Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall to Winter

Daylight Savings Time ends next week. I have mixed feelings about it every year. I revel in the extra hour of sleep that I get, but not at the thought that it will be dark by 6pm... and then 5:30pm... and then 5pm... and while I love the cozy, snowy darkness in December when Christmas is close, and I can curl up on the couch with a good book, a cat, and amidst Christmas lights and candles, I have to go through November to get there.

November is my "blah" month. Nothing really exciting happens in November. The city is at its ugliest, too. All the fall leaves are gone, the grass is brown, and it's all exposed because any snow we've had hasn't really stuck yet. I bet if I went through all my photos, November has the least amount of photos taken each year. I'll have to check that out some time (I bet June or July has the most). I'm remedying that a bit this year, because the Edmonton Photography Club (which I recently joined) is doing a scavenger hunt mid-November. I just hope it's not -20 out!

One thing I am definitely looking forward to--albeit it is at the end of November--is Great Big Sea in concert! I have seen them five times, and will never tire of it! It will be the first time I see them in Edmonton without Chris and Lorie--that might be strange. But it will also be the first time I see them in Edmonton with a decent camera!

Lately I have been working on using my bounce flash. My dad had two flashes with his camera gear, and I recently discovered that one is way cooler than I thought it was, and it has now become my favourite flash. I have one that rotates just horizontally 90 degrees, and one that I thought rotates just vertically 180 degrees. WELL. I was going through the old manuals and such that my mom found while unpacking her new place, and I discovered that not only does the vertically rotating flash rotate L-R 180 degrees, but the body of the flash rotates side to side 180 degrees. This all translates into a flash that I can basically position at whatever angle I want (except backwards). Which is SWEET especially for photos taken on an angle, cuz I can bounce the flash off a complementary angle. It's been pretty fun playing around with this feature. So far I've only blinded my cats and a pumpkin, but I intend to experiment on people in the near future. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hanging Out in Mirror

I have been able to breathe a little bit this weekend. Even though last weekend was a long weekend--which usually means EXTRA time to sleep in and fill my hours with whatever my heart desires--such was not the case. Thanksgiving wasn't particularly stressful, and I can't even say I was busy, in the way that I am busy during my work weeks. But there was definitely lots of activity, and on Tuesday I was already ready for another weekend!

I am housesitting my mom's place while she is at some sewing/threading workshop in BC. My role is that of caregiver for her ailing 19-year-old cat, Fred, and boundary-setter for Diesel, who I brought down this weekend (see August posts for more info). Diesel has established his alpha status through hissing. Not so much the "you are Other cat and therefore evil" hissing so much as the "just to let you know I'm here now" hissing. Akira did the same thing when he was at my place right up until yesterday! Fred, on the other hand, hardly even notices that he's here. Partly because I don't think he can physically see Diesel unless he's up close, and partly cuz I think he's too old to care. He's lived with several cats in his life time. What's one more?

Except for a walk to the general store, I haven't even ventured out of the house, and don't plan to until it's time for me to return to the city. I have spent a lot of time editing photos, looking at photos, and researching photos.

My mom found a bunch of slides in her packing/unpacking (all circa 1970-1980), and gave them to me. I thought it would be beneficial to put them onto CD, since I haven't seen the likes of a slide viewer since I was in elementary school; to ever view these photos, they'd have to be updated technologically. What I didn't realize was that to scan slides to CD is $1.25 per slide (and that's lower resolution). $213 later, I have a CD full of mostly so-so photos. SIGH. Some of them are a bit interesting, as you can see, but for the most part, these were not my dad's best photos. 90% of the photos had a horizon that was off by 3-5 degrees (and always in the clockwise direction); I am still trying to figure that one out. Ah, well--ya live, ya learn. I have done some basic editing on all of them, but may go back to a few in time and recolour them and what-not. I was having fun making the trees on a mountain landscape picture look a better shade of green (instead of green-black), but to do the entire picture properly would have taken more patience than I have the time for right now.

I have also been looking at lots of photos today, because I have been asked to do the photos at a wedding next year (!). Yes, I have agreed to do the photos, knowing that I have almost a year to gear up! That started today by looking at the photos of friends who have their wedding albums on Facebook and getting ideas, as well as looking through some galleries of professional photographers. I visited their sites mostly to get ideas of pricing, because I need a reference point; being an amateur, I need to price appropriately (it is fricking expensive to hire a professional photographer, did you know that?!).

One of the families I do respite for was disappointed in their recent wedding photos, so I get to 'practice' on them in the spring--they'll get all dressed up again so I can do the close-ups and creative shots that they are missing. Until then, I will be doing a lot of playing with portraits and light and all that fun stuff!

Anyway, I think I'm off for a relaxing bath before bed. I am swimming with my girlies tomorrow, and my legs are currently in no state to be seen in a bathing suit. I need to go remedy that.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who Wants a Brownie?

So, a couple posts ago, I mentioned acquiring a couple old cameras. Well, yesterday I discovered that you can still purchase film that is functional for them, and so I went and bought two rolls of black and white 120 film for my Brownie Hawkeye camera. There are two big photography shops in Edmonton (they are actually Canada-wide, but larger cities probably have other specialty shops--I have yet to discover any in Edmonton): Black's Photography and McBain Camera. Black's doesn't sell 120 film--they have to order it in. McBain just has black and white; not colour. But that's a step. At least I don't have to order film online (except maybe if I want colour). And with either store, I have to send it one province east, to Saskatchewan (Sara, that's pronounced suh-SKA-chew-in, or suh-SKA-chwin, depending on where you're from), to have it developed. There is apparently not high enough demand in Alberta for 120 film developing. I, personally, think Alberta has way more photographic potential than SK (no mountains there, that's for sure), but that's just me. I've never actually been to SK. Whatever. It will be worth it.

I've taken all of three photos--the roll has 12 exposures on it. It's weird, cuz you have to hold the camera at roughly belly-button level, and you look down onto this piece of glass that gives you a flipped mirror image of what the shot will be, and you press the shutter from there. The exposures will be square when developed--not your standard 4x6. I have one exposure level--roughly 1/30 sec., which on a modern camera is about as slow as you can get and still hold the camera steady enough to get a crisp shot (although most people don't go below 1/40 without a tripod). It's meant to be used on bright sunny days, because there are only two ISO options--100 and 125. On the plus side, my photos will not be grainy, which can happen with the higher ISOs.

HOWEVER--if you remember from two posts back, in addition to the antique cameras, I also acquired the uber-lamp. I still have no idea what the wattage is, but when I plug it in, the sun gets jealous, it's that bright. So I had that on for my three photos this afternoon (cuz it was too grey outside to take photos outdoors), and we'll see how they turn out. Once I've finished and developed the roll, I will scan any good pics and put them up here. But that will be at least a month, because I need to a) take the photos, and b) get them developed over in suh-SKA-chwin, which'll take a couple weeks above that. But I'm definitely excited!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Intro to Introversion

So, as you are well-aware, I am an introvert (even more specifically, an ISFJ, which is described best here and here). It's one of those things that I emphasize about myself; right up there with my favourite colour and my love of cats.

I am happy as an introvert. Most of the time. Today seems to be one of those days where I've been struggling with my own temperament. I find the times I wish I were an extrovert tend to be the times where I am home alone when I feel I should be out with friends. I start feeling like I'm the only one who's at home in front of the computer or TV, and everyone else is out being social without me, when in my head I know that's not true. And I also know that I socialize plenty, and shouldn't be worrying about whether or not I'm being social 'enough'.

I think I also tend to worry that people don't really 'see' me. I've been finding lately that my socializing is always in the form of pre-arranged and set activities (like Bible study), or otherwise I've had to be the one to say, "hey, we should do X sometime soon." And my friends are always willing to make time for whatever I think up, but how come it's always me organizing this? It seems to be less often that one of my friends will Facebook or e-mail or call and say, "hey, Gina, we should do X sometime next week". Sometimes... but I feel like I have to initiate more often. Why is this? Do people think I lean towards not wanting to be social? Do they think I'd say no so why bother? Am I just not thought of right away when planning social activities?

That sounds so unconfident, I know, for someone who is quite confident of herself, and has always had a good self-esteem. But it's a realistic concern, I think. I know very well that I don't stand out in groups--I don't crave a spotlight, I'm not a squeaky wheel, and I listen more than I talk. That could very easily add up to someone who doesn't jump out on the invite list. Who knows? What I DO know is that I have been trying to spend more time putting myself 'out there'--flexing my extrovert side. Creike, it's a lot of work! I don't know how you guys do it. But then again, most extroverts don't really know how us introverts do what we do, either.

All my friends know and understand that I'm not the most gregarious person around. But I feel that only a couple of my friends really 'get' me (and they're extroverts, even). Introverts are outnumbered 3:1. Therefore, society tends to be made for the extrovert, and the introvert preference runs contrary to a lot of societally encouraged human behaviour (e.g. partying all weekend; chatting around the water cooler at work; etc.). I'm not surprised that only a couple of my friends really understand and accept the tempermental difference (and I am uber-grateful for them).

I am NOT shy. And I enjoy being social--sometimes even CRAVE social activity and connectedness with others. The major difference between introverts and extroverts is that socializing is how introverts spend energy, while it is how extroverts gain energy. Please remember that, and appreciate how much energy it takes us introverts to be in the social scene. I might turn down an invitation out if I've had a particularly busy week at work, or if the invite is too last minute. But not always. It's so wrong to assume that the introvert doesn't want to hang out with people. I want to spend my energy hanging out with my friends; they are so worth it!