Thursday, September 19, 2013

SOTC 72/365

A Touch of Citrus (SOTC 72/365) by gina.blank

Gee, my living room smells fresh this evening.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Shaft of Light OR SOTC 71/365

Silver Lining in Blue I (SOTC 71/365) by gina.blank

"Thank you, Father, for the beautiful surprises you are planning for me today. So often in my life ... an unexpected burst of ... sunshine has exploded through a black cloud, sending inspiring shafts of warm, beautiful sunshine into my life." 

-- Robert Schuller

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Tough Shot OR SOTC 70/365

I have mentioned before that portraiture is often a more challenging form of photography for me. I thoroughly enjoy portraiture--both shooting or just looking at the portraits of others--and my skill keeps improving. Still, it's not my truest niche, and I make a point not to shoot portraits for people I don't know well.

So when a gal from church asked me if I would do her engagement photos--at sunset--I knew I would need to practice first.

I do not have a lot of hands-on experience with off-camera flash and diffusers. I get the basic theory, but it's just not equipment I utilize very often. I needed to know how long it would take me to set up a shot, to move the equipment around from location to location, and how I'd need to adjust the settings as the sun continued to drop behind me. So I texted my best models and asked for help.

Very graciously, they joined me in the river valley, and thank goodness the weather has been so wonderful (sunny and 30C).

Evening in the Trees II (SOTC 70/365) by gina.blank
I shot for about 45 minutes at the location where I will be shooting for real next weekend. I was pleased to see that I was setting up the light fairly well most of the time. Some small touch ups here and there in Photoshop, as usual. The degree of necessary touch-ups has lessened over time, but nevertheless, I always expect to spend some time post-processing after a portrait shoot.

So I was quite pleasantly surprised when I looked more closely at this one image of my friend, C, and thought, "it's good!"* It's not my favourite of the bunch that came out of that session, but really only because she's not smiling as brightly in this particular shot. The colours are rich, the tone is warm, the composition is well put-together. And clearly, the lighting was set up appropriately.

It's good, it's good, it's good.

*A portrait critique would likely indicate that the dappled light on her arm and shirt should have been dealt with by using another diffuser, but it's far from distracting enough to be problematic.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How He Thinks (SOTC 69/365)

How He Thinks (SOTC 69/365) by gina.blank
His eyes always squinty
Fingers in his mouth
not just a sensory habit,
but also
a sign of
his most thoughtful

He looks everywhere but the camera.
When I get him excited enough
to look at me
with his favourite song
or by counting,
then he is moving too fast
to get a good shot
(he gets excited with his whole body).
So I photograph him thinking.

I don't know what he's thinking.

They say a person needs to have language
to have thought.
He understands language,
but he is,
for all intents and purposes,

So what does he think?
How does he think?

Does he think like the 10-year-old he is,
or like the 3-year-old the assessments say he is,
or in the 2-3 word sentences
he shares out loud?

I have asked this question for years.

I have no answer,
so I talk to him like a 10-year-old,
like a 3-year-old,
and in 2-3 word sentences.

And then I sing his favourite song,
and I don't care about his thinking,
Because I can see
what he is feeling.

SOTC 68/365

Friday, September 6, 2013

On Epigenetics and the Drying of Herbs

I have been drying herbs in my kitchen since summer reached its half way mark. Dill, cilantro, mint, basil. Hanging in the windows, the sun has slowly crisped and browned their stems, their leaves. Tonight seemed like as good an evening as any to collect my now-dried spoils; rose hips and chamomile still wait to be tended to on the back porch.

There is something satisfying in the whole garden harvesting process. As I tended the herbs, specifically, there was something additionally comforting in the gathering process. Perhaps it is the rhythmic repetition of plucking each stem from the pile, one by one, the leaves all but disintegrating between my thumb and forefinger that run them down the length of the slender stalk. Fragrances fill my nostrils with positive memories of farm suppers, Dad's pasta, and--in the case of the mint--something like just having opened a new package of gum.

Epigenetics tells me that there are markers on my genes--little protein markers from my parents, my grandparents, and possibly other ancestors that leave a little trace of their experiences on my DNA, influencing the expression or non-expression of those genes as they intertwine with my own experiences.

I garden because I love the earth, and I want it to last; sustainability. Was there an ancestor so impacted by the rations and scarcity of wartime that it has driven my ever-growing preference to live simply, re-purpose, and take the time to harvest not just the fruit but also the seeds from what I've planted?

I garden because I enjoy less chemicals, and more natural products in my body; health. Was there a long-ago relative, lungs blackened by the Industrial Revolution, who witnessed the shortened life of her own working class family and friends?

I garden because I don't need research to tell me it's good for my mental health; well-being. With whom do I share introvert solidarity as I travel up through the family tree--those socially awkward comrades who nevertheless knew that the best thing for their hearts and minds was to spend free time with a book, a hammock, an art project, or with one's hands in the dirt?

Perhaps the comfort isn't so much in the rhythmic nature of the task, but in the connection to the long-ago. Despite technology, despite big-box convenience, the practice of gardening still exists--and, I would argue, is still necessary. Oh, that the DNA of future generations would not lose the markers that bring aromas into the kitchen, and calm the heart in the process.

Monday, September 2, 2013

SOTC 67/365

Big Beet by gina.blank
Big Beet, a photo by gina.blank on Flickr.
(Nope, not from my garden!)

SOTC 66/365

Ready for Harvest by gina.blank
Ready for Harvest, a photo by gina.blank on Flickr.

I ♥ Music (SOTC 65/365)

I Heart Music by gina.blank"Music is what feelings sound like." -- Unknown

SOTC 64/365