Jes Lee

Just a day

Today is just a day. But I am finally feeling the most human I have felt all week, and that is saying something! And thank goodness for that small favor today. For today, for this chick, there is a doctor’s appointment, and a photo job drop off before work. There has already been laundry, and extra morning medicine. Today at work there will be more messiness than usual, and lots of energy.

And I keep moving along with all of it, looking towards the weekend. A weekend of art show openings to try to get to, and a new camera lens being delivered…

Yes, that’s right. I found a new camera lens online yesterday! While, new to me. It is a used lens after all. But one that will help with the nature photos this year, so that I don’t always have to borrow a lens from someone else. I’m quite excited to try it out! Perhaps this weekend will also hold a bit of photography as well. As long as the temperatures co-operate just a bit…


Long days

Days stuck at home being sick can get really long. Today, after feeling like I would burst without a bit of creative time, packed up my laptop, notebook, and some sketching tools and headed back to bed. Yes, just like a little kid taking all their toys to bed with them. It helped though. I stayed put for most of the day, and am starting to feel a bit more human. I participated in Wet Paint’s Weekly Work-Outs by making a charcoal sketch of my hand. No, it isn’t great, I haven’t sketched for a very long time. But, I started sketching again today.


I also edited the black and white film photos I took of the swans a couple of weeks ago. I realize that it is not at all easy to photograph swans with black and white film, and that I should have brought color film with me. But I am still enjoying these. I have a 150mm lens for my Hasselblad, which is what I was using for these. Not as much zoom as the lens I had with for my digital. Next time, I think I will bring a different film camera with that has a bit more zoom capabilities. I rather like being able to get in really close to them. But, I do adore the square format and the graininess of these photos! Different mediums…

Hopefully I’ll be back out to photograph these birds again soon. This year has already brought about many changes and challenges and a dose of sorrow. But so every year goes. And perhaps we are wrong to think each year will be different in that respect. When really, the years are the same, with their ups and downs, but each has a different theme. Maybe the theme of this year for me will have something to do with nature. I don’t expect it will take me long to find out!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Getting out

Even though winter is one of my favorite seasons (with summer a close second…I am a girl of extremes) it is still so easy to get caught up into hibernation mode and spend loads of time in front of the tv under the blankets. This year I am trying to combat that!

A friend of mine decided that she was going to go to as many openings and theater shows as she could this winter. So, I am copying her.

Valentine’s Day Weekend was the first of this experiment.

Friday evening I stopped by Rouge Buddha Gallery to see Nicolas Harper’s newest work as well as some of his guest artists. I stopped at a tiny art gallery on the way home that had a sign outside saying there was an art opening, but it seemed quite private, so I didn’t stick around. On Saturday, during our Valentine’s Day wanderings, we stopped by Black Dog Coffee in St. Paul to see the Metro Sketchers work that is displayed there, while sipping hot chocolate and tea. On Monday, I was at MCBA helping take photos of artwork for the upcoming ‘This Is Book Art’ exhibit where I got to see and look close up at some of the amazing book art that is being delivered to the gallery for the show.

Having a weekend full of art filled up my empty spaces again. I have a list of other shows to see, and plan on continuing this well past the end of winter.

Of course, it would help if I felt better. This weekend I have barely made it off the couch, except for work. Being sick sucks, and I did miss a few fun things this weekend. But it happens, and life goes on, and I will eventually feel better. There is more art out there waiting for me.


Swans and water and mornings

My uncle emailed me last week, asking if I would like to go photograph swans with him one morning over the weekend.

I have known for a long time that he does this when the swans return to this creek/pond close to his house.

I have also known for a long time that he goes out pretty early in the morning to photograph them.

But I have been curious about this habit of his, and curious about if I would really enjoy taking wildlife photos or not, if I could ever get myself out of bed that early in the morning for something other than work…etc.

So, before my brain could remind me that the particular weekend he was asking about was a work-weekend, and a roller-derby-weekend, and a celebrating-various-awesome-life-things-with-friends-weekend, I replied to his email saying “yes”.

We met Sunday morning, cameras in hand, and after a 1-mile hike from where we could park, we arrived at the water, with somewhere around 35 swans, and almost as many ducks.

I dressed warm, knowing we would be sitting in the snow. These birds didn’t mind we were there, and were quite happy that my uncle brought corn with for them!

Knowing that I would want to take photos of them flying away using a camera with more speed than my film cameras, I brought my digital Sony A77 with me…but I also stuck my Hasselblad 501c/m with my 150mm lens in at the last-minute. I haven’t developed that roll of film yet, but I hope to soon. For anyone super curious, the lens I was using on my Sony was a Tamron 19-270mm lens that I borrowed from a different uncle. I don’t own a lens with that much zoom…yet. I think after this outing, I will start researching which one I would like to someday own.

Being that close to the swans and the ducks was really cool! We walked around, getting different views of them interacting, eating, and showing off to each other. We knew eventually they would all take off, flying over us…and it felt like we waited forever as the wind picked up and the temperature seemed to drop…but it was worth the wait.

Do I need practice at taking photos of birds flying away? Oh, hell yeah I do. But it was fun! And I really like some of the photos I took. And I definitely will go back again, even though it is a bit early in the morning for me.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1/5/15 – Sea Wall

From my journal:

Tomorrow morning we start a long journey home. Today, our last full day on this little island, we spent the hours walking by the ocean wall, we ate green tea KitKats, grocery shopped, read while sitting out on the patio, ate lunch at a chicken and waffle restaurant, had more of Julie’s awesome Yakisoba for dinner, and enjoyed our last day of hanging out here. Everything is packed already. It is only a matter of time before we are back.

To the friends that took such good care of us, thank you a million times over!

IMG_0718 IMG_0719 IMG_0720 IMG_0723 IMG_0724

Film photos from our last day:

1/4/15 – Kokusai

From my journal:

Today we walked around Kokusai – downtown Okinawa. There were street vendors, Okinawan doughnuts, fresh brown sugar being chipped off a large block, fresh pineapple on a stick, traditional places to eat, sweet beans and mochi, the fish market, crowds, malls, sales, lots of sunshine, the kids being happy, the craziness of Japanese streets and markets, Hello Kitty stuff everywhere…it was so much fun! We walked until our legs and feet ached. We did a lot of shopping, and I took a lot of photos again.

Today was great. This whole trip has been amazing, from the roller slides, to the food, and all the fun stuff we did in between. The best part is experiencing all of this with friends who love exploring and trying new things as well as we do. I can’t wait to come back and visit them again!

IMG_0712 IMG_0713 IMG_0715 IMG_0711

Film photos:

1/3/15 – Koza Music Town

From my journal:

Today John and I went out to do a little exploring on our own of Okinawa City and Koza Music Town. There were a few places open, though many were still closed for the New Year holiday.

We did find an arcade where we played Mario Kart (so much fun!) and a small punk record and clothing shop. We had a good time and were quite worn out after from all the walking! I took a lot of photos of the buildings and empty streets. There is such a mix of new and run-down here. I remember noticing that when we were in Japan before on the main island, but I feel like it is more prominent here. It was a beautiful day to be out walking! And more sushi for dinner!

iPhone photos:


Okinawa street…



There was a one-block stretch of buildings that had the craziest wall murals painted all along them!

IMG_0703 IMG_0704 IMG_0705

Film photos from the day:

1/2/15 – Okinawa World

From my journal:

Today we went with Julie and the girls to Okinawa World. It is quite kitschy, and set up almost Ren-Fest-ish. It is meant to show visitors the many aspects of Okinawa culture while simultaneously draining as much money as possible from you! Ha! I am glad we went though – we had great ice cream (pineapple sorbet for me!), saw giant turtles, a snake exhibit (that I walked through quite quickly!), a huge cave, glass blowers, potters, paper makers, and tried some local craft beer.

We had sushi for dinner at one of the local restaurants – it was amazing!

IMG_0665 IMG_0667 IMG_0670 IMG_0680