Posted in humor, photos, stuff

Think Pink

I’m from Leominster MA. I’ve lived here almost all of my life – I was born one town away, but my permanent address for 94% of my life (I did the math, poorly, but you’ll have to trust me) has been here. And we are proud of two things around here; Johnny Appleseed and plastics. If we could combine the two, I think the town would implode. The plastic pink flamingo was invented here. Enough other people have written about Don Featherstone and his fabulous gift to the world, so you can check out the Wikipedia entries. I just want to share this photo of the one in my mom’s yard. Earlier today there was an Easter egg under it, which would have made for a better photo, but the kids grabbed it pretty quickly.

Pink

I’ve seen real flamingos, and they seem like they’d be kind of a pain to keep in the yard, what with their need to constantly feed on shrimp and stuff. Sure, my back yard is a bit swampy every time it rains, but I’m pretty sure I’ve only got mosquitoes and ticks out there. No shrimp. So the flamingos would just be really ticked off at me. I think it would be much easier to own this kind. I might have to help them stand after a windstorm, but other than that, they’d be pretty self-sufficient. I like that in a lawn decoration.

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Posted in photos

Playing With an IR Filter

“Oh no,” the readers cried out in unison. “Not another photography post!”

Ah, yes, you’ll have so suffer, my children. This one will be fun, though. I picked up an infrared filter for my camera for $25 on Amazon, because it seems like a very cool toy. It’s not the easiest thing to play with, so these first attempts are me, attempting to learn how to take an IR photo. For one thing, you can’t see anything when then filter is in place, so you have to focus and THEN put the filter on. This means if you move the camera later, you have to remove the filter and refocus, etc. And even then, it might not be quite right. Also, you have to do a lot of post production on these photos because they come out violently red/magenta. It’s the nature of the filter. Lastly, if it’s windy like it was today, and your tripod is not very sturdy, your camera is going to move during the 5-30 second exposures you need to take to get the photos. Next time I’m going to try with a higher ISO so that I can use a shorter exposure time. We’ll see if that makes them a bit crisper.

Okay, so now that I’ve set your expectations into the cellar…

I stopped by Evergreen Cemetery in Leominster to take a few shots. The first shot is clear – no filter, to set white balance and focus. The shot after that is the IR photo, post-processing with some of the red left in for artistic purposes.

CLICK TO VIEW LARGER VERSION

Now, shot using the IR filter, 15 seconds at f/8, 35mm lens

The movement in the trees is due to the wind.
This next photo is a straight, no filter, no processing photo.

Here’s that photo converted to black and white. Looks pretty good, but lots of shadows.

This is the one with the filter – it shows a lot more of the details from the shadows, and I think it would look a lot better if the tripod wasn’t all blowy-aroundy.

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Posted in complaint department, photos

Flowers, Damn It!

There’s an interesting thing about going to Florida in January. They have flowers. THEY HAVE FLOWERS! They don’t have 10 feet of snow plow residue at every street corner. Not once did I have to scrape ANYTHING off the rental car. It’s like this place was build so that I could pretend it was spring for a few days. And I did. And now I am back.

There is nothing good about this winter’s weather. We’re due for 3-6 more inches Saturday. It’s gotten to the point where my reaction is “oh, only 3-6 inches,” said with the same tone I’d use if someone who regularly shot me with a nail gun was only going to hit me with a board. We are all destroyed. I have reached the “I don’t want to ever leave the house again” stage of winter.

Evening in Epcot

This picture was taken on Friday, January 29th. See the flowers? There were flowers. I want flowers!

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Posted in photos

Upon Photographing My Son

It’s not unusual for me to take photos of my son. I have a lot of them. A LOT of them. I took one of him today picking up dog poop in the back yard.

I like to take pictures of him, I think because it is tied to my fear of loss and my hatred of growing older and my tendency to hoard things, including memories. Every snapshot captures a moment, and when I look at it later, I remember the circumstances under which I took the photo. Someone was angry and only pretended to smile for the camera and then later we had ice cream and that fixed everything. Or the last time we all went on an outing somewhere before the place closed and was torn down.

I may or may not have an irrational fear of losing things. Places, people, products. They discontinued my soap recently. It’s just one in a long line of products that have been taken away; my favorite flavor of Kool-Aid, my favorite jarred spaghetti sauce. A true hoarder would have had a case of the soap the hallway, so the loss might not be felt for a year or more. Me, I had one bar left when I found out. I’ll find something else that I like – maybe not as much, but it’s just soap. I will adjust to the loss of my soap.

I have two specific photos I’ve taken in my life that I would call morbid. One of was of my grandfather, in his casket. It didn’t occur to me that people didn’t take photos at funerals, but I was just a little kid, I owned a camera, and my parents said it was okay. All the flowers were so pretty; why wouldn’t you take a picture? But looking back, it is an odd photo. I remember taking it. I remember my grandmother looking at me, and me thinking she was checking to see if I was crying. My cousin was crying. I felt guilty because I wasn’t. All that comes back to me when I even think about that snapshot. The other morbid photo was one I took of my son when he was 15 months old. We were taking him in for surgery that morning, to get ear tubes to prevent the constant infections he’d had since he was born. Horribly common surgery for babies, but you have to sign all those papers that say you understand the risk, and any parent who doesn’t break out in a cold sweat signing those may need some kind of intervention. I took the photo the morning we were going in for the surgery. I couldn’t not take one. He was happy, in his red PJs and had bed-head. That’s how I would want to remember him; that this was how he looked, right up until the moment of whatever fate had in store for him (and us.)

Luckily, the surgery went fine, changed our lives for the better, and he just turned 13 last week. I still take his picture all the time. Some part of me just wants to capture all the memories so that I won’t forget, won’t ever forget. Places and people and products get taken away from me all the time, and I guess the only way I can fight back is to take pictures and store them on hard drives, DVDs, shoe boxes and in photo albums. I hoard memories, and if I take a picture of you, don’t get annoyed with me; I’m trying to hold on to you tightly the only way I know how.

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