Archive for August 2008
I’ve got my fair share of little quirks when it comes to my regular life. I have to eat something before I run in the mornings. I weigh myself every morning and log it into a regular notebook AND an online spreadsheet that I can access from anywhere at any time. When I’m at home, I have a single glass that I like to use for drinking water because then I know how many cups I’m drinking each day.
No, I don’t have to turn the lights on and off 3 times before leaving the house, but I do have to have my house keys in my hand and I must be looking at them while I am shutting the door. If I don’t, I get paranoid that I just locked myself out. I must fully open at least one window if I leave the car keys in the car for any reason whatsoever.
Of course, my small quirky habits do extend to my photography, and since Darren has become my favourite shooting partner, our quirks are rubbing off on each other. Before, I used to shoot part of a roll and then leave it in the camera for the next shoot, and I never used to write on the roll to remind myself what was on there. These days, I always finish a roll at the shoot. This means that there are no more partial rolls where 2 shots are from this day, another shot from this day, and yet another few shots from another day. Of course, this doesn’t apply to 35mm since it takes me about forever to finish a roll of 24 or 36 exposures. I’m talking mostly about my 120 habits. Oh, and I also write down on the roll some info like the exposure I used, and also the date and where it was shot. Wow, this helps a LOT when it comes to developing stuff, because it’s no longer a big surprise and I can figure out how I want to develop something instead of just doing my regular old “typical” solution and agitation. It’s changed my world.
Oh, and you know how I’m a left-eyed girl, meaning that I usually frame and focus with my left eye? I’ve taken to focusing with my right eye (the sharper of the two) and then framing with my left. I’m not sure if it’s changed the way my photos come out, but I do notice that I’m much better at focusing when I use my right eye (the stronger and more dominant eye) and I can do it a lot faster than I can with my left, but my left is still the one that does the best job of framing. I make sure to watch the corners and just am generally more careful when it comes to framing with my left eye. Hmm… am I an ambi-eyed girl now?
Who knows, maybe I’ll go back to using my left eye exclusively. I wonder if there is really a difference… maybe I should shoot another roll using my right eye exclusively! That might be interesting. I know that my right eye sucks are cleaning the corners and doing composition.
It’s been really exciting being on the wrong end of the lens lately. It feels really different to be the one that people are shooting. I guess in a way, it counter-acts my whole OCD thing about being a photographer, since I can’t really control what the photographer is doing as far as framing or any of the other ideas. Half the time, I don’t even know what the hell is going on or how the shot is going to turn out, especially with Ken. He’s this big old dirty strobist and I honestly don’t get how he gets the shots he does, but he gets them, and I’m mighty pleased with them. I really respect his aesthetic and I love how the shots turn out, which is more than I can say for most photographers who shoot models, especially women wearing short dresses and fishnet stockings.
I haven’t really modeled for anyone else, except doing some really informal posing for a portrait class I organised for my photo group. It was fun, but everyone there was really learning, so it wasn’t the same as working with a single photographer who knew what he was doing. So yes, I have been enjoying working with Ken and seeing the results of our shoots. Amazing really, and his photos make me feel strong and beautiful and, dare I say it, fierce. Yeah that’s right. They just make me feel good about myself.
My current favourite is this one:
Taken using his Mamiya RB67 on Fomapan400 developed in Rodinal, single strobe on the side, sun setting in the background. You can see all the ones Ken’s posted on his Flickr by checking out the ones tagged with “reesie.” I showed them to my dad, and he said that I should do some more modeling because he liked them a lot.
Just for reference, so you can see what a difference a daylight-strong strobe can make, it was relatively bright outside when we shot the photo above. Here’s a digital photo in normal light of what it was like:
Last night, we did some light painting out in the wild. It wasn’t cold, but I’d brought my giant down Michelin man jacket, because I thought it was going to get cooler later when the sun went down. No dice on that idea though. It ended up being quite warm, and therefore FULL of mosquitos. Oh man… you have no idea how long 60 seconds can feel when you have to stand still and there are skeets landing on you and sucking your blood. Sixty seconds is a long-ass time at that point. In between shots, I huddled under my Michelin man jacket, later making Darren give me his jacket to cover my legs as well.
From the sample digital stills, I think the shots came out really awesome, and it was SO fun watching Ken and Darren do the light painting since they basically dance around me like wacko jackos while I stand there trying not to stab one of them in the face because a skeet is sucking me dry and I can’t swat it away.
Yesterday, after a fun day of walking around Pacifica and shooting the area there, Darren and I headed to an Indian restaurant for a somewhat late dinner. He ordered the baingan bhartha (roasted eggplant mashed with onions and spices), and I got the palak paneer. We both decided to get the thali dishes, which are like a combo plate: you get the main dish, naan, rice, soup, vegetable curry, and dessert. It comes in a large round metal tray with smaller metal bowls crowded inside. Lemme find a photo of when we ate somewhere else:
There we go… It looked just like that, only it came with gulab jamun as dessert, and the rice was in a giant mound in the middle of the tray. A huge amount of food, and oh-so-good.
Anyway, the food came, and we both dug in because we had only had breakfast earlier that day. Darren looks at me and says that the soup we’d both received had eggplant in it, and I suddenly decided to figure out exactly what the hell I was stuffing in my face. I looked on his plate and saw that he had gotten a little bowl of palak-something (spinach) and that I had gotten one dish that looked different from his. Of course, it took us a little while to make the connection that we had basically received the same exact food, only he had gotten the larger bowl of baingan bhartha and I had gotten a larger bowl of palak paneer. That’s right. I had not one, but TWO dishes of eggplant on my tray.
Now, for any normal person, aubergine dishes are tasty and good, but for someone with an eggplant allergy, this is like finding out that you’ve been eating ground glass in your food. I freaked out for a little bit inside and waited for the typical reaction (my throat will start to itch and then it will get a bit difficult to swallow easily). I don’t go to the emergency room or fall down twitching, but it’s really annoying and pretty much leaves me feeling like I wish I hadn’t eaten that for a day or two afterwards.
One of the main problems it that I love eggplant. I love it. I love the taste, the texture, the smell of it. The only thing I don’t love is the whole itchy throat/”I can’t swallow” feeling that comes soon after eating it. I’d eaten about half of the little bowl before figuring out it was eggplant (it’s been a LONG time since I’ve had it and I don’t really remember what it tastes like anymore), so the only reasonable course of action was to simply stop eating it. Of course, being a total glutton for punishment and also having such intense love for eggplant, I decided that since I’d already eaten half of it, I might as well finish it. Oh boy was that a bad idea. My throat got itchier and itcher and it was harder and harder to swallow, but wow was it worth it. Man, I love eggplant so much.
When we got home, I quickly popped two Benedryl since my throat was really hurting at that point. I should also mention that I haven’t had to take Benedryl in a really long time. Anyway, since this time the reaction was way worse than before, I decided to take two, which then knocked me out and made me all groggy and I sounded drunk as hell. I think I was talking, but I don’t have any idea if it was making any sense. It put me to sleep for about an hour and then had me fitfully tossing and turning, my entire body aching like it was on fire. Well, I tossed for about another hour half-crying, half-begging Frank to make it all better, until he finally gave me a sleeping pill that knocked me out for the rest of the night. It’s morning now, but I’m still feeling a bit spacey from the sleeping pill and wishing that I hadn’t eaten the rest of that eggplant dish last night. Silly me.
Oh, and here’s a bit on the weird allergy. Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family. There are actually quite a few vegetables in the nightshade family, and if you are sensitive to one, you probably have a sensitivity to others. You can read a bit more on this site. I am especially sensitive to eggplant and raw green bell peppers. Reading through all the nightshade vegetables, I am really really hoping that I don’t develop higher sensitivity to tomatoes, potatoes, or onions. That would suck big time and I wouldn’t be able to eat a lot of stuff. Separately, I have a pretty bad kiwi allergy that I plan to test out in the near future. Both Darren and Frank say that this is a really, really bad idea, but I’m willing to see what happens if I eat a kiwi. I want to know if I have gotten more sensitive to it. Maybe it’s gone away, but that’s only wishful thinking.
I used to be a foodie. I would really get excited at the prospect of eating a delicious meal, especially one that might have been raved about by fellow foodies. I would ravenously look up reviews on Yelp, Zagat, and Chowhound and then ask around to other fellow foodies to see if anyone else had been there and which dishes were best there. I would look up recipes to try at home. I cooked my way through Jacques Pepin’s Table one month, much to Frank’s delight
That was the past. These days, I am content with a simple meal of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich or pasta for lunch, and an easy one-pot soup for dinner. I no longer spend hours looking up good places to eat, happy to eat at the places we’ve been frequenting lately, and I no longer get excited at the prospect of eating at a well-reviewed place. I suppose it’s good for me, and it befits my new lifestyle here in healthy California. There are plenty of good eats here, and we don’t have to try too hard to find a good Vietnamese place when we’re got a hankering for some pho.
I’m not too upset about not being such a big foodie anymore. I still enjoy a nice meal, and I am a lot pickier about only putting quality food into my mouth, but I don’t spend so much of my energy on food. Of course, the food photography is totally a different story… I still like doing it, but there is less because I don’t go out to eat elaborately prepared plates anymore.
And here’s a random food-related joke Frank just told me:
What do you call a mushroom who walks into a bar and orders everyone a drink?