Jes Lee

Not ready


I’m not ready.

I’m not ready for summer to end, not ready for the end of the color green outside, not ready for the smell of wet leaves on the ground, not ready for the end of days of swimming, not ready to feel sick from being outside, not ready to just watch from the window, not ready for an end of biking to work, not ready for the cold, not ready for dark mornings, not ready for deck nights and patio nights to be over. I’m not ready for fall.


leaving nests

This year for the first time since we moved in (9 years ago!) I put a hanging basket of flowers on our deck. It wasn’t long before a family of house finches decided that little basket would be the perfect place for their nest, and they moved in. Mr FN and I watched as baby birds appeared, and started learning to flap tiny wings, sometimes hovering just above the flower-pot, before landing for another nap and meal. I watched as much as I could to see the moment when the baby birds finally took their leap of faith and flew away. Yesterday morning after settling in for a work day, I looked and saw that the baby birds had finally figured out how to fly, and were off in the world somewhere now. The mother finch came back a few times, sitting on the edge of the pot, and looking at her empty nest for a while before flying away, as if she was saying good-bye to the home she built, and going on to the next one.

After she hadn’t returned for a few hours, I took the basket down to look inside. I am amazed at how perfect and neat their nest is…though perhaps I am just too used to seeing sparrow’s nests. It is still this amazing, perfect little form, that held up to four baby birds stomping around in it, and me watering it a few times before I figured out my flower-pot was inhabited.

Last night we went out with friends for a little “going away” party. Two friends are going on a two-week trip to Africa and they leave this week. We chatted about how scary it can be at times traveling far away, how hard to plan, the difficulties of language barriers and cultural barriers and how you wonder if simple things (such as your hotel reservations) have actually gone through and if you’ll have a place to sleep when you get to the other side of the world. But, through all that, you finally leave home, take your leap of faith, and somehow all of those things work out. Yes, there are plenty of times that bad things happen on vacations that never should have to happen, but those times aren’t the majority. We just hear about them way more often than we hear about the good times. Taking that leap of faith and planning and leaving home for any time is hard to do when you don’t always know what you will find at your destination, but it is almost always worth it.

I can’t wait to hear about their big trip and the adventures they will have. And I can’t wait to plan our next big adventure, to buy the tickets, stand on the edge of the nest, and leap.




A day of accomplishing

Today was definitely a work day. A good work day. There was a lot of researching and rough draft writing for a new project, there was planning for a different project, there was a little bit of photographing for another project that admittedly wasn’t super successful today, but there is still time. There was updating for The 30 Project, researching more applications and deadlines, and finishing up photos for an MCBA job. I also managed to fix some images on my website (the images in The 30 Project gallery should load faster now!). I feel like I got a lot done, and nothing done all at the same time.

Either way, it is time for me to be done for the day. Tomorrow will be a day of working with a bit of pottery glazing thrown in the middle. Saturday will be full of galleries and photos with Mr. FN. But now, it is time for my book, and maybe a glass of wine, and sleep.

Here are a few entries for The 30 Project I have been behind on posting. I just finished the roll of black and white film I have been shooting today! Next week I should be able to develop it and make prints so I can update the journal pages! Exciting!

July 8, 2012

July 8th, 2012 – at work.

July 8, 2012 journal


July 9, 2012

July 9th, in the printing studio at MCBA.

July 9, 2012 journal

July 10, 2012

July 10th, 2012 – found in the vines on my favorite patio.

July 10, 2012 journal

July 11, 2012

July 11th, 2012 – <3

July 11, 2012 journal


“I love this summer”

….that is what my Mr. FN said to me last night as we biked home from my aunt’s house. I thought about it for a few seconds, as I pedaled (uphill) and I realized, he is right. We were on our way back home from a family pool party celebrating my 30th birthday, my aunt’s 50th birthday, and my cousin’s 20th birthday – 100 years all together. It included all of the best summer party bits: a pool complete with lights and glowing dive sticks, a bon fire with plenty of marshmallows to roast, plenty of food cooked on the grill, loads of family and a ton of laughter. This whole summer has felt like that so far. Many days and nights spent at the pool or the beach, out on a patio with friends, road trips, storm watching, bike rides…it feels like how you always imagine summers to be. Yes, life changes when you are an adult and are no longer in school with summers completely free. Yes, there has been a lot of hot weather already, and I can only imagine there is more of that to come. But, really, it has been a good summer so far.

I am very blessed with having a part-time day job that I can leave when I leave work. When there are long days or bad days on the job (like today), it is temporary. Once the clean up is done, I can walk out the door and leave it there. I can come home, tired, maybe slightly grumpy even, and it never takes me long to realize that part of the day is over. Time for a shower and to feel better. Tonight, it didn’t take me long to remember the mid-bike ride conversation with Mr. FN. Yes, this summer is great. I, too, love this summer.

July 7, 2012

the bonfire part of the family birthday bash…before my cousin came and made the fire bigger….

July 7, 2012 journal

July 8, 2012

Even at work there are peaceful moments.

July 8, 2012 journal

Oodles of photos and a week that was a blur


I have been slacking a bit this week with posting. I have a few good excuses. For one, it was my birthday on Monday, and I have, as usual, been celebrating all week. Two, it was hot, and parts of my brain have melted…especially the part interested in typing coherently. Three, I have been spending a lot of extra time in the pool, and playing games in the AC with Mr. FN. That was much needed.

Tonight, the temperature dropped 30 degrees, the AC is finally turned off, the windows are open, the resident princess bunny is happily hopping around the living room, and I am finally catching up a bit on the week. The end of this post contains the latest photos from ‘The 30 Project‘.

A little recap:

Wednesday was the 4th of July. After a short and hot shopping trip with my Bethie, we spent the rest of the day alternating between being in the AC, being in the pool, and eating ice cream. We did not make it out to see fireworks this year, but you know what, there will be other out door festivals with fireworks that aren’t on melt-your-face-off-hot days. I will go to those and take photos of fireworks for a semi-secret project. It will work.

Thursday I spent much of the day processing and uploading photos for MCBA. I have learned a lot about photographing with light boxes and light tables…things that you can only learn through experience. Honestly, I am so very grateful that MCBA has let me work on their photos and learn these things. They have always been patient, and let me figure out what I need to do to make the images they need.

I also had a chance on Thursday to talk to a very dear artist friend about life in general, and bunnies, and the state of photography in relation to the Minnesota State Arts Board grant funding….and has me thinking about making a last ditch effort to apply for a grant again….the deadline is next week….we’ll see how this goes.

Today I spent much of the day working, and then running around getting food and stuff for a family-ish pool party tomorrow night. The party will be a blast! The prep work has me feeling a bit wiped out. Of course going with Mr. FN to check on the pool and have a little swim helped a lot tonight. Tomorrow will be fun. I have no worries about that.

I did spend a bit of time tonight finding a few new books to read…two of which are coming from England… When I start to get a bit down/tired/overwhelmed I often find a smidge of retail therapy helps. Lately, books have been doing the trick. Of course, most of them are books that Mr. FN would read as well, so he never really has a problem with it.

On to the photos: I have been keeping up with this project quite well so far!

I’m still working with the same kind of film I started this project with, which is expired Polaroid Silk 125 peel apart film for the instant photo, and Kodak TriX 400 black and white film for the film photo (to come soon!). All photos are taken with my Hasselblad 501c/m.

July 4, 2012

The pool (July 4th, 2012)

July 4, 2012

July 4th journal page

July 5, 2012

Swimming gear drying. July 5th, 2012

July 5, 2012

Journal page, July 5th, 2012

July 6, 2012

Trying to photograph the leaves in the storm wind. July 6th, 2012

July 6, 2012

Journal page, July 6th, 2012


It has been a long week already. Not really in a bad way. There has been planning and parties and days at the beach with my bestie which have been so great! But today I am tired. I try not to say much about the heat or the weather. I know I have it pretty good – I have power and AC at home, I do a lot of work in art centers that have AC, my studio is quite cold being in the basement of a house with AC, and after years of working in a restaurant kitchen I am pretty heat tolerant. But I will admit that the heat is not helping me feel my best and have tons of energy now.

I did manage to get a bit of work done today for MCBA. We had our monthly co-op meeting, and my sweet co-op friends brought cup cakes and cookies to the meeting for my birthday! I do adore those people.

I had a moment of panic this morning. I have known for a long time what would be my first ‘30 Project‘ post. But today is day two, and I realized I had no idea what my photo would be of. After a second cup of coffee I managed to calm myself down, and remind myself that this is what the project is about. I don’t have every day planned out and know right away what I am going to photograph. This project is not meant to be planned. It is meant to be spontaneous, with a deliberate finished look (meaning how I put the photos in my journal). So I packed my camera in my bag, and brought it with me. Sometime during picking raspberries at my parent’s house I knew what today’s photo needed to be.

(Note: Yes, I realize that I mis-spelled ‘raspberry’ in my journal. That will be fixed when the page has been finished with the addition of the last print. I still wish paper journals had spell check not because I am lazy, but because my spelling is far from perfect. Also, that is purple ink on the border of my instant photo. My fountain pen barfed tonight. I am eternally grateful that my mom taught me that rubbing alcohol gets ink off of things.)


July 3, 2012

Raspberries!! Taken with a Hasselblad 501c/m using a Polaroid back and expired Polaroid Silk 125 peel apart film.

July 3, 2012

Journal page July 3rd.

The 30 project – an introduction

Today at 10:32 am Central Time I turned 30 years old. No big deal, right? Aside from all of the cake and celebrating with friends and family and the awesome annual excuse to get new camera equipment (that is what a Birthday is for right??). I have many many dear friends who have turned 30 this year as well (including Mr. FN earlier this year) and it has been interesting watching all of the different reactions to this milestone. It got me to thinking and wondering how I see it. I definitely view it as marking another year on this earth surrounded by all of the amazing people I am with and doing the things I love, but why? And what will this year bring that others haven’t? Anything different?

Somewhere I have gotten a little enamored with how people document things, places, events, their lives, and I decided I am going to document 30….well, 30 for me anyway! 30 will be documented with my Hasselblad 501c/m, possibly my most loved camera. One moment of each day will be documented with an instant image, and a film image. I will of course be able to post the instant images right away. The film images will be posted later as I get the rolls of film developed. I will also be posting the journal pages that I am keeping all of the images organized in. The page scans will be updated as I complete them with the film prints.

I am excited! Not only will this be a year of working very very closely with my Hasselblad, but this is something new that I haven’t tried before. I have been in the midst of a cell phone photo 365 project, but that feels different than this. I’m very excited to see where it goes.

And now it is time for me to get off of the computer and go enjoy my day! But first, my image and journal page from today: a self portrait.

Instant photo of the day – me!

Journal page – July 2nd, 2012