12.17.2009

Jaws

The waves were up at Jaws off the coast of Maui last week. I've always thought this looked amazingly fun (and also like a good way to bite it). Probably safer to live vicariously on this one. Enjoy!

Canon 5D Mark II Slow Motion + Jaws ( Peahi ) 12-7-09 from iamkalaniprince on Vimeo.

12.14.2009

The signs of San Francisco

I'm not sure I want to know ...

12.11.2009

Humbug!



I try to enjoy Christmas, I really do. I love the religious significance, but amid the commercials and the traffic and the crowds of shoppers decidedly not in the holiday spirit, I often find myself wishing we could cancel the whole thing and replace it with Thanksgiving redux (meaning all of the food, none of the stress).

Twinkle lights help matters. Much like donuts, there are few situations they can't improve. I also turn up the Christmas music to help me stay in the mood. This can go well, but sometimes, like when I try the "all Christmas, all the time" radio station, I end up even more sour than when I began.

Inevitably, the song playing when I first tune in is a good one, like Bing Crosby's White Christmas or my childhood favorite Feliz Navidad (don't mock!). Then things get ugly. It might be Mariah Carey trying to shatter glass with her vocal range or maybe an R&B artist bringing a little funk to a classic or, worst of all, a brand new song about Christmas and love and someone's feeeeeelings. Bleh. In any case, it's contemporary, updated, and often quite painful.

Rarely do modern versions get the tone right when it comes to Christmas music (Chris Isaak is a notable exception). I like funk as much as the next girl, but I don't want it in Jingle Bells. Instead of forcing innovation or trying to show off one's entire vocal range in one poor, beleaguered song, I'd rather musicians kept it simple. With a talented artist and a classic song, you can't go wrong playing it straight.

So I've learned my lesson. I will stick with church choirs, Chris Isaak, The Boston Pops, John Denver and the Muppets and, of course, Bing Crosby. Those never fail to get me in a holiday mood.

12.09.2009

Yo professor! Kick it one time!

A couple years ago, I told a friend that one of my requirements in a man was that he know the words to Ice, Ice Baby. I figured this would ensure that he was of an appropriate age and that he didn't take himself too seriously. Early in my relationship with Kurt, I was happy to discover that he had the mp3 and even more pleased when he told me he knew the song. Good character, intelligence, and Ice, Ice Baby? Trifecta!

So in the fall of 2008, after 9 months of dating, it was a bit of a blow to learn that ... wait for it ... he didn't know all the words. Apparently, my dear Dr. H. could only sing along with the chorus. You know the chorus? The one with two whole lines? Yeah. Not good. But he was a great guy with a deep appreciation of the absurd, so we moved on.

Fast forward to 2009. It's the day after our wedding, and we're driving in Madison, IN. I'm taking photos out the car window when I say, "Stop," so I can get a shot. As he stops the car, Kurt says (very calmly, mind you), "Collaborate and listen." Huh. Kurt is known for crazy talk, so I don't think much of it. Then, as we round the corner, he says, "Ice is back with a brand new invention." I look his way with narrowed eyes, trying to figure out what is going on. Another block. "Something grabs a hold of me tightly." And so he continues, a line every few minutes, while I clap and smile and kiss his cheek in delight.

Apparently, he spent the week before our wedding learning the lyrics. He said it was harder than he expected because "it really doesn't make any sense." (Me: What? Doesn't everyone "wax the chump like a candle" and "flow like a harpoon, daily and nightly"?) Given how busy he is with teaching and research, that he would remember this and take the time do it is amazingly romantic. For all of the wonderful things he's done, Ice, Ice Baby may go down as the most special. Who would've thought?

Comic courtesy of xkcd

12.06.2009

The beauty of imperfection

Since becoming more seriously interested in photography, I've spent a lot of time reading books, looking at the work of other photographers, learning about the options post-processing offers, and considering how I want my photographs to look. Gone are the days when I point, snap, and get what I get. Now I evaluate the light, consider the aperture, compose carefully (hit and miss on that one!), and then sharpen, blur, filter, and do all sorts of other craziness in GIMP. Instead of simple snapshots, photos become created pieces where my imagination, the world, and the lens intersect. It's fun, challenging, and deeply satisfying when the image on the screen approaches the one in my mind's eye.

During this process, I've noticed that I consistently prefer "imperfect" photographs. By this I mean old photos that are grainy or have strange color casts, photos with lens flare or areas "blown out" from overexposure, and photos that are too vivid, too contrasty, too anything. The Japanese have a term, wabi-sabi, to describe the beauty of imperfection. The lomography movement embraces this aesthetic, taking advantage of the quirks and defects of low cost, plastic cameras. While I have a lomo (a Russian Smena generously donated by my friend John), I most often play around in GIMP to add in the imperfection that my high tech digital SLR lacks. Cheating? Probably, but I've been too spoiled by digital to fully return to film. Besides, the tenth rule of lomography is that "there are no rules", so who's to say?

Photo by Dr. K

12.03.2009

One unhappy puppy

Ernie's first bath at home. He was ... not pleased.