Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sound Advice

Take it from someone who... can't do it very well.       Photo: © S. Banos

I did do it once, swim that is. Kids always ask, "You know how to swim?" And I would always reply, "Yes, of course." Like who wouldn't? And technically, I was being quite truthful- I did know... I just couldn't do it very well, if at all. I knew what I had to do, and how to do it- but like most other things physical, I was damn shitty at it. I was very familiar with the forward sweeping motion of the arms and the repeated paddling of the legs in a coordinated movement that thrusts the body aloft in a steady forward momentum; saw it countless times in books, movies, even in person even- could say I was practically expert in how it was done... but damn if I could actually do it! It took all my effort just to keep my mouth sucking in precious oxygen one quarter inch above water while the rest of my body inexplicably remained at a 45 degree angle rapidly going nowhere no matter how hard I tried. Naturally, I never wandered more than a few inches away from anywhere I couldn't readily stand up.

But there's always that one day, that one day where all the artifice must fall and your soul laid bare... And on that day I found myself with a friend and some of his acquaintances, who had since moved upstate (New York), on the way to the local watering hole. The "conversation" rapidly devolved into a mockery of how city boys couldn't swim and the inevitable, "You know how to swim, right?" "Sure do," I truthfully replied, wondering all the while how the hell I was gonna get outta this one.

And I was still pondering that very thought as we all plunged in, putting into play my vast encyclopedic knowledge of all things swimming. The group objective was to reach a water slide on the... far side of the lake, a goal well beyond ridiculous for me to even contemplate as I nevertheless huffed and puffed along as if, as if reality had no say in any of it.

My epiphany soon occurred about 1/10 of the way there when my subpar, labored thrashing about forced me to the realization that this fool's errand would guarantee I never make it to seventeen. The others had already pulled ahead by this time, and left quite alone, knew I was out of reach from being saved by any of my peers. I felt a wave of panic start to descend, and I wanted to scream in fright and anger for being so spectacularly stupid to have put myself in such a predicament. As an adult, I would have simply said, "Go off and enjoy yourself young lads while I quietly engage this good book in the company of this fine drink." As a dumb ass kid, all I could do at the moment was recall reading that after the initial panic- drowning was indeed, a rather genteel manner to die, a rather peaceful and euphoric affair towards the end.

Perhaps not wanting to die in a watery grave with virtue intact provided the necessary incentive, but right there and then I resolved to live another day, focus like I never had in my previous sixteen years, and turn the ship back to shore where I would continue to pursue the life of a happy landlubber the rest of my godforsaken years. Which is somehow exactly what I (barely) succeeded in doing.

Several hours later, everyone returned and someone asked if I was OK, "You don't look too good!" Don't quite remember what I replied, but I do remember telling myself- I don't give a bloody damn what anyone says or thinks (of me) anymore...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ricoh GR B&W Conversion

Photo: © S. Banos

Well, it just had to, had to happen- didn't it? It just had to rear it's ugly, uncalled for, utopia dissolving head, and shatter this delightful delusion of unfettered color fantasy, ie- I finally hit upon an image that looks better in B&W, an image that originated in digital color- the day of reckoning had arrived.

Don't even know if this image is a keeper as of yet (in any form), a decision made all the harder since one of the reasons I got this camera was to make images that weren't exactly like my analog photographs. But no doubt it works better in B&W, those bright orange pants and screaming red umbrella (nice as they are) completely detract from the main focal point of the image- the subject's thousand yard stare. So into Elements 9 I descended, messed with the color channels, and... Not bad! Looks kinda decent, due very much to the fact that it's taken in open shade and maybe, just maybe, by ISO 800 lending a certain "granularity." A bit more contrast, and local dodging and burning (interesting how much more B&W files of any kind must be pampered and massaged towards the same end) and it stands up fairly well. Now, do I like it as a whole- and will there be more conversions to follow that will be any the more acceptable (particularly those in direct sunlight)... Or this an evolutionary dead end?

Photo: © S. Banos

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Wonderful World Of Color!

If you'd told me this January that I'd be posting a page of color photographs on my website this spring, I woulda told ya you had a few pixels missing. Cornball jokes aside, in the midst of restoring 40 years of B&W, this was not even a possibility, let alone a consideration- or is that the other way around? Regardless, life is funny sometimes. 

True, last year I did take a few color photos, but that was with full intention of converting to B&W. And it's not just about color, it's about trying to capture those things I've been passing up for many a year with a new medium, a new manner of shooting and a focal length (28mm equivalent) that I haven't used regularly since my twenties. The website photos are people-centric, but I'm enjoying "other stuff" as well, serious or not. I've accustomed myself to seeing the world in a certain way photographically- literally through a certain lens. Not necessarily a bad thing, it helps select and organize the wheat from the chaff, but it can also limit and restrict what and how you see. Even at my age, it does a guy good to: 1) Stop, 2) shake shit around, 3) see what falls out. In that order. Or maybe, I was just waiting for the right tool, or the right excuse- just hope I didn't wait too long...

El Pendejo Donald     Photo: © S. Banos

Monday, April 11, 2016

Funny Shit...

Another goddang work week, and we all need a few cheap laughs. Hopefully, you won't have seen all of these. In the first, Governor Rick The Dick Scott gets a righteous earful of truth to power- and inexplicably (but all too predictably) most Right Wing douche bag commenters rush to his... defense (although one commenter did describe him as an elongated testicle).

And from local to national politics...

Finally, what's a few laughs between friends w/o a little racial humor...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Lesson Learned

So I notice this guy walk out unto the main drag looking behind him as if possibly being followed. He has a small orange traffic cone in hand, and sure enough, another guy appears behind him with a... wooden paddle in hand. It appears Guy #1 took the cone from Guy #2 who is now in pursuit, as Guy #1 proceeds to tease him with said cone. 

Photo: © S. Banos
Broken paddle handle under gloved contestant. And why does he have rubber gloves on anyway?

At this point I'm thinking cone guy has some grand plan up his sleeve that involves rapid flight response, impressive (fight) skills or perhaps some genius comedic turn around. None of the above was in the offing however, as now infuriated paddle guy raises, swings and literally breaks it over the head of his nemesis. A bloody skirmish ensues, and is fortunately broken up by the cop above who just happened to be writing out a summons nearby....

Moral: I never realized the middle of Market St. was painted red till I photographed it in color (hides blood well too).

Friday, April 1, 2016

100% Natural

Photo: © S. Banos

Hey, I coulda easily made something up like so many other places, considering the date and all, and just thrown it up for a cheap laugh. But you don't come here for that, we got scruples and stuff- and I got a brand to uphold.