Friday, March 31, 2017

Double Rainbow

About two weeks ago I stepped out my front door to find this wonderful view.

No other words for this post - just nature's beauty.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Start My Day with Gratitude

Today I was at the Nampa Rec Center at 5am, when they open. That's way earlier than I normally get there, but I had an appointment and had to fit in my exercise earlier. There's a group of regulars who are at the NRC every morning at 5am. This morning I was the fourth one there. With everybody standing in line, I decided to hold the door. I ended up holding it for about 40 people.

How many times have you started a day with dozens of people saying, "Thank you"? This is probably the first time I have and it was a great way to start the day.

I was able to express kindness and I received gratitude in return.
They were able to receive kindness, and express gratitude.
That sure seems like a win-win situation to me.

I don't know how often I'll do the same thing, but I received a great return for minimal effort.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Edward's Greenhouse

Yesterday a group of photographer friends went to Edward's Greenhouse for a photo field trip. I'm not a flower photographer. It's not that I can't shoot flowers - I just don't enjoy that subject matter. And there are other photographers in the camera clubs who are very talented in that arena. Even so, it's good to push my boundaries, to expand my comfort zone. And a friend assured me there was way more than just flowers there - and he was right.

I found more subjects to shoot than I had time for. I even discovered some fun in shooting flowers. There were textures and shapes and lines and it all just worked together so beautifully. In such a target rich environment, the trouble for me is finding where to start. Directly inside the front door is a room filled with small plants, tchotchkes, etc. I could have spent several hours just in that room alone. Normally when I get to a new place, I start by just walking around for a while, not shooting anything, just trying to take in all that is available. But on this day, I decided to just start shooting, to see what I might find.

For most of the day, I had an extension tube on the lens, giving me the ability to shoot macro. I don't shoot much macro normally, but given an opportunity like this greenhouse presented, how could I not? Plus, I prefer to take photos of details and small scenes. And with a macro lens - now that's pretty small.

I discovered that when shooting plants (and other things) in macro, many things become abstract. I like abstracts. They allow the viewer's mind to wander and wonder. The inevitable question is always: What is it? But with abstracts that a question I never answer.

Edward's Greenhouse Photo Album

Saturday, December 31, 2016

No Resolutions

I don't make New Year's Resolutions; I stopped years ago. They seem so arbitrary and irrelevant and too easy to break. Instead, I make goals for the year. Some could argue that's just semantics, but it feels like a big difference to me.

For 2016 I made three goals.
One goal I met.
The second goal I think I met.
The third goal - I wasn't even close.

2016 Goal #1: Walk 1000 miles

I met this goal. As of today, I walked 1091.46 miles this year. For someone with my physical challenges, that feels really good. To be honest, I wasn't sure I could walk that far. But it was a good place to start. Since I met the goal, it needs to increase.

2016 Goal #2: Exercise 260+ days

I think I met this. I've discovered that it's more difficult to track than I thought. Most days I went to the rec center and exercised (walked the track) and those days are pretty easy to count. But some days my exercise was mowing the lawn, or raking leaves, or shoveling snow. For most people that might not seem like much exercise, but for me - on some days - that was as much as I could do. So I think I met it, but I'm not sure. I don't think I need this as a goal. If I'm meeting the walking goal of 100 miles per month, I'll be exercising often (nearly every day). So I don't think I need to track the number of exercising days.

2016 Goal #3: Read 52 Books/Journals

I know I didn't meet this goal. I spent too much time watching TV, or surfing online, instead of reading. Even so, a book a week is a bit ambitious. So for next year I'll be keeping the goal and changing the target. I think a book or professional journal every two weeks is realistic and challenging. And completing the goal will certainly help me professionally.

So there are two goals for 2017. They are not resolutions. They will be the result of daily choices, making healthy decisions every day.

2017 Goal #1: Walk 1200 miles
2017 Goal #2: Read 26 Book/Journals

This year, according to fitbit, in addition to the 1091 miles:
I took 2.3 million steps, and climbed 2329 floors!

Monday, October 10, 2016

I don't understand politics

Political conversations are boring.
Not that political conversations aren't about important issues. The conversations are boring because no progress is ever made.

Side Note: I might use hyperbole and exaggeration throughout this post. I realize when I say things like "always" and "never" that's rarely actually true. But it helps me express my thoughts. If you want to argue my exaggerations - go right ahead and try. But I rarely accept invitations to arguments.

When people say they want to have a political conversation, what they really mean is, "I want to share my political opinion about a certain issue or candidate. I don't care about your opinion because you're wrong, unless you agree with me completely. In that case, I agree with you completely. If you start talking about your opinion that is different than my opinion, I won't listen to anything you have to say. Instead I will ridicule you and call you names."

Why would I want to participate in that? I wouldn't - ever.

I see futile forms of discourse.

1. My candidate is better than your candidate.

By itself, this is a fine position, an expected statement of opinion. I would expect supporters of one candidate to consider their candidate the best. However, this sentiment is rarely ever stated as an opinion. The "conversation" usually goes something like this:
"My candidate is good because ... blah blah blah.
Your candidate is bad because ... yada yada yada."

The opposing supporter then counters with:
"No, my candidate is good because ... yada yada yada and your candidate is bad because blah blah blah."

"No, you're wrong. My candidate is better than yours. Your candidate is guilty of x, y and z."
"Well you're an idiot because my candidate is better than your candidate because your candidate is guilty of x, y and z."

"I'm rubber, you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you."
"I know you are but what am I?"
"I know you are but what am I? Infinity."

It's fine to believe your candidate is better than the other one. But your belief isn't fact - it's still an opinion. And if your opinion is valuable, why isn't someone else's opinion also valuable? Too many people seem to believe that only their opinion is valid.

If your opinion is based on a lie, it's not an opinion; it's a lie.

Trump supporters would say that anyone who supports Clinton is basing their opinion on a lie, making that opinion invalid.
Clinton supporters would say that anyone who supports Trump is basing their opinion on a lie, making that opinion invalid.

Which brings me to the second typical attempt at political discussion.

2. Each side only sees the good in their candidate and only sees the bad in the other candidate.

Anything Trump does wrong, or has ever done wrong is excused by Trump supporters. They will dismiss the wrong-doing as being not that bad, or an attempt by Clinton supporters to smear Trump, or blame it on liberal media.

Anything Clinton does wrong, or has ever done wrong is excused by Clinton supporters for the same reasons. Each group has blinders on for their own candidates flaws, and a spotlight for the other candidates flaws.

Take an act of questionable morality - any act will do. People will attack the other candidate for that act, while excusing the identical act in their own candidate. "If my candidate lies, it's not really that bad. If the other candidate lies they should be thrown in prison." And I don't think people even recognize the double standard.

3. Very few people are actually voting FOR a candidate.

So much of the rhetoric I hear is based on how bad the other candidate is which is why you have to vote for my candidate.

I'm not sure I've heard anyone say, "I'm voting for Trump because he's an wonderful man and will make a great president." Instead, Trump supporters just say they're voting for Trump because they refuse to allow Clinton in the office.

I'm not sure I've heard anyone say, "I'm voting for Clinton because she's a wonderful woman and will make a great president." Instead, Clinton supporters just say they're voting for Clinton because they refuse to allow Trump in the office.

How sad that so many people are casting negative votes.

4. There is so much exaggeration, on both sides.

Regardless of which candidate they support, people insist that if the other candidate is elected, it will be the end of the world!

If Trump is elected, he'll do some stupid things, he'll embarrass himself and the country, and in four years the US will still be fine. The country and the world will go on.

If Clinton is elected, she'll do some stupid things, she'll embarrass herself, she'll make mistakes, and in four years the US will still be fine. The country and the world will go on.

We'll be fine, no matter who is elected. In four years we'll either elect the incumbent, or we'll elect a new president - and the country will go on. We'll each go about our daily activities. We'll have good days and bad days. Parts of our lives will improve, and other parts will be worse.

And the President of the United States will have no responsibility nor credit for how I'm doing in four years.

If you really want to have a conversation with someone, about any topic, be willing to set aside your own viewpoint. Make your priority understanding the other person's perspective. Listen to them, really listen. Once you understand them, and they agree that you understand their opinion only then is the time to move the focus to your side.
"Would you like to hear my thoughts?"
If they say, "Yes," then share.
If they say, "No, then move on.

Kelby Worldwide 2016, Night Walk

After starting the day with a photo walk, I figured I might as well end the day with another. Our leader for the night walk would be Paul Pulley, who has been leading photo walks in Boise longer than there has been a Kelby Worldwide Photowalk! We started at Chicago Connection for some dinner, then began our wander through downtown Boise.

The night group ended up being about 20 people. Here's Paul giving us some instruction for the evening.

I'm not sure where the rest of the group actually went because I broke off from the group in the first few minutes. Not that I don't like groups - I just like architecture, at night, and the group was heading away from this first building. I assume this is the old Ada County Courthouse. I like the symmetry of the location.

The State Capitol is always beautiful to me. I've shot it so many times from so many different angles, and yet it seems there's always a new perspective to find.

Once again, my eye was drawn to the symmetry of the scene. And processing the image in monochrome takes away the distracting color elements allowing the lines and shapes to be the stars.

This image is created completely in camera. This is NOT a photoshop technique. I have some filters I bought several years ago and I've rarely used them. I figured a night shoot in Boise, with all the city lights, would be an ideal opportunity to try some new toys.

I'm amazed at the number of different colors. When I think of the capitol building, in my mind it's one color. But it's a bouquet of light.

The Hoff Building is one of my favorite photographic targets.

No evening in Boise would be complete without some long exposure and some street photography. So I figured I'd combine both into one image.

Thank you Paul for another fun adventure.