Taking Better Photographs: Love the One [Camera] You’re With

It’s a common dilemma: I just saw a great photo but my “good camera” is at home. Because it’s heavy, because I didn’t intend to take photos during this excursion, and on and on. And I end up using my phone.

The point of this article, though, addresses that: you don’t need a new/better camera. You just need to get good with the camera you have in your hand. Love the one you’re with, as they say.

There are many tips here:

>Try different angles.
>Eschew symmetry.
>Take advantage of the Golden Hour.
>Turn off the flash.
>Use photo editing apps.
>Experiment.

Read the article; you’ll see. I just have two tips to add:

>In nature shots, keep the horizon straight. Or the fence. Or the porch. Don’t get too anxious to take the shot and forget to level the camera.

> Edit as much as you can before you take the photo. Something distracting off to the left? Take a couple steps to the right. Or get closer to your subject. Crop now in your viewfinder, rather than later.

Enjoy!

Laddie, the Extraordinarily Good-Natured Cat

(Obituary)
We let Laddie go today. He held on hard to life in spite of his increasing age (he was 18) and growing infirmity (arthritis in his rear legs). He’d brought two squirrels, two birds, and a vole inside as love offerings in the last two months. He patrolled the neighborhood every morning; he kept to his routine of chewing lemongrass after breakfast, which required getting up on the deck rail. He was still going over the six-foot fence a couple times a day until yesterday. This morning he declined to get out of bed, and I understood. He died in my arms at 8:50 am. To say we are heartbroken doesn’t begin to describe it.

• • •

That this is a much shorter obituary than Bean’s means nothing other than I am so sad I can’t bear this pain. Laddie was a spectacular cat, beloved by anyone who knew him. And many did, because he never met a stranger.

He was always eager to please.

And Still We Manage to Communicate

I use my Merriam-Webster online dictionary every day, and sometimes I find interesting articles or interesting people wiriting them. In this case, both.

In an article called “An Oxford-Educated Southerner in Berlin,”*I was delighted to read about a journalist, Robert Lane Greene, who has lived lots of places—

Johnson City, Tennessee (birthplace)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Omaha, Nebraska
Marietta, Georgia
New Orleans, Louisiana
Hamburg, Germany
Oxford, England
Brooklyn, New York
Berlin, Germany
(and now London, England)

—speaks lots of languages**

fluent:
German
Spanish
French
Portuguese
Danish
conversant:
Russian
Arabic
Italian

and still sounds like the sort of person who doesn’t think he’s too cool for school (or me, with my one language), you know? I love this:

I use y’all freely, and will duel (pistols, dawn) anyone who tells me not to. My accent gets a little southern lilt when I go back to Georgia, where my father’s family all still live.

Those of you who know me well, though, will understand why this delights me so:

Being a rootless cosmopolitan has its upsides (never boring) and its downsides (the mind-numbing stress of moving itself). But I never quite imagined that a major downside would be the inability to speak without self-consciousness. In a given day, I speak baby-talk Danish and English with my 14-month-old, grown-up Danish and English with my wife, English with my 12-year-old, and both German and careful Euro-English with assorted foreigners at work. My old normal English—very fast, slangy, moderately profane, slightly mumbled General American, lightly influenced by decades in the South—is limited to my few intimates in Berlin.

I’m not rootless, but have traveled some and have a few friends whose first language is not my first langage, and others whose English is spoken with an accent definitely not mine. And still we manage to communicate.

*This article is no longer available, so you’ll have to take my word for it about the title and excerpts.
**I got this list from Greene’s personal website, which also no longer exists, though it was there in late September 2016, when I originally published this article on my other website.

Little Round Planet …

Little round planet
In a big universe
Sometimes it looks blessed
Sometimes it looks cursed
Depends on what you look at obviously
But even more it depends on the way that you see

—Bruce Cockburn, from his song “Child of the Wind” (1991)

I Have Had Enough of Winter …

From the kitchen window.

It’s 34° outside at 1pm, 39° when we left the house for the farmers market at 7:30 this morning. On our way home from the market we saw a homeless man, staggering down the Church Street overpass in the wind. In shirtsleeves.

While we had a late breakfast, this little squirrel sat outside near the fountain and feeding table with its front paws folded up close to its chest, no doubt wondering what had happened to spring and did we skip summer, for Pete’s sake?

Now Gerry’s outside covering up the rose bushes, and I’ve dragged the potted herbs up into a little nook by the back door. It may be April seventh where you are, the joke goes, but here it’s January ninety-seventh. Brrr.

We’re warm inside, but this will be a long night for many of God’s creatures. #enough #grateful