Monday, May 30, 2005

Sony Mavica MVC-CD500 Digital Camera: Not Worth It | CD Mavica® MVC-CD500 Digital Camera

iHubby brought home the Sony Mavica MVC-CD500 for me to tryout after I complained that my little 3 megapixel kodak just wasn't cut out for doing the kind of serious photography I do. I put off trying it out for a few weeks; the opportunity just didn't come around. Finally this morning I decided to run it through some paces, beginning with a couple of generic test shots, without flash, in the living room with the morning sun streaming in. I decided that the difference in contrast would tell me right away how well it handled the broad differences. She shoots...she waits! Oh my gawd. This thing has a little CD writer in it (I knew that) but I didn't think it would take so long to write to the disk. I timed it. On fine, aka highest quality image, which is the only kind I take, it took one minute and fifteen seconds to write the image to the disk. I couldn't do anything else with the camera while that was happening. Try waiting for over a minute for your camera to be ready to take another picture. It's excruciating. And completely unacceptable. I didn't bother finishing my tests because at this point it doesn't matter.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Some Week

This has been some week. I wish I could say it's been particularly nuts, but it hasn't. It's just the same insanity as last week and the week before. The inability for us to get our jobs done because of vendor inadequacies is having a snowball effect on things that aren't directly impacted by the vendor. It's taking so much extra time to follow up, and the volume is steadily rising. Not unlike a broken sea wall trying to contain a flood. I'm managing two and three escalations a day, where prior to mid-April it was maybe once every two weeks. It's taken a toll on all of us, managers and associates alike, and it's a no-win situation. We were forced into a corner, forced to utilize a middleman who can't perform, while both they and we are sorely understaffed (which is documented in our staffing model). And inevitably someone from senior management is going to say "you need to examine your processes and resolve these issues" - as if we actually caused this situation. That last hasn't happened yet, but I cynically think it will by the end of the year. Because, you see, this vendor hasn't performed to contract in two years. And I see nothing to suggest that will change anytime soon. I will do all I can to help salvage the situation. Maybe with the weight of our business partners, who have extremely high standards, we can enact some positive change. In the meantime, however, I'm aggressively putting feelers out to other organizations for whom I'd like to work.

Photography has been a great outlet for my stress, but this week I haven't had any time to play. I did do some location scouting one morning this week. It was disappointing. Norfolk is not particularly photographic, from my point of view. How many damn harbor shots can a person take, anyway? I have to really reach to find interesting things that are out there waiting to be photographed. The botanical garden is glorious and I can spend hours and hours out there. Otherwise, Norfolk is kinda the pits for an ourdoor and landscape photographer. Even the architecture is middle of the road.

Ah, obviously I'm feeling frustrated over my work and my artistic environment. I'm sure they feed off each other. This weekend we'll be working in the yard: building planting beds, clearing space in existing beds, to plant all shapes and sizes of glorious perennials, paving the way for bulbs in the fall. I had a striking realization about gardening. I garden so I can photograph it, because plants and flowers are things I love to photograph. When I broke from photography in '97, I slowly stopped gardening. Now that I'm back into it, I want to garden again. Sure there are lots of positive by products of this...nice yard, lovely flowers for vases, time outside. But it was always a means to an end. I marvel at this need to garden for photography's sake. Otherwise, I simply wouldn't garden. And haven't for eight years. I guess we'll just see if that theory holds up.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Occoquan Regatta: Woodbridge, Virginia Books: Examples : The Making of 40 Photographs

Occoquan Regatta this weekend. I'm testing the new 70-300mm lens. Lots of "wow, what a big lens you have" comments. I didn't realize I'd get that kind of reaction. Hopefully they won't comment so much next time I haul it out. I don't care for the attention. Shot about 60 images; lots of doubles because I keep my finger on the shutter too long. I wonder if that is an option I can manage? Anyway, half a roll of Kodak 160NC, a roll of Kodak 200, and another half-roll of the 160NC. I think I prefer the VC more than the NC, but we'll see. In any case, no chromes this time! I'm inspired to find a tiny cabin on a lake/river/some kind of water to escape to on weekends, near beautiful places to photograph. I'm also inspired to buy a boat. I think I'm romanticising everything here, but I find photography kinda romantic, so it one follows the other. Anyway, a couple of photographs of daisies at the water's edge, a test shot of a flying crane, some water weeds. The upside of this was scouting a new shooting location. It's a lovely area and I think there are some opportunities for a very large lens.

Ash's varsity eight came in third; Pat's novice four also came in third. Ethan and Pam were there and conversation with them, as always, is delightful. I met a few other mother's but escaped because I was getting tired of the "mom clustering." The trail to the viewing area was a mile of alternating level trail and steep inclines. I can walk a mile but I'm out of shape for steep inclines. It's good information to have because I do want to do some more hiking. I need to start slowly. Beginner level.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Books: Why People Photograph: Selected Essays and Reviews Books: Why People Photograph: Selected Essays and Reviews

I'm reading this book. I would like to read and read and read but find I must stop and digest each essay. The essay titled "Edward Weston" is compelling. Or was it the essay critizing a "biography" of of Paul Strand? There's so much to understand. There's so much to contemplate, really. Not that I necessarily agree with all that is said, but I enjoy the other perspective.

Robert Adam's calls one photographer a "pictorialist" and goes on to talk about the soft lens approach, manipulating a scene by eliminating what is ugly or undesirable. My first question to that is: Is being a pictorialist bad? and then, "Doesn't everyone manipulate the scene to some degree? I mean, as landscape photographers we try to crop out the "junk" in the
view. I think he implied that landscape photography leans toward pictorial inclinations but that the "sharpness" of the images tends to keep it from being considered pictorial. Maybe I misunderstood that. But I don't think so.

And what, exactly, is wrong with being a pictorialist? I have one image that is lovely, used a Pro-Mist #1 on it, and absolutely manipulated my position in relation to the what I was shooting to keep the nearby food tent out of the view. Adam's doesn't direclty imply that it is wrong, but he starts to make a case that it isn't truthful; a point with which I disagree, and even began to feel defensive. Against a book. Jeez.

I elect to not photograph ugliness. Which is not to say that I don't photograph decay and age, also known as History to some. I believe these are two different things. But I don't photograph hunger or homelessness or war. I'm not a street photographer, I don't care to engage in that kind of art. Although, Adam's questions whether that is really Art, or whether it's another flavor of journalism. There is an argument to be made that they are one and the same. For another time.

I think I have more to say about this but these are thoughts have been stewing around in my mind since I began reading "Why People Photograph" a few days ago. I'm half-way through the book and it's one of the best investments I've made in a long time.