For all you photographers out there in various stages of understanding and growth – a good, honest blog post!

Learning to See Light

(Reposted Feb 2015 – note this post got me featured on Freshly Pressed)

I recently found the blog of lindygrasser  who is having new life adventures and capturing it with a new camera.  She posted for input on the new Community Pool forum and as I still remember my first confusing days with my camera I thought I would visit.

Lindy is doing a really brave and interesting thing, breaking out of the pattern her life had been, buying a new camera and capturing images every day.  So many *new* things to conquer all at once, usually just one is enough for most people 🙂  This post is inspired by Lindy and her quest to come to grips with her photography, its based on my own personal experiences. I hope that it offers some guidance to the people who have had their shiny new camera for a little while…

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A Horse is a Course, Of Course, Of Course

This whole horse meat scandal happening over in Europe has been gripping – the shock, the horror, the backlash – it’s got all the elements to a great story. Cover up, conspiracy, lies and horse meat. Everyone’s up in arms about being lied to, and more importantly, the fact that they’re eating horses. All I have to say is this:  what’s the big relative deal?

Now let me explain what I mean when I say that – I do NOT want to eat horse flesh when I’m being told it’s beef. I do NOT want to start munching on horse meat as part of my healthy, daily breakfast. I do NOT condone the awful lies perpetrated by those individuals who saw fit to blatantly mislabel and sell this meat. I DO think it’s all much more benign than what’s happening constantly in the United States every day.

Chickens get dipped in bleach. Cows are pumped full of more hormones than a teenage boy ought to see in his entire high school career. Livestock live indoors, stomping around in their own feces and gas-choked air. These situations sound horrific (they are), and that’s what happening with factory farming here in the U.S. Is that really worse than eating horses?

People are losing their minds because an animal that normally is ridden is instead being eaten, but no one really cares if the slab of cow on their plate was raised in its own waste product. It’s the same horror people feel when they hear about Chinese folks eating dogs. It’s a travesty to eat a dog, but it’s almost sacrilegious to say you refuse to eat that cage-raised beef. Maybe it’s an unfair comparison to make, but I would much rather eat free range horse meat than chlorine-dipped chicken.

So, yes, let there be uproar, but for the right reason – the food industry lied. Get angry about that. But if you’re going to be angry about what kind of meat you’re putting into your body, your indignation may be better placed elsewhere.

“Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill

Cat

A recent study has surfaced showing that domestic cats kill billions of mice and birds per year. That’s BILLIONS with a “b.” Pretty staggering statistic, and some bird enthusiasts are especially up in arms about it – not without justification, as the bird deaths total 500 million. The big question is:  whose side do we take in this Cats vs. Birds war?

It’s a bit of a sticky situation. Bird-lovers call for less cats so less birds are killed, but the extreme solution is probably a lot of cat euthanasia, and no one wants to kill millions of cats to save millions of birds (or for any reason, for that matter). I’m sure cat-lovers aren’t shooting off fireworks at the thought of Whiskers biting the head off a dove every day, either. Neither side is happy to see the other side’s animal of choice suffer or die simply because they’re a danger to their own favorite.

It’s a shame that so many birds die at the paws of housecats, but we can’t just put down hordes of cats because they kill birds; that’s nature. As much as domestic cats may not be “of the natural environment” and there are certainly too many strays and feral cats in the country, it’s still their natural instinct to hunt birds and mice.

It’s like being upset at a dog for barking when another dog barks in the distance – yes, it’s understandably annoying when you’re trying to watching Downton Abbey and Rufus won’t shut up. But can you really be mad at the dog for doing what his ancestors have done for tens of thousands of years?

No one says we should put down lions for killing too many gazelles – would we suggest euthanizing lions if the gazelle population was being cut down by the same ratio as these birds? Maybe.

Or is it the fact that we keep cats as pets that’s the problem? Left out in the wild, maybe natural selection would do its job and there’d be far less cats in the world. Or maybe cats would adapt and become top notch bird assassins, and we’d never see a cardinal again.

A plausible answer is to neuter/spay all cats, even taking in strays to do so. That would keep cat populations from growing exponentially and would save some birds in the process. Having “cat runs” if you own felines is another answer – these enclosed, outdoor structures allow cats to enjoy the outdoors without killing the local wildlife (and it’s safer for the cats, too). Inevitably, some will think these solutions just don’t go far enough…

All I know is that no matter if you’re a bird-lover or a cat-lover, you can respect the other side’s arguments and understand why their precious animal isn’t any better or worse than your precious animal.

Or you could just buy a ferret and get out of the debate altogether.