Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

I hope that all of you out there in the blog-o-sphere have a wonderful Easter.

I'll do the same.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Invisible Pills??

I don't know what it is.

Yesterday I thought to myself: "you must have taken invisible pills this week".

Or, at the very least, there is something in my tap water that renders me invisible.

Seriously. People here seem to not see me.

They walk directly in front of me, they cut me off mid stride, they even cut ahead of me in a supermarket line.

Like if I had on my forehead "take advantage of me because I am not German!"

And I had my bout with culture shock when I first moved here and I thought it was "a Dresden thing" and then I got over my culture shock and I thought maybe it was "a German thing" and then I thought it was too much of a generalization to say that and said "it's a person to person thing".

Well, I was in Leipzig today on a business trip.

Guess what? It's a Dresden thing. The Leipzigers totally are more aware of their surroundings and move out of the way when you have the right of way. Crazy! Really! I cannot believe it.

And there is no way to remedy this. I just have to suck it up.


Monday, March 17, 2008

I Don't Know...

I went on a walk Saturday with Ivana. The weather was really nice for pictures and for walking.

We decided not to sit around when we could enjoy a really nice day.

About 1/2 way through the walk, I saw a butterfly*. I wasn't sure they could be out this early in the year. Normally, I see them May-July. 

So, if I had any doubt about global warming, I don't anymore. 2 months early for butterflies?

I think I pissed it off because it kept flying away every time I tried to get close to it. But I managed to get a couple decent pictures of it before it flew so far away I couldn't catch up to it.

Anyway...we also happened upon a cherry tree in blossom:



All in all, it was a nice day.

For those of my friends who think this is a moth (I'm talking to you), here is a link that shows it's a butterfly—a Peacock butterfly, to be specific!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Strawberry Attention


This is a bit of work just for one strawberry but I have to do it.

I made a suggestion to Lou to do a bit of a "competition" and choose a theme and shoot it.

So he decided "food" would be it. 

So I decided to take advantage of my time and single-ness (two things he doesn't have) to get started.*

So, using just normal household things (paper), I set up a small macro studio and started shooting a strawberry. I also tried onions and port wine.

But the strawberry is my favorite so far. I have another 3 weeks to finish the project but this is what I have so far:
*As of this writing, he made a mistake and forgot his camera before going to eat Asian food!
 

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bowling


The great American pastime. 

I used to be quite good, although my performance the other night wouldn't lead you to believe it.

A group of us went out bowling the other night and it was good fun, if nothing else, and I sucked.

That's right. For a guy who thought for a while (long ago) to try to go pro at bowling (I was young), I really, REALLY sucked.

The only saving grace was that I brought my camera and took some photos.

But what I shouldn't have done was to stop shooting in RAW format. I had this idea that my photos would be "just as good" if I shot in JPEG format.

No.

So, I learned two lessons that night: don't ever, EVER say you were good at something and never think that you can shoot in jpeg.


Wayne all zen-like before bowling

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Why Morality??

I am going to try to write this in a way that can be understood, but, so often, I get tied up when I try to put my thoughts out on the table to organize.

But here we go.

This book "The God Delusion" is not bad. At the moment, I am at the point in the book where he argues that morality would still be present in the world if God or religion vanished.

He doesn't seem to attack the morality/religion argument as scathingly as he does in most of the book. Instead, he shows faith in humanity and hope that if there was no "spy camera in the sky" that we'd still be moral people—morality has been programmed into us much like sexual drive or any other evolutionary drive.

He poses that if we are moral simply because we are afraid of being punished by law or some being "in the clouds" then are we really moral? Is it genuine??

I have had this discussion with a few of my Christian friends and quite often the conversation arrives at this point. They will say "I am Christian because I am a terrible person and I need God" (paraphrased, but not much).

Retrospectively, I feel sorry for those people. Either without god or religion they'd be murderers or rapists (and we should steer clear of them), or it's just the common phrase they use to justify the decision they've made. I don't know which, I am not a judge but I can definitely say that during my time as a fundamental Christian, quite often the theme of the day was "you are worthless without religion or god".

Are we worthless? Before I made the decision when I was 15 to follow fundamental Christianity, was I a murderous, immoral person? Because I am no longer a fundamental Christian, am I, once again, a murderous, immoral person?

He cites in the book a thought experiment used to check morality and between cultures and religions, the results were the same. He even cites an experiment in a tribe in South America (with very little exposure to religion or western thought) and the results were the same: most were very moral.

Is morality programmed into us? Dawkins' argument is yes, it is.

He also cites in his book another book where the author researches the morality level between the 2 political parties in the USA. Strangely (or not) 75 percent of the high-crime cities in the US are "red" state cities. 

So, is religion the charging force in front of morality? Are people only moral because they have religion or they are afraid of some eternal punishment?

I really hope not. Like Dawkins, I have a na├»ve hope that we are moral before religion.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Getting Myself Sorted

Sounds quite Zen-like, huh? (Well, sort of—no pun intended)

Well, when you have more than 2 or 3 thousand photos* (I can't imagine professionals with 100 thousand!), it's time to trim the fat, so to speak, and sort the photos to designate the keepers from the non-keepers.

I went to this site and—I don't know if it's a he or she so I'll use "they"—they set up a bunch of articles and one is about sorting. Aperture has a 5 star system and, honestly, I find it hard to rate my own photos honestly since I have the emotional attachment to my photos. Factor that into trying to rate a photo with 5 (or 6 if you count deletion) different possibilities makes it almost crippling.

When you are staring at a keeper, is it really 5 stars? 4 stars? 4 1/2? (where's the half star key?)

I sat here and split hairs. It was so demotivating.

Well, this site had an article about sorting photos. It basically told you to unemotionally skim through and rate from 1 star to 3—forget the 4th and 5th. 1 star was "internal/don't show, 2 stars=good/show, and 3 stars=great/show.

The 'ol sort and process 2 or more stars!

I whipped through a project and yeah, it was maybe 400 photos, but I got it down to about 80 "keepers". Then I went to work on processing them. That saved a lot of time! Holy crap!

So...I am a bit better sorted and my perspective on sharing photos has been changed a bit. I mean: who wants to see my duds? I am going to try this workflow from now on and I hope that it gives me more time to do other things like, oh, taking photos??

*I have about 4400 photos but most of them are not good enough to share. I'd say maybe 1% are truly good exposures.