Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Joy of Non-Professional Photography

I got my first camera for my fourteenth birthday. It was a Nikon D40, I paid for half of it and my parents paid the other half as a Christmas/Birthday gift. For the next year and a half, I carried that camera everywhere I went, I took pictures of everything, I vowed to only shoot on manual mode, I read every photography book, article, and website that I found, and the more I tried to perfect my skills the less enthused I was about photography.



You see, I've never been good with technology, numbers, logic. Those are just things I've always had to work harder at than most people and probably always will.

Yes, technology and art are interdependent and yes, no matter where you go you will find math. Knowing how to use the settings on my camera helps me to make the picture that I see in my head. And knowing that, I worked hard and pushed myself to learn the right balance of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO for every situation. I tried to study which camera was best for what and weighed the pros and cons of tripods and JPEG vs. RAW files. I focused on trying to get rid of all the undesirable elements in my photos; a little blur, my white balance a little off, the quality not quite high enough for a print, graininess from too high ISO in a dark setting. I focused on all those things and guess what?

I didn't like the pictures I took anymore.

See, with all that trying to 'learn photography', I forgot that when I look at a picture I see emotion. I see the wonder of nature. I see memories. I see the smile of someone I love. And who cares about the ISO?



The point is, some folks are good at technology and some (hi!) aren't. That's ok. I'll always be learning as long as I live and I'll always be open for the next tip on how to improve my pictures. If my aim was to be a professional photographer, producing the highest quality work I could, I'd still be studying but for me that would detract from the happiness I get from taking pictures.

Yeah, I use automatic focus most of the time and I don't always shoot on manual because I'm terrible at it and I don't have the time/desire to practice it for another few years until I figure it out. Sometimes my pictures are cluttered and the exposure is too high. But as far as I know, photography isn't my life calling. It's a blessing, it's a hobby, it's a tool that I can use, but it's not the reason I'm doing it in the first place.

The reason I do it is that it opens my eyes to the beauty all around me every day. It helps me remember and savor the moments that make my life everything it is. It's a language, like any art, you don't have to be fluent to understand. Everyone knows a smile is the same in any language.

(Here's a pineapple to confuse you. )

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It's a New Year


Life is good these days. Christmas came and it was full of strings of lights and smiles and hugs and turkey and pieces of wrapping paper everywhere. And then it was gone and all of a sudden, without anybody really expecting it, it became 2015.

2015 has been very interesting so far. I've started work at a bakery and started in-home care with my great, great aunt. I've eaten froot loops and pizza and listened to seventies music and watched The Incredibles for the first time.























I ate lots of cucumbers and I made a green bean stir fry with way too much soy sauce and it was really yummy.


And now I am going to watch a documentary on Cuttlefish. So, happy new year to you all!


-Annie

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Do It Anyway

There is a poem that I have long loved and wanted to memorize but never really got around to it. I think I read it first in a magazine and it was attributed to Mother Teresa. I looked it up today and found that it seems to be a poem by Kent Keith which was written with some revision on the walls of the home for children in Calcutta, India which Mother Teresa founded.

Regardless of it's origins and revisions, the message is intact and still as true today as ever.


Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the best you've got anyway.

You see,
in the final analysis it is between you and God;
it was never between you and them anyway.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Photo Dump Picture Post


I love how these plants were sort of un-perfect but still so gorgeous.


Keb and Joshua arm wrestling at a Wendy's.




Laura and Mandy.



We stayed in a hotel on a trip and the comforters were orange and I had a striped purse and I ate fruit loops with orange juice for breakfast and it was awesome. =)


Miss Emily (Below) and I stayed up way too late being silly. Laura started talking in her sleep, apparently she was having a rather frustrating dream in which she couldn't figure out someone's name. "Tell me your name! What is your name? Just tell me?" She kept saying this over and over, all mumbly, and Emily and I were saying things like, "I'm The Oreo Queen!" But of course, she never answered. Folks, sisters are the best fun in the world. <3













Seneca Rocks.


We went to Seneca Rocks for the second time and it was sweaty and steep and the view from the lookout was glorious. When we got back down we had ice cream.





Disclaimer: Laura did not eat all of the above sandwich. It was shared with multiple siblings, myself included. ;)


We went to the NGJ shindig and it was a good long drive from West Virginia to North Carolina, Laura and I were back seat buddies for the first part. Ain't she cute?



Above is my dad, a very important person. <3


My baby cousin is getting even more adorable and cuddly as he grows.



My parents like each other. It's nice. =)


Photography is often about finding the beauty in the un-beautiful. But everyday life is like that too. You can see it when somebody has rainbow polka dot barn boots and somebody else hung a little 'Life is Lovely' sign in the middle of a jumble of water pipes in the laundry room.





Sometimes life is just what you make it and one day recently I decided to make it a tea-party-in-the-yard-drinking-koolaid-out-of-silver-teapots-and-china-teacups-with-the-little-girls-kind of day.




Mandy.



A happy childhood is one in which kool-aid mustaches exist. ;)



Zachary.


Laura and Katie.


It's the beginnings of Fall now. I came back from the Shindig with a cold and those seem to signify the changing of the seasons. The corn is getting tall, the sound of the chainsaw and the wood splitter, cutting firewood for the winter creates the aura of autumn along with rustling leaves and rosy cheeks, slamming doors, pumpkin candles burning and the warmth of a sweatshirt when the door swings open with a burst of brisk, chilly air. If that isn't the best run-on sentence I've ever heard, I don't know what is.

Happy Autumn, everybody.

2014 NGJ Shindig

We went to the Shindig last year and this year we went again. We stayed in a cabin and ate pop tarts in the parking lot and there was good preaching and good music and food and lots of other folks like us. Or sorta like us anyway. We had a blast! =)


This Shindig had a lot of mission talk in the programming. Joshua and Kelsie Steele were there and both spoke, NGJ introduced their imissions program and a lot of the presentations focused on outreach in one way or another. =)


The cabins at the Shindig were lots of fun. The place that hosted everything had a girls summer Bible camp or something that was where we stayed, the bunkbeds were covered with names and dates and 'Camp is so Awesome!' type stuff. It was nice because they had two showers and two toilets but all in separate, small rooms and then the double sink was in the main room. That is a very handy living arrangement for families with lots of people.


This was my favorite plant arrangement in the hallway by the cafeteria. There were lots of plants, it was beautiful.



There was lots of walking.



It was a good time to meet friends. This is my sister and a friend she met. =)

The cabin we had at the Shindig.

I realize that this is a pretty overdue, discombobulated post and it's all rather jumbled. There's another, more artistically and aesthetically pleasing post coming along soon. ;)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Zach!


Zachary is turning six. I remember when he was born I had a cold. Thusly, I wasn't allowed to hold him for at least a week after he was born, maybe two, and it was hard. I remember his first word was "Dog" although there was some debate over whether the word was  "Dog" or "Ball", I still maintain that it was "Dog." I remember the first time we gave him apple juice he hated it.



I remember that the first time Mom got to hold him, she cried.



Mandy and Zach were best buddies from the very beginning.


He sucked his thumb. A lot.


I remember one time we went to a gun museum (see above) and he only had a few words in his vocabulary. One of them being, "Boom!" which he probably used over 13768 times that day.


This picture makes me crack up every time I look at it. I have no idea what was going on.


He looked really cute in a chef hat.

 Zach was the most patient with my early photography attempts. (Can we say over-edited emphatically enough to describe the above picture?)


I remember one time there were rubber balls on sale in Walmart for $2.00 each and I got him one and it made his whole week.

Happy Birthday to my buddy, I love you-as you would say-all the way up to the sky and around the world thirteen times. =)