Friday, October 24, 2014

Magazine Photo

The November/December issue of Orion Magazine is now available. My image of the Animal's Bridge in Western Montana headlines the "Right of Way" article (pg 61). I'm very pleased! 

Perseverance Saved Monopod and Money

Photography has been a large part of my life for several decades. I usually shoot action events, domestic animals; and to steady my aim, I most often use a monopod. Now I have this new big lens, and when I was using it on the monopod the other day, the lower extension kept slowly retracting.
weighs about 4 lbs

I noticed that a plastic cap was missing from the tightening cog. Bummer. Do I need a new monopod?

I bought both my tripod and monopod in the last century, so an upgrade could be considered. Still, I have other photo priorities right now, such as a speed light for my digital cameras (I’ve been using last-century units teched for film cameras, and have to do a lot of manual adjustment to get the correct exposures).

After eying several monopods (with $100 + price tags) at online stores, I decided to see if I could get the cap replaced, and carried the monopod in to my local hardware store. I didn’t have much hope for success, especially after one salesperson said, "What the heck is this thing?" But I persevered.

The next store associate took one look and said, "I think the nut needs to be tightened." (Could it really be that easy?) After a brisk walk down the nuts-and-bolts aisle, he selected a small tool, tightened the nut...And no more creeping retraction!

I bought the little socket (under $2.00) and at home, using my own ratchet, made further adjustments to allow for the heavier lens. Good as new! I added the socket to my camera bag, in case I need field adjustments.

I’m so glad I considered other options and didn’t just impulse buy a replacement.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Photography and Writing

© 2011 Kae Cheatham (previously published on the Get It Together blog)

My chosen occupations are artistic, and both are continually experiencing technological advancements, leading to consumer/public indifference: Writing (as an Indie Author) and Photography. These different endeavors have both been clobbered by modern advancements.
I embrace new technology, but recognize how it makes my artistic activities difficult.

Let's start with Writing. I am considered an Indie Author because I publish for ereaders, I have my own imprint and produce my own dead-tree books. Many articles, forum discussions and blog posts have expressed opinions on the Indie-produced products and authors. The technology that enabled this influx of tens of thousands of new authors (and even more titles) is not a fad (and in most cases, it's free!). Every month a new innovation is put on the market. In addition, the proliferation of social networking, especially blogs, encourage people that their words can be read by everyone (forever!). The Indie Authors who have for decades honed their Art of Writing and have been producing since before the electronic revolution, can easily be lost in the increasing number of people publishing anything and everything with varying degrees of writing expertise.

The same is true with Photography. Early in this century, when digital cameras became a public consumer item, they fostered a plethora of shutterbugs. Today, taking pictures is no longer a costly activity of film purchase and development. Sharing with family and friends--and the world--is an easy upload. An actual stand-alone camera isn't even necessary. Almost all Internet-geared devices, from laptops to smart phone and tablets, have a camera built in, and social network sites encourage photo uploads. As with writing, professionals who developed their Art of Photography prior to the digital age--who were once considered having an elite talent--are now some of the billions who daily take pictures.

From a social development standpoint, I find all this fascinating. From an artist's point of view, it's troublesome. I'll be contemplating some of the ramifications in future posts.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Field Guide to Happiness - Review

Linda Leaming, who has made her home in Bhutan for more than twenty years, has written another fine book about her life in this isolated small county wedged near Indian and Tibet. Where in the first book Married to Bhutan she described her new life and how she became connected to the people and culture (including marrying Phurba Namgay), this book A Field Guide to Happiness presents more of her views about how and why the Bhutanese maintain Happiness.

Happiness is the mantra of the country, almost a directive from the government itself; but Linda shows that happiness is ingrained in the culture and individuals. The book is charmingly written, in that Linda presents her own foibles and Western-culture attitudes as examples of how to (and not to) live happily.

In a straightforward, to lecturing way, I gained more insight into kindness, meditation and self-awareness. I also picked up a few recipes :-).
I wish there had been some pictures of this place. Linda's descriptions are splendid, because she is a very creative and eloquent writer. I like the cover art, by Phurba Namgay, and I often visit Linda's web page where she often shares pictures of Bhutan and of Namgay's work.

Linda's first book, Married to Bhutan is a well-received and popular memoir; it has been published in several different languages and I have no doubt the same will happen with A Field Guide to Happiness.