Nothing to say today, important or otherwise. I just processed a few more photos from the same folder as the last post and thought I would share. Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. Staying warm where it’s cold and dry where it’s wet. 😉
One of the many advantages of not being a television watcher is that I don’t have to put up with all the commercials and mindless programming, including the so-called news. One of the disadvantages of not being a television watcher is that I miss out on a lot of the sayings and expressions that come from both the commercials and the programs themselves.
Case in point – last week I sent an email to a co-worker about something good that had happened, and he replied, “dilly dilly.” I was puzzled but figured if he wasn’t making some obscure reference to my name that it was probably something I missed from television. I get pretty good at recognizing things like that. 😉
Just today I came across an article about a guy with Charlotte roots who had found recent fame by being the “dilly dilly” guy, and it turns out he is the actor that plays the king in a series of Budweiser commercials where he replies “dilly dilly” whenever someone brings him beer. Little did I know, but “dilly dilly” is this year’s version of “WHASSSUP?” 🙂
The things I miss. Sigh….
The photos – by the way – are more from 2012. I took this during an outing with a digital point & shoot class I was teaching. Although it appears I “cheated” and was using my then-new Canon 5D Mark III. 😉
A recent Charlotte phenomenon is the proliferation of something called “dockless bike-sharing programs.” By using an app on your phone (of course) you can pick up one of these bikes, ride it wherever you want, and leave it there. It unlocks automagically using the app, then presumably locks itself when you are finished.
It’s kind of an interesting concept, and I kind of hope it catches on, but I have to wonder just how many people are actually going to ride these things. A recent news article indicated the city council had authorized four different companies to have up to 2,000 bikes in town. That seems like a lot.
Maybe on the first 70 degree day we should have a Bike-In, and everyone head out at lunch time, ride a bike to some central location and leave them all in one place. Seems like a lot of trouble but what the heck.
As much as Kathy & I love to travel, we often talk about the fact that there are a lot of interesting things to do right here in Charlotte. Things that people come from all over the country – and even the world – to experience, and we have never been. So a few weeks ago we decided to try something new – to be tourists in our own town and start checking out some of the things we take for granted.
After a nice breakfast we headed to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art for an exhibit of photography that includes work by Paul Strand and of contemporary Mexican photographers. The office where I work is directly across the street from the Bechtler, and our bank gives us free admission once a month, but we had never been!
Next we rode the light rail out to visit Doc Porter’s Distillery, where we took a tour and sampled their products. This little distillery is cranking out bourbon, rye whisky, rum, gin, vodka and soon, malt whisky. Nice people and a good story, and well worth the effort to get there.
So a day of photography and booze – how hard is that?!
Perhaps as self-compensation for not shooting as much as I’d like to do, it seems that I have been loading up on Fuji lenses. Every time I think I’m done I decide to buy “just one more.” And I’m perhaps just a little embarrassed to say that I am now up to 8. Yikes! I just recently I sprung for the 35mm 1.4 lens. Going a little bit counter to conventional thought (who, me?), I considered the newer and slightly less costly f2 version in favor of the somewhat dated but still quite worthy older model. I put it through some initial paces on a quick walk around town this past weekend. So far I must say I’m impressed and happy with the purchase.
My photo buddy Paul Lester and I got together earlier this month for an impromptu photo walk. We don’t do this often enough, but when we do it’s a real blast. There’s nothing like wandering around with a camera to exercise the creative muscles a bit.
While there are meetup groups and photowalks staged and sponsored by “celebrity” photographers, those are often large group activities. Paul & I are alike in that too many people makes it more of a cat herding competition than a photography activity. I’d say that 4-5 people would be the max for me.
Paul lives on the south end of the county and I am at the north end. We met for breakfast down his way then drove to the light rail station for a ride into town. We ended up disembarking in South End, which is a neighborhood 1-2 miles south of “Uptown” then walked the rest of the way. After a few hours of wandering we boarded the train for the ride back to our respective cars.
Paul has already posted an article about our walk on his own blog, and it’s always interesting to see what he saw and compare it to what I saw. I’m purposely leaving out photos that are from the same places as Paul’s, although I certainly have a few that look at lot like his! Instead I’m showing some photos that are things that he may have seen but that he hasn’t posted (yet!).
As a rule I generally consider New Year’s “resolutions” per se to be a bunch of b.s. They mostly just give people something to talk about and to post on Facebook, and unfortunately are quickly forgotten. But I do think there is a lot of value to periodically evaluating our goals to determine if we are spending our time, money and energy toward things that truly allow us to meet those goals, or if the current of peer pressure and advertising has steered us off course. On a long journey, mid-course corrections are always necessary.
My friend John frequently talks about our “currency.” The idea is that in addition to money, and perhaps more so, we spend time and energy on everything we do. That is our currency, and we only have so much of each. Often we trade one form of currency for another, such as buying prepared food instead of cooking our own, or having someone mow our lawn or clean our house instead of doing it ourselves. I enjoy washing my car, but I seldom do it myself, because (a) that makes it rain 😉 , and (b) having a clean car isn’t that important to me so I’d rather spend my currency on things that give me more pleasure.
The best example of currency is how we trade a large amount of our time and energy to our employers in exchange for the money we need to do everything else we do. As our lives and careers progress, the relative value of all our currency changes. Early on we are anxious to accumulate as much money and as many things as we can, and are willing to trade a large amount of time and energy to obtain it. Later on we find that raising kids, buying houses and saving for college uses more of all of our resources – time, money and energy. Ultimately, we start looking forward to (hopefully) having enough money that we can find something else to do with our time so that, even if it does pay in money, it pays in something more. Like personal satisfaction or fulfillment.
So that’s a way-too-long way of saying that, while I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, I do often take the time to reflect on all aspects of my life to make sure that the way I spend my currency is allowing me to most effectively meet the goals that are most meaningful to me. And since this is a photography blog and not a philosophy blog (for now!), let’s wrap up by talking about photography.
When it comes to photography, my two primary themes are that (1) I love to photograph things to capture my view of the world, and (2) I love to share that view of the world with people to enjoy and appreciate it. Mostly I accomplish that through my blog, although I do happily accept money, and have a number of ways for people to purchase my work.
So in reflecting on where I am today and where I want to be tomorrow, I’ve some up with a list of things that I want to concentrate on this coming year. Essentially those come down to three things. First, I want to get better at taking my camera with me more. I wrote a few weeks ago how I tended to talk myself out of taking my camera with me, so that is something I had already identified and had started working on. Second, I intend to post more frequently on my blog. It may be just a picture or two with few words, but more frequent sharing often results in a more open dialog with those who take the time to read and comment. That means a lot to me and I would like to encourage more of that exchange. Third, I intend to do a better job of keeping my website up to date with my best and most recent photographs. I don’t do photography to pay the mortgage, but I do manage the business side of things in a professional way, and keeping up the website is the most public way to do that.
So there you go. Yesterday morning I had to go into town for a haircut. I decided to take my camera with me, got there about 20 minutes early and spent those minutes taking the long way from my parking spot to the barbershop. That also accomplished the goal of walking more, so I got two for the price of one on that currency!
I often have the best of intentions about carrying my camera with me and making photographs when we’re just out doing random stuff. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but way too often I talk myself out of taking my camera along, figuring that either I won’t see anything worth shooting, I won’t have time it will be a hassle or it will make me “conspicuous.”
Last Saturday night Kathy & I had planned a bit of an adventure, parking in uptown Charlotte, walking around a bit then taking the trolley out to the Elizabeth neighborhood for dinner and a concert. I went back and forth all afternoon about my camera, talking myself into and then out of it a number of times. Yes, self-inflicted angst is one of my specialties!
At some point in the afternoon I read one of Monte’s recent posts about Christmas in Old Town Fort Collins, and it gave me the resolve I need to say “darn it, I’m taking my camera!” I knew it wouldn’t be a problem anywhere, but just to be safe I figured out how to keep it out of the way at dinner and took one of my smaller lenses so it wouldn’t be too hard to carry (or hide, if I felt like I needed to).
As it turned out, we had a booth in the restaurant with plenty of room to put the camera on the seat next to me. One unnecessary worry out of the way. I knew it wouldn’t be a problem at the concert because it was at a church and not a big arena with metal detectors and security Nazis. Second problem solved! The only (relatively minor) glitch came when we found out that the trolley had broken down, and along with it our ride back into town! Fortunately it was only about a mile. We could have gotten an Uber, but it made for a nice, but chilly, walk.
All it all it was no big deal. I didn’t get any really great photos, but that wasn’t the point. It was more about the practice, and the point was just to get out with the camera. Hopefully I’ve learned a lesson that taking my camera along isn’t that big of a deal most of the time, and that I can spend more time making photographs and less time making excuses!
Kathy & I celebrated the Christmas season by attending a choral concert by the Singers of Renaissance, a Charlotte based choir. Christmas music is part of what makes the season special for us, and a choral concert in a beautiful church with a lovely organ brought back a whole smorgasbord of memories.
One of the most amazing things (other than the music) is that I didn’t see a single cell phone during the concert. A very rare thing anywhere these days, even in church. I was carrying my camera and took just two pictures during the performance, but since I was sitting in the back row I didn’t feel too conspicuous.
Technically, we don’t have a back door. But we do have a screened porch at the back of our house that overlooks the woods next to our neighborhood. Kathy & I spend a lot of time on that screened porch, it is our outdoor space where we relax and unwind after a long day or a long week.
This past weekend was just about the ideal weather here in Charlotte – temperatures in the upper 70’s on Saturday, low 70’s on Sunday. We spent a lot of time on the porch.
These trees are directly behind our porch, and this is the second fall since we moved in. They sometimes call my name, and the call got especially loud on Saturday so I got out my camera. Nothing special artistic-wise, but it was good to answer the call and take a few shots. In a couple more weeks the leaves will all be gone.
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door….