An empty beach.
Five friends gathered to celebrate marriage.
Everyone just happens to wear blue.
As I drove to the beach beforehand, I simply prayed this: "Lord, help me to see the beauty...and then photograph it." I'm so grateful He delivered.
Congratulations, Josh and Kerry.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
An empty beach.
Posted by Alina at 4:02 PM
Thursday, September 23, 2010
This morning Matt asked me to look for a particular picture in my photo archives. It was a simple enough request, but as any digital photographer knows, this can turn into a long, complicated process. Actually, I should rephrase that. If you are as disorganized and undisciplined about categorizing your photos as I am, well then, you know how long this task can take.
I recently purchased a new computer, and I swore up and down that I would keep the photo files more clean and organized on my new computer. I had not done a good job on the old computer, and as a result, I had many different systems for filing photos but not one cohesive way of keeping track of them. It turns out that a new computer will do little to keep things organized when the organizer hasn't actually undergone a transformation in her organization skills.
I've also been experiencing some camera "issues" lately which have sent me in to my local camera store on the brink of tears. (Yes, I get emotional about my camera.) This era of stress has highlighted for me some of the weaknesses of digital photography. Before now, I have to say I couldn't really see any shortcomings. The expense of film was no longer an issue. In theory, I could take as many pictures as I desired and only pay for the ones that turned out. No more filling out those little white envelopes at the Walmart photo counter, stuffing them with my hard-earned film, waiting a few days, and paying for pictures that technically turned out but I didn't artistically care for. On the other hand, with my digital camera, I could use as much time and as many exposures as I wanted to achieve the shot I wanted. Waste not (film), want not (money). Right?
In my last visit to the bleach blonde, slightly condescending camera store employee who I've seen twice in the past week who I now consider my personal camera doctor, she told me that my camera has about 55,000-70,000 actuations. That's about how many shots I can expect to take with my camera before major repairs are needed. Those major repairs will cost nearly as much, if not more, as a new camera, essentially justifying the purchase of a whole new camera.
Shocked? Yeah. I was too, because I instantly knew that in my carefree, trigger-happy, shutter-release-pressing, digital zeal, I had certainly reached my limit, if not far exceeded it. I couldn't understand why nobody had told me about actuations before now. I wouldn't have taken 50 shots of that tree or flower or beam of afternoon sunlight hitting my wall just right. I realized that just because I can take as many photos as I desire, doesn't mean I should. While I don't have to pay to get all of those photos developed, I am paying for them in the wear and tear on my camera.
Like I alluded to at the top, clutter is also a big issue with digital photography. I spend a lot of time weeding through the junk to get to the best shots. Those shots must be filed away in folders on my computer. Then, if I'm diligent, I have to wipe out the unwanted photos from my camera's memory card. Once I do file the photos away on my computer, the chances are good that I will never see them again. So much wasted time.
Additionally, I used to think that digital was good because I wouldn't have to bother with messy, sticky photo albums. In theory, I could keep all of our photos online and easily pull them up when we wanted to look at them. The reality is, I rarely actually print out photos anymore since I'm simply not forced or held accountable to print anything out like I was when shooting with film. So, except for blogging, I think we actually live with less photography in our lives (no albums, fewer photos sent to family, etc) simply because we aren't forced to print things out in order to see how they turned out.
And can we talk about camera quality for a second? It also seems that there is big difference in camera manufacturing today compared to the last few decades. Sitting on my desk and at the top banner of this blog is a photo of my grandfather's camera. I've been meaning to take it into a shop to see if it still works, but even if it doesn't, it isn't uncommon to hear of people still using old cameras inherited from their parents and grandparents. Those cameras were built to last, made with heavy duty materials. Sadly, I don't think my camera will make it into next year, much less be used by Karis or Karis' children. Today's cameras are made to be expendable--kind of like pricey, highly intelligent, semi-permanent disposable cameras. Use them hard and fast...and make sure to have a financial plan in place to replace it in about 3-4 years.
I think another trade-off exists in terms of creativity. Whether it's a dSLR, point-and-shoot, phone, MP3 player, computer, GPS, baby rattle (j/k), etc., everyone and anyone is a photographer today. And with programs like Photoshop that give people the freedom to go back and touch up/alter photos, there is no limit to good, creative photos and photographers out there. On the one hand it's debunked many of the challenges of earlier photography science, making photography so accessible, yet, on the other hand, I sometimes think it's created an artistic glut. There IS so much good photography out there. As a photographer, I find it that much harder to make a name for myself. I sometimes ask myself, Where and why does my photography fit in this big, wide world of digital photography?
So am I saying I'm going to switch back to film? No. Certainly not. I really do love the freedom and ease of digital photography. But I think I am more aware of the trade-offs now. The more shots I take in the name of digital freedom, the quicker it wears down my camera. Also, beware of clutter! Lastly, take time to organize every (!) time (!) you upload or else you will find yourself hoping for a future pregnancy with doctor-ordered "bed rest" in order to organize your 55,000-70,000 photos sitting on your computer in a file labeled "photography". (Nice, Alina. Really specific.)
I'm curious what you guys think. Do you appreciate digital photography or miss the old film way? If you prefer digital photography, are you experiencing any of the growing pains I just shared?
[Photo credit: Courtesy of my friend Charlotte. I was preparing for a beach wedding photo shoot, and we thought the image of me with two cameras and two camera bags around my neck was a pretty funny sight.]
Posted by Alina at 4:13 PM
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
I may have been a little harsh in my description of a neighbor in last week's post. As one commenter gently implied, perhaps this lady's ability to juggle is somewhat of a beautiful thing. So when I saw her walking down the street last night and I just happened to have my camera in hand, I couldn't help but go over and introduce myself to her.
Meet Sherry. Owner of 5 dogs and a parrot.
And how did Sherry arrive at so many pets? It's actually a really beautiful story. Up until recently, she only had the two large dogs and the parrot. Then a neighbor spotted the two chihuahuas abandoned in the backyard of a foreclosed home. When Sherry caught wind of it, she immediately brought them into her home and nursed their malnourished bodies back to health. The little black dog was roaming down her street a couple of weeks ago, also underweight and in need of care. He now has a new home and has gained a few much-needed pounds.
Official statement: Sherry is awesome.
Posted by Alina at 11:17 AM
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
We've entered the awkward season sandwiched between summer and fall, the time of year when I'm ready for fall weather but the thermometer still pushes 95 midday. Invariably, my closet undergoes an identity crisis as I feel uncomfortable wearing post-Labor Day white and my favorite white, open-toed wedges. To avoid a worthless battle in my mind, I gently remind myself to let it go. I live in Florida. Year-round flip flops are the norm.
Karis surprised me with her powers of keen observation yesterday. I was driving and asked her to please be quiet so I could listen to the news on the radio. She replied back, "What's wrong with the world, Mommy?" Well, how much time to you got, kid?
I looked out my window yesterday to see a woman walking down our street with four dogs on leashes and a humongous red, blue, and yellow parrot sitting on her shoulders. Then, as if the scene weren't unusual enough, she passed a neighbor's recycling bin, spotted something she wanted, pulled out an empty milk jug, and went merrily on her way. I can't imagine what she'll use it for.
I've been eyeing a collection of jars in the back of my mother-in-laws outdoor fridge for a couple of months now. I recently asked her about them, and she told me they were homemade fig preserves, a gift from her next door neighbor Pat. My curiosity got the best of me this week, and I simply asked to have a jar. Oh. My. Goodness. Pat, you have done a noble service to mankind. With the subtle, deep fig flavor and tender bite, it makes for a dynamite breakfast when combined with a bowl of Greek yogurt and granola. I know I should share this with Matt, a self-proclaimed fig lover, but I'm fighting the urge to tuck it away in an undisclosed location.
Posted by Alina at 3:29 PM
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Thursday, September 02, 2010
It's true. Before yesterday, I had never mowed a single blade of grass in my life. With only 30 minutes to spare before company was scheduled to arrive, I decided to take to the overgrown jungle in our backyard, the one that Matt typically tames but has been too busy to do so as of late. So I donned my brightest, gaudiest blue yard shoes and lugged the large push mower out of the gasoline-fumed storage room.
For the next 10 minutes, the mower and I stared at each other, wondering what was in store for each of us. Determined to finish the task I started, I poked, prodded, and pulled--all quite unsuccessfully. Unwilling to concede defeat, I finally decided to knock...on Bob's door across the street.
Bob is the kindest man I currently know. He's always telling us that if we ever need anything, we shouldn't hesitate to ask. So with the clock ticking and my pride waning, I did just that. Within a few minutes he stood over the mower, gently explaining to me how to check the oil, fill the gas tank, and crank the machine. I listened carefully, feeling simultaneously like a little kid trying something for the first time and like superwoman, unafraid of a new task. He cranked the machine, and I got to work.
Within twenty minutes, the whole backyard was trimmed to a nice, neat height of 2 inches, and I felt like I could take on the world. Thankyouverymuch.
Posted by Alina at 8:12 PM