Thornrose Cemetery

I’ve been grumbling a lot lately about my inability to move forward in various aspects of my life. I am a generalist by nature:  learn just enough to get by, then move on to the next thing. But that’s no longer enough. I’m in a chronic state of “user error”  and I want to get  better.  I’d prefer to do everything better, but I’ll settle for something.   It requires a level of discipline that I do not innately possess, but I vow improve my ways.

I started with pottery last Friday night.  I threw about 8 pounds of clay and ended up with a bowl that weighs a few ounces.  It’s easy to get stuck on the habit of producing for the sake of producing.  You pay good money for the time and resources, and you naturally want something in return.  But Friday night was all about throwing better.  In my case, that means throwing thinner and lighter.  Making objects with thick walls is safe, and safe isn’t good enough.  So I threw one bowl after another until the walls simply disintegrated in my hands.  I needed to remind myself what it feels like to go to the edge without going over.  And I have one little bowl to prove I can still do it.

This morning, I set my sights on improving my photography.  I’m tired of having flat, under or over-exposed photos that require additional processing.  So I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before: I read my camera’s manual.  I prefer B&W photo, so I set it on manual and experimented with various shutter and aperture settings in order to increase the depth and contrast.  The only thing I had to tweak was the white balance, which I don’t think I understood but believe can be adjusted in my camera as well.

The subject of this experiment was Thornrose Cemetery.  I didn’t plan this outing ahead of time and was limited by a somewhat depleted battery and less than ideal weather conditions (a 33 blustery degrees).  But I got a few photos, and the results were far from disappointing.  Still so much more to learn, but I’ve made a definite start.

(I’ve also learned that I’m running out of media space in this blog, so pictures will be drastically reduced from here on out)

2 thoughts on “Thornrose Cemetery

  1. These pictures show very nice contrast. When in New York some years ago I tried to take lots of black and white film pictures of water towers out our window. Have you ever noticed that all the old buildings in New York have wooden water towers on top? Well, I didn’t have my user manual so I just started moving levers to change the settings and I got almost a whole roll of film of really awfu,
    l smudgy looking photos and had no idea what I had done. It is quite thrilling to see what you can do if you just read the instructions. Also, your choice of subject matter is really beautiful. Keep it up. It’s also easier to practice when you don’t have to pay to have film processed. Alas, my digital camera probably doesn’t have the ability to make a lot of setting choices but I don’t really know that because I haven’t read the instructions.!

    1. Digital photography is the best! You perform all the manipulations of old school photography at the click of the button with no time or monetary contraints. Definitely a good time to get into photography.

      p.s no, I never noticed all the wooden water towers in NY. But I’m begnning to notice all the nuances of Staunton. I guess the lesson is to simply work with what you have!

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