Friday, 27 March 2015

Hi

I have nothing to say today except that I think my body's fighting something and it's Friday and these two things are not related but ok. 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Conversation I Just Had*

Gasp!

Oh, no, no, I'm sorry.  You can't be here.

No.  You're way too big.

I don't like your kind and you are way too big for me.

Sorry, I don't mean to be freaking you out. 

I know, you feel trapped.  Sorry, it's just I can't do this, you're way too big. 

Sorry, sorry, just a second.

Ok. 

Sorry.







* With a large spider.  (Who I then trapped on some paper under a glass and threw outside.  And then put the glass into the dishwasher because, ewww, spider germs.)



Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Horror.... The Horror!

Do you see what I'm saying? 

IT'S ALL SO WRONG!!!


*Dramatic sigh*

(But I ate it anyway. I mean, it'd been opened.)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Friday?

I'll tell you a good little story that happened... I think it was Friday...possibly Saturday... yeah, Saturday I think, not that it matters but anyway. 

I've been feeling in a funk over my photography.  Maybe it was the reverse swing of the pendulum from the positive feeling of getting out there and getting over some fears and getting some shots, but I suddenly found after a week of shooting that nothing I did was good.  At all.  And it was very disheartening.

So this went on for most of a week and I just got more and more miserable.

One day last week I was sitting there talking to myself about how awful all these photos were and what a terrible photographer I was and I was never going to be any good and on and on and all of a sudden I went... so?

Like, so what?

What does saying this to myself help?  Nothing.

If I'm bad, then go practice and get better.  Sitting here telling yourself your photos are bad does nothing at all.  NOTHING!  It doesn't fix anything, it doesn't help anything, it doesn't make you want to improve, it just makes you feel yucky and not want to take any more photos.  It does. Not. Help.

So that was a nice realization.  Felt rather shocking at the time even if it seems very obvious to everyone but the mean voices in my head.

So Fri/Sat/Idon'trememberday I decided to try to shake myself out of the "I don't really feel like taking photos anymore" mood and so I fished out my "kit lens" (18-55) that I hadn't used in ages.  This lens lets you take wider angle shots but isn't able to do quite the same things as the 50mm I've been using.  But man did I have fun.  I'd forgotten what a change it is when you a) have a lens you can adjust (the 50 is a fixed lens, you can't zoom it or change it at all) and b) you have a wide angle.

I probably shot a hundred photos in the five minutes after I left my house I was just all ooooh I forgot I could do this!  Or this!  And look at that tree shadow how cool it looks when I go way wide on it oooh!

And I was really happy I'd done that one little thing to change things up and make me enjoy wandering around taking pictures again.

I was heading downtown towards the buildings so I could see how different it would be doing shots of buildings with a wide angle lens again when I walked past a fellow sitting on some church steps.

I don't like assuming he is homeless, but we do have a number of people in our downtown area who do panhandle and do not have a home, and I think this fellow was one of them.  I just always feel uncomfortable using the term "homeless."

So I walked past this guy and thought I heard him say something to me but as it's generally just a request for change, I walked on, until my brain registered that he actually had said "hey, would you take my photo?"

So I stopped, and I turned around, took out my earphones, walked back towards him and said "I'm sorry, I didn't actually hear what you said."

And yes, he wanted me to take his photo.

Now you can imagine how happy this made me!  Someone wanted me to take their photo!  Someone I would absolutely not have asked and not felt comfortable asking (in case he thought I was patronizing or something) asked me to take his photo.

I did.  Doing the best I could with the different lens and still being a little nervous, and not having a whole lot of light (it was that time of evening where there was only sun left on one side of the street and we were in the shade) and I showed him the shots and took some more.  We chatted a bit and introduced ourselves and I thanked him for asking and told him he'd made my day.  We shook hands and the whole experience was really awesome.

There was one shot I took of him that he said he liked.  A couple were goofy, or taken when he was talking, but one he just sat there and smiled and he said he liked that one.  So when I got home, that's the shot I worked on.

And you guys?  I love what I ended up with.  I think it's a really great portrait.  It's what would be called a street portrait (not because he lives on the street, just because that's where it was taken, on the street rather than in a studio or posed setting) and I'm really proud of it.

I have a hard time saying that because I then want to say "I know it's not that great or perfect because...." and then I feel bad that I feel bad and, well, I know it's not perfect, but I really like the shot.

So that was cool.  And I guess I thought I should share the good moment.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Halt

My mind is so preoccupied with things I can't talk about here right now.  Which means I feel like I have nothing to say.

I don't think I would know how to talk about what's on my mind even if I could, or wanted to, or thought it was ok to.  Not sure what I'll get to posting this week, if anything.

Here's some randomness to fill the rest of the page...

I watched Interstellar last week and I really really enjoyed it.  Probably one of the best pieces of entertainment I've seen in a long while.  I rarely recommend things because I know not everyone shares the same tastes but this movie was entertaining.  I really liked it.  I think you might too.

I bought chocolate covered peanuts the other day because I'd had chocolate covered raisins and they were good and then I somehow wanted peanuts.  They weren't my favourite.  I didn't finish them.  Too peanutty.  Which, duh, I know, but they were.  Maybe I was thinking they'd be more M&M-y.

I think it's fair to say it took me a full two weeks to adjust to the new time.  My stomach had a harder time of it but that's not to say my sleep wasn't whacked out too.

I've been pretty consistent with my mindfulness though.  Thanks Headspace.

I don't like the new plastic spaceship container that Cadbury's creme eggs are coming in now.  At all.  I can only hope they're more environmentally friendly or something because do not like.

Sorry if I don't get around to writing much or anything else this week.  Need my brain to settle or even just to find something to talk about that I can talk about.  You know?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Bah

My mood has been all over the place lately, so up and down that I feel like one of those jokes about the weather in such and such a place... don't like it?  Wait ten minutes.

Sigh.

In some ways it may be a good thing.  Good because it maybe means I'm not stuck wallowing in the low spots if I'm recovering and finding things funny or feeling happy....

I don't feel moody, that's the thing, I just feel like I'm dealing with a lot and there's a lot going on in my life and internally and I'm just dealing with those feelings and concerns as best I can and sometimes that's harder than others.


Friday, 20 March 2015

Half The Battle

I've been hitting the bottle pretty hard this week.

And by bottle, I mean pop.

I've been trying to stick to "natural" pop so that I'm at least not dealing with high fructose corn syrup and just plain old regular sugar/cane sugar instead. 

But, I mean, I don't think that me drinking pop is all that much healthier than people who have an alcoholic drink every night.  I don't really need alcoholic whatever so I'm just doing it as a treat...for the flavour and the sugar.

And it's not good for me... I know this.

But I feel like I just want something nice as a treat... something that I know will give me a few moments of ahhhhhhh.

A nice few moments of yum. 

I should stop, I know, I don't need it, it's not healthy or good for me and it's not really, or shouldn't really be in my budget.  I know this... I just... I'm working on it.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

I Know...

I know, I know, I know, I shouldn't worry.... It has always worked out in the past and there's no reason to think it won't do the same this time.  I know this.  But it doesn't mean my brain/mind isn't worrying about Burning Man.

Generally, honestly, my worries are around the getting there and back.  Because it's different this year.

I'm travelling with someone who hasn't been before and I know that's not a huge deal in this day of GPS and the additional fact that we're travelling with, if not in the same vehicle as Connor, and I shouldn't worry, but I do... about the small details.

What happens if one of us gets asked to go in to the border control?  Do both vehicles go?  What if one of us breaks down?  What if one car has to stop to pee and the other doesn't?  What happens when we get there if we lose each other you guys it's all such a lot when my brain does this.

Because they're not things I can control.  And I'll probably just end up emailing/texting Connor to ask him and he'll reassure me that it'll be fine and I'll have a US texting plan and so will Natalie so it'll be fine.  I... kind of know this "fine"-ness but still my mind worries, picks and stresses.

It calms me to cover these bases.  I prefer to go into the travelling knowing I have a plan in case things go a bit sideways...BCAA for the vehicle, medical coverage for me, enough space on my VISA to cover a flight back if there's an emergency...the big things.  But my mind seems to focus on the small things and want to cover them too.  And that's not always a terrible idea.

But man if it isn't stressful and not much fun six months in advance.

Sigh.

What if we don't have room in Sarah's car and Connor's truck is already full of their stuff and we don't find this out until it's too late.  (Sigh... it won't be too late... we'll pack the evening before we leave and Canadian Tire or something will be open and we'll buy a ... trailer or a roof rack or something... breathe.)  Ok, but, what if (it'll be fine.... you're four intelligent, kind, good adults, you'll figure it out.)

But, yeah.  I'm doing what I can to breathe through the worry moments, but it wouldn't be honest for me to pretend they're not there.  Because they are.

Silly worries.  Sigh.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

So Lovely

What is it about slipping into freshly washed sheets that feels so darn good?

Is it that they're stretched crisp and smooth?  Or is it that they somehow smell cleaner?  Or is it just the magic of knowing they're clean and fresh and you get to sleep on them tonight?

Maybe tonight I'll re-make my bed entirely... as in, I'll take the blanket off and tighten the fitted sheet and everything and see if that makes a difference...but I don't think it will.

And, no, it's not the same with hotel room sheets...they're too hard for me, it's my sheets I mean.  I don't know about guest room sheets or staying over at someone's place sheets, maybe it feels similarly there but man.... I love that moment of getting into my bed into my freshly washed, clean, smooth sheets.

It's blissful.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Oh

I don't really like being the butt of a joke...or being teased even.  I don't know, it just always sort of makes me feel sad and like it's a little bit mean.  I understand that it's usually not meant to be mean and is generally harmless but still... it's not my favourite thing.

Which is why I'm feeling a little "ouch" from yesterday morning.

C-Dawg was talking to our head honcho about the trainee (who doesn't start for a while, mind you) and mentioned that he was cute and head honcho chuckled and asked if I was "already planning the wedding."

Which I found amusing when C-Dawg told me but now is just kind of hurting a little.

It's probably hurting because it makes me feel like everyone thinks I'm desperate to be married when that was probably not the intention at all.  It was probably just a comment on me being (I think?) the only single woman there and...yeah.

But still.  Licking that wound a bit today.  (Even though it's probably just all in my head.)

And happy green day if that's your thing.

Monday, 16 March 2015

A Weekend Update

Well geez.  I guess I totally forgot that it was March and that March "comes in like a lion and out like a lamb" because I turned off my radiators.  It was too toasty on my couch, in my cozies, under my blankie and I figured I could do without the radiator heat.

And then I woke up Sunday morning to a freezing living room and rain and brrrr.... radiator back on.  Whoops.

I also survived a Friday the 13th that I didn't even notice, a Pi day (and Einstein's birthday) and "Steak and a ...ahem" day, and the Brides of March.  A wild weekend for some I suppose.

I laid low, myself.  Got to watch Wild.  (I'd really enjoyed the book and wanted to see how the movie was and it was good too, but felt short, and the book was much more enjoyable...as often happens with adaptations)

I met a bearded Viking down at the beach (I'm obsessed with the show Vikings so everyone with long hair/a beard is a "viking" right now) and perhaps missed an opportunity to have a conversation but am trying not to beat myself up over it.

I had a lot of really weird work related dreams this weekend.  Like the one where I got shot a little (just grazed my arm) because I was holding the targets for shooting practice.  (Because that's a thing???)  Or the one where someone was wearing a bikini top and no one (except me) had issues about it (um... dress code?) and I feel like it was a good weekend. 

Jason and I went for a hike/shoot on Saturday and he was really sore Sunday morning and I wasn't at all... I've been doing a lot more walking the last week or so with trying to shoot "street" so I guess my body was more used to it.  Made me a little proud, actually, to be fitter than someone.  (I hope that's not a bad thought!)

I still feel like my stress level is a bit high and that little things set me off feeling upset or feeling really overly anxious but I'm doing my mindfulness meditation and trying to eat well and reminding myself it won't always feel like this.

But, yes.  Super sunny and then super rainy.  Never really warm, but without the sun, it's not at all near warm.  Spring. 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Is Everything

Since my brain seems to be on a "let's talk about this roll" I thought of one other thing I've noticed while I've been out trying to take photos of people out and about.  Timing really is everything.

See, I know this camera I have does better with more light and so I try to get out when there is more light and to try to find spots where the light is hitting or is reflecting or sometimes both.

So it's all about being in the right place at the right time.  Too soon and they're going to notice you and it'll look weird, too late and they might have moved or left.

Like, I saw this guy standing perfectly awesomely at the corner of a building that was totally lit up by a sunbeam.  I stopped to put my hair up and out of the way and then kept walking (he was about two blocks away) and by the time I got about a block away he walked away.  Darn... missed it.

I know that "timing is everything" is a cliché but it actually really is the big thing in this type of photography.

You have to find what it is you want to shoot... get there... frame it... adjust whatever in the camera might need adjusted and get the photo, hopefully how you wanted it to look.  But often they're moving!  So you maybe take a few shots in a row as they're walking... well now it's blurry.  Or you get to where you want to take the shot from but now something else is in the way and you've got your camera pointed at this person and they look up at you maybe with a smile, maybe with a "what's going on" look and now the shot isn't what you thought you saw.  It's maybe something else, but it's not what you thought you wanted.

I think that's part of why the time a year or three ago I went out and shot with the zoom it felt easier.  I could see something and get it with the zoom and not have to speed walk there.

You're combining the light, the camera, you, the subject, the other people, and frigging everything else and oh, by the way, are you feeling brave enough to actually do this?

I have a couple of shots from my first or second day of trying that I missed.  As in, I didn't take them at all.  And they're rather endelibly stuck in my brain.

One was this gorgeous girl who was standing at the bus stop reading her book but because it's early Spring, people are putting themselves into the light for warmth and so she was standing utterly glowingly highlight by this reflected golden beam of light and I didn't stop to take the photo.  I just walked by.

Sigh.

And then a block later there was this awesome older Asian fellow sitting on an overturned bucket, probably taking a smoke break from the kitchen he works at and it would have been this awesome shot but.. I just walked on by.

Sigh.

I tell myself that it's good that I'm noticing and that I'm working on the timid part of it, but I also reassure myself that I'm still learning and practicing and that maybe these shots are better in my head as I'm not quite able to get what I see and think I took to actually be what I saw.

But yeah.  Timing.

Important.

Friday, 13 March 2015

A Portrait

It's not that I've never done street (style) photography before, it's just that I've always been chicken about it.

This shot for example.  Yes, it's done with my 50mm lens, but I can tell from the angle that I was pretending not to take a photo.  (Which means I had the camera ready but didn't put it up to my eye, just shot from stomach/chest area so they didn't know I was taking their photo.)

Now I'm aware this is a style and that some photographers are very successful with it but to me, at the time, it felt somehow wrong.  (Well, it all did so maybe that's not the point.)

The FB photographer suggested I watch some street photography videos by a fellow called John Free.  I highly recommend them if you're interested in this type of photography by the way, and I watched them and they helped a lot.

One of the things he said that really resonated with me was that you have to understand why you're shooting.  He explained that he's shooting to bring joy.  To explain and explore humanity and the lives we lead and that he feels that if the people he takes photos of knew this they'd be happy and would hug him and this allows him to feel good about what he's taking.

And I think that's a big part of why I always felt wrong before... I felt like I was invading lives, whereas now, I know that I'm practicing and trying to get better at taking these types of photos so that I can document and tell stories and capture the stories of the everyday. 

I love looking at "everyday" photos from decades ago and marvelling at what they were wearing, what they were doing, how they looked and how it felt.  And I love those photos that make you feel something.

Yes, there's something to be said about posed, directed photos and I want to be good at doing that too, but I also want to capture natural things.  "Candids", for lack of a better term.  I want to show how amazing and beautiful and wonderful and interesting life is just as it is.  Really.

I had another breakthrough moment after work yesterday.

It was another gorgeously sunny day and I had more light that usual thanks to the time change (look at me not complaining about the time change even though I could... I so could!) and I am still feeling fired up by things and having success and getting a hundred and fifty shots or so each time I go out so I went out for a photo walk.

I was on my way home when I saw this awesome looking older fellow.  I walked by him wishing I could take his photo and then I stopped myself.  And before I could think (overthink) I turned and asked him if I could take his photo.

Yes it was a little awkward, I imagine he was wondering what the heck was going on and he did, in fact, ask me what the photo would be used for.  I realized I didn't have a real answer... I'm not making a book, I'm not.. doing anything, so I just told him what came into my head.  "I'm just taking photos of people.  People are awesome!"

And I told him he had a great face, which he did, and I took a few shots and thanked him and left.

I was SUPER stoked about those photos because he did have a great face.  I wanted him to be my older brother or something; he just seemed super friendly and kind and had the neatest little fisherman's type knitted hat.

I got home and the photo was decent.  I hadn't asked him to turn so I could get the light better, but hey, baby steps... I'd just asked a stranger if I could take his photo!  And it wasn't even at Burning Man (where it's still hard, but much much easier!) I DID IT!

I'm proud of that shot too.  And I've gotten some other good ones in the week or so since Jason introduced me to that photographer.

So a couple of big/important to me photos in the last week or so.  Emotional and somewhat draining but I have to remember that that's ok... it won't always be like this.

I'm new, I'm practicing, I'm learning... there's a bleep ton of stuff to learn and remember and they won't all be good days.

Like the day I went out and thought I'd done great, but when I got home it turned out all of Victoria was on a slant and everyone in town had poles growing out of their heads.

Ah well... baby steps I try to tell myself.  I'm just toddling.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Dude

I understand that personal breakthroughs are just that... personal.  So while these things have felt like HUGE deals to me at the time, there was no fanfare and (thankfully, I think) no confetti dropped from the ceilings, and no crowds cheered in exultation.

(Fancy words this morning, no?)

Although the Book of Face (aka evil) is still a place that causes me much angst and frustrates me, the reason Jason suggested I sign up was to be able to interact with photographers from around the world in a way we were not so able to do pre-internet.  So last week, Jason recommended I connect with a street photographer that he thinks is very talented.  He told me he had let the guy know who I was and asked if he'd take a look at my work and then told me to go say hi.

I... wanted to run away and hide.  Yes.. saying hello in a facebook message to a stranger is that uncomfortable for me.  But I said hello and encouraged by the fact that Jason said this fellow liked my work, I asked a few questions and started to look at his work.  And I was totally inspired.

This sounds odd to say but there was something familiar feeling about his work and as I looked through it both on FB and on Flickr, I felt suddenly relieved.  Like somehow this was a style that I could see somewhat in my own work.

That weekend (last weekend?) was one of our particularly sunny (if not brisk, hello Spring) weekends and I felt really inspired by Jason and this photographer's comments and support and I wanted to try to push myself over what I keep calling my "shyness" around street photography and shooting people I don't know in general.

It wasn't even easy that first time in Burning Man... took me until the final day to get up the nerve to ask people if I could take their photo.  And that's only part of what I want to do.  Yes, I want to take portraits of strangers but I also want to document life... and people and what's interesting and unique and all the beautiful images and stories I see as I wander around.

It's one thing to have a zoom lens and take a photo of someone from a block or half a block away but with the 50mm lens I'm using now (short... doesn't zoom at all) if the person's going to be bigger than an ant, I have to be near them.  Which means they know I'm there most likely. And that makes me uncomfortable.

I'm worried that I'll bug them... weird them out... upset them... invade their privacy/space/quiet time.  I don't want to annoy people but people tend to notice when someone's looking at them.  Basically, I don't want to piss someone off by taking their photo.

Add to that the fact that I'm worried about light and composition and sharpness and all the rest and it's a daunting task.

But I went out... and I didn't get too far on my walk before I saw a young gentleman sitting in the sun on the steps of the local church playing his guitar and my brain whispered to me that I could probably maybe take a photo of him, because he was playing music in public after all and therefore probably didn't mine people noticing him.  Since he wasn't playing alone in his living room he probably didn't mind attention.  So I stopped.  Took a photo.  Realized I wanted to get closer, but was scared because I knew he'd see me if I did and I didn't really want him to know and have to deal with that but I did it anyway... I moved myself to right in front of him and took some shots.  He did notice.  He looked up and then back at his guitar and I smiled and waved and went on my way but you guys?  It was indimidating.

All in my head, sure, but still.  It wasn't the hardest thing I've ever done, but it was scary.  And I'm proud that I did it and know I wouldn't have a year ago.  Or six months ago even.  Heck, I wouldn't have done it last week for pete's sake!

I got home, all stoked about the shot and it really wasn't all that amazing.  Yes, it was amazing to me because I'd stood in front of a person and taken a photo of them and I did that.  I did that! 

I posted the photo online and got no comments or reactions to it and that made me cry.  No, I think what made me cry was the emotional turmoil/stress I'd gone through and it feeling like such a huge deal.  It was very emotional putting that shot out and I tried to explain that to Jason but I'm not sure if he understood.

The photo itself was not that well framed and I think my hands were shaking so much it was crooked and a tad blurry but hey... I'll always remember taking that photo, even if it's not an award winning superstar of a shot.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Oh Universe, You're So Funny!

I can't remember if I told you, which is usually a prelude to me figuring I should just tell you any way and risk it being a re-telling, but C-Dawg and I got transferred to the same spy building and have been working in neighbouring spy caves for a few months now.  (Happy grin)  Not that this is what the story is about, but it'd be weird if you didn't know that basic fact.

A few weeks ago, C-Dawg was informed that there would be a want-to-be-spy in training who would be observing her and that she would be partly mentoring.

This isn't a big deal, other than the fact that it was a surprise, but then we were told it would be a male spy.

This also isn't a big deal except that whenever a male spy is around everyone looks at me with raised eyebrows as I'm the only single gal around (sigh.)

Some of us were joking about what he'd be like and the "bets" ranged from an unfortunately balding twenty year old to a over the top caricature of a "flamingly" gay man, to my attempt at humour that my bet was that he would be my future husband.

Fast forward to Friday of last week when C-Dawg informed me that the spy in training was going to come by to meet her.  I finished off my secret spy diamond theft (nuts, shouldn't have told you that) and went into her spy cave (via secret entrance) to meet the mystery man and oh.

Totally could be my future husband.

Blush.

Suffice it to say I was totally embarrassed and managed to shake his hand and say hello before I had to run away giggling.  I pulled myself together and put on my professional spy demeanor (and cape) and went back to chat with the two of them about how we'd train him to hang from steel ropes in the middle of bank vaults and maneuver over and under laser alarm system thingamies.  (Please forget I'm telling you this top secret information!)

From the ten minutes I spent with him I can tell you I may be sporting a small crush.  He's cute and has longer hair (which he'll have to tie back during missions, duh) and seems very intelligent and worldly.  He might make a good spy, he might not have quite what it takes but I left Friday after work all aflutter.

What if he was my future husband?  What if he wasn't?  What if I liked him?  What if he didn't like me?  Why was I even thinking about this he probably had a girlfriend.  Maybe he was single though.  Maybe it didn't matter because he'll be annoying.  But I don't want him to be annoying.  Why am I freaking out about this? 

And I got myself so sort of stressed/worked up that I pretty much burst into tears over it all.

I've managed to calm down and realize that he'll be an interesting distraction and probably a nice person to get to know and that's all.  Anything other than that is improbable at this point and not worth getting upset over.

I don't even know, it was just weird to have all these thoughts about a guy I'd just met and know nothing about and I think it's hard to find a balance between being happy and hopeful and staying calm and realistic and just not expecting anything.

He doesn't start working with C-Dawg for a while so it's not even a big deal at all, which is good because it gives me some time to chill out and get myself together.

(Remember... probably not single, probably we won't "like" each other, might even be annoying for more than ten mintues at a time.)
Please don't steal stuff from here, it's not nice. But leave a comment, why don't cha? And drink more water. It's good for you.

P.S. If you think you know me? You probably don't. If you're sure you know me? Pretend you don't. I'll never admit I know what you're talking about anyway.

P.P.S. All this stuff is copyright from then til now (Like, 2006-2014 and then some.) Kay? Kay.