Photography

New Camera

I really should update this site a little more! But today’s news is very good – I finally made the move to mirrorless. I picked up a Canon R5 this week and the differences between it and my other camera ( the 5D Mk IV ) were apparent right away. I needed to know the improvements weren’t just marginal but would change the success rate of my shots – so after loads of reading, pixel-peeping sample photos, looking at months of results from real world wedding photographers and landscape/macro photogs, I made the plunge!

I walked around my house to just test its capabilities. I’ll show you some photos and outline my favorite things from this first day of use.

One of the challenges I faced with the 5DIV was the screen on the back didn’t articulate. This meant I had to either guess how the photo would come out on low to the ground subjects – something I honestly got decent at with years of experience – but would need to take many photos to achieve a perfect frame or reliable subject focus. Those days are gone!!! With the new articulating screen, I can finally, easily, take great low height photos. I practiced on my King Quail.

See more new photos!
Photography

Tech Campus

Jeremy and I have taken to walking Tech campus now and then. For a while there we never really went back but lately the distance between our graduation date and today has mellowed my feelings into just nostalgia. The weather was kind and gave us a 70 degree day on Sunday. We traversed campus on all the new footpaths and desire paths 15 years have materialized and I took a few photos. I noticed that I took most photos in portrait orientation – a funny side effect of consuming most of my content on a vertical screen.

Walk tech campus with me
Photography, Travel

Boston Harbor

I wanted to post a lot more photos from Boston but I really didn’t take that many. I was busy having fun with Jeremy, my brother, and our friend Zac. I always start a trip with grand ideas of what kinds of photography I’m going to do but then when I go with other people I wind up enjoying myself and forget to capture all that imagery I dreamed about. I still loved these shots from Boston Harbor the day we decided to stop in.

See the sights at the harbor
Photography, Writings

See Ya Summer

It’s hard to say goodbye. The end of summer always leaves me feeling tension – a strange discomfort I feel as I notice the increasingly dim evenings. The brisk air and clear skies that feel great now but also signal the impending bite of winter. The body of my youth loved summer – its best seasonal friend. The heat provided an energy to me and the long days enveloped my mood and outlook with optimism. Things change as we age – everyone knows this – but feeling that change internally is a different experience than knowledge of it can provide. The metaphor, for me, is best encompassed by the sunset – a fiery one. Nobody can fully experience a sunset through words and information. You have to experience it through sight, temperature, wind, intensity – and it’s exactly the same feeling I get about summer coming to a close.

A few scenes from on the water this summer as I said goodbye to an excellent day.

And the quietest moment at the end.

Good night, Summer 2021.

Travel

Lovers Key

One of southwest Florida’s little secrets is Lovers Key. Situated inside of Lovers Key State Park, it is not crowded, has pretty easy access from the State Park itself. It’s $8 to drive into the State park – which is probably one of the crowd deterrents considering the other beaches are “free”. The parking at those other beaches is like $20 for a couple hours though so take my advice and check out Lovers Key!

Apart from the sunsets, the beach is a haven for quite a lot of wildlife. We saw crabs, birds, and endless amounts of sand dollars.

Loved our time there! South West Florida – you never cease to bring me the joy I need in my day.

Art

Enamel Pin Collecting

Since late 2019, I’ve been collecting enamel pins for a board in my office. I started out collecting lots of enamel pins from many fandoms but have settled in on Sailor Moon – a series from the 90’s that I really loved as a child. They just recently remade the series so its pretty cool to watch a whole new generation of people fall in love with the stories.

This week I finished the board!

But… I also just bought two more boards because I really loved building this collection! There’s a collectors aspect to it for sure – with many of the pieces increasing in value over time and a few that are so hard to get they sell out in seconds! The thrill of collecting is definitely there so I intend to continue building this collection. Filling a board is a milestone though and I just wanted to share it!

Art, Local

Poetic Kinetics

Friday I had an unexpected day off and I grabbed lunch with a good friend at A Mano, which makes pretty stellar sandwiches, before finding ourselves at the Botanical Gardens. A couple of new installations had opened up. SUPERnatural: Aerial Art in Motion by Poetic Kinetics had gorgeous draped ribbons throughout the forest walk – and the rest of the garden had Glass Art in Bloom by Jason Gamrath.

I’m so glad that I’m getting to go out so much more than 2020 and the first half of 2021! I remember thinking mid-pandemic that an entire year was a long time to wait – with all the experts predicting 10+ months more of quarantining ourselves away from the social world. In a weird way it took forever, but it got here so fast. Glad to be on the tail end of it, at least in my part of the world.

General

Juneteenth

Yesterday President Biden signed into law that Juneteenth would be observed as a Federal Holiday. It’s kind of amazing how much I’ve learned over the last 2 years about the struggles hoisted upon black people in the USA from it’s inception to today. I did go to school here – and took many a history course – but slavery, the time after slavery, all those things were taught as stuff that happened to black people… and never really about the sources of those ideas and systems in place that enabled those things to happen. Shifting my perspective off the people themselves to the attitudes, beliefs, power, circumstances, and structures that allowed it to happen has blown my mind – because many of those things, even if they are lessened or in a different form, are still in place. For example, African Americans, on paper, were given the right to vote in 1870 but not in practice. African Americans were still denied the right to vote by state constitutions and laws, poll taxes, literacy tests, the “grandfather clause,” and outright intimidation.  It took nearly ONE HUNDRED years later to get Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed. Even now, the environment around voting is actively being pushed towards making it harder to vote for certain populations – and for reasons it doesn’t take a genius to read from the landscape. These effects are long-reaching socially, economically and generationally – as were all the effects of voting restriction in this country’s history.

This awareness has led me to become much more involved in local and federal level political direction. I’m also learning to read more of the history of the US written by the people who lived it and written by the historians that study it. Books written not *about* the systems but from *within* the systems also provide a new lens to see things – and has brought additional clarity. Maybe it just removed some of the rose tinting. In any case, I have experienced plenty of the idea that things are better than they were before so no change is needed now. It’s the battle cry of all personas who are perfectly happy to sacrifice others’ progress to maintain standards they’re comfortable with. There is so much of that.

But, I’ve also seem amazing resilience – belief and work towards the core goals despite any setbacks at the fringes and it’s been refreshing, empowering, and honestly magnetic.

Anyway, I want to celebrate Juneteenth because it is representative of the things that are ultimately building this country up to be greater:

  1. Inclusivity of different groups experiences. This holiday is an independence day for one sort of people – enslaved black people . It’s different from July 4th – Independence day – which was independence only for American whites from their British oppressors and freed not a single enslaved person in America.
  2. Representative of the fact that all is not accomplished at once. Enclaved people were technically free after the Civil war but it took two years for it to reach Galveston. There were even more cities that got the news later, and slaves that were freed on a much longer timeline. Juneteenth was an important moment in time but not the first nor the last of the Black journey in America. This is still true today. We have punctuated celebrations – but there is work yet to be done.

It helps me reflect on my cultural heritage – the emancipation of my people from the British whites – and how that was a much different journey due to a different kind of colonialism – but one that still required ousting power from those who had no place wielding it – and doing it unapologetically. Similar stories worldwide help us all reflect on what it means to truly strive for equality – in both presence, access, and attitudes towards each of us.

Last but not least, I have a series recommendation to help expand how African Americans both experienced America through generations – but how they influenced it too – specifically through food. It’s called High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America, on Netflix.

Hope everyone had a reflective Juneteenth – and celebrated the wins in our history, both on Juneteenth and after.