Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Doing It By the Book

I bought a book on photography this weekend, and as expected, there is a ton I do not know. The book, however, seems to do a good job of laying out different aspects of composition and editing, so I'm going to start trying things out one topic at a time. I hope I will be able to stick with this (I have a problem sticking with hobbies, perhaps because I love trying new things), but at least for the next couple weeks, I'll try to post some things I've looked at in each lesson.

Digital Photography Essentials

Monday, May 23, 2011

The End of the World As We've Known It (For the Past Four Years)

Last Tuesday, I walked across a rainy stage in the middle of a sea of umbrellas to be handed a rolled-up little piece of paper that said I had graduated. Actually, that particular paper was more along the lines of "Thanks for coming to the ceremony," but we all knew what it stood for.

I realized just how many people I've never met in my own major, in my own emphasis. Berkeley is a tough place to make friends in academic settings, in part because the class size is often quite big. Despite that, I befriended the person seated next to me. It turns out she's going to be at Stanford next year as well!

However big the world may seem, it's really rather small.

And thank goodness for that, because going out into the world is a scary thought. I am so glad to have my family and friends providing a circle of support. I've been working on being proactive in spending time with my friends, and I'm going to do my best to stay in touch with them after graduation as well.

This post was supposed to be about graduation and how when I lamented that it was raining only the three days of my roommates' and my graduations, my friend told me to think of it this way: Berkeley is sad to see us go.

Instead, it became about my friends and family. People who sat through the rain for the ceremony, risked their cameras in the rain during the receptions, and cared enough to ignore the cold and tell me congratulations.

My message for my fellow graduates, then:
It's the people around you that make life worth living. Keep them close when you move out into the world, because they will keep you happy - and sane.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Up, Down, All Around

Look around you. No, seriously, take a look around you.

Where did you look? Maybe, like me, you looked to one side and saw a door, some blinds, still-hanging Christmas lights. Or you looked forward and saw a table, a chair, a television set. Perhaps you were even looked behind you and saw the back of the couch.

Did you look down? It's possible.

Did you look up? Probably not.

Our world has 3 spatial dimensions, but we often only pay attention to the 2 we move around in.

How can we escape this plain plane of existence? Let's start with the simple ways:

Get on a plane (the day after a massive snowstorm in Chicago).

Look down from the roof (at the UCSF Parnassus campus).

Doesn't have to be somewhere exotic (top floor of my apartment building).

Find interesting patterns.

And sometimes the little things get overlooked if you forget to look down.

Looking up is harder. Start by getting under something (bridge over the Berkeley Amtrak station).

Or in between tall things (heading up Powell St).

Roofs can have interesting stories too (the domes in the roof of the de Young museum are built not of stone but of cloth, to allow music from the organ pipes behind to permeate the museum).

This lesson again - even common subjects can have cool patterns when viewed from a new angle.

When you have a choice of down or up, pick the one you do least often (inside the Westfield mall).

And go Bears!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Living in Downtown Berkeley

Shattuck in the evenings, a musician on every street corner.

Life is bustling, everybody's a character.

Sign-holding street person saying "Hey, can you spare..." as I walk quickly by, and finishing with "a smile?", surprising me into doing exactly as he asks.

However enclosed I've been in my lab or apartment, working hard or hardly working, walking outside always reminds me there's more to life.

And there's nowhere else I'd rather have learned to live.