As a photographer for newspapers, I always enjoyed taking voting photos. However, due to early deadlines, I often had to shoot quickly and go for something generic.
The 2016 election was an unusual one, to say the least. But regardless of your political leanings, it's essential that everyone exercises their right to vote. As a photographer, I'm not supposed to have opinions, but I must admit that I don't believe the voting process is entirely fair.
While the mechanical process itself is relatively impartial, the way that voting is structured can lead to unfairness. Some states allow ample days for voting, while others only allow a single day. Inclement weather can also have a significant impact on voter turnout, particularly in the northern states.
In states like Georgia, citizens have no excuse not to vote, given the numerous days available for voting. However, states with strict one-day voting laws are doing their constituents a disservice, especially in crucial election years. When states are allowed to make their voting rules in presidential elections, we all suffer.
And don't even get me started on the complicated world of delegates and super-delegates. It seems to me that the fairest system would be one person equals one vote.
Reporters have made the top of the 'Worst Jobs in America' list 3 years in a row. The pest control man who brings us poison ranks better than the newspaper reporter who gives us our daily dose of knowledge. There is some humor to be found in that statement but I will move on.
I wondered how photojournalists faired on the 'worst jobs' list and could only find a study from 2013 that said photojournalists ranked 188, right below dishwasher. Um? Well, better than being next to the bug man.
It is only fair to say that the decline in newspapers has caused the layoff of thousands of employees, and reporters have sometimes been stuck with the job of taking photos. Most reporters only have point and shoot skills and newspapers know that only a photographer can spot a bad photograph, so newspaper writers sometimes have to do the job of 2 people. I was lucky that I retired before my newspaper started layoffs.
Still, I loved my job. My only complaints were deadlines (the nemeses of both reporters and photographers), dealing with people who were ill-prepared for my arrival, and the weather (my last hurricane assignment took out my Nikon strobe).
When it came to weather, I think I hated the heat most of all. While on 2 separate assignments I turned my camera to my fellow photographers who were trying to keep themselves and their cameras cool. The heat index on both occasion was well above 100.
Fall is here but it still feels like August. Climate change?
"Autumn teases us with brilliant colors, delicious foods, dancing leaves, and sweet winds, then winter slaps us cold in the face."
Last Day of Summer 2016
It's been a hot summer. Atlanta has registered 90 days of 90+ degree temps so far. It will be 90 again today, the last day of summer.
We live in the foothills of the mountains and it should have been cooler here; the heat and humidity have been so unbearable we have had to entertain indoors instead of on the deck. This summer will not be missed.
What has your summer been like?
I once asked someone high up in the computer world how they went about interviewing perspective employees. What did they look for?
Boats at Sunset - prints available
Sharon Stone gets honorary degree
Behind the scenes...Sharon Stone gets ready for honorary degree and a few 'after' photos. It was always a pleasure to photograph camera-friendly celebrities. Photographers know what I'm talking about. Sharon was a dream. Tell us about your favorite celebrity shoots.
Copyrighted material - not for sharing or download.
Grammy Winner Jason Crabb
I ran across some photos of Jason Crabb and thought I would share a few from a past assignment. He was kind enough to let me follow him around town before the concert. He put on a toe-tapping and hand clapping show, and was very gracious both before and after the show.. Thanks for the access.
Two notes on these photos:
1. In the 'toast' restaurant photo, they are toasting with on-the-house non-alcoholic drinks. He was adamant about me adding that to the info when photos ran in the newspaper, so I will extend his wish here.
2. These photos are copyrighted, meaning enjoy them and move on; they are not for personal or commercial use, and are not to be downloaded.
This looks like one of my cameras and neck straps, but I stole the photo from Nikon; I'm sure they will forgive me. I could have taken my own photo but why should I have to get up from my desk, drag out my gear, compose, adjust settings for light, dump photo into computer, and crop, just to take a photo of something I can grab off the Internet?
Unfortunately, a lot of people do just that with professional photographer's works. I recently found one of my photos being used to sell commercial flooring and, once, I gave an "organization" free reign to use my photos in promoting their city in exchange for credits. I barked at them continually concerning their neglect in credits and finally had to send them my version of a 'cease' letter.
Finding your work spread over the Internet is disparaging and it can be a full time job tracking down the source of theft. I am one of those photographers who freely shared, with the promise of credits, but these days I limit my sharing to organizations and companies that respect artistic rights.
I tried large copyrights on photos (makes photos look terrible) but eventually settled on a small copyright after a TV station contacted me about using a still photo they found on the Internet. The photo in question had a huge copyright spread across the entire photo. I was not at home at the time they emailed me and I said I would send them a clean photo when I got home. They said I didn't have to go to the trouble as they could remove the copyright. So that ended my days of defacing beautiful photos.
But this post is really about my high regard for NPS. I have been a member since 1985, the year I bought my first FE-2 and started shooting for a newspaper. When I became a member I had to provide newspaper tear-sheets and be recommended by another photographer, and of course, had to own Nikon gear. I think the rules have expanded and changed over the years. I heard that wealthy people who buy thousands and thousands of dollars of gear for pleasure shooting can somehow get membership, but that is just hearsay. Giving wealthy people access to something hard-working photographers have earned just doesn't sound right, but maybe that's the way the world is today.
True or not, I have nothing but praise for NPS. They have repaired my cameras and returned them to me within the expected time, and they have provided me with loaners at my request. I've never needed a camera or lens repair when I was abroad but I traveled with the assurance that if something broke and I needed a replacement, or if I needed extra lenses or cameras, NPS would next-day-air whatever I needed.
So Nikon, thank you for being there for me all those years. It's nice to know you always had my back.
Although I am officially retired (photojournalist never retire - they just don't have deadlines) I still shoot when I feel the urge, and I look forward to being a member of NPS for many more years.
What has your experience with NPS been like?
Photo source: Nikon
I love my Honda Element, a car I bought new in Maryland, and have had no problems with, but I can't enjoy it these days due to the Takata airbag inflator issue and just plan bad customer service. Fear of death fits in there somewhere.
When I first heard about the inflator issue, over a year ago, I called my Honda Dealer and, after waiting for some time, finally got the driver side inflator replaced. I asked why I had to read about the dangers on the Internet instead of being notified by my dealer. They said notices were sent to owners and that I must have thrown mine away or that it was lost in the mail.
At the time of the replacement, I asked about the passenger side air bag and they said it was safe. In early July, I pulled up the CNN web page and the header read, " NHTSA Says Stop Driving Hondas Now," or something like that. It was a menacing headline. Evidently the passenger side airbag was just as much a danger as the driver side. How long had my dealer known?
I called my dealer again and they said I would get a letter. "Yeah," I thought and asked them when they could fix the passenger side. They said, "No time soon," because the parts had not been made.
After a small amount of complaining, the serviceman said he would put my name at the top of the list. The same man called me 2 hours later and said my part had come in. Success! I figured my growling had produced results. The serviceman made an appointment and the next week I sent hubby down to the dealer and they went, "Duh!"
Evidently, the serviceman who called from their direct line with the good news was a ghost. They reiterated the, "No parts," story but I think they had the part and gave it to let's say, a more aggressive customer. After quarreling with them over ghost-callers, they told me to call Honda, and they gave me an 800 number.
I called and immediately got a service rep who told me to ride in the backseat of my Honda until my dealer received my part. I told her my husband had a beautiful Toyota truck but I did not fancy it for vacations and long trips, and added that we were going on vacation. "Ride in the back seat," she parroted. Would I have to be more aggressive?
Since then, I have called my Honda dealer at least once a week, and they still say they have no parts, so I have either been riding in the back seat of my Honda, or in my husband's truck, since the first week in July.
So Honda, I can't do this anymore...
And I can no longer travel with a passenger...who will carry my gear?
Update: a few days after posting this I made my weekly call. My part was in! I guess the airbag-part fairy dropped in at the exact time I called. Perhaps they read my blog. Still, Honda, you owe me one vacation ride.
Not the Thunderbirds, nor will they appear in Warner Robins show; just a reminder to photograph the special effects. I took this before my lens went on strike.
I love popcorn but hate the calories. I don't eat the poison that comes with salt and butter nor do I buy popcorn in those dangerous self-popping bags. Since we became vegetarians eons ago, we stray from butter and salt. You haven't tasted broccoli until you've eaten lightly steamed naked broccoli. Yes, it takes some getting used to, but once you know how things really taste you can never go back to salt, fat, and butter-laden foods.
I usually buy loose popcorn from specialty markets in bags or jars and use brown paper bags to cook them in the microwave. I use bags that are the roughly the size of a Panera sandwich bag. The bag needs to be small enough to go round in microwave but large enough to pop enough for 2 to 4 people. I put a layer of popcorn in the bottom of bag, pinch the top up just enough to keep the kernels from escaping, shake until I think the layer is even and set microwave for 4 minutes. DO NOT LEAVE POPPING CORN. Sometimes it take 3 minutes, or a little more, for kernels to slow down. When I hear them starting to fizzle out, I turn oven off.
I have tried all varieties of popcorn and recently stumbled on White Cat popcorn. It is the best I have ever had. It is big and fluffy and seldom gets stuck in your teeth. It has an amazing flavor that I love. You have to try it! Yes, you can add some salt and butter but you won't know what you are missing.
Blue Hubbard Squash Smoothie
Freeze leftover lettuce and spinach or just buy a big container and stuff into baggie and throw in freezer. Hitting baggie lightly on counter a few times will break it up.
Freeze bananas in baggies for smoothies - one banana to a bag. They break up easily.
Freeze grapes and other fruits (oranges, grapefruits) that you think could go bad in a few days - this will keep you from wasting food. It is cheaper to buy fruits and veggies on sale and freeze, if you have room, than buying the pre-frozen packages at store.
Make a fruit cocktail in a baggie and it will be ready to throw in blender. Sometimes I add a bag with oranges, grapes, strawberries, pineapple, and bananas. Just add your choice of protein flavoring and almond milk. We always use almond or coconut milk because we are vegetarians.
Don't overlook veggies like left over broccoli and asparagus - freeze them. They go great in sweet smoothies; kids will never know if you don't tell.
Take frozen squash or other congealed veggies and fruits out of freezer the night before and let them sit in frig. They will still be icy cold the next day.
Sometimes hubby is not ready for a smoothie when I am and sometimes, in an experimental stage, I keep adding ingredients until I have enough for 3 or 4 people so I put the extra in a Yetti cup. Most of the time the smoothie still has ice crystals the next day. They make great leftovers for a breakfast. Do drink within 24 hours of making and always stir before serving.
More tips next time. If you need some suggestions for your next smoothie, email me.
Happy Labor Day Photo
Don't touch that photo! Copyrighted, you know?