Sunday, November 12, 2017

And Now What?

Why do I take pictures? And why so much time to make pictures better? Why carry a camera? Sure, important events with loved ones make good enough reasons, and sharing memories with loved ones is good enough reason to want to get better at it. But that's not always the reason. What about the abstract, the artistic, the playful dancing with light?

And what if I'm stuck in a rut? What if I want a challenge? Photo exercises! Introduce rules that force me to only take certain kinds of pictures. I've listed here some possibilities. Each theme has its own theme and restrictions, which can be adhered to for a period of time, say a week, or for a number of photos, say ten satisfactory pictures I'd be willing to share in an exhibit. Either way, you must follow the rules, and no sneaky going back to your favorite settings while the game is in play!

Some ideas that pop into my head for no particular reason:

  • Black and white only. Obvious. Photogs have made careers out of this one. 
  • A dominant color, or complimentary colors. Pick one or two accordingly.
  • A particular shape: spheres, triangles, etc.
  • In-camera only, no post processing. 
  • An everyday activity, say people getting coffee.
  • Things that move.
  • Things that stay still.
  • An emotion: love, friendship, sadness, or envy. 
  • A time of day. A sunrise series seems obvious here. 
  • A part of the body: eyes, hands. 
  • Take a picture every day for a year.
  • Then don't take any pictures at all. Any missed opportunity jump out at you? What sticks in your mind?
  • Pick a "master" to study, a famous photographer, then try to replicate their best shots. It's okay to steal ideas!

    It's all practice.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Goodbye, Old Keens

They were the best birthday present and the best camp shoes, from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top of Kilimanjaro. When they started falling apart I took them to a cobbler and had the stitching fixed. When the entire heel strap let go, I had to reluctantly admit that these shoes have given me all they're going to give, and it's time to say goodbye.

And with that, I welcome my new pair of shoes. Brand new shoes!

It's the same shoes, really, Keen Newports, just in a different color. They feel tight, and that makes me realize just how long I'd hung on to the original pair, loose and worn as they were. The new pair feels... well, new. In the first few hours of wear the stiff fabric will mold gradually around my feet, feeling progressively more a like part of me. I can't help but think about all the new adventures I'll have in these shoes, and I'm eager to begin. My feet have an itch only a mountain or canyon can scratch.

Now that's a well-worn sole.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Walking and Talking Past Each Other

In Chicago, I took the same picture I take when I come across any building of this moniker, but this time I had friends to help me. As we collaborated on this piece, I noticed a group of three people watching us. I don't want to stereotype, but let's just say they looked "rural" and "Trump-voterish," and after we took the picture, as we were walking past them I heard one of them say to his friends (not to us), "Too bad Hillary doesn't have a hotel, we could do that too."

And as we walked away I said to my two friends, "But Hillary doesn't have a hotel, does she? Because that's not what she does."

And the two groups of friends continued on their separate ways.