Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Review #21

This weeks book review is "Three Strong Women" by Marie NDiaye.

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Ndiaye is a wonderful story teller, weaving thoughts into character's actions as they take place, making the character's she writes about so real that you can feel their emotions. This book was also translated with care from French, and I did not feel at all removed when reading it. I especially like this book because 1) it is a book about real things that happen to women and 2) it is about women caught between Africa and France, a topic not very much discussed or thought of when Americans think about France. I mean, that's certainly not something I thought of before I read this book - I though of art, wine, baguettes, museums - subjective ideas of what I think France is like.

"Three Stong Women" will get into your head and change the way you think about women in other countries. I always try to add an image to my book reviews that reminds me of the book, so this time I have an image to share that has also gotten into my head and refuses to leave:

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I took this picture during a time of my life that involved a lot of change and huge decisions - it's something that is a part of me now and always will be.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Golden Gate Park pt2

Continuing on the tour of Golden Gate Park and heading on over to the West end in the Beach Chalet. The Beach Chalet is also in front of the two windmills. I didn't take a picture of windmills, and I kind of wish I had, but I was just so surprised to find them in the park that I admired rather than photographed. Anyways, back in the Chalet (which is also a brewery and restaurant that I want to eat at) there is a mural:

Plaque

Mural 03

Mural 02

It's a mural that goes around the entirety of the lobby inside the Chalet, showing scenes of community in San Francisco from the 30s. There are also wonderful stairs with sea creatures carved into the structure and wonderful mosaic patterns below the mural. It's a pretty gorgeous place and these photos don't do it justice. This was commissioned to be public art! I wish there were more things like this EVERYWHERE.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Flickr Favorites #37

This weeks flickr inspiration is from Rachael Schumacher!

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Rachael's photography makes me want to go camping EVERY DAY. All her hiking and camping adventures reveal wonderful soft and day-dream-like images of nature caught in it's most peaceful and awe inspiring. I'm not much a landscape photographer, but boy do I want to try and make some images like these ones.

If you would like to share some of your photography on my blog, please email me at letitberaw(at)gmail(dot)com with a link to your webpage/flickr! You can pick 4 images to share or let me pick 4 favorites. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Golden Gate Park pt. 1

I took a ton of pictures in Golden Gate Park a few weeks ago and have been ever so slowly going through and editing them. All the images are for use of a project my friend Devin is working on, similar to the Golden Gateway project (you can see picture from that post here).

It was a challenging photographic experience for me because, like the problems I had before with the Golden Gateway, I don't take a lot of architecture or landscape photos. I also don't have the right kind of lens with my digital SLR to do that kind of work, so often my images of buildings are a little contorted. But I learned a lot and had a great time shooting. One of the more fascinating and not-photography-related things I found out during this project was that there are a ridiculous amount of things to do in Golden Gate Park. Seriously! It is absolutely mind-blowing how much time you can spend there and still not do everything.

Golden Gate Park Restroom
One of the most important things a park needs: a restroom!

Not that exciting, but I thought it was pretty funny for the restroom to be sort of hiding in bushes and trees. It's like I'm doing my business in nature!

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Have I disappointed you yet? I'm sure the beginning of this post was interesting.

Ok, it's the restroom again. But it's a nice restroom - look at the roof! There are details where there could have been a slab of cement. This bathroom could have been super ugly and not nestled kindly in bushes and trees. I think the most interesting part is that you don't know it's a bathroom from the sidewalk. Also, I did not feel uncomfortable using it - that is a high compliment in the world of women's restrooms.

This is the last time I will ever talk about a restroom so much. Pt 2 will have some interesting kind of socialist murals. Sound good?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review #20

Remember when I was doing a book review every week? I really enjoyed doing that, but really just ran out of time to write interesting things about books. Such a horried excuse because I friggn' love books and am a bibliophile. Let's get real, I've been lazy.

It Chooses You by Miranda July is the book for this week. I read this at the beginning of summer after finding out the July was doing another movie called The Future (She has another move out called Me and You and Everyone we Know - have you seen it?) The book is definitely fascinating - July meets strangers selling items through a local pennysaver (ie paper craigslist) and write about her expereinces in meeting these people and the stories she tells.

However, what I find to be most interesting is that July wrote the book while having writers block for her movie's screen play. How proactive is that? I am just all over the idea of doing other creative things when you have a block for some other project. The change and practice of another creative activity just opens up new ideas and views because creativity flourishes through cross-training. I think of all the books I've read, places I've gone, and the stories or poems I've written and how they have challenged my ideas of photography and given me new insight to my projects.

Eric B
This photo was inspired by music, writings, and books. Sometimes I think really hard about an image before I take it, and other times it isn't until after I've taken a photo that I notice what secretly influenced me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Camera Geek

I day dream about cameras and camera equipment. It might be a problem, I'm not really sure. I do have lots of knowledge about camera things, so I will share with you 4 very important items that will make your life easier when photographing. 
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Camera Bag - this one is for ladies! Ok, so dudes can use it too, but that just happens to be the Jo Totes slogan. I just got this because the way I carried cameras around before was too ridiculous - awkwardly wrapped in blankets and t-shirt camera bodies and lenses in a back pack, or a myriad of cameras strung dangerously around my neck. This camera bag is a much safer (not to mention stylish) alternative.



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35mm f/1.8 fixed lens. Why is it awesome? Many Reasons - great for landscape, portraits, bokeh backgrounds, and mostly I want to use it for low lighting situations. It's the kind of lens you can leave on your camera for weeks and never even think of changing. I don't have one, yet, but I'm looking for a manual focus lens so I can use it on my film camera and digital camera.

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White card board? What? Yea, I know. This is the cheapest piece of equipment you could ever have. It's great for reflecting light onto shadows when taking portraits. And, you could glue a grey piece of paper on the back and wha-bam! You have a grey card/light reflector combo. And it will probably cost $2.

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Light Meter - a good one can be expensive, but boy, after learning to use it correctly you will have well lit photos every time! Great for film images because you'll spend less time freaking out about whether or not a picture will be exposed right, and you'll save frames because you won't need to bracket (aka taking multiple pictures but under and over exposing to compensate for difficult lighting situations). 

But, if you're low on the monies, you can always try a light meter app. I've been trying out one called "Light Meter" that was a free app. I can't tell you how well it works just yet - I'm currently using it with one of my film cameras that has a broken light meter. I'll let you know what happens!

Is there anything else you would add to this list that makes your life easier? I would consider also adding a tripod to this list, but I only use mine for night photography. Plus, I am a tripod.


Friday, August 10, 2012

The Golden Gateway

I've been photographing architecture and public/private spaces in San Francisco for my good friend Devin. It's been a challenge, often times because the buildings in question aren't very photogenic, but also because I don't photograph a lot of architecture. At some point in the near future, Devin will be writing about these spaces in San Francisco and I will share a link to the article when that happens. For now, I'd just like to give a sneak peak of my favorite Golden Gateway images.

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What I gathered most from the Golden Gateway is it's lack of friendly and identifying spaces. Hundreds of people live there, yet I saw hardly any people while photographing. The Gateways is also a level up above the street - you can walk blocks and never actually touch the ground. 

It's a little unnerving how removed it is from the City it's self because it makes me feel like I could be anywhere. It's like how when you walk into a Safeway (or other chain supermarket) and you could literally be anywhere in the US because all Safeways are designed to look the same. There is no character of the town or city you may be in. I did not walk into the Golden Gateway and think yes, I am in San Francisco.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Row Boating in Golden Gate Park

I really love Golden Gate Park in San Francisco! I have been to the park many times for shows, like Hardly Strictly Blue Grass, I have been there for picnics, and I have been there for the museums. This day, I went for a picnic and a little row boat adventure. 

 Nick and Eric, row boating and loving it.

 Eric and me. I'm talking during a picture, as per usual. 

 Devin played banjo while we floated around. I kinda felt like I was floating down the Bayou... though I've never actually been there so my idea of the Bayou is basically Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride from Disneyland. That's how my thought process works, apparently. I free-styled lyrics poorly about the row boating adventure while Devin strummed, but I'm hoping that my friend Eric will write a song about it and then I can share it here later. Sound like a good idea Eric?

And a turtle! They were everywhere and not scared of people. FYI turtles are my spirit animal.

I have more things from San Francisco to share later this week, so stay tuned!

Monday, August 6, 2012

San Francisco Roof Top

The neatest place to be after midnight...

friends on the roof

roof top
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