It is the last day of March after a long and miserable winter. The opening day of the 2011 Major league baseball season in a region that compares Fenway Park to a cathedral - without a trace of irony. And what happens? Let's just say that we can't trade our snow shovels in for baseball bats just yet.
The focus in this edition will be what to do with your pictures. I have added a new page to this site with some ideas, check it out if you get a chance. If anyone has any ideas to share, I would love to hear them.
We all love to take pictures but what to do with them once we have taken them sometimes presents a problem. Well the first thing you need is a system to keep them organized. I have one word for you: Picasa. Picasa has basic editing capabilities, easy sync to the web to make sharing a breeze and get ready for it, facial recognition. Yes you can tag your pictures and Picasa groups them by face. So when Mom's birthday or junior's graduation is coming up, you will have a file of all their faces. Oh and I forgot, it's free!! Yes free, how wonderful.
It can be a little time consuming at first. I confess that I spent the better part of my Christmas vacation tagging all of my loved ones but it is so worth it. Now when I need a picture of someone, I just go to the file of their faces. What is not so fabulous is that my kids can now keep track of who has the most pictures, just another thing for them to fight about.
I have a niece with a birthday coming up and I thought it would be fun to make a movie for her and put it on this site. Kind of an electronic birthday card if you will. I was able to easily pull up all the pictures with her in them and create a quick movie. I then designed a new page with a header that I customized with her picture and a special birthday message. I made the page hidden so that only people with the link can see it. With Weebly, it's a snap to do both of those things. To go off on a tangent for just a moment, I LOVE Weebly. They are the best thing since sliced bread (by the way, what exactly is so great about sliced bread? I personally hate the stuff). Anyway if you need a website for anything at all and we'll talk about that in the next couple of weeks, please consider using Weebly. It is ridiculously user friendly, they are constantly upgrading their product and its free! As you may be able to tell, I like free. A lot. But back to Picasa (also free, see the pattern?), it is definitely worth the investment, time not money, to give it a try.
As always, I would love to hear anything you all have to say either here or on FACEBOOK.
First off a little housekeeping: I googled irony to get some ideas for posts and I discovered that Alanis is not the only one using the word incorrectly! It turns out that several million of us are also using it wrong. I decided that since I don't want to get a visit from the word police, I'm going to change this feature to "things that make me go hmmm."
This week's issue is Daylight Savings Time. I used to love it unequivocally but now it is more of a love/hate relationship. When I was a kid and it was at the end of April where it should be, I loved it because it meant that summer was coming closer. Now, never mind thoughts of summer, it doesn't even wait until spring starts.
Then when my kids were young, I hated it. Passionately. For one thing, it would completely mess up sleep schedules (which we all know is more precious than gold). It also meant listening to at least a couple of kids go on and on about how they can't possibly go to bed now because it is still light out. When my kids got a little older and it was at the beginning of April, I liked it again but do you think that they could leave well enough alone? No, of course not. So now, I find myself hating it again. Why, you may ask? For starters, I find it curious (stupid? ridiculous?) that it has been moved to the middle of March to "save electricity". Really, and how does it do that? We changed the clocks this weekend so it is once again pitch black when we get up at 6:00 in the morning. Because it is so dark, we have to turn on every light in the house (and those with kids know that it is indeed every light). Also it is bright out when we leave so there is a good chance that some of the lights will go unnoticed and remain on all day. I may not be good at math but it's easy to figure out that leaving lights on all day does not equal electricity savings. Finally instead of feeling like spring is right around the corner, the mornings now feel like December all over again. Even baseball, which in recent years has moved its season opener to March, has not started yet. Of course, my husband is not all that sympathetic to my plight so I am not really allowed to talk about it at home. Every time I bring it up, he just rolls his eyes and gets that "watch out, she's on her rant again look."
For more information about Daylight Savings Time, click here.
I know that it is time to change my header pictures and I want to apologize that I have not done so yet. I am sick of looking at them or anything related to winter for that matter and you probably are too. I just don't have any really good spring pictures. I have learned so much about my camera in the last year that I am not that thrilled with last year's pictures. The header pictures should reflect my vision so I want them to be my own work. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to take some spring pictures soon but here in New England we are not quite there yet. I have been bringing my camera everywhere in the hopes that the signs of spring soon will be here but so far haven't had any luck. Until then we are stuck with these header pictures. I thought about putting up some beach sunrise pictures but I don't want to torture myself since I am at least 2 months away from a beach day (and that is very, very optimistic).
Everything is always better with pictures so I have included a picture from last spring that won't work for a header picture but is still one of my favorites.
Since I am going to be doing a weekly feature on irony in our culture today, then I absolutely need to address the issue as it regards to youth sports. I want to note that when I discuss youth sports, I am specifically referring to sports before high school.
Isn't it ironic that prevailing wisdom dictates that we spend thousands on the kid's "career": equipment, sign ups for multiple teams, travel costs, the team sweatsuit, the team bag, etc. to win a scholarship when in reality we could just use that money towards college?
That we need to make a commitment to the team but the team or league has no problem at all scheduling games or rescheduling a "rain date" at inconvenient times, such as Mother's Day? To take this to the extreme, I once listened to Tim Kurkjian explain on the "Mike & Mike" show why he wasn't going to go to dinner at the White House because he had to coach his 8 year old's softball game (luckily his wife was smarter than he was and they went to the White House).
That we sign our kids up for sports for the good reasons: teamwork, exercise, and sportsmanship but then we come across teams where one kid is the superstar while others barely get to play, and games where people are yelling and even swearing at refs?
Many of us have gotten caught up in all this without even realizing what is happening. We've become so overloaded and overwhelmed by all the decisions we need to make about everything that sometimes we just go along without giving it too much thought. Because in the long run, it's just easier that way. And that, my friends, may be the biggest irony of all.
I would love to hear what you all think about this. If you have anything you would like to add, please comment below or on my FACEBOOK page.
My sister suggested that I add a glossary link to my chalk talk feature so that if I have already explained a term you will be able to find it relatively quickly. I thought that this was a great idea so I got right on that. In the future, I will highlight any words that I add to the glossary so if you see a word that is highlighted, click on it and it will bring you right to the glossary. If you have any terms you would like added, please leave them in the comment space below or on my FACEBOOK page.
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending and photographing my nephew's christening. He was awesome, so alert the whole time. He always has that wise expression that newborns just have and the rest of us spend a lifetime trying to regain.
I walked into the church with the thought of shooting the ceremony and I was alarmed at how very dark it was in there. My first thought was, "Oh no, what do I do now?" I decided to raise the ISO and shoot wide open. Although I did just learn from my friend that you should never, ever shoot at the widest aperture available. I didn't know that it never comes out that well. Why is it there then? Is it just there to make the lens seem better? Maybe it is like the "never order the second cheapest bottle of wine in a restaurant" rule. Supposedly, nobody will buy the least expensive wine on the list (they'll look too cheap) so the restaurants put the big mark-up on the second cheapest bottle which is also the one most people will buy. Coincidence? I think not.
Anyway, I was in a very dark church hoping that I would at least be able to get some decent pictures. So I set my aperture to f/2 (my widest opening is f/1.8 so yes I can be taught), and then raised my ISO enough (1600) to get a reasonably fast shutter speed (1/100) but hopefully not get too much digital noise. For those that just said, "Digital what?" Digital noise is the graininess in the picture. If you happen to have a picture of you and your siblings circa 1978, then you know what I'm talking about. The thing is it is a trade-off between the effects of flash and noise and it is a personal decision of which you like better. My point is to take the opportunity to explore both to see which appeals to you more.
Of course, getting great results is a whole lot easier with a gorgeous baby wearing an exquisite gown but hopefully the tips will help a little too. If you have any questions that you would like to have answered, I would love to hear them. Please leave me a comment below or on my FACEBOOK page.
For years now, my sister and I have been talking about writing a book about how steeped in irony our culture is today. Then one day while I was mulling over potential regular features for this blog, I heard on the radio that the author of "Simple Abundance" went bankrupt. And that Oprah's favorite former life coach got divorced (by way of email), lost her house and is in trouble with the IRS. Then I heard Alanis Morisette's "Ironic" not once but twice in the span of a couple of days. As an aside, my brother and I have actually discussed this song at length about what is irony and what just stinks. With all due respect to Alanis, this is some of what we decided:
rain on your wedding day - just stinks
black fly in your chardonnay - just stinks
winning the lottery and dying the next day - ironic
death row pardon 2 minutes too late - ironic
traffic jam when you're already late - just stinks
10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife - ironic (just 1 spoon would stink, 10,000 is ironic)
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break - just stinks
Mr. play it safe and the plane going down- ironic and really stinks
So this is the premiere of my new ironic series, who knows that book may just happen after all. Blogs have been known to be a stepping stone to books and movies, "Julie and Julia" anyone? I know that this has nothing to do with photography but its my blog and I'll blog what I want to. And I'll cry too, cry if I want to. So if you have any ironies that you would like to share, please comment below or on my FACEBOOK page.