The most beautiful rain is falling outside right now. I awoke an hour or so ago to the rain falling on my tin roof in a most beautiful enveloping wall of sound. The rain is my favourite thing ever because I feel like God is corralling me off. It satisfies the intense hermit in me that wants to shut my door and windows and seal off the world. The rain says it’s ok to slow it all down to a crawl and not have to be bothered with the things outside my door. The rain sings a most beautiful song. 🙂
I suppose as I grow older (am I really going to be 50 this fall?!), I’m giving in more to my hidden persona; the Jane Goodall-like hippie that wants nothing more than to spend the entire day in the forest, taking macros of little things in their little worlds- up close. I can’t believe I’ve been in school for an entire decade now! I’m so ready to be finished with it all so I can finally- finally- focus on my art, photography, and music. I’m looking forward to closing the books once and for all (along with my many, MANY research papers) and buy an Epson professional printer and set up a small area of our new home (to be, soon); a proper print shop.
It’s going to take a lot of dedication and time, but I’m so looking forward to it. I’ll be afforded the luxury- after school- of not having to work. Even for several years, or never at all, if I want. I can stay home and go out and about and take all the pics I want- go where I like, and do virtually anything I want. When I’m ready, I can put on that periwinkle suit and Addiction Counselor hat (if I so choose) and make my mark on the world as a counselor. But first, I’ll explore my art. It’s an exciting thing to be able to wake up early in the morning and head out with my camera and collection of vintage film lenses in my Nat. Geo. bag. People who aren’t photographers probably don’t get it.
It’s such a rush to be able to go out into the world and see what only I can see. I can shape my perspective in a unique way and be a storyteller without words. To lay in the plush green mossy ground on the forest floor in the warm, afternoon sunshine and spend hours focusing my lens on tiny little things on leaves. I’m a visitor in their world. It’s an incredible thing to be able to make the tiniest corner of a leaf come into focus, making the rest of the leaf the size of a house, by comparison. Ants become giants and mushrooms- stadiums. It’s exhilarating!
But the real rush is taking the loot home and going through all of the images: Sizing up what stays or what gets tossed out. Whittling the pile down until only a few remaining “money shots” remain and those are the ones which will be edited and post processed. A full day’s shoot- and many hours- for 3 or 4 shots in the end. It’s the experience of it all, from loading up the bag to editing the chosen few to submitting or uploading the shots. And it’s all free! You really can’t beat that. It’s therapy. Photo-therapy at its finest.
Although my latest course Addiction Counseling and Families essentially began yesterday, my Discussion Board posts aren’t due until Thursday. Ever the procrastinator, I think I’ll spend the day lounging in my insanely plush (new) pillow top queen bed (that I um…bought Josh for Christmas. That’s right…it’s all for him! 🙂 ) and edit a new batch of pics from our Thanksgiving trip in the Smokey Mountains. Yes, my life ha been so busy and crazy that I’m only now getting around to editing my Thanksgiving shots from 2018!
Despite having 6 vintage (imported) Bulgarian and Romanian film lenses, only the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 (my favourite lens ever) was used- throughout the entire trip. It never left my camera. These are two of many I’ll be editing over the next few days:
Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 film lens (Canon Rebel t3i) – An interesting tree I found on the way up to Clingmans Dome, in Smoky Mountain National Park, in southeastern Tennessee and North Carolina, U.S.
This one is Josh’s. (His capture, my edit.) The Appalachian Trail sign at the base of Clingmans Dome in the Smokies. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon film lens 35/2.8- Canon Rebel t3i
In the past two days, I’ve finished a 10 page/slide Powerpoint presentation (75 pts. out of 80- I’ll take it!), a Powerpoint conference poster, a final exam in Research Methods in Experimental Psychology, two chapter tests in Cross Cultural Communications and 10 forum postings. I’ve just finished up and I’m officially on vacation for a week! Josh is feeling much better today. I’ve been taking good care of him so he can return to work tomorrow. He’s sitting in his chair here in our room pivoting between playing the guitar (and singing the Blues) and his game, Gary’s Mod. I’ve just installed a new Nancy Drew adventure game and am getting ready to make a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies.
I can’t believe I have seven, long, glorious days in which I can do anything I want. I’m ecstatic. Brianna’s been thinking of moving out soon. Twenty years we’ve been together! She’s my little sidekick and I’m already missing her terribly. I woke myself up last night- twice- crying. I’d had a dream of her (which I can’t remember now) and when I woke up, I had a tear rolling down my cheek and I was weeping like a child. It was the strangest thing. When I went back to sleep, it happened again. All of my kids are special and they all have their own strengths. Heidi’s strength has always been her love. She’s nurturing and warm and selfless. Brian is so funny! He’s always cracking me up. He comes across as not caring so much sometimes but really, his strength is his compassion. He’s a giver too. Brianna has a quiet strength. She’s not a touchy, feely, huggy person and she’s not overtly “warm” but she’s reliable, considerate, and real. I don’t think she’s even capable of being fake. She’s just got good sense too. They’re all incredibly smart! I’m so proud of my kids. :0) Brianna is my baby though. She’s always been here at home and so her moving out is bittersweet. It was so hard to let Heidi go initially, because I’d waited so long for her to come home. I cried for days when she moved away a handful of years ago. And when Brian moved out, it took months to adjust to his absence as well. It felt so empty here! It’s gong to be tough getting used to Brianna not being here but her guy treats her really well and is so good to her. That’s all I can ask for as a Mom- that my kids are happy in life.
I’m so glad Josh and I are still together. After all these years! He’s truly my hero. No other man has weathered so many storms with me. He’s my rock. And, I can honestly say that we’re still best friends.
SnowTree (Thanks for that, Gav. :0) Helios 44-2 film lens/natural lighting
I’m honestly too tired to think of a clever title. I’m beginning to think I was mad to attempt 5 classes this semester! Alas, the boat has left the shore so onward I go. Here’s what my schedule’s looking like for the next few days:
Cross-cultural Communications– Read chap. 1 & do DB/Discussion Board-respond to 2 classmate’s posts/take exam
Research Methods of Experimental Psychology– Complete CITI training/DB postings/Read chap. 4- take Ethics exam
Ethics– “Think & Write” assignment/Read chap. 1/Read Plato’s Republic (various chapters), Lord of the Rings commentary and chapter excerpts & discussion along with The Rings of Tolkien & Plato, DB/Discussion Board on Chap. 1/Respond to 3 classmate’s threads
Everyday Psychology– Read chap. 1/Journal entry/Do both DBs and take exam
Statistical Techniques for Health Professionals– do 90 more Stat problems on descriptive and inferential Statistics + 2 quizzes and 1 test
That about wraps it up for week two!
My day began with me taking my Mom to her doctor’s appointment at 9:00 a.m. Her medication levels were off and she was toxic. Thankfully we caught it in time. Afterwards, my day was a flurry of activity but I managed to squeeze in a mile walk at the park with the dog- back to flurried activity- supper (Mom and brother fed- check!) 5 hours of schoolwork- milkshakes at Steak ‘n Shake with the fam-back outside for another late night walk with the dog. I’m pretty sure my punctuation is blown all to hell but I’m too tired to check.
So, at almost 2:00 a.m., I’m off to slap some Proactive on my face and brush my teeth- slam an Ambien and drift off into blissful nothingness. I’ll be back when I come up for air!
Taken today at the park- Helios 44-2/manual exposure
Downtown Jeffersonville/Louisville, KY in the background
Helios film lens 44-2/Flooded field/manual/natural lighting
Upside down reflection-taken yesterday
I can’t believe I’m still up at 1:46 a.m.
The house is pretty quiet;
Brian Bob is hanging out in his room with is friends, Brianna is sleeping. Josh is in the living room occupying himself and I’m getting ready to fall out of my chair. There is no way I’m getting up at 6 in the morning.
We went down to the river today so I could grab some coloured water shots with my Lensbaby. Try as I might, I can’t get away from shooting in monochrome. The pics that I do shoot in colour don’t stay coloured for long. Everything is prettier to me in black and white (and duotoned). I’m deviating back to my old ways of darker moods, heavier shadows, and dramatic lighting but I love it.
Bob and Josh are chopping up watermelon now. Today would have been my Dad’s birthday. (Technically, it still is, though he is in heaven.) I’m seriously downplaying the craziness that has become my life lately. My mom was hospitalized- near stroke- really, the list is way too long to name. If I were to write about every crazy (weird, sad, bad) thing that happens to me, I swear people would think I’m making it up. Nobody goes through this much crap in one lifetime!
Yes, somebody does.
I know I’m not the only one.
“I think I’m going to do it,” Brianna said to me earlier.
“Why do you talk like that? What’s wrong with you?”
[She went on to explain that Anthem Bluecross Blue Shield had interrogated her on the phone and I suddenly understood why she felt that way.]
“Why don’t you grow some nads and take it like the rest of us?”
This is our typical mother and daughter bonding. She tells me how bad life is, I tell her that it only gets worse. We have grown on each other over the years, she and I, like an old married couple.
“Brianna, you’re an old curmudgeon and you’re only 18,” I say.
She looks at me as if I’m a robot. She looks as if she’s a robot. She doesn’t blink or show any emotion. I laugh.
“Give it another twenty years, Sissy,” I say to her. “The party’s just getting started.”
Bob is dancing and humming as he eats his watermelon. He shifts his feet sideways almost mechanically. It’s 2:04. Time to hit the hay and do it all over again tomorrow.
Lensbaby Composer/Falls of the Ohio
Josh, gazing at the dam
It’s 2:50 a.m.
Chance is going nuts, ripping and running around the living room. I just gave him a bath.
Brian Bob is chilling in his room- Brianna- the same. I should be sleeping, or doing homework, but I’ve just downloaded Tex Murphey: Overseer. Gaming is one of my coping mechanisms, much like millions of other people. Until my heart heals, I’ll trudge along the motions of my life- school, cleaning, cooking, sleeping, etc. and slip away into my game as often as possible. I just can’t process any more raw emotion at this time. Tex Murphy is a welcome escape.
I’m torn between another pistachio and almond ice cream cone and Guinness Extra Stout. I have a 6 pack in the fridge and it whispers to me. I keep forgetting to drink one. I decide on lemon and ginger tea with honey instead. I’ve had a migraine for two days now. (Imagine that.) I can’t do this again tomorrow. After two days, my mind starts fracturing into tiny bits of livewire pain- sizzling every nerve until it’s raw and jittery. It does little good to complain other than to serve as a reminder that I’m still suffering. It too is a welcome escape from the pain in my heart.
There’s nothing one can do but ride the wave of heartache after a breakup. One of my x’s is all over me like white on rice- I’m disgusted. He thinks it might be a good time to squeeze back in. I think it’s highly disrespectful and pretty insulting to me. I know people do that- the rebound thing- but if you’re crawling away from the battlefield of one relationship, why would you hop into the trenches of another? That doesn’t make any sense to me, and it’s the furthest thing from my mind. (And heart.) I think I’ll be alone for a very long time. I’m a one man woman, and I think it’s necessary to experience the pain after a breakup. It tells me that the love I knew was real and that’s why it hurts so much. My friends don’t know what to say to comfort me, and that’s ok. There’s only so much another human being can offer in the way of companionship and support. If it weren’t for my love, relationship, and friendship with Jesus- I would absolutely crumble and die. I have no doubt. I’m not enough to keep myself going- I think of Sylvia Plath- and can understand how a broken heart could make her stick her head in an oven and forget to live. She couldn’t bear to lose her man to another woman. But Sylvia Plath said when she was just a child, “I’ll never talk to God again.” And I suppose she didn’t. So, she killed herself. I think she should have talked to God.
That’s where she and I differ. I love life, and as painful as it is to feel your heart being ripped from your chest, I do have a very close relationship with Jesus. We talk, commune, and just have a good time together. When I think about His love, and how He’s able to reach into every tiny place in my heart- I can’t be angry or sad for long. I smile, and know I’m loved. He washes away every awful feeling, and the bitter tears become bittersweet. They eventually become joyful, and I become like a child again, marveling at the beauty of God’s creation: I rise above the pain.
I’ve gone and talked myself right out of my misery again, and feel a half-smile creeping across my face.
Oh heart, you’re going to make it…
manual focus/manual exposure
50 MM 1.8 II/Rebel t3i
This one’s for you, M&M. xo
Canon Rebel Xti
50 MM 1.8 II
I remember last year, having to sell my whole rig to pay the rent and buy groceries.
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
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:
The Longest Dream (Perrin Park/Indiana)
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.
Bullfrog Creek- Day Camping with J / 5 picture Panorama
“I’m sorry Birgy,” Josh says. “I will not play any more ‘Hotel California’ on your guitar.”
“That’s alright,” says I. (I’m lying.)
He switches over to Cold Play and I give him an approving sound. Until, that is, he starts speaking in a pseudo-British accent, and badly. He’s not even drinking, and so that makes it even weirder.
“How do you spell weird?” I ask nobody in particular.
My son, Brian (“Bob”, he says with a stern look), says, “Mom…it’s w-e-i-r-d…” adding a slight roll of the eyes.
There’s clearly a celabratory vibe in the air.
Josh switches over to “Rolling on the River” -careful to curl his R’s for words like “turning” and “burning”.
Something peculiar happened the other day.
My daughter, Brianna, took J and I out to Ihop. Naturally, I felt really awful because she was paying for it and adamant that we accept, so, we reluctantly obliged. Now I’m not one to go around making trouble with waiters- I swear it. But ask those that know me best and they’ll say otherwise. It’s not that I’m looking for it, it’s just that I appreciate attention to detail and good customer service.
The last time we were at Ihop, we were turned away. They said their machines were down and so we were unable to order, but were “more than welcome to have a seat anyway”. (Isn’t that nice.) Naturally, I said to my posse, “Let’s blow this joint.”
Upon our return, we settled in (weeks later) lusting over the idea that we would be served a hot cup of cocoa with marshmallows. I asked our server to bring us a round.
“Um, we’re out of hot chocolate,” she said.
“Hmm…,” says I. “Do you think you could bring me a cup of coffee on the house in that case?”
She laughed a nervous laugh, and realizing I was serious, gave me an even quicker laugh with a muffled “Um, I can ask…” (etc.)
I asked for water also to which I was given, “I always bring water,” abruptly.
Oh boy- here we go.
(Josh switches over to “System of a Down”.)
She rushed off saying, “It is what it is…” -my daughter agreeing.
“It is not “what it is” – what it is is unprofessional because they should have been on top of this! Regardless, they should compensate their customers when the person is inconvenienced twice in a row in an establishnment. It’s just “good business.”
I receive “the look” from the family.
The waitress had said that she would see what she could do before racing off. I doubted that highly.
When she returned, I wasn’t surprised that she said, “Um, about the free coffee…yeah, I’m just not able to do that.”
No doubt. She’s not. But I doubted that she’d even tried. And that’s what pissed me off. I figured she went into the back room, moved a few cups around, and came back with the news. No, I don’t have proof, but I could tell by her demeanor that she was not liking me. At all.
I asked to be excused and went to “the bathroom”.
(Actually, I went to the front desk to ask for a manager.)
The manager came out and was very polite and such. I explained the situation to him, mentioning that this was the second time we were put off by his establishment.
Now you may think at this point that I’m a complete nag. But no. It’s the principal of the matter- and I’m driven by principal and integrity in life. I just want people to give a damn.
He said that free coffee was no problem and absolutely he could understand what I meant.
THAT is my kind of service. 🙂
I went back to my table to find a pitcher of coffee sitting there. The waitress came to the table and I said, “By the way, the coffee IS on the house. I talked to your manager.”
She seemed slightly embarrassed and I was taken aback by her response.
“Well, in that case, ALL of the coffees are on the house.”
We had ordered some fancy coffees (cappucinos with cream, etc.) totalling about $11.
I was caught off guard by her grace and devotion. She totally didn’t have to do that and I was perplexed.
When we were preparing to go, I got my checkbook, and wrote out a personal post-dated check for $15. I wanted her to know that I thought she was absolutely awesome for what she did. Handing it to her I said,
“I want you to have this, for going above and beyond your job and doing this for us. We think you’re awesome.”
The look on her face said everything.
“Come here,” she said, grabbing me into a full bear hug, tears in her eyes.
She hugged my daughter too, and myself again. We smiled at each other and gave each other another hug before we left.
I was so humbled by this experience.
Life is funny.
It has a way of kicking your butt and making you realize that you’re not the big hotshot you think you are.
And thank God for that…