December 19, 2014

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And in December 2014, whooping cough was making a return, sweeping through the area. I got direct exposure at work, and since I had a lingering cough from what I thought (and the experts eventually confirmed) was a cold, I spent the afternoon at a certain nearby clinic getting poked, prodded, and eventually testing clean for diphtheria. There were maybe more striking pics to take in that clinic, but I chose this one because Annie used to climb on that sculpture with her big brother when she was younger.

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December 15, 2014 No. 2

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This is one of those cases where another photo opp. presented itself after that days picture had been sent. So I sent another. The light was bad, but the context was so Portland. We had Ferguson protesters everywhere. Sometimes you were stock in a small restaurant or shop for 10-15 minutes while waiting for them to all march by so you could get the door open and out onto the sidewalk. We saw Jesse Jackson come to Portland and speak about police brutality in the context of local cases. This Christmas tree lot was behind Jefferson High School, the only high school in the Portland metro area with a higher ratio of black students to all other races. We had a few “us against them” race issues crop up at work as well–a public building–but people were reasonable and willing to talk it out, which was pretty cool. That was Portland in December 2014.

Since the light was bad–the sky opened up and poured rain a few minutes later–I used theĀ  BeFunky photo editing app to add a “fill light” to this photo and up the saturation slightly. I admit, this is one of those times I really wanted my Nikon and some Fuji film…

“But it’s bluuurry…”

I am a formally trained, non-professional photographer.

“Why is it out of focus?”

“Why is it so dark?”

And so forth.

I won my first award for my photography using a pinhole camera that I built out of cardboard and black construction paper. After lots of classes and contests and jobs and shows I’ve come to the conclusion that I do best when playing to my strengths. I like natural light. I like photography on the fly. I’m not after the technically perfect calendar shot, because that’s not my strength. I like to convey an idea. Of course, I want to continuously work on improving the technical quality of my pictures. Always striving.

But that’s not what this is about–it’s a story. It’s a picture a day, no matter what’s going on that day. I have a full time job that’s not as a National Geographic photographer. And life is what happens as we are making other plans. Content is the aim.

AND

Most of these are taken with a cellphone.

Pinhole camera.

Photographers have always experimented with alternate techniques, from home built cameras, to playing around with light exposure on different materials to…cell phones. There are actual shows and contests out there devoted solely to cell photography. There are some fascinating considerations when it comes to cell phone photography. Look at the impact on our culture when we stuck a camera in nearly everyone’s hand. Look at all the moments that were never recorded before because a photographer wasn’t on hand with all their equipment. Suddenly, we’ve been given the ability to see the world through everyone’s eyes.

So these are taken with a cell phone–which has some physical limitations. On top of that, I have all that other stuff going on that sometimes keeps me from spending a long time getting out there looking for that perfect shot, or having the time to bracket. If that bothers you, don’t look. This is a story blog–it’s just being told primarily by pictures, instead of words.

I do have “real cameras,” which I occasionally get a chance to dust off and use. I reserve the right to use photos from those for my pic of the day–but I’ll warn you if I change equipment. What you’ve seen so far are taken with a Kyocera Torque (most awesome phone ever), using the Camera ZOOM FX Premium camera app. I am a long time Fuji film fan, so the degree of saturation in my picture was frustrating me, and when CZOOM got buggy for a while (they fixed that), I tried out the BeFunky Photo Editor app, and I gotta say, I like it a lot. It’s not Photoshop for the phone or anything, but it does give you more adjustment powers than you see with most other photo edit apps. So you’re gonna see some of that come into play in January.