Tag Archives: pictures

Horizontal Lines

This post is a response to Cee’s Compose Yourself Challenge: Week 6 Horizontal Lines and the Horizon.

I noticed after reading Cee’s Essay and reviewing a lot of the pictures I have taken that I often wind up with my horizon in the middle. I wanted to take some experimental pictures but it has been pouring and the horizon isn’t visible so I am playing with old photos.

This picture was taken last spring when the sky was funny. The sunlight reflecting on the water formed a strong horizontal line.

KSM-20150417-Horizontal_Lines-02-720px

I did an experiment with the series below. The first picture is the original, which has the horizon near the middle, the other two are the same picture cropped so the horizon is low and high. Of the three the better picture is probably the one where the horizon is low, in large part because the beach is so dark that you cannot really see it well and yet it is kind of busy.

In the pictures below I thought that the dead tree formed a strong horizontal. I like the middle picture in this series as well, the bird is in a good position and there is enough of the tree it is perched on.

I think the two pictures below have strong horizontal lines, but they are a bit unconventional: the strings of lights in the first one and the steps and roof lines in the second.

I mostly use Adobe Lightroom, which allows me to straighten the horizon and also to rotate pictures to remove distortion from taking them with the camera tilted. A free, easy to use program for Windows that allows one to straighten a picture, and do a fair bit of other editing,  is Fotor.

 

 

The Picture’s the Thing

We are so selfie-ish!

I saw an article in the newspaper this past week, likely you saw it too, of a man who had killed a lion with a bow and arrow. The product that came from that hunt was a picture. The lion was not endangering folks, the meat wasn’t eaten, they didn’t even stuff the lion for a museum or use his body to study lions. The man showed skill, got a thrill and they took a picture.

The world is full of shock and outrage, I feel that too. But I also feel disturbed about our society. Trophy pictures of folks with their big fish, or deer, or even lion are nothing new.

Here’s the thing:

Isn’t the trophy picture the origin of the selfie? Now, sometimes, it feels like we live our lives in trophy picture mode. We are all shouting: “Look at me! See what I did! See where I am? See who I am with?” at the top of our lungs (figuratively speaking, since we usually are posting on facebook with the thump of our fingers).

It disturbs us when someone takes the egotism to the next level.  Big game hunting isn’t new, in fact my distress is because I thought it was old hat, and we were, as a society, beyond killing a big, beautiful, majestic animal to take a trophy picture. That we had moved on in our understanding about animals and the complex diversity of life “on this fragile earth, our island home”*. That we no longer feel like everything was put here just for us. That we are stewards of creation, not petty dictators.

Isn’t the whole selfie craze a form of trophy hunting?

I went on a three day safari at Masai Mara in Kenya a few years ago. It was pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming incredible. I took many, many, many pictures…and posted some of them on facebook. I couldn’t resist sharing!

Seeing lions was a real high point of that trip (Masai Mara is famous for lions) and I took about a hundred pictures of lions, but I didn’t feel a need to be in the picture. The most awesome, amazing, incredible experience of my life and no selfie! Does that mean I wasn’t there?

KSM20120213-Selfie-ishLions-04-480px
I was there!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Game of Groans.”

* From the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, used by the Episcopal Church in the USA.

I am Learning to “Use My Words”

I started this blog when I took a class in creating websites. I wanted to experiment with layout and techniques beyond the class assignments, so I needed to create some “content” to play with.

What I had easily available was my own life…but words do not come easily to me. Often my “story” is a sensation (touch, smell, taste, sound or picture) that triggers a feeling. How can I communicate that feeling?

Through blogging I have, slowly, been using photographs and words to try and learn to communicate the feelings and sometimes link them to a bigger idea. I think this is the essence of composition. So, though blogging, I am learning to compose. It is like quilting: you take a bit of this fabric and some of that and arrange and rearrange them until there is a sense of “yes!” Obviously, I am not an everyday, words-pour-out-easily sort of blogger,

Learning communication through composition isn’t something you ever finish. It cannot be done once and for all, so I need to keep at it and to take a look at how others approach the same themes. I didn’t know when I threw the first bit together, but that is what blogging is. So here am I, on the downhill slope of middle age learning to “use my words” with a picture here and there thrown in because words don’t always do it.

Claiming Joy

Life gets complicated, and often I see in the past the seeds of the bad stuff. I forget to see also the seeds of joy. Frankly, I had forgotten that my childhood was pretty happy. Today I spent several hours scanning my father’s slides to digital images, doing so I found myself confronting happiness.Mother with two children in swimming pool.

I come from a broken home and we have had our share of trials and tribulations, but before it broke, and even as it was breaking there was love and fun. Good things happened. People who wound up having difficulties and causing pain to one another were not always so.

Being analytic and having trained as an engineer, I am programmed to try to solve problems, to understand what is wrong and try to tweak things to make them better. That colors how I look at the past. I keep looking for what went wrong.

Seeing pictures of myself with my family having fun, the house I grew up with, and even my dad’s old blue pickup truck loaded down with lumber, sort of rubbed my nose in the happiness.
Going through the old pictures allows me to wallow for a bit in the joy, it belongs to me just as much as the other.

An old ford pickup truck loaded down with lumber.
The old, blue pickup.