Last month the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling overturned Roe vs Wade, and ended the right for millions of women to get critical medical care (that care being blocked includes, but is not limited, to abortions) and threatening additional rights all Americans currently enjoy. In the days that followed I joined a small but vocal group of people from Aiken calling for protection of the rights of women’s and others. It’s taken me a few weeks to get these pictures off my camera and posted, but I did want to get them up for anyone who is interested. There are people in South Carolina who dissent.
This is Faith. Faith has found joy, happiness, and contentment – except when she needs her toenails trimmed, dinner is late, or she gets woken up for a nap.
Life for Faith wasn’t always easy. She spent a little time on the race track before they closed, and was among the last dogs to ever race in Florida. Her first adoptive home didn’t treat her well, and she bounced back to the rescue group underweight, with a cracked tooth, and uncontrolled multi-drug resistant worms. But those problems are gone (at least we hope, the worm treatment takes several months and we just got our first clean test last month – need three in a row). But Faith found a life she loves in our home.
She loves to cuddle with her brother.
She loves paper towels.
She loves a good inverted nap.
She even loves hiking with us in the mountains of North Carolina (trust me on this one, she doesn’t hold still again until she’s napping when we are done).
Like many people I aspire to be more like my dog. She has handled life’s ups and down with grace (mostly) and forgiveness (graciously – even after I trim her nails). I hope to learn to be as openly loving as forgiving as her.
Back when we were allowed to go out and about, my wife and I spent a few days in New York City so she could attend a conference. We explored a few of the art museum and I got some time to just hang around Central Park and take pictures. I had started to post this gallery a while back, but got distracted by life and didn’t finish. So as a reminder that there is a larger world out there, and we’ll get to go back to exploring it one day I figured I’d finally get this finished.
The first day we just wondered a bit, including taking the Station Island Ferry across and back to get a few classic pictures.
A friend let us use her membership to the Met. So we spent a long day walking the exhibits. Since you can get better pictures of more or less all their art than most people are likely to take in the galleries (and no small number of people were taking pictures of whole works) I focused on the faces within larger works.
We also popped into MOMA on Free Friday and the Guggenheim on their give what you like Saturday evening. Those events were both about the art, and clearly for some in New York about being seen at those open chances to explore.
We explored Central Park together and separately. I love getting a few hours to just stroll through a place with my camera. Trying to take a mix of classic pictures and few that are less common.
Before too long we can go back to having adventures and getting out. But in the meantime stay safe as best you can.
Like most amateur photographers I often attend friends’ weddings with my camera and take a lot of pictures. I’ve also been tapped to be wedding photographer for a few friends and family over time, usually as a planned favor or gift but not always with forewarning. From those experiences I’ve learned a few things about taking pictures at weddings that I think make the couples happy while giving you good pictures to share.
Have Fun. The whole point of being at a wedding is to celebrate the couple’s love and coming life together. I’ve gone to weddings where a friend or family member got obsessed with competing with the official photographer or couldn’t accept that the couple didn’t really care about having official pictures. Your job is not to get great pictures, it is to be part of the celebration. If that means you miss a great shot or you end up in the back during the cake cutting talking to a buddy you haven’t seen in ten years, that’s just fine. Enjoy this time your with friends and family first, the pictures take second place to everything else.
Don’t get in the way. Just because you brought a nice camera does not give you permission to be a jerk and push your way to the front of every group. Official wedding photographers can be pretty pushy about getting pictures at the best times from the best angles — it’s literally their job. Your friends are paying good money for their services, so don’t cause them trouble or act like you also can also be that pushy. If you stand next to the photographer you are just duplicating a picture they are already taking, go find a different place to stand. And don’t bother the couple for extra pictures either, they have enough going on and are getting lots of pictures taken of them, they don’t need a friend bugging them to do a few extra.
Focus on informal images. The official photographer will take portraits, family pictures, and other standard formal pictures. But while they are focused on those, all kinds of other things are happening that aren’t on their todo list — focus your energy there. I like to look for the things that are happening when the couple and photographer aren’t paying attention. Pictures of the couple being relaxed together; of friends who are behind the photographer; of the photographers, DJs, and others who are often trying to be unnoticed. If everyone turns to look at something glance back the other way and see if there is a great picture there to be taken.
Take pictures of as many friends and family as possible. The photographers are rightly focused on the couple, their families, and whoever else they were told to focus on. It used to be normal for them to skip nearly the entire reception — after the cake was cut and the bouquet tossed they would bolt — and while that’s changing they still focus on the main action of the dance floors and toasts. But dear Aunt Marge may not be much of a dancer anymore and that pregnant friend from college might be happy to sit the whole time. Try to document for the couple as many people as you can so they have at least one image of everyone on the guest list.
Don’t sweat the editing. Leave the perfectly polished images for the professionals. Sure you might want to color correct or make other tweaks cause you enjoy it, but mostly your friends will be happy with what comes in because it’s part of the celebration. The photographer will provide a perfectly edited set (at least they should), so focus on giving your friends a more complete overview of events.
Share what you take, quickly if possible. It often takes a busy photographer weeks or months to turn around a set of images that are properly edited. Couples often like to start to share images on social media as soon as possible, and pictures from other friends’ cell phones will pile up quickly, so help them enjoy that part of the celebrations and get yours into the mix as soon as you’re able. I tend to give my friends copies of just about everything. Even if I edit some I will often send the original in case they want the version where Aunt Marge was at the edge of frame and I cropped her out.
Be prepared to pinch hit. A few times I’ve been to weddings where the photographer was a no-show and I was the only person around with a nice camera. Take a deep breath, ask the couple what they want from the pictures, scribble a list of the most important images to capture, find a friend to assist in gathering people for group shots, and then do your best from there. While you do now get to push your way to the front of crowds and ask the couple to pose for portraits, your first job is still to make sure the couple — and the guests — are enjoying the day. The union and celebration is still more important then the pictures.
This year’s Arts in the Heart of Augusta was not hurricane plagued the way last year’s was, and was a great weekend of good food, performances, and generally great chances to take pictures.
Each year opens with a parade to celebrate the diverse set of communities that have settled in and around Augusta.
The whole event is built around artists selling their work. They manage to pull in people from a fairly large area, but also make space for young local artists to try to get started selling their work.
For us, and for many others, the variety of ethic foods available for purchase is a large part of the draw.
It’s also a great event for just plain people watching. Between watching the various performances, enjoying the vendors, and the many activities, there are lots of chances to watch people having a good time with their friends and family.
Mixed in with the vendors, food, family activities, stages, and other goes on are always a mix of street performers.
There are several stages setup throughout the event, spanning several city blocks. The performances range from local signers to dance troops, street performers
Until next year…
This week marks the 20th Anniversary of the Hague Appeal for Peace.
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Hague Appeal for Peace and everything that happened (and didn’t) as part of that event and since, I decided to post some of my pictures from that adventure.
In my post on being an activist back in March I mentioned attending the Hague Appeal and the peace walk that followed. I was part of a delegation from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting; a group mostly made up of college students and a few older high school students, along with a few adults who handled the logistics and kept us on track more or less.
I have ten boxes of slides, and a few years ago I scanned them as best I could but frankly the scans aren’t great. The slides, which were more than ten years old at the time, had already started to fade and color shift as a result of their age. I did some color correction as I prepped them for this, but I also like the feel of some being somewhat faded and shifted with time. There are shared here full frame, and some are roughly cropped, but none carefully realigned. Since they are now pushing twenty I decided that I wanted to leave them all at or near full size and try to capture a bit of the way I saw the world then, and less of how I would edit it now. I like the rough visual feel they have as part of reflected on partially faded memories.
That trip was an important few weeks in my life, and I’ve been having a great time going back through the pictures. If you were with me on that trip and wonder if I have other pictures of you kicking around I might so send me a note and I’ll try to see what’s around and sent some your way.
For Christmas this year my wife and I took off and went to Belize. I took some 2,500 pictures and I’m working my way through them. The gallery below will get captions, alt-text, etc soon.
These panoramic pictures were created with a combination of my iPhone in pano mode and some that are stitched together with Hugin.
We got out last night to the opening night of Arts in the Heart of Augusta 2018. With hurricane Florence creeping over the region that’s probably all we’ll get to this year, but it was great to get a meal and enjoy a bit of the festival.
Update: we did manage to get back on Sunday for another meal and to see a few more performances.