Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oh Really? What I Learned from my old Journals

My mom handed me a pile of books and pictures.  Here, she said, it's a few of your things I thought you would like.  Four journals -- fifth grade, 7th/8th grade, 11th grade and one from my semester abroad during my senior year in college, some love letters from my first boyfriend and a jumble of pictures from my childhood.   I spent an emotional late night in the guest room of my mom's new house, with the door closed, reading, crying, laughing, remembering while the kids all slept and Mark was back at our house.  There was so much there to think about, but I haven't processed it all yet.  Here's just one observation about those girls.

This girl wrote:  "I am so ugly and dumb.  I am so ugly and dumb. I am so ugly and dumb." And she underlined it a bunch of times, because she felt so badly about the spelling group she was in.

This girl  (on the left) thought she was too fat for a bikini and oh so desperately wanted a boyfriend and to be popular.

This girl loved her adventure in Europe.  She was so broke, and so enthralled by everything she ate, drank and saw.  "I had something wonderful tonight -- it was a mix of chick peas, lemons, garlic all mixed together and served with pitas.  I loved it!"  It must have been hummus, and it sure made a good first impression.  She wanted to see the world, she thought her life was a big adventure. She felt like she had nothing to lose by trying.

I think about these girls and how they formed the woman I have become. I still feel so timid about my abilities and being vulnerable.

This woman is afraid of what will happen if she says her dreams out loud.  

 I want to go back to talk to those other girls and tell them not to be so afraid and I want to talk to that college girl to remember what it felt like to be so fearless and confident.  

I feel like this woman better set some high goals, and then achieve them to do those other girls proud.  Be bold!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The more I photograph, the less I photograph.

If that makes any sense.

Last weekend I completed my second Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, schlepping 39 miles around Manhattan over two days in very good company.  Almost every walker has a camera, and there were a few DSLRs slung around necks for the duration.  Not me.  I just can't.

I decided from the start to pack only my iphone, pick some fun hipstamatic settings (all of the post is set before you take the shot) and just get what I got.  People who borrowed my camera to take our picture wondered what the heck I was up to. You can't really see the whole frame through the shutter and it takes almost a minute (gasp!) for the image to pop up.  In the end, I had a great two days, my back was healthy (though my feet are a mess) and I got some pictures I liked and frankly, some that were crap.

On Monday, I was back at it, scrambling to do my assignment for my flash class.  Manual settings, flash settings, bouncing, diffusing, posing, shooting.  More on that later.

Do you take your big guns everywhere?  If not, what's plan B?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Self Reflection.

I was in the city today for Lighting Class #2.  Lots learned there. Head still spinning.  Brain happy to be fed.

After class, I had a half hour before catching my train. I love shooting in NYC, because you can practically put a camera in someone's face and no one really looks twice. They all think you're a tourist or a dork (which they think are interchangeable).  I was playing with all of the great reflections and the street traffic.  Parked myself in front of a bank and shot away with the trusty hipstomatic app on my iphone.  I kind of like the challenge of having all of the post production constraints put on you before you even shoot.  Anyway, a series.

"Does this bank make my butt look big?"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Digital Flash Class -- Lighting Day 1

Today, I think I'll post about the digital flash class I'm taking at the ICP in NYC.  I don't know my way around lighting at all.  I understand the properties of natural light, and love it, but I have been in situations where it would have been great to take a picture, but even with the ISO cranked way up and the aperature wide open, it was too dark or things were grainy and blurry.  A friend recommended this class, so here I go.

Our first assignment was to study the fall-off of light as get further back.  And so, with the exposure set manually to f.56, 1/200th ISO 200, I played with the exposure compensation and distance from the white wall.  You can see how quickly the white wall goes grey, when it is not lit.   Please not, these pics are not for their compositional glory -- we had to compose it as shown.  The only variables were distance from the wall and exposure compensation.  Pretty dramatic differences, even though they all look terrible!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How being a people pleaser cost me $1,005.

I'm doing some soul searching because this one was expensive.

I was rear-ended.  Jack and I were waiting at a light and boom, we lurched and crashed.  We were fine.  I hopped out of the car, shaken, and looked at my bumper.  "I'm so sorry," said a well-dressed guy who hopped out of the shiny black Mercedes behind me, "I was looking at my..." he trailed off.  We're okay, I said, scanning the bumper.  It just looks like a few scratches.  His license plate was dented.  Really, I said, I think it's just a little scratch.  Don't worry about it.

He smiled.  He thanked me.  He apologized.  He left.

I took the car in today and the damages total $4,095.  I have to pay the $1,000 deductible and the insurance company covers the rest.  I feel like such a fool for not getting his information, and I have to ask myself, why didn't I?

I think it's because I'm a people pleaser.

I can't help it, but I have a need to be liked, to be easy-going, to get along.  I've had it for a long time.  In fact, my mom just gave me some old journals and in eighth grade, I wrote "I want to be popular" over and over again.  Sometimes I find it hard to outgrow that feeling, even though I'm not really attracted to friendships with the alpha girls.  I can still spot them in the preschool pick-up, the PTO, the spin class.  I hate to take it back to eighth grade but it happens.  Growing up, I was not the most popular girl by any stretch, but I had certainly had friends, of both sexes (my other journal theme).  There's a part of me that wants to fit in, but really, I'm also so much more comfortable a little on the edge. My friend Sam once said that she thought our group of friends found each other because we were all a little outside the mold of our preppy midwestern college.  I took that as a compliment, but I also worried that too much of my weirdness was showing.

Oh, the $5?  A rude cashier over-charged me. I sort of thought so, but I doubted myself instead of her, and just took her word for it.

It's exhausting, and expensive.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Mom Spoils Me

We had a four day weekend for Rosh hashana  and I took full advantage.  I pulled up to the middle school with the car packed, an Ernest marathon in the DVD player and a bag of healthy-ish snacks and within minutes we were heading south on I-95 toward Delaware.  My mom lives with her boyfriend in Bethany Beach.  The first two days felt like summer, with temps in the high 80s, warm enough for an ocean swim and afternoon at the beach. Saturday cooled down, so we drove to Assateague to explore on rented bikes and see some of the famous wild horses.  

But that's not how she spoils me.

She makes dinner.  She won't let me touch a dish. She scoops up laundry before it hits the floor.  She loves my kids.  She reads them stories and sits on the floor to see what they're drawing or playing on the laptop. She saves magazines she thinks I'll like.  She makes me coffee in the morning.  She listens to my stories.  She cries when I go.

I suppose you could say, she mothers me.