If I Had Wings…

Flight.  In my dreams, this is how I move about…

This is how it feels to navigate construction in Milwaukee just before the freezing temps come and shut down the projects…

And this is sometimes how I see myself…small, at home, soaking up the warmth, sheltered and bright, but poised to fly!

Tower Perspectives

Buddhism teaches me much about the interconnectedness of all things, about perspective in consciousness, about the dangers of dogma and claiming to know the capital T “Truth” about anything.  What is this thing in front of you?  You can give it a name, describe it with words and symbols, but that is not the reality of that thing.  Those words and symbols are useful but limited.  The experience of that thing is more, more than you can describe or symbolize, more than you can communicate.  Yesterday, I went to Lapham Peak State Park and climbed a tower.  Here are three different views of the tower.  How do I convey the experience, the wind, the dizzying aspect of ascent, the vast horizon, the humor of humans who visit and the irony of our inability to depict our emotions and our consciousness of grand things?  Perhaps these shots will give you a partial idea.

What do you “beleve”?

Steve’s on TV!

For NBC’s new show “Revolution”, Vince Vitrano reported from Old World Wisconsin on Living Without Power.  My honey, Steve, teaches him how to split wood in the clip.  Visit this link, go to Most Recent Video with the News tab highlighted, and scroll down to find “Living Without Power” by Vince Vitrano.  Enjoy!

How to Be Awesome

I’m transitioning to another phase in life.  My job as an interpreter at Old World Wisconsin is ending for the season.  Working for minimum wage at a living history museum was one of the most awesome choices I’ve ever made.  I decided to spend my time doing something that I found interesting and valuable instead of compromising my satisfaction to make a bigger paycheck.  However, I want to do better.  I want to do something even more significant and important with my time and energy, something more socially responsible, more environmentally responsible, more philosophically moral.  I don’t know what that will turn out to be… yet.  A blogger friend posted this Oprah quote and got me thinking: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”  (Thanks, Susan from skedazzles!)  I want to prepare myself for my next awesome choice and make sure that I am open and aware of opportunities.  Something will undoubtedly fall into my lap.  As I was talking to Steve about this, we were actually living an example.  Here’s what happened…

Driving home from the grocery store, I noticed a black Labrador trotting down the street toward the park without an owner in sight.  After I’d unpacked the groceries and made lunch, I heard a woman calling outside.  I went out to ask if she was looking for a black dog.  She was, and I told her where I’d seen it.  About a half hour later, Steve and I went out to take a walk.  The woman was still looking for the dog; she told us that it belonged to her niece who lives around the corner from us at a house with a “For Sale by Owner” sign.   So we went walking in the direction of the park.  We heard someone calling a dog down by the river and learned that another couple was looking for a German shepherd named Corky.  We told them that there was also a lab named Drake on the loose.  We resumed our walk.  A little while later, it started raining, and we headed back toward home.  We saw Corky’s folks turning their van into an adjacent park across the street.  They called to us and told us they’d found the lab down by the bridge.  They hadn’t found Corky yet, though.  When we got to the bridge, there was Drake, secured to a post by a leash, presumably donated by Corky’s folks.  So we untied him and walked him home.  By then, it was pouring.  About a block from home, a car was driving slowly down the street.  I guessed it was the woman looking for Drake.  She was incredibly excited and pleased to see us leading the dog homeward.  Her niece was at work on her first day back from maternity leave and had asked her aunt to let the dog out at lunch.  Now I imagine this young mother, worried about leaving her dog and baby and going back to work.  I’m soaking wet, but loading the dog into auntie’s car, I felt awesome.  I had been out in my neighborhood, just paying attention to my surroundings, and was able to help someone out.  I wasn’t trying very hard at all, but I was open to events as they unfolded.  It was a very satisfactory afternoon.

Photo Contest “Best in Show”

Old World Wisconsin Foundation hosts a photography contest every year, and this year’s Best of Show picture included ME, the Church Lady!   I remember meeting the photographer soon after we opened for the day.  The heat had let up a bit, there were puffy cumulus clouds playing with the light; it was a brilliant, inspirational sky, and I couldn’t help looking up at its constantly changing aspect.  He took several pictures and showed me with his viewer how the shadow of the window panes appeared and disappeared in various shots.  I told him that I was planning to buy myself a new camera for my birthday.  It was a very pleasant visit.  How exciting to learn this week that the picture had taken First Place in the Historic Structures category and also won Best in Show!  I saw the winning shot yesterday, framed and hanging in Harmony Hall.  I got the photographer’s name and e-mailed him a congratulatory note and asked if I could post the photo on my blog.  He graciously provided the jpeg and agreed.  So, drum roll, please!  Ladies and Gentlemen, Jay Filter’s award-winning photo of St. Peter’s Church and the “church lady” (me!):

Photo by Jay Filter

You can see more of Jay’s amazing work by visiting his website here.  I love seeing his dazzling images scroll by and exclaiming, “I’ve been there!”  Holy Hill, Lake Michigan, Old World Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake…and various sandstone formations that I think I recognize, but can’t remember where I was.  My next goal is to enter the contest as a photographer, not a subject!

Canon Practice 2

Still learning basics on my new Canon Rebel T3i.  Yesterday, I went out for a walk.  Here are some things I found:

This last photo I’ve titled “Up and to the right”.    Like the graph of increasing complication showing that line going “up and to the right”.  Speaking of which, I am now using Canon’s EOS photo processing software…a whole lotta new tools to learn how to use.  Sometimes, I just want to rebel and go back to stick drawings in the dirt.  Maybe my Rebel will remind me of that.  Makes me think of one of my favorite movies: The Gods Must Be Crazy.  Seriously, how did we get so incredibly technical in our tools and so dull at human interaction?  Grocery store clerk yesterday seemed to look right through me as she asked me if I wanted help bagging up my purchases.  For contrast: I found a privately owned gas station in my town where the owner hopped out of the office to pump my gas for me.  “Stop by again; I’ll take good care of you,” he said.  Price was 4 cents less per gallon than the Mobil station 2 blocks down.  Let’s not turn into robots, even if computers can take good pictures.  

Canon Practice

Last night I went to my first ever photography class to learn the basics of using my new Rebel T3i.  I find myself wanting to figure out how to approximate the feeling I had when I took pictures with my AE-1 film camera, so I’ve been experimenting with disabling automatic, computer-generated options.  It doesn’t always yield the best results, but I’m still learning.  I don’t want everything lighted evenly, nor do I want everything in sharp focus.  So, I’m learning how to tweak the white balance thingie and the depth of field.  It’s interesting that the viewfinder will not show you what the picture will look like, and the instructors knew that there was some way to view it, but they discouraged that, saying that the Canon representative hadn’t showed them how.  Well, I think I found something in Manual setting with Live View that approximates the final result.  But, hey, no film wasted, right?  Click and review.  So I’ve been fiddling around with it, using some of my favorite subjects.  Allow me to introduce them:

From my elephant collection

This guy was helpful with the monochrome, but he kept falling over on the bedspread.  He was an experiment in Manual Focus.

So I replaced him with a littler guy and worked on depth of field.

Then I pushed the ISO way up to see what kind of noise they’d make.

But this little guy just looks so special in his own portrait, all decked out like a museum jewel.

Anyway, I’m having a great time with my new toy.  The class was OK, but I didn’t appreciate the first 20 minutes where they tried to sell us on another truckload of accessories.  There is still so much I have to learn about the gizmos on the main piece of equipment!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend following your own bliss!  And honestly, don’t think you have to spend a nickel to do that.  At the end of a photo session, I put down my camera and marvel at the eyes I got for free.  






I Did It!

I finally went and bought my new camera!  I bought it Thursday evening, and it’s still in the box.  But today is my day off, and I will open up my birthday present and spend some time getting acquainted.  This Thursday, I go to a 3 hour class to learn the basics of using it (part of a package deal on the purchase).  I have wanted to take a photography class ever since I was in High School.  Better late than never!  I got the Canon Rebel T3i with EF-S 18-55mm lens.  Wish me luck and happy snapping!

Maybe I should give my son the old camera until he gets his Nikon fixed?