Friday, July 30, 2010

PHOTOGRAPHY LESSONS

Being a photographer has taught me some important lessons:
  • Sometimes it's best to be a perfectionist, and sometimes it's best to let go.
  • Sometimes joy is in finding the unexpected.
  • Sometimes a weakness can become a strength.
  • Often a simple detail is better than a complicated whole.
  • Often the process is more meaningful than the final result.
  • Often the artist's vision is more real than reality itself.
  • Always the result is worth the effort.
  • Always the creative process increases my understanding of reality.
  • Always photography makes me a better person.
Here is one of my first "serious" images of a volunteer sunflower in my back yard in Texas.  At first I was upset that the image was out of focus.  Then I realized by making it more out of focus, I could create an impressionistic image that was much more interesting than the real flower.  

This is still one of my favorites, because it illustrates all the principles above.  Hope you like it too:

Bryan, Texas:  Big Sunflower

May you find something to fulfill your life as photography has in mine.

- bjd






THINGS THAT BOTHER THE HELL OUT OF ME

The older I get, the less tolerance I have for sloppy language, especially the kind that my students use in their term papers that are rife with run-on sentences, misspelings and all kinds of other useless verbiage that serves no purpose other than padding the length of the paper and making me frustrated to the point where I feel the need to write about it in this otherwise lovely blog.

It seems to be common practice now to use noun adjectives.

Its practically universal usage now, even in respected print media, to get it's possessive and contraction reversed for the pronoun "it".  This is unforgivable.

I keep telling my students to never use split infinitives, but they keep doing it.

Considering all the dangling participles used these days, style manuals may make them legal.

The best papers are written in the active voice.

Some people, in their efforts, use too many commas, in spite of the fact that this practice, when overused, often adds nothing to the meaning of a sentence.

Others on the other hand are reluctant to use commas in writing and this practice often makes it more difficult for the reader to determine what goes with what.

Above all, avoid the use of obtuse, effete, unfathomable language, ascertain the audience for your composition, employ the least abtuse terminology denuded of hubris, false terminology and unnecessarily repeated words, to convey complex and abstract ideas; moreover, one should construct sentences, paragraphs and words in such a way as to make them intelligible by the average populace, i.e. a person with a sixth-grade education.

It pains me to see the English language become a slangathaurus. 


It's AFU, dude.

-bjd

Saturday, July 10, 2010

DREAMS

Some people are driven by their dreams more than others.  I, for one, have always had dreams:
  • Someday I'll be the one to find the cure for cancer.  (Didn't work out.)
  • Someday I'll win the lottery and be financially secure. (Lousy odds.)
  • Someday I'll write the Great American Novel. (Not at this rate.)
  • Someday I'll be rich and famous and have homes in Aix, Paris, London and Santa Fe. (Not gonna happen.)
Aging has instilled a harsh dose of reality into my dreams these days:
  • Someday I hope to retire with a roof over my head and not have to eat cat food.
  • Someday I would like to be known as a good person who did her best.
  • Someday I'll decide whether to be buried or cremated (but not yet).
  • Someday I'll decide what I want to be when I grow up.
And there are still a few old dreams that I cling to:
  • Someday I'll finally understand the General Theory of Relativity.
  • Someday the Secret of the Universe will be revealed to me.
  • Someday my son will respect me as an intelligent human being.
  • Someday I will have all the time to do all the things I want to do.
In the meantime, I'll keep fine-tuning my dreams, and reminding myself: "A goal without a plan is just a dream."

On the other hand, dreams are nice just for their own sake.  The world needs more dreamers and dreams. 

May we always remember that dreams, well-formed, and well executed, can make the world a better place.  And may we have the courage and conviction to know when to abandon our old dreams that have outlived their purpose.

Here is one of my favorite images: 

Texas Highway 21:
Abandoned Dreams


This is for all of you out there: may you never forget that dreams can come true - if you allow them to.

-bjd