Tuesday, January 25, 2011

True story

Fact: I was unaware there existed a Bangles version of "Hazy Shade of Winter" until someone asked me if the Simon and Garfunkel version was a cover.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Princess Cameron, ruler of everything

My cat is a princess.

Princess Cameron

Look at that royal pose! She knows she's awesome.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blogging inconsistencies

            I’m not new to blogging by any means. But blogging consistently is another story.
            I switched over to Blogger from WordPress recently. Part of it was the idea of a fresh start. And I do love me some Google. As I’ve quickly found, I know more people who use Blogger than WP. So I made the jump.
            But here comes that omnipresent problem of sitting down on a regular basis to write. I’m not necessarily hard up for ideas. Maybe it’s having to take time out to write. But that makes it sound like I don’t enjoy writing and that is false.
            I suspect that once I make more connections with fellow bloggers, it will be more of an incentive to keep going. But for the few connections I’ve already made: How do you keep a blogging routine? I’d love to hear some input.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Day In History: January 16, 2010

One year ago today, I was woken up at 5:00am to the house shaking slightly and a terrible, horrible scraping sound. I really thought my bedroom was collapsing.

But no. It was just some guy towing a giant Dumpster down the street.

Wake up call

Yeah, that's right.

A few months prior, the house on the left caught on fire and the construction workers were still in the process of tearing apart/rebuilding it. They kept a giant metal container in the driveway to dispose of debris.

And then this jolly jackass came over at WTF o'clock in the morning not just to retrieve the used container but to replace it with an empty one. So there was scraping and thudding to unload the empty one, then scraping and thudding to get the full one out, then scraping and thudding to put the empty one in the driveway and then more scraping and thudding still to get the full one on the truck.

All of this. In front. Of. My house.

(So of course I grabbed my camera and tripod.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

July 5, 1933

            In my last post, I mentioned how my family is in the process of digitalizing old photographs. This is one that especially intrigues me, taken in 1933.


            From left to right: My great-uncle Roy, my great-grandfather, my grandmother (who was 3 and a half years old), my great-aunt Bee, my great-great-grandparents and then two mystery women who were probably neighbors.

            It makes me happy that photos like these have survived so many years. My mom’s side of the family has always been diligent about taking care of photographs and even dating them. I’d imagine this was taken in Vasser, MI – or in our family, simply “up north.”

            Some of our photos date back into the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Do you have any photographs of your family from that era? I’d love to see them.

Friday, January 7, 2011

This Day In History: January 7, 2007

            My first digital camera was a graduation present from my mom in 2003. For a 4MP camera, the HP PhotoSmart C850 treated me well (until I dropped it in the parking lot of a Fraser restaurant and permanently threw the lens out of alignment) and I relished being able to take as many pictures as I wanted without having to mess with the costly world of film.

            And oh, how I did. I keep all my digital photographs separated in folders arranged by year, then month, then day. From mid-2003 to present, my digital photos have built up a rather impressive presence on my hard drive:

Photo Properties

I’d like to point out that this is merely my folder of digital photos. I haven’t escaped the realm of film completely. I’ve also become fond of digitalizing old family photos for preservation. I know of photo collections on both sides of my family that are kept in giant Tupperware containers due to their size.

So, okay, all my relatives and I have pictures falling out of our butts. What do we do with them? Sadly, it’s such an overwhelming collection that the answer usually is: not much. As I said, the recent advancement of technology has made sharing photographs much easier but there is still so much to go through. The farther we go back, the more difficult it becomes to decipher the subjects of the photographs. Trying to place a date or location can be nearly impossible, especially when the only people who knew that information are no longer with us. Sometimes we’re left to guess the names of the faces staring back at us from these yellowed photographs that were taken generations ago.

I have such a great respect for film photography. Can you imagine the hard work it took to develop (pun totally intended) the process of taking pictures over the years? There was so much trial and error involved that it still boggles my mind how far it has come, as well as how many techniques there are to date. That said, I love the fact that a digital camera can record the time and date a photograph was taken, as well as the technical aspects like ISO speed, focal length, aperture… What has impressed me the most is the recent ability to record location via GPS. It’s a far cry from the steno pads my mom used in the 70’s that were made specifically for taking notes about pictures, with a new line for each frame on a roll of film. (In fact, I tried doing that in high school but never had the patience or memory to do it accurately.)

Being born in 1985, I have been granted so many advantages when it comes to technology. I sometimes wish I had been born a little later just so I’d have easier access to digital photography at a younger age, but I immediately change my mind when I realize that would have likely meant less experience with film. I grew up watching my mom and grandfather both do their shutterbuggin’ thing and it planted the seed that made me follow in their footsteps. I was the photo editor of my senior yearbook and I regularly made use of equipment I inherited from my grandfather, who passed away a year prior. I also outright took a lot of my mom’s camera stuff, always to a half-hearted protest from her that was the equivalent of, “I’m so happy you’ve taken an interest in one of my hobbies. But if you break my camera, I will kill you.”

One of the nicest things about working as the photo editor of my yearbook was it was on the cusp of photo technology. We had two or three 35mm cameras for the yearbook department, but they were the newer kind with autofocus and a digital display showing how many exposures were left. I preferred my mom’s Minolta that she saved up for in the mid-70’s. The only thing electronic it had was a light meter in the view finder. As long as I kept that sucker at 1/60 (or maybe 1/30 if I felt particularly steady), I couldn’t care less what kind of electronic crap I was missing out on. Yearbook was during fourth hour, right before lunch, so I would often get a pass to leave school and walk to CVS to have rolls of film developed. Once a photograph was chosen to be published, we had to take rulers and china pencils and actually crop the photo by hand before sending it in. Kind of a pain in the ass, especially by today’s standards, but I’m downright thankful I had that opportunity.

At the end of the year, we sold the photos for a quarter each but I was allowed to take a bunch of them for myself. I grabbed a lot of the pictures I took, and I kept the china marks on the ones that had been sent to print. Call me sentimental (or a tiny bit lazy). It still makes me smile when I look at them, though. And I’m proud as hell of that yearbook, even eight years (sheesh) after I graduated from high school.

Thinking about it, I don’t know how much patience I would have to do that now. I did have a lot of fun with it. I was one of only two people who were on yearbook and newspaper simultaneously. Seeing my hard work in print fascinates me, whether it be photographs, words or even layout designs. If I was working with people who showed the same appreciation, it would probably be a good time. Maybe I run in the wrong circles, but I don’t encounter those people too often. I would love to publish a zine, or better yet a hard copy print. But considering I’ve had a hard enough time just blogging, that’s something I am putting off until another time!

Getting back to the wonders of digital photography, because it is so much easier to organize photographs I sometimes like to look back on what happened X years ago today. It’s easy enough to do and as the years go by, I’m more amazed at how life changes and how life stays the same. It occurred to me last night that this would be a great feature for the blog – easy enough to do, and it may even encourage others to do the same! So I’m starting This Day In History, featuring photographs from various years on that particular day.

January 7, 2007

Peppermint Patty no. 1

Let me introduce to you Peppermint Patty, one of the sweetest dogs this world has ever known. Pepper was an Alaskan Malmute / Airedale mix whose mother’s mother was a Rottweiler.  Her favorite command was “speak!” She’d start out at a low, friendly growl. “What?” we’d ask, as if we couldn’t hear her.

“Ow-wooo-wooo-wwwooooooof!” she’d reply happily.

She sounded ferocious but never hurt a single person. When my youngest brother, Kevin, was still a baby, she’d grab him by the neck of his shirt and carry him around like her own. A caring, protective, nurturing girl she was, and I miss her dearly.

Peppermint Patty no. 2

And she loved me even when my hair looked awful.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I just never know what to write about

One of the complications of starting a new blog is deciding its format. Obviously, I'm dedicated to my photography, my creative prowess, my Etsy shop and so on. How personal do I go and how much do I divulge about my every day life? I want to be open and honest. I also don't feel like being stalked.

While I want to use this forum as an opportunity to display my products and even show off a little, I feel like I have more to offer. I also question how interested people will stay in my updates when all they are are, "Look what else I made so you can give me money!" I know I would get tired of that quickly if it weren't my own photos.

But from all the advice I've come across regarding blogging, there is a constant reminder to keep a certain target audience because no one wants to file through a bunch of entries just to find one that interests them. So that leads me to wonder: who is my target audience?

Hopefully you're part of it, since you're reading this. How much of this applies to you?

  • Creative
  • A little bit strange
  • Supportive of fellow artists
  • Cat lady

I suppose being a cat lady really has no bearing on whether or not you'll find this blog useful. But even making a list doesn't actually narrow things down too much, since most creative people who are a little bit strange are supportive of fellow artists. And often, these people just happen to be cat ladies. Buuuut I digress.

In other, non-reflective existentialist news, I placed a print order with AdoramaPix this evening. I want to check out their quality and service compared to the (pretty reasonable) prices they offer. I ordered prints in matte, luster and Kodak Endura Metallic - the latter being what I'm most excited to see. I prefer chromogenic digital prints to inkjet or laser prints. Or as I told someone the other day, I prefer knowing my photographs have been through chemicals that could eat away at my skin. It will probably take a week for me to get the order because the company is apparently very Jewish and does not operate at all during the Sabbath. But from what I understand, the quality of the services more than makes up for the delay. I will absolutely write more once I have the prints in my hot little hands.