Tag Archives: DPchallenge

Blur —

The more photos I take, the more I realize that for the person who loves to take photographs but knows little about the mechanics of how photography works in the field, things tend to fall to either one of two laws: Murphy’s Law, or the Law of the Jungle; so it went as I attempted to create a photo for this week’s Daily Post photo challenge.

I do all of my shooting with my phone. It’s both a convenient and effective tool for capturing images, and so it’s not necessary for me to have a dedicated camera on hand, ensure that it’s charged, with enough free space in memory to take all the pictures I wanted to at the highest resolution. But it turns out that my phone’s shutter speed is freaky faster than a Jimmy John’s delivery driver. Yesterday when I got to shoot out at my in-laws’ place on the Missouri River, I intentionally tried to get some blurred photos by moving the phone quickly while pressing the shutter button.

A crystal clear, unexciting photo was the result.

I’m almost certain I frowned in confusion. Then I held up the phone, and spun in a circle, pressing the shutter button so rapidly that eventually the photo app threw up a circular arrow popup in an effort to get me to slow the heck down. I got about ten photos, all of them clear as a bell and about as interesting as an audiobook of Ben Stein reading a phone book.

So now I was done trying. Obviously when you wanted to capture an object in motion, you couldn’t; and when you wanted to intentionally blur a photo, you also would fail — Murphy’s Law.

So I began to look for interest in the world around me. This is where I often feel the daunt in photography: like, what really qualifies as an interesting shot? Am I just playing the part, or can I really find something that people would agree is visually appealing? Some day I will learn much more about photography. In the meantime, I figured out how to get my blur by trying to shoot in the direction of the afternoon Sun, while blocking it with my hand so it wouldn’t wash out the CCD and the resulting picture.

Auto-focus was the key here.

Pinching Out the Sun, by Rob Ross
Pinching Out the Sun, © 2015, Robert W. Ross. Creative Commons 3.0 CC BY-NC-SA

It turns out that my phone has a remarkably short focus field; you only have to be about an inch or two away from a subject to focus, and it automatically focuses on the closest subject. My current phone uses touch focus in the native camera app, but I happened to be using Hipstamatic, which doesn’t have a touch focus feature at this time so it focused on my hand. I held the Sun captive for a moment while I took this one. Then I wondered if I could do it with something so insubstantial as a pine needle, so as to get a more or less completely blurred photo.

Sunlight Cutter by Rob Ross
Sunlight Cutter, © 2015, Robert W. Ross. Creative Commons 3.0 CC BY-NC-SA

I got the opposite effect, but no less interesting: it looks like the light of the sun is cutting off the root of the blurry pine needle.

Here’s the upshot: I didn’t think to save blurred photos. I have, up until now, considered them to be garbage (i.e., a good reason to click the garbage can in my photo app.) I haven’t seen one worth keeping yet, but now that I’ve made a few on purpose I’ll probably consider in the future whether a blurry photo I’m viewing has some worth. It’s the least you can do for that unimportant, frozen moment in time. If you think about it, these moments of life — each moment of which should be precious to those who live in it — are now more expendable than ever. The first visual capture device in history was the eye, and those images were recorded in the mind. They could only be transmitted through the spoken word of oral tradition.  Millennia down the road, we began to capture these moments on light sensitive media — first film, and now digital memory. We’ve innovated our way through the challenges — clarity, color, cost, convenience, &c. . . now it seems like these moments are expendable when they don’t meet the strict criteria of the the photographer — their needs, their current mindset, their idiosyncratic preferences.

But what if someone else thought that image was useful? Even if it was worth less than a penny and so had to be given away — would it be worth erasing?

I’m not saying we should keep every image we capture, but maybe more of our images are worth another look.

(Daily Post photo challenge: Blur | Header image by Sophie Asia)

Tanka Today 2015.01.21 —

(Image credit: Martin Fisch)

ways and bridges made
within realms of pure



It’s so easy for me to say that I’m fluid — that I can adapt to any given situation, because I know that’s the right thing to be; but then to avoid the chance to flow makes such a statement difficult to prove, doesn’t it?

I can be hard as ice. I expect no less from others than I do from myself, and judgement comes quick. Things can freeze overnight. I almost expect things to stay the same, even as they change — even as I wish for them to do so.

So much better would it be were I to be a fog; to attenuate the clamor of a busy, visual world until all that remains is what has always been right before my eyes. To find my way from one pillar of thought and expression to another, remaining open to whatever comes until the Sun has a chance to cut through, both saving me and revealing to me whatever new kingdom my actions have led me to. Better be a fog and remain open, hopefully to choose the right course when the time comes . . .

and then there’s that nagging question, always: is it now?

(DP Weekly Challenge: Ice, Water, Steam | Header image by Alan Levine)

Weekly Photo Challenge – Twist – More Shameless Selfies!

I think I smashed the look today. A little twist of the mohawk, a little twist of the ‘stache, and voila!



This week’s Daily Post Photo Prompt is “Twist”.

This is how I do it: [Melody #2]

Do you remember your first classic read?

Continue reading This is how I do it: [Melody #2]

I like doing it outside [Sheri #2]

Do you prefer your life lived indoors or outdoors?

Continue reading I like doing it outside [Sheri #2]

The egotism of doing nice things [Mama #1]

Have you managed to make a career out of your favorite pastime?

Continue reading The egotism of doing nice things [Mama #1]

Let me tell you about… inspiration [Melody #1]

Who or what has been the biggest inspiration in your creative realm?

Continue reading Let me tell you about… inspiration [Melody #1]

Haiku: Absolute


English: Alleyway in London.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All things are lovely,
regardless the beholder
or their perception.

This post was prompted by the Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge.

Haiku: Voices


"Writing", 22 November 2008
(Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

If I didn’t talk,
I’d never have much to say —
this is why we write.

This post was prompted by the Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge.

Haiku: Cycles


English: Ruins of Inishmacsaints
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All things good come from,
and all things bad return to,
the ground underfoot.

This post was prompted by the Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge.