One of my biggest flaws as a photographer is that, while I’m great at checking my levels and setting my f-stop and my shutter speed correctly (my E-series 50mm is a full manual, which is sometimes a major pain in the ass, but also makes me very conscious of remembering to meter correctly), I tend to … casually forget, let’s say, that I’ve changed my ISO between locations, and then I attempt to shoot shows in dark bars with the same 200ISO that I was using outside in sunshine to take macro shots of flowers.
This does not work, for the record.
I’m going to get a tattoo on the inside of my left wrist that reminds me to check all settings — I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I’m leaning toward the little play symbol inside the square that Nikon uses for the “look at all the shots already on the memory card” — because when I’m fucking with shutter speed, I always hold my camera in my left hand with my wrist turned up toward myself. If I’m going to put a permanent reminder somewhere, that’s the place to put it.
And hence: my photos of Vibrant Green from Wednesday night are better than my photos of I Was Totally Destroying It. Because I remembered to change my ISO between the sets.
This weekend features the Maryland/Carolina baseball series, and the CD release show for American Aquarium’s new disc — a show with a great line-up, at a venue whose light can be (overly red) hit or miss, so we’ll see. Today I mostly watched CSI and took pictures of lettuce, so anything’s got to be an improvement over that.
Spent a pleasant hour in the North Carolina Botanical Gardens yesterday afternoon. Everything was very green and very in bloom; so much color and so many interesting shapes to see.
On Tuesday afternoon, I got laid off — thanks a pantsload, economy! — and I’m looking at it as both a kick in the ass to find some sort of gainful employment that I enjoy more than I was enjoying my soon-to-be-ex job and as a much needed semi-vacation. Of course I have to job hunt, but I’m going to take advantage of the fact that gas prices are almost reasonable right now and do some exploring of the NC with the camera in the next few weeks. It’s not portfolio work, necessarily, but just a chance to breathe, outside, with a camera in my hand, just for a little while.
The top photo is of a sign chalked up outside a yupster boutique on Franklin Street earlier this week; I love it because that’s exactly how I feel. Usually spring seems to come fast and early in North Carolina, like one day in late February the Powers That Be get up, say it’s time for spring, and turn the colors and saturation and heat up to 100% all at once, but this year it’s been a slow sweet slide down into full-blown spring in the NC. My month-long project for April — the color green — has been so much more rewarding that February’s and March’s, if only for the slowly rising color and the slowly deepening blue in the sky. A single color can be really powerful, sometimes.
I had a terrible time trying to capture the amazing quality of light yesterday, walking around on my lunch break, but the process was fun; set the camera to P, threw the kit lens on autofocus, and shot everything from the hip. Nothing tremendous but certainly a few things that almost, almost capture how amazing April can be down here.
This photo is one of my many attempts to pretend that I live in a big city instead of a small town. Don’t get me wrong: I adore Carrboro and Chapel Hill, as well as all the amenities that the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham) and the Triad (Winston-Salem, Greensboro) afford me, but sometimes it feels like a combination of living in a dedicated university town (true) and endless suburban sprawl (also unfortunately true), and I miss that really urban feel that comes from living in a city. Sometimes I miss Chicago; not enough to move back, and more and more only from a photographer’s eye (plus there’s my college BFF, of whom I am moderately fond; where by moderately I mean immensely), but — I miss it. I’m not sure that intense city street photography is really my bag, ultimately, but I can’t know: it’s not something that I can particularly pursue in my day-to-day life, because there’s only so many undergrads on Franklin Street you can look at before you just want to smack them all in the face.
I’ve been captivated and enthralled by Jesse Chan-Norris’ vibrant eye for street photography as displayed on his photo a day blog for a while now; I’ve had it open in a tab, working my way back through his five years of archives, for almost two months. I find his street photography work incredibly moving and visceral, and it makes me itch to have two weeks unencumbered in a city (strange or familiar; I’m not picky) to do the same. Just to see if it’s something I really would want to pursue, something I might have an eye for. (I was also delighted to discover that there’s someone out there as weirdly fascinated by shoes on concert venue stages as me.)
But I live in a small Southern town and I lack the freedom to travel as much as I’d like; so I will just keep trying to find the beauty and weirdness in living and shooting in the same town as 16,000 people between the ages of 18 and 22.
My deep devotion to the UNC baseball team is a source of great puzzlement for a lot of people I know down here — mostly because besides shep., the people I know are musicians, artists, and computer geeks; not necessarily great targets for interest in college baseball. College baseball is such a strange, lovely beast — the quality of play is, generally, better than the level of play in the low minors, but it’s still being played by boys who really are just that — boys. The bats ping instead of crack. It starts in February, almost before MLB pitchers and catchers report to spring training, but it ends in June, long before MLB is even thinking about the All-Star Break. I love Major League Baseball; I grew up on it and will never not be a fan. But I love college baseball, too, for all the ways it’s the same, and different.
Shooting at outdoor sporting events is so different from the other meat of my photography work, indoor live music, and at the same time, not all that different. It’s all about strange lighting, sometimes, and the best moments being so full of movement that you can’t always capture it. I sit in the same seats every weekend the Tar Heels are home; I have to work to find new angles to shoot, new ways to capture the repetitiveness of a baseball game. I have to work the same way to take good live music shots. Baseball isn’t the same as live music, but there’s still things similar in how I shoot them.