Monday, February 23, 2009

When Learning was easier

I was reading a forum for beginning photographers on and got to thinking about when I started in photography. It was 1969. Photography was just getting the the latest technology in cameras, built-in light meters on Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras. I had just bought a Minolta SRT-101 with a 58mm f1.2 lens (both still working). And to learn I went to a local community college photography class.

While my memory of the class is distant and faint - and actually remember more I girl I dated who was also in the class, I remember it had some very basic ideas for the students to learn. Photography of to that point was in transistion from the older pre-WW II large format cameras and the rangerfinder cameras coming onto the market in the 50 and 60's to the newer SLR's being developed and marketed. Every company had one and more in the design stage.

Cameras back then were mechnical, the only electronics was the light meter. Many of them would work if the battery quit or light meter failed. You simply resorted to your learning and guessed the exposure. And there weren't any automatic modes. All of them were what was called "needle matching", meaning you matched the exposure adjustment (shutter speed and aperture), usually a circle, with the light meter needle. You knew the top half was an half f-stop under exposure and the bottom a half f-stop over exposure.

That's all there was. The trick was to know how the light meter work and judge the scene accordingly. Some camera had full-frame averaging, some spot metering and some, like the Minolta, center-weighted averaging. Minolta's worked very well for 90% of the lighting and scene conditions, and you adjusted for the other ones, usually those with extreme shadows and highlights or an abundance of ground or sky.

In the class we learned about light, exposure and composition, pretty much the same you can learn today. Nothing basic in photography changes. Certainly light and exposure don't. Composition is personal and your personal expression, and that has changed a little maybe, mostly with the sheer numbers of photographers doing "their thing" as it were or is now.

After that, we learned film development and printing. The old photo lab. Later I worked for the base photo lab. We got paid in film and free access to materials and rooms. At the end of the two years I was glad to walk away from labs, although I later did develop my own b&w and color slide film at home. I like labs to develop my film, saves on the work and the anxiety if anything goes wrong.

That's was it for the class. One quatert to learn with field exercises (bring back developed slides) about photography, photographic techniques, the camera and producing the results. I used my Minolta SRT-101 for the next 20 years while adding other Minolta cameras (now number about 14) along with about 30 lenses now (a dozen or so sold or donated over the years).

Minolta made a excellent line of manual focus cameras with basic the same light meter system. They just updated the cells, electronics and software, but the logic to the center-weighted averaging system stayed with only minor changes in the coverage patterns newer cells and electronics allowed. You can take the same photo with a SRT-101 and a X-700 and they'll read the same exposure and take the same image and quality.

Since retiring I've added a Canon digital and film system (EOS-5D and EOS-1N) and a 4x5 camera. So the learning started all over again, almost 40 years later. One to learn a digital camera and one to relearn photography and the LF camera. It's not been without its mistakes, but it's the real-world classroom again. And the same field exercises, to bring back the digital images and film photos.

What I did learn about digital photography is that, despite the complexity of the cameras, it still boils down to understanding how it works to do what you want. But I will add, though, learning digital is easier if you come from a film background, the longer the better. Because then you can translate your experiences and knowledge to the camera. You already know what is can do, you only need to learn how to set it up for you and your work.

And what I've learned and relearned about large format photography is much the same, a long background in film helps, but you still need to learn the camera and the schmeipflug rule. That's not something you can learn elsewhere, it's the heart and soul of LF photography and what makes the camera work to produce the results you want.

The on/off knob in LF photography is your mind. It's all mechanical (ok, there are digital versions, but beyond the price of most LF photographers). It's all about how you think, how you work, how you see, how you judge, how you practice. Nothing happens on its own, only when you do something. And it always shows in the result, the negative or slide.

And that's the neat thing about it. Photography is like many other things in life. You never stop learning, because if you do stop, you mentally die. Learning starts when you pick up the camera bag and doesn't stop until you see the prints. That hasn't changed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

JMO - One simple fact

I know there's a ton of stuff in the media about the argument or debate, whichever term you like to use, between evolution and creationism, and while it's clear there isn't any real debate, one's a belief and one's science. I was reading a letter today in the New York Times and the individual showed the one simple fact that often gets overlooked in the whole debate and makes it meaningless.

What, it's a meaningless debate? Yes, as many scientists have shown, sometimes in court cases. It's meaningless because creationist raise one point that is the fundamental flaw in their whole line of logic and reasoning. The very foundation of their cases is flawed and therefore the rest is simply stupid.

And yes, stupid. It's the one simple fact that evolution is not a theory. Evolution is a scientific principle of life that has shown perserverance and flexibility to continue to improve as more evidence produces more knowledge which produces a better understanding of the whole scheme of life on this planet.

And we also know creationism is not theory and never has been or ever will be. It's a belief system founded on the Bible which can't be tested or proven. So you can't compare theories when neither are theories. The former is science and the latter is religion. So all the debate is meaningless because they can't be compared on the same level to discuss with any sense of merit or value.

I make this argument because the writer of the letter, while defending evolution, forget and called it a theory. That notion has long since been killed by the knowledge and information of science. It's a process and method about life on this planet, and along side all the other principles of life, are what describes, understands and interprets what we experience, simple and simply life.

Evolution is. And it is reality. And a principle. It has long outgrown the theory stage, just as relativity has since Einstein wrote his famous papers. It's not absolute because life isn't absolute as is the history of this planet. Evolution changes with the evidence and ideas. It itself evolves as we learn more about it. It's that simple.

So, any argument any creationist can make is simply ludicrious because they're arguing something that isn't here anymore and they're arguing their own ideas which never were anyway. Evolution isn't a theory anymore and creationism never was or will be. I'm not against people believing creationism, it's a personal choice, just not mine. But to argue it's a theory is ridiculous.

And it's not a semantic argument. You can't argue a theory or about a theory that isn't a theory. You can't debate theories when neither are theoirs. You can't make a theory from your imagination or belief that you want it to be. That's the one simple fact.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

JMO - Facebook

I wrote a post about chasing friends, and my opinion of Facebook. Well, it seems they love to shoot themselves in the brain, and their thinking has been out to lunch too often in their own self-interests than the users - you know the one who help them make money.

After quietly changing their terms of service agreement on intellectual propert (audio files, videos, images and writings) rights, meaning adhering to the normal standards that what you create is yours and only yours unless you agree to either give away those rights or allow use right to another entity, they decided that all their users agreed to allow Facebook eternal and free use of your property for whatever private or corporate needs or interests, even keeping your property should you remove it or your account from Facebook.

In short, post it and it's theirs. And now they've said, "Never mind." But wait, they really said it's what they want to do, they just have to find a better way to sneak back into the terms of service agreement. Remember you agreed to it when you signed up, you didn't necessarily agree to changes without being informed and agree, except in the fine print which allows them to change the rules whenever it suits them.

At least for now they've restored their old standards of what's yours is yours.

This isn't the only reason I hate Facebook. I hate you have to be a member to see anything. No other similar service does that. So if you have friends on facebook and want to know what they're doing and saying, you have to join. No member can set their pages to public. That sucks, and why I only keep the minimum there and will only use it to help with getting word out about Mt. Rainier NP.

And then last year Facebook agreed to post to your friends what you bought through retailors they had advertising agreements. This meant if you bought something for friend(s), especially a loved one, they could and would tell all your friends about it. That idea also lasted about 2 days when they decided to put an opt-out button in the user preferences, until they removed it and then apologized for the error.

Error? It was intentional and a bad idea at that, but with about 170 million subscribers they must feel they have some latitude with common sense and decency, and even more with privacy and the copyright laws. To me, they're just this side of dumb and stupid. Where is the CEO and oversight board going, "What are you thinking?"

Why do I get the view that it sometimes seems the only thing the founders of Facebook want to do is promote it and then sell it for a very rich profit? Any bets it gets bought by a corporation in the (near) future for a tidy sum of a few billion dollars? After all corporations are buying Websites like these for the membership and/or subscribers, meaning people, to sell services, products and such.

Why else would Facebook do what they're doing? Anyway, that's my view. I'll stay on Facebook for friends, but that's it, nothing more, and I'll leave if I see more stupidity from them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NPR - Chasing Friends

I'm not one for a lot of friends, but the ones I have I value very much. I'm more of a quiet introvert (like there's a loud one?) and alone person, but I enjoy the greater diversity of people. I don't have friends because they have similar likes, work, lives or views as me, but more the opposite. I like people who are comfortable being themselves and value openness and honesty, and don't mind a good conversation about everything in life, the world and the universe.

If I have any criteria about friends, mostly that limits my friendship or even restricts being friends, it's personality traits which are offensive to me, like arrogance with indifference, or worse hatred, to others. And no one likes an asshole. Well, except maybe other assholes as I've seen in life. What I'm saying is that I don't mind friends, like me, holding strong beliefs and values about something, I expect them to be open to challenge and discuss, especially with a smile and humor.

You see, the key is that holding a strong belief shouldn't make you immune to being open to others and especially the opposite view. It's about knowing your views are just that, yours, no better or worse than anyone else's, as theirs is equally valuable for them. It's the old adage about taking your issues seriously but not taking yourself seriously.

Anyway, I wandered. My point here is with the Internet to keep up with friends you have to be on all these Websites. A friend in Texas was only available on MySpace, so I joined, and then she left. I have all of 5 friends on MySpace but about a dozen or so people who subscribe to my blog there (infrequent there as I've moved to eBlogger).

I joined Yahoo groups to belong to some groups that interest me and follow friends there. Then the group owner killed the group leaving the rest of the membership high and dry. And some groups started have pretty much withered into almost emptiness as the date of the last post falls farther and father in the past. And to date only a few are really active, and those are often the tech/gearheads groups where only those people find solace with others talking such minute details of things.

And now I had to join Facebook. I don't like Facebook. I don't like the arrogance of the founders to assume they can do anything with your information without your permission, including sell you to any commercial interests or the rest of the world. Sharing is one thing, indiscriminate sharing by them is offensive.

And now I read about the Terms of Service (TOS) where they assume use rights of your intellectual property, such as videos, audio files, photos/images, etc., for any purpose for the advancement of Facebook. What angers me is that they require you to be member to view others' Facebook pages and then take your information for their own use as assumed when you sign up.

It reminded of a scene an a movie where a CIA agent goes to rent an old discarded US Army helicopter from a local (South American) aircraft dealer.

The man asks, "How much to rent?'
The dealer replies, "Two million dollars."
The man says, "I only want to rent it. How much?"
The dealer replies, "Two million dollars."

The man realizes he has to buy it. That's what Facebook does, holds you hostage for what they offer. I personally doubt most people care about this policy and giving their intellectual property to Facebook, but I know they would if they discovered Facebook was making money on their work without their knowledge or compensation, because that's what they can do.

But I joined to follow some friends who are only there. But don't hold your breath if you expect me to post photos/images there or anything more than updates to what I'm doing. I joined to follow friends, not share my entire life. But it's the new reality of being, and yes, it allows folks at Facebook to be assholes about people's propety. I accept it but I don't have to help them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

NPR - Food is my enemy

In the early 1980's I had a case of the flu while living in Eugene, Oregon. I was one of a few patients my doctor had who had the opposite adverse reaction to the intestinal flu that was going around. The flu then literally destroyed the all the necessary good bacteria in my intestinal tract and shut it down, sometime completely for weeks to months. And after a few years it began to return to normal.

The reality is that while all the medicine and health supplements available for the digestive system, there is no way to repair it if it doesn't work right. All you can do is take medicines to control the production of some chemical or process the body produces to support digestion, or you can stuff health supplement into it to, hopefully, help it. But if it doesn't want to work, it just won't work.

And for another two decades after the flu I had periods, usually a month or a few, where it didn't want to work, or worse, simply shutdown. Eventually it would work, and slowly I discovered the source was food. It just didn't like some foods. Slowly I learned what diet I can eat and what foods I can't. And slowly the list of good foods shrank and the bad food increase.

And about five years ago, it suddenly got worse over a quick period of time. I discovered some of it was due to another health supplement I was taking and stopping that helped, but sometimes since then I think the damage was done as the list of good foods again shrank until the list of good can be written on a postit note.

And through this I've had tests to know the body appears ok, nothing serious, but just what the gastroentrologist said, "You have a sensitive digestive system." Like that news. But no fix. No cure. No treatments. Nothing but just watch what I eat and hope it doesn't get worse.

But worse it got in March 2008 when I got the flu again, and it shutdown the digestive system. This time for 6 months before getting better and then getting worse. More tests showed noting obvious. And in the last month it's getting better again, but even the good foods aren't always good anymore.

In short, it's food. Food is now my body's enemy. And the medical community has no answer, just tests, if only to eliminate this or that condition. That's the life as I know it now. And doing research I found there are at least 200 causes of what could cause my condition. And that's provided food isn't the problem but the body or body's reaction to food.

That's my life to date with food. I love food, especially many European types of food and especially Tex-Mex food. But for now every restaurant and fast-food outlet is off limits. Or at least not without consequences later, hours to days. And then days recovering from those consequences. One meal, even a small one or samples, can cause problems for a week or more.

And the list of good foods. Well, it's shrunk to a 4x6 postit note with room to spare. The same food every day with occasional experiments for some foods if I'm willing to accept the consequences. And the on-going tests to find an answer. I know there are people worse than me, and the fact I can eat some foods is better than the alternatives.

But still, it would be nice to be free to eat food, any food, whenever and wherever. But that's life, the fragility of it and the one we each live with, ourselves.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I was listening to a story about creativity and the researcher being interviewed said there are two general types of creativity, mandane and imaginary creativity, and we're born with a mixture of each. He said each type serves different functions so neither is better or worse than the other, just different.

He called mundane creativity is be creative with the real world, such as people who can brainstorm an idea to its infinite possibilities, and always seem to see something new in the world, with reality, or around an idea or issue. They just seem to expand their mind beyond what people normally think or see.

He called imaginary creativity is be creative in pure fantasy, such as people who can think of amazing stories with many different types of creatures, people, story lines, etc. This people are seen in the writing of science fiction, fantasy, and even some fiction writing, and in the work of video gamers, second-life people, and other computer creations.

Anyway, while listening I began to realize why my imaginary creativity isn't all that great but my mandane creativity is overwhelming my dominant form of creativity. It's why I love seeing and photographing common scenes, places, events, landscapes, people, etc. I can find the imagination in the common, ordinary things of life, the world and reality.

I can often brainstorm better than groups of people. I used to get tired of the group brainstorming sessions because I had already thought of at 90% of what the group and thought and some things they didn't. I would get bored waiting for my one idea when I had already listed the one others have said, well before the meeting started. Give me an idea and I'm off and mentally running.

I read once that most people have a partitioned mind, so they can work on one task while remembering several others, usually 3-5. On the other hand, I have what they call an open architecture my mind where I can easily focus on a single subject to where everything else is forgotten. I can literally focus my entire thinking on one task or idea. And I use that in photography beside work.

When I walking around a downtown area or hiking in Mt. Rainier NP, my sense and mind are almost entirely focused on what's around me, to the extent I can easily forget where I am, what time it is and almost anything else. It's all focused on being and seeing right there. And ideas are the same, my mind expands and wander in directions I don't know or even realize, but just happen.

But I don't have a good, in fact a poor, imagination outside of that, meaning a imaginary creativity. I'm always amazed with people with tremendous imagination beyond the here and now and beyond even the world. And in photography, these people produce amazing images. They can't tell you how they saw it, they just did. As I see the ordinary, they see the imaginary and abstract.

And that's what's interesting. We are our own mundane and imaginary creativity. The trick is to learn to develop the best into more and the worst into better, and all that takes is creativity, something we already have. We have the tools to be and do better. All we have to do it think and imagine.


Update February 24, 2009. The ImagePro Website was taken down due to a complete replacement of the underlying programs for the design, implementation and presentation of the Web pages for photographers. At this time there is no known date for the release of the new version, and after that everyone will have to recreate their personal Web pages. So, it will be awhile when this link actually works again.

Original Post.

I've finally gotten around to adding my ImagePro Website. It's a new feature with subscribers to, which I've been for a while. It was added after was bought by NameMedia which owns a nunber of similar type Websites for other interests and activities. But right now it's under redevelopment as the original design had serious programming flaws, and still does.

It's fair to say working on your Website on ImagePro is like killing cockroaches, everytime you do something and save it, it either doesn't remember what you did or it creates its own code to insert with your changes. For every bug you fix, there always more that seem to come from nowhere. I spent nearly four hours working on the template for something that should have taken an hour at most.

But it's there for now. I focused it only my Mt. Rainier work for now. The photo display rotates through all the registered galleries, so it looks odd if you mix and match them without any description, which it doesn't allow yet. The programmers on are working on it, but for now, there's no timeline on when it will be fully operational. And I'll be playing with the templates too, so the presentation will change.

Well, that's it for this post. Just an announcement.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

NPR - The 3 year gamble

I retired December 2005, two to three years earlier than originally planned. I had crunched the number for my annuity, Thrift Saving Plan, and the cost of living. Or so I had thought then, once in the fall of 2004 at a retirement workshop and again in the fall of 2005. After weighing the costs of retirement and continuing to work, I left. If I manage my money, I won't have to work except for myself doing what I love and want to do with the rest of my life.

So, as a mental exercise I asked if I had stayed to December 2008, would I be better off, both financially, or worse off by the lost time while fighting to keep my career alive at the hands of a disagreeable boss. In the fall of 2005 I had won an appeal over my performance evaluation, and even though the unsatisfactory rating (one of 5 sections) was overturned by the regional personnel office, granting me my better than satisfactory rating again, it was clear my career was toast.

Since I was past retirement eligible to transfer, meaning any transfers would require a minium three year agreement to stay (not legally binding and more a personal one), I was looking at seeing my job description being redefined even more as all the work I had done and built a reputation on help the office and agency was slowly being transferred to other employees and my work pushed to stuff I long hated.

In short, I was facing the next 2-3 years of hating my work and my boss even more. So, I retired. But has it been worth the financial losses?

Well, for one when I crunched the numbers then and recently I discovered the estimates of my annuity were quite accurate, with $100 of my monthly net income. The loss from annual salary increases and years for seniority were pretty much covered by the annual cost of living increases in the annuity.

For another I discovered that my TSP portfolio was worth about the same when I cashed it out as it would be now, even after the 3 years of additional contributions. The financial meltdown and stock market drop overshadowed any gains from contributions.

And lastly I discovered the only money I really lost was the 20% net income drop from my salary versus my annuity.

So it boils down to was that 20% worth the time? And the answer is a resounding yes. If I had to start now what I started then, it would have cost more (photography business and projects) and delayed other plans where my health and fitness become significant issues. I have no doubt I'm not where I wanted or even hoped to be, but I'm confortable with what I've accomplished and done.

And now I have those three years behind me as experience and have lost the stress and strain of the work environment I left. The only career and job tension now is self-created, by me to do and learn more and continue with my photography and life in the direction I love and wanted.

There isn't a paycheck they could have given me to change that. I miss some things about my former career, especially the role the USGS plays in people's lives in this country, and with the many colleagues I left, the hydrologic technicians who are the best at providing the basic water resources data this country needs and uses everyday. I miss them and I miss being a part of that.

But that's all I miss because I love working and learning photography, working on making a personal photography business, and working on my photography projects, the Mt. Rainier photography guide and the early (1880-1920) history of Mt. Rainier National Park. I have those three years of work on the long path of my life to do more. There is no end here, only my end when time runs out and my God says it's time and I've done good.

That's something money can't buy, the freedom to be and do without reservations or restrictions, just mine own. And so far I'd say I've won the bet. Time and gravity are another matter, as no one wins those bets, only God.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

NPR - My cooking skills

I'm not a cook, and as about as far from a chef as anyone can get or be. My (then) wife was the cook. I was the cleanup person. Linda was a great and terrific cook, but always the kitchen looked like a tornado or hurricane went through. But I loved to organize and clean. So on the days she'd let me, I would clean as she cooked but often she had enough stuff to cook the meal and I cleaned afterward.

When we separated and divorced, knowing my cooking skills, Linda reduced it to the following recipes.

"Put in the oven and cook for one hour at 350." - adjust from there, but 350 cooks anything.

"Bring to a boil and simmer until ready." - that's works for damn near anything.

"Add butter to the pan and fry on medium-high heat until done, turning when necessary." - also works for damn near anything.

The only things I know how to cook easily are breakfasts, with whatever you want. I even keep one really old cast iron skillet that only fries eggs (ok, most of the time). That's the way to fry eggs. After that it's the following.

"Put into bowl and add milk and sugar to taste."

"Put ingredients into a bowl and whip until thick and/or frothy. Then chill in the frig for an hour."

I'm always amazed how simply you can reduce cooking instructions. And I know the rest is what cooking is all about and why people love to cook. My Dad was that person. He loved spending hours in the kitchen cooking. My Mom the opposite, she cooked to feed people and get on with life.

The problem now is that my digestive system has gone south and eating is hazardous to my health, so cooking is very simply anymore, mostly what I can fix in 5 minutes or less, preferably without cooking. I only cook now on occasion, usually a beef roast or turkey breast which I can cut into sandwich stuff. With chips, and I'm set for life.

So, that's the extent of my cooking knowledge. What's surprising to folks is that I love gourment food stores and grocery stores. I love the whole atmosphere of them, and especially the education about our global economy. I don't know why people don't pay attention to the reality of what it takes for all that to be there then just for you to peruse and perhaps buy. And I don't know why parents don't use them to teach children about the world, namely the geography, economics, people, agriculture, transporation, marketplace, and on and on.

Grocery stores are probably the best place to teach children about the world and we're missing it. It's just food to buy and eat. But it's the whole world and everything about how we live and work, right there. You just have to look and learn, and then wonder, about the world and all the people who brought it to you.

Ok, I'll mosey down the aisle now to the cashier. My basket is full of people's work.

Monday, February 9, 2009

JMO - Proving APA stupid

Update.--This post has been updated with another post about an interview with Kim Petras. It still shows the diagnosis for GID in children is valid and medical help is both necessary and beneficial.

Original post.--Ok, that's not hard sometimes, proving an academic doctor (PhD) stupid. It's only take perservance and persistence to get through graduate school and your dissertation to get that honor. The PhD, not being stupid. It's doesn't mean they're smart, just intelligent in one respect and one aspect of academia. But that's not my point here today. This post is about a 16 year old proving psychologist stupid.

I doubt many people follow issues in the transcommunity and with transpeople. I have some friends who were trans, meaning they've long finished their transistion (male to female) or they're still in their transistion. I have a wide diversity of friends and like to see the whole of human nature and people. Ok, not everyone. Criminals are another matter. And crazy people, often homeless or transients, are in their own world.

Even they're interesting from a safe distance, but the rest of human beings are interesting to meet and expand my view of the world. Anyway, there is this issue in the transworld that only psychologists know who's real, meaning a transperson, to transistion. Except gender identity is self-recognized and indentified and can't be refuted by medical science. Psychologists can't prove them wrong, they can deny your view of yourself is right.

That the catch-22, because many psychologists, who controls the transistion process, don't want to help transpeople but want to impose their morality and standards of normality over transpeople through the medically accepted Standards of Care (SOC) to restrict access to medical help, insurance coverage, employment rights, legal protections, and so on. In short, deny they exist, or worse, simply deny they're right.

But then those very same people who judge transpeople won't spare a moment of thought deciding the sex and/or gender of an intersexed infant, and then perform surgery to ensure their decision was right. But sadly, history has proven they're wrong far more often than they're right, and even when they're right, they inflict great harm to the child and later adult learning their history.

My point? Well, a young 16-year old girl, Kim Petras, has proven the whole comunity of psychologists wrong. Psychologists have long argued that children don't really know they're trans or argue they can simply be taught to be normal (reparative therapy), meaning acting the gender of their birth sex. In short, deny a child's innate identity of themselves.

So young Kim transistioned complete with SRS and is getting on with her life. She's happy. And the psychologists are saying she can't be and didn't deserve the right to surgery. Only they know, certainly not the child. But she does and did know. And stands there showing the whole trans morality psychologists impose as a sham disguising morality as science.

A young girl proved them wrong and can get on with her life, as she knows herself to be. And all the psychologists in the world can't prove otherwise. What's not to smile and wish her well? And what's not to smile and know psychology and psychologist aren't scientists, but simply moralist with PhD thinking they are right when they're so wrong.

People are real and true. Psychology isn't and psychologist aren't. They're simply guessing at the world and people, with no more insight than the rest of us. And Kim stands there happy proving them so stupid, and she doesn't even care, because that's the point. Being trans isn't about a wrong mind, but a wrong body, and once that's fixed, then everything falls away and life become whole and complete.

There's nothing wrong about transpeople, no matter how hard psychologists try to make the case. And Kim Petras is the living proof.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Making Photo Cards

I got to thinking about making photo cards because I've been spending much of the last week making them, eventually producing about 400, half already designated for friends, familiy or businesses. I realized I haven't explained how mine are made.

There are many ways to produce and make them, but three basic ways. One way is simply sending your images to a Website along with the information and selection of what you want - don't forget to include a printer profile with the images so they can match the color or let them determine the optimum or use an automatic process. Another is a local commercial printer.

And the third is to produce them yourself, which is what I do, see above samples. My cards are made with 4x6 prints with an Epson R2400 printer on Moab Lasal photo gloss paper, mounted on Strathmore blank cards (using dry mount tissue and a heat press), put into clear envelopes and into 10 cards sets in clear boxes. Over the last year or so I'm been assembling a porfolio of images going back nearly 40 years.

Granted I'm not a professional nor a full-time photographer, so my portfolio isn't large (currently at 100+ images and working on another 100). And it's not that I'm out to sell cards or make any real money with them, it's just I enjoy the prints and the cards. And my goal is as always, simply have people use them. I want to see them shared and mailed to other friends and family around the world if possible. And if you don't like some, then give them to people who will use them.

I even donate card sets to business for their use or for kiosks. I realize this isn't what you're supposed to do with your work, but then I'm not doing this for the income. I know my photos and images aren't the high quality the professionals produce nor the quality highend printers produce, but they're simply mine as best I can make them.

So, that's how my photo cards are made. One of these days I'll produce a gallery for folks to choose from, but for now, you can pick any image(s) in any of my Website galleries for prints (up to 11x17) or photo cards. I'll work from there.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

JMO - Dear Congress

Dear Congress,

I have noticed that several senior and Cabinet appointments by President Obama have been withdrawn over small problems with their income taxes, all of which were rectified and paid. So, without any pretense of diplomacy, what don't you understand to get real and let these folks serve the President and the people? What they did was small and inconsequential to the bigger picture and need for their experience and knowledge.

The American people are far more understanding of the mistakes of people like Governor Bill Richardson, (former) Senator Tom Daschle and others than you are. You're making a mountain out of a media and pundit molehill for nothing except noise, hearing yourself whine about ethics. Are you so good, honest and ethical that you're immune from the same issues and criticisms?

I don't think so and you know so. The American people want solutions to big problems, not petty bickering. You're behaving like children, except you're our elected representatives. As your mother would tell you, "Act like an adult."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

JMO - Long road trip

I have to say, I voted for Obama reluctantly. Not because I didn't think he'd be a good President, but his words didn't exactly inspire me. He carried a ton of promises through the campaign knowing they couldn't all be done in the first year or even two, and many were just campaign rhetoric, or as I heard it to be. But his term so far is impressive, and I think there is hope he could be a better President than many thought.

That's in the future. It's a long road ahead, and a lot of problem lie in the road, from simple speed bumps to big detours. And there is a lot of opposition with signs to change direction everywhere along the road. I'm still not all convinced by some of his Cabinet Secretaries, but I decided to withhold judgement until I begin to see their decisions and actions and the results of them. They too have a long, hard road.

Bush left a legacy no President should face. He simply screwed this country, nation, economy, international reputation, etc. every which way but right, and starting requires undoing what Bush's cohorts and staffers left in the desks and closest of the laws, requlations and policies. They were dangerous then and now their crap needs to be sweep into the sewer where it belongs. That takes time as the government's rules require, but I have no doubt now many will be reversed or changed to the right direction.

And so, I do have some hope for President Obama, and this country. I know we won't always agree, that's normal, and it's my right to speak against him when I disagree. But now I know I can because there are eyes and ears in Washington, not blind and deaf people in political power as we knew with Bush, Cheney, etal. And sometimes yelling will be in order, but that's our democracy at work.

And so, I do believe our democratic republic will be restored far away from the corporate, imperial oligarchy we had with Mr. Bush. Or so he believed he was. There is warmth and sunshine in Washington now. It won't always be that way, but we know it's the model of not just possibiliity but also reality. We didn't have that the last 8 years when fear and paranoia spread from the White House, when lying and cheating were the norm with corporations, government contracts and politicial appointees, and mistrust of citizens and spying on them by the government was widespread.

It's a start. And who knows from here, but so far, I like what I see and hear. President Obama, you're ok.