Being at school feels special

Even though I am now a Senior at my college, we still needed to attend Orientation today (to get IDs and Parking Passes and that sort of thing).  It felt a little pointless to have the Academic Dean give a speech about what our school’s motto means and how he was sitting in our seats years ago etc. etc. (these are the kinds of things you talk about at graduation!) but I did realize that simply being back in that environment, the familiar faces and locations, made me feel very comfortable and at ease.  And just now I realize that being at school feels special.

And not a cheezy “you’re unique and special” kind of way, but more of a coming home.  Yes, it’s only expected that I should get all touchy-feely about being back in school my final year of it, but my class rules the school now!  All our friends that graduated last year are gone and we’re filling their place…it just doesn’t seem right.  And yet, it does.  It’s taken me a bit longer to get here than most students and I’m pretty darned excited for it to be over and go out into the “real world”.  Except that, since my internship finished and I got my new job that pays me to do design work all the time, I feel like I’m in the real world already and going back for this last year is more like a “Hey, show me you can really do this” kind of year rather than “You’re so not ready for the real stuff, let me spoon-feed you a little longer”.

Anyway, I was really just trying to sum up the feeling of comfort at being in school as well as the comfort in the knowledge that it isn’t going to last much longer so I’d better enjoy it while I can.  And I intend to.  Oh boy, do I intend to.


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Stop-Motion isn’t as hard as I thought

In addition to today’s post, I have also learned that I’m horrible at keeping up with a blog.  Sorry.

At work we’ve been coming up with ideas for 15 second (silent) commercials to use on a new, upcoming video wall.  Some have been very difficult to storyboard because I am horrible at drawing figures.  Penguins I can draw, but not so much with the people.  Anyway, it seems my new approach to storyboarding is photographic animatics.  Basically, moving storyboards using photos (like moving paper dolls).  Also, I’m really the only one I can photograph, so the less people I need per concept, the easier it is to storyboard, but that makes it harder to advertise.

One of the ideas that the President of our company suggested was a sort of stop-motion video, that jumpy time-laps kind of thing.  Well, I tried some of that today with unwrapping a chocolate bar and I discovered that stop-motion isn’t as hard as I thought.  Now, granted, it’s harder than it looks, and you have to be patient as hell, but when you do it right, it looks damn cool!

One of the tricks is a motionless camera.  Tripod worked well for me, but I’ve seen them on C-stands before too.  Another is a slow and steady hand.  Now, I’ll be the first to tell you my drawing skills are not on par where they should be because my hand doesn’t like to draw steady.  However, that’s not what I mean when I say “a steady hand”.  For this, it’s moving one part of the object without moving another to create seamless motion.  Our eyes aren’t that sharp when it comes to movement which is rather handy when you’re trying to create a jumpy kind of video.  I could make large movements but hold them for more frames, yet it still goes fast enough that our eyes fill in the movement!

So bottom line to all this is that it seems those animation and motion graphics classes (not to mention copious amounts of special features from movies) have paid off.  When I showed my supervisor my finished sample (Note: This was a sample, not the finished product!) he only had one other comment besides “That looks so cool!” (which was to add something to the photos to make it more like what the final product would become)

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Deodorant for skirt burn

I wear a skirt as part of my outfit for Ren Faire.  However, I always wear shorts or pants underneath.  If I don’t, my legs will rub together when I walk and create a nasty rash/burn that will make me walk funny (and it can be painful too).  However!  Today one of the least likely of people informed me of how to avoid this fate.  Deodorant!  Really?  Just apply normal stick deodorant and voila!  No more skirt burn!  Now, if you’re hot and sticky, sometimes it needs to be reapplied, but still…next week I’ll be trying deodorant for skirt burn.


The person who told me was a man who’d learned it from another man because they were wearing kilts.

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Taking a picture of a snake’s tongue is hard!

Today my fiancée and I went out with a bunch of people to search for and take pictures of Timber Rattlesnakes and Copperheads. 

For background, I did not know that “herpetology” was a word until little over a year ago and now I’m out looking for venomous snakes! 

For the most part, in this year I’ve learned about herpetology, I’ve become comfortable around most reptiles and amphibians.  Today was the first day I met a snake in the wild though.  It was not as scary as I thought it would be.  I think this turned out to be the case because we didn’t run into any rattlesnakes.  We found about 4 Copperheads, but no Timbers.  But, even if I was not as enthused about the specific breed of snake, I still enjoy a challenge in photography.

We had a speaker at our club meeting a few months ago that actually did a presentation about herp. photography that I enjoyed very much.  One of the things he encouraged us to do was to kneel down to the animals level to get a better shot.  This is fine, especially when I have a long lens on and I don’t actually have to get close to the animal.  The other thing he said, more specifically for snakes, is to try to get a picture with their tongue out.  It ends up being a really cool shot!  However, what I have discovered is that taking a picture of a snake’s tongue is hard!

They flick it so fast that you barely have time to notice it’s out, click the picture, and it’s barely gone in again!  So your picture ends up with a tiny bit of the tongue out rather than a nice long tongue.

Copperhead with a tiny bit of tounge

little slow on the clicky click

Or, because the tongue is flicking, you get the tongue flipped up in its face or over on its eye or some other place that makes the picture not as good.

coppehead with tounge flipped up

see what I mean about a weird tongue position?

It took a very long time, but I did get a few good shots.

black rat snake

yes, this is a black rat snake and not a copperhead, sorry.

copperhead good bit of tounge

this is the best copperhead tongue I got all day. wow...that didn't come out right...

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Being alone & being left alone are different things

Today I spent most of my day alone.  I could have gone up to work, but there weren’t really any orders in and my laptop decided to not turn on yesterday, or today, and I can’t fix it right now, so I stayed home.  My fiancée still had to go to work, so I was left alone.  However, being alone and being left alone are different things.  Let me explain…

To be alone is to just that simple.  No one is around.  You are alone.  I’m alright with this most of the time, as long as it is of my own choice.  If I chose to remove myself from the company of others, I’m fine.

To be left alone is when others chose to not interact with you.  When that happens, I fall into depression.  I don’t like summers half the time because I am not around as many people daily.  I enjoy my work as a photographer because I get to interact with the public (even when they annoy me).  I enjoy my school because it is so small that I know at least half the people I pass in the halls.

Today, once I made the decision to stay home and not drive the 40 minutes to work, that decision to not interact with the two or three other people at work today, I actually started to relax.  For some reason, that’s just the way my mind works.

Side note: I’m sorry I didn’t write the past few days. My co-workers and I took a day to actually visit the park we work out and ride the rides and have lots of fun. However, that lots of fun is very tiring and I fell asleep early again.

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Baths are boring

It’s Monday.  I had a Monday today.  Very bad day.  I decided when I got home (after a cleaning spree that almost made me feel better) to take a hot, bubble bath to shake off the rest of the bad day.  Now, my fiancee takes lots of baths.  He loves them!  He reads books in his baths or even falls asleep and naps in the hot water.  (Please note, he’s been doing this since he was at least 16 and hasn’t drowned yet…)  Anyway, I go in and make up my bath, ready to watch one of my favorite shows on DVD.  Hot at first, but warms down fairly quickly (I do not have a high tolerance for hot water) nice honeysuckle smelling bubbles, show starts playing, all is well.

About 15 minutes in, the bubbles are all gone, and the hot water is evaporating into hot air, making me sweat and feel sticky.  Feeling sticky is the opposite of what I wanted.  Even though I’m watching my show, I’m starting to not be as happy as I thought I might be during/after a bath.  So what I’ve learned is that baths are boring.


Well, I should say, adult baths are boring.  I remember having lots of bath toys as a kid and loving bath time!  I wish I had had some bath toys tonight.  Or maybe just a Jacuzzi, since that would have been fun and actually relaxing my muscles.  

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Ren Faire is a great excuse to be a smart-ass

Yesterday and today was the opening weekend of our local Renaissance Faire, at which my fiancee and I both work.  Our main job that we do all day, about 8 hours or so (which excludes lunch and privy breaks) is to get people to pet a small lizard.  Now, that might sound boring, but it really isn’t.  You get to interact with lots and lots of people and if they ask you any questions, you have a choice of being polite, or being a smart-ass.

Now, granted, you have this choice in everyday life as well.  However, it is usually considered unacceptable to chose that later with strangers.  You can be a smart-ass with your friends, because they know you’re being a smart-ass and they don’t (usually) get huffy with you.  Myself, I’m a very polite person around strangers.  That being said, it can be such a relief to give a really dumb answer to a really dumb question.  Getting a laugh for it from a total stranger is a nice bonus, too.

For example, I get the question, “Why doesn’t he [the small lizard] run away?” alot.  A perfectly acceptable question to ask!  But since we’re at Faire, I can answer, “Because he’s not moving his legs at all” first and then give the real reason second.  I get to do this all day!  Ren Faire is a great excuse to be a smart-ass!

The reason I did not write this up yesterday was because I had such a long day at Faire, I fell asleep at 10 o’clock and didn’t get a chance to write at all.  Sorry.

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