There’s more to the picture than meets the eye

flickr-icon-19Hey hey, my my… I need help!

I just realized my cooking adventure of late had left me with a ton of photos to upload on Flickr. I’ve been on the photo-sharing site for over 3 years now and never thought I’d manage to fill up the 200 pic limit, ever. But here it is… I’m just about to hit the mark and the site’s been bugging me for over a month… Go Pro, bro!!! Well, looking at the big picture, I love photography and I’d probably won’t stop taking pictures anytime soon. And so, after a bit of research, reading on people’s opinions and experience, I’m finally on the verge of deciding to suck it up and, well… go Pro!!!

That’ll set me back 25 bucks! Ouch! So much for my holiday shopping.

Well okay, maybe not. But I’m actually hitting Arizona for the Christmas weekend and I plan to shoot like a maniac while I’m down there. I wonder how much cactus photography I can take. So anyway, I would really need the unlimited web space that Flickr’s Pro account offers. Besides, it would be nice to finally be able to organize my pics into multiple sets. And the groups! I love the groups and the discussions. Interactions with other folks have been incredibly helpful, educational and inspiring.

I’ve also wrestled with switching to other sites like Photobucket and Zooomr. I considered Smugmug as well, but they’re even more expensive. I don’t know. Is there really more to the picture than meets my wallet? Just want to make a sound decision, that’s all.

So, should I or should I not go with Flickr Pro? Someone help me decide, please.

A little nutty

Coming home from work this afternoon, I just felt spent that I’m now looking forward to nothing but a relaxing weekend. Maybe do a little writing. A little reflection. So, to kick things off, I fix myself dinner, turn on the TV and unwind.

I found this show on Animal Planet called In Search of the King Cobra. Now, I’m not particularly enamoured by watching anything that slithers, really. But what’s interesting to me is that the host of this show, Andrew Stevens, is a wildlife photographer. Here, he goes to India in search of the biggest venomous snake in the world just so he could, uhm… have a little kodak moment? I mean, I could hardly swallow my linguine as the guy hams around in a snakepit like a child in a sandbox. He holds the reptile on one hand and macro-focuses his camera on the other, all the while, elucidating on the chilling facts of having little to no chance of survival upon being bitten by one. There’s a right way to do it, he says, on staying on the safe side. I say, he’s a little nutty.

But now that the show’s over, I’m able to catch my breath again and reflect on another fact that I, this time, have picked up from this experience. It’s interesting to note that being an artist of any medium requires an amount of expertise on the subject chosen to really capture some kind of magic. And in some cases, preserve your life as well. Risks are always involved; and not knowing your subject by heart can be an outright injustice, if not an imminent danger, to your purpose.

One weekend last summer, I was at the park trying to brush up on my nature photography skills when I noticed this lady who seemed to be holding her own session also. It appeared to me that she wasn’t in a hurry at all like I was. I wanted to simply shoot and shoot and shoot and go home. After all, who in their right mind would want to stand out there in the sweltering heat? But this lady, she was patient. Crazy patient. She was standing at a distance waiting for the perfect opportunity to capture the perfect composition. That one quick moment when the birds fly over the tree as the right amount of clouds, for a quick moment, covers the sun to minimize its glare, so as to create the perfect color and contrast. To capture honesty, one must understand what it is and the conviction it would take to find it. Seeing that made me realize, I have a long way to go to really know what I’m doing.

starry starry nightI remember going to a Van Gogh exhibit a long time ago when his paintings were on display at the L.A. Museum. It was surreal to be able to feel and understand the painful life he lived through the colors that he chose and the way his brush strokes seemed to have danced to the same melancholic tune that was playing in the background. I could almost imagine myself being transported to 19th century Paris for a moment. I saw that he knew what he needed to convey. And how to convey it. It was a bold statement. To express the vulnerability that he did for the whole world to see a century later. The story of his life shot through his fingers, gushing out in vivid color, immortalized on meager canvas.

The same goes with music, I guess. I’ve had my fair share of crummy compositions. I must have written at least three hundred songs in the last twenty five years but only a handful were decent enough to be appreciated. And therefore, recorded. After all these years, I am still searching everytime for what to do and how to do it. And more importantly, how to do it right. I admit that I have not mastered the art that I so much consider to be my lifeblood. Perhaps due to a lack of boldness. It’s frustrating at times.

And this brings me to the dreaded subject of my recent life. Again. Oh, how painful it is to live through your days and not know what the right thing is. Does anyone really know? It seems we’re all just guessing and shooting in the dark. I mean, I do read the Bible and you really can’t be any more direct than what it says. Alright already! I got it! And yet, our dreaded flesh seems to be either stubborn or stupid. Maybe even both. It just wouldn’t do what it knows it should do. It tries and it fails. It tries again and it fails again. I get tired sometimes.

Right now, I am in the middle of a healing process. I’m in the middle of wanting to do what I need to do. But couldn’t do it yet. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe someday. I can’t see too far in the future. Everything is too much to handle right now. Too much to think about. Right now, I need patience. Yours and mine. As I try to find my way out of this mess. And as I try to find the right thing to do.

Or, maybe I just need to be a little nutty myself.

The Right Thing To Do

There was a time not long ago
When things were uncomplicated
Didn’t have to stray too far from the light
Now I’m torn between myself
And my pride can’t hear you clearly
I can’t even see what’s plain in sight

Cuz my eyes are so busy
Busy searching for the right thing to do
And my mind is so busy
Busy wonderin’ what’s the right thing to do

I clench my fist so tight it hurts my feelings
To do this to myself and to you
And wandering in the darkness
Is not the best use of my time
But there’s nothing yet for me to do

Cuz right now my eyes are busy
Busy looking for the right thing to do
And my mind is busy
Busy wondrin’ what’s the right thing to do

When times go rough, you walk a thin line
When clouds roll by, you slip and fall
And underneath your bed is a monster
It keeps you from your dreams of tonight
Tomorrow and forever

I woke up this morning with the sun above my head
And the promise of a new day at hand
With a smile on my face I tried to pick up the pieces
From the stormy seas I pray to reach land… someday

Till then my eyes will be busy
Busy searching for the right thing to do
My mind will be busy
Busy wondrin’ what’s the right thing to do
Till then my hands will be busy
Busy searching for the right thing to do
And my heart will be busy
Busy longing for the right thing

Love the fall

My gosh, it’s November already! Although the weather here in Cheyenne has been on the cooler side for a few weeks now, it’s still amazing how time seem to have flown so fast this year.

But I love the fall. The color, the breeze (I can hear the wind howling and pounding on my windows as I write this) and of course, the snow flakes! We’ve had a couple of snow falls already in the past month and I look forward to many more.

Hate to say it though, but this is the time of year I tend to just laze around and do nothing. Just want to bundle up, have a mug of hot cholocate and be glued to the tube all weekend. So I, at least, tried to clear my conscience today by picking up the guitar and attempting to write a tune but… you know how I’ve been on that department lately. So, no progress there, unfortunately.

Lions Park in the SummerThen it just dawned on me, I still have a whole bunch of pictures that I took about 3 months ago. Maybe I could work on those. Do a little magic and put them up on the website. And so I did. The last set I put up was of some kids showing off their bike riding skills. This new one I’m putting up right now is of the park itself. Not a whole lot, just some interesting shots I thought I could inject some emotional value into. I enjoy doing that, by the way. Reason is because I really don’t use photography as a be-all-end-all medium. I’m no slave to f-stops, apertures and shutter speeds, even though I respect the rules. I simply decide whether I like something or not. I don’t have to go by what the specs tell me. The camera is just a tool for me to create a base for my end product, which is simply an image with a personal stamp on it. However I stamp it depends on how I wish to express myself at a particular moment. And it’s never the same way twice. But, painters are the same, aren’t they? Whatever works, I guess.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of sepia-toned photos. And sometimes, I would do a combo b/w and color effect to exaggerate the subject’s importance. Doing all this is very relaxing to me so I don’t mind putting in the effort when it’s called for. However, when a particular photo holds up on its own in my opinion, I just leave it alone. Work’s done there.

Anyhow, I just wanted plug in the new page. Check it out. Next time, I’ll work on the other set… a bunch of macro shots from the botanical garden here in town. Lots more on that one.

But as I said earlier, right now I just want to laze around… so I’ll do that for now, okay?

It is finished

going in style Yes, it’s been a while since I posted here, I know. What a whirlwind of a time, I tell ya! But the good news is that I was able to finish my new CD project for this year. Something I didn’t think was possible to do! Not this year anyway. So I’m happy about it. I wanted to share this music with you hoping you’d enjoy it as much as I do. As usual, it’s nowhere near perfect… just an honest expression of my art, that’s all. These are just songs that, just like the other CDs, peek into what I’ve been going through in my life lately. I’ve painted my own poetic picture of it. Listen for yourself and paint your own.

Also, I’ve revamped the music section of this website as well. I took off the streaming Flash players because they didn’t sound good. They were low quality. So instead, I created for each album an m3u playlist that you can download and play on your own desktop audio player. Any of the regular ones will do, really. iTunes, Windows Media, Real Player, whatever. As long as it plays mp3’s and you’re online, you’re good to go.

By the way, that photo on top is featured in the back cover of the CD. I knew there’s a reason why I took that shot three years ago when I was still in Georgia. I remember being drawn to the concept… the reality that nothing lasts forever. And that the very symbol of beauty and romance proves it like no other.

But it’s too painful to talk about further, so just enjoy the art, will ya?

Well, ’nuff said! Let’s dig in and crank up the music, shall we?