Hey folks - too much happening irl (in real life) to blog much these days. I'll probably get back in the groove soon but for now I've got something I couldn't not post. I am the Dynamic Communicators Workshop at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs - it's a workshop I highly recommend to anyone who communicates. But that's not what this is about.
Glen Eyrie is in the heart of the Rockies and is full of the great beauties of nature, including wildlife. Yesterday I was walking to breakfast and a flock of Big Horn Sheep ere feeding on a hill 20 yards away from me. Today I was on a break, walking back to the meeting site when I heard this commotion in a tree ahead of me then saw two animals fall out of it. When I looked up it was a lynx killing a squirrel. After he fell out of the tree the lynx walked up a dry creek bed so I followed and got several shots. There is one in this sequence which you can see is beside the tree and in some shadows - that one is just after they fell out of the tree and I think the lynx was either about to deliver, or had just delivered the killing bite. The rest of them are just the lynx carrying his prey away.
Update - 10-22-08 - Ken Davis is the one who told me this is a lynx. I thought it was a small mountain lion, but he corrected me. But on his twitter feed he is calling this a bobcat. So I suppose I should just say I'm not really sure what this is that killed the squirrel - it's a lynx, or a bobcat, or a mountain lion, or for all I know it could just be a cute wittle putty-tat. If anyone can clear this up for me that would be great.
Here's an interesting post by Kottke that expresses a dilemma I have experienced from time to time:
Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen occasionally asks his readers to suggest topics for him to write about. Stump the polymath, as it were. I posted a suggestion that I'd been wondering about recently:
Is taking a photo or video of an event for later viewing worth it, even if it means more or less missing the event in realtime? What's better, a lifetime of mediated viewing of my son's first steps or a one-time in-person viewing?
and he answered it today:
If you take photos you will remember the event more vividly, if only because you have to stop and notice it. The fact that your memories will in part be "false" or constructed is besides the point; they'll probably be false anyway. In other words, there's no such thing as the "one-time in-person viewing," it is all mediated viewing, one way or the other. Daniel Gilbert's book on memory is the key source here.
I've had the same question and I am not sure there is a one size fits all answer. Cowan's point is correct and well taken. I believe the book by Daniel Gilbert he speaks of is "Stumbling on Happiness," and it is well worth the read and will support Cowan's point that our memory isn't all we remember it to be.
At the same time, when you take a picture, either a still photograph or moving video, you focus on a frame, which means you select a small segment of reality to capture and crop out a good deal of reality. To see the beautiful or the interesting in one frame necessarily means you will miss much that is interesting or beautiful from outside the frame.
In terms of art that is ok - in fact that is a good part of what makes a good artist - the ability to see and frame objects in "artistic" ways.
But let's suppose you are at the beach and a beautiful sailboat leisurely glides by a few hundred yards off the beach. As you grab your camera and do all the things you need to do to frame the perfect shot(s) you will experience the joy of getting a good photo. But while doing this you will cease to contemplate and enjoy the experience of the warm sun beaming down on you, that enticing smell of the "salty" air, the melodic sounds of pelicans and the refreshing feel of the cool water on your feet. To be sure, all of those other things still exist, but they don't register to you as long as you are so focused on getting the picture. Your experience of the sailboat may be enhanced to the detriment of your "total beach experience."
Still, some things beg to be captured on film and this prolongs the joy, and as Cowan points out, may provide for more accurate memories in the long run. We simply must make the choice in any given situation whether it is more valuable to capture the experience or experience the experience.
When we were in West Virginia recently visiting my cousins, one of the best parts of the trip was playing with their dogs, Snuggles and Gus. These are pics of Snuggles and Gus with a few of the rest of us thrown in. Snuggles is the Sharpei and Gus is the boxer. Our cousins mentioned that Sharpei's are known for having a less than friendly temperament and being very wiry, and not very cuddly. Snuggles never got the memo - she's about as friendly and as cuddly as a dog could be. She played with us at the house and accompanied us on hikes in the mountains. Gus is a little more skiddish, but once you get to know Gus, he's great too. He likes women more than men and he has a chair which he will share with you, whether you like it or not. There's a pic in here of him and the Jollette.
I heard my mama cry, I heard her pray the night photography died . . . brother what a night it really was, brother what a fight it really was, yes indeed.
Bummer, just when I start getting into photography I find out it has up and died on me. Do me a favor, would the person who took the last photograph before it died, send me a copy for my scrapbook. I want to be able to show it to the grandkids - "yes Billy, this is called a photograph, they used to be everywhere." "What happened gramps?" "Well, Billy, just like that photography up and died back in 2007."
But seriously folks, Newsweek's article on the death of photography is an interesting read. When I started reading it I was prepared to be biased against it. And the only reason is that I had read a blurb from the article about how photography is increasingly distancing itself from representing reality. And I filtered that comment through some comments I had read from Ken Rockwell (I think) channeling Ansel Adams (maybe) to the effect that photography doesn't represent reality, it is much more akin to painting than we realize. This is what happens when a neophyte with a microscopic amount of knowledge of a particular field starts thinking.
But this article is very good and thought provoking. Peter Plagens, the author acknowledges the artistic side of photography but simply points out that photography has always been anchored in reality:
Film photography's artistic cachet was always that no matter how much darkroom fiddling someone added to a photograph, the picture was, at its core, a record of something real that occurred in front of the camera.
He is saying that now, not so much. So, it's a good read and I encourage you to check it out.
And, after the jump I've got a few pics.
We got our first snow of 2007 and God once again demonstrated to us how anything looks beautiful with a fresh coating of snow on it.
So, I went out and took some pics tonight - none of them turned out very good, thus it is absolutely essential that I get one of these right away to improve my night-time picture taking abilities.
But I had fun anyway. Our next door neighbors have this huge beautiful pine tree that is gorgeous when it snows. So I took a bunch of shots of it, then played with different adjustments for exposure, white balance, saturation, etc.. Hope you enjoy.
Here are some pictures of my son Michael the quarterback in action yesterday (Fri. 10/19/07). Our school, Annapolis Area Christian School just started a football program this year and you can imagine what it is like to have a new program, and add to that the fact that most of the guys on the team have never played football or haven't played in years. Up until yesterday they had only scored one TD all year and had been blown out in every game. We pretty much expected that for this year and realize it's going to take a few years to build a program.
Mike started the season as the third string QB and the other two have gone down with injuries in the last few weeks. He got his first shot at playing time last week and he did rather, . . . um . . . well, . . . he actually showed some signs of promise but we chalked that game up to a learning experience. This week though he started and played the whole game. He was a bit shaky the first half although he led the team on a scoring drive that included some good runs and passes.
But in the second half he settled down. The best news is that we won the game, our first of the season. Mike ended up throwing for three TD's but the best part is that he led the team on the winning drive. We got the ball somewhere around the 40 so we had 60 yards to go with under two minutes. With a little help from some defensive penalties we kept the drive alive until we got to the 13 with about 15 seconds to go. Mike threw two incompletions into the end zone. Then with four seconds on the clock and time expiring he made a beautiful play. Pass protection broke down a bit and he rolled right to buy a little time and found a receiver crossing in the middle in the end zone. Now we were down 20-19 and the coach decided to go for two. It was a designed pass with Mike rolling to his left but he found a hole and took it in for the two point conversion to give the team it's first win. Needless to say he was the hero and me and Mrs. Jolly were quite proud, especially of the way he kept his composure under pressure and came up with the big play when they needed it and at the last possible moment.
The even better best news is that a local TV station was there filming the game and it was the feature story on the High School football report at 11:00. They got a great film of the last TD pass and then of Mike taking it in on the 2 point play. On the film as Mike was crossing the goal line the sports guy said "Wayne's world is a great place to be." I love it. Now we get to see if he can keep it up!
Blogged with Flock
I didn't think I was going to be able to put a photography post up this week since yesterday was extremely busy. My son had a football game which I will tell you about in the next post with some pics.
But today I was running through Digg and found an article that looks terrific. It's called
Bernie's Better Beginner's Guide to Photography for Computer Geeks Who Want to be Digital Artists. I'll be reading it this weekend but with a quick glance it looked good enough to share with my fellow photographer wannabees.
Blogged with Flock
When I went to pick my son up from football practice today this is the sky that was hovering to the west over the field. All of these pics were taken from Queenstown Park on Queenstown Rd. in Glen Burnie, MD, looking west at around 6:30pm today.
Well, I'm a day late with my weekly photography post. Friday is my day off and I usually have plenty of time to throw up a post but yesterday turned very busy, in a good way. We went to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and then had some kids activities, so here I am a bit late talking about photography.
I thought I might say a couple of words about aperture and shutter speed today. As usual, I'll mention that, if you are just getting into photography like me I can't recommend the book Understanding Exposure too highly. In that book Bryan Peterson made all of that stuff understandable and in doing so, made photography fun. But, if you aren't able to acquire the book, Ken Rockwell explains it here.