photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Archive for January, 2013

Hope

Getcha some…

Image

Advertisements

Fun in the Sun

Not really.

It’s neither sunny here, nor fun.
As a matter of fact, I’m in the middle of intercept slope forms, functions of graphs, and linear equations.

Image

Good stuff. And look! Only 24 more to go!

I want my Mom. 😦

****************************

8/1/14

Tonight, I paid $109 of Mom’s electric bill: I surprised her, because she was behind and in a hard place.

And here you are. You could be loving her, truly loving her. Instead, you seek my hurt- my destruction- and it delights you to break your own Mother’s heart.

Let me tell you- hell will find you tonight. And death will come upon you as a whirlwind, because you have turned away from the love of God.

And let this be a testament against you for you are full of hypocrisy and harm. DEATHEATER.


Destroy You

 

Image

Meet Carl. 
He’s from the wrong side of the tracks. 
You do not want to mess with this cat.

And this is his happy face.

Canon Rebel Xti
50 MM 1.8 II
1.27.13

 


The Bird Whisperer

 

Jeffersonville Marina
Canon Rebel Xti
50 MM 1.8 II
1.26.13

Image

 


Exhibit A

 

From today’s test run:

J and I took the new camera out for a spin. We went to one of our favourite hangouts- the abandoned leather factory in a neighboring city. Just as I’d predicted, the kit lens was pretty much useless. I stuck with my 50 MM for most of the day. (I like the way it mimics film with added depth.)

 

The entrance

Image

 

I’m not sure there aren’t bodies in there somewhere…

Image

Josh, checking his camera settings (and yes, that’s actually the Canon G3- long considered a dinosaur. Still a great cam for a P&S).

Image

Image

We had to be quick in there. J led as I followed:

Image

There were all sorts of goodies in there. 🙂 

Image

Image

J shoots blindly into the dark- 6 second long exposure.
Image

And of course, our trip just wouldn’t have been a typical trip without a visit from our local police!

Image

That’s right. Drive away, sir…

Image

Everything was frozen solid today.
Image

J didn’t seem to mind. The concrete was so slick he could skate easily. We always have a great time. 🙂 Image.
Image

Taken earlier in the day. Those pants are just wrong

Image

My favourite from today- the outside of the abandoned leather factory. (Semi HDR)

Image

 

                                                                      …

 

 

 

 

 


The New Toy has Arrived!

 

I’ve been shooting with a crappy 4 MP camera for so long that I’d forgotten what a DSLR was like! Although I’m sure I ordered the 60 D (quite sure of it), I received the 600D- the T3i. It’s a slight step down- very slight- and the customer service was a total nightmare (42nd street photo in New York), I’m happy with the quality of the T3i and it’s not worth the hassle to return it and haggle with the (very rude) owner. He asked how I was doing, and I let him know that I had a blazing migraine. Instead of making the call brief, he went on to tell me that he’d received three parking tickets that morning and so he too “had a migraine”. Not funny! He then went on to try and upsell everything. Pretty fricking tacky.

He told me that I’d ordered the wrong speed memory card, which I clearly hadn’t- I ordered exactly what I wanted, and he continued trying to upsell the order, saying, “Alright, but when the memory card doesn’t work…yada yada yada..” Are you serious?! He also neglected to send me a confirmation email so there was no way to dispute or confirm the exact order. Nice.

I received the camera today, and just as I imagined, the memory card worked perfectly, etc. He was a real piece of work, and I’m quite sure I’ll never order anything from him again.

Apart from all of that, I’m tickled to be shooting with an 18 MP. cam. 🙂

Image

 

Canon Rebel Xti/50 MM 1.8 II/manual/self port.

 

More photos later. I’m heading out to take this puppy for a spin!

 


Helping the Homeless

Tonight, J & I went on another brandy walk. Now, before you go and start thinking that I have an alcohol dependency, consider that in days past, I would kick back a fifth of whiskey with the girls and end up on the other side of Indianapolis with a raging hangover, wondering how I got there. 

I’ve scaled back to the reward of 1 shot per quarter mile. That’s right. Much like a horse and carrots, I’m rewarded with brandy. Do the work- you get a shot! I’ve found that this actually works where walking in the frigid cold is concerned. Rather than thinking you deserve a few shots “just because”, it’s much more gratuitous and effective if you actually “do something” first, then give yourself a shot. After a while, you become trained that “doing the work” gets you the “reward”. And it’s not a bad reward if you don’t exceed 5 shots or so. More than 5 on a regular basis and you’re setting yourself up for dependency.

I received a letter today from a head official in my community:

Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. there is a meeting on homelessness in the Mayor’s office, can you come?  It is going to be interesting and the truth about homelessness in this community needs to be told.  Feel free, I will be there and I would love for you to come.  It is in the Quadrangle in City Hall.  Let me know if you are coming.  We are revamping and want to use all the pictures, is that ok?  The design will basically remain the same but stats, twitter, etc. will be added.  Hope you all are doing well.  Take care. [Name omitted for confidentiality purposes]


This is great news and I’ll tell you why.

I’m an x-resident in that particular homeless shelter. I was there 13 different times in my life. I saw and mentally recorded numerous accounts of people “using the system” for their benefit, not only that, many people using their food stamps for currency, trading “up” on drugs for 1/2 on the dollar. Meaning, if a quarter bag is $60, they would buy it for $120 of food stamps. I saw this over and over again.

You will never know the inner workings of a systems unless you get down in the gutter with the people and get your hands dirty. I do know what I’m talking about because I was there, with the people, for many years. The difference between me and many homeless people is that I’m passionate about “change”. If you don’t grab the reigns of life and believe you can make a difference, you never will. 

And we all have the capability and strength to make a difference- some of us haven’t been taught that yet.

So, I’m pretty stoked that I’ll be joining one of the top dogs of the city for a meeting with the mayor discussing the homeless and change. The “higher ups” have the master’s degrees and know the ins and outs of diplomatic exchange, but I’m from the street, and I have a double masters in life. I’m able to share with them some things that their degrees will never teach them. And what an honour! I want to do what I can to make a difference in my city. 

I built a website for my community:

http://www.havenhouseservices.org/

I took all of the pictures, I did all of the write-ups, I built it from scratch. For the past few years, I’ve paid the annual fees to host it- it isn’t much, but I feel good knowing that I’m doing something for my community. If you are reading this, and feel like you can make a donation, however small, to the website above, there’s a donation tab inside the link there and believe me when I say, every penny counts.

xo

Homeless in indiana


New Camera on its Way

I remember last year, having to sell my whole rig to pay the rent and buy groceries.

It included:

Canon Rebel XSI
Lensbaby Composer Pro w/ Double Glass OpticsZ
Lensbaby + Sweet optic 35
(kit) 18-55 MM/75-300
50 MM 1.8 II (prime)
Lens reversal adapter/coupling ring
Rc-1 remote
camera bag
Extra batteries + charger/neck strap etc. etc.

It broke my heart to have to do that, but considering it allowed me to take care of my family through some very difficult times, I don’t regret the decision and would do it again if I had to. During all of 2012 I’ve shot with a 4 MP Canon Power shot, and for a serious “artographer” as myself, that has been difficult.

I’ve recently received the remains of my Financial Aid for school, and after paying (the school) back $1,380, my mom $500- brother $500- along with a few more chunks of hundreds here and there (bills, etc.) I had just enough left over to order another DSLR: Canon EOS 60D 18 MP. After shooting all year with a 4 MP- I cannot wait to have an actual DSLR in my hands again!

I ordered one that came with the kit (18-55 standard lens) which pretty much sucks as a lens- but, with a bit of experience and know-how (of which both I possess) you can pull off some pretty good shots with one. I’d be a fool to not order a 50 MM 1.8 II prime lens- it’s $100 brand new, which is pennies compared to other lenses, but the 50 MM makes an excellent portrait lens with considerably good bokeh. For those that may be reading this that have no idea what bokeh means, it’s a Japanese word that actually means “senile” or mentally foggy. Photographically, it translates as the super blurry parts of an image, apart from the focal point or subject, and it’s usually in the BG/background, but there is also what I call “reverse bokeh”, and that’s when you have a sharp focal point with a super-blurred FG/foreground.

Another attractive feature the 50 MM offers is that it’s a fixed focal length- there’s no zooming to be had. That means, if you want to get a close-up shot of your subject or subjects, you have to actually walk up to them. The 50 MM captures a field that equate to a 35 MM and it’s the closest thing to capturing a scene that your eye actually sees. You can’t go wrong with a 50 MM- ever- and it’s a great lens to take on trips, etc. because although it captures a subject beautifully regarding macros, it also makes an excellent landscape lens- many people don’t know that.

Here are two examples below, both taken with a 50 MM 1.8 II:

Sketch, one of the many cats we’ve owned over the years:

Image

The Longest Dream (Perrin Park/Indiana)

Image

Not too shabby for a $100 lens. Some of my favourite lenses are the Lensbaby Composer Pro (double glass ops), Sigma 17-70 (great walk around lens- it’s a wide angle on one end and a macro on the other- excellent lens), Sigma 10-20 (super wide) , and there are others, but the 50 MM prime remains at the top of any lens I’ve ever used. This lens is an absolute must have for any advanced amateur and pro, for that matter.

I should be receiving my goodies in the mail within the next week. I’ve spent the last 8 years developing my own unique style, a style that’s recognizable to most of the people who know my work, and I’m considering posting a few tutorials in the areas of layering, mastering your lighting (in camera- and in post processing) and developing a trademark style that is unique to your personal preferences. I’ve had many requests over the years but have just been so busy- hopefully I can do that sometime soon. (We’ll see.)

It’s another busy day and I’ll be filling mine with housecleaning, lots of school work and supper to cook.

Adieu…


Interval Notations and Honey Brandy

Good golly what have I gone and gotten myself into?

It’s 2:24 a.m. and typical as ever, the house is alive and buzzing as if it were 3 p.m. Brian and Brianna (sorry Brian…) -Brianna and “Bob” are in their room doing God knows what- I hear occasional screams, back and forth- I have no idea what they’re going on about in there…

[Enter Brian]

“Lotus Flower” (Radiohead) plays on my speakers and Brian…I mean, Bob is dancing around the kitchen-head poking in and out of the fridge. It’s possibly the coolest chill song ever. You really should give it a listen- it always puts me in a super good mood, no matter what:

I’m quite sure he’s higher than a kite- Mr. Yorke.
You know I love you, Tom. My kids think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.
(I do too.)

Bob puts his hand on his head, shakes his hips and tries to moonwalk.

“Dude, you did not just do that…” I say to him.

He smiles at me deviously, revealing more of his gnarley socks.

Tomorrow is a full day and I have no idea what I’m doing up at 2:30 a.m. I’m supposed to wake up at 7:00 a.m. and hit the prayer closet, then read a few chapters from the KJV. I have sadly slackened off lately.

Consider this. We take care of our bodies- we bathe, we try to eat good so we can live longer. But why do we want to live longer? Especially those that hate to live. I’m not one of them- I love life- and think there’s something to be gained from pain.

But we do what the television tells us to do. It says work out- we work out. It says “be pretty- feel sexy”- we are pretty and sexy. And so on.

But what do we do for our spirits? Our souls? I scratch my head and search for an answer. It’s been too long. I’m not uneducated in spiritual matters. I’ve just gotten lazy. So, I’ve decided that tomorrow I will wake up exceptionally early and pray. This clashes with my honey brandy tonight though, and I’m feeling particularly stressed out, so I’m having a few shots.

I just know this. Whenever I rise up early in the morning and pray, I feel directed. I feel stronger and my day has purpose. I need to get that back.

“Reckoner” rolls out of the speakers now…

“You are not to blame for bittersweet distractions…dedicated to all human beings…”

Image


From Zero to Hero

When I first met J, he had long hair well past his shoulders. He was a total stoner, just as I was,  and was fresh out of a foster home: he was 18. My brother had brought him over one night, looking for some Klonopin (of which I had plenty at the time) and sort of left him on my doorstep. My brother was inebriated and wandered off into the night, having left his friend behind. 

I had lost two of my children to the system some 14 years before, due to a series of tragedies, and so my heart really went out to the guy when he shared with me his story. His mother had been murdered when he was only 7. His Dad died of a heart attack when he was 14. He was sent to live with his grandmother afterwards, who treated him unkindly, and from there, he was placed in one foster home after the next. I was still fighting for the return of my own children at that time, and when we compared notes, we soon realized that our stories were strikingly similar, except he was “the kid from the foster homes” and I was “the parent fighting for mine to return”; nevertheless, we shared the same feelings, ideas, notions, beliefs, struggles, and hopes. It was obvious that there was an age gap- 18 years to be exact- and I thought, at best, we would become friends who shared a spectacular understanding of loss and life. 

We talked for the next three days- without sleeping. We smoked a lot of weed and bonded entirely. We both knew that we had “found somebody” who could truly understand our paths, both past and present. We discovered that we were both Christians, and singers/songwriters/musicians. We were also both French and Indian (native American). 

As I learned more about this amazing guy, I realized that he had a gift in the areas of endurance and overcoming tragedy. I hadn’t yet learned many lessons that he had learned, and at some an early age. I followed him like a shadow, studying his easygoing manner, his very slow and methodical way of speaking. I noticed that he never spoke without giving what he said much thought. I on the other hand, often stuttered and, especially in his presence, was tongue tied and gushed out any ole thing my brain was thinking at the time. I completely lacked finesse and grace. 

I was also extremely hot-headed. If somebody pissed me off, I was ready to roll- and I do mean roll. J and I weren’t by any means “an item” but we grew close and formed a unique bond. I taught him the ropes in photography; how to compose a shot and the importance of exposure and lighting. He soon became my apprentice and model. I painted a huge set of butterfly wings on my wall and he became my living butterfly. (They made for very interesting pics. 🙂

The weeks turned into months, and the months years. I grew to love J with all of my heart, and have never known a love so strongly, apart from my children and parents, but this was a different kind of love altogether. I’ve learned so much from him, as he has from me. We quit smoking pot ( 5 years ago) together, and we quit smoking cigarettes together around the same time. We quit drinking whiskey together and somehow, we’ve worked the worst out of each other and have polished up our best parts. 

When we first met, we were both aimless, bleeding wounds in life. He’s been able to comfort me, and repair some places in my heart and soul that were dying. I’ve been able to care for him and give him the nurturing and love that he’s craved for many years. 

Although he was riddled with unspeakable horrors as a child, he was able to become an outstanding academic student, which has rubbed off on me entirely. We’re now both college students and can call each other a “life partner”. We’ve literally grown up together. Saying that J is a “boyfriend” is somewhat insulting. He’s so much more. If he were my husband, there would be labels and expectations and such. We share a unique friendship, but with a love and respect much stronger. I’ve often told him that I would rather be dirt poor, living in a cardboard box with him, under a bridge, than to have a fine mansion without him. And it’s true. 

And that’s the funny thing about love. It’s such a precious thing in this world; when it comes to you, you must hold it like a child, cultivate it, and care for it like the most delicate of possessions. In five months, it will have been 7 years since J showed up at my door. 

“I love this little pitty…and this little pitty….and this little pitty….” J says, grabbing my toes and smiling at me. I return the smile, my heart swelling and burning with love.

Who knew it would take an 18 year old kid to make a woman out of me? 
(And such a trainwreck of a person to make a man out of him.)

We’re not the same people were were years ago. We’ve merged into the same being in a way. We can give each other one look and say so many things. He picks things out of my head almost constantly- verbatim- and that’s really freaky, but so very neat. I feel like the very threads of our souls are intertwined. I speak much slower now. 🙂 And I always think before I speak. 

My little car is falling apart, and so I’ll be getting another soon. I told J that I will give him this one when I do- it can be his fixer upper. He just replaced the alternator and the battery, and I love the way he stands here, holding his prize (like a caveman) – the beast- conquered. 

Life can change so quickly sometimes. One big earthquake can bring a nation to its knees and everything you have today can be gone tomorrow. I think of these things daily. I can’t speak for tomorrow, but today, love is not only in my life, but it rules it. I barely have two pennies that I can rub together, but J’s love has made me a rich woman. 

And I’ll take love over money, any day…

 

Image