Archive for August, 2008

Olson House

Our field trip yesterday was to Olson House. Below are the pics I chose for critique in class:


Nature as graphic design…?

We had our second field trip today, this time to a nearby beach.  Our assignment was to think about what emotion(s) we were feeling and create a photograph that represented those feelings.  Then we had to consider what the opposite feeling might be, and create an image that represented that.  We submitted two pairs of images each for critique this evening.  Below are my two pairs (unfortunately I can’t get them to display as pairs, and lack the energy to tweak around with WordPress tonight 😛 ):

I think it’s safe to say that my tastes (at least, for today) tend more towards the “graphic” side of things… I like geometric shapes and “suggestions” of people, places, or things, if you will. Not always true, but it’s what I was feeling today (and Monday, for that matter).

1. Open Mouth, 2. Insert Foot

I take back a large portion of what I said yesterday. Also, I must plead that most of my irritability was due not to the class, but to other events. Gr. Anyway…

Today, we learned how to use Adobe Lightroom, a photo-editing program. I have been using a similar program called Aperture (by Apple) for about a year and a half, and am finally feeling like I have the hang of it.

In half a day today, we learned how to do everything I know how to do in Aperture, in Lightroom. And then some, because Lightroom is a much more powerful program than Aperture. Add to that it’s streamlined workflow and total transparency in regards to exactly what it does to your files, and I am one happy girl. Plus, there are books written about it! There are no instructional books (that I have found) written about Aperture.

I finished editing my photos from yesterday and find the new versions preferable to the ones I posted last night. However, they are on the lab computer, not my laptop, and I was not going to waste precious lab time by uploading them to a website 😉

Then I imported my portfolio from Aperture, only to find that (despite shooting in RAW format) Aperture had ever-so-conveniently compressed all of my Master files into JPEGs. Gr. I’m sure that if I had a better grasp on Aperture I could have prevented that. But now I know how to prevent that from happening in Lightroom. Hooray!

I re-edited many of my portfolio photos, and am pretty thrilled with how they turned out. I plan to organize , file, and catalog them in Lightroom (and then import the rest of my library… slowly).

Tomorrow we are going to a beach a little south of here for our second field trip. Our instructor has promised that the assignment will push us “beyond” yesterday’s assignment. Hooray!

Guess what program I will be investing in when I get home? Yeah. Lightroom.

For now, I am going to watch Senator Clinton speak at the DNC. I wish they would cut the drama (do we really need to know her pants suit- selection process??), but it makes for good television.


I tried to come up with some clever pun/ play on words involving “Maine,” as so many poetic-comedic business owners do around here. But I have failed.

Maybe later in the week.

So I’m in Rockport, Maine. I am here for the purpose of learning about digital photography. See, everything I know about digital cameras (and taking pictures with them) I either picked up from my old roommate or taught myself. I think I have a pretty good handle on things, but I wanted to solidify the foundations a bit.

Today was day one.  We went over aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, auto focus. The basics.

Honestly… I hope we pick up the pace a little. I’m pretty frustrated. The battery on my camera died almost as soon as the class started, but it didn’t really matter because I already knew how to fiddle with all of the things we went over. That’s pretty much all I do– fiddle with those things.

I was hoping to learn some new techniques, gain a little direction, get an honest critique of the work I already have, and definitely gain some organizational skills. How the hell do I *store* the 5,000 photos I have on my hard drive right now?? Some tips and tricks for that would be super helpful.

I want to stretch myself! I want someone to look at my photos with a trained eye and say “look, you’re being trite/ gimmicky/ lazy/ etc.” I want someone to give me assignments that are unusual and challenging and force me out of my comfort zone. Something that I couldn’t come up with on my own to do.

So far… not so much. I spent the “field trip” today doing what I always do with the camera: playing. I finished the “assignment” (one shallow depth of field, one deep depth of field, one stop motion, one in-motion, a variety of ISOs) and didn’t really get a whole lot out of it.

Here are the photos that I liked from today… most of them are *not* the ones that I took for the assignment:

Tomorrow morning we are learning how to do essentially what I just did by first editing and then publishing these photos here.

What do I do?? There aren’t any other photo workshops this week, so I can’t really switch. I’m here, right? Should I suck it up and get what I can out of it? Apparently they have a “no questions asked” policy if you’re unsatisfied for some reason. Perhaps I should talk to the instructor first, but I’m a little intimidated. He’s only two years older than I am! It would be easier if he were some middle-aged dude, I think.

I should stop whining. Other than already knowing how to do what we’ve just “learned,” I’m in a beautiful place and get to take pictures all week. Hooray…! I just wish I were getting a bit more out of it.

No place like…


Well, it’s certainly good to be back. I have been home for two weeks — minus one week up north, during which time I left my camera at home! shock. so there is no evidence to share, other than the assurance that I rode my bike lots (funny story relating to that, ask if you’re interested), ate a ton of vegetables and very little sugar (my mom’s a good cook), read very few anthropology-related things, and generally chilled out.

Other activities:

I painted my office a lovely shade of creamy yellow, with one wall a slightly darker shade. It is much warmer and more cheerful and I am more likely to want to study in there this year. The cats like it too.

I organized and sorted and categorized and filed all of the relevant articles from undergrad and the first year of grad school, except for the two survey/ intro courses from freshman year that just xeroxed sections of books. Those made more sense in their original binders. Then I took all of my books off of the shelves, assembled a new shelf, and put the books back on the shelves in new categories + alphabetical order by author. DAMN I am organized!

I helped my friend/ former boss/ mtbing buddy and her partner move in to their new house yesterday.  It’s funny, because I helped her the last time she moved (into her apartment).  Some of the furniture was familiar, and of course the bikes were very familiar. You know you’re moving- house the right way when you feel it in your legs (and not your back) the next day.

I went on a baking extravaganza for my friend in St. Louis who just moved into a new apartment.  Correction: his roommate moved everything (including his cat) into a new apartment while my friend was in Guatemala (with me).  It would be rough to come home to a totally new place. Hopefully massive amounts of sugar (and cat treats) will make it better. I don’t think I’m spoiling the surprise by writing this, because I don’t think he reads my blog (Doc, if you do read this, sorry for ruining the surprise. But you kind of knew what I was sending. Don’t tell Szasz, though).

My former roommate’s wife went into labor! No word since Thursday night, though. I’m beginning to worry just a teeny tiny bit. CALL, Kyle!

A friend of mine from the K’iche’ course is in town visiting her sister, so we are having a mini-reunion already and going for drinks tonight.

And finally… I am off again tomorrow morning at 5 am. Woo! I am taking a week-long photography workshop/ class in Rockport, Maine. I am a little nervous (what if I find out that I suck?!) and kind of wish I was staying at home to get organized some more, but I think it will be fun once I get there. Never mind that I hate (hate, HATE) flying. I should have planned to drive, because then I could have visited Erin and her new puppy (and Ryan) in Ithaca. Alas, perhaps another weekend this fall. After all, I have Fridays off, and my first class on Monday doesn’t start until 1. Hmmm.

Still no internet at home.  I don’t mind it so much; it forces me to get out of the house, and to use my time online more efficiently (read: I spend a lot less time on Facebook), and I am WAY more productive at home without the temptation of checking my email every ten minutes (or checking to see who’s online that I can talk to). Plus, I am less likely to go on a midnight book-buying binge on

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t give Comcast a single DIME more (rude, greedy bastards with terrible customer service… seriously, the woman I spoke to about *setting up* service was even rude!!), but I am overruled by my roommates.  So the addiction continues, next Thursday. 😛

And now, time to head back home! It is so hot out that my shirt will be soaked by the time I get there. Lovely. But… the leaves are already changing, which means it is almost my all-time favorite time of year! Fall 🙂 Hooray!