Resolution 05

It’s been too long since I’ve been able to get some time in with my camera. I finally had a free lunch hour, and luckily a tripod I ordered came the day before. Being cloudy and overcast, it seemed like a perfect day to make use of a tripod for some longer exposure times.

My goal with camera gear – aside from good quality – is to be relatively light, compact, and easy to just grab and use. I’m always amazed when I see people with their DSLR’s (as opposed to mirrorless m43 systems) at how huge they are. Especially some lenses and the accompanying travel cases. When I went looking for a tripod, I wanted something that would compliment the minimalist size of my Panasonic G6. I ended up with a Manfrotto MKCOMPACTACN. It’s lightweight, compact, and very easy and quick to mount and unmount the camera. It’s also just as quick and easy to adjust where the camera is pointed.

I ended up at a park near the Cedar River and found a castle-looking pavilion that I thought might provide some interesting shots. Being in a shaded area on a cloudy day, I used the tripod to hold the camera still so I could keep a low ISO by using longer shutter speeds. I also wanted to focus on having a narrow depth of field.

Unfortunately, focus is what I really needed to focus on. I didn’t end up with anything very interesting or that I liked. The narrow depth of field just looked blurry and out of focus rather than creative and pushing your eye to the focused part of the image. That meant the river landscape in the background wasn’t clear to look at, and the stone walls of the pavilion that I was focused on didn’t really provide much too look at, either. The depth of field was too narrow to create much of a subject to look at on the stones.  Only part of a stone would be completely in focus, yet the composition felt like the whole rock should be sharp. It just isn’t clear what the point of these pictures are.

I did get something out of this, though. I was getting used to the tripod. I think next time I may look for my angles holding the camera by hand, then set up the tripod once I’ve found my shot. Also, I would like to try setting up a scene instead of trying to find something randomly to photograph. I’m going to try and find a couple of objects to take with me to use as subjects. That way I will have an object to clearly be the focus of the image, and I can build my composition around that.

These photos and more from earlier shoots are on my flickr site.

That’s it… I’m going digital! (Why I’m ‘ditiching’ analog and fully embracing digital audio)

To be fair, I have really always been digital. I started recording by plugging my bass into a Boss distortion pedal (fondly named ‘Captain Crunch’) and that into the line-in on the back of an old Mac. It sounded terrible, but that’s where I got my start. Now I have professional equipment, both digital and analog. There are pluses and minuses to each, and quality good sounding gear is available in abundance for both types. However, there is something a bit more fun to the analog world.

Generally, I’ve strived for a ‘hybrid’ approach. I have a Soundtracs Topaz mixing board that I use for mic preamps and EQ before converting to digital audio and multitrack recording on a computer. It’s basically the old analog workflow except I replaced a tape machine with an analog to digital audio interface and a computer. The idea is to then do any editing on the computer and add any effects, then run everything back out to the analog mixer to build a final stereo mix. That last step has never really happened. I don’t have enough analog effects to really do much other than basic EQ and setting volume. Even though I have been mixing ‘in-the-box’, I’ve still always imagined and planned my studio and gear with a hybrid approach. 

 The majority of my paying gigs have always been live recording. For that the smaller, lighter, and less gear I have to take with me, the better. An analog compressor will take up likely a whole space in my rack and weigh a number of pounds. A digital plugin compressor, only takes up an unnoticeable amount of hard drive space once, but can be used an unlimited amount of times simultaneously. Generally, it’s also cheaper to buy a good sounding quality plug-in than it is to buy it’s analog counter part.

Now, I still WANT the analog gear. It looks cool to have racked up. I like plugging things together and adjusting knobs and seeing the lights blink in rhythm with the music. It’s just not the same to see a graphic representation on a computer screen. For my true needs, though, software is much more efficient and effective.

So I am finally fully embracing the convenience and cost effectiveness of digital. It’s more of a mindset, really. I’ve pretty much been fully digital, anyways. I’m actually a little relieved to not be striving for things that just aren’t currently the right fit for me. I would still love to someday get nice hardware compressors and EQs and mix on my board. For now, I’m going to just go with what makes sense.

She Went Through a Lot

Mother’s Day.  Now that I’ve been part of the transformation of my wife from a woman into a mother, Mother’s day means so much more. It would be easy just to say it’s a day to honor your mother because she went through a lot to get you here. I used to think that statement would pretty much sum it up. However, that really doesn’t do justice for what a good mother really does.

It’s not just that she went through roughly nine months of the discomforts of being pregnant, but that she was taking care of you from the moment she knew you were there. She took great care in what went into her body, and the environments she was in to be sure nothing would harm you. She worried when you hadn’t moved for a while and wouldn’t stop worrying until she felt you wiggle. She went to the doctor regularly and had uncomfortable tests done to be sure you were doing okay.

She had no idea who you were, but she already loved you and cared about you more than herself.

She went to classes to learn how to care for you. She read books and talked to friends to learn as much as she could about having a baby. She made sure you had everything you would need before you were introduced into the world.

She wondered, is this the time? Is this when we go to the hospital? She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but was willing to put everything she had into getting you here safely.

She hurt, she walked the halls, she waited.

She had never done this before, but knew you were worth it. She felt you getting ready, she hurt, and she waited some more. Then finally, she went through more than a lot, but she got you here.

And that’s just how it started. That’s how she became a mom.

She makes sure you have food to eat. She keeps you healthy, growing, and strong. She wakes up at night and checks to be sure you’re breathing. She changes your diapers and dresses you and keeps you warm. She protects you every way that she can, and constantly worries about if you’re okay. She takes you to the doctor and she went to more classes to better understand how you communicate.

When you don’t feel well, she hurts. When you’re sad, she cries. When you’re peacefully sleeping, she couldn’t imagine a more special baby boy. When you’re happy and you laugh and smile, she’s never felt a greater joy. She goes through a lot to keep you here.

I will never be a woman, give birth, or be a mom. I’ll never truly know what all of this is like, but I can say that what mothers do is pretty special. After all, it seems like they went through a lot to get you here.

Happy Mother’s day to both my Mom, who I now understand a bit more about what she’s done for me …

… and to my wife, who I couldn’t be more proud of for everything she’s done and will do for our beautiful, amazing baby boy!

Jessie and Harvey