A Handful Worth Keeping

It’s funny how you can take a hundred pictures and only get one or two that are good enough to keep. The subject may have moved, the camera may have moved, the camera settings were wrong, the light was bad, the framing was crooked, the background was too busy. There are so many factors and variables.

But it’s worth it for those few good images. The ones you look at and realize they could have only been produced by persistent effort. That’s what happened this morning when I had an impromptu photo shoot with my dog Shadow.

The sun was just coming up when I looked down our hallway and noticed a beautiful soft light on the wall. It looked perfect for some nice photography. I knew the light was changing even as I looked at it so I needed to start shooting right away before it left. What I needed was something to photograph. My dog was lying on the couch being lazy so I decided to put her to work.

I called her over to where the nice light was and had her sit. She is usually well behaved and does what she’s told and this time was no different. Even so, I think she badly wanted to run over to me when she saw me crouched on the floor in weird positions with a camera in my face.

Shadow was actually so well behaved she was a little boring. A few times she turned her head or sniffed the air and those were a little more interesting shots. Thankfully she’s cute enough that even the boring shots are fun. It only took a few minutes for the good light to go away. I moved Shadow to a new location and took a few more pictures but by then the moment was over.

Out of all the pictures I took there were only a handful that I thought were worth keeping. But I enjoyed exploring what works with the dog. If I had more time to think before shooting I would have gotten different angles, worked with the depth of field a bit and explored some more ways to manipulate the light. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow morning.

Boredom

Boredom is a merciless captor;
Hard to overcome
And if allowed to sit and fester
Will take hold and suppress
Desire and motivation.
But a call from a friend,
A magazine’s photo
Or an offhand remark overheard
Can be a jailer’s key;
In an instant
Your sentence reversed
And freedom leads to the desire
For freedom.

Unnecessary and Inefficient

Sometimes I just don’t understand why some people make the decisions they do. They jump out of perfectly good airplanes, put toxic substances into their bodies and run red lights. But today I encountered the result of a past decision even more heinous than any of those.

When we moved into our current house a few months ago we discovered the previous owners had removed the dining room light. My wife has been gently prodding me to put it back up ever since. She usually does this through subtle hints like “could you do it for my Christmas present?” Or “how about for New Years?” Or “maybe Valentine’s Day?”   Thinking back I probably could have saved a lot of money on presents and flowers by just being a little proactive.

One of the reasons I put it off so long was because of the previous owner’s method of removing it in the first place. They didn’t disconnect it at the ceiling and take it down in one piece. Instead they unscrewed the bottom of the fixture, cut the wires that went to all five lights and pulled the wire out through the body and stem. Then, without even disconnecting it from the supply wires they shoved five feet of lamp wire into the junction box in the ceiling and covered it up.

I ended up having to rewire the entire thing. This wasn’t complicated but if felt so unnecessary and inefficient, like jumping out of a plane. I’m not sure why I decided to randomly tackle the project tonight. But at least now I can see what I’m typing and my wife’s happy.

Invention 34001: Quick Release Glasses

I don’t mind being a glasses wearer but sometimes it’s a pain. For example, when I want to lie down on the couch and watch television. But when I do, the temple arm presses into the side of my head. It hurts.

To combat this I decided the thing to do is remove the temple from one side of the glasses. However, it would be inconvenient to take out the tiny screw holding it on every time I wanted to lie down. Then I would have to put it back in when I was finished so I wouldn’t look like an idiot. And so my glasses wouldn’t fall off.

My solution was to start designing a quick release mechanism for removing the temples. A small lever could be rotated so the arm could be pulled off. Then, it would easily be reattached by rotating the lever the other direction. Below are some quick sketches of my idea.

Don’t Finish That Book

One of my favorite things to tell people is that I’ve started and stopped reading more books than I’ve ever finished. I’m not even sure that makes sense but it reminds me of an important decision I made several years ago regarding reading and learning. The short version of the lesson is that I don’t have to force myself to finish a book (or anything I’ve started) if it turns out to be a waste of time.

Maybe that seems obvious to you but for most of my life I’ve felt that if I don’t finish what I start, no matter how painful or pointless, then I’ve failed. All the while the truth has been that if I push through something pointless, that is the failure.

The Symbol of Easter

A lot of people consider the cross to be the ultimate symbol of Easter. That, or a tie-died hard-boiled egg which I still don’t entirely understand. But by itself, the cross is just a symbol of death and the despair of hope lost. The symbol that really represents what Easter means is the grave stone that was rolled away to reveal an empty tomb.

Death couldn’t contain Jesus. In fact, death couldn’t do anything at all. Jesus submitted to death willfully as a sacrifice for the sins of man. But it was only for a time. And by rejecting death and rising after three days, Jesus showed his deity and allowed all of us to share in an eternal life apart from death.

That’s why we can truly say Happy Easter!

Time Keeps on Slipping

I still can’t seem to get used to daylight savings time. Everything just feels late. Every time I look at the clock it seems like it should an hour earlier than it is, which of course, it should. The upshot of this is that I always feel behind with my work and everything else.

I started working on a few drawings today and then all of a sudden it was dinner time and the day’s almost over. To compound things, I woke up late this morning. No one else seems to think 7:00 am is late but what do they know?

I guess I shouldn’t be complaining about what little time I have. Instead, I really should just be making sure I fill my limited time with the right things. Now the trick is figuring out what the right things are.