Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SOTC 39/365

Crystal Burst, SOTC 38/365 by gina.blank
This was not the shot I was going for.

This is what I originally had in mind. A nice vision, to be sure. An S-curve, a contrast of colour, of texture. And it's not a bad shot, really. But, what came half an hour later--after inching the vase left, right, around, switching rooms, using two flashes instead of one, and coloured gels to boot--was, to my pleasant surprise, a way more exciting image.

...This photo brought to you by -25C, and a no-extracurriculars evening.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Still Worshipping Through Secular Music

In a [Facebook note turned] blog post from several years ago, I contemplated the idea of secular music having purpose as worship. Over the years, there have been songs here and there that I have added to my mental collection of "secular worship" music.

Just before Christmas, I heard Phillip Phillips' song "Home" for the first time. Initially, I was taken in by the melody and the vocals (he sounds eerily like Mumford & Sons). But once I listened closely to the lyrics, I was impacted powerfully by the song as one of worship. Not Phillip Phillips--but Jesus--singing His song of protection and care in these lyrics.


"Hold on to Me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I HAD to Take This Shot--SOTC 38/365

I HAD to Take This Shot--37/365 by gina.blank
Y'ever have one of those moments where you HAVE to take a photo of something? Where it's not even an option--any camera you have will work? That was me this morning.

My church service is held in a high school, and as I walked past the main gym...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Process to Perfection

I had a bit of an 'aha' moment today.

I have been reading up on the process involved in selling select photos to marketers and other such clients. The literature I've been perusing also tends to include tips and strategies for working on assignment. While I am not planning to make myself available for photography assignments in the near future, I have been reading anyway, for knowledge's sake.

I am looking at a sample picture in the article--a portrait of a runner. We see him from the back as he jogs down an empty country road towards the horizon. The article is talking about setting up the right model in the right location to get the desired image. I wonder how many times the photographer had him jog 100m, called him back, and made him jog again.

And then it hit me.

The photographer may have taken 50... 60... 100 shots of the athlete to get the one shot that makes the cut. And this process is not unfamiliar to me. I've done it lots.

Thing is, I sometimes feel a twinge of... dissatisfaction when this happens. Sometimes, when it takes me several attempts to get a picture just the way I want it, I'm hard on myself. It's not like the flower was going somewhere, why didn't you just take more time to get everything set up properly? You know about leading lines, why didn't you use them from the beginning? Why did you ever think a wide angle would work for this shot?

I consider my efforts, and conclude that--while I'm a good photographer--I would be a great photographer if I could visualize that perfect shot faster, if I could see more creatively, if I knew exactly what settings I needed for the light available, etc.

Most of the time, I remember that it is all part of the process. I am learning from all this. And that ten different shots doesn't mean one great and nine awful. It means ten different shots.

But in the weak moments, I wonder if I'm gaining any skill at all, because again it's taken me so many shots to get the one I wanted.

And then I saw the runner.

I wonder how many times the photographer had him jog 100m, called him back, and made him jog again.

I did not think this negatively, but more in awe of the process. It made me think of movies, and how directors will ask actors to do a scene many times over, and then choose the best one when putting the film together at the end. And the take he chooses may not even be the one that's most technically "correct." Perhaps that one take where the actor had to improv a bit, because he briefly forgot his line, turned out to be the most natural-looking interaction, and helps the scene flow seamlessly into the next. Ten different takes doesn't mean one great and nine awful. It means ten different takes.

There is purpose in this process; it adds to the final product; and as a viewer, I can't tell how many times that scene was shot. I just sit, and take in the beauty of the art before me.

Occasionally, I do get something great on the very first try. But I think I've just had a good reminder that this really is the exception to the rule. I think I have given myself a little more permission to be okay with calling the runner back, and making him jog down the road again.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Richness of Seven

She is 7.
And such a thinker.
In three hours of travel,
the conversation is rich.

We talk about the difference between
And hostel.

The falling feeling you get sometimes just before you fall asleep.

We talked about the 'incident'
of the family garage.
And what insurance is covering, and what it is not.
and she uses the word insurance in context!

She shares funny stories about her brother,
and I share a funny story about mine.

I share a funny story about her, too.

Giggles all around.

She asks what 'contaminated' means.
"Like when a baby poops in the pool, it gets contaminated."

She tells us that Santa brought her a microscope,
but the light didn't work
because the elves had to make more than usual,
so Santa gave Mom and Dad money
to buy a new one,
and he and Mrs. Claus are telling off the elves
for sloppy craftsmanship.

We talk about how each person has 46 chromosomes,
and what happens when you are missing bits of those.
Or what happens when you have an extra.
And what is cerebral palsy?

She spies a string of sodium orange lights on the horizon.
"Is that our city?"
"I... don't think so... your city is bigger. What is the population of your city, anyway?"
"I don't know what 'population' means!"
"It means the number of people..."

"Can I use your iPad?"
And away she goes.

It is quiet for a while.
"Are those the lights for our city?"
"I think so, Chica!"

We are home.
And who needs podcasts, anyway?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


1. Containing all components; complete.
2. Not divided or disjoined; in one unit.
3. Constituting the full amount, extent, or duration.
a. Not wounded, injured, or impaired; sound or unhurt.
b. Having been restored; healed.
adv. Informal
Entirely; wholly.

Definition adapted from the Free Online Dictionary.
Idea motivated by New Year's.
Happy 2013.