Monday, July 27, 2009

Beauty's Where You Find It

My mom forwarded me an email about an experiment staged in a busy subway station in Washington, DC. The stunt was for a very accomplished, and incidentally famous, violinist to play during one of the station's busier times and see what happens. Just see. Would people stop? Would they listen? I won't give you the answers. You can find out for yourself here. Check it out. It is worth the look and listen.

I needed my mom's email this morning. While the rest of the house slept, I organized my daily to-do list, paid some bills, and got on with the business of being busy. Then I read the email, I read the accompanying article, I watched and listened to the video clips. I cried. (You'll see, if you go to that link above.) The reasons I cried? One: Although brief, the music is beautiful and I wanted more. Two: I couldn't believe the reaction (or non-reactions) of the people passing by. Three: I wondered what I would have done if I were passing through the station that morning?

This social experiment was a good reminder to me that I need to slow down, appreciate the beauty that is around us everywhere, and especially enjoy my little boys as they grow and challenge me every day. To make sure, I put all of these things at the top of my to-do list for today.

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Sneaky Fairy gets the Tooth

My little guys are growing up. Helios lost another tooth, his third, this week. The Tooth Fairy ranks right up there with Santa Claus in our house. She leaves one dollar for each tooth. But that is not what makes her so special. It's what else she leaves behind that the boys find so wonderful...fairy dust. Yep, she always leaves a little on the pillow as proof that she was there and that she is, in fact, a fairy. Otherwise, you might just start to think that anyone could be taking that tooth and leaving a dollar, right?

This time the Tooth Fairy had a little bit of a problem sneaking Helios' tooth...he had lodged it quite deeply underneath the middle of his pillow. There was so much fairy dust scattered on the pillow, under the pillow, all over the sheets, that upon waking, Helios said, "It looks like the Tooth Fairy exploded in my bed!" A thrilling prospect for both boys to imagine.

Years ago, when Leonardo lost a tooth he decided to set a trap for the Tooth Fairy. He planned to catch her in the act. He placed his tooth inside a small box, inside another larger box, and then placed the boxes inside a gallon-size baggie. He propped the baggie open with a stick of sorts which he tethered to his hand. The plan: unsuspecting Tooth Fairy gets busy opening the boxes and unknowingly triggers the stick to fall at which the sleeping Leonardo would be awaken to quickly zip her up in the gallon-size baggie. Brilliant! Well, the plan was somehow foiled. Leonardo never woke but the trap was clearly meddled with and the tooth was gone. Interestingly, there was fairy dust everywhere that night too. In the boxes, in the bag, all over sleeping Leonardo. Just goes to show you that you have to wake up pretty early in the morning to trap the Tooth Fairy...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Homage to CourtneyP

My friend is an amazing artist, a collage artist who creates stunning scenes from tiny bits of paper and scraps. Her work is so unique, fresh, and vibrant. Trees, birds and chairs speak to you through her work. They tell you the stories that the people, long absent from her scenes, left behind. Whilst dreaming, I stumbled fortuitously into an old building filled with wide open rooms and dotted with another era's furniture. No one was there, but I heard the whispering stories they left behind. I had walked into one of my friend's collages, not yet captured in paper and glue.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Group Photo

Yesterday I participated in a Worldwide Photowalk. Our little section of the worldwide walk covered a mere 4 blocks of my little city's downtown. This was my first experience with an organized event like this. Walking around with 49 other photographers, each trying to get great images of basically all the same subjects, is a challenging task. For one, you really want to get great, original shots but then so does everyone else. And you all start to see the same things and almost stand in line to get the shot of that awesome statue, archway, shadow, etc. Then you start to wonder what other photographers are seeing in that bush, alleyway, window that they have been hovering over for 15 minutes. So when they walk away, you sidle up to said bush, alleyway, window and still don't see what they were shooting.

Next, you have alot of extra people milling about with cameras in hand, not paying attention to whether or not they are in someone else's shot because they are looking for their own shots. So you have to wait a lot for those photographers to move out of your shot. And mind you, you are probably in someone else's shot too so don't think that you aren't bothering another photographer too.

On a group walk, you have to get into your own head and forget those 49 other folks stalking around you. I figured this out after reviewing the shots I took in the first half hour of the walk and couldn't recognize my own shots. I wasn't in my zone, doing what I normally do, seeing the way I normally see. I guess I was a bit self-conscious, being such a novice, in a large group like that. Although, I know there were many other novices present. After I realized that, my shots got better and I had much more fun.

Still, I wasn't thrilled with the overall quality of many of my shots. I got a few good ones, but not the ratio of good to total that I was hoping for. But enough. And definitely enough marginal images for me to learn from. I'll keep the marginal ones to myself and share a few of the ones I like best.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Here comes the sun

There was a request for sun shots on this photo blog I follow. And on this one. Here are my offerings.Hope you get sun-kissed today!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Prophecies Not To Be Ignored

Why is it so hard for us to take words of wisdom from others? Why do we insist on learning things for ourselves, usually the hard way, when others have gone before us and clearly mapped out the cause and effect, which could neatly save us similar heartache? Why do we think that things will work out differently for us?

I was warned. I listened but did not heed the message. The oracle spoke, I heard and I promptly dismissed the prophecy. I had to learn it myself, didn't I? Well, I learned a lesson alright. As my external hard drive smashed onto my cold, white ceramic tile floor, the prophecy was fulfilled. All the images I had shot over the last two months lay in a pile of disconnected bits. Actually, 3.38 gigabytes, to be precise, were now scrambled. And you guessed it, not one byte had been backed up. I pause here for you to take this in....Very disappointing, wouldn't you say?

I had much distress over this. A hard drive is replaceable but some of those images I could cry over. Family, friends, my kids doing ordinary stuff, perfect light. Gone! Uuugh!

To add insult to this situation, I had just the night before moved all my images from my internal drive to the external hard drive. For safe keeping so I thought.

But the gods of all things digital were kind to me. The next day my darling hubby had a flash of genius. Well, actually he just remembered how I do things on a computer. When I said I "moved" the files I really meant I "copied, pasted, then deleted the duplicate". I have this fear of moving files and not being able to find them. So I take the extra effort and keystrokes to copy them and make sure they get to the place I want them to be. And then I go back and delete them from the original spot. My hubby, who is in IT for a living, thinks this is very funny. I thought it was very funny too when he checked my recycle bin and ALL my images were safely tucked away right there! Who's laughing now? Me...hysterically because I have my images back!!!

I immediately rescued them from the recycle bin and backed them all up on CD. And I will tomorrow get a new external drive (or maybe even two) and back them up there. And then after that, I will upload them to a remote online backup storage service for extra security. And I will make backups every week and I will never, ever get such a backlog of at-risk images again!

In the 24 hours when I "lost" my images, I clearly learned my lesson about backup storage. Whether you just shoot for your own pleasure and posterity or you shoot for a living, please take my word for it...Backup your photos!!!! Here's a great reference for ways to backup your stuff. Actually, it's the original prophecy that I ignored. Don't make the same mistake I did.

I got a second chance at my images. Without it, I couldn't share these with you. Ominous enough for you?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

Coming Home

We just returned from a trip to the land of my childhood...East Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains. It was a fabulous trip. Almost 20 years ago I left Tennessee and in the years that followed, I only visited a few times each year. In the early years after my departure, I was happy to be living away from my roots, making a new life for myself, even shunning that old life at times. I have changed. Now, I love going back. And when the time comes, it is hard to leave. I love the look of the land.I love the things you can only find in a tiny southern town, like a spa and HVAC parts in the same location.I love driving through Cades Cove and counting deer even though I've done this at least once each year (and in many years multiple times) since I was 6.It's always nice to go back home.