September 6, 2014

Travels With Douglas (AKA Smuggling Beer Back to OK)

Well, as I said recently in my blog, I am travelling to New Orleans and San Antonio in November and I am quite looking forward to it. I also have some great reservations about the whole trip; especially the return journey from New Orleans to San Antonio and then, after a brief stop-over in San Antonio, onto Shawnee, Oklahoma.

I am wondering, what I am going to have to leave behind in those places to accommodate my en-route purchases. One, especially if they like tasting good beers, can not return home without souvenirs from his or her adventures in  strange and wonderful cities.
Should I leave my clothes and camera’s and just bring  back 3 suitcases, 1 laptop bag and 1 camerabag full of bottles of beer from each of these great cities? It’s a dilemma. I kind of need the clothes to protect the bottles from breakage and I know that I will need my cameras and laptop for future trips.

I wouldn’t be panicking about this but I remember a certain Amtrak Guard from a previous train trip and I think that he’s on the San Antonio to Dallas to Chicago route. The first time I met him, he was so tough and fierce and almost wouldn’t let me on the train to Chicago because I had too much luggage when I was travelling to ArtPrize in 2010. He finally let me on after I threatened to cry and flood the entire city of Fort Worth with my tears. What if he is on the train from San Antonio? Do I try and bribe him with 1 bottle of beer, as smooth as silk, from New Orleans or do I just leave all my clothes etc and travel naked with my beer collection?
Maybe somebody out there could design me a foldable beer carrying case that will safely accommodate 124 bottles of beer ( and 1 bottle of wine for my wife). I could then take that on board and put my suitcases in the cargo van and wear my clothes.

The beer transportation problem is not because I shometimes drink too much beer (ooh my sore head)but it is because I like good beer and I like to try the local beers wherever I may roam . I also like to be reminded of my journeys later on. Yes, I know, Most people would be satisfied with  souvenirs like teaspoons, stolen  hotel/pub ashtrays and towels, coffee-mugs and even Tshirts; not me though. I need something that I can use and something that won’t clutter up our house or cupboards, something disposable. Something disposable like Great beer.

My lawyer, a Mr.  Kenneth Bugsy from Shawnee, has advised me against pilfering hotel ashtrays and silk sheets. He says that, after the last 12 times before the same judge, he wouldn’t be able to persuade the judge that I was innocent of the charges and that I would end-up in the slammer instead of the doghouse. So therefore, I guess Beer is what I have to bring back. Who has plans for the beer carrier; please send then so I can get my master carpenter, Bob Berry to build it for me by November.



September 5, 2014

Tons and Tons and TONS of Visual Stimulants

Smart phones and digital cameras are great; they allow you to capture a scene in an instant. You don’t need to finish the roll of film or wait a couple of days, or hours, to see if you captured the image that you wanted and you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get the film developed and the photos printed. You’ve got the result within a matter of seconds.

However, therein lies the problem; with no extra costs involved in capturing our memory prompts; we tend to overshoot, over-store, and some even take ‘selfies’ over-galore. I, currently, have three digital cameras and two smart phones so I might have a problem and a couple of photographs too many.

While I was getting photographs gathered and prepared for the website I realized just how much a hoarder of visual stimulants I am. From my IPhone 4, alone, in just over two years I had well over 7,000 photos on one hard drive. ( I have about 8 hard drives that I know have tons and tons of photos on them some from Scotland, some from Grand Rapids, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Florida, Places in between and, of course, my kids, dogs, cats, my art creations and miscellaneous flim flam.

How about you? Do you have any idea how many digital photos you have stored on your computer, the Cloud, separate hard drives, memory cards and flash drives? And how many have you lost because of a hard drive failure or worse? Even more scary, how many of your photos are of the same scene, subject, blurry due to camera shake or somebody moving when they weren’t supposed to?

In the old days,(when I was young) film was expensive and you were limited to 12, 24 or 36 exposures on one roll. You would capture your memories and then you had to pay for developing and printing at a store or do it yourself at home or school. 35mm film cameras, or better, were tricky; you had to learn about focusing, f stops, shutter speed, depth of field and a whole bunch more. A lot of these things are now built in to the computer chips/programs of the new technological cameras and camera apps. However, I still use a lot of the photography skills I learnt back then; especially, the photographer’s eye for interesting subjects and angles etc. I also still have, and use, two 35mm film camera and 1 twin-lens reflex camera.

Do we really need to be taking as many memory stimulants(photographs) as we do? Can we not just visualize what we had for dinner last night or mentally recall the crazy antics of Hamish and Penny at the bar last weekend. Do we really need to take that shot or 20 with our smart phone or digital camera. We all have a marvelous camera sitting on top of our shoulders. Close your eyes for a moment and visualize a previous event in your life, or listen to a favourite song and close your eyes and remember where you first heard it or the person it reminds you of. I know you can do it; we all have that power of recall.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you to stop taking photos; just asking you to think twice or thrice before you take so many of the same subject/person. Try looking at that scene, inhale and close your eyes for a second; there, the photo is now embedded in your internal hard drive.

There are times though in your life when you have to break your own, newly-invented, rules and become a hypocrite; I am already planning my hypocritical moments. In November, I head to New Orleans and San Antonio. I’ve already, mentally, packed my suitcase/camera bag with two camera lenses, a 35mm and a twin reflex camera, two tripods, a bunch of film and my smart phones have 64 gig memory cards in them…and yes, there are some clothes in my suitcase to protect the cameras. My excuse for this hypocracy: I have to share my adventures with you.

Happy Shooting and happy memory hoarding.