Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Carousel Of Dreams

A child, a tiny thing in blond banana curls and cut-off genes walks with her dad, or rather dad walks with his vivacious daughter. He is still wearing his fatigues and is a bit weary but a promise is never forgotten when your daughter asks… The carnival was one of those rent a rides put up by the local church to gather money for things like the leaky roof on a steeple that had seen better days and for food that would feed the many in a parish that was just as poor as it’s parishioners. The brightest, loudest, fun thing in the parking lot was the carousel. Parked among the hawkers of fish bowls and stuff animals it twirled and howled a calliope of show tunes only those from the past would remember, but everyone still enjoyed the lively sounds. A tug or two on a pants leg sent father and child into the thick crowd of the curious. The event had invited many in this small town to do something different, or do something at all. It was just another reason to gather and chat with neighbors and relatives, people everyone new. The carnie people raised their patrons to new heights of social significance. They gave everyone an opportunity to be better than they were, until it came time to ante up for a chance toss at games that made all but the very lucky, losers.

Dad had enough time and energy to just sit and speculate at what he remembered from his childhood as a wonder. The intelligent adult he prided himself at being wasn’t impressed, but the glow on his little girls face was worth the farce. After all it was her first encounter with another world and people who had nothing better to do than giggle and gaggle. The line to the carousel was long because the spinning monument to 19th century ingenuity was indeed a wonder to behold. It had been reconstructed from parts of a handful of it’s kind. The man responsible for this reconstruction was a retired engineer who had run out of things to fix around the house. His ambition to make something that was fun for all took him almost twenty years. It cost him no more than his time because money was not an object to the visionary who had pushed his generation far into the computer age. He yearned for the simple and relished working with gears and levers rather than micro chips and lines of code. All the while, parts found or made begin to fit together or point to another problem that research and patience would remedy. The entrance of grandchildren, or the loss of siblings did not slow his project. The revolving stage with grotesque creatures that moved up and down and round and round to the sounds of by gone days was mesmerizing, being a perfectionist new life was being born. This was no longer a machine; this was the past made present, and presentable. A monument to dreams and good will that would never die.

Some who looked at this ride felt it had not survived the journey to the present. There was good reason to feel this way. But then it wasn’t suppose to jangle the senses of video game players. A machine that travels from the past to the present could very well continue on it’s way without permission, assuming a little imagination came with the price of admission. That was its allure. Everyone knew what it was, but no one understood why it made them feel so good.

Bright lights flashed and the crowd became eager with the whirling that gave so many others delicious delights. The lights, that was it or was it the music, something vaguely familiar without being anticipated. An unusual melody that twisted and turned with the swaying animals that galloped in place and in tune. Little Jessica held her father’s hand tight as they moved ever so slowly toward the ticket taker as his barking droned on.

Come one, come all and ride the ride of the ages. March and prance, dive and dance with animal of your choice, hurray hurray, hurray. Since this was the most lively and spectacular event of the evening the small town was consumed and more people gathered in drovers for their go round. It was almost as much fun watching those lucky enough to be on the ride than being a rider. People’s faces glistened with joy and clenched tight the rains of lions, giraffes, hippos and bear. No two creatures were alike. Even anxious bystanders seemed to move with a rhythm of anticipation that matched those on the wooden stage that went round and round.

The tall tired man in fatigues and his little blond headed Jessica where becoming impatient with the waiting procession that did not march as gaily as those who were now reluctantly leaving the wooden heard. Another look into the eyes of those who braved the unknown, who had just fancied a few minutes of mindless fancy kept them hanging on for their turn. The barker closed the gate after the lucky few who mounted and waited for the whirring, the thrilling rhythm, that wondrous calliope of cymbal smashing, organ grinding, flute twirling music that poured from everywhere as the circle of lights flashed in their eyes. What a ride!

Then something terrific took place. Something unexpected happened right before their very eyes. The carousel became a blur of movement. Nothing really fast, just a difficult sight to behold. It was hard to describe and more difficult to imagine. Just exactly what was happening? No one was scared; the shrieks coming from the riders were not distressed. The warm glow disguised as a blur was soft pulsating light from the round wooden stage…

Monday, July 04, 2005

Ok, shoot me.

I have been taking pictures since I was twelve years old. My first camera was a 35mm Kodak 3c. We go way back together. It had a flip out lens with bellows. Depth of field was easy to adjust with this camera while maintaining good exposures – something today’s digital point and shot cameras overlook. If your camera has a manual setting you can blur the background while keeping the foreground in focus, just keep the lens wide open and adjust shutter speed to the correct exposure.

The three preceding pictures are what I call strong images, because they may evoke strong emotions. This is the type of shot I look for. This is my eye’s personality. Usually such shots are deceptive. The drink in hand at thirty thousand feet is a coke, the bowl sitting on top of a wooden table is almost every kind of texture one can a capture in a single shot, otherwise it has no particular purpose, and the angel is really a manikin’s reflection in a storefront window.

They all tell a story, are not the consequence of luck and experience helps. First time shooters may not want to try this at home. When you start viewing the world through your camera’s capabilities these pictures, and much better will start appearing in you camera’s memory. The image is really never in front of you. It’s inside you. The camera captures what the mind’s eye sees. And if you use available light for exposure, it’s not what you shoot that’s so important, it’s when you shoot that makes the strong impression on all those mega pixels most of us never use.

My current camera is a Nikon Cool Pix 990 with a wide converter WC-E63 screwed on board and 3.34 mega pixels usually set for normal. See Digital Photography Review and check out the glossary if you’re new to cameras without film.

As of June 2012 the current camera is an Olympus SP-600UZ HD - 12 mega pixels  A worthy companion on any trip and well worth the price of admission. This model has been updated and is better yet. The price is the same.  

Breaking my film advance lever at a shoot and working as an industrial/mechanical photographer does not make me or anyone else a pro. It’s enjoying what you shoot and the willingness to share your good fortune, often for free, that makes the art worthy.

My Angel Posted by Picasa

No one knows Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 02, 2005

O Solo Mio Posted by Picasa

MS - Just The begining

MS is not perfect, it gets attacked because it is the volksys - the people's operating system, a complex compilation of code that makes it easy for the every day person who doesn't want to do nothing more than print, work, play, or peruse the net. Of course this doesn't come about without a few paradigm shifts, like why aren't documents, email, music and pictures all the same stuff?

One day we'll walk in any room like the movie "Alien" and voice the command, "Mother - what's for dinner, show me pictures of my grandchildren, read my email and play some Procol Harem." Not in our lifetime of course, but as we become more dependent on machines we become more like them and just as isolated and taken for granted. Eventually a culture will evolve with the machine as a distant infrastructure while we live our lives beyond the necessity of day to day personal maintenance. We will indeed have a perpetual mother that watches over us and provides the necessities as well as the frills of enjoyment that life permits - at the cost of a universal monetary system, an impersonal social system and distinct cultures that are divided not by oceans but by planets. None of this will happen easily when resistance becomes futile.