So I was walking Ippa this week, listening to a podcast while looking at my email and thought: "this is some quality time. I should make better use of it." (see Wikipedia re: ADD). Jokes aside, the time I get to spend in the mornings or evenings walking Ippa, our two year old, nine-months -new-to-us pooch, has become some of the most valuable time I have. For starters, walking Ippa almost always pulls me away from something. Sleep. Work. School. (goofing off, shhh don't tell). And while I'm often not in the mood when we head out the door, by the time we are home I'm always reluctant to be done with our walk. Susan and I have been working on training Ippa. Walks are not something one can phone in; they require constant communication between Ippa and her walker: sit, wait, slow down, a body check, a pat on the head, good girl, lets go. Still, they take my mind off whatever it was I was fixated on before we left. I get to mentally roam a bit while she sniffs and heels.

Walks happen in the morning or evening. The photo books will tell you about the golden hour at dusk and being present for sunrise in the morning; they talk about solitary time, waiting for the perfect shot. The truth is not far off. Photography is a solo art. The light in the early morning and late evening really does amazing things.

For the past few days I've been carrying my camera while Ippa and I walk together. We explore alleys behind houses. The places where trash goes and weeds grow. Fences go un-mended and sheds unpainted. Alleys are like the exposed backend of a patient in an exam gown who is agnostic to the comings and goings behind them. I'm fascinated by both the quality of the light and the things Ippa and I encounter on our walks.

So, I've started a project: Walks with Ippa. Its like Travels with Charlie, only not at all. I'm taking my camera on our local adventures and challenging myself to find at least one interesting image a day. I'm trying to get better at seeing creatively, like neat light, or colors, or some interesting macro shot. The images are on Flickr here.

Finally, a note of thanks to Jessica Lucia who's flickr stream inspired me to start a photo project.