Alaska, Friends

This Alaska

This Alaska place.

I have had a real strong love/hate relationship with it the past year or so. I love Alaska. I love Ketchikan. I love the rain and the beautiful sunny days and the busy summers and quiet winters. I do. But standing by as friends come and go never gets easy. Being stuck on an Island, a million and one miles away from the people you want to hang out with is a challenge in and of itself. You may only be a few thousand miles away -but it doesn’t matter. You are separated by oceans and lands and miles.

Making new friends has never been a strong suite of mine…so being stuck on an island while your friends move in and out of your life is, well, challenging.

I haven’t done much traveling this year, so being ‘stuck’ on the island has taken its toll.

Yes, I love Alaska. But sometimes…

When it takes you 30 minutes to make a 5 minute drive. When you have to stop and go a million times. When tourist literally jump out in front of your car and give you a brief heart attack. When you just want to go into a shop and not see a billion and one faces -many of who you know and many of who you don’t. When you just want a moment of peace -yet there is none to be found…

And then you go for a hike. Into the vast wilderness. The great unknown. The peaceful calmness of the mountains, the silence. The cool wind and the beautiful scenery. The friends.

When you stand in the mountains of Alaska…you feel so small. You realize just how big this world is and just how small you are. You realize just how small your town is, and the problems in it. You realize there is so much beauty -even in the smallness. You are reminded.

This place? This Alaska?

Is quite simply amazing.

Taking in a deep breath of fresh mountain air is sometimes the remedy that can make everything better again.

Life, Photography

No Regrets

I love photography.  Occasionally I will even take nice photos that I am proud of.  This makes it frustrating when I take less than average photos; I always want to top my last picture and improve my photos every time.

I like my camera, a Nikon D40, but some days it seems that my camera doesn’t like me.  Sometimes I take decent shots, but other times I’m left looking through the viewfinder, puzzled.  What I see, and what I actually capture are often two different things. And don’t even get me started on attitude. From both my camera and myself.

A couple of years ago, during the summer, I was at the beach. I had taken my camera, and as our little friend Parker played in the sand I thought “Hey perfect photo opportunity right here!” It was a sunny day, the beach is a great location, even the colors were great; Parker was wearing red, playing with a yellow truck, and the evening sun made for perfect lighting.

Awwwwww cute, right?

Except that it wasn’t.  I was laying in the sand snapping pictures of kids playing in the water, and instead of a “professional photographer” I probably got classed as some kind of professional weirdo.

Later that night when I was looking through my photos I was happy with the results.  Parker looked charming in his red shirt, and the lighting was perfect.  But then I realized: while taking the photos, I had completely forgotten a certain detail: the horizon line.

There it was, in all of its slanted glory.  Tipping diagonally across the background.  Nearly every photo had a crooked line.

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I was not impressed.  How did this happen?  How did the photos end up with a terrible slanted lines?  I wanted to delete them all, and probably would have, except for the fact that they were special, and very cute.

Instead of deleting them, it was a bit of post processing that helped save the day that time.  I’m not a fan off too much editing.  I mean, you have to know what you’re doing with that otherwise you might distort the image and it would look like Parker is slanting off the side of the photo.  But of course, post processing was needed that time, at least then it wouldn’t look like I wasn’t paying attention!

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Sometimes regret isn’t needed.  Sure, the photos have crooked diagonal lines, and there might be some object in the background drawing the eye to the wrong place, but mistakes should help you improve, if I learned something through the mistakes, then they weren’t for nothing.  If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never try, and you’ll never improve.

It’s one thing to learn about photography theory, it’s another to actually get out and practice what you’ve read about.  When it comes down to it, I would rather risk making mistakes, than miss capturing those moments spent with someone I love.

That day at the beach will always be there, not to remind me of my mistakes, but to remind me of what I learned…and of course to remind me of the good memories of a fun day out.

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