Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Another opportunity at learning

My morning writing has me thinking about the lessons learned over the weekend. I’m always excited when I learn interesting things. I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong, even when embarrassing. If I make a mistake and I am wrong, I’ll own up to it and do what I can to make it right. 

For instance, one of our rules with the newspaper is in only covering local news. I wrote about an event and left out names of those who did not live in “our” area. Someone sent a letter. I feel bad. It’s a wake-up call. Sometimes in my trying to be fair and do things right, I do not look at the entire picture. I’ve been trying to make rules and guidelines stricter than needed. 

1. I realize even though there’s a “rule,” we have to be flexible. Sometimes I need to look at a bigger picture and see all who would benefit from the information. 

2. Trying to be fair and treat everyone (and every town) exactly the same is unrealistic. I was afraid that if we allowed something in one area, it would open it up to others expecting the same. I now understand that each instance and story needs to be treated as its own moment.  

3. I’ve also come to realize that treating everyone the same is not fair. Some people need more molly-coddling (and yes, I fit that category) especially dealing with artists. This is how it is. We are all humans and need to be treated with respect and not put in a box designed to make us all alike. We are not all alike. We may have similarities, but we also have differences and all aspects of a person deserve respect. 

4. One of the reasons I love my editor job at the newspaper is that we pride ourselves in being small-town/local. All of the above has to be realized to maintain the type of integrity we want with the InterTown Record. We want to be able to recognize individuals and not just see a group of people as a whole or entire town. When people are no longer seen as individuals, the individual no longer matters and they become numbers and statistics that are easily written off. 

This is what has happened in this country. Individuals no longer matter and the “good of the whole” has been swallowed by big business marketing and the country’s leaders protecting an elite few. “Good of the whole” is now just a term to benefit whoever or whatever group or business is saying it.

It’s up to us to keep our local flavor and protect our people by giving them recognition when they deserve it and by telling their stories. (And that’s impossible when an organization gets too big which happens with buy-outs and all that... but that’s another subject.) Most people living in the smaller towns do so to have that community-mindedness. We love to walk down the street and have neighbors and passersby wave. It’s great to know that should something happen, neighbors will step up to help. 

I love the opportunity to tell people’s stories and to give them recognition they deserve. Everyone has a story. Everyone has an interesting life. All the media-hype and sensationalism are not needed. Instead of focusing on all the negative going on in the world, how about we tell individual stories of the wonderful people who live around us?



Thursday, April 9, 2015

A new and different project

I was asked by personal chef, Barbara Bridgewater, www.feastofnh.com, of Bradford to shoot photos to update her website. Many of you heard me mention how I love watching the cooking shows on TV, but I’m a fussy eater and don’t like to cook. Meeting Barbara was a great opportunity to learn more about cooking and food. 

Yesterday I did my first stint at photographing food. I’ve heard about spraying food with something to make it look more vibrant and pleasing in photos. My mind struggles with that as I’m a photographer who works hard to make a photo look real and Barbara is a chef who promotes healthy eating. (The spraying of a chemical to make the food look better just doesn’t sit so well with me… of course, I could be wrong.) 

We had an enjoyable couple of hours. I got to taste-test, too, which added to the enjoyment, and she provided take-home containers giving me a delicious meal for later. I never eat asparagus because I didn’t think I liked it, but she made it look so good, I decided to try it. It was yummy and I will be eating asparagus again.  

The first round photos came out OK; not great, but passable. This is a learning experience for both of us. We both have ideas on how to do better. I got up this morning with my mind overrunning with suggestions and I couldn’t wait to get to the computer to email her. We are inspiring each other. Hey, I’m willing to work for food! We’ll need to work out details so we are both satisfied.  

What’s interesting about Barbara is she’s a vegetarian, her husband prefers meat, and they have relatives who require special diets. This means she has the expertise to create tasty meals to fit any client’s tastes and requirements. Also, her prices are reasonable and she is planning to offer delivery in the local areas. She does all the grocery shopping, prep work cooking, and she provides directions on heating and storing leftovers. Imagine having your meals cooked and delivered! 

I’m excited about this direction. I totally believe that we all have something we are good at and it’s great when a barter-type system can be worked out. In this case, I can take photos and help with writing a blog/articles and I’ll make a little money and get some delicious meals in return. What’s also good about this type of work is that it isn’t something that requires specific times, so we work on the project when opportunity or timing allows or as needed.



Friday, April 3, 2015

Working on photos from Day 11

I spent the morning editing the rest of the photos from Day 11 of the trip. Andrea and Lance Brownell had taken me to Homosassas State Park. What an amazing place. I took well over 100 photos. I couldn’t help it. I edited 60. 

The flamingos look wrong… they are more orange than pink. That was because it was mating season and they turn a more coral color than what you normally think for flamingos. I printed out one of the photos in 8x10. The orange is pretty, but I’d rather have a photo of the flamingos in their more natural color. Still, it will make a bright splash on my wall when I get the picture matted and framed. 

Homosassas State Park is part wild life refuge, zoo, and rehabilitation area. Some of the area was caged and other areas were open and wild birds would also visit. Black vultures were all around in the trees waiting for an easy meal and would fly to the feeder boxes shared by flamingos, egrets, swans, herons, and more. There are many types of birds including bald eagles, red-shouldered hawks, and osprey which are being rehabilitated.  

There’s a Florida panther, red fox, bob cat, and other mammals, too, along with a hippopotamus which has been a resident since 1964. What impressed me was how clean it was. The water in the streams was crystal clear. The staff takes very good care of the property and their charges. 

I would so love to go back there someday and now that the pictures are edited, I can work on the story. I use the photos along with notes and journal to help me remember the day. The photos help to better describe because sometimes I feel my descriptions are not so great. I want to be better.



Thursday, April 2, 2015

Editing photos and writing

I get so busy I forget to take a moment to write the blog. 

I’ve made it to Day 11 in writing and editing photos of the trip to Florida. Day 11 was an awesome day. I was staying with Andrea and Lance Brownell in Citrus Springs and they took me to Homosassas Wildlife State Park. It was a beautiful park and I took many pictures of birds and animals. Some birds are wild and come and go at will. Others are being rehabilitated from injuries. Some were in single cages (and all areas had plenty of room for them to move around). Others were in more open shared areas.  

Flamingos, swans, pelicans, storks, and various other birds all co-existed together. Black vultures hung out in the tree tops and would fly in to share food. The colors and textures were amazing! Even expressions on various birds’ faces caught my attention. 

What was also impressive was how clean the place was and how well-cared for all the animals and birds were. I was surprised how orange the flamingos were. I always thought they were pink. I learned they turn a coral-color during mating season. 

I’ve edited 36 photos from this one day so far. I will be lucky if I can include four in the book. Then when it comes to the picture book, I still won’t be able to do all. I hate having beautiful photos go to waste. Maybe I’ll make cards or prints. I don’t know if anyone from here would want southern photos, but many people vacation in Florida, so maybe I could make some sales. 

The writing is tough, in a way. On one hand, it’s wonderful reliving the experience. On the other hand, it’s making me want to go back so bad. I look at a picture and think that I should have done it another way or taken other angles. I wish… 

No, I can’t be regretting anything. It’s tough because I have the travel bug and want to see everything again, see areas I missed, and be able to take more time and not always be hurrying on to the next place. I so loved it all!  

The sad thing is, I probably will never ever be able to afford to go again.