Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lessons Learned #1: charge the batteries

Yesterday, the family and I returned to an awakening rhododendron garden to take photographs . . . and I was on a roll! Our latest assignment was to make a written list of the skills we want to learn and through the week, pick one and get to work. The tasks I had set for myself yesterday was to learn how to play with water so that it appears ethereal and soft, figure out the timed shutter release for use with macro photography and bracketing my photos so that I have a range of exposures.  Oh, and I wanted to get some of these durn ducks. Not so good with moving targets . . . 
Despite the order of the pictures, I tackled the waterfalls first. Yippee! I ran into the predictable problem of forgetting to change my very slow shudder speed before trying to capture the speedy ducks and the macro shots of these spring time bulbs was a wee bit frustrating. I couldn't get in as close as I wanted and then I learned my most important lesson of the day -- CHARGE YOUR BATTERIES! Yep, hardly out of the gate and done for the day. I wondered around with my family, who were all very helpful in pointing out great photo ops, with my dead camera hanging around my neck like a dead weight. (So dramatic on a Sunday morning!)
The last paragraph of an entry is always the hardest. How do I finish things up? I've been thinking about a word that seems to sum up my experience at this stage in the journey -- "strive." Certainly it's obvious that in photography, I'm reaching for skills that are just beyond my reach. But in all areas of my life, new and novel experiences are challenging me to reach further, try harder and expand. Growth doesn't come without difficulty -- sometimes I fail, in small and big ways. My battery died. I continue to not get my paperwork done at work. I wasn't as prepared for my students as I would have liked . . . so then I set about figuring out how to do things differently next time. Plan, prepare and strive. 

Friday, February 20, 2009

Memory Lane

I have always had a mostly hate-hate relationship with cameras and photographs. There are few pictures taken of me that I don't find deeply embarrassing . . . kinda makes my new found passion a wee bit ironic. So why have I drug out a few choice pieces of photographic memorabilia? Perhaps its the hair of the dog that bit me or some form of desensitization. Mostly, my dad, for the first time in my memory, took care of his own Christmas gift giving this year . . . and the most amazing gift he gave my sister and I were CD's with old family photos. The above pic is from high school, probably my senior year. Lots of hair. 
From about 9 months of age until 5 years, we lived in San Diego and this pic is at the zoo. I remember, oddly enough, riding this train and asking my grandmother if I could use her chap-stick. It was minty and I thought it stung my lips. Just today, Big D had quite the melt down when he had to brush his teeth with mint toothpaste. At the time I was irritated with his over-the-top reaction but now I'm remembering how intensely the chap-stick seemed to tingle and burn my lips.
My grandparents, who also lived in San Diego at the time, had orange trees in their yard and this marvelous swing. I love this picture -- so care free. I see the same look in my children's faces when they are unaware that I am observing their play. (Of course, sometimes when they are "unaware" they are up to no-good  . . . story for another time). I took pictures of Big D and Sis at the park today. It was sunny and mild and the sun dipping towards the horizon. Several feature big smiles and wind blown hair in the swings. Makes me very happy:)

Three pictures is not much of a trip down memory lane. And in fact, though I thought I'd have lots of interesting things to say about the pictures and childhood and family -- I find that I'm struggling to do so. Memory is a slippery little beast. I'm conscience that what I want to remember and what really was are two different things. My children will form odd hodge-podge collections of memories, too. I wonder what they'll remember when they look at today's pictures?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sick -- yuck

Evil, nasty viral buggies have descended on my house . . . they are shrink-wrapping my brain and hijacking any interesting ideas I may have had for a blog entry today. I ventured out to drop Big D at school sans makeup, hoping to avoid any chit-chat with other mommies. But alas, ended up volunteering my sick self for an art project in the next week or two and planning a play date. Can I not figure out how to STOP? Enough is enough, right? Don't tell my mother I said that . . . she's been telling me for years that I don't know my limits and take too much on and etc. 
During this week's photography class, I learned two important lessons. First, I take way too few pictures! My classmates shot literally HUNDREDS of pics during our outing whereas I think I maxed out at about a hundred. As I approach the next assignments, I'm going to be way more generous with trigger finger:) Second, as he was showing me how he'd frame various of my photos differently, he said (wait for it . . . ) to use my editing software to get the effect I want. GASP! Apparently I don't have to shoot them PERFECTLY. Whew. What a relief. So the above to pics are edited and cropped pics from the foggy field trip. And I love them:) 

Monday, February 2, 2009


Clearly, I'm stalling. There is laundry to be changed, chart notes to write and bulbs long over due for planting. I'm not even sure I can get away with planting them now . . . worth a try, I suppose. True to my word, I took more pictures Saturday afternoon. This time with the family in tow. Hmm. They apparently have an aversion to having their pictures taken, at last knowingly. Plant and bird life do not have this aversion. 
There was a gorgeous sunset that evening and my hubby kept saying helpful things like -- "Look at those clouds. Wanna take a picture?" The pressure, the pressure. I have tripod trepidation. Yes, yes, I know. How foolish. I fear that people will see me whipping out my handy three-legged friend and think I'm a photographer poser. A wanna be. I do wanna be! So all pics shown here were sans tripod and many others with potential turned out not good due to my poor focus and steady-holding skills. Vanity before a fall and all that. 
Where does this leave us? Still stalling, looking out the window at the starlings and wondering if they'll pose for me and counting down the minutes before kid-pick up. It's been a beautiful day so far. Had the pleasure of a companionable run with a good friend followed by chocolate and one heck of a parallel parking job. It's the little things:) The sun is out, my little one is napping and the house is quiet. All is right in my world -- at the moment!