There’s a reason I chose the username Monochromejunkie: It’s because I’m obsessed with black and white photography. To me, nothing is more beautiful than a bold black and white image with heavy, dark blacks and stark whites. These days, people are so used to simply slapping a filter on something or doing a quick and easy B&W conversion.
it takes a well-trained eye to look out upon a landscape or street scene and be able to convert that over to a B&W in your mind and truly “see” a black and white. Because reds, greens, and blues all convert into various shades of black, white, and grey, you need to know what would truly make a good black and white, because not every scene does.
This past year, I’ve been in a photographic funk and sorely uninspired. 2018 was one of the hardest years of my life. So many troubles with some of my children and their private struggles, along with the death of close friends and loved ones. It really kicked me in the teeth and that alone can kill your passion for your art.
After coming back to my blog and writing again, I rediscovered my friend Gav’s black and white photography. He’s an excellent street photographer, but what he’s really good at, more so than anyone else I’ve ever known, is staying in black and white mode. Nevertheless, year after year, he continues shooting in black and white and never seems to grow bored with it.
Seeing his beautiful black and whites have woken up my first love: black and white photography. I’ve wanted to shoot in B&W mode (only) for a year straight- for a long time, but never had the courage to take that plunge. I know though, that if I don’t do that, then I’ll never commit. And if I don’t commit to truly knowing the ins and outs of black and white and really learning it, then I never will grow as a photographer and artist to the degree that I want to.
I’ve decided to finally take the plunge! I’m putting my camera in monochrome mode and leaving it there for an entire year. It actually began yesterday, so until March 8th of 2020, I’ll be shooting in nothing but black and white. This way, rather than focusing on various colours, I can keep my focus on lighting and exposure. So Gav, if you’re reading this, thank you! You’ve been a major inspiration and have woken up my love of black and white again. It’s not for everybody. But for people like us, it’s what drives us.
I took these yesterday, at Sellersburg park (Indiana) while taking Chance and Diamond on our mile walk. Just as we were getting ready to leave, it started snowing. That was a nice touch. 🙂 (These are basically SOOTC/straight out of the camera.)
A new bud gets its first taste of the snow. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35-2.8
Yep. I said it.
So recently, there’s been a family-type situation in which a new mom has been keeping the kid away from the new dad and it absolutely sucks. Really badly. She’s playing dirty and not even trying to hide it. She basically tossed the dad out of her life (in record time, I might add) and replaced him with a new guy. She won’t let her x have any visitation whatsoever (even axe murderers in prison get to see their kids, do they not?) and so she’s just really doing some dumb stuff right now to make him suffer. Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon, as a certain female I was raised with did the same thing to her kid. She was pretty hell-bent on destroying her x so she poisoned her kid against him. It was so evil. Accused him of molesting their kid…the whole shebang. Unfortunately, that’s not uncommon either and it really is the first thing evil moms do when they want to punish their exes so they can keep the kid all to themselves. It’s a form of Munchausen Syndrome, actually. Moms who abuse their kids so they can swoop in to save them later. It’s sick.
Anywho, back to my original rant. So this new mom is doing her (very bad) thing, and another person came in and commented on a FB post: “Really, we just need to pray for them both and show them both the love of God.”
Um….NO. Just NO.
First of all, if somebody is being an evil bastard, where does it say that we need to toss flowers at their feet and hold hands and sing Kumbayah with ’em and all of that? I don’t think so. My Bible is full of Scriptures that talk about “the evildoer” (in Proverbs) and “the wicked” and all sorts of other references for people who do evil *&^% and none of it says that we’re supposed to encourage their evil deeds by “showing them the love of God”. Nah, man.
There ARE Scriptures, however, that says something about “The Lord will show himself merciful to those who are merciful and He’ll show Himself froward to the froward” and so on. (II Sam. 22:27 and Psalm 18:26)
When I was younger and much more naive, I used to think the best course of action for virtually everything was to pray. Pray pray pray! Pray if you’re happy, pray if you’re sad. And pray especially when you have problems. But now that I’m maturing a bit, I see how that can sometimes be a copout. Don’t get me wrong, praying is wonderful. It’s lovely and necessary. But too many people will use prayer as a hopeful remedy rather than a supplemental act.
I think it’s absolutely irresponsible to tell somebody that what they need is “to pray” (only), rather than rolling up their sleeves and getting to work! It’s lazy. if we simply prayed (again, only) for every problem we have, we’ll have so many more problems as a result, because we’ll inadvertently be shoving our own responsibilities over onto God, expecting Him to do it all.
Yes, God is a big God and He can and will fulfill our needs, but He gave us hands to work with, a brain to think with, feet to run with, and mouths to speak with! He also gave us common sense to know when we need to get off of our butts and DO SOMETHING rather than telling everybody to simply “pray”.
My two week break is almost over and I’ll be hitting the books again soon. I’ve enjoyed the heck out of my little vacation. There’s almost nothing I love more than to kick back with a new adventure game and lose myself in another world. Escapism at its finest! Sheer bliss. 🙂
Until we meet again, WP. x
Lensbaby Composer/Canon Rebel/winterscape- in black and white
This is the sunset that almost got me arrested yesterday:
Modified Lensbaby Composer + Canon Rebel XSI + golden hour lighting
Josh and I were out driving through the beautiful country of Starlight, Indiana. We’d had a glass of Apple Spice wine from the orchard and were enjoying the sunshine. I glanced over through the trees and saw the sun beaming through and knew I had to get that shot (shown above). I didn’t alter any colours in it: it’s SOOTC (Straight Out Of the Camera). What you see is how it looked in person. It was incredibly beautiful.
So I parked the car a quarter of a mile down on the side of the road, and as I tiptoed through the field (barefooted, naturally), I happened to notice there was a man standing on the road directly to my left. He didn’t speak, he just watched me. If I could count the times strange people just showed up to watch me shoot. Grrr.
I took my cue to go, and as I was going, he said, “I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.”
That translates to, “I live right down the road and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you take a picture of this here field.”
I showed him the shot and let him know I was harmlessly taking a pic, and skidaddled off to our Rodeo Isuzu. Not even 45 seconds later, we passed a cop car going in the direction of where we had just come. Jimbob had called the law.
Not that we were doing anything wrong. But out in redneck country, you’re either going to get shot at, or have to outrun the police like we did. And so began our hurried exit, snaking through every jijagged turn we could make, and flying back to the city. Believe me when I say, photography is not a boring hobby! “Dealing” with the cops is part of the package.
Alas, it was worth it. 🙂
And a few more from the day:
Modified Lensbaby Composer + Canon Rebel XSI
And last, but not least, my partners in crime!
I love my Helios 44-2 (M42) 58 MM. Best (film) lens ever. :0)
Helios film lens 44-2/Flooded field/manual/natural lighting
Upside down reflection-taken yesterday
Well life has been a crazy blur of love and laughter: the hardest winter of my life is over. Josh has come back from Shelbyville, and from wintering with his family and Heidi is in from Portland, OR. Brianna is visiting with her boyfriend, Will, and the living room is abuzz with chatter and laughter: I’m positively ecstatic and my heart full of love again.
I’m still drowning in schoolwork- that seldom changes- and I’ll be starting my intern work at the Psych ward soon. Today I’ll be cramming 50 pages of sexual deviance into my head and testing before midnight. (Lovely.) And so I must get started.
I’m off to bake a homemade apple pie with Josh. I wanted to pop in and say that I’m still alive- not only that- but doing very well.
Life is sweet again. 🙂
Until next time!
My son, Brian, and his little Mandy Tator Tots. Helios 44-2
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
“You’re seriously not going to go out there like that, right?” I asked my daughter, Brianna.
“Of course,” she said.
“Um…with that…Illuminati symbol? Seriously?”
She smiled. I laughed. And then I left her alone.
This is Southern Indiana; it may as well be the deep South. Rednecks and hillbillies are thick around here. I quickly put things into proper perspective: she has every right to wear whatever she wants on her face, head, or any other body part. The fact that I disagree is really not the point: I need to respect her choices.
So we headed out to the Home Depot, and short of being lynched, publicly, it went well! There are lots of pot-bellied guys in suspenders there- “good ole boys” who like traditional things and people that just don’t push envelopes or stretch boundaries. Ha. My little family is exceptionally good at that and I’m so proud of my kids.
The looks she got by “the good ole boys” at the Home Depot were shocking (and, hilarious). Brianna walked straight forward with a dedicated gait and didn’t flinch. She didn’t look to see what others thought or if they even looked at her. I gained a new respect for her that day. I still don’t like the Illumnati symbol (at all) but certainly appreciate a person who stands his or her ground and challenges others to bend their perspectives- to break out of their stagnant mindsets and breathe new air- even if that air is foreign and seemingly “threatening”.
I remember well what one of my best friends (of 8 or so years) said to me once over the IM. I’m a Christian- he’s an Athiest- and we were alright to “go there” with each other. Not always- but we didn’t shy away from the subject ever. We liked to know what made the other tick and why we chose to believe what we did, so we often prodded and poked, respectfully.
“Well, you, being an unbeliever…da da da…” I said, foolishly.
“I’m not an unbeliever,” he said. “I just don’t believe the same things you do.”
To this day, that’s one of the most riveting things anybody has ever said to me. Profound even. For six years or so, he and I were so very close. I think of him often and love him dearly. He remains an Athiest and I remain a Christian- but we had a unique understanding and respect for one another. He remains one of my favourite people ever.
It’s too late to be rambling on about the Illuminati and Home Depot and rednecks and stuff. I have to be up early in the morning. I need to go
do loads of schoolwork watch Dual Survivor while I eat roasted chicken.
Love breaks through…
I can hardly believe the dramatic changes that have happened to me since I last posted.
Doggy Daddy Josh made good on his repayment, and I’ve been able to pay (almost) everything off so that we’re at least back up to “barely struggling”. The stress is rolling away.
My oldest daughter returned to Bloomington- her visit was literally life-changing for me. She taught me how to meditate! I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to put such an easy practice into practice, but we had some down time at the Ohio River among the driftwood and sandy beach area. I took my school books with me (and actually read that day) but I decided to try the meditation then. I sat down in a sandy area- munchies, purse, and all of my necessities surrounding me- and sat straight up in Indian style, closed my eyes, purposefully oxidizing and forcing the air in and out through methodical, slow breathing, and pushed everything out of my mind. It’s not the same thing as burying it. I know that we (as people) have the power and ability to accept messages, both positive and negative (also known as encoding); therefore I know that we have the same ability to release them. So that is what I did.
J and I have made peace with each other completely and really fought for our friendship. Over the years, our relationships with each other have swelled and shrunk and swelled (and shrunk) again from new acquaintances, to very good friends, to fiancés, back to very good friends, distant friends, best friends, “life partners” sharing an existence and cohabitating, distant friends again, best friends again- we have learned to transmutate in and out of each other and morph into and apart from each other quickly, like water. Through it all, we’ve remained friends. I will never have eyes for anybody else, and if it were to happen, a house would have to fall on me.
That said, I’m very much enjoying my newly liberated status, and my space! I’m fiercely private (and have never even been on Skype, although several of my friends are putting serious heat on me in that area from across the pond) but I don’t get much down time these days, and when I do- I write and sing songs.
God has poured no less than 12 new songs into me over the past two months. It’s always been that way with me: the darker my days, the better and more frequent my songs. And, it’s not uncommon for us artists to bleed out our pain and sorrows. It makes for bubblier personalities! But it’s my way.
I want so much to just work on a CD; all original material- my songs in Drop D (acoustic/electric guitar and the piano) but I absolutely must power through and finish up my degree in Behavioral Sciences first. I remember what Sharon Osbourne said on TV once. She was advising a group of women to harness their attention, energy, and focus on one thing, and to devote their drive toward that one thing. Otherwise, she would be all over the place and perhaps spread herself out too thin. I think on that always.
But still, I have a scream in me- my new songs are coming out of my ears! I’ve recorded small bursts of HD video when a new song hits me and file it away. I have about 15, although I’ve written around 50 over the past 7 years or so. I’ll pull them up after the semester’s over and select only one to lay down on a 4 track and then polish it up. (And so on and so forth.)
Josh asked me if I’d like to work on a CD together: I’m down with that. 🙂
I love that man and I can’t deny it. Still, I’m learning to approach my environment and stressful situations from a scientific perspective, rather than an emotional one. This is something I’m learning to do through my studies. It’s alright to shut everything down emotionally- temporarily– and navigate through those ferocious waters, as long as they’re dissected and processed afterwards when it’s “safe” to do so. Even if it’s days later, that’s ok, as long as it gets done.
My daughter, Heidi, shared something with me several years ago that was again life-changing for me. She told me that we don’t always have the necessary tools to go back through our pasts and dig up “old bones” as it were. We might dig up years worth of buried things and not be able to reassemble them, she said. I never forgot that. She has helped me so very much, and I do have to give Brian and Brianna much credit too.
Brian Bob has come to me over the years with wisdom beyond his own years, and poured his healing balm over my heart. Brianna has shot me between the eyes with a poker face with hard truths that I’ve needed to hear- that girl can really let you have it! But still respectfully. Heidi is the “light bringer” of sorts. I’m so grateful and humbled by her endless search for truth and love and for sharing with me what she gathers along the way.
I’m convinced that I have the best kids in the world. But doesn’t every mom think that?
More good news!
I found out that all of my classes are actually open enrollment and I “accidentally” started school one month earlier than my classmates. Hence, my posting now to my blog. :0)
After paying $1,800 worth of very pregnant bills, I’ll have only $500 or so left. I have waited 27 years to buy a professional microphone so that I can record high quality songs. The same can be said for an electric stage piano, and Washburn acoustic electric guitar- I’m waiting no longer. I’ve placed an order for all of them and I am crazy with excitement! The microphone I bought (and has already shipped) is a Yeti (Blue Microphones) USB mic- silver edition. [You can click on the link to view it.] It’s a gorgeous mic! I also put an order in for this: Nady pop filter. Things are slowly coming together in the music department.
Josh is an amazing musician: his talent shines in rhythm (D&B) but especially rhythm guitar. He has a soulful, bluesy wail that hits you right in the heart when he sings. I’ll be working with him in vocal training- I’ve been a singer since I was 6 perhaps? “Perfect pitch” they call it, but these days I am so very rusty. Singing comes naturally for Heidi and me- we don’t have to try hard- it just flows out of us, but she truly takes it to a whole ‘nother level. The girl is phenomenal.
I’ll be broke again before I know it, but heck- the bills are paid (mostly) and my car has gas in it. I can’t complain.
There’s a dove serenading me outside of my window. It sings for me every morning. I think maybe I’m just eavesdropping. I received this email this morning; it put a big smile on my face:
I love your Hallelujah song on Divine Office…What beautiful melody, voice, lyrics!
Please send me the mp3 so I may share with my women’s bible study.
Thank you and God bless,
[Name omitted for confidentiality]
Oh- oh…and more good news!
I donated a copy of my children’s book Peanut Butter Soup to my local library. My friend who works there is putting it into circulation. But also, upon donating it, she invited me to join her book club in which she features local authors. I was delighted and happy to accept.
I cherish my dark hours because they bring me closer to God. But I absolutely love bathing in the Light. Today I am deeply grateful and deeply happy.
Today has been a pretty wild day. I’m still perturbed that Allstate wanted to give me a measly $2,100 for pretty much wrecking my life- temporarily. My conversation with the rep went something like this,
“Mrs. Lindsey, we’re able to offer you $1,700,” said the rep.
“Did you say one, or ten?”
[Rep snickers lightly]
“Are you serious? Considering that I had to drop two of my classes last semester- with a doctor’s note excusing me from those two classes, had to repair my GPA-”
“Well Mrs. Lindsey, you didn’t actually have something from your doctor saying that the car accident caused you to have to drop out of school,” he said.
“Um, [rep’s name omitted for confidentiality’s sake], the doctor wrote the statement on a prescription pad. It clearly said MVA (motor vehicle accident) along with the names of the two classes right on there. Any lawyer or jury would absolutely agree that that’s legit.”
“Yeah but, we feel that it wasn’t actually the accident that made you have to quit school,” he said.
“Ok,” said I. “First of all, I didn’t ‘quit school’. I simply dropped out of my two most demanding classes due to the pain and stress caused by your client splitting my bumper. Secondly, I haven’t had to drop a class in years. Not even when my house was flooded and cracked in half a year and a half ago and my kids and I were put up in a hotel by the Red Cross. We had nowhere to go, and I had to ask my art friends in Australia for help. They pulled together $650 in an hour and a half, and we were in an apartment days later- and [rep’s name]…I was carrying four classes during that time and STILL didn’t drop any classes.” [And for the record, made all A’s and B’s.]
“Well…Mrs. Lindsey….” [insert more BS here]
I was able to talk him up to $2,100, and what a disgrace. As mentioned before, and somewhere else- you are NOT in good hands with ALLSTATE. No siree….
To the rep’s credit, he expedited things to the best of his ability and Fed Exed the check. I thought long and hard about settling for pennies practically, but, I was able to give my friend Jean (the homeless woman currently residing in an abandoned train car) $100 cash todayand a new cell phone with 750 minutes + text and internet. That in itself made it worth it to me.
I wanted to get my guitar out of the pawn shop and when I got there, I was told that I was a few days too late. The (very cool) guy behind the counter saw my disappointment and told me that he would see what he could do for me. He certainly did. He clicked around on the computer and said that it was still in the backroom, but he wasn’t able to return it. Nevertheless, he checked with his supervisor and was able, by the skin of his teeth, to pull some strings for me. (Um, no pun intended.)
A few minutes later, he came out with my beautiful, green Oscar Schmidt- acoustic electric:
I twisted up a $20 and handed it to the (cool) counter guy.
“Man, you didn’t have to do that. Here,” I said.
“I can’t take that,” he said, making funny faces in the direction of his boss.
I shoved it under the massive day planner on the counter and said, “The world would be a better place if there were more people like you. Here. Take it.”
And smiled and walked out.
I wasted no time in giving the guitar to Josh as a gift. ♥
I also gave each of my kids $50 for some spending money. We were in a grocery store parking lot and saw a man asking for change. Naturally, he hit me up.
“Hey, weren’t you at the Haven house?” I asked, shaking his hand.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said, returning the smile.
I dug through my purse and gave him the equivalency of $3.00. I can’t help thinking that he was going to go straight to the liquor store and I really didn’t care. It’s a tough world out there.
“I think I’m gonna call that guy Liquor Store Lawrence,” my son said. I have a lively bunch. 🙂 It was several hours later when we were in Louisville, Ky. (minutes from the Kentucky Derby), and we saw a man on the street who was muttering to himself. He was fairly young with tattered clothes and a shabby toboggan. My daughter saw him looking through garbage cans. It made us all very sad.
“I think I’m going to give that guy some money,” Brianna said.
And moments later, while sitting at a red light in a congested intersection, she bolted from the back seat and sprinted across the street, shoving her $50 into his hand.
“Did you give him your $20?” I asked.
“No, I gave him 50,” she said softly.
“Are you serious, Sissy?!” I asked, not so softly.
“Dude, that’s probably the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen you do,” my son said to her.
I was completely stunned. She became my hero, immediately. To top things off, she was wearing this:
A beautiful kimono looking lingerie gown, with sneakers. 🙂
Not that we were out looking for homeless people today, but homelessness is rampant in this area. I ponder on this Scripture: Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. (Proverbs 3:27)
We popped into the Greyhound bus station so I could use the ladies room. I couldn’t resist the lighting:
SP/ 50 MM 1.8 II/manual exposure/manual focus
I also couldn’t resist snapping these guys on the way out:
50 MM/manual focus/manual exposure
You have to be sneaky to snap pics of people without them knowing it (all while focusing the lens- I can’t stand autofocus and consider it taboo). Something tells me the guy on the right knew I was taking his pic…
It just kept getting weirder as the day drew on. The wind blew fiercely and we found ourselves facing this:
We took a detour and ended up here:
Not only can pigs fly, but pigs fly high. Literally. Look at its bloodshot eyes…
I was able to shoot a rare pic of my son outside of a music store. He dyed his hair blue today, although you can’t see it here:
I never in a million years thought I would be cool with my kid dying his hair blue. I guess I’m mellowing out as I’m growing older.
That’s not altogether a bad thing…