside a bit earlier to capture more of the sunrise. But, it is what it is and this is the result!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Project 365 - January 17, 2021

Abandoned But Not Forgotten

I love to photograph old neon signs.  In Miami Beach, there are so many that I have yet to photograph. But this past weekend, I saw this sign as we were stopped at a red light.  

There are so many things that I love about this particular sign.  The juxtaposition of the peacock sitting above the sign.  The curlicue iron attached to an arm that must have had an additional sign hanging from it at one point in time.  The palm tree fronds framing the sign.  The bright yellow color of the wall behind the rusty color of the sign.

But my favorite part of this sign is how it sparked my imagination as to what life was like when this sign would come to life as the sun set.  Was this during the 1940s? Was World War II taking place? Was this even earlier, maybe the 1920s? It has a bit of an art deco feel to it. Could this sign be almost 100 years old? Probably not.  But, there were a lot of thoughts traveling through my mind as we sat at this red light.

So, this sign may be abandoned for now, but it has not been forgotten.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Project 365 - January 12 - Part II

Playing with Black & White

My favorite kind of photography involves the use of black and white.  To me, eliminating color from an image makes the viewer focus solely on the content of the photograph.

Some photographers come to mind . . . Ansel Adams . . . Annie Liebovitz . . Clyde Butcher . . .Diane Arbus

I can only aspire to make images as inspiring as they have inspired me.

Today, I was so busy that I was only able to pick up my camera after dinner and before I dropped into bed and these were my subjects!! My cat and some leftover gourds from Halloween! But, that makes the photographer work a bit harder in the area of creativity.

Project 365 - January 12

Living with Art

For as long as I can remember, I have always been surrounded by art in one form or another. As a child, my mother raised me as a single mom for seven years and she always introduced me to the arts. If she didn't have a Miles Davis or Thelonious Munk LP playing on the turntable, then it was West Side Story or Oaklahoma!

Visual art was also a big influence in my life.  There were tremendous coffee table books all over our apartment and in the round closet that I loved to explore because . . . well, for one thing, it was round. And when the Mona Lisa was exhibited at the World's Fair in either 1964 or 1965, we stood in a very long line to have a few moments to gaze at it before we were quickly ushered off.

When I was in high school, I was not only in a community theater company, but I also took a special English class where we studied playwrights and attended Broadway and Off-Broadway shows as homework!

As an adult, I have been an arts administrator for more than three decades and have sampled every discipline of the arts through our local and regional arts organizations and artists as well as traveling shows and exhibitions.

I can't imagine a world without the arts. And, I live with an artist  . . . and I am an artist. So I never know what I will find on my dining room table.  This is what I found today.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Project 365 - Day 9

They are Falling Out of the Trees

Ever since South Florida became a breeding ground for iguanas, who by the way are not native and are invasive and eat along our pretty flowers and vegetation, we have to be on the lookout for these cold-blooded creatures when the temperature falls.  The headlines in the newspapers will tell you to watch for falling iguanas!!

Hilarious, yes but also a bit sad.  I love animals and never want to see any of them get hurt. I know these strange looking beasts don’t belong here but they are so much fun to watch and take photos of. 

As I was leaving work, I saw this one iguana poking his head out of the drainage grate. I knew he probably couldn’t move more than he did because the temperature is about 60 degrees and that is way too cool for their blood.  

But, on the other hand, I did enjoy taking this fellow’s photo. I pretended he was posing for me. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Project 365 - January 8, 2021

 A Deer in the Woods

No, not really, but as I took my morning walk, I saw the outline of a deer in the tree on the abandoned golf course.  Loved the fog and the pastel colors of the impending sunrise.

I guess the actual saying is "a deer in the headlights" but that didn't work as a title!

It was a quick snap and then on to finish my walk.  No great deal of thought went into this, just a touch of PhotoShop to bring up the contrast and lighted the foreground so that you can actually see the mist along the ground.

This was taken at about 6:45 am.

Project 365 - January 7, 2021

 A Day Off

On Thursday, I had an exceptionally busy day because we have a virtual arts festival coming up on Saturday. In addition to coordinating with artists and musicians, then running up to the cultural center for a four hour technical rehearsal, I just never had a chance to think about Project 365. 

However, as I was walking the halls of our venue, I had totally forgotten that two of my images are on exhibit in the Creative Pompano Exhibit which are artworks from only city employees. 

So today’s post is shamelessly about me. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Project 365 - January 6, 2021


Last week I spent hours and hours in the garage cleaning out a file cabinet. Not very interesting, I know. However, I found decades of papers that I don’t have a clue why I saved them. 

My goal as I think I have already said, is to get rid of that file cabinet. But before I do, I needed to touch each piece of paper and decide, “garbage, scan, shred, keep.”  There was one more choice, mail to someone in case they might want it. But that didn’t happen much. 

Most of the papers were old bills, medical records and brochures from places where I have traveled. 

The process was methodical, tedious and slow. But when I was done with the two drawers I felt quite accomplished. Since I scanned most of the papers that seemed important, the next task was to shred. And I had to stop many time’s because either the shredder had to be dumped or it overheated. 

I decided to use this as my topic for Project 365 because it was an important step in minimizing my life and letting go of things I really don’t need. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Project 365 - January 5, 2021


Every morning I make my way down the stairs, very carefully because Newt weaves through my feet and I don’t want to trip over him. He wants my attention so that I will feed him. 

I walk through the living room and pull open the drapes so that I can have a full view of the back patio and hill outside the house. It makes it feel like the living room is larger. 

This morning, instead of heading to the kitchen for my cup of coffee, I was distracted by the cool, clear, crispy looking sky. So I opened the sliding glass door and stepped outside. 

What a lovely feeling to have that blast of cool air wash over my skin. I admit, I was a little chilly. I am no longer that hardy New Yorker after 43 years of living in the sub-tropics.  I enjoy the warmth of South Florida. But once in a while I do love to feel that cool air. 

So I started looking at the colors of the sun hitting the trees and the deep blue of the cloudless sky. And then as I started snapping, one of the anhinga birds flew into my frame. I love when happy accidents happen. 

And so, I started my Tuesday, happy that I enjoyed a bit of nature before settling into my day’s work.  

Monday, January 4, 2021

Project 365 - January 4, 2021

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

First day back to work since before the holidays. Had an outdoor meeting.  Then over to the cultural center to record our January virtual program “A Taste of Jazz.”

It was lovely to be around artsy people and to actually talk to them in person and not in a tiny square on my computer screen. 

Yes we all remained socially distanced and with our masks on. 

This image shows Kay working one of the cameras while Nicole Yarling was introducing herself and her guitarist. They performed about 30 minutes of jazz music. Nicole has a beautiful voice and plays the violin as well. They began with the perfect song for 2021, Bill Withers “Lean on Me.”

This program will premiere on Facebook in January 20. 

Sometimes work just doesn’t feel like work!

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Project 365 - January 3, 2021

 And the Holidays Come to an End

After my morning walk, I was inspired to start taking down the Christmas decorations. I began outside with the lights. After I felt that they were sufficiently packed and ready to be stored in the attic, I had a quick breakfast and watched Sunday Today with Willie Geist and then tackled the decorations in the living room. I gathered everything onto the dining room table before taking the same care in storing these gems for another year. That is when Newt decided that he needed to be part of the action.

Throughout the holiday season, Newt continuously knocked decorations off the tree, off the counters, and under the couch.  In the middle of the night, I could hear him batting the ornaments here and there like he was playing hockey. 

But this very last moment, he looked into my lens almost begging me to leave the decorations around just a bit longer. 

Luckily, cats don't have very long memories. Later in the afternoon, I found him snoozing on the sun-drenched dining room table. 

And so, the holidays have come to an end in the Leshinsky household.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Project 365 - January 2, 2021

 Last Bit of Christmas

The holidays have always been a happy time in the Leshinsky home. Food was always cooking in the kitchen, cookies in containers on the counter, Christmas decorations throughout the house along with the Chanukah menorah and dreidel.

Today, I wandered through the house looking for motivation for today's post. I found it in a bowl sitting on my dining room table. I was able to use my Nikon 16 - 200 mm lens to capture a narrow depth of field with a wonderfully festive bokeh effect from the lights on the tree.

Very little editing in Photoshop, but a bit just to pull out the colors and add a little more contrast. I prefer to show the actual image and not stray from what I meant to shoot. So, there are no filters here and I shot on manual at 400 ISO at 1/20 shutter speed and f5.6. 

Project 365 - January 1, 2021

My New Normal

And it is here . . . 2021.  A new year, a new beginning. A new normal.

This past year has been a nightmare. Not only has there been a pandemic of extraordinary circumstances, but I have also lost my best friend, my partner in life, my true love, my husband of 40 years.

Although it has only been six months, it still feels like yesterday. I suppose it will always remain fresh in my mind because when you know someone for more than half of your life, you can't possibly forget any of it.

Family and friends have been wonderful in helping me through this grieving process. But no one can really understand the true reality of what I am experiencing unless they have gone through this themselves.

However, I remember when Rachel was first born and was just learning how to walk, talk, and eat by herself.  Sometimes there was frustration on my part and Joel would gently remind me that Rachel was only on this Earth for 200 (or so) days.  So when I get frustrated or sad, I do hear Joel's voice reminding me that he has only been gone for 180 days.  It will get easier as I move forward with my life, but I will never forget.

Sometimes, before I go to sleep, I will flip through photos on my phone and smile as I remember what we were doing or saying just before I took that image. Then I am okay to go to sleep and think of those happy memories.

Another way for me to move forward is to keep busy with projects. Not only am I cleaning out closets, the attic, and the garage, but I have learned how to cook and now I am returning to my photography. This too will be a process because I know it takes time, creativity, and discipline.  

When I spoke to Susan to wish her a happy new year, we both made a pact to continue our Project 365 blogs.  Susan is an artist and photographer and she will also be posting daily on Instagram!

So here is my photo for January 1. After a long day of napping on the couch because I stayed up until 2 am and my body was not very happy about it, I took a walk around my neighborhood. I love when I walk through the neighborhood because I never know what I will find. I was watching a bunch of white Ibis flying across the lake, but as I sat down, I realized that this bird was calmly sitting on this branch not more than 10 feet from me and never moved. Almost like she was posing for me. A new year's present for my new Project 365.

I added in a second one to show the Ibis!

Happy New Year! Cheers to our new normal.