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Entries in flash (4)

Wednesday
Dec122012

Where I've Been

There are days when I look and everything around me seems so fragile.  The dried veins of fallen leaves browning, crackling under my feet.  Everything changing rapidly and not for the easier.  This is the season, it seems, of white knuckling and holding on tight and praying please please please let me get through this one alright.  With any shred of grace, dear Universe, please and thank you please and thank you please and thank you.

Work is consuming in a way that is as predictable as the calendar, and yet here I am wondering how I will make it through and if past success is any guarantee of future performance.  Some of my most sacred relationships seem on the brink of disintegrating like the autumn leaves and I don't know how to stay present to that when running away or lashing out seem more satisfying.  This season of thanksgiving and richness leaves me feeling scared and humbled.

I have been gone from here partly because time has been scarce and partly because I couldn't think of anything nice, or at least well-put, to say.  This is a loss for me, this space sitting dormant, and more broadly the connections I share here and the satisfaction of putting words together in a way that pleases me.  I trust the path to my computer and this place will open again and I will find my way back.

In the meantime I give myself one gift, even though it doesn't always feel like one: I'm back to a picture a day.  I promised myself that I wouldn't put pressure to blog it, so you can find it here if you're so inclined.  In this season of scarce light and attention I try not to get hung up on the questions that plague me, like what do I shoot? and is that good enough? and can't you think of anything besides Ezra to take a picture of?  I hope that when this time of scarcity and transition passes I'll have more space to address these questions.  In the meantime, I shoot, and not always artfully.  But I know that owning this practice will ultimately help me move through this hard part.  If there is to be a shred of grace on the other side of this, I know the practice is what will help me maintain contact.

Wednesday
Dec012010

Oy Vey

50.365 26mm f4.2 1/200 ISO 200Okay, so this is how the evening was supposed to go down:  I pulled out my Christmas card list.  Cleared off my workspace.  Found a favorite pen and the stack of cards just delivered from the printer.  Glass of wine?  Check.  Fresh pomegranate and tangerine for dessert while I muster all the holly jolly I can manage?  Check.

But wait, these fruits are so picturesque!  And I'm supposed to be experimenting with my flash after all!  And I have yet to take a picture for the day!  Could only mean one thing!

Blergh.

Oh but I was tempted to pull out the tripod, set the camera for the longest exposure I could think of and fix the white balance and the noise in Lightroom.  But that would hardly be sporting.

Blergh.  Blergh.  Blergh.

Let's just say that Day 50 kicked my ass.  And then sucked all the merriment out of me.  Gotta get outside on Day 51.

Tuesday
Nov302010

Let There Be Light

49.365 44mm f5.3 1/200 ISO 200I was talking to a friend yesterday about this project and I told her that if the practice of doing a particular thing every day has any merit it is in this: it makes you step outside your comfort zone.  It is probably obvious to anyone who has spent even five minutes looking at my pictures that I am most confident in a space with plenty of sunlight.  I have written here on more that one occasion about my flash aversion.  So if I had decided to create a photography practice where I took a picture when the spirit moved me or when the conditions were right I would shoot only on days when I encountered the perfect light. 

But what I committed myself to is one picture a day and here I am in the middle of winter with a desk job in an office with no windows.  I live in a house that's over 100 years old, so there's not a lot of natural light in here at this time of year either.  I have pushed the high ISO setting on my camera and the noise reduction capabilities of my editing software to their limits and beyond, all in an effort to avoid using a flash.  Finally it occurred to me that this 365 project intersects with Daylight Standard Time at the place where I learn to use supplemental light.

So today's picture represents my leap into the realm of the flash.  It will take me some time to use it artfully, maybe a lifetime, but as I played with changing the direction of the light and the exposure I actually felt like I was having a small revelation.  And then, for the first time since he was born, I took a picture of my toddler in the bathtub that is not grainy or blurred or yellow. 

I haven't been this delighted about a light bulb, well, ever.  This is what the project is about.  It forces me to look squarely at the door I've been avoiding for a long time and then walk through it. 

Saturday
Nov202010

Just for the Challenge of it

39.365 50mm f5.6 1/15 ISO 800So it's been about two weeks since Daylight Savings time ended, which means two weeks that I've been meaning to make friends with my flash.  Somehow I have managed to put off that challenge up 'til now though, finding ways to sneak outdoor shots into my already crowded daily schedule.  Yesterday though, I decided it was time to compose an indoor shot.

A few months ago a friend complimented me on some picture I had taken and I told her I want to be one of those photographers who could make a pretty picture of a used teabag or something.  Well what better time to try?

As it turns out I confirmed two things:  1) I'm still averse to my flash, but with a tripod, a long exposure, and a still life you don't really need one.  And 2) teabags just aren't very aesthetically pleasing.