I just had a nice chat with my wonderful Grandma on the important matter of potty training, notably that of my mom and her siblings, as well as my own! She is clearly an expert at it, with a consistent record of sub-year-old graduates from her program. I took notes and will share the experience if we can successfully apply it for Leo.

We also discussed another topic related to sitting down and getting down to business. She’s been trying to write a book and finds it challenging to actually get around to laying a digit upon the typewriter keyboard. I can totally identify! It’s taking me forever to get my shots posted, and my blogging habit has obviously been curbed.

As a show of solidarity and support for my grandmother, I decided to immediately seat myself before my various input devices and start posting pictures and writing up some notes about them. Without further ado:

RTC Health Summer Party
Leo & Doug
Claire’s company held its annual summer party, we attended and I offered to be the unofficial event photographer. I started out getting wide shots with the 18-70 and then switched to the 70-300. The great thing about the longer lens was the fact that I could catch great moments and expressions from a distance, without people noticing me me and getting all self-conscious. I stuck with a big aperture to blur the background and let me use higher shutter speeds to keep the camera shake effect under control. The sunlight was good so I was able to keep the ISO down to non-noisy levels.

Interestingly, the camera became a good ice-breaker, as I would walk up to new people and introduce myself as the unofficial event photographer. I then had an unspoken license to take relative strangers’ pictures without weirding them out too much. It also gave a starting conversation topic.

I switched back from the long lens to the wide as the light diminished: the longer exposures required were causing motion blur. I attempted to use the pop-up flash every now and then, with disappointing results. I’ve learned a lot about flash photography since then and I still feel like an idiot about it. Anyway, back then I knew less than nothing, so I just avoided using the flash altogether, whenever possible, to avoid the WHITE face, BLACK background look so typical of amateurish snapshots.

All in all, I was pleased with how I was able to represent the people, and I got some very kind feedback from Claire’s co-workers.

Nashville
Tatoo Parlor Kiss
This was my first of three different trips to Nashville so far, and I got there on the Sunday before having to go to work. I took the opportunity to drive about downtown looking for interesting places to take pictures. I found my way to Broadway, which is Nashville’s country music “strip”. Lots of pictures to be taken there, indeed.

I had dinner, which came with a large pint of beer, which in turn made me feel all creative and fearless. I got my tripod out and started taking long exposure shots of Broadway from the sidewalk, with the city lights prominent and the blur of activity as people milled about. Due to the darkness, the 18-70 was all I used for the shots posted here. The buzz from the beer also gave me the guts to approach some people and take their pictures. Claire had once admonished me (probably rightly) for not giving street performers any money when photographing them, so I had a bunch of dollar bills handy to silence my conscience. This boldness and the odd greenback led to some interesting opportunities.

The key learning from this session came from when an attractive couple leaving a bar spotted me there with D-SLR and tripod and asked me to take their picture. A bit surprised by this, I asked them if they wanted me to send it to them afterwards, and they replied, “Heck no, just take the picture.” I got a bit flustered and forgot to check the settings on the camera before composing the shot and hitting the shutter release. It was set for a 10-second exposure, which was longer than these folks were willing to stand PERFECTLY still for me. It took me a very long three or four seconds to think of cycling the power on and off on the camera to cancel this, but it was too late. The shot was completely botched, and they were starting to walk away. I thanked them, and vowed to try and stay more level-headed if ever another opportunity arose.

I have posted a bunch of other shots to my photostream besides these two sets, and I invite you to peruse and leave me your comments. I need to get to bed, so I’ll do the writeups for my San Francisco and Ennismore sets over the weekend, and hopefully get more photos selected and uploaded as well. I’m gradually catching up!