Wednesday, January 27, 2010

trying again...

Once again I am off and running on the weight loss trail. Heaven only knows how well I will do this time around, but I am trying again. Last year I didn't start until April, and I managed to lose close to 65 pounds before the summer was done. This year I am already working at it, albeit a little bit slower.

Sometime in October I tumbled off of my wagon and fell face first into a Large Pizza, it took a while for me to surface and swim through a few bowls of Nachos and pasta, but I have arrived back at shore, and now I am trying again. Immediately following Thanksgiving my pops was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Not really surprising since it runs in the family. He has changed his eating habits quite well, and as much of a pain in the ass it is for me, I am happy for him because he is improving his health. Why is it a pain in my ass? Because it seems that with his new regime of portion control and carb counting, he uses more dishes each day than any four people and I do the dishes around here. Secondly, it seems that no matter what I wanna make for my dinner, his comes first and I have to wait to use the kitchen. Pain in the ass. Oh Well.

Now for me, I have been trying to figure out what exactly it is that causes me to binge so uncontrollably, and I have come to the conclusion that I am, 1) an emotional eater, 2) an addictive eater, 3) a frustration eater and, 4) a social eater. I rarely eat just because I'm hungry, I do happen to eat when I am bored, and I put that under the frustration heading. I also never eat just until I'm full, or just have something in my tummy, I seem to gorge. I eat until I'm feeling stuffed like a bloated hippo. I guess it is because food never refuses my advances. No matter what I look like, what I think or what I have just done, food doesn't judge me, refuse me, or make me feel bad about myself. (While I am eating it, after words I may have a little guilt) So I eat because it's easy.

Easy is gonna kill me if I don't pay attention! The easy food is the worst food for me, and yet I can't seem to get enough of it most of the time. I have to start judging myself when I eat. Once again it is portion control and exercise that is going to help me through this. My goal is to lose 90 lbs. from my current weight. Today I stood on my shipping scale and I saw my weight at 310 lbs. That means when I am where I want to be, I should be somewhere in the 220 lb. neighborhood. I KNOW I can get there, but Man it is gonna take me some real work and discipline.

I'm up for the challenge, because it will make it a lot easier to take pictures, to sleep at night and maybe to find the love of my life. ( I could find the love now, but I want to be a better version of me before I do! )

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Discovering my gift..

I don't know if it's true or not, but I have been told that I have a gift for photography. I don't see it so much as a gift, but rather a drive. I constantly feel the need to capture something that I see, in a way that will make it interesting. It doesn't always work, so I go out and see if I can do a better job with it. I don't really know if I will ever be completely satisfied with the results that I get.

I guess you could say that I am driven to do it better each time. Sometimes this means by getting better equipment, and sometimes it just means finding a new way to see it. One of the things that the professionals and the critics say consistently is, "see it differently". and what they mean is that if you can get an image of something in a way that hasn't been done before, then you have something interesting. One of the best examples of this would be the Eiffel Tower. How many different ways have you seen pictures of the Eiffel Tower? Daytime, nighttime, holidays, in the rain, in the sun, at sunrise, at sunset, from the top, from a plane, from a helicopter, from the bottom, in the snow..... and so on and so on. In the 100 or so years that the Eiffel Tower has been in existence, it has been SO photographed that it is nearly impossible to come up with a new way to get it. Reflected in a window? Yep. In the background of a cafe shot? You bet! Try as you may, you will not find a unique way to photograph the Eiffel Tower, however, simply finding a way that YOU like can be all it takes. Do you want to see it backlit with the setting sun? Then this will be your picture, perhaps you get the chance to see it when the clouds are so low that they obscure the top, then you have something that perhaps not many people have done. Truthfully, most unique picture opportunities came along by happenstance rather than good planning. The photojournalists who have managed to get those particularly memorable pictures were not the ones who planned the best, they just happened to be in the right place at the right time with their gear ready to go.

Sure they have a great body of work behind them ( or in many cases still to come), but the truly iconic pictures of the ages are just pure luck. The Execution on the streets of Vietnam, the photographer turned a corner and saw the interrogation happening, he lifted his camera just as the commander pulled his pistol and stuck it to the head of the saboteur. Dumb luck, and he has said so more than once. Sports shots? the guys catching the ball in the end zone, the perfect contact punch from ringside? All Luck. Yes, there is skill and practice in the way the camera was set and loaded and held, but you can have a million technically amazing shots in your files, but it is a fluke of timing to get the "perfect" picture.

I have been entering pictures in various contests this past year, and once I enter I then have to keep looking through the other entrants. Every contest seems to have at least a dozen or so pictures of certain iconic places in the world. If it is a nature, or outdoors geared contest, there is always the pictures of The Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, Yellowstone and Yosemite. I will not argue that these aren't awesome amazing pictures. Technically wonderful shots that show beauty and grandeur. They are also Common. Everyone with a camera gets something similar. I am just as guilty of submitting common shots, but I am trying very hard now to study the previous contests and the winner and to see if I can find something unique to submit. A common submission is a rainbow, usually from a rainstorm backed by the gunmetal gray storm clouds that spawned it. There is the occasional waterfall rainbow too, but I think I have found an interesting twist on the theme, I took a picture of a waterfall rainbow as it stretched over gorge wall covered in ice and snow. I don't recall seeing this particular style done before. Now I have done it! There are often various pictures of state and national parks, showing the big attractions, the waterfalls, the geysers, and the lakes, the trees or the wildlife, but what about the historic structures inside the park, in a way that they are rarely captured? Stone picnic tables in winter covered in snow and tree shadows. Something that isn't seen as often. It is built on spectacular colors or a once in a lifetime scene, but rather the way that it is, when nobody is around. People don't get to see this image, because they aren't there to see it. The question though is can I make that image compelling?

To show the tables in the snow is not really enough is it? How about a series of tables set in a tableau that makes them appear as steps on a hill? Covered in snow to resemble mushrooms? In the same place they are every day of the year, but surrounded by virgin snow? Does any of this make the image of something as mundane as picnic tables seem compelling? I hope it does, because it is what made it compelling for me!

In the end it comes down to who is looking at the picture and how it makes them feel. One day it may move them, and the next they may find it to be pedantic and a waste of time. That is the nature of art, what moves one person is nothing to the next, and yet we all keep trying.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Getting inspired...

I look at the blank page and wonder if I have a thought in my head. When I read the newspaper in the morning hundreds of ideas flood my brain, and If I could sit and write at that moment I would have a days worth of typing to accomplish, but after the working day is done, my mind is tired and the ideas have all faded away. I read the editorial page and I get incensed at the ignorance of the people who write to the editor, yet when I am ready to sit down and write my own piece, My brain is dead. Global warming Yep I have thougts. Terrorism? yep Got lots to say there, Politics in general, yeah I'm sure I could make a fool of myself, but when the TV is on, and my head isn't into concentrating.... No good will come of it!

So I will try again in a few days when I feel like concentrating, I can turn on some tunes and let my mind do what it wants to do!