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Entries in photos (22)


When words fail ... 

... take pictures


Different kind of photo edits

I don't do a lot of photo editing. I'm not creative like lots of people. I use Photoshop to make corrections. 

This morning, I used it to import some scanned pictures.

This is such a gift to have, to see the pictures enlarged in this way. I hope to print them for myselves. I love old photos.

These are my ancestors.


The benefit of biking

Normally  if I post pictures at my picture blog, I put it on Twitter, but because I'm taking a little break from the horror fun that is Twitter, I'm linking it here.

These are some pictures taken along the bike trail where my husband and I ride. I long to take nice landscapes, but I'm still a work in progress with that kind of photo, but I did get a few pics of the wildflowers along the way. Click here if you're interested; if not, have a wonderful weekend.


Ancient history, news coverage, and pictures

I'm here with my coffee, constructing a post about nothing in particular.  Wait .... isn't that every day here? Well, this is more random nothing in particular.

Got the kidlets home for the holidays yesterday.  I like the drive there, through the countryside, past some really big farms.  I have a thing for big blue silos and barns, and if it wasn't for the fact that there is nowhere to pull over, and I could very well get run over, I would have stopped to photograph a few of them.  Plus, it was drizzling, and I didn't want to get wet.  

My daughter and I talked at length yesterday about many things, including the shooting in Connecticut.  Earlier, on the weekend, as she shared with me her reactions, she said that she found a lot of the social media content about the shooting very discouraging and she ended up unfollowing some people from Twitter and just avoiding it.  Her comment to me was that she certainly felt like she had something to say, but it wasn't anything profound, so she was holding her peace.  Would that more people would adopt the position of a 23 year old young woman, which is ironic, because she's more articulate than some of the so called professionals I've read over the past while.

I confess to being mostly unimpressed with the way news is covered these days.  It's more about ratings and hyperbole than it is about information.  I find it odd that people can be paid huge sums of money for talking for hours and hours about the same thing which ultimately is nothing more than a pile of information divorced from understanding.  I watch the headlines, but I mostly avoid news networks except for the CBC here in Canada.

I'm really enjoying starting the Read the Fathers project.  I have missed a day here and there, but the readings are presented so that one does not feel out of the loop when she does return.  I am also following up on a suggestion Michael Haykin made in his book Rediscovering the Church Fathers and reading Henry Chadwick's The Early Church.  I've had it on my shelves for years, and read snippets here and there.  I'm about to start reading about Justin Martyr.  I also picked up a highly recommended volume that Dr. Haykin gives in his book, and that is the first volume of Jaroslav Pelikan's multi volume series.  I've seen it recommended in a number of other places as well.  This is the kind of reading I like; a little rabbit trail that is providing all sorts of interesting stuff.  I doubt my occasional blog posts about the church fathers will be of interest to anyone other than me, but I'm finding it really interesting.

Another book that intersected my path as I started down this one is the book Journeys of Faith, which I picked up a while back after reading some reviews of it.  Considering the place that Orthodox and Catholics place on tradition and the teaching of the church fathers, this, too, has been interesting.  I know some folks who converted to Catholicism from Evangelicalism, so this book, too, is an eye opener for me.

I've noticed that many writers employ a curious form.  It sounds sort of like poetry, but is presented as prose. The overall tone is sort of daydreamy and pondery (I don't think that's a word; sorry), and every sentence is its own paragraph.  I have to wait until my English professor daughter wakes up to tell me if that's a common thing these days.  It doesn't really appeal to me, but I know it does others.  I like my poetry as poetry and my prose as prose.  But then, I think I am approaching official curmudgeon status.

Ugly weather and rain has prevented me from going outside much with my camera, but I did edit some pictures from a year ago and put them up at my picture blog.  I demonstrate how I learned through error, and the post before that has some pictures of an Amaryllis, using both a zoom lens and a macro lens.  My husband brought the plant home for its photo potential alone.  I am vowing to spend more time practicing with my camera in 2013.  It's so relaxing and knowing that I am just an amateur, and likely always to be one, takes the pressure off from thinking I need to achieve more than I'm able.  I'm just happy when my husband likes them.

As we all move ahead closer to Christmas and find ourselves either burdened down with preparations or too much eating, may we all remember to take time to sit and just be still.  Advent is about waiting, but we don't seem to be waiting during this time.  We seem to be racing around.  May we all find some time for silence.


A post in which I disagree with Neil Postman

Is that allowed?

I loved Neil Postman's book Amusing Ourselves to Death.  I also loved his book The Disappearance of Childhood. I can remember especially reading Amusing Ourselves to Death and nodding vehemently as I read.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading Tony Reinke's book Lit!, a book which I'm not yet finished, but am enjoying. Reinke quotes Postman with regard to how the reliance on images has affected language.  When I read it, in the car en route somewhere with my husband, I disagreed with Postman's comments about photography. Recently, I went back to the footnote and then back to Amusing Ourselves to Death and found that I had underlined the very passage Reinke quoted.

When I first read the book, perhaps three years ago now, I did not take very many pictures.  That's not the case now.  The term "amateur" photographer is likely too generous to describe my photographic skills, although I do take pictures every day. Perhaps I agreed with the comments back then because I didn't understand what drew me to take pictures.  This is the section from where Reinke quoted:

The way in which the photograph records experience is also different from the way of language. Language makes sense only when it is presented as a sequence of propositions.  Meaning is distorted when a word or sentence is, as we say, taken out of context; when a reader or listener is deprived of what was said before and after.  But there is no such thing as a photogoraph taken out of context, for a photograph does not require one.  In fact, the point of a photograph is to isolate images from context, so as to make them visible in a different way. p. 73 (emphasis mine)

According to Postman, I'm not doing photography right.  What else is new?  I always seem to go about things the wrong way.

I do not take pictures in order to remove them from their context so as to make them different.  On the contrary, when I shoot landscapes, part of the job in presenting the subject is to put it in a context.  When I take a picture of a sunset, it is helpful to put something in the foreground to give it a context.  Good photographs will tell stories.  Below is a picture of some boys playing flag football.  The real focus of the picture is the flag at the boy's waist.  The facial expressions and the blur of the picture give it a context.  The only thing I did to make the photograph different from the original was to crop some off the right and add a little colour saturation.  

I don't take pictures to make reality different.  One of the things I love about taking pictures is that they represent moments in time.  Certainly, some pictures can look totally different from what reality is, but that's not why I take pictures.  Most of the time, when I take a picture it's because I see something beautiful and I want to preserve that moment.  For me, it's not about making reality different, but trying to show what I saw at at that moment.  There are things people do with pictures that don't resemble reality, and are designed to distort it, but that's not my modus operandi.

I'm sure my thoughts simply prove how unsophisticated I am, and reveal that I'm not following the proper conventions.  While I loved Postman's book, and he was infinitely more intelligent than I can ever hope to be, his idea of why people take pictures sounds nothing like why I love to get behind my camera.

Now, when I think about Postman's words regarding language and context, I really have to wonder what he would have thought of Twitter.