Friday, November 28, 2008

Winter's Arrival

This sky shot is actually from last year, but perhaps a little earlier in the year. Winter has been coming on and it has been a while since we've seen the clouds in this kind of splendour.

We had snow about a week ago- the first real snowfall, not the palsy stuff that dusts the ground and melts in a couple of hours, but enough to shovel. I actually bundled up, siezed my camera, and trekked the neighborhood.

There was a good good bit of excitement over this, but to no avail. In a few days it became a good part slush, and by now it's mostly frozen slush. I'm not going to lie, but slush is really not as great a subject as snow (not to mention wetter, messier, less interesting, and a with greater tendency to produce nasty slopping noises when stepped on), and ice is really just a pain (unless it gets classes cancelled).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spontaneous Setup

There are ways to create (functional) makeshift photo studios indoors. The key is experimentation, otherwise known as trial and error, and simply using whatever you may happen to have on hand. I thought I'd share what I did recently. I needed to shoot portraits, or, rather, I needed one shot of me (not a good idea). Evidently, humans are not my usual subject, but hey. You live and you learn.

As the background was large, unmoveable, in a slightly awkward position/location, and simply not suited to being a backdrop, everything had to be set up around it. Portable, flexible-necked lamps with translucent shades are particularly useful. I normally prefer to simply hand-hold cameras, but in this case it was really not possible. That may sound obvious, but as setup and adjustments took so long, the benefits of using a tripod outweighed the adaptibility of going handheld. Sheet-draped surfaces work wonderfully for backdrops as well. Those large, folded cardboard presentation boards are great. Fortunately, I had help and did not have to rely on selftimer this time...

Friday, November 21, 2008


As you may be aware, it's Twilight day.

Now, there are two primary types of people, it seems- those that think that Twilight is shallow, and then there are the rabid, drooling fangirls. I believe I can safely ascertain that I belong to neither. Let's call this being a reluctant appreciator of the story. For some time, I'd been seeing people, many of whom I had never before seen with a book in their hands, buried in the Twilight series. As the number increased exponentially, it became evident something had to be drawing all these readers in.

One can infer much about any given piece of pop culture based solely on its fanbase. The fact that nearly all Twilight readers, as far as I could tell, were teenage girls, made me yet more resolute in resisting (Overlooking the fact that I technically do demographically fit under abovementioned category). Anything like that must be superficial, silly, and a bit self-indulgent. But alas, I eventually succumbed. I have to admit that I don't regret having caved in. Obsessed, no. But addicted? Well... yes. I recognize that the later books and the film are catering very much to the fanbase, to appeal to the masses. I don't usually latch on to blind crowd-following, so it shouldn't be some sort of terrible vice if I do it. Once, that is.

So today I went to see the movie. Before we turned into the theater from the street it was already evident that the size of the crowd was going to be just as ridiculous as predicted. Inside, it was packed nearly from wall to wall. There was a slightly disturbing amount of squealing and screaming going on, and even the normal levels of anticipation in the atmosphere was palpable. Fortunately, the film turned out to be much like the books, so I walked out without being disappointed. Many a decent book has been ruined by its film adaptation, but here's an exception.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Many Thanks

... To lindabutterfly and auntcindysattic for including my maple (25 Sep 08) and storm (15 Nov 08) prints, respectively, in their Etsy Treasuries.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I looked out the window today, and received something of a shock. Autumn has come and gone in the blink of an eye. November, it feels, came long ago, but only within the past week or so has it actually begun to feel like November. The weather is miserable- it's cold and wet, and the next week is likely to see a mix of snow, rain, and the like. The sky is almost perpetually a dreary blanket of steely grey that casts a watery light over everything. The sun showed itself a bit today, though. The trees are bare, and straggling lines of geese can be seen winging across the sky. Usually I welcome the start of cold weather, but it feels a bit different this year.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


So election results are out.

That's right. Here's that beautiful American democracy at work. Just look at it.

Moving and appropiate speeches from both candidates tonight. For once, both people running are not only capable but decent.

And moving to other, more trivial matters- I must now forgo my sleep to do this (at left). Yeah, I'm a nerd. But not that much of a nerd. I actually have to do this.

Edit: Take a look at this article. It says everything I'd like to say (there's a point when everyone needs to stop gloating, moping, or nursing a grudge, whatever the election results caused), but it's much better worded, of course.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Coda: State Finals

It is the fateful November 1st- Mt. Pleasant marching band heads to Ford Field, Detroit for MCBA state finals. An instrument breaks in the morning. A moment of triumph- a glorious sunrise behind us as we rehearse ("You made the sun rise... If that's not General Effect, I don't know what is."). Then we run behind schedule. Pieces of instruments go missing. Miscommunication. We arrive, unload, warm up, and wait. And then we play.

We came into finals fourth in the state for a school our size, and exited holding the same position. This is something we are not only satisfied but very, very happy about. The three above us are always the top three, and have massive bands of 100 to 200 members- we have 79. We also scored the highest we have in eight years: 79.35.

Seventy-nine. Point. Three-five.

The season is at its close. Thank you, marching band. We love you. Ladies and gentlemen, that was a beautiful day.