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Old Jun 16, 2012, 11:59 AM   #1
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Default Week 14 of 52

This whole week was difficult for me on a lot of fronts Ė I was still struggling with the post-vacation let-down and also with having my week/month apparently disrupted and my life temporarily not my own.

I had started a 30-day call-in stint for federal jury duty and heard Friday that I would have to report to Fresno at 8 am on Wednesday. Fresno is several hundred miles from where I work, and something like 160 miles from where I live, which meant that I couldnít commute from home. Monday was spent trying to organize things at work for an indefinite absence. Talk about major stressed-out and little time for pictures! When we got home I looked at my neighborís yard and spotted this lovely flower. Walked across the street, a couple of snaps and I had my Monday picture.



I took a half-day off work on Tuesday so that I could get up to Fresno (a town I had never been in before) before dark. I had visions of downtown Los Angeles, tons of traffic and confusing streets. But the traffic at 5 pm wasnít all that bad, the streets werenít particularly confusing (and matched the map I had studied over the weekend), and both the motel and the federal courthouse easy to find. Not only that, Fresno turned out to be rather charming Ė down the block from where I was staying was a lovely old (still currently used) train station. I thoroughly enjoyed walking around it and taking pictures. The building was built in 1899, and spoke very strongly of life in a different age, when travel was much slower.



Wednesday I left early for the courthouse (in case I got stuck on the wrong side of the tracks when a long freight train went by) but didnít take my camera (figured that would be a no-no). I found several interesting buildings not far away and was thinking that staying in Fresno might not be such a bad thing, if I ended up on a jury. I had made tentative plans on what to photograph that evening and possibly the next day. But that was not to be Ė I wasnít selected and so packed up and checked out at noon, driving back home.

Instead, I got home and looked up to see that the solid part of the sliding glass door had become frosted. I didnít think about taking pictures of it until almost too late.





When I went back inside from taking some pictures that didnít work out, I closed the screen and heard loud tinkling. So much for that pane. I ended up posting this series to the project:



I think that the top one might have been more or less the point of impact. Surprisingly enough, I didnít find a dead bird so I guess the impact, while enough to shatter the window, wasnít enough to kill the bird. Or else it really was the high winds that somehow stressed the glass so that it fractured.

Thursday I was still on pins and needles and stressed out. There was the let-down of not being able to photograph the several buildings I had spotted in Fresno, trying to get caught up from being away for a day and not knowing/half hoping that I would need to return to Fresno again. So I didnít spend any time Thursday at lunch looking for subjects, which left me looking for subjects when I got home. I took a walk around the block with the FA 31 and a circular polarizer. It has quite an effect in the evening, if you can get the angles right.





Friday was much the same as Thursday, stressed out and wondering about the next week. The stress level was raised even higher in the afternoon when Dan emailed me that there was a brush fire and the northbound lanes were closed. That meant that getting home could be a problem (an extra 40 miles and another hour for our already long commute). But at least I had plans for the picture I wanted to take Ė I was going to take a picture of the lit sign saying the freeway was closed. Dan was driving and I fell asleep while we crawled toward the Newhall Pass (and the sign I had planned to photograph), so I completely missed that opportunity.

When I called the jury service tape, I was very surprised to hear that I had been released, and the rest of the month was mine. Relief mixed with disappointment that I would miss the photo opportunities I had tentatively planned (but not enough disappointment to plan a special trip up to Fresno just to take pictures, at least not right now). It also left me looking for a picture with no desire to stay up late trying to set something up indoors. Another walk around the block, this time with the macro and without a polarizer didnít produce much. But I really like the lighting on this one, and thereís other things I find interesting with it. It got no comments when I posted it to the project, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. Canít tell you what it is or why, it just is.



Saturday found us having to go shopping, so we headed toward LA instead of Bakersfield. They had re-opened the freeway at 8:30 Friday night, so I figured Saturday I would try my hand at photojournalism and shooting from a moving vehicle/through the windshield.



There were still hot spots in the fire area (notice smoke rising upper right) and there were lots of firefighters around. I have a better picture (no motion blur) of the response, but it doesnít have the smoke. If you are interested, it is here: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/p487897818/e22e2a4ab .

On the way home, with the fire next to us I took this one:



Sunday found me completely uninspired and uninterested in trying much. I tried a couple of product photography things, but this is something I constantly struggle with. Hereís the only one I bothered keeping, an attempt at low-key.



At this point I wanted to toss away all my photography stuff and call it quits Ė a complete funk. But rather than leave you on such a down note, Iíll add that things went much better this week. I decided on Wednesday that I would spend a week shooting pictures of water (a good theme). I havenít posted a water picture yet, but Iíve posted some other neat pictures Ė Iím no longer in last weekís funk at all.
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 12:21 PM   #2
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Only a true photographer would see their sliding glass door shattered and instead of cursing pick up a camera. I love green trees on deep blue skies. I shoot them quite often.
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 6:31 PM   #3
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Paul - A circular polarizer really helps with the green trees/deep blue skies pictures. I've been using it more often (it rather lives on the FA 31) and getting more respect for it. It sometimes makes things worse, it's taking me a while to make peace with it, and use it effectively.

The patterns in the glass were really cool, I just wish I had gotten more good shots, I somewhat struggled with it - there were a number of unexpected challenges. I had expected it to be really easy - I mean, my thought was how difficult can it be (well, there's the background, the focus, the dof etc. - all problems that have to be solved). I'm finding photography is harder now than it was when I bought my first dSLR.
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 2:27 AM   #4
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Given the circumstances of your week I am impressed with the results. Since they were not shot with a Pentax I will not post them here but I have started shooting more. I think that getting rid of my brief Fuji/Nikon relationship has allowed me to concentrate on the image again. My latest are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/monza76/

Home in just over 2 weeks
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:31 PM   #5
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Ira - Your springtime Tuk pictures are really wonderful - love the midnight sun picture with the light on the building.

I'm not a pro enough to get along with any camera that I try - there's probably very few who really are like that. I never got along with the Panasonic FZ30, and think that I would struggle with any of the full frame cameras that are currently on the market. I occasionally struggle with dof issues with the Pentax cameras, sometimes wishing for the small sensor Sony F717 capabilities. So it just depends on the person.

Is there a "short-timers" calendar in your apartment? You aren't really counting the days down, are you? But I think you have been lucky to have the opportunity to spend some time in what looks like a very unusual area, one that's pretty in spring. It would be something to think back on fondly in a few years.
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:43 PM   #6
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Harriet - some very interesting photos, despite the very difficult week. Wonderful delicate texture on #1, and very nice framing on #2. Also some fine photojournalism!

Ira - Indeed some very interesting views of an amazing region. Best wishes for a safe homecoming!
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 11:35 PM   #7
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Thanks, Mole! I may end up posting this past week on time, instead of continuing to be a week late. Want to talk about one of the pictures, and another (just posted in the bi-weekly challenge) is funny and I want to share it sooner rather than later.
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