Dec 302009

I’ve sat here the last few days and watched a few things go on after a Nigerian tried to bomb a flight from Amsterdam into the United States, North West Flight 253 on Christmas day.  I have to say as someone who likes to travel and go to places by flying I do not feel encouraged to so do by the harassment of Flying with Fish and at least one of his counter parts by the TSA because they blogged up-to-date information as to the rules and regulations for flying the last few days.  Flyers have the right to know these things.  Lines go smoother and everyone ends up happier in the end if they know what is going on and what the rules are!  I think the government made a few new rules that would have done nothing to prevent that incident to show that they are doing SOMETHING.  When will taking away the civil liberties of our citizens and those who want to travel to the United States ever be ethical?  I’d rather be a little at risk then to have all my rights removed because profiling is not allowed, because there are some out there who will not be happy until everyone else in the world is unhappy, or because the rights of a few are more important then the rights of the many.

As a beginning photographer I can see this incident impeding on my rights to fly with my gear.  I’ve read many accounts on how photographic gear has been stolen or damaged when it is checked, and without the right to lock it to protect it, carrying it on a plane seems to be the only way to protect it.  Now with the new regulations and crack down on flyers rights, I fear that will no longer be allowed.  The damage and thieves can frequently be the TSA employees that are supposed to be protecting the passengers.  There is no way to ensure that everyone is honest and in today’s economy, times are tough.  I know that.  I see people struggling to work, to make ends meet, to keep their families together or to feed their children.  As a pediatric nurse I see what the stress does to parents, how easy it is for someone to snap under the pressures of a sick child, how adding one more thing to a person’s plate can bring them crumbling down.  Some of the children I care for are there because the parent/babysitter/family member snapped at home and therefore hurt the child.  These are stressful times.

I understand that the TSA feels that something needs to be done to prevent a situation like the attempted bombing from occurring again.  Limiting all carrying items would not have prevented the man from hiding things in a body cavity as is presumed according to some sources.  There is no 100% fix without treating travelers as if they have no rights, striping them naked, doing full body searches of everyone, and such..l. but that can never happen because no one would travel if that was the case.  There has to be a middle ground.  X-ray me, that is a lot less invasive then other options.  I want to keep my civil rights.  I want to travel with in comfort and with my possessions intact and not at risk.  There are so many parts of this world I want to see, but if I have to give up all my rights to do so, I’ll look at pictures others have taken or try to find a boat/train/car/bus to take me.

Dec 292009

I just took a look at what I did in the past year.  Now I want to start thinking about goals for the future.  I’m still learning what I’m doing.  So I want to continue learning about my Canon 40D, my Elan IIE film camera, my 28-135 mm lens, and continue understanding the basic principals of photography.  Shutter speed is still one of the things I struggle with, so hopefully I’ll be able to get my mind around some of the more technical parts of photography.

I hope this year to learn more about lighting, as one of my struggles is getting things lit the way I want them…not too much or too little.  I would LOVE to be able to afford a flash this year, along with a few more lenses.  I want to find new places to photograph, return to some of my favorites, and perhaps get better at seeing everything I’m shooting and not missing some of the little details that later make me dislike a photo.

I would love to learn how to better photograph people.  Since for the most part the only people I’ve shot so far is family, I guess it makes it hard.  Maybe that will change this next year.  I admit when out in public I try not to get faces of strangers as I know there are legalities involved.  I haven’t gotten to the point of having a model release yet, guess if I want to keep at all this, especially of taking photographs of people I’ll need to look at some of the legalities involved.

There is just so many things one can think about.  I’m certain I’ll keep learning to develop my film, learn how to use John’s enlarger, and keep experimenting with cyanotypes.  I want to learn, to experiment, and to keep excited about this hobby that is becoming much more.  🙂

Dec 292009

Helmstetter's Train Photo Fundraiser

I sit here and contemplate the new year and I remember this past year.  So much has happened to me.  I have been to more National Parks then ever before including Blackwater, The Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon, and the Navajo Bridge.  I have been to the Maryland Zoo and Rio Grande Zoo, both new places to me and at opposite sides of the country.  I have been

Harley at Fort Armistead

to the Southwest TWICE this year, to Antelope Canyon and then to the Albuquerque Balloon festival.  I saw my first boat races, first hot air balloons, steam engine, and canyons.  I have really started to look around me and try to see the beauty that so many people take for granted in the every day things we pass.

This year I have grown as a digital photographer, nature photographer, events photographer, Black & White photographer, and started to enter my first photo contests in my local camera club.  I’ve even had the honor of winning a few in the novice category.  I’ve developed my first roll of film, both black & white and color.  I’ve started to make Cyanotypes and I’ve just opened my eyes to things around me.

Antelope Canyon

Northern Rim of Grand Canyon

I’m loving all the new experiences I have been blessed to find, but I’m also enjoying using my photography to capture family events and my friends.  I never want to forget the moments I get with my Poppop, my niece or any of my family members or friends.  I guess it is exploring one’s own soul a bit to open up and truly see everything that surrounds us.  A picture is so much better then words, as the eyes can see things that the human tongue just can’t find words to describe.  Sometimes it is the simple things that capture the imagination and cause poets to reach out to find words, but sometimes it is the complexities that amaze the human spirit and cause us to be wowed into silence.  There are just not words that can explain to a blind man colors, especially one who has never been able to see them.  One can try to relate their vision to others, and that is part of what photography is to me, a way for me to try to explain my life, my dreams, and my hopes to the world.  I try to open up my senses and just be for a moment.  I become an instrument of some unknown muse, be it when I write or when I photograph.



I don’t know what the future will bring, but I hope to expand on my photographic experiences, to continue to travel around this beautiful world we live in, and to share little moments and glimpses of the world how I see it.  I’ve come to realize that my view of the world is not the same as any one else’s.  We all bring our pasts, our presents, and our futures with us to each and every experience.  We can choose to enjoy and learn from each experience, or to allow darkness to enter in and taint us.  I hope and pray that more often then not I grow and learn from every experience.  Who knows what the new year will bring me, but I can’t wait to step into it and find out!


Dec 212009

So recently I’ve been introduced to the world of Cyanotypes…and blue being my favorite color, it really intrigues me.  I know that I have only started to experiment with them, but I’ve had fun with my experiments.  It all started on November 29… at least my own experiment.  John Milleker had told me a bit about them and had bought the chemicals and experimented with different papers to see which worked best for this process with me present.  Water color paper seemed to do the best in the experiments, so we each painted a few pages.  I took my papers home to experiment with.  The first time I tried to expose the paper, I just did one sheet.

First what is a Cyanotype?  It is a way of photo processing involving placing photosensitive chemicals on a canvas (which can be paper, fabric, eggs, or whatever you dream up that can hold onto the chemicals), then placing an image over those chemicals so that the image will imprint upon the canvas, then exposing those chemicals to sunlight to “develop” the image, and last one needs to rinse off the photosensitive chemicals so see the final image.


Heirlooms was my first experiment, and it was me placing objects on the paper that was painted with the Cyanotype chemicals.  I named this Heirlooms because all the objects were from my grandparents.  There was a couple broaches, a neck tie, a string of beads (that made a great looking pearl necklace on the final draft!), a pipe, and a letter opener.  I liked seeing what turned out really well, and what didn’t.

The next time I experimented I had a wonderful idea, I’d take pictures of each step. I had multiple sizes of paper, so approached each piece separately, as it’s own unique piece.  These pictures show some of the smaller pieces mixed into one photo.   I took some of the paper that already had the chemicals on it and designed what I wanted on it.  Then I took photos of the layouts.

After that I put them out in the sunlight of my sidewalk for about one hour in the end.  I truthfully didn’t time it all out.  I then took pictures of the exposed paper.

The final step of the process is to rinse off the chemicals and see what the final Cyanotype looks like.  The final outcome is not totally done until the paper dries.

I can’t wait to see what else I can do, especially working with transparencies and my photographs.  The artsy side of me is thrilled to be able to mix the photographer in me with my creative spirit!  I will continue to experiment with paper for now, but I can foresee a future experiment using fabrics or even egg shells.  The fun part of all this, is that this is only the beginning.  The options from here are almost endless!

Dec 172009

Just getting started here and hope that I have something to say that others want to hear.  Still learning what I’m doing, but hopeful that I can share my photographic adventures and add something to the world of Blogging.    May occationally mix in a bit of poetry, life, and nursing, but we’ll see what happens! Sit back and enjoy the ride.  🙂

First lets start with the name of this blog: Life at 1/250th.  First it was a name suggested to me by John Milleker, one of my photography mentors and boyfriend.  But…it is also a shutter speed, and I’ll totally admit that one of the aspects of photography that I struggle with is shutter speed, and maybe it is a reminder to myself to pay attention to this important aspect of photography.

What is it about photography that draws me in?  I’m not totally sure, but the fact that a moment can be captured to share with others, to show the world a different view of something they pass or see everyday, or to put an artistic edge to something.  There are also many facets of photography to explore…sometimes it can get overwhelming!  There is digital, there is film (which does still exist, although a fading art!), there are different processes to explore, too.  I’ve recently begun experimenting with Cyanotypes.   It is probably the blue in these prints that captures me, especially since blue is my favorite color.

I’ll try to find time to share those advantures here, soon.  🙂