What’s New?

Photowalk 343a
From 2013 Worldwide Photo Walk – Lytle Park, Cincinnati

I haven’t been very good at keeping a few promises to myself, lately. One of which, obviously, was the writing. Well…when the weather starts to be more often cold than warm, and it becomes more dark than light, I find it hard to keep a lot of promises to myself. Best I can do is to promise myself to get out of bed, bathe, eat, and go to work. The rest this time of year is gravy. I do love fall, I really do. I don’t like what comes after it; I spend a lot of time being miserable. I know the change of season affects everyone. But, as in many other things, not everyone responds the same.

Part of it may well be self-imposed, since I’m well aware by now how this time of year affects me, but not all. I do try to be up and about; I wouldn’t be able to get out and enjoy the crispy leaves, the smell of their death fresh in the air, the trees promising more after their rest. Oh, and the apples. How I LOVE going to an orchard on the side of the road and just picking a sack of apples picked from the trees just out back. Of course, as more corporations take over farms, fewer and fewer of these are purely family operations – most just can’t afford that anymore – but it’s still a nice little illusion. Makes me think of one of our northern suburbs, Mason. Before I moved to Colorado, I worked up there. Nasty commute – I-71 was undergoing construction through that area, so it turned a bad commute into an awful one. The area isn’t built for the amount of traffic it sees, either, so most people avoid it, particularly during rush hour, if they can.

While I was working up there, it wasn’t too overdeveloped just yet. I could drive down the road about a mile and hit a farm or two. And when I remembered, and timed it right, there was one that sold produce out of their home, right off the screened-in porch. They had a couple of mini schnauzers. Thanks to the dog I grew up with, I have a soft spot for mini schnauzers, so that was just a nice little bonus for me. They sold whatever was fresh that time of year. Silver ear corn right around September, beautiful apples right about now. I don’t know what else they sold throughout the year, because I never remembered in time. It’s gone, now. Across the street from there is a generic strip mall, full of stores you can find anywhere, laid out the same as just about anywhere. That strip mall in Mason is almost identical to a new one in Briargate, a suburb of Colorado Springs. The only significant difference – you can see Pikes Peak from the one in Briargate. Otherwise, it might as well be the same place (as I say often, the homogenization of America continues apace).

Spring Grove 080a1s
First set of photos with my new camera.

Some of the best times with my mother were this time of year. She loved the fall. She couldn’t really tolerate the high heat, especially once the MS started taking over. Until then, though, we would go on road trips just for the leaves and the orchards. My father takes a lot of snapshots so he can save his memories. Mom did that too, but she also took photos for the beauty of the shot. One of my friends posted a self-portrait showing her hands and a camera over her face, saying that was how her children were likely going to remember her. I mentioned she looked just like my mother, except her forehead said “Minolta.” She loved photography, and when she wasn’t trying to talk me out of pursuing it in any sort of way, she would take the time to show me things. I learned about aperture and shutter speed, and tricks you can do with each, from her. Processing film was too expensive for me, though, so I didn’t get to experiment as much as I’d have liked. This is one of the best things about digital photography, I think. Otherwise, I do prefer film. Digital is rigid. No matter how many pixels your photo has, there is a point where it’s just a dot. They’ve gotten MUCH better, but it’s still there. With film, those sharp edges aren’t there. Still, too expensive, even moreso with the popularity of digital over film.

Now I have two digital cameras I use – one is my last point-and-shoot, a very good camera for its class, and one is my DSLR, almost the bottom of the line. Gotta go with what you can afford, you know. The camera I really want costs more than I spent on my current one for just the body. And used is tricky – quite often, they’ve been abused by their previous owners and there may be something in there that just doesn’t work the way you need it to. It’s a risk. Might be worth taking, though. Lenses are another story. Those get very expensive, too. For now, I am happy with my setup. It’s mine, and it is good enough to get started. I want to buy my next camera with money I earned from my photos.

Speaking of, the opportunity for showing is sort of on the back burner right now. They only do it one night a week, and it’s the one night I’m already committed to something very important to me, necessary for my own mental health – my choir. I didn’t realize how important it was to me until I didn’t have it anymore. Not didn’t have it but it was available, just didn’t have it at all. Shortly before I left Colorado Springs, I auditioned for the Colorado Springs chorale. I needed to practice, desperately, but I didn’t have access to a piano or accompanist. What I sang didn’t matter so much as how, and I sang half a pitch high. I’d been practicing without music for so long, I transposed it up. They tried other things, too, and knew that I could definitely follow a pitch when it was given, just needed to practice with someone. The director asked me – not recommended, not suggested, but asked me – to get with a voice teacher so I could get a little more practice, then come back and audition in six months when they held the next auditions. They don’t do that – usually when you blow an audition, they say “thank you, we have all we need.” That flubbed audition gave me a bit more confidence in myself. It’s still not easy for me to sing solo, but it’s a lot easier.

And again, this time of year, all my energy is put into functioning. Luckily, I have a number of friends who know what this season can do to me, because it does it to them or to someone they love. They won’t leave me alone, even when I want them to. Gets annoying sometimes, but it’s worth it knowing there’s someone out there who will come knocking on my door if they don’t hear from me in a while. I had that in Colorado, too, but it was just one person, dealing with her own complicated life. We didn’t always have the energy to check on each other. No, I will gladly take all those days when they irritate me (because on those days, everyone irritates me); it reminds me that someone is paying attention, and someone does care.

Satyr But Wiser
Pretty special when you can make a satyr blush…

Speaking of, I need to get breakfast and a shower. I’m going to the Ohio Renaissance Festival with one of them later today. Seems to be becoming something of a regular thing, since I’ve been with her for the last two years. Getting goosebumps just thinking about it. I’m really looking forward to it.


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