I don’t often shoot in the high aperture range. I think it flattens out a photo. Today’s photo was shot at f16 entirely to show the mountain in the background in some detail. If you shoot manually at all, try playing with the aperture on your camera. If you want shallow depth of field, shoot with as low a number as you can. If you want everything in detail, shoot with a higher number.
Oh, and this is why I was whining about the snow. Snow? In February in the Lower Mainland? Really? Ha ha, global warming. You got us again.
I’m quite certain this is some guy’s name, or maybe the name of a graffiti crew, but it makes me think of one thing: Noam Chomsky. When I saw it on the concrete highway support, I thought that some student of media and communications, or maybe a linguistics students. Then I realized that it didn’t actually say “Chomsky” – it says CHOMtcki or something. Too bad, seeing as how Chomsky was a student of language and communication. When I saw this my mind went back to the first time I watched “Manufacturing Consent” and how outraged I was at how mass media twists and manipulates, often through the simplest means like inclusion vs. exclusion, the popular opinion on major issues. It was through Chomsky I first came across the plight of the East Timorese and the lack of coverage of their problems with Indonesia. I also thought back to my earliest years in university when I first started reading Chomsky’s work.
It is kind of weird, however, to see what came to my mind through a mistake in reading. This got me thinking: how much of what I read is what is actually written and how much of my experience while reading is a direct result of where my mind goes while I’m reading? How much is a result of my own experience that, while it may be somewhat non sequitur to the reading material, shapes my understanding of what I read, of how I see the world. If a misread word can conjure up memories of my earliest years in post-secondary academia, what happens when I read things properly? I have taught introductory psychology courses and I know, basically, how my brain works. I also know that both “nature and nurture” play a big part in how I have become who I am today. But what if the way I see the world is entirely different from the way you see the world, but we both believe that we see it the same way because we only have the vocabulary we share to make sense of it? Words would, then, make our ability to express our experiences less personal and more communal, thus bringing us together when our own perception is moving us apart.
Maybe I need some sleep.
You have to love gas stations. I only recently became aware of their appeal from a photographic standpoint. We have this love/hate relationship with these places, don’t we? American Pickers tells us that gas station signage from years past is more popular than ever. Oil cans from yesteryear are collectors’ items. There’s a nostalgic remembrance of the “good old days” when gas stations were full service (check out the blog Down The Road). Most of us even have a story or two about a time when gas was cheaply purchased (102.9 is per liter, for my American friends and there’s about 4 liters to a gallon).
But we hate these places, too. They’re always open because we have to drive. Canada, I have realized after traveling a bit, is a huge place. Everything is a driving distance away. We even measure out where we live in reference to other landmarks by how long it will take to get there by car (with a little relativity based on the heaviness of your right foot). We want to escape the gasoline strait jacket in which we’ve placed ourselves, yet few people are willing to give up their cars, trucks, SUV’s, crossovers, and so on. Electric cars promise to get us out of this marriage of oily convenience, but even that seems like a promise too far down the road, so to speak.
But one thing we all know – the gas companies are always OPEN to help us out.
So, I was driving home from work yesterday and as I left Abbotsford and grew closer to Chilliwack, the snow started to fall. Well, not fall, exactly. More like, um, assault my car. I could hear it hitting the windshield with a “paff” sound that made me think of disintegrating moths. But thousands of them, at once. Visibility grew to nearly nil, drivers around me slowed to a near halt, and we all took part in the Lower Mainland ritual of cursing weather we don’t understand. For whatever reason, the moment it started, I thought of Ned Flanders, when his house was torn away by a tornado and the town pulled together to build a new house for him. The work they did was done “Shoddilly-iddily-iddily-diddly” and Ned tries to “diddly” his way out of his rage, but then finally explodes in “aaaw hell diddly ding dong crap!”
Every time I see this episode I think that someday that’ll be me. It makes me laugh, a lot. And when the snow started to fall last night on the drive home, I felt like Ned. But then I got to thinking. Why do we curse the weather? What is it about precipitation that can bring out the worst in us? Why is it that snow can make me curse, and hail makes me laugh? Why do I feel better when the sun comes out, even in the middle of a cold and stormy day? Why are clouds associated with depression (even the pharmaceutical companies have played on that trope)? Why are we so emotionally wrapped up in weather?
BTW, I “sepia-ed” this same photo because both my wife and I thought it had an “old” look to it. What do you think? Which is the better photo?