Tuesday, August 02, 2016

And the Results Are In

In my previous post I wrote about using a film camera again after a long absence. I got my prints back in the mail from that first roll, as well as a CD of the images. This is my favorite of the bunch. It's uncropped and unretouched photo. I think it's nicely lit and framed well. What do you think?

 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Photography Roots and Going Back

I was raised on film.

Not movies, but camera film. Black and white, Tri-X, Pan-X, reels, upstairs bathroom-turned-darkroom, developer, fixer, and my dad's guiding words. I was raised in a mostly Nikon family but I think there was an Olympus or two in there as well. I understand ƒ-stops, film speeds, shutter speeds, grain, depth of field, and lossless paper. Oh, and slides, let's not forget slides.

Then the world changed: it went digital. And everyone with a phone immediately thought themselves as a trained photographer. Do these kids even know why most of their pictures are just plain bad? As time went by I abandoned my SLRs for point-and-shoots, then those for the camera in my phone. Over time I found myself longing for more control on occasion. I wanted to open the shutter for a more shallow depth of field or taking pictures in a dark venue, or wanted a longer exposure for waterfall shots, but was held captive to the fixed settings in the phone. I could only play with image afterwards with editing apps. I never became a master of post-editing apps, that's not how you did it. Maybe modern trained photographers did it that way, but I was raised on film.

Recently I acquired a Hasselblad 503 from my dad from someone in his retirement village who "couldn't use it anymore." It's a medium-format camera that uses film. Real film. And needs a separate light meter, but that's a whole other topic for discussion later.

A couple weeks ago I finally got it out to try. With only a 12-exposure roll of film, I found myself really searching for my shots and giving up a trigger finger. My brain was slowly reverting back to "art" mode from the present-day "disposable" mode. It wasn't like I could press the delete button at the end of the day if I didn't like something or if the horizon wasn't level. Each image had to be worth something. However, still true to this mobile lifestyle, I hand-held the camera and didn't use a tripod (even though the camera is very heavy compared to my Nikon).

I found an online company that still develops film and I mailed off my first exposed roll the other day. I am trying to wait patiently for the prints (Yes, paper prints!) to get mailed back to me. I'm nervous and excited at the same time about the results. What if I wasted the whole roll? What if there was dust on my lens? What if the shutter speed was too slow and everything is blurry? What if I lost my "eye" and my photography roots are all a sham? We shall see. Stay tuned. I'll tape up some of the prints here when I get them back.


   

Friday, September 05, 2014

Baseball and Three Stadia




I was born in Ohio and spent a great deal of my childhood in Huntington, WV. My mother's parents and grandparents lived on this side of Columbus in the Cincinnati Reds region. My father's parents lived on that side of Columbus in the Cleveland Indians territory. Baseball was in the periphery of my youth but I never learned the game. I cheered for the Big Red Machine, but never got to go to Cincinnati for a game. I remember several of the boys bringing in transistor radios to school with their earpiece to listen to the 1972 Reds/As world series games during school.

I remember my grandmother watching a Reds game in her chair and would occasionally make commentary about the game, complain about a call, or even yell, "He balked!" I remember my great-grandfather sitting in his chair by the front window of his house there on Limestone street, hunched over  his radio concentrating on the Reds game. Only after the game would he join in at the table for a game of Euchre.  I remember my dad's dad having the Indians on in his den, but we didn't visit there as often so those memories are fuzzy. Everybody loved baseball.

Fast forward to adulthood. I got a job in the Washington DC area and moved to Maryland. I met my soon-to-be husband and our first significant date was to an Orioles' game, the Mike Devereaux game to be exact and if you're an O's fan, you know exactly which game that was. I've been an Orioles fan ever since and I had no real internal conflict since the O's and Reds are in different leagues. Since we met my husband and I like to take the family to Baltimore several times a summer to see a game.

Baltimore's Camden Yards had its 20-year anniversary two years ago; they say it's the stadium that changed the face of modern venues. It was built to embrace the cityscape instead of obscuring it, and the Camden Yard warehouse became an iconic backdrop. Baltimore is a working class town, compared with Washington just down the road, and the difference in attitude shows at the stadium. I'm allowed to bring in food and my own non-alcoholic beverages. The tickets are reasonably priced compared to other teams.

So, in addition to games at The Yards, I got to see my Orioles play against the other local team, the Washington Nationals, or the Gnats, as I call them when I want to annoy my Nats friends, at Nationals Park. My parents, my husband and son went to celebrate my dad's birthday. The folks are Nats fans. My mother has inherited her mom's and grandfather's love of the game, she knew all the Nats players and would perk up when her favorite players were up to bat. I felt a little bad for my folks when my O's won the game against their Nats.

The Nats' stadium is newer (2008) and has a nice feature of visibility where you can see the field from the concourse, which you can't do at the Yards, but they are strict on their food and drink policy: nothing except clear sealed bottles of water. And their tickets are more expensive.

This past weekend we took a family trip to Pennsylvania, spending a few days in the mountains and a few days in Pittsburgh with friends. We did many of the touristy things including taking in a Pirates game at PNC Park against the Reds(!). PNC is another new stadium (2001) that made the cityscape the backdrop. From our seats in the upper deck we had a good view of the field and could see the river, several iconic yellow bridges and the buildings of downtown. I noticed in the program, the Pirates have sliding ticket pricing, different prices for different days of the week. And you can only bring in sealed water bottles. I gotta say, I'm appreciative of the Yards' policy of allowing my own food.

After being in three different stadiums in such close succession I noticed how the fans are all alike. Most fans wear shirts and/or hats of their team. (I'm guilty here.) They bring in signs with hopes of getting on TV. They cheer loudly and think their team is the best. (I know my O's are the best, we are up by 9.5 games over those Yankees as of September 5!) They boo calls against their team; high-five close-by strangers when home runs are hit. They are older frumpy women wearing shirts that should have been retired years ago. They are young skinny girlfriends wearing jerseys that are far too big. They are guys in shirts bearing the names of mediocre players from seasons gone by. They are kids grumpy or sleeping by the sixth inning. The predominate color worn in the stands is the only difference.

Everybody loves baseball.




 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Transitioning Youths

Happy New Year!

It's been so long since I've posted here. I guess Facebook has sucked the need for composing longer missives right out of me. Forgive me, dear readers.

So much has happened since the last time I posted, I'm not even sure when that was.

The daughter graduated from high school back in May; she now is a freshman/sophomore (thanks to AP credits) in university studying biochemistry and did well her first semester. I'm so pleased! She seems to be growing up into adulthood.

The son is a senior in high school. He is in his third year of his special education work experience program where they take the kids to a job site to gain job skills. He's worked at Ross and at NASA in the library, and this semester, he's back at NASA in the cafeteria cleaning up after the breakfast shift and prepping for lunch service.The husband and I are in the process of visiting service providers. These agencies help individuals with special needs get jobs, either with a day program or in supported employment Supported employment is where they find Kevin a job and a job coach, work with the employer to get him trained and keep up with his progress. The day programs provide piece-rate jobs where the individuals do low-end and medium low-end assembly tasks. One agency we visited has a contract with a hotel to assemble the in-room service packs with coffee, sugar, and napkins, etc.

I continue to oscillate between crafts (quilting, knitting, a little beading) and reading. Now I'm knitting, working on a sweater, a real one for myself. I got a couple inches done and realized the gauge was way off, ripped it out and now I've started over. I know myself, if it doesn't go smoothly, I'll get disgusted with it and it'll sit on a shelf for the rest of time. Here is a sweater I did finish recently:

It's only 6" long, by the way.


No promises I'll post soon, but I hope too!
 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Quilt Show!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Caption This!

Dan found this picture in a stack of old vacation photos declaring "You're so mean." It's just begging for a caption. Give it your best shot!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kevin and Cali and Autism

My husband maintains the autistic brain has two pathways. The pathway for babbling and self-stim speech and the pathway for real speech, real expression. Kevin, my autistic son, will be 20 next week, and we have been observing his speech as he's grown. Slowly his real expression has become a larger percentage of his total speech.

I find it interesting to note what triggers real speech from him. In a typical day, his real speech comes from answering questions and he'll only answer questions he wants to. At home, most of these have to do with food, like "What do you want to have for dinner?" He rarely expresses something without a prompt. But it's there and I take joy when I experience it.

The first time I remember impromptu speech was when he was 10 or 12 or so when we picked the kids up from aftercare. Somehow the routine was off that day, maybe our daughter got in on the opposite side of the van, so the door on Kevin's side was still open. As we started to back out of the driveway he exclaimed the door wasn't closed. Dan and I stared at each other in amazement.

We have a new member of the Anneshouse household. Cali is a dog we acquired from CG's fiance because her son is very allergic and Cali couldn't live with them when their households were combined. Cali's a wonderful dog, about 9 or 10 year-old chow-lab mix, very settled and calm.

Kevin has been afraid of animals for as long as we can remember so we took on Cali with much trepidation, but hope. In the beginning he couldn't be in house at the same time as her. We used a lot of pet gates to keep the two separated but visible to each other. Dan tended to be more conservative when it came to getting Kevin acclimated to Cali than I was. I wanted to carefully force issues to show Kevin she was nothing to be afraid of. I would hold his hand so she could take a treat from it even though he'd pull back as soon as he could.

Fast-forward six weeks and Kevin now pets Cali and freely gives her treats, no gates are used, and he even reluctantly takes her for occasional walks. The other night I sent Kevin out with Cali on one such walk. He told her to "sit" so he could snap the leash on. They then went ahead while I got my shoes on. When I caught up with them I heard him talking to her with very expressive language. She likes to smell everything, as dogs do, sometimes taking them well off the path. Kevin was very clear about telling her where to go and where she didn't belong. I was thrilled. I am thrilled. I'm glad gently forcing Kevin to do things out of his comfort zone has improved his expressive speech and opened up that pathway more.