I just took this picture with my iPhone and thought I would upload it to my blog as I continued waking home to see if it showed up with better quality than the last time I used the Typepad app to upload an iPhone photo.
Sometimes my photography bores me. It's not that taking pictures bores me, but it's the photographs in the end that seem too, I don't know, perfectly aligned, or too realistically representative of the subject, or ... something. I think that I want my photography to say something bigger, but honestly, I can't figure out what that should be. And in the meantime, I shoot what appeals to me but then what of it in the end? Sometimes I sell photos as stock, and nicely aligned clearly representative pictures do well. And that's ok. But I restarted my photoblog to give me an outlet that didn't require such straightforward composition and technical perfection. (This week I've been posting photos from Eastern State Penitentiary and in the darkness I sometimes had to shoot at ISO 1600.)
For a while I really liked the photomemes (e.g., Photofriday) because they posed the challenge of coming up with a single photo which would demonstrate a particular theme (this week's Photofriday theme is "The Machine"). It was interesting to try to find a new and inventive way to shoot a theme, and then to compare what I came up with to others' ideas. But the memes can be really competitive, and by that I don't necessarily mean that the photographic standards are high, but that it becomes all about the winning for a lot of the people participating. (For example, in order to get a "noteworthy" mention in Photofriday you need enough votes and for that, you need people to see your photo. I have seen weeks with up to 800 submitted photos and certainly no one is looking at them all! So you have to play games, like being in the first or last ten photos in the list by either submitting something right away when the new theme is announced (but then obviously, you're pulling a picture from your archives instead of shooting something new) or by submitting your photo at the verrrrrrry end of the week just before they stop accepting new images. Or you have to add fancy diacritics to your user name so that it stands out in the list and people will want to click on it because your entry somehow looks more interesting.) Anyway, enough about photomemes. Obviously they are not what I'm looking for right now.
I think what I'm looking for is a question or issue that I can try to explore through photography, and I want it to be of greater import than "Blue" or "Christmas" or some other single word for which I try to come up with one single image to represent it.
Maybe I need to do something personal. I mean, clearly I'm not going to go to a third world country and document starving children and thereby demonstrate their plight to a world which is unaware or simply overlooking them. And I don't think my "issue" has to be that big to be meaningful in some way.
I guess I could document the experience of being pregnant. :) I'm half serious about that, actually, and I do have about a month and a half to go. That might be worth trying while I think of other ideas...
Tonight my husband was going through stacks of old and unopened mail that had accumulated on his desk. He noticed two issues of Lifestyle magazine (Life. Refined. Philadelphia) which were sent in his name and joked in a snooty voice someone had obviously noticed how refined he is. He glanced through a few pages of ads for condos and other things that we are in no way in a position to consider at this point in our lives and then turned to throw it out.
I asked if I could see it, thinking maybe, just maybe I might find one of my own stock photos of Philadelphia in it - maybe a skyline shot in an ad about city living or something. And on page 72 I found one! It's a picture of Philadelphia, taken from the fourth floor fire escape of our building, used to illustrate "A little piece of Paris just off of South Street."
After hearing Stellargirl mention (at a recent blogger meetup) that the lens I have been wanting forever (the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens) was on sale, I could resist no longer.
And so what's the first thing I do it with? Take a picture of my cat...
Actually, although my first picture was of Koji, this isn't that picture. This is from a few days ago when we were playing with an old shoelace he loves.
What I mainly spent the first day shooting was the Fitler Square fountain. I was kind of deliriously tired that day, after having not slept well the night before. But I wasn't about to let a day pass without at least getting a few pictures.
Last night after work, during the late afternoon golden hour, I meandered around Fitler Square taking pictures of the blossoming trees. I was using a film camera (loaded with black and white, of course!) with a manual-focus telephoto lens (135mm). So far I've been using this camera mostly with a 50mm lens, but now with the telephoto on the camera, I discovered what a huge advancement auto-focus is! I could hardly hold the camera steady enough while I tried to twist the lens and get the scene perfectly in focus.
I spent so long focusing on a tree (which, just to make things interesting, was itself swaying in the breeze) that some kids who were playing nearby came and stood next to me and held their hands up to their faces as if they were holding cameras and they scrunched up their eyes to look through the pretend viewfinder. I asked the one closest to me who had been the one to start doing this whether he was taking pictures too and he shrugged and said he guessed so and then ran off.
Later that night I felt a strange tingling in the sides of my hands, and I eventually figured out that it was because of the tension in my hands from earlier when I was trying to hold the camera so steady. (Yes, I admit it, my hands are totally out of shape.)
Anyway, it was great fun to use this camera and I can't wait to see what the pictures look like. I finally finished off this roll of 36 exposures, so now I have to get them processed. Even though I'm used to the instant gratification of photos from my digital camera, I really don't mind the waiting. But I have to say that one great advancement in photography that I now really, really appreciate is auto focus.
Yesterday I was out taking pictures, and as usually happens, someone stopped me as asked what kind of camera I was using. I never know how to answer this because I don't know how much they really want to know - yesterday I answered that I was using a Digital Rebel (because often it seems that people want to know if it's a digital or a film SLR) and the guy kind of peered at it, and then said, oh okay, a Canon. I find that funny because... what does he get out of knowing it's a Canon versus something else?
Anyway, his wife was also with him and while we were talking, she looked down at the sidewalk and commented at something at her feet. It turned out to be a tiny baby bird that looked to have fallen out of its nest and died there. It didn't have feathers or even, really, a recognizable head. None of us were really grossed out by it, but just more interested than anything. Of course, as soon as the couple moved on and rounded the corner, I went back to the spot with my camera to take pictures of the bird.
I was thinking that someone would see me taking pictures of it and ask, and sure enough, a few minutes later a women who was entering her house nearby started coming over to me with a smile, asking what I was taking a picture of. I know that when people see me taking pictures of things close up, they often think I've found some lovely little detail and they want to see it too. So I tried to immediately warn her that I wasn't looking at something cute, in fact it was a dead baby bird. Maybe it was my frantic waving her away or maybe it was just that she didn't particularly want to see a dead baby bird, but she backed off with a look of horror on her face.
I felt a little bad because the bird was right around the corner from her front door and now I knew she would notice it whenever she walked by, and of course, I had no intention of picking it up myself and moving it.
So I took a few more pictures with my closeup filters, didn't get anything I was particularly happy with, and then moved on to take pictures of pretty flowers and sunlit spring leaves.
I haven't gotten out much lately for photography, but I did bring my camera with me yesterday evening on my way to the grocery store. I haven't gotten many photos of the foliage, which is a real shame as autumn is my favorite season. (Winter is beautiful too, but I find that it's either too cold and/or that here in the south - compared to MA and NY where I used to live - there isn't enough snow to make the cold worth it.)
Anyway, most of the really colorful leaves have fallen off the trees, but fortunately, there are some rather untraveled narrow streets in Philly, so you can still see the leaves creating a blanket of gold on the ground.