2009/06/28

Too Soon

DaGoddess @ 19:03

I don’t wanna leave! I’ll be here in Fairbanks just another 16 or 17 hours. I don’t want to go. It’s been glorious. Even with rain and (my very first) mosquito bites (finally happened today). The sun is now shining brightly and I’ve seen more beautiful scenery, met a couple whose daughter lives in San Diego (he wanted a sandwich from D.Z. Akins and I can’t say as I blame him…good stuff).

Off to have dinner with friends of friends and then try to see if I can’t get a photo of Santa, peek inside his house, and then, hopefully, get a pic of this fun little trailer.

I need a few more days to really capture the essence of this place. Okay, a week. Two months tops.

Sigh.

Julian Revisited

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Last of the Julian scenics.

Julian 2009

Julian 2009

Julian 2009

Midnight Sun

DaGoddess @ 01:03

It’s almost midnight, in fact it’s about five minutes ’til. It’s still light out. Dinner was just about an hour ago. Salmon. Good salmon. Tortellini. Veggies. And I even drank wine. Homemade. Very good. I’m still alive. I don’t drink wine. Haven’t for a number of years. But I drank this wine and loved it. I may have to have another glass or at least help put the bottle to rest.

I still can’t believe how gorgeous it is.

I saw it snow today. And rain. And there was sunshine. Wind. I think I even got a bit of a sunburn. Go figure! Crazy stuff, huh?

And I refuse to believe that the cool rock outcropping at Savage River in Denali doesn’t have a name. (Guess you had to be there to understand…suffice it to say, it’s rather pretty and I think it should be named.)

I also got to see the Lady in the Lake.

Saw the pipeline. A couple times. I also walked in a flood channel.

Moose bones. I took pictures of moose bones, too. Took photos of gas cylinders. Oh yeah, Don and Noam got in trouble with gas. They were bad boys. Don’t ask.

Nenana’s tripod…got to see where that lottery happens. Basically, people bet on when the ice goes out in the river and there’s a huge ass wooden tripod attached to a rope and a clock. Google Nenana Ice Classic and you’ll get a better idea what a big deal this is. (It’s been going on since 1917.)

Damn, been a long day today. Covered almost 400 miles, saw lots, did lots, laughed, ate, drank, and can’t believe there’s only one more day to squeeze in fun. Apparently I’m going to freeze my ass off in some hut somewhere called Pioneer Park (was Alaska Land, but no more). I also need to take pictues of the North Pole and Santa’s house. There’s also a dinner to be had. I don’t know how it’s all going to happen. Too much to do and not nearly enough time.

And this midnight sun is a trip.

Guess it’s time to try to sleep if I’m going to get everything done tomorrow that needs to be done.

2009/06/27

Alaska is Cool!

DaGoddess @ 19:41

I guess it sort of goes without saying that Alaska is cool, but I had to say it anyway. So far, I’ve seen a couple moose (one even looked at me and snorfled at me, too), a squirrel or two, a bald eagle, a golden eagle, a cute little bunny, caribou, and big ass mosquitoes.

I’ve taken a couple hundred photos.

I’ve been rained on while photographing the snorfling moose.

Had some really good food (dinner last night was at around 10pm is broad daylight). Alaskan White beer (GOOD!). Met very nice people. And slept a like a freakin’ log. Now we’re off to run around in a flood channel, then visit some moistened bit in a lake (bonus points if you get that one, perhaps the watery tart will distribute some cutlery), and who knows what else.

I like it here. Lots.

I may never leave.

Oh, and been watching a dog chase rocks. Cuz that’s what dogs in Alaska do. Okay, maybe only this one.

Gone Fishin’

DaGoddess @ 04:00

I’m officially NOT here. But I had to share some of the sights we saw last Saturday on the way home from the blues bash.

Julian 2009

Julian 2009

Julian 2009

2009/06/26

One-in-a-Million Friend

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Rob’s been gone for three years today. It doesn’t seem possible. There are times when I still hear his voice or I think I see him somewhere.

Some people are timeless, dimensionless. I think he’ll always straddle here and beyond, knowing it both frustrates and delights those he visits.

Memories of him are vivid (even without blog archives). I can hear the laughter he and Quinton shared as they “wrassled” on the couch and waged wet willy wars. I can remember, too, the heartbreak when Rob was denied his son. Sometimes you just don’t get over something like that. I hope somehow, some way, he’s at peace and watching over his boy with pride. And I hope that he’s keeping everyone busy up there, chasing the cute “wimmen” angels and singing his songs. I know I still hear the music.

I can’t help but chase a tear or two at moments like this.

Southern drawl teases
Who’s your cracker now, darlin’?
Time to pick ‘n’ grin

I miss you, Rob. You were a one in a million friend.

My Door Is Always Open – by Rob Smith

2009/06/25

Answers to Questions Not Asked

DaGoddess @ 12:54

Valuable lesson in my inbox today. Again, from Syl Arena’s Lessons I Didn’t Learn in Photo School series (this time, 71-75).

So the answers to questions not asked are always important to hear as well as to retain. I learned that when I was interviewing many of the blues acts back in the day. Just being ready to go where the interview leads can require special preparation, but it’s worth it. Sometimes you end up having to ditch the rest of your questions because someone is so forthcoming and willing to open up to you, take you in a direction you didn’t anticipate. Photography, friends, family, LIFE can do this, too. You have to be ready; you have to be willing; you have to be able.

And like the all-knowing sage that he is, Syl nailed this one in the timely manner he always does.

I’ll let you go read the rest of his lessons and guess which others were nail-on-head-hitting, too. As I’ve mentioned before, these aren’t just photography-related tips and observations — they’re life lessons, baby!

Syl is my top feed subscription. I know when I see PixSylated, I’m in for something special.

First OpLove Shots

DaGoddess @ 08:00

I did something different for this first shot. I was looking to try some paint techniques, mainly because I think this little guy deserved something special (he’s my new boyfriend and all, you know). I’ll post the original and mom and dad will get the original, but I wanted to run this other technique past an audience.

What do you think?

Painterly Boy

Without over-painting

Rut Roh!

DaGoddess @ 04:43

External Hard drive says 1.47gb left.

Under 16gb left on the laptop.

Burning CDs is another backup method, but not ideal. And I can’t get the computer to burn a DVD.

I’m going to have to ditch anything not entirely necessary. That means inspirational images and words. ARRRRRRGH!

Jan, how did I fill up that external drive so quickly? HOW?

2009/06/24

Heh

DaGoddess @ 19:08

I got 2nd place on the photo caption contest over at Cowboy Blob’s.

Also, one of my photos made the iHeartFaces montage (fourth set down, bottom right corner — saving the best for last, perhaps?) finally. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually win one of their weekly dealios. Of course, I could enter more often. That might help, huh?

Just got the coolest call. I’d written this haiku wherein the subject was “ratio, percentage or dimensionless proportionality” (I read it as disproportionate because I was inattentive and in a hurry to write something, anything), right? And my friend had written some lyrics, then read my haiku and called because they were so similar. Weird, eh? Although, honestly, the lyrics were better than my haiku. In fact, I dare saw the lyrics are brilliant.

Let’s see, what else? I’m 98% packed for Alaska. And I’m 90% done backing up all my photo files for the week.

Oh, I happen to know “really famous and talented people”, or at least that’s what I’m told. I do have the funniest and best friends. They keep me laughing more than I have a right to.

Now if only I could win the lottery, everything would be perfect.

If You’re Waiting…

DaGoddess @ 06:00

If you are waiting for a photo from me, please forgive the delay (especially Leslie, my dear lady). I have to take my computer in to be properly calibrated because it appears that I cannot do it the right way myself. I’ve been going back and forth with the lab for about a month on exactly what’s wrong.

I sent them files. They sent me prints. Their fix is “okay”, but falls short when I’ve done more than just a tweak or two. I even tried a couple other labs. Same issue. So each of them sent me files to adjust and send back to them. (thinking that we could calibrate that way somehow), which they then printed and sent to me. Still not right.

Very frustrating process. I even asked a few times if they thought I should take the computer in and have someone else make the adjustments. “No, this should work fine. It works fine for everybody we deal with.” Ha! They’ve never dealt with me. They don’t know that I’m technically inept; that I’m a technotard. They laughed. And then finally, after more than a month with the one company, they gave in and said, “perhaps you should have someone else take a look at what you’re doing. Maybe there’s something ‘we’ve’ missed.” Yes, they went into “we” territory. You know, that patronizing tone that suggests they may have had something to do with the problem, but we all know the problem originates here between the user and the keyboard.

Unfortunately, that adjustment may have to wait until after my trip to Alaska. Hey, it’s a quick trip and I may return with photos that require NO post processing and that will wow you all so much that simply forget about Death Valley and beg for photos of The Mighty Fairbanks Region! You might fall so in love with my photos that you will be me to foresake further work on DV and work only about the glorious scenery of northern climes. You’ll ask for a book. Yes, I can see how that would happen. And you’ll all be so impressed that you’ll immediately demand I return later in the year to witness and capture the northern lights (for my sequel, of course). At this point, National Geographic will really call and offer to send me there in conjunction with Canon and lots of gear that they think I’ll need, paying me to play. They’ll even send me with a master photographer as part of an experiment. I’ll become rich and lavish each of my supportive friends with endless gifts to the point where they actively start filing restraining orders because I won’t leave them alone. And they can’t find any spare space in their homes for more images.

Yeah, that’ll happen. I feel it… it looms just over the horizon. I can even hear it calling me… “Hello!” I call. “Hell….looooon looooooon” it responds. Hey? Did that echo just call me a loon? Did it? I’m trackin’ that fucker down and beating him/it senseless. I’m not a loon! I’m a princess. A rugged princess. With talent! And a dream. And really the only way I play out the princess part is by wearing a pink and purple fur tiara that matches my pink and purple cold weather clothes. Hmmmph! Sigh.

Anyway, if you’re waiting for your image, that’s what the deal is. My apologies to you for the delay. And for not opening a can of whoop ass on the “customer service” reps sooner because if I had, they’d have realized much sooner what I knew deep in my heart was the issue all along (but that I secretly hoped for ONCE would be proven wrong).

In defense of the labs, everyone I spoke with was polite, non-accented, or only slightly accented, patient, talked to me as they would a 3 year old (because I asked them to), and really went out of their way to help me figure this out. They wanted very much to help me avoid going in and spending money on a service if they could help me fix it their way, which was actually quite awesome of them.

It’s just me. I was the wrong cog…I was gumming up progress.

We’ll get this right. We will!

And until then, I must ask for your incredible patience.

Double Sigh

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Or would that be triple sigh?

The Kids

The kids are crazy

LD ponders his sister

2009/06/23

PROMPTuesday #61 – Im-a-gin-aaaaaation!

DaGoddess @ 03:46

ImaginationAll I could think of when I read the word “imagine” was Spongebob. I know, I know. It’s a sickness. No, it’s worse than that. It’s called “kids”. When you have kids who were present for the debut of the Sponge and all the friendly undersea critters, you become familiar with it, too. (It sure as hell was better than Barney and thank God it was pre-Dora!)

Anyway, Deb wants us to use our imagination this week and describe something we’ve never experienced. Uh…okay. I guess.

So here I am, suitcase and camera, passport and ID in hand, standing alone at the airport. My flight for London leaves in just under and hour and the butterflies have found me. I’m heading off on a trip around the world. I have no idea when I’ll be heading home. All I know is there’s a world to be seen and I’m getting paid to see it for other people.

After exploring London and the surrounding area, I head to Edinborough. I’m particularly excited because I’ll be catching up with an old co-worker there. Sheila. We haven’t seen each other since I was pregnant with my son, but Christmas cards and other mail have kept us in touch. From there, the plan is to hit Paris and then move on to more exotic locales, like Morocco, Kenya, Botswana…just about anywhere and everywhere imaginable, including Topeka. Don’t think the U.S. isn’t exotic. Much of it is just as foreign to me as another country. I’ve seen so little of my own country. I think, “perhaps I should have started with America…” and then I dismiss the temporary guilt, knowing full well that this assignment is something I always dreamed I’d be able to do and I’ll get to wherever I’m going however and whenever destiny desires.

This line of thinking brings me back to the real purpose of the trip: to experience the world, to document my experiences in both word and image. Thank God for National Geographic’s contest otherwise it would have never happened.

I grab my cell phone and give one last call to the kids. They reassure me all will be well and they’re excited for me. I realize this is the last time I’ll be using my regular cell for however long as I’ve been given a satellite phone since I’ll often find myself in the middle of nowhere. It’s not likely to encounter a footballer in the U.K. or a rhino in the middle of Africa with a cell tower attached to their heads.

Everything’s different, but I’m still the same I realize, finally in my plane seat. “Will I be the same when I return?” I wonder as the wheels lift off the runway. Only one way to know for certain: I have to go. And I do…

2009/06/22

More Hell and Fewer Dahlias

Jan @ 04:00

“My advice to the women of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.”  — William Allen White

Somehow, I think I have that backwards……

Dahlia Center(large)

Jan/CascadeExposures

What’s it to You?

DaGoddess @ 04:00

The percentage you’re paying is too high-priced
While you’re living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he’s made on your dreams
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn’t make any noise
But it wasn’t the bullet that laid him to rest
Was the low spark of high-heeled boys
– Traffic

Read those lyrics and think about what they could mean. They can be interpreted any number of ways and there’s no right or wrong answer. I’ll give you a few moments to ponder before I reveal what these lyrics mean to me.
(more…)

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