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

Posts tagged “lensbaby

Spring Mill in Black and White

Everything looks better in black and white. 🙂 (I know a few hundred people who’d agree.)

Spring Mill Park- Mitchell, Indiana – a warm day in February, on a day trip with Josh and Brianna- very little editing/Lensbaby Composer/ f/5.6
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Slamming Coffee at 1:00 a.m.

Life is whirling by way too fast these days!

Josh and I just returned from a late steak dinner (or early, depending on which end of the clock you’re watching) and I probably shouldn’t have had almost 3 cups of coffee this late. I’ve been working at a frenzied pace, finishing up my semester, and taking on side projects as well, for others, mostly. I have to say, life is pretty sweet these days. 🙂

I want to get back to my art, but that too will be on hold for another 6 months or so. I’m salivating at the thought of taking a year off for my art and music before beginning work on my Master’s degree. There just aren’t enough arms on my body or hours in the day.

I’m dabbling with the idea of opening a semi-organic lollipop shop; it’s still just a thought as an embryonic idea, but I could see it growing over the next few years. And then there’s my children’s book. (Sigh.) I really wanted to move that around a bit but I’ve been so busy with school- it’s practically consumed my life for five years.

I think five years in is a good time to take a break, however. After next (spring) semester, I’ll be able to take some down time, relax, and just make art. Josh, being the genius that he is, modified my Lensbaby (as if a Lensbaby needs any more modification) adding a disc-shaped cardboard cutout- replicating a pinhole a bit, causing the edges of the frame to be less exaggerated but heavier on the in-cam blur.

The result is a dreamy, romantic quality to the sides of the frames, such as seen in this river pic from last week:

River

Time for late night cuddles with my baby. ♥
(7:00 a.m. comes way too early.)


It’s Back! Lensbaby Composer

Josh and I are running out the door for an impromptu photoshoot with my Lensbaby. I’ll be bringing back a round of shots later after we hit up an abandoned factory and several old farmhouses. The Lensbaby is an amazing lens that has built-in capabilities to stretch the sides of the frame in a range from slightly skewed and blurred effects to mega-wild stretching.

I’ve been without my Lensbaby for more than a year so this is cause for major celebration (which will probably include a shot or two of blackberry whiskey).

I’m off to go hunting!

Lensbaby Composer f/4- Moses Josh- lost in thought, taken this morning
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Lensbaby Composer (Plastic Optic)

I may or may not go out today and experiment with my new Lensbaby lens: the plastic optic from the Swap Kit. It’s so darn hot. 

I took this SOOTC/straight out of the camera pic using the plastic optic:

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I like the soft focus haze it puts over everything: in the right setting, this would be perfect. Of course, it wouldn’t work for everything. A street scene or a detail-oriented shot such as facial features wouldn’t be ideal for this lens, but a forest shot, any flower shot, or landscape (barn, abandoned house, etc.) it would be great.

I’m still stuck on the Double Glass optic- I love the focal control it gives you while allowing the warped blur in the rest of the frame.

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I’m looking at another solid day of schoolwork. All of these toys and no time to play!


Intermission

 

Taking a break from the schoolwork.
Jeffersonville Marina- early this morning in the fog. 

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Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass/ f/4/ISO 100


Drug Prevention- Executive Summary

If somebody were to have told me (twenty years ago) that I would be writing reports on drug prevention on a hot Friday night, I would have belted out a hearty laugh, followed by a shot of straight Tequila.

My typical Friday nights were spent in one of two ways:

a.) I was in church with my friends and family
b.) I was out running the streets, higher than a kite and no doubt on my way to becoming quite smashed.

Sometimes in that order.

If I didn’t puke, I generally wasn’t having a good time. This went on for a good twenty years. I suppose that my extensive experience on the subject fuels my passion for it. I know many people who think you can’t touch a drop to drink (or you’re a raging alkie) or that if you smoke a joint, you’re on your way to harder drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, seeing how pot is considered a “gateway drug”.

But I don’t think this is so. Many things change the brain’s chemistry and can cause addiction- not just drugs. I’ve had many Twinkie battles (when I had a chronic case of the munchies) and I was certain the Twinkie would win, but again, not so. Will power and a solid education go a long way. “Just Say No” simply doesn’t work, and the DARE program was an epic failure.

So what’s the answer?

I ponder these things. Drugs and alcohol littered my youth- they were my second skin.

Now, I haven’t smoked a joint in six years, and haven’t had hard liquor in six as well. I don’t care much for the taste of alcohol these days- that’s not to say I can’t have a beer or two, or a glass of wine with a salad. I just fell out of love with it, that’s all.

Photography has taken the place of drugs I believe. My art is satisfying enough for me.

When I’m excited- I take pics.
When I’m sad- I take pics.
When I’m stressed- I take pics.
When I’m angry- I take pics.

By doing so, I alleviate much of the stress associated with these intense emotions. I can add descriptions to my work so that the viewer can perhaps step into my shoes. It’s absolutely therapeutic. I remember the day I quit smoking cigarettes (six years ago also). I was wondering what in the world I would do when I was stressed. No weed- no whiskey- no smokes! Where’s the fun?!

Then I picked up a camera. 🙂

Maybe someday I’ll design a program for kids and teens, that incorporates “phototherapy” into their lives. It’s not too expensive- everybody has a camera these days, and they can express their pent up emotions through their art.

Good grief, am I really rambling on about drug prevention on a Friday night?!

Yes. I’m afraid I am…

And here’s the Executive Summary I turned in today:

 

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(Copying, “borrowing”, or outright stealing this work for the use of plagiarism is absolutely prohibited and any breach of this written warning could result in prosecution.)

Executive Summary

In 1983, Daryl F. Gates founded the Drug Abuse Resistance Program, or DARE. The program offered a ten week, in-school, interactive learning module taught by local law enforcement officers and others. Authorized workers and guest speakers were to undergo 80 hours of training in the areas of childhood development, communication skills, and other interpersonal tools. Funding for the organization was based on certain criteria being met: The information was to be research-based, and effective. In 1998, funding for the program was cut as a result of failing to meet the required regulations. The Department of Education (DOE) has withdrawn from the program completely and refuses to give DARE any future funding. Recent scientific studies have proven DARE to not only be ineffective, but counterproductive as well. It is difficult to say whether the law enforcement officers’ lack of therapeutic qualifications played a part in the failure of DARE’s program. Perhaps it was a combination of factors that simply weren’t cohesive. Some of the teenagers in the program may have viewed the police officers as a threat. It is a fair assessment to say that minorities and inner-city kids may have been preconditioned to fear police officers, especially if they might have been told the same division put a parent or family member behind bars. Perhaps too, the overexposure to a variety of drugs gave the young DARE members more temptations than they might have had without the program.

Attempts at primary prevention education have been challenging over the years as well. Targeting grade-schoolers, many programs have used catchy slogans, such as, “Just Say No,” without reaping necessary and expected benefits. A major problem with this technique that must be taken into consideration is the exposure to a host of new drugs that many children are not aware of beforehand. By announcing the dangers of these items, children are being tantalized and seduced by an idea, “the forbidden fruit”.

Scare tactics is another method that has been ineffective. When presenting exaggerated effects of drugs to children and teens, but especially teens, they will often discredit the material altogether. When teenagers are shown dramatic images of horrific drug-related events, the emotional connection and fear are more temporal than long lasting. Children lack the foresight to understand what 20 years of hard drinking may do to the body, even knowing, he or she may not care. Connecting with these kids on his or her level is crucial. Targeting a demographic is necessary, but so is having the precision and ability to actually reach these children.

Another aspect to consider when using scare tactics is the often romantic appeal of a thing when it is presented as “off limits”. That is not to say legalization of drugs or underage drinking should be an option, but perhaps emphasizing nausea as an effect, rather than euphoria, may tarnish its overall attraction. The effects of drug and alcohol use are tempting to children and teens because they like to feel good. Toddlers spin in circles to mimic euphoria, even before they are old enough to form sentences, much less understand the concept of drugs and alcohol and their effects on the body. No matter how well packaged or distributed antidrug campaigns may be, unless the parents or caregivers of the child are reinforcing, in the home, what he or she is learning in school, the whole of it will be counterproductive.

Programs like the Child Development Project (CDP) have been shown to significantly reduce drinking and drug use among adolescents and teens between the ages of 5-12. The CDP strives to promote closer bonds between students and their peers, teachers and students, and students and parents. Another useful prevention program is Class Action, which is a universal school-based alcohol-related learning module. Class Action targets children between the ages of 9-12. This program in particular has proven to reduce the onset of drinking among school kids, and has reduced binge drinking among high school students.

One reason for the success of Class Action is the interactive peer-led relationships between the students and their mentors, or speakers. The representatives focus on turning negative peer pressure into positive peer pressure; thereby changing the messages of alcohol uses and abuse altogether. Students who heed the warnings will perceive drinking as something that might be shunned by their peers, in turn, molding their choices into healthier actions. Unlike DARE, which is a tertiary prevention program, the CPD and Class Action are primary and secondary prevention programs.

Recommended Changes:

Avoid using scare tactics in secondary and tertiary prevention programs. The fear-related material can be effective in creating a necessary protective boundary in grade-schoolers. The same fear may compound stress in teenagers, causing them to actually want to try drugs or alcohol, and the same could be said in tertiary programs. Scare tactics are best used during primary prevention, when children are most impressionable.

Avoid using law enforcement officers in secondary and tertiary prevention programs. They may induce rebellion in teens, and resentment among addicts. Again, law enforcement officers are presented and often perceived as “the good guys” to grade-schoolers. A two step interactive transitional program is recommended that would bridge the gap from grade-school over to middle school, and then middle school to high school, promoting the positive images of law enforcement officers. Telling children to “stay away from bad things” simply does not work. Law enforcement officers would be encouraged to engage in activities that children and teens participate in most: gaming, texting, and hanging out at their favorite hot spots.

Abstinence rewards in school is another recommendation.
Reward middle and high school students who abstain from alcohol and drugs.

Implementation:

Develop a program specifically for middle and high school students offering monthly voluntary drug testing. Rather than spend money on building more incarceration facilities, increase funding for voluntary drug testing in schools. Rewards include: Ipods, clothing cards from their local malls, and ITunes cards that allow unlimited downloading of songs. By associating positive material gain (rewards) with abstinence, the fear and anxiety associated with drug testing would be diminished, if not altogether diffused, and kids and teens would develop an appreciation for drug testing that could possibly carry over into adulthood. Just as word-of-mouth among peer groups is drugs and alcohol’s number one promoter, so too, the Abstinence Reward Program (ARP) could be widely spread and promoted by peers among peers.

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Catwalk/My daughter, Heidi./Lensbaby Composer pro-Double Glass Ops./Manual ex./RAW/GIMP

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Photo Therapy

So my assignments are stacking up already.

College Algebra
Fill out proctor forms/fax back to instructors
Read 28 pages in Nutrition/take first quiz
Finish up reading in Alcohol and Other Drug Problems- type out 2 page report as a treatment center assistant, specializing in prevention
Prepare for my first speech

They’re not due until next Monday, so…there’s time.

I’m tempted to go play hookie. Down at the river. With my camera. Maybe- maybe I could do research of some kind. For school. Or something.
With my camera.

Josh is frustrated. He’s on his laptop rambling on about his inconsiderate teacher.
I really didn’t hear a word he said.

“Is that your Spanish class?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said, seemingly appeased.

I passed.

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Heidi/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops./RAW/Manual [Rebel xti]


Recent Work

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Public of your Past/Canon G3/self portrait

 

G3/self

 

G3/self

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Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops.
Falls of the Ohio/Water

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The Hiding Place/My daughterBrianna-reworked(added film filter + mastered levels and hues)
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass

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Thirty one Hours/ My daughter, Heidi,Reworked
Lensbaby Composer Pro/ Double Glass/Canon Rebel Xti

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Times Square/New York, New York
Multiple Exposure/Sigma 17-70

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Warhol/ Warhol exhibition (Campbell’s soup cans)
Museum of Modern Art- New York, New York

Multiple Exposure

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Warsaw/ Abandoned Government Facility
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops.

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My daughter, Heidi/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass

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He’s Leaving Again/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass

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Interrogation/ My kitchen chair in natural window lighting (my favourite lighting)
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass

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Self Portrait/Long exposure experiment/Canon G3/manual (8 secs.)

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Shadows and Leaves/Harvest Homecoming/Canon G3/Manual