DIFFERENT FOCUS: A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE

From Nancy Merrill: In a new post created for this challenge, share a photo or two of form having unusual points of focus.


I’m not sure how “unusual” my focus is, but I do like playing with focus. Sometimes foreground, sometimes background. The camera may or may not agree with my choices.

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mixed daisy bouquet macro

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A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE: A DIFFERENT FOCUS from Nancy Merrill

THAT’S THE WAY THAT THE WORLD GOES ROUND – JOHN PRINE

While I was growing up, my world was entirely full of classical, baroque, and other “serious” music. No complicated reasons. I spent a lot of time studying and practicing the piano. Even then, there were only so many hours in a day, so it wasn’t until I knew I would never be a professional musician that I began to explore the world of “pop.” The Beatles were the first group that I truly loved. After “A Hard Days Night” (I loved the movie and the score), and “Rubber Soul,” I was a fan for life. Eventually, I added many other individuals and groups, as well as many other categories of music.

John Prine was a latecomer to my “playlist,” but he remains a favorite. Better known as the writer than the singer, there are a couple of songs that I particularly enjoy and always cheer me when I’m blue. It’s pouring rain right now. I mean, it’s coming down in buckets with thunder rumbling in the background. A good day for music. A bad one for any other plans we might have had.

Not everyone has heard of John Prine, but he wrote many songs. He sang them himself on various recordings, most of which I once owned on vinyl. Lo and behold, there’s a CD collection of his work available … just $10, double CD. I ordered it. Of course.

John Prine sings about life. He always had a sense of humor, too. He wrote great, witty lyrics, and singable melodies. What more do you need? Because to me, that’s music. A sentiment … several sentiments … to which I can really relate. John Prine. Singing one of  my favorites. Musical philosophy.

The meaning of life according to John Prine. He sums it up for me. Thanks John!

MUSIC – A WordPress Daily Prompt

ODDBALLS BY THE BLACKSTONE

CEE’S ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE: 2016 WEEK 18


This week, the first picture is mine, the next two are Garry’s, so this post is more Garry’s than mine.

The first photograph is noteworthy because I took it while I was trying to fix my camera. I couldn’t see anything. I pointed the lens in the general direction of the canal — and pressed the shutter. I’m sure this proves something, but I have no idea what.

The canal ... just color and shadow.

The canal … just color and shadow.

These next two, far more intentionally, are by Garry. He always takes “locating” shots, an old habit from TV news days. Always take a shot which tells the audience where you are. It’s also useful later, when you need to put your pieces together. If you’ve been outside all day shooting a bunch of stories, it can be difficult to quickly identify which video belongs to which story.

Garry's Heart Healthy Trail

Garry’s Heart Healthy Trail

Intersection of trails by the Canal

Intersection of trails by the Canal

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TOO MANY BUTTONS

Some months ago, I bought a refurbished (read “used”) Olympus OM-D E-M5. I don’t think anyone ever really used it as a camera. Maybe it was a store demo or something like that, but it had all the plastic wrap still on it, so it was new. Except the there’s a newer version of it out, so probably this is one of the ways to offload leftovers of the previous model.

One of the things it didn’t come with is the User’s Guide. It came with no documentation at all, actually and an after-market battery charger.

I haven’t used the camera much. I haven’t been outside much or taken many pictures, so mostly, it’s has been waiting for spring when my interest in photography usually revives.

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This also means that I am not as comfortable using this camera as I am other cameras. In fact, because it came without documentation and it’s got a lot of dials and buttons, I’ve been shying away from it. But. You don’t learn to use a camera by not using the camera.

Today dawned beautiful. The sun was shining, the sky was bright blue and the air was sweet and warm. Garry said “Let’s go.” I grabbed my Olympus OM-D E-M5 and off we went to River Bend. We exited the car and we went our separate ways.

I had decided to begin using the f1.8 25mm “normal” lens. It’s very sharp and has a lens hood, good for shooting on such a bright day.

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I took a few more shots then decided to change to my 14-150 telephoto. Except something happened. After I changed lenses, I couldn’t see anything in the LCD screen. It was dark and for once, it wasn’t because I forgot to remove the lens cap.

I got my hyper-ventilation and panic reaction under control and looked through the viewfinder. I could see through it. See the menu settings too. Which meant my camera was working. This could mean only one thing: I had inadvertently, accidentally, unintentionally, and unknowingly pushed a button.

I had no idea what button I’d pushed. No idea where to look for it. Before I’d done whatever I’d done, the camera had been automatically switching between viewfinder and LCD screen. But I had done something.

Eventually, I found a tiny button near the collar of the lens. I pressed it. The picture returned to the LCD screen. All was right with the world. This is not the first time or the first camera on which a previously undetected button got pushed with disastrous results.

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There are too many buttons. On everything. Cameras. Televisions. Remote controls. Computers. Tablets.  Telephones. Convection ovens. Too many settings for software. Too much. Of everything.

I wanted to buy a rice cooker that cooks rice. I don’t need it to also bake cakes, steam fish, and do my laundry. Just cook rice. White rice. It cost me more to get a rice cooker that does this one thing well, than to buy something with 13 configurable programs to all kinds of stuff I will never want or need.

I understand to sell things, you have to improve them. After all, who would buy a new version of Photoshop if it’s exactly the same as the one you already own? So, for good or ill, you have to change stuff.

But I didn’t buy my Olympus OM-D for its bells, whistles, or little buttons. I bought it because it’s water-resistant, fast, has great resolution, a bigger sensor … and at long last, a built-in viewfinder, something for which Olympus users have been yearning since forever.

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All those extra bells, whistles, and buttons are not a sales plus for me. Do you even know what the menu options in your various system menus mean? What all those buttons do? Or even where to find them?  There are too many buttons. Too many options.

Maybe the next upgrade to our equipment will be … (wait for it) … simplicity. Now that’s an upgrade I would embrace.

LET DOWN YOUR GOLDEN HAIR …

Tower and trees

From the depths of sleep, she heard the voice. Calling. That old, familiar, and utterly unwelcome refrain. She opened one, sleep-filled eye. Noticed it was still dark — not yet dawn, then looked at her clock.

“Four in the damned morning? You’ve got to be KIDDING,” she snarled. To no one in particular, except Perhaps, a self-assured gray tabby who  completely ignored her. Which was de rigueur unless tuna or catnip was involved.

The voice came again.

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair,” he called.

“Another #$@%^# prince,” she said under her breath. She arose from her bed in the high tower. Went into the bathroom. Came out with the chamber pot. He was calling again.

“Rapunzel, Ra …” and when the contents of the pot covered his head, he just stopped. Gurgled. Mounted his horse and trotted away.

Rapunzel picked up Perhaps and sighed with pleasure. There would no doubt be another prince on some other night, but at least for this night, no one would further disturb her sleep.

“Good night, sweet prince,” she giggled as she drifted off.

Thursday Photo Prompt – Sue Vincent

THE LONG STAIRWAY …

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I once dreamed that I was climbing what seemed to be an endless stairway to the top of the tower. I knew there were important secrets at the end. Things I needed to know, so I just kept climbing.

When I got to the very top, the stairway ended. I found myself facing a steel door with a sign on it which said “Department of Files & Records.”

The door was locked. I didn’t have a key. A wave of sadness hit me as I realized I would not find out what was in that room.

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I still dream that there are secrets behind locked doors, up long stairways, at the tops of mountains, or buried deep in the memories of long-dead family members. I’m never going to get to that room to see the files and records.

Maybe none of us can go there.

Stairway: Daily Prompt

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT – CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Hiding or Camouflaged

I have trouble with this as a black and white challenge since I usually won’t use black and white except when there’s sufficient contrast and composition elements to make it “work.” But hey, I’ll try anything.

If I had not heard his song, I would never have found this little Carolina Wren.

If I had not heard his song, I would never have found this little Carolina Wren

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Garry is well camouflaged by the shrubbery.

Water shining in the Blackstone Canal

The Blackstone Canal where it can be hard to tell where the woods end and the canal begins

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The last one is a sunrise in silhouette. But being black and white, you can’t actually tell it’s a sunrise … so I guess it’s a sunrise. In hiding.