Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dear Kerby,

What a way to start off January! I ended up getting sick. I was not eating. As a result of not eating or not eating the right things I got sick. I had a fever among other things. I wanted to rest in baed. After a few days I ended in urgent care. From there I went to the ER. The ER sent me into the hospital for observation over night.

One night ended in about 10 days. I have been out of the hospital for about 5 days now. I am recovering from a version of pneumonia where they had to take fluid from around my lung. From time to time my lung has a small pain that comes and goes. It last a minute or two. It is just my body healing slowly.

I am back up and moving. I do my exercises to make me stronger. What more can I do? I do not want to be stuck in a hospital bed with only tv to watch. Not my style.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh

Sick

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Dear Kerby,

I am not here to brag. I have had my setbacks most are my fault. Sad, but true. I am picking myself up and moving on.

I got back to tracking my weight, food, and exercise again by the beginning of November since I had been out of work for a few weeks. As soon as I started I hit a heavy downward spiral. I did try to keep myself sane food wise. By the end of the day I was always wanting more food – left hungry. Part if the problem was having the wrong calorie settings in the apps tracking my intake. I thought by eating less calories and exercising 75 minutes a day and getting in 11,000 steps I would be fine. Not true for me.

My main goal is to go hard with everything in the month of January once the holidays are over - jobs, exercise, and relationships. I find it difficult to do anything major till the end of the year. I am still going to watch my weight and make sure the holiday parties to not destroy me.

I was talking to a good friend and I told him about my camera situation and how things are taking a long time. I asked him, "What happens if the batteries for my camera are sent to me and I am still not satisfied with my camera? Is it fine to sell the camera and get something new?" We both agreed that I must be happy with whatever I have since I will be using it quite often. The reason I got the cameras was because I thought it was going to be something I would love since I liked all it had to offer. Part of the reason to find a job in January is to: continue investing in my future, saving for my short term goals, and just living everyday life. Don't worry, I budget things. Finding a new camera will be a short term goal but it will not be that short. I am not going to let this camera situation be a setback for me.

Relationships took a downfall. Not much to say in that department. I am glad I have some good friends to talk to even though we do not hang out as much as I would like.

What is something you tried recovering from this year?

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh

Move On

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Dear Kerby,

In the past month I have been taking some photos of anything an everything. Anything can be photographed. No need to wait for the moment when the moment is now. Now is all around us. On this journey of snapping and not thinking I fell more in like with the photos.

While on the journey I found a black an white style that I have become more comfortable with. This lead me to shoot the photos in black and white. I have been shooting in color for so long that I would like to get back to black and white. I was told that I do good photos in black and white. If only I did more! I can see a good amount of my photos from this upcoming year being shot in this black and white style.

I shot the photos with a depth of field f/4 or lower. A few of them have a slightly out of focus look which fascinate me. Take a look at the trees in the woods. I am not saying that every photo has to be out of focus (the rushing water). Somehow, I like the grain added to the mushroom. I like a grain that adds to the photo but is not overpowering. Even an out of focus photo with grain still looks good to me.

I have a few photos I need to produce for some upcoming events this next year. I can not wait to produce more photos if they are as fun to take as these photos were.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh






The Journey

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Dear Kerby,

For a few months now I have had a problem with my new (digital) camera. I sent it in with the battery and charger so that they can find the problem and get it repaired. I did not get the charger and battery back when they sent me the camera. This can be a problem. Not having my new camera made me want to take time to shoot some rolls of film. Yes, I did have my older digital camera I could use which I have been using sparingly. I have been watching/following some advanced photographers on YouTube as they talk about film photography. These photographers have some lessons I can relate to. The topics they talk about can be translated to digital photography because the techniques go above boundaries.

I have been with a local camera club for quite a number of years now and I have learned a number of lessons about how to handle a camera in manual mode as well as things on my own. I know about film speed/iso, aperture/depth of field, and shutter speed. These three things can be summed up as the exposure triangle. With my first digital camera I never thought about any part of the triangle. I let the camera do what it needed to in full auto mode. By my second digital camera I started to learn about parts of the exposure triangle. I have not quite mastered all three parts.

Shutter speed keeps giving me problems. In my mind I do not know correct timing for the right exposure. I always relied on the few second image review after taking the photo. I could then gauge if I needed more or less time so that what I was photographing would become correctly exposed, in my eyes. This is not an accurate way to take a photo because I lose time when reviewing and might miss something perfect. If I was to set the camera up like it was a film camera I would not have the advantages of instantly reviewing the shot. Film cameras sort of have the all or nothing feel.

The other day I came across a photography term called sunny 16. If you do not know what the term is then take time to watch this video. After having the video explain the technique I discovered a new way to look at the camera. I am slowly trying to find the correlation between the items on the exposure triangle. I like a shallow depth of field (F/4 or lower) for most of my photos. If I use a shallow depth of field to take my photo with a low iso (400 or less) then I try and calculate the correct exposure time. The sunny 16 gives me a jumping off point on how to calculate for the correct exposure.

I am going to keep a small notebook in my camera bag from now on so that I can have the sunny 16 rule with me as well as write down things that work or do not work for me when correctly exposing photos. Not everything works the same for every photographer. It all depends on your individual artistic style of taking photos. Sometimes you just want to take a correctly exposed picture and other times you want something more artistic. I find myself in a happy medium between the two nowadays.

Hoping to share with you what I learn along the way.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh

Exposed

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dear Kerby,

In the late '90s somewhere between 4th and 5th grade I got to go on another summer vacation. Summer vacations were a regular thing for me, even if it was only a week long. I remember spending time Salem, MA. It was only about a day or so but none the less it was still enjoyable when I was that young.

The town had some sort of antique/resale shop that peaked my interest. I got a few things from that shop. One of them was a hefty, metal peace sign belt buckle. The belt buckle was hand made in fashion with the hammered metal feel. When I got home I knew the exact belt I was going to use the buckle on. This belt came from one of the novelty venders at the county fair. It had a stamped design of eagles all around. I even had an arrow head eagle buckle on it. This buckle was no more. I took off the old buckle to use the new peace sign.

I had many problems with the belt buckle when I was using it at school. The buckle would come unattached. I remember in P.E. I had to keep adjusting it. I adjusted it so much that the teacher was wondering what I was doing. With this problem I stopped using the belt and the buckle. Years later after I started college I rediscovered the buckle. I got a belt that fit me. This made all the difference. The buckle never slipped off. The belt became something that I wore with every outfit I owned.

Recently, I got my Fitbit and I started watching what I eat. I was not "fat" but I was not in the most healthy state. This resulted in the belt and buckle not fitting quite right even though it was as tight as can be. I gave in and got a new belt. Along with the new belt came a new belt buckle. I ended up ordering this belt from Foster Weld and a customized copper wooden buckle from Shop Joyo.

Yes, I did mention that the belt buckle was customizable. I had some song lyrics from a Kimya Dawson song put into the wood. When read sideways the belt buckle reads "I am grounded   |   I am humbled    |   I am one with everything" These lyrics from the song are with me wherever I go. I am reminded to be better and do better. Overall, it is a fun song to sing as are all Kimya Dawson songs. I am sure that I will not buy a new belt or belt buckle for years.

Talk to you later, Bluelaugh

Peace

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dear Kerby,

The one thing I like about film is that no two are the same. You can get the same roll of 120mm Portra film from Kodak, but it might turn out a little bit different due to the camera. The camera might cause light leaks and other things that make it unique. My medium format (120mm film) Holga is unpredictable because it is cheaply made. This might result in light leaks and other such unpredictable things with the film/camera.

If you work with film quite often you get to know a Fuji from a Kodak or any other brand. Some can look at a photo and tell what specific Fuji film is used. It takes the right kind of eye to know this. With current versions of photography, the goal is to capture the best crisp, correct exposure on a picture. For myself, it is hard to tell what type of digital camera took the photo by just looking at it.

In my mind, I want to take a series of photos, like you would with a roll of film. I would then edit them with the same filter/effect for every photo. My editing program of choice would be Lightroom. I have some presets I saved that look vintage and or film like. Right now my go to is a matte film look of some sort.

It can be hard to find the right black and white settings/film to suit my style. If I ever find the right settings I would love to shoot in black and white again.

Overall, I would like to take more “snapshots” in my daily life.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh

Load Up

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dear Kerby,

I do not know if you have ever heard about MorningStar Farms, Boca, or Gardein before. These are all companies that produce vegetarian food. The first company I got hooked on was Boca. The Boca company makes two veggie burgers and a chicken patty that I was introduced to. These were the basic of my existence when cooking on my own while living at the dorms. I later found MorningStar Farms products. The MorningStar Farms company sells more than burgers. They make meat crumble for tacos, chili and much more. They also make meatballs, breakfast sausages (links and patties), veggie dogs, bacon, and other varieties of meatless style meat. Some of the MorningStar Farms products can be stand alone like the ribs with sauce or in a recipe like the meatballs. Gardein is very Similar to MorningStar Farms except that is has beef tips, veggie fish, turkey cutlets, and fancy main dishes.

I eat these products more than anything else because I find it easier than making a vegetarian recipe. From time to time I make things from scratch when I have extra money. It can add up when you need to buy individual ingredients for every meal. Sad. I like making a veggie meatloaf from scratch. Not many other things do I make from scratch unless it is a special day. I have used the recipes on the websites from Gardein before but that is different than than from scratch.

When I got my new issue of the vegetarian magazine I saw an ad for Lightlife. The ad features a ground beef/meat crumble option. This made me think of the other meat crumbles by the previous mentioned companies. For some reason I had to research Lightlife and find out if they are just a copy of a vegetarian company that already exists. The more satisfying thing that they do different is a veggie style lunch meat. Part of me thinks that this will not be the best thing ever but I am still curious to have a taste. Luckily, sites like these show you where you can buy their products.

The vegetarian isle seems to be growing after I found out which local store (Kroger) sells products from this newly featured company (that had been around a while). Most stores near me that have a vegetarian section do not feature vegetarian items like they would with other products. It might have to do with not many people in my area being vegetarian. At times if I do not take time to look for vegetarian products I will miss them (that is how small the vegetarian section is). When I was living in the dorms I had stopped into an unfamiliar grocery store and it took forever to find the vegetarian section, but I eventually did.

Not sure what new vegetarian company will emerge next. When they do I hope that they make a product different than what is already in stores. Some times I guess it is the Pepsi vs Coke debate all over again.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh

Not Meat