Apple Tree, Three Ways

November 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

Fiddling around with shutter speed and focus:

Altered shutter speed

Altered shutter speed

Normal

Normal

Altered focus

Altered focus

Frozen River

November 25, 2014 § 3 Comments

And mailbox, near Floodwood, Minnesota: Frozen river

Mailbox

The Mall (and Reads and Recs)

November 24, 2014 § 2 Comments

The Mall of America isn’t my favorite place, but my camera likes it:

* * *

Some recently read works and pieces you may enjoy:

  • Climate Change Threatens to Strip the Identity of Glacier National Park” by Michael Wines (The New York Times, November 22, 2014) — A disturbing gaze into the future, where it’s predicted Glacier National Park’s ice packs will melt in the next few decades, primarily due to climate change. The implications are troubling and enormous, ranging from water shortages to the alteration and possible destruction of a vital ecosystem.
  • Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher (2014) — So good I read it twice. The story unravels over the course of an academic year. A caustic, yet devoted, professor writes letters of recommendation for students and colleagues (some deserving, some not) for fellowships, jobs, and awards. Although his requests often go unheeded or have unintended results, kindness nestles up against his obnoxious attempts to mend long-ended romances and help a depressed but supposedly talented student publish his novel. I laughed often at the protagonist’s pompous and sarcastic diatribes, but an unexpected ending topples the professor’s facade and lends a bittersweet quality to the narrative.
  • Falling Short: Seven Writers Reflect on Failure” by Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, Anne Enright, Howard Jacobson, Will Self, and Lionel Shriver (The Guardian, June 22, 2014) — This article about failure in writing also touches on everyday defeats, especially in love and relationships. It serves as a good reminder that sometimes success is fraught with despair and doubt, and it also argues that when we’re failing, we’re likely headed in the right direction.
  • Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson (2014) — I flew through this nearly 500-page novel about a troubled rural Montana social worker trying to protect kids from broken homes while fumbling through his own crumbling family life. Each character is deeply flawed but displays glimmers of possibility and grace as evidenced in the social worker’s developing relationship with a mysterious and paranoid Ted Kaczynski-like loner and his son who are convinced the world is ending.
  • An Open Letter to the Guy at My Gym Who Screams When He Lifts Weights” by Jonathan Kime (McSweeney’s, November 9, 2009) — The reason why I avoid gyms. Seriously.
  • A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely (Rolling Stone, November 19, 2014) — An infuriating report on the prevalence of sexual assaults at the University of Virginia. The primary focus of the article is a woman who was gang raped by privileged frat boys. She is one of many whose accusations have been mishandled or casually dismissed by the university. The UVA administration’s indifferent behavior coupled with ineffective action is just one part of the problem (UVA keeps information on sexual assault as secretive as possible to avoid being seen as a “rape school”). The other obvious concern is criminals walking free and perpetuating a culture where sexual assaults are best kept quiet for fear of retaliation or ostracism.

Dear Committee Members Fourth of July Creek

Through a Screen Darkly

November 23, 2014 § 5 Comments

Unfocused lights photographed through a window screen at dusk. Obviously played around with the focus, but also experimented with the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture while photographing, as well as the contrast, exposure, and saturation during the editing process.

 

5

Artifacts

November 22, 2014 § 2 Comments

The design for the 2014 holiday card is a go. Rarely am I this far ahead in the process.

In recent years, I’ve hastily designed, created, wrote personal notes in, and mailed 100+ cards only two or three weeks before Christmas. As a result of this poor planning, I was usually quite surly, as each card took a good 30-60 minutes to make depending on the degree of difficulty.

While this year’s design is more challenging, I’m feeling like I’m in good shape. By noon today, I’d completed the appropriate research and created a successful mock sample. By 2 p.m., I’d purchased paper, adhesive, cardboard, ribbon, pens, etc. I’m ecstatic.

My hope is I’ll use the coming weeks wisely to enjoy the process of creating little pieces of art for my family and friends. Expect project updates and photos as Christmas nears.

The picture of the day — a selection of some of the papers I’ll use:

Paper

Mississippi Sunset

November 21, 2014 § 4 Comments

Westbound

November 20, 2014 § 1 Comment

Westbound

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