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.  






What is Sacred?

Today is a good day to ponder the sacred, to feel that aching quiet deep below the surface, to stay with it long enough to taste its bitter and its sweet.  Whatever form that takes.  I have spent years wrapped in one particular expression of that endeavor, but today, I tried a new one.  The NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) prompt for the day was a challenge to write a poem about an animal.  I knew immediately what animal that had to be for me: an animal that I’ve admired in different stages of my development, from my earliest memories to the present day.  One of my earliest posts was devoted to this animal, entitled “Nature’s great masterpeece…the only harmlesse great thing – John Donne”.  As I closed my eyes, opened my heart, and began to brainstorm various words and phrases, I realized that I was indeed pondering the sacred.  In order to invite you into that relationship, without influencing you too much, I will end my narrative here and simply share the photo and poem that arose and offer them as icons to stimulate your own thoughts.

Her skin was visible from outer space

     criss-crossed trails in the dry expanse

         seismic sections of caked mud

           pulsing with the rhythm of the magma core.

She walked as continental plates on tip-toe

      shuffling through the sanctuary of time

         in ponderous planetary procession

           chanting sighs that shook the stars.

She raised her tender tip

      a stroking, soothing, searching spirit

         a whisper enfleshed, intuitive, inquisitive

            and opened her sky portals, fringed with boughs

                so heaven could gaze freely down.

Her wisdom reigned in sacred skull,

      the holy archways gleaming

         until her desecration reduced

            to catacombs of dripping blood

                that mammoth cathedral.

The matriarchs lie raped in heaps

      across the countryside.

         No longer shall we place our heads

            on gentle, heaving breasts to feel

                the wide embrace of a universe.