Saturday, January 29, 2011

Your Cat is On Fire

This day, two days into my 57th year, I reflect on things I have learned and things I have yet to learn and forget about the things I have forgotten - of which there is an abundance, I think...

Tuesday last week I started class for what can only be called Digital Design. It's kind of a Photoshop class, kind of a design class and somewhat of a photography class. I was speculative regarding my level of knowledge and what the class would offer. Lecture on the first night was the basic history of photography and photographers. Interesting as it was, I found little value or epiphanies to be found. The second night began with lecture (schedule shows lecture for the first hour, break for fifteen minutes, and lab, or computer time, for the next hour and fifteen minutes, give or take). The break time was bumped 10 minutes due to an overflow from the lecture and after resuming following the break we went back into the lecture which had not been completed. Lab time was cut short and the in-class exercise on the computer became next week's result of homework. Now, most of you know I mind nothing about being at my computer working on a "puzzle" which is what I consider the work given to us in class. I actually took advantage of the time to not only "fix" the photo we were given, but develop an entirely different process to the end result which came out much better than the instructions the teacher gave.

Original file, low contrast and lots of marks and nicks to repair

Final file, contrast and brightness added, some masking and repair of spots.

That is exactly what I was concerned with when beginning this class. Photoshop people are nothing if not the "Lewis and Clark" of digital imaging. New frontiers, Mr. Spock. However, in taking this course, I have to cool my jets and say, "Gotta go to the beginning and see what I missed"... that is more difficult than I thought. The teacher, although seemingly very knowledgeable in this field, tends to tangent when lecturing. Kind of "war stories" without the stories... and then come back and repeat what was already said, possibly to jog our minds to the point he was working towards before the tangent or maybe because he did not remember that he was already there. I bear with this and again, as I sit, my mind wanders. So used to multi-tasking my work, I find it hard to sit and focus on one person and one subject. Maybe I need to chemically reduce the need to multi-task :-)....

So with that in mind, let me enlighten you, my friends to what I learned this week:

  • Charles Ludwig Dodson, better known as Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland and others) was also a photographer - preferring photos of partially dressed children - you do the math here. He hung out with the likes of Steiglitz and O'Keeffe in the time of the Photo-Secession movement. This movement basically brought photography from the scientific and technical field to the artsy-fartsy - or what my husband likes to call the 'snap shot' evolution. (I also share a birthday with Lewis Carroll but hesitate to do so with the rumors surrounding him as a pedophile - not my kind of scum)
  • My laptop is as good or better than any of the machines in the lab. Consequently, my daughter has gifted me with one of those roll around bags with which to transport it to class. Nice, being familiar with your computer and keyboard.
  • There are, as I predicted, 'snippets' of information I have gleaned over in my self-education process regarding Photoshop. I am sure more will surface, but after the first week of school, the really basic stuff (which I find really boring - go figure) is missing in my education. Like a musician who does not read music, I have adapted and the end result is the same - or better in some instances- but the fact remains that I am going to have to suffer through this basic shit to my goal.
  • As for my fellow students, there is little social time, but I did get to enlighten the guy sitting next to me on the direction to head vis a vie the web and available programs to produce HDR backgrounds for his animation work. Nice kid...
  • Despite my ability to put a composite photo together, I have done it the hard way. After watching and learning from my Kelby Training Seminar on line, I found out the multitude of steps and abundance of time spent putting this graphic together, I could have cut time and effort by at least half with the steps garnered from this site. Thanks Scott and Dave.
The composite for our Family Reunion last year. I took each photo, selected it, copied it,
making it black and white, etc, and place it on the shoe. My grandmother always said
she was like the old woman in the shoe, with so many children, etc... That's us! 

I know this blog is way long for me, but I have a couple of more "what I learned" to add... these are in reference to things other than pictures.

  • despite what I considered good math, it was brought to my attention last night that I am not 58 but 57 this year which makes me only ONE year older than Chief Justice Roberts of the Supreme Court with whom I share a birthday.... bite me, Johnny Boy  :-) AND a year younger than I thought! Yay!
  • There is much fun to be had at my age... Taking 3rd in a poker tournament makes me smile.
  • Despite the dastardly comment from my good friend regarding my boobs being gravitationally challenged, I have to say that I find the silver lining in that I have born and raised two wonderful kids which started the process, they at least are big enough to have the mass for gravity to work, and most especially I have survived long enough to feel the results of same. So bite me, Randy :-)
  • I just think Facebook is the best!!! especially on my birthday when so many of my friends are there to wish me a happy birthday. If it is good for nothing else, it is exemplary for that! Thank you everyone for your birthday greetings. you made my day.
On this, the 29th of January - the day which was always celebrated by my mother as my birthday, bless her heart and God rest her soul, I am glad to be here, working on my projects, writing my blog and just plain "hanging out" at 57 years old. I gained a year, lost some trepidation regarding my knowledge level in my hobby and passion, made a couple of new friends, won 3rd place at poker, and have a weekend ahead of me to do much more.
Thanks for sticking around for the whole diatribe if you made it and here are a couple of photos to reward your tenacity. Happy Trails folks.
Oh, and in conclusion, if the title got you here, it did it's job... I have no idea if you even have a cat... it was suggested that the title was an excellent way to get someone to click on your link. Sorry for the misdirection. I can't promise it won't happen again, but if it should, you can bet I will be looking at my stats to see how well it works. Laugh every day... it takes away the tension in your life!

Truth in advertising, here is a cat for ...artist: Artelfic

One of  my latest shots for you. This is up at Hidden Lakes Park. It is a composite of 5 images. Notice the tracking of the bird in flight. ©SMW 2011

1 comment:

  1. Hey Pat.Cat.on.Fire!

    Love you post! So how did you lose a year??? I'm going to be 61 in a couple of months, and I always remembered we were all odd or even in our ages ... and it always started with you in January!

    Love that you are back at DVC in Photoshop class. Just wait ... maybe you can become so accomplished, you can become adjunct faculty and teach the young wippersnappers a thing or two!

    Can't keep up which of your pix is my favorite since I change my desktop to showcase them as you post. Just taking down the wharf and putting up the spiderweb!

    Love you lots ... and stay on fire! It keeps you young!