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Sunday Night Journal — December 9, 2012

Some Pictures

I had a very busy weekend which left me with no time to write about the thing I'd been thinking about in odd moments over the week. Such thoughts as I had were pretty disorganized and I'm not sure the whole thing, which had to do with the nature of adulthood in our time, was worth bothering with even if I'd had plenty of time, and I certainly wasn't going to try to do it in an hour or two.

So what I decided to do instead was to post some pictures I've taken recently. I haven't taken very many pictures at all over the past 6-12 months, and I've missed it. So I have decided to take my little camera with me when possible, whether I'm walking the dogs or driving to Mobile--and, maybe, to fuss over the images a little less once I've taken them. Unless there's something to stop me--e.g. the bird I was trying to get a shot of flew away--I always take at least four or five shots in hope of getting one that I like. So when I get them off the camera and onto the computer, I have to spend a long time deciding which one I like best, which also involves a lot of tinkering--cropping, brightening, darkening, and more exotic tweaks--in Picasa, the only image editing program simple enough for me to use and yet having features that make it worthwhile.


I posted a variant of this one yesterday (click here if you don't see it on this page). As I mentioned in the discussion on that post, I had originally meant to post one without my shadow and the nose of an oncoming vehicle in the picture, and decided at the last minute that it worked better with those. Here, for comparison, is the first one. I definitely think the other is better. Besides the signs of human presence, it also includes more of the road, which also works better to my eye.


And here is the other in black-and-white. I rather like this.



 You'd have no idea, looking at the two pictures above, that just a few hundred yards/meters away is a huge commercial complex comprising auto dealers with vast parking lots, and a huge shopping center (have malls gone out of fashion?--this one is open-air). Just around the corner the businesses trail off into a carpet store and a used-car lot, where I noticed these happy shoppers browsing. Unfortunately it was late afternoon and their faces were mostly in shadow


But I did catch this one in lighting more appropriate to his upbeat mood.


I had passed by the place earlier in the day but hadn't had time to stop. I may try to get by there next Saturday and see if the same crowd is still there.


Thursday morning, about 7:15 or so.


And the next one was taken on the same morning. I don't even remember taking it, and contrary to what I said earlier it was the only one of its type. But I was struck by it when I got it off the camera. It looks like some kind of abstract painting, and to my eye not a bad one as such things go, though I don't know anything about abstract painting and am mostly baffled by the things critics say about it.



And here is a better picture of the chapel of the Society of Saint Gregory the Great, which I was discussing a couple of weeks ago.


(Monday: at my desk at work, and getting this ready to post, I am annoyed to discover that nearly all these pictures look darker on my monitor here than they did at home. It's a reminder that what other people see when I post a photograph may be significantly different from what I see. So if these look murky to you, well, I tried.)


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I like them all. I'm glad you decided to take more pictures. I've found that if I'm looking for good things to photograph, they turn up.

I really like the single balloon. It's such a happy picture. And both pictures of the bay are really beautiful in their own ways.


That's funny, the single balloon (as well as the other balloon pic) is more weird than straightforwardly happy to me. The smiley-face has always struck me as a bit crazed. But I'm glad you like them.

And yes, I find that to be true, too, about things to photograph turning up if I'm looking for them. So often, though, what I get from the camera is pretty disappointing. In particular there's a sharpness about a lot of good photos which my inexpensive camera just doesn't seem to be able to capture very often.

Well, I'm wondering if could get the sharpness even if I had a good camera. As in all things, I'm just learning to settle for what I get. :-) (Oh wait! Is that weird? I don't mean to convey weirdness!)

Anyway, I saw everything as a blur for so long, blurry pictures look kind of normal.


Yes, weirdness would be upsetting.:-)

Good observation about the smiley-face being sort of crazed. And your photo emphasizes that because it's all by itself, drifting off into who knows where.

Also invites the caption: What, me worry?

That one photo, as you point out, really does have an abstract-painting quality, and I'd love to read a typical art critic's appreciation of it.

I used to read Peter Schjeldahl, the art guy at the New Yorker, and it was always excruciating trying to (a) follow what he was saying, and (b) figure out how in heck he could come up with such preposterous ideas.

I do like your photo, though, a lot.

I usually skim the art stuff in The New Criterion and while they don't seem entirely preposterous when talking about abstraction, they don't communicate a whole lot to me, either. Of course I can't see what they're talking about, either.

The oddest thing about that one photo is that I literally did not know what it was when I first saw it on the computer.

I can really see that smiley balloon picture on the cover of a somewhat drug-related album.

I didn't think album cover when I saw the picture, but I definitely tagged it as some kind of ad.


Do I infer correctly from the picture of the chapel that in the Anglican Use mass is said ad orientem?

I love the smiley face, too, because it does seem equal parts happy and deranged. And the off-centered-ness of it against that blue sky is perfect.

The driveway-to-nowhere pictures look like something out of Love in the Ruins. The black-and-white one, with the shadows, seems maybe the most effective.

Both the bay pictures are lovely, too. I actually kind of prefer the top one, but possibly only because I'm such a sucker for blue, the color of beautiful (or deranged, if it happens to be the backdrop for a yellow smiley face . . . ).

Yes indeed, Anne-Marie. Our young priest is quite firm about that.

I must say I have grown fonder of the smiley. It now looks less deranged to me than it did. Its posture is irresistibly upbeat. It was the little forest of them bobbing over the cars that really looked deranged, but I didn't get a decent picture of that.

I like the first bay picture better as a picture. The other one just sort of intrigues me because it looks so abstract-painting-like.

One thing about the smiley is that it looks more like a computer graphic than an actual photo.


Yeah...the original doesn't look quite as much that way because it has some buildings in it, but I cropped those out. Also it's quite sharp, which makes me think my lack-of-sharpness problem has to do with light. I seem to nearly always be trying to shoot something in muted light.

Masses at our Anglo-Catholic Church of England parish in Cambridge were always ad orientem.

The chapel is really beautiful!

Thank you. We think it turned out very nicely. But I at any rate didn't realize how small it really is till we got mini-pews and kneelers in there. We can't grow very much there--but let's hope we have that problem. I can't remember about our Episcopal church in the late '70s, but I sorta think it was not ad orientem.

Another smiley.

The depressed guys look like fat cells.



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