Tuesday, November 03, 2015

On Photography and Living in the Moment

Every so often I'll see a post somewhere about how everyone should stop taking photographs when they're out someplace beautiful and just enjoy the scenery. That focusing on taking a picture ruins the experience, keeps you from living in the moment.

Now, that may be true for some people. But it certainly isn't true for me. And it makes me think that perhaps there is a fundamental misunderstanding about how the photographer's mind works.

See, photography isn't just about snapping any old shot, ignoring everything else, and walking away. It's so much more than apertures and shutter speeds and filters. It's about immersing yourself in the moment. It's about feeling such a deep connection to your surroundings that you want to try and capture it so that you and others can go back to it later. It's about framing the shot just right to make it feel like you're really there, whether it's a wide shot to capture the vastness of the scenery, or a macro shot of a flower so close you can almost smell it. It's about waiting for that cloud to pass so that the light will come through the leaves just so, and make everything shine. It's about waiting for a smile, a turn of the head, a certain gleam in the eyes.

It's so much more than just point and shoot. It doesn't matter whether I am working with a phone camera, my SLR, or anything in between. I see something I want to capture. I stop. I frame. I inhale. I focus. I wait, and exhale slowly, then push the shutter button when the timing is right. Sure, now that everything's in digital, I don't have the same restrictions film gave me. I can try that shot again, and again, and again. But each shot is taken with the same care as the last, each one bringing me just a little closer to whatever I'm trying to photograph.

For the photographer, taking a picture is how we live in the moment. And maybe, if we get that perfect shot, we'll be able to live it over and over again, even after our subject has long gone.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Video Update

Not much to report, so instead have a pair of videos I've taken over the past several weeks to fill in as your kitty update.

First, of course, we have Anubis. As you can see he is doing fairly well on his meds. He still has his bad days, but for the most part he seems to be happy.

SimbaToo is also doing well over at my folks' place. From what I am told her nap schedule is increasing to more slots per day, but she is still a maniac in between. She also eats EVERYTHING (to the point that my parents have to be careful not to drop anything on the floor even for a second), and seems to be trying for a bit of a blimp impersonation (she has now been switched to a lower calorie, adult food).

Friday, June 12, 2015

Remembering Simba

So, Amy Shojai's new novel is coming out soon, and once again she is having a character naming contest on her website. For those who don't know, Simba (the original, not the wee munchkin) made it into Amy's first fiction book, Lost and Found. So of course, I've been taking a bit of a trip down memory lane.

The wounds, I think, have closed up as much as they're ever going to now. Naturally, they never close completely. I still sometimes cry over my first dog Jodi, after all, and she's been gone for nearly 15 years. But I can at least look at old photographs now without hurting so much I have to put them away.

Compared to the little nutball who was named after her, she was always so calm and proper. It seems like looks are about the only thing they have in common. Simba was finicky. SimbaToo will eat anything. Simba loved being pet anywhere - belly included. SimbaToo is VERY selective about when and where anybody pets her. Of course, the newbie is only just a year old and not done maturing yet, so she may yet become Simba-ish as she ages. But it's interesting to me that a kitten that reminds me so much of her namesake can have such a vastly different personality.

They both, however, share the same fondness for pillows.
Not that I can ever really compare the two, of course. They are who they are. It's just strange to think about sometimes. Mostly I'm just glad Anubis has learned to get by.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Short video update

Not much to report on the kitty front, so today it's just a video update on the elusive SimbaToo, who is difficult to capture in still photographs due to always being on the move.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Switched at birth

Simba 2 in her "sleeping bag" (photo courtesy of my mother)

Judging by the information provided by my parents (who still have temporary custody), and by my own observations, I have now determined that it is entirely possible that Simba 2 is not, in fact, a cat. I think perhaps the humane society gave me a ferret in disguise by accident.

She has very specific toys that she hoards. She makes her own sleeping spaces by burrowing into any dark place she can find. She snarfs anything of interest. Pets behind the shoulders will result in chomps. She does the ferret-slink along the floor when she wants to play. Now I am told she does not know that sun spots are for sleeping in, and instead she plays with the shadows created by them.

This theory is further supported by the fact that she thinks my sister is the most awesome person in the universe, presumably because she knows how to play like a ferret.

More on this development as it arises. I think perhaps I must test her for love of shinies (though her namesake was fond of them too).

In the meantime, here is a brief video of this elusive creature who is proving difficult to capture on film:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Overdue updates

Back to being man of the house.

It seems I've been a little slack in keeping up with kitty posts. I've been a bit busy taking care of Anubis among other things. Simba 2 (also known as "Peanut" or "Munchkin" or "Stop That") is now staying with my parents indefinitely (her "foster parents" as my mom says) due to a need to focus more heavily on her big brother's care. He was starting to play with her a bit, but then he had a nasty hairball that led to some bleeding and loss of appetite, and in the intervening time he stopped having the energy to fight her off. She is too young and rambunctious to understand she can hurt him, and he was getting so fearful that he wouldn't even go to his food bowls, so my folks agreed to give her a place with them until such time as we are able to take her in again. Thankfully she is bonding quite well with my parents (and seems to love my dad).

Anubis has now been diagnosed with hypertension and hyperthyroidism, for which he is on medication. He has had a few bouts with IBS that seem to be calming down, so the vet has us dropping his steroid dosage to see if we can cut him back to only taking those when he is having a flare-up. He is, finally, gaining weight back and starting to act more energetic again, though his special dietary needs mean that he has to have his wet foods available to him at all times. His regular Adequan shots help with his arthritis, but not enough that he can handle a playful kitten, so it looks like the arrangement remains in place until... until. Which hopefully won't be for a good long time.

In the meantime the munchkin has a new favorite toy in her pink string my mom gave to her, which she carries around the house like a security blanket. I am told my dad hid it under a paper bag once, and she ended up searching for hours. Once she found it, the bag was destroyed for its impertinence. She still has a few quirks, a few of which are concerning - I am considering having her taken in for belly x-rays because she is sensitive from the shoulders back, and according to my dad she is still very gassy which seems odd as she is now over 6 months old and has been on the same food for quite some time. Thankfully if she needs pills it shouldn't be difficult to give them to her - she eats just about anything that gets dropped on the floor unless you run to pick it up before she can reach it.

So all in all the furkids are doing alright. I will have to do a bit better at providing updates.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Hi! My name is Simba No. Some people call me Nala instead. I is a kitten, and I is very cute. I has a new house I got a couple weeks ago and it's pretty neat. I has a big brother, and a mommy and a daddy, and LOTS of toys. There's lots of rules I gots to learn but mommy says I is doing a pretty good job of learning them, I just gets distracted because I is still a baby.

I has sort of figured out that night times are for sleepings, but sometimes the bed still looks reeeeeeally fun to play on so mommy has to wear me out real good before bedtime.

I is losing my baby teeths now so I is chewing on stuff and sometimes trying to eat stuffs I shouldn't, but mommy and daddy are trying to teach me what isn't okay to eat so I can grow out of that. Mommy had to put some bitter icky stuff on one of my wand toys to I won't chew it, because I bit a whole piece off it this morning. Mommy also got me some teething toys to help, and I like to bite them a lot so mommy tries to throw me those every time I chew on things I shouldn't, so I think I is supposed to chew on those toys instead. She says she wishes she could find me more of them so I could have lots all over the house so any time I want to chew, there will be an okay thing to chew right there for me.

I is starting to learn that a cord is not a string, and I think I is not supposed to bite those so I tries not to, but sometimes I sniffs them pretty hard and I still has to be told no. I think mommy just put some of that bitter icky stuff on the cords too so maybe now I will remember.

My big brother is really nice. He was mad at me when I first got here and I don't know why, but now I know to listen when he doesn't want to play, and not to steal his special foods. Daddy says he needs it so I tries to remember to leave it alone. I still sometimes forgets because it smells really good, but I is learning. But I think my big brother likes me now. Here we are in the window:

He doesn't play back yet, and he doesn't want to cuddle with me, but he likes to watch me play so I think for now that's okay.