Tuesday, September 16, 2014


So it's raining here in River City today and I'm thinking, "Man, it's a messy, messy night." I've still got a ton of stuff to do before my trip, and somehow very little of it ever gets done. I always wait until the last minute, when everything always seems to happen anyway.

I suppose I should tell you that I will have one of my images up at the Austin airport. It's part of some art project, I've been selected for...to have this done. They are making some kind of a poster featuring my work and they are going to hang in somewhere, well I guess somewhere in the terminal areas. I'll probably poke around looking for it when I'm over at the airport to head out for my trip. Won't be surprised if I don't find it though, as they sometimes put these things in the men's room and such, but that's how it goes. (Good news, I guess, still feeling a little blah today, I suppose.)

In other news, I was approached about licensing one of my images. I'll probably do that but not entirely sure. I'm so not open to the entire stock photography thing. I've seen just too many people all but give away their work and it seldom amounts to fame or fortune, rather usually turns into a couple of extra buckets which, in the long run, doesn't seem to help matters all that much. Still though, I suppose, nice to be asked and all (don't you think?)

I guess I'm just feeling a bit delicate today. Kind of like this image. Here, present, in the moment, just not entirely sure if I can stand up to the winds. We all go through cycles. Sometimes, I feel like I own the moon (y'all owe me a bucket-load of money for those two recent "super moons" that were back to back last week, so pay up already!) and other times? Nobody here but us chickens (or us delicate trees, as the case may be.) Just not feeling the love...never feeling the love, if you know what I'm saying.

Delicate. I guess it's just one of those nights.

Until next time...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's the Last (GASP) Mail Order Before I Go

Today I put in what will probably become the last mail order (B&H order) before my trip. Oh, what an order it was too. For starters, my Internet was running very slowly tonight. My Firefox kept jamming up and it was not happy. Then, I had to do a bunch of research, because I had been looking to get some ND Grads, and thinking about getting them for the trip. But, oh no, you can't just "get" ND grads. No, no, no, no, no. You have to get an entire "ND Grad System" complete with bells and whistles and little YouTube videos telling you why *your* ND Grad system is really the bees knees. It's like torture only a little more painful, really that is. (In case you're curious, I still have not gotten an ND Grad system. I've opted instead for a new lens, a couple of circular polarizers, and a bucket load of Compact Flash.)

I'm eying the Cokin ND grad system, but you can't just go and get the Cokin, no, no, no, no, no. There's the Cokin X, The Cokin P, the Cokin XP. (Really. Did I use the word "torture" before? And you thought that maybe just maybe, I might have been kidding? HA!) And all of these depend upon the size of your lens and the size of the lens that you maybe want to get one day because all of them, well most of them anyway, can go smaller but not larger, but then you have to decide if you want this big honking ND Grad system filter holder stuck onto the front of your lens while you are walking around the ten million steps of Santorini. Oh God, I need a drink! (For those curious, and frankly, I don't see how you could be at this point but, just in case, I am seriously thinking about either the Cokin X-Pro or the Singh-Ray. Each has there pluses and minuses, with Singh-Ray being very expensive and of the "threaded" variety, so they only really fit one lens, while the Cokin system is a bit like buying a razor blade-they give you the razor for free and then promptly yell out "Sucker!" while you're still waiting in line at the cash register, because they know they've now become your crack dealer of choice, only their "ND grad filter system" is actually legal, and so they can get away with this nonsense, and actually profit from it. And did I mention you will now be a customer for life, having to go back time and again for this and that-the textbook definition of nickel and dimed to death only more expensive. Oh the humanity!)

Did I mention that Firefox froze in the middle of all of this? Oh yes. While I had something like 23 items in my shopping basket at B&H (none of which they would let me save, by the way) my Firefox crashed so badly I had to restart my computer. While I was frantically running around looking for a pad and pencil (you do remember those, don't you?) to write down what I could remember from my two hour shopping excursion into the depths of ND grad filter systems, circular polarizers, and the like, I got lucky (and I use that term loosely, believe me) in that, when Firefox restarted, it had saved my shopping basket. Yay! (I mean, um, BOO! because now I have to pay for all of this crap.) After all of that, I so feel like I need a drink (or twelve.) But still, last big order before the trip and all. Yay! Now I really feel like I'm going, at least the Compact Flash will be showing up soon, so I must be leaving to go somewhere (isn't there a rule about that? If not, there should be.)

And, in case you're curious, yes, I'm still trying to workout (exercise as much as I can.) I'm in nowhere near good enough shape to handle the steps but I'll just have to hope and try and try to hope and just grunt and get up (and down!) somehow.

While I was deep in the bowels of the B&H ordering system (AKA "the Compact Flash Factory") I started to think about a couple of things. For starters, I still have Fry's and Precision Camera, so I can run out and get anything I might have forgotten (should I happen to have any money left.) Ahem, for those of you in the "drug trade" (by that I mean "camera dealers") these would be my "local suppliers." Oh goodie! I'm not entirely doomed yet. (Heck, I still have two weeks left. Two entire weeks! Go me!)

Then, I started to think about the mannequins. I wonder why kind of mannequins they might have in Santorini. I can only imagine. (Oh! And I'm about to find out real soon now too. Oh joy!) That and toothpaste. I wonder just where in the heck the toothpaste is going to end up. (I have to wonder about this because, as you know, I tend to think about these things.)You know, you just know (well, you would if you've read my blog before) there's always *something* involving toothpaste. (Somebody always forgets some, there's an international incident, some Japanese tourists attack, you know, it's all about the toothpaste, really it is. Coming soon, to a Greek Isle near you!)

All of this and British Air today wrote me and asked me (again!) what kind of meal I want. Don't they realize I'm a barefoot Hindu now and they don't even need to ask these things? (Geesh.) That's right. I'm soon to become a barefoot Hindu Compact Flash yielding photographer from the lowlands of Texas, without an ND grad filtering system to her name but enthusiastic none the less. You won't be able to miss me, should you happen to be in Santorini, as I'll be the one who can't make it up the steps or use Firefox without emitting some kind of primal scream. (Maybe with, or without, toothpaste, you'll have to speak Japanese to find out how that story ends.) Oh, and I'll be spending a lot of time checking out the mannequins while I'm there too. (Ah, Carol's Greek Adventure, I can hardly wait.)

Kidding aside, I'm seriously looking forward to this trip. That is, if it doesn't kill me before I even get into the airport shuttle. 

Until next time...

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Step It Up - The Steps of Santorini

As you know, I'm headed to Santorini sometime soon. One of the things about Santorini is that, since it's basically a series of little villages built into cliff sides, there are a lot of steps there. When I say "a lot of steps" I basically mean A TON of steps. There are steps, steps, and more steps. Everything is up two flights, down one, over there, up another two flights. It's like the steps mated and had more steps. They are all over the place, multiplied like bunnies in the springtime, those steps they did.

Something that's happened recently is that, well, I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I'm horribly out of shape. Yes, it's true, I can hardly walk up a flight of steps these days without getting winded, wheezy, and out of it. So, what's a girl to do? Lately, I've started using my exercise bike. Every day. Each and every day, I've tried to ride my exercise bike for twenty minutes or more. And, believe me, it's actually helping a bit. Now, mind you, this is not a "diet" of any kind, no, I'm not trying to drop pounds or look good for my trip, no, we're shooting for pure, raw stamina here. Maybe it's sort of working, a bit anyway. I mean, I feel a bit better. There seems to be a bit more of a spring in my, excuse the word, step since I've started doing this (or tried to do this.) At least I think I can get up a flight now without keeling over which, while still not very good, it's a bit of progress, no?

But, I've got a long way to go, not a lot of time left, and there are a lot of stairs there...a lot of stairs there (did I mention lots of stairs there? Mmm....thought I did.)

So, now I'm feeling really stressed over these stairs. I mean, what am I to do if I get there and I just can't make it up to my hotel room? (My hotel is actually situated on a cliff, overlooking the Aegean Sea. How many hotels in the world can say that about themselves? Wouldn't it be a disgrace if I couldn't make it back up to *that* hotel room? Oh the humanity!)

The wheels in my head have started to go 'round and this entire "step it up" thing has me thinking. Maybe I should make a photo project out of this? I could call it something like "The Steps of Santorini" and actually start shooting the steps, all the steps, any of the steps I see. Do you think this would work? (I mean, would anybody actually believe it?) On the one hand, it's better than letting the steps actually kill me. On the other, well, it sounds sort of like a kind of cheesy project, doesn't it? ("The Steps of Santorini?" Really?) But, it *would* give me something to do with those horrible steps. Well, something besides go up and down them all freaking day long.

For a while, I was thinking, "The Steps of Santorini" will not kill me, no, they won't. I won't allow it. I am going to own those steps. I am going to conquer those steps as the great Spartans did years ago. Those steps? Why, they are destined to be SCHOOLED by the likes of me. I'm not going down! (Well, actually, technically speaking, I am in fact "going down" but I'll be going down the steps and not "going down with the ship" as the saying goes. Oh, and I'll be "going up" too. So there!) Steps, I don't care if I do a photo project of you or not, I'm so going to *OWN* you. Do you hear me? As God is my witness, I'm going to own you and school you and you will NOT be getting the better of me. No, sir, you won't. I'm not going to take this. I'm not going to elevator and escalator anymore! I'm taking the steps, I'm owning the steps. Out of my way, I've got some climbing to do!

I'm really trying to step it up for my trip. I really hope I have enough time and I can make it up (and down) enough steps between now and then that I can actually walk around Santorini and I don't bog down the entire group with my wheezy out-of-shape self.

Yes, I've really got to step it up for this trip, and I'm trying, believe me, I'm trying.

Until next climb...

Monday, September 01, 2014

It's Greece For Me

Tonight I'm finishing off booking my next trip. As the old expression goes, "God willing and the creek don't rise" I'll be going to Santorini, Greece to attend a photo tour of the island.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "She's crazy!" (Well, I am actually.) "Why is she going there?" and probably even some of, "She never mentioned Greece before." It's true, I didn't. But, I'm going. It's one of those places that was always on my radar. As is typically the case, a trip popped up and I just could not pass it up. So, Greece it is. I'm Santorini bound! Wish me safe travels, good light, and all of that if you're so inclined, please, for I can use all of the well wishes I can get.

The next days will find me both excited about the upcoming prospects of photographing the Greek countryside and also taking on a frenzy of activity as I prepare for my workshop. I'm already tied up with things like booking travel, ordering flash memory, getting lots of last minute items together, plus a host of research and going over in my mind what type of work I'm inclined to do there. All of that plus, well, tonight I booked the Blue Van. (Exciting, I know, but that's the life of an international jet setter I guess. I mean, I have to get myself to the airport somehow, right?)

I'm so glad they have flights from Austin direct to London now. Makes it easier for me to visit places like Athens and Santorini. It's just one less flight hop I have to make, not to mention I get to fly on the dreamliner which, you know, it's nice.

As an aside, British Despair, I mean, um, British Air (yeah, that's it) offers some kind of service called "Premium Economy" which is not much more expensive than the seats in the back but offers you a large screen TV in front of you plus a bit more "wiggle room" for your legs. I've opted for this "Premium Economy" class, since it was only $100 more and, had I booked regular ole' generic "economy" I would have had to pay $75 more for baggage (or so.) For $25 and a 9 hour flight to and fro, I figured it would be money well spent.

One of the decisions I now face, thanks in part to this new "Premium Economy" foof, is that I get to decide upon a meal. One might think this an easy task, but, man, the page for meals is oh so confusing. They have ovo lacto vegetarian meals (I think this means eggs and milk but no meat) they have Muslim meals (no pork.) They have Hindu meals (no meat.) They have vegan meals. (You know what they call a fat free, gluten free vegan brownie? Compost....kidding, I'm kidding. Actually, maybe not so much.) They have an entire web page devoted to all of this meal foof, not to mention another web page where they tell us how we have to take off our shoes before boarding the planes (I think this is on account of being American but don't quote me on that.)

All of this shoe-less ovo lacto nonsense prompted me to tell my mother the other day, "You see, Mom," I said to her on the phone, "you thought you gave birth to a daughter but, in actuality, I'm about to become a shoeless Hindu on board a flight from Austin to London's Heathrow airport."

How much you want to make a bet they will still somehow manage to screw up my meal and give me a steak sandwich mid-flight? These things, why they always seem to happen to me, but I somehow manage to just make the best of it whenever I can.

But, Santorini bound I am. I've even got the Blue Van reservation number to prove it. British Despair or not, I'm flying away soon to Greece, Santorini to be exact.

Until next time...