Photography

Photo-Op

Last week was one of the busiest weeks in the accounting world. Every single 1099 is supposed to be mailed out by the last business day of the month. Key word there: SUPPOSED. Yeah, there’s always a few slackers that don’t get their info in to us until the following Monday. But, it is what it is. However, now that 1099s are (for the most part) over and done with, there’s a bit of a lull until March when business returns are due and individuals begin to scramble realizing they only have a month left to complete theirs.

Since I’m now in said lull, I must find ways to entertain myself from 8-5, Monday through Friday. As much as I enjoy browsing Pinterest and online shopping, my bank account doesn’t quite appreciate my enthusiasm, and so free entertainment must ensue (well, MOSTLY free).

I say free because I don’t have to pay for internet at work.

After putting together a few final 1099s that trickled in over the weekend, I logged into my ever-forgotten Facebook account to see if I had missed anything in the social networking world in the last three weeks. I hadn’t (big shocker). But, as I’m sure many of you can attest to, I found myself weaving my way through page after page of personal nonsense. (No offense to many of you, but, have you ever heard of a diary?) It was during my mindless Facebook surfing that I came across a friend-of-a-friend’s page. I saw a photo that caught my eye, and the next thing I knew I was clicking on links to blogs and following this person’s life via photography. It was MESMERIZING. While I’ve never even met her, I was totally captivated by her photos. It made me wish that I was more of a photographer. Sure, I take a few iPhone photos here and there to post on Instagram, but nothing of really good quality that would capture a viewer’s attention. (To see the photos that caught my eye, click http://www.stephanierudy.com/).

Last semester I took a photography and Photoshop class and absolutely HATED it! Despised it! I struggled immensely through the entire semester and ended up with a terrible grade. I loathed coming up with 100 photos every single week. It was annoying to lug around a five pound camera and to try and remember f-stops and all of that photography drivel. Every photo I took had the wrong exposure and therefore an overabundance of noise and general ugliness. But after seeing this girl’s photos, and then following her links to a few other photography blogs, I am finding myself willing to pick up my camera again and start shooting.

And now the ongoing photographer debate: Canon versus Nikon. What say you?

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What Does Technology Do For You?

As far as technology goes, I’ll be one of the first to argue that it is, in many ways, hurting our culture. I, for one, prefer the relaxation and conjuring of imagination that only a book can bring to the human mind. I despise television – in my opinion it doesn’t teach us anything of value, and, these days, is just thousands of channels of mindless drivel. Have Americans really become so bored with life that we have resorted to filming penniless rednecks whose only form of entertainment is drinking too much moonshine and passing out? Ahh.. but I digress…

I do, however, believe that some technology has become extremely beneficial, and, in fact, helpful, to many of us and our ways of life.

The camera, for one. I never truly appreciated its value until this semester. I am enrolled in a photography and Photoshop class – I am one month into the semester and have already learned a hundred more things about a digital camera that I never knew before. As a creative-minded individual, I am soaking up every tidbit of information like a sponge. And as a design student, I am even more appreciative of having a camera in my phone – and a good camera, at that!

One of the things that I’m learning in my design classes is that we can (and must!) draw inspiration from everywhere and everything. That means pulling out your sketchbook and roughly outlining what’s caught your eye. OR.. Pulling out your camera phone and snapping a photo that can be uploaded to your computer and saved into your archives. *Sidenote: I hate to put down sketching, because as old-school as it is, and as modern as design has become (we now use CAD and other design programs to draw out future homes, gardens, and commercial spaces), it is so much more fulfilling to hand-draw something on paper. I actually prefer this method, myself.

That said, it sure is a lot easier to remember what something looks like when you can pull up the image of it.

The beauty of digital archives is the ability it gives us to see different forms of design right next to each other. As an interior design student in today’s society, the curriculum we learn in school is heavily contemporary. I tend to balk when it comes to designing something that I feel is cold and lifeless, but there are aspects of modern design that can be warm and inviting if done the correct way. I am more appreciative of the traditional look, but I do love a good mix of the two.

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Take the two light fixtures above, for example. They are both visually appealing and yet completely different from each other. The chandelier is bright red and really draws the eye. It is whimsical and traditional, and yet modern in its own way. The lantern below it almost has an Asian flair, and is much less eye-catching. But it still draws enough attention and does its job in a visually appealing way. I love the challenge of finding a way to incorporate both into the same space.

So the next time you’re out-and-about and you see something that you feel is just fantastic, don’t hesitate to document it. The other great thing about digital photography, is your ability to delete it.

ImageAbove: the Mont Bleu Hotel & Casino in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada

ImageAbove: An outdoor seating area on campus at Sacramento State