[photography] nyc

Mt. Sinai Harbor at night

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Although I recently wrote a sob story about how I've temporarily lost interest in photography, the last two nights I made myself go out to do some long exposures and stuff. I don't want to get all cheesy about it because I don't think it's really helped my recent temperament but it did feel nice to be outside and to have something to work on.

I've been really isolated lately and I've accepted the fact that I have a really hard time shooting anything when other humans are around. Especially if I'm alone. If I had a buddy with me it might relieve some of the tension, but the frustrating thing about my schedule is that when I do wind up with free time, it's always in the middle of the night when no one's around. But my anxiety is something strange, that comes and goes in different forms. I don't know why I'm afraid of simply being near other people, but I wander into the darkness by myself with no hesitation.

I have a habit when I shoot at night to just assume I'm the only person around. I don't find that frightening; I find it relaxing. A couple nights ago I was walking down a dirt road to get to a boat ramp/overlook park of Mt. Sinai Harbor and I could hear people noises and I became terrified. I took my sandals off to walk silently until I was sure who was out there, but it wound up just being rowdy drunk people on a boat. Cranking Cat Stevens super loud lol. So no humans were anywhere. I did see a deer, though. And some rabbits. But it's quiet and serene and dark and once I'm sure I'm alone I feel fine.

Night shooting is a slow process with a lot of downtime. You set up, you try to focus in the dark, you meter, and you wait. You fix the focus if it was wrong, because it's too dark to tell. You try again. You wait. You tilt the tripod, you try to focus again, you wait. It's a process that forces you to slow down and for me it's a very relaxing ritual.

It was like this.

And I'm never afraid. Somehow, I feel confident that I'm the only person around. I feel like I have the harbor to myself, that it's a personal safe space, the way my own house would feel. I can come out of myself, I can be creative. Sometimes I wonder, casually, if I should be afraid, if I'm being naive. I try to imagine my escape plan if danger comes. I think of my tripod as a powerful defensive weapon, and I think of my ability to make myself scarce at the first sign of human intervention. I remind myself that if there were real danger, if there was an attacker, and if there was a real weapon, I might not have the ability to wield a tripod in self defense. No one who is attacked just allows themselves to be attacked--surely everyone thinks they have an escape in the last few moments. I am being silly to think I'm safe, but for some reason I am not bothered.

Last night/this morning I decided I wanted to shoot the sunrise. I also decided I wanted to shoot Port Jefferson Harbor, maybe from Belle Terre/Pirate's Cove. I wasn't sure if there were any overlooks from the bluffs above the cove but I took a drive up there to be sure. The drive up through the woods is creepy and dark, no streetlights, and I was driving so slow out of caution. I was listening to old Behemoth for atmosphere. I parked at the top even though there are no parking signs everywhere; I figure at 4:30am no one cares. I break rules all the time. No one ever has to know. I saw a fox before I turned my headlights off but once I got out it was too dark to see. Before I tried to explore to find a view of Port Jeff, I noticed Mt. Sinai Harbor to the east. I shoot Mt. Sinai Harbor all the time. It's one of those places, that, for some reason, transcend my bitterness about everything relating to Miller Place. It's always been one of my go-to places when I need inspiration and don't know what else to shoot. But I never shot it from up there in Belle Terre.

I set up my tripod, I tried to focus. I took a test shot. Readjusted. Thirty second exposures. It was too dark to see the plants in the foreground until after the photo was taken. I began to move down towards the fence, extend the tripod legs--maybe if I made it tall enough I'd see over the plants.

But then I heard noise, and I looked and saw the lights, and a truck was coming up the road. I wasn't immediately panicked, I just felt silly and embarrassed like my creativity had been violated. When they pulled up to the bluff the headlights passed over me for a moment and there I obviously was with my camera and my tripod. Whenever I run into people when I'm out taking photos I usually just think "please, please ignore me, please don't ask me questions, please keep driving, keep walking, I'm just a photographer, I am not an exhibit, don't patronize me, don't stare."

So the truck turned around and I wondered if it was someone on a joyride. It slowed down, suspiciously slow, by my car, and that's when I started to panic. For some reason I wondered if, somehow, I'd triggered someone's suspicions, if they were going to try to tow my car for parking illegally. I was ready to turn on the charm and try to say "Sorry! I've been here for like, three minutes, taking pictures, I'll go!" and I knew it was ridiculous because I know that no one cares if I'm parked up there. But I was already packing up. My heart was racing and I was fumbling too much to get the third leg shortened on my tripod. I didn't even bother putting my camera away in the bag, just threw the strap around my neck. I kept touching my keys in my hoodie pocket.

There were three men getting out of the truck. One of them lit a cigarette. I could sort of make out where they were in the dark, and I wondered if it was only because my eyes had adjusted already. They were wearing light colors but I was wearing black. I wondered if they could see me.

I heard them asking each other where Pirate's Cove was, and I think they said "maybe she knows". I tried to calm down and breathe. I wanted to be able to act normal and chill, and I wanted to be helpful if they needed directions. But they didn't ask me. My hands were shaking when I opened the back door of the car to put my tripod away. The back door doesn't turn on the interior light so it was still dark. They were close to me. They seemed like regular dudes, young. I didn't get any indication of why they were up there. My rational side knew that they were relatively unthreatening. But I couldn't focus, I couldn't breathe. I felt terrified when I got in the driver side and the lights came on, and they could see me. They obviously knew I was there but I didn't like being in the light. I wouldn't look over towards them. I couldn't. When I finally drove off I turned Behemoth louder to be aggressive, but by the time I pulled away they'd walked off towards the trees and I couldn't see them anymore.

I went down to the Cove. My nerves were on edge so instead of seeming serene, I only felt like it was sketchy and dangerous. I got out of the car, I walked towards the water. I felt like eyes were watching me. I couldn't shake the idea that I wasn't alone anymore. I wanted to get some photos of the cove itself before heading towards the west side for photos of the harbor. I heard rumbles in the distance. I thought "They were really looking for the Cove, they'll be here soon. They'll see me again. It will be strange and awkward." I couldn't get into a rhythm because I couldn't stop wondering if the guys would come back. I felt exposed and embarrassed. I never even set up my tripod, I just went back to my car and left.

I wound up returning to Mt. Sinai Harbor and took photos of the sunrise from Cedar Beach. I remember thinking that maybe sometimes I should invite someone to come on these journeys with me. I feel safe, again, maybe even naively so, but although I feel physically safe, I wonder if having someone there would diffuse the psychological tension I feel when strangers invade my creative space. It's a returning cycle that reminds me I wind up in these isolated positions because I'm up in the middle of the night, when everyone is asleep. I could ask Steph, but she doesn't stay up that late. I could try to drag Whyle sometime when he's over. Those are my only real options. But the darkness still doesn't scare me. How many times can I explore it before I meet a disaster? Will I ever look back on myself with disappointment at how reckless I was? How many bullets can I dodge?

I said the other day that lately, even when I've felt motivated to shoot, that I'm so unhappy with my camera that it ruins some of the fun. This is somewhat true. It has such trouble focusing (the ring on my 35mm gets stuck) and the photos wind up being so grainy that I'm unhappy with them. To me these new ones are just photos I took to get some fresh air, just some night exposures for no real reason. They will never amount to anything. They will collect dust, buried deep in my hard drive, until I break them out for LJ or Tumblr or something equally silly.

Sometimes (most of the time, let's be fair) I only see flaws when I see my own work. I will be happy, and maybe even proud, of a shot for long enough to process it and share it, and once it's out there I slowly lose touch with it. I look at my own photos and only notice the tiny details that no one else sees but that ruin it for me. I've always been like this. When I'm happy with a photo I have to tuck it away so that I don't destroy it for myself. Sometimes if I dismiss a shoot or a set for long enough, I can look at them again in a year or two and enjoy them. If enough time passes, I find the flaws endearing, and I see them as rookie mistakes of my younger self. But in the present I'm too harsh and critical and disliking my own work has a power over my mood that I can't overcome.

When I see this photo of the harbor, I don't feel too bad about the technical stuff because it was one of my test shots. I hadn't had the opportunity to properly set up. I find the foreground plants annoying but I'm not trying to pretend it's a piece of art; I know it was a set-up throwaway shot.

But when I look at it, I think about how invaded I felt, and how terrified. It's like a murky dark piece of evidence of the panic I feel and isolation I often need. That same isolation also makes me feel detached and inhuman and unlovable. It's a trigger for all the bad things in my soul that I can't overcome. I look at it and feel disappointed that I didn't have time to get the shot I wanted, and when I realize why I gave up on the shot I wanted, I just... wilt.

I don't think it's abnormal for me to have reacted the way I did. I think it was probably the healthier of many of my weird latenight habits. I should be alert when I'm alone in the dark. But it's all a piece of a the bigger puzzle about my life and the way I am and how much it gets me down that I'm like this.

[stargher] omfg

job adventures

I wound up at work for an extra hour and a half tonight because of a weird chain of events. FIRST OF ALL. Here's a tip. If you have a huge order don't send it to the instant printer, it's fucking obnoxious.

We all know about the instant Kodak kiosks that are in like every pharmacy and Walmart everywhere that print your photos instantly. BUT LET'S LIKE, TAKE TWO FUCKIN SECONDS TO USE OUR BRAINS. I don't care if it's your first time using one or printing a photograph or whatever the fucking excuse is--if you're printing FIVE HUNDRED PHOTOS, it will not be *instant*. Like, HELLO. Yeah five hundred pictures just pop out of the mystical photography womb instantly, are you fucking kidding me.

SO ANYWAY about an hour before I had to leave this woman came in and she had a huge memory card with like 1200 photos on it. She wanted to print all of them and had already started her order so I had no opportunity to tell her not to use the PRINT INSTANTLY option. Because, to be honest, I figured you'd fucking know better. Not to mention that printing instantly is more expensive and it's like all over the fucking computers and the walls with the price. I mean, it's like $0.04 more per print to do it instantly, so if you're doing like, three prints, maybe the twelve cents is worth the convenience? BUT IF YOU WANNA PRINT 1200 PHOTOS HELLO THAT'S FORTY EIGHT EXTRA DOLLARS.

But I guess she waltzed in and felt like she knew what she was doing so she didn't ask me for help until she realized the the limit for the instant printer is 600 photos at a time. At which point I even advised her to do her order in smaller groups, like groups of 100, because unfortunately the Kodak machines are pieces of shit and there's nothing I can do about it once it loads your order for twenty minutes and then tells you that half of the photos can't be processed. So I told her to break her order up and she said she did and wound up putting in 460 and said she'd come back and do more later.

This whole time I assumed she selected to ~pick up later~ because if I can reiterate, why the fuck would someone think 460 photos would print instantly lmao. So I was like "fuuuuuuck" because her GIGANTIC ORDER took like an hour to print and consequently commandeered the printer and now no one else could use it for an hour. And I hate when that shit happens because it's really awkward for me to have to apologize to everyone.

As she was doing this a man came in who didn't know how to use the kiosk, so I helped him through his order, he was ordering like 5 fucking prints. But she entered hers, WHAT, THIRTY SECONDS BEFORE HIM, so his order got stuck behind the gigantic one. Commence awkwardness.

She was just standing over printer taking the photos out as they were being printed and even then I'm there like "wow is she really gonna stand there for AN HOUR lol" and eventually I offered to take her name and number and I'd just collect them for her and she could come get them later. Meanwhile this man is like sitting there and I have to be like "Sorry there's a big order in front of yours, sorry" and he was getting impatient and I felt terrible. So I had him go back into the computer and start another order to be picked up later because then it just prints back in my area with the gigant chemical printer and there weren't any orders going on back there so it would come right out. BUT THEN LOL HER ORDER WAS SO BIG THAT IT FUCKING JAMMED THE NETWORK SO HIS WOULDN'T PRINT IN THE BACK UNTIL HER'S WAS DONE IN THE FRONT ANYWAY. So I finally had to apologize profusely and tell him that his order was free which was awful lol. -_- The only consolation was that because this girl used the more expensive printer, her order was like $150 haha fuck her.

So that took so long that I wasn't able to start closing up until it was over, but then SURPRISE another person came in with a gigantic order, so I had to wait for that to print before I could close. Great.

Meanwhile I went and helped ring other customers to kill time while the photos were coming out. This fucking guy, okay? He's buying like twenty cans of tuna. He's telling me "Oh my god, this is such a good deal, my cat loves tuna!" and then he's all "Is there a limit on how many I can buy?" I tell him no so he sends his girlfriend/wife/whatever to get more lmao. While she's gone he's like "This is such good tuna, do you like tuna?"

And I went "Actually I'm a vegetarian."

So he looks me straight in the face and says "Really? You're very pretty."

So that was my lol of the night. DO YOU LIKE TUNA? YOU'RE VERY PRETTY.

Then like twenty minutes later I receive a mysterious phone call asking how long the tuna sale is going on for, and I tell him, and he goes "Oh good, my cat loves tuna." And I'm there like I C WAT U DID THERE, HI TUNA MAN.

Fuck lol.

[stargher] omfg

Does it count as ~reblogging~ if I'm posting it on LJ instead?

I saw this on Tumblr and felt like reposting it cause it's so super valid to my life and how I feel and how people perceive me and etc etc etc etc.

how to decode a person with an anxiety disorder

things we are trying to do all the time:
   • 1. be safe

things we can’t help but do all the time:
   • 1. second-guess ourselves
   • 2. behave impulsively and reactively
   • 3. take everything personally
   • 4. worry
   • 5. worry
   • 6. worry
   • 7. have difficulty accepting compliments
   • 8. have difficulty reciprocating friendly gestures
   • 9. have difficulty finding the courage to respond
   • 10. have difficulty not being suspicious of others’ intentions
   • 11. make a huge deal out of the smallest thing

things you should keep in mind:
   • 1. we’re scared of everything
   • 2. pretty much all of the time
   • 3. it’s an actual disorder
   • 4. it manifests as impulsive behavior
   • 5. you can’t fix us with words
   • 6. telling us “worrying is silly” won’t make us stop worrying
   • 7. it’ll only make us feel silly
   • 8. and then we’ll worry even more
   • 9. “oh god, am i worrying too much? what if she calls me silly again?”
   • 10. like that
   • 11. also, we wear a lot of armor
   • 12. cold, heavy, affection-proof armor with spikes
   • 13. we constructed this armor as children
   • 14. we’re fairly certain you will never be able to pry it apart
   • 15. but there is a nice person under there, we promise

things you can do for a friend with an anxiety disorder:
   • 1. stick around
   • 2. ask him/her if they’re comfortable in a place or situation
   • 3. be willing to change the place or situation if not
   • 4. activities that help them take their mind off of things are good!
   • 5. talk to them even when they might not talk back
   • 6. (they’re probably too afraid to say the wrong thing)
   • 7. try not to take they’re reactions (or lack thereof) personally
   • 8. (the way they expresses themselves are distorted and bent because of their constant fear)
   • 9. (and they knows this)
   • 10. give her time to respond to you
   • 11. they will obsess over how she is being interpreted
   • 12. they will anticipate being judged
   • 13. it took me four hours just to type this much
   • 14. even though i sound casual
   • 15. that’s because i have an anxiety disorder

things you shouldn’t do:
   • 1. tell us not to worry
   • 2. tell us we’ll be fine
   • 3. mistake praise for comfort
   • 4. ask us if we are “getting help”
   • 5. force us to be social
   • 6. force us to do things that trigger us
   • 7. “face your fears” doesn’t always work
   • 8. because—remember—scared of everything
   • 9. in fact, it would be more accurate to say we are scared of the fear itself

emergency action procedure for panic attacks:
   • 1. be calm
   • 2. be patient
   • 3. don’t be condescending
   • 4. remind us that we’re not crazy
   • 5. sit with us
   • 6. ask us to tighten and relax our muscles one by one
   • 7. remind us that we are breathing
   • 8. engage us in a discussion (if we can talk, then we can breathe)
   • 9. if we are having trouble breathing, try getting us to exhale slowly
   • 10. or breathe through our nose
   • 11. or have us put our hands on our stomach to feel each breath
   • 12. ask us what needs to change in our environment in order for us to feel safe
   • 13. help us change it
   • 14. usually, just knowing that we have someone on our side willing to fight our scary monsters with us is enough to calm us down

if you have an anxiety disorder:
   • 1. it’s okay.
   • 2. even if you worry that it’s not okay.
   • 3. it’s still okay. it’s okay to be scared. it’s okay to be scared of being scared.
   • 4. you are not crazy. you are not a freak.
   • 5. i know there’s a person under all that armor.
   • 6. and i know you feel isolated because of it.
   • 7. i won’t make you take it off.
   • 8. but know that you are not alone.

Anyway that all sounds slightly wimpier than my general state of being but in general it's good advice and pretty accurate. :) I also really hate the word "triggers" even though in this context it's appropriate. But don't think that means I'm gonna start ~listing my triggers~ and making trigger warnings or anything cause I think it's a really shitty trend on the internet lol. My opinion.

  • Current Music: old DEXTAHS!
[stargher] omfg


After a heartfelt text conversation with randomvacancy in the middle of the night last week, we decided to fire up Shuttercal again. For me personally it was motivated by my recent bout of crippling/embarrassing depression, and I hoped that if I started this project again I'd have something to keep me occupied and it would give me an excuse to leave the house now and then. I think something that's been happening while I've been depressed, and in turn makes me more depressed, is that I spend too much time jerking off on Facebook, wasting time on the internet, etc etc. I'm hoping that giving myself this project I'll have it to soak up some of my internet time and keep me more on point. And also I know that I'll start getting frustrated of only taking pictures inside or around my house, so I'm hoping I'll make more excuses to leave and go do things.

So far it's working! I'm a week in! I don't want to cross-post the pictures because I feel like giving myself too many side-projects away from the pictures is gonna overwhelm me and I want to keep things safe and simple. But they're here -- http://shuttercal.com/calendar/ketene/2013/3/ so you can see if you want.

On Monday I went to the library (and took a picture of the lion sculpture outside) and it felt really good to get out of the house. Also I'd been avoiding the library for a few months because I had a $5 late fee and my anxiety brain kept telling me that if I went to the library that they'd be mean and rude to me and judge me and not want to give me more books because I obviously suck at returning them on time, etc etc. I mean the rational part of my brain always knows that these overreactions are bullshit and stupid, but anxiety usually wins and I usually just stay home. So that was nice. And as a bonus I ran into TWO different friends at the library so it was nice to hang out with people.

Then yesterday I got new tires on my car and on my way home I stopped at Mt. Sinai harbor and took pictures of swans haha. It was finally really nice out, hoodie weather even, and the fresh air was amazing and I just sat there and watched swans and ducks and stuff and it felt really nice to get fresh air and I started feeling a lot better about everything.

OH AND ANOTHER REASON is that sometimes I feel like I'm a hub for all my friends. They all wind up meeting each other and becoming friends, and then even when I have a falling out with someone, they all still remain friends, and etc. It's mostly cool but for the latter reason sometimes gets a little awkward for me. But basically over the past few years I've told so many of my friends about Shuttercal and now they're all friends and it's so confusing and suddenly I'm seeing them talk on Facebook and I'm like WTF HOW DID YOU GUYS FIND EACH OTHER and it's totally weird. So I was like getting jealous and felt left out lol. So I'm gonna come back!

I don't know if it has anything to do with the pictures, or if it's because I'm on my break from school, or if it was bound to let go in time, but I finally started getting control of myself and stop the crying jags. I'VE MADE IT TWO DAYS WITHOUT RANDOMLY CRYING. PROGRESS.

And also like I mentioned, I've felt really uninspired lately and not into my school projects, so I'm hoping that by making myself take photos every day that I'll keep my creative energy up and it'll fall into place. Like today I did a phobia picture for heights, so I hope I'll get my shit together and get on top of the work I have to do.


  • Current Music: Rachel Maddow
[stargher] omfg

los fuegos del apóstol

Magic surprise Spain post!

I mean like, no joke, I never finished my Spain posts cause I was busy as fuck. But then you know as I was getting to the last few (this one and one last one that idk when I'll post) it just felt so like, heavy. Like the experience that I'm about to attempt to document was really profound for me and writing about it is ... intense. Then there's also the nostalgic part of me that hangs onto these memories and it feels very final to write about it and file it away like it's really in the past, even though it was like fucking nine months ago lol. It was just really special and important to me and I don't know if I can truly put it into words. But I'll try, here we go.

wall of text but a few videos to break the tensionCollapse )

So I'm coming out of the cut for a minute to post the video because it was so fucking incredible and I think it's so worth watching. When I got home I made everyone I know watch it and I would watch it over and over and over and just drown in it because omg my heart.

The thing that affected me the most was that I'm used to tourism being stigmatized and annoying, especially in New York, the way natives are jaded against tourists and the like. And my whole time in Spain, as much as I was loving it and as much as I was so spiritually present the entire time, I was also struggling with the frustration of being in a group of obnoxious teenagers and the shame of being out in public with horrible loud American kids. And when I saw this, I felt like Santiago was opening its arms for us. It was the last week of my trip and the first time I really felt welcome in Spain and I felt like Santiago wanted us to be there. It was directed towards the pilgrims that walk the Camino but I also felt like in my own way I'd also made a pilgrimage and I'd come a really long way to be there and I was learning and accepting really wonderful things about myself and my soul in the process.

And also just, as an artist I was so floored. I can't just assume this about everyone else I was with, but somehow I felt like they didn't understand it the way I did. Like I was in so much awe at how much work went into these projections because I learn about stuff like this in school and have worked with projections myself, but not on anything near this scale. I was just in complete awe.

I was gawking, probably with my mouth open, for the first minute, and when the music kicked in and you could see all the cogs in the building I immediately just burst into fucking tears and spent the next fifteen minutes fucking bawling all over myself. It's hard to sum up and put into words; all I can say is that this fucking lightshow was like the sum of my entire trip and everything that I went through to get there and it was just really profoundly emotional for me.

I hadn't intended to record the whole thing so I ran out of space and missed the last couple minutes, so if you're curious to see the end try here.

I wish my video actually did it justice, I wish you could understand what it actually looked like, how fucking huge it was looming over us, how it was so loud my pants were vibrating like a concert. It was so incredible.

back inside!Collapse )

Anyway here's pictures now. I think I explained everything in the entry so you should understand what they're all of. A lot of them are like, almost exactly the same, but when I had been resizing all of them I was just over excited and wanted to post EVERYTHINNNNNG.

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Photobucket is becoming unbearable btw so if anyone has any suggestions on similar services I'd appreciate it.Collapse )
[stargher] omfg

old school meme time

The downside to having like 110gbs of music is that it's taking fucking forever to sync my new iPod so I'm gonna kill time BY PRETENDING IT'S 2005. Here's a meme.

Comment and I'll give you an age or whatever. UNLESS YOU DON'T WANT ONE. JUST LET ME KNOW. I DON'T EXPECT EVERYONE TO DO THIS CAUSE IT'S 2013. mordere gave me 14.

Age I was given: 14.
I lived in: Sound Beach.
I drove: I was 14 so I didn't drive haha but my brother had just gotten his license and we spent a lot of time in his red '94 Cavalier.
I was in a relationship with: Uh I think I was around this age when I dated this guy Dan? And after that I had like a PASSIONATE INTERNET/PHONE RELATIONSHIP with this guy Matt and I was like totally in love with him. I knew it was lame to have an internet boyfriend but he only lived like two hours away so there was like a very tangible possibility that we'd be able to actually date if we waited a couple years so it didn't feel so awkward.
I feared: Slugs. A repeat assault from the one a year before.
I worked at: I didn't, but I remember thinking I was going to be ambitious and get a shitty job cause 14 was the age you could work in NY. But then I had to get like working papers signed by my school and I had to get a doctor to sign them and no one would bring me to the doctor so I never did lol.
I wanted to be: If I recall I think I wanted to be a combination rockstar/novelist/pro-wrestler.

Now I am: 25.
I live in: Sound Beach again.
I am in a relationship with: this super hot guy.
I drive: A 1990 Mercury Grand Marquis.
I work at: Kohl's while also being self-employed as a per diem photographer lol.
I fear: Human beings, job applications, student loans.
I want to be: A photographer. BUT WAIT I ALREADY AM A PHOTOGRAPHER. I'll clarify: I'd like to have steady work as a photographer, with occasional trips around the world to do charitable work while photographing my experiences, possibly something cheesy like a cruise ship photographer for a while, and I'd also like to teach photography to pay it forward and also to have a steady backup option. I also kind of want to teach English in another country, like I've been considering returning to Spain for grad school so I've been keeping that idea tucked away to make money while I'm over there. I think that about covers it.

[pilkington] ducks


Why are we naming winter storms now. idgi.

This storm is really cramping my weekend lol.

So Jaci's friend from Pennslyvania was going to visit on Friday, and instead of canceling because of the storm she just came a day early so she's been here with us. WITH HER CUTE BABY TOO AWW. Babies are gross but I like this one lol. Probably just cause her husband has been best friends with Mike since they were like 8 so it's like a surrogate niece to me. ahgdjkads. WHATEVER.

And she's from Florida and has only been in Pennsylvania for a couple years and the winters have been pretty mild so far so she really hasn't seen an impressive amount of snow ever in her life so her mind is pretty blown. It's cute.

I went out a few times to take pictures but slowly all my jackets that I own got soaked so I had to stay in after a point while they dried off. It sucks cause I'm really antsy and bored. And there's so much CHAOS out there and I just want to go out and see all the crazy shit and take pictures but it's so ironic cause the roads are so fucking bad that I can't get to anything cool lol. Also, they were so bad yesterday that there was a travel ban in Brookhaven WHICH I'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. It was that bad. I mean there's like 3 feet of snow in some parts of Brookhaven so holy balls. I think here there's only 2 feet lol.

Anyway. I'm bored. I'm stuck inside. I ran out of homework to do. The rest of my homework involves using the darkroom or doing shoots outside the house with models so my hands are tied and I'm at at standstill where productivity is concerned. =(

So here's pictures.


duringCollapse )

And this is the next morning!


that's the side mirror on my car, lawlzCollapse )

Anyway to continue my epic saga about how I've been trying to get out to the darkroom for like four days lol. I thought OH, SNOW, NO BIGGIE, THE ROADS SHOULD BE FINE IN A COUPLE DAYS, I CAN GO ON SUNDAY.

WELL LOL @ ME, ROADS ARE NOT FINE. I think my road has been plowed, like once. My neighbor did go up half the street with his snowblower though, that was really nice of him. And I was like THIS IS ENOUGH, I CAN WORK WITH THIS, I CAN BORROW MY MOM'S JEEP AND THE 4WD WILL GET ME OUT OF BROOKHAVEN SO THAT I CAN GET TO THE MAGICAL PLOWED HIGHWAY.


Guess not. lol.

So the thing is that the snow started getting really bad during rush hour so people were on their ways home and just went as far as they could before getting stuck, and all around the area there's like hundreds of cars that had to be abandoned just STRAIGHT UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. Like lots of people spent the night in their cars or braved the storm to like find a Walmart or 7-Eleven and spend it there lol. That's so fucked.

I was planning on getting up early and digging my car out (I ran out of dry jackets yesterday before I could) and I'm hoping I can do it before plows get here because I'll feel like such an asshole if I push all the snow off my car into the road and and make it snowy again. CAUSE I DID THAT LAST TIME LOL WHOOPS SORRY. This time, I think. What a jerk.

My car is totally useless in snow/ice though so I wasn't gonna take it out, I just wanted to dig it out before plows came. SPEAKING OF WHICH LOL WHERE ARE THE PLOWS. I mean I understand cause it's SO BAD out there but it's a little disconcerting that they haven't been around. Also, the picture of a plow in my post is one that I found around the block that got stuck and was abandoned and then was blocking the road for a plow that was actually working lol. What!

Part of me wonders if they're deliberately dicking around so that they can work today and get overtime lol. Tax dollars at work. But I mean that's just me being a dick, I understand lol. If I see one more person comparing our snow to what's "no big deal" upstate or in New England or Canada or Sweden or fucking Antarctica I'm gonna slap them. IT IS A BIG DEAL WHEN WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH PLOWS. Those regions can deal with it because they're PREPARED FOR IT. Hello!!!! Stop being cunts. It's the same way Hurricane Sandy fucking destroyed New York even though it was only a Category 1. WE ARE NOT BUILT TO DEAL WITH CATEGORY 1'S THE WAY FLORIDA IS, DUMBASSES.

So. Yeah. Highway is closed. Roads aren't plowed. Can't leave. Found out school was closed anyway so at least I have that excuse tomorrow when I come in and my work isn't done. =( I wonder if school will even be open tomorrow though. D:


[photography] nyc

film v. digital

Jaymie called me today and we had a really long conversation about photography and stuff and about my film class. She's also a photo student upstate so we were comparing our programs and this and that and her program teaches film first so she was giving me a pep talk about it haha.

It occurred to me that I'm really opinionated on my thoughts about film vs. digital photography, not in a bad way, just that I feel really strongly about all the conclusions I've drawn, even though I've barely ever worked with film. I was considering writing about it, and then thought "You probably shouldn't until you've actually shot film and have a better foundation for your opinions." BUT THEN I THOUGHT "You know what? I should write this now and then revisit it again after my film class and see if I feel the same way." So I'm gonna.

So these are totally my opinions, based on both my own experience and my speculation judging the experiences of others. Obviously my opinions are subject to change, and I hope they do! Because that would be interesting.

Film first.

• I think shooting film makes people more disciplined photographers. Through fear of wasting a larger portion of your time, plus your money and film, you are going to LEARN THAT SHIT. You're not gonna make the same mistakes too many times. Learning your exposure reciprocation is going to be so engrained because you're going to have less of a margin for error. Aside from your exposures, I think it also makes people's eyes more disciplined because you're not going to waste your roll taking marginally different angles of the same exact thing. You will put more thought and effort into each shot if you know you only have 24.

• The darkroom experience is a really important ritual for a lot of photographers, and even though I haven't spent a ton of time in darkrooms yet, I can also see that it would be a very personal, maybe spiritual space. I think there's so many unique things about darkrooms that you'll never have anywhere else that it would probably be a space filled with positive associations. Unless you get stressed out over shooting lol. But the smell, the darkness, the safelight colors. I feel like it's a space of comfort and sanctuary like a womb and it's great to make photography such a physical experience.

• On the flip side, the chemicals can be dangerous. The reason I haven't learned darkroom at school is because my campus is green/eco-friendly and the chemical disposal would've violated that. It's also not great for your body. Getting them on your skin too much, inhaling it over the course of a long time, etc. I know that a lot of photographers wind up with liver problems because of it. Obviously the chemistry has been refined over the years and I'm sure they'll get less and less toxic, but it's still not the best thing to be touching or inhaling long term.

• Gelatin is used in film emulsions so photography isn't an animal-friendly process. That sort of bothers me. I mean I like the idea that if animals are dead anyway that their useless bits can be made into gelatin, in that sense it's like recycling! But still. I'm a vegetarian for largely spiritual and political reasons more than anything else so this type of thing really bothers me. One day when I'm living on my own and can buy my own groceries I might become vegan, too, so I don't know how this makes me feel.

• There are a lot of really really interesting photo processes you can do and it's awesome that there will exist a physical original. I really like that. Especially with alternative processes and experimental stuff, where you'll never really duplicate the original result. I like the idea that you can have an original the way you would with most other types of art, like drawings or paintings. I think it has a lot to do with the stigma against photographers where we're not always considered "artists", which is bullshit. But a lot of people like to think that art is only like something you completely created from scratch like a painting, like it's fucking 1839 and some painter is butthurt about the new photography invention. Like, get over it. You can make copy after copy of 2D prints but when you do something really special with a photo, and maybe it's got a sheen to it, or it's got a texture, or the color sticks to your fingertips when you touch it--that's really unique and can't be replicated.

• And finally, my last point. The largest reason that I haven't pursued more film is that it's expensive and time-consuming. A digital camera is a one-time investment but film and processing will continually also cost money. Making one photo is such a long, expensive process. First, buying the film, then shooting. And after, you can either drop it off somewhere and pay for them to process the negatives for you and make prints, or you find yourself a darkroom (extra expense if you make your own) and have to buy all the chemicals and the paper. And you agonize over each shot and spend time with each of them, first developing the film, then projecting it onto the paper, then bathing it and drying it. Obviously I've always been kind of tight on money, because I wasn't spoiled as a kid and as an adult I've always had bills to pay. If I were a rich guy with all the time in the world to putz around in a darkroom it would be an awesome hobby, but I'm not. And obviously this adds to everything else I said--it puts more value in the ritual and the art. It puts more value on your shots and your time. You won't waste your time or money on a shot you don't think can work. You probably won't take that chance.

And now digital!

• Even though I think film makes for more disciplined photographers, I think the instant gratification of digital makes it easier to learn. And it makes for a more positive learning experience, where a fuckup doesn't cost you time and money and crush your hopes & dreams. Beginner digital photographers are probably less likely to become totally crushed and give up on their new hobby. Instead, when you fuck up an exposure? You see it immediately and go "Oh fuck whoops" and fix it. I'm not sure which is a better learning experience, because I wonder if this is along the lines of the ~every kid gets a trophy~ generation problem. I wonder if film weeded out tons of hipster assholes who didn't have the patience in the past. But maybe that's okay. Maybe digital being so accessible is helpful and will invite more potential photographers to become photographers. And I think, in that vein, that it makes future good photographers even better photographers. I think truly creative people will get creative faster in their lives. They'll have a nice patient digital teacher and because they won't be afraid to fuck up, they'll take more chances.

• I've always heard people ooh and aah over the darkroom ritual experience, but I have to say. I totally also have a photography ritual, too, and I love it. It feels spiritual and exciting for me. Whenever I shoot, I always try to get comfy (usually with tea) and sit down with my photos once I've downloaded them. I never delete photos off the camera because I don't trust the LCD screen enough to know if it's a decent photo or not. I very often find hidden gems and happy accidents in photos that I would've thought were garbage on the back of the camera. So I always open my photos in Bridge and full screen them and I go through each one. First, I delete all the ones that are utter shit. This is like, really bad unsalvageable exposures, accidents, metering tests, etc. Also lots of mid-sentence faces and just unflattering horrible photos that should never see the light of day. Bridge auto-rotates my photos, so in the past I used to also rotate them during this step in my pre-Bridge days. But still sometimes I'll rotate certain ones, if I intend for them to be the other way, especially if I shot it diagonally and the camera isn't sure what I was thinking. ONCE I'M DONE DELETING ALL THE GARBAGE I go back though each photo again and I rate some. It depends what I shot and what I'm using them for. I don't go nuts using like the star system or anything but I just throw stars onto ones I want to come back to so that I know to come back them. Depending on what I'm doing it could mean that I'm looking for one or two to turn in for hw, or to post online, or if it's an LJ set I go through and just star all the ones I want to put in my entry. And then I edit them. I usually also put music on or put on an awesome movie in the bg for noise. So even though it's digital and I'm not in a darkroom, this is still a really precious ritual for me. I actually consider it very spiritual. When I'm working on photos I'm in my own zone and not worried about all the other nonsense in my life. It's something that I'm good at and that I love to do and submerging myself in it makes me feel relaxed and confident and happy.

• I really love that digital is more eco-friendly. I know that obviously there's always going to be a certain amount of electricity and energy being used, but I expect that to improve over time and I think it's also negligible compared to all the chemicals and paper and film and etc. Especially because when you're working with film and making prints, if you fuck up? It's garbage and you have to start over. If a digital photo sucks? You just delete it. Or maybe you pull a ctrl+z in Photoshop. No big deal.

• I hate that when you make prints, the "original" really doesn't mean anything, just that it's the first one you got to print. And it's just like, who cares. The real original is the JPG or RAW file or whatever you saved it as. That aspect of technology and our future has always made me feel a little weird and uncomfortable, too. I like that it saves space and paper and everything else but the idea that everything is just "files" seems really unstable and easily lost. I hate that. It's like my entire body of work fits onto a spec and might as well be invisible, made of air. And I'm constantly paranoid about what would happen if my hard drives were destroyed, and there went every photo I ever shot.

• I want to emphasize again the idea that even though film photographers are more "disciplined" I do stand firmly by the idea that people will be more creative without the restrictions. The truth is that the most creative person in the world might be some poor asshole who really can't afford to buy and process rolls of film every time they have a ridiculous/tricky idea. With digital, once you have the camera, you're set. There could be so many creative people out there without the means and resources to discover they're great photographers, and I think all the dumb rich kids and hipsters in the world shooting with Instagram or using their DSLR's on auto are totally worth dealing with if one really great photographer gets the opportunity to do it too. Digital makes photography affordable and accesible to everyone and finally levels the playing field for photographers vs. all other types of traditional artists. I think that's amazing.

• PHOTOSHOP OKAY. I know there's a line you draw at some point between photography and graphic art, but it's still art and I think the ends justify the means. And even if you're not going ridiculous crazy in Photoshop I think it's still the same point about having the freedom and the option and the immediate feedback is really conducive to being creative and learning and experimenting. And your productivity will be so much higher when you can experiment more and jerk around more without wasting your resources. ALSO GOD PHOTOSHOP HAS GOTTEN SO AMAZING. Fucking, adjustment layers. Layer masks. Actions. BATCH PROCESSING. OHMYGOD IT'S SO AWESOME. So I'm definitely a big supporter.

IN THE END. To sum things up. I don't have an agenda about one vs. the other, I think they both have a healthy list of pros and cons. But I do think film is a thing of the past, and I think it'll always be a fun hobby but it's going to become more and more impractical for professionals. Until the past couple years it was still a viable option, especially in advertising, because the film resolution was still so much better than digital until recently. But now cameras like the 5Ds are catching up and it's not such a big deal. And I really love digital. I like having more options and freedom when I shoot. Because sometimes? An inch to the side in an angle really DOES make a huge difference and I love that. And I'm very detail oriented and agonize over shit like that so I like being able to literally take fifty shots of the same thing, with minuscule differences. I like the options.

And I completely stand by my theory that the more accesible digital becomes, the more awesome art will come out of it. When everyone can do it, the people at the top are going to have to work harder and shoot better to stay there. It's going to be an art and profession that gets taken away from only people who can afford the film and fancy cameras and this and that and fuck them lol. I wonder how many absolutely amazing photographers back in the day just never made it because they didn't have the money.

[stargher] omfg

lol what the fuuuuck

i'm like pissing my pants right now cause it's a Friday night and I'm just like, dicking around on the internet and watching Ezra guest host The Last Word (<3 Ezra! =D) and anyway I was looking for an old entry AND I FOUND THIS HYSTERICAL MEME where you pick like 10 of your favorite movies or whatever and go on IMDB and pick 3 keywords from each and then MAKE YOUR FLIST GUESS THEM. Like, old school LJ meme for when people actually used LJ. lmao I'm dying right now.

Like for example, I had used Event Horizon and posted: Space Station, Eye Gouging, Burning Man.






Shot in the Butt, Kicked in the Crotch, Steak.

I'll repeat that. Shot in the Butt, Kicked in the Crotch, Steak.

What the fuck movie is that LOL IT SOUNDS AMAZING.

Anyway. lol these meme is great I wanna do it again cause I'm pissing my pants laughing right now. WHAT MOVIE WAS IT.

[stargher] omfg

Special Projects

The last class I'm taking for my Associate's is called Special Projects in Digital Photography. On the Riverhead campus I had the impression that the way the professor taught it was the same way he taught Experimental Digital Photography, which I took with him. It was basically a completely concept driven class, not much "learning" really, it was very short lectures about helpful techniques but all the work was basically concepts we were given and had the freedom to interpret the way we wanted. Sometimes there were rules, like for one of them (this one) we were supposed to do something physical to a print, and then re-photograph it for a final 2D image. There were others like we were supposed to interpret The Four Seasons or The Four Elements. It was a really awesome class. I enjoyed the creative challenge but I also enjoyed that it wasn't so strict on instruction, that I was given a lot of creative freedom within each assignment. So as far as I knew, he taught Special Projects in a similar way, with creative concepts.

However, I'm taking it at the Grant campus and instead of all these weird "special projects", it looks like it's actually following the catalog description: The student will work on an individual photographic project as arranged by student and instructor.

We've been asked to pick a theme or a subject and shoot only that subject. Nothing too specific so that we can leave room for it to evolve. The professor used the example that maybe you pick Cars, and start off shooting cars, but maybe by the end you're making it about pollution or gas prices. Every couple weeks we'll be doing updates with critiques to see where we are and get feedback on where we should take it. At the end we have to order a book of them printed.

I'm pretty excited about it I think. I think I'm kind of intimidated and thinking about it exhausts me. I like the idea of shooting themes and series a lot. I love that idea actually. But, I like that idea when it's my own work, on the side, for art or for fun. I'm being a baby about having to do it for school. I don't like being forced into projects, as weird as that sounds coming from a photo student lol. Meaning that in other classes there's been more variety or freedom. I'm sure my ideas will evolve and change--which is a good thing--but I hope I don't get sick of it after a couple months.

Whenever I'm in a class and we're introduced to a project or concept, I usually have an immediate instinctual idea and know exactly what I want to do. My mind usually takes off pretty quickly. I'm struggling with the task of picking a theme for this class without getting too ahead of myself or without limiting myself by being too specific. I also feel like I can see an evolution already even though I didn't start it yet and I don't want to do that to myself either. I want any evolution to be organic. At the same time, is it fair for me to keep a couple ideas tucked away for the end in case I dry out?

My immediate idea is that I want to shoot phobias and fears. I was thinking that I want to do more dark art that doesn't involve the same theatrical quality. I want more atmosphere. I've never made horror art only for the sake of being gory or gratuitous. I aim to make art that is provocative, but not because it's offensive. Provocative in the way that it provokes thoughts and feelings and fears. I like confronting people with uncomfortable images, but not uncomfortable because they're gross or distasteful. I've turned down ideas that people have come to me with in the past because I didn't see the symbolic appeal.

So I want to provoke fears and secrets and the dark things we keep hidden about ourselves. I'm not trying to just get cheap shocks out of anyone, I think that's tacky. And even when I was getting started in photography, most of my work did have a personal meaning, even if I didn't know how to communicate it. You can take probably any of my old gory horror work and I probably have a backstory for it.

I'm thinking for my Special Project I want to do a series about fear. I want to do anything involving fear, from cheesy common phobias (clowns, spiders) to creepy uncomfortable phobias (small spaces, the dark) and maybe opening up into personal anxieties, exposed insecurities and surreal depictions of nightmares. I have a lot of ideas right now and I feel pretty inspired by it. It might even become self-reflective and cathartic. I can only hope.

I constantly struggle with the thought that my anxiety will prevent me from pursuing photography the way I want to. Today I looked up one of my new classmates and she's amazing and I felt so disheartened. It isn't even about the talent, it's about how outgoing and unafraid she is to find models and locations and I don't have that. I miss opportunities because I'm so crippled by fear. I have an imagined future where I force myself into leaving comfort zones, for example, when I go away to school I like to think that I will be forced to make new friends and be more social and as my photography education becomes more in-depth I will be forced to find more models and more locations. I can only compare it to other aspects of anxiety that I've conquered, where it took years and bravery and energy. If I give it enough time I think I can heal myself.

But it's something that worries me. All the time. Weekly, daily.

I like dark art because I'm morbid and metal and it's what I like on the surface, but I think there's such a deep spiritual connection to it because I live my life in constant fear. I don't usually call it that. I call it shyness or anxiety or illness or bullshit but it's really just fear.