Saturday, November 29, 2014

Gotta love freebies!

I have a neighbor who loves to repay me with things. Although I don't like taking anything from her when she asks me for help with something, I generously accept any bounty she will give me. One day it was local veg from the farmer's market for taking a photo of her and her family for their holiday card... another time it was a coffee chain gift card for walking her dog... this time, it was two bags of grapefruit for showing her how to use her computer.

Mind you, the grapefruit weren't store bought. Given that we are in one of the citrus capitals of the United States, Florida thrives in fruit. 

Known as the Sunshine State, Florida creates copious amounts of oranges, grapefruits and lemons. That Tropicana juice you're drinking with your daily breakfast? Grown and packaged up in Bradenton, Florida. 

Closer to home, there's a harvest company, oddly enough, called "Sun Harvest Citrus". Not only can you walk in to this facility and smell like you're walking in to various groves, you can watch the workers pack the fruit in crates to be shipped all over the country. Citrus season changes with the months, so one minute we may get bins of grapefruit, when 4 months later we can get oranges. It's one of those places where you just want to go in every day just to sample the fresh juice... which is squeezed on site. They also sell fresh jellies and wines that are made with various Florida citrus. My friend visited me in England this summer, and she went home with almost 100 dollars worth of alcohol, jams, sauces and candies... all provided by naturally grown products. This store is a stop worth visiting when in the area (spring training is coming soon.... why not swing in before a Sox game?).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The power of technology

I was at a friend's for turkey dinner and got to thinking:

Most people these days have upgraded their poor dumb phones (the flip phones) into smart phones (the tablet style flat bricks that can do everything but sometimes make an actual call). In the process, the user has become poor, as the new bells and whistles phone is way more expensive than it needs to be.

As with everything these days, newer technology comes new advantages in "do it yourself" photography. Proof in point: The Square Jellyfish brand of tripods and mounts easily fit on to existing tripods or on their own pocket sized ones. I like it because yes, I have an iPhone 5. Yes, it's pretty easy to just grab something as tiny as the mount and tripod, but, it honestly doesn't give me the same satisfaction as a normal camera and stand. Grab and go / convenience has replaced the lugging around of back packs and trunks full of gear. Call me old school in my ways, but nothing beats the ordeal of setting everything up and making an impatient family gathering turn into a pretty swell picture. Sure, the new phones take great moments in history, but I still like to be able to hook my Canon EOS Rebel T3 to a basic tripod and shoot away. There are pros and cons to the whole setup, and nothing is ever immune to the swaying of the positive and negative gauntlet. To play nicely with everyone and appease the masses (my family and friends... group photos, etc) I've got the Square Jellyfish products in a snack baggie in my Case Logic TBC-307 SLR Camera Backpack, as they really don't take up any more room than stashing them in your pants pocket for easy travel. Trust me, I've just taken the Ziploc baggie to events where my DSLR would be too cumbersome. All the more reason that in certain situations, these little guys kinda rule photography right now.

However...

I used the same DSLR camera for this morning's posts and I shall continue to use it until it completely dies (I hope not). I read somewhere that there is a rumor it is already a discontinued model, so I shall be forced to upgrade to something more stylish and fashionable, I suppose. More "oomph" and money for what I really want, but this T3 does the trick for me.

There wouldn't be a post if there weren't pictures to prove it:

Basic Kodak tripod
Square Jellyfish mount
iPhone 5




























Lamp close up from the use of a macro kit





















Cheers & enjoy the turkey;



See also:

iPhone 5 and accessories

Otterbox iPhone 5 cases





Not a cloud in sight...

While everyone is scouring the internet for Black Friday deals, I'm sitting at home, taking pictures of the beautiful morning we're having in sunny Florida. There is not a cloud in the sky (unless you could the lazy two that decided to leave now for their turkey feasts), and it's a balmy 52 degrees out. Warm by New England standards, cold by Floridans. Just like the meme "Floridians be like 'its 65 degrees; get out the winter coat!'", it is hoodie weather right now, but it should warm up by the time we all start eating.




































Saturday, November 15, 2014

Just...need...a...breather...

Can we please have a few days to breathe, before Christmas starts?

Right from the last sale of the Halloween costumes and candy, stores were packing that stuff up and displaying Christmas Items. Swear to anything beyond logic and means, a few of my local retailers were boxing up all things spooky on November 1 and setting up early Jesus items.

Why can't we have Thanksgiving first? Must we delve right into the birth of a carpenter before we learn the Pilgrims might have made a mistake by landing in Massachusetts? I thought JHC was born in December, not November.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Reading

I'm an avid reader, or at least I try to be. My current 9-5 job doesn't allow me the opportunity to sit and read for 30 minutes, however, I've been trying to get through a new book on weekends.

The Thing Itself: On the Search for Authenticity by Richard Todd is that "new" book I picked up a few months back, but am still working on it. Only 52 pages in, it seems like it's been worth the investment.

Mr. Todd uses the pages to question what type of value we, as a general society, put on items that we come across in our daily lives. It can range from the little trinket you may see and buy at a thrift store, all the way up to the prospect of trying to figure out a world renown painting's reproductive worth (where I am now in the book). He pulls examples from his past and mixes them with current situations (or in the case of the paintings, uses names people may know).

The main question he keeps asking is why do we value objects so keenly and are gutted when we can no longer keep them in our possession (either by way of selling or throwing it out)? One man's trash is another man's treasure, only to hoard enough of specific items that we start telling ourselves it's worth it. In the end, it can be put in a closet, in a barn, stored away that we forget about it and it disappears from our minds for a while. It's of no use hidden away, but of worse use when we talk ourselves into wanting it. Original owners sell it for a reason, why does the buyer think they're getting a 2 million dollar object for 2 dollars?

Even if you, the reader, aren't guilty of wanting little pieces of glassware or CDs, you know someone who is. Personally, I've accumulated a few things in my lifetime, enough that when it comes down to yard sales, I have to really push myself into selling it. There comes a point where I see someone interested in buying it, I talk up the item like it's worth its weight in gold. I also have friends that have done similar things - collect the tchotchkes from places and display them like it's the proudest accomplishment of the week. I can definitely see Richard Todd's points he is making in the book, just based on situations in my own life. Again, we as a general society, put value on things that may or may not be beneficial to our lives in the long run. How will the fifty cent cell phone holder help me 20 years from now, when I may not have a phone? I love the alien shape of it - he seems to be hugging my phone, but will I still love it when he's destroyed? He's held up for a decade already... how much longer will I need him?

Grab this book while you can... very good insight into why we do what we do with objects. I can't wait to finish the rest of the book.. what else will I learn?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

If (social) networking is key…

… Why don’t any of the doors unlock?

I’m a constant job seeker – always looking for “the one” job where I would fit in (and ultimately like). I’ve spent time temping in one place, working full time in another; getting a sense of what’s out there.

Throughout my college years, we were told to always network with people, no matter where you are or who you’re with. Be the social butterfly of a political figure – shake hands, kiss a few babies, but don’t run for local office. Sure; I can do that. I ended up getting a degree in communications and worked (primarily) in radio – so I shook hands with the figureheads of my town and made smiley faces with their entourage. However, with the analogue equipment going digital, it’s hard to stay “in tune” with the new formats, let alone do avid meet and greets.