Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Win for Film!

possible light leak

Aunt Jen and Grandpa Hans

Sam, my almost cousin

My heart, I mean giraffes

Way back when it was cold out I bought an old Mamiya Sekor 1000TL for a whopping $15 at a mass indoor garage sale at the dome in Henrietta. Last weekend I bought a roll of insanely expensive Kodak Portra 400 ($7+4 for developing=$11) and gave it a go cold turkey to test the camera. All I did was colour correct the images a little. 

Grandpa Hans took a picture of me (he's the fellow who introduced me to things like depth of field, aperture and shutter speed) and asked if the camera had batteries since the meter light wasn't on. I honestly forgot cameras needed batteries for that sort of thing and was elated that my photographing wasn't dependent on batteries or light meters. Win for film!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weed, Walk, Teach, Lather, Rinse, Repeat

If I shower and if I wash my hair when I do, of course. 

In case you're wondering what happened to "looking up often" and taking photos to post, it's been a busy week and a half. Yesterday I started my job as a teaching assistant (TA) at RIT for a second year class. This guy above is Billy and he's following a long in Photoshop. I think he's following anyway. I have three other part time jobs I'm balancing involving dogs, audio files, landscaping and weeding. 

So I follow this blog Kisses from Katie. Katie and I are both 22 but she's moved to Uganda and adopted 13 daughters while I'm at RIT... teaching 13 American students how to run computer programs and their $5,000+ cameras. 

I'm also reading this book called Radical by David Platt. The first few pages start out with revealing a church had published a bulletin that celebrated their $23,000,000 addition complete with all the nice chairs and stained glass. Right next to that announcement was the fact that they were aware of famine/genocide in Sudan and had managed to scrape together $5,000 to donate. 

Ouch. If you hadn't heard, yesterday, today, and tomorrow thousands of Somalian refugees have run to, are escaping into, and will flee into surrounding countries. Those are the people who were strong enough to survive and make it out to beg for aid and a days worth of food that I could inhale in 30 seconds. 

It's air conditioned in this windowless, gray room of $100,000+ of equipment. I can walk to my car and drive myself back into air conditioning or to Wegmans for food.

Some days I question if I am in the right place and how long I will have to stay here. How could you not put your hands to work when there is hunger such as this?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Up from the Grass, Down from the Hay

Look up often. The sky was beautiful morning to night. 

Gabrielle Chapman

Spent the afternoon at the Chapman's house- a name you may remember from posts on the Fultons as they are neighbors. The puppy Raja and I joined Michelle and Gabby at the community garden for a while to water and snag some lettuce and zucchini for dinner. 

Looked up from the grass and down from the hay for these ones. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Restless Bed Rest

Hazel Stevens, 4

"Elder Ed" & Barb Harrington

I spent the day at my friend's the Stevens' house weeding, doing laundry, and scrubbing the bathrooms while a couple girls (Olivia and Victoria) watched the puppy I'm pooch sitting and entertained the kids. Why was I there instead of sunbathing like I usually do on sunny Saturdays? Autumn is on bed rest for her pregnancy for three weeks which, for someone like her, is an eternity. Those are her feet under the dandelion. 

P.S. I would not recommend washing a shower after intense weeding. It dirties the shower as you clean it. 

P.S. Today was the official day South Sudan became the 54th nation in Africa! Implying Africa is not a single nation but a continent, everyone. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mary's Place & Charlotte Beach

Salome, 13 from the Congo

The top one is pretty much the only photo I took when I volunteered for the day at Mary's Place when they went to Charlotte Beach yesterday. There we were, almost all of us volunteers yet again women, walking down the street with kids from Nepal, Congo and Sudan. We stuck out!

 I had my first RTS (Rochester Transit System) bus ride with Awal. I realized on the way back that I hadn't been on a bus since I rode from Tanga to Arusha late last August. It wasn't so different since I was riding with a lot of kids from Africa only, nobody asked to marry me. A humbling experience indeed. 

The bottom two I found on my camera after it spent an hour in the hands of multiple kids on Tuesday. Almost all of them are out of focus and lopsided because the kids just hit the button but once in a while there's some cool ones! It's fun to go through them. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fireworks... at What Cost?

According to the Foreign Trade Statistics, in 2010:
$3.2 million of American flags imported ($2.8 million from China)
$197.3 million worth of fireworks imported to the U.S. ($190.7 million from China)
$98.3 billion in trade between the U.S. and the U.K. making our 1776 adversary our 6th leading trade parter

U.S. Census Bureau records estimate that:
2,500,000 lived in the U.S. in 1776
311,700,000 were living in the U.S. in 2010

(Numbers taken from U.S. Census Bureau)

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in 2010, 925 million people were, by definition of being undernourished, hungry. 

The increase [in numbers] has been due to three factors: 
1) neglect of agriculture relevant to very poor people by governments and international agencies
 2) the current worldwide economic crisis
3) the significant increase of food prices in the last several years which has been devastating to those with only a few dollars a day to spend

925 million people is 13.6 percent of the estimated world population of 6.8 billion. In round numbers there are 7 billion people in the world. Thus, with an estimated 925 million hungry people in the world, 13.1 percent, or almost 1 in 7 people are hungryChildren are the most visible victims of undernutrition...Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year--five million deaths.*

*All information taken from the World Hunger website

The numbers may not be completely accurate since they stem from one source, but I'm willing to bet they're not too far off. I don't have any delusions that throwing money at the problem helps things and it often exacerbates the situation, but honestly, do we really have to spend $197,300,000 on fireworks? I am, however, convinced that our actions speak for what we believe. It goes to football, TV, "emergency" McDonald's trips, cars, clothes, loans for those nice cars...

I'm guilty of spending my money on things that reveal what I really care about and boils down to one thing: me. AGH. I think we don't believe our efforts make a difference- I've often felt that way. I'm safe in the woods of Livonia, far from the cries of the wounded in Sudan as those in the south fight for their own freedom. This article (photos by Tyler Hicks) Sudan Approaches Split has almost nothing to do with me. Yet as I read the article about those in the Nuba Mountains fighting, I think about Awal and her family at Mary's Place. They didn't make it out of Sudan and here on their own- someone poured their time and effort and surely some money out-of-pocket to help them get out. $197.3 million could go a long way. My meager bank account doesn't need to be tapped for Starbucks when Wegmans has free wi-fi and surely doesn't care if I borrow it and drink from my water bottle. 

Thoughts, comments? 

Springs in Springwater

42 gallons of "Alkaline spring water". Yesterday morning my mom and I drove down to Springwater (not joking) with 4 bags of empty gallon jugs in the back of her car. The water is good and wicked cold, especially without shoes. It's right alongside the side of the road and springs from deep under ground. Touch Me Nots and a rarer kind of watercress that only grows near Alkaline waters have sprouted up around the little spring.The water is less acidic than normal water but I'm not convinced it's worth the effort lugging those gallons to the car and into the basement. 

My former roommate/future fellow traveller Steph is in town so she Vince and I went to a park in Penfield on Saturday. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee! (at any age!)

Coach Andrew Lennox

After making the decision to leave RIT's crew team at the end of the winter season, I still craved to be on the water again. Nothing in life is ever repeatable and I'd be hard pressed to forget the painful early morning work-outs and the thrill of being in sync with a team of tough, super great women on the water.

 Just as school came to an end, an opportunity arose and I was able to join the women of Adventure Out! in rowing on the Erie Canal for a month. Crew is expensive though and I couldn't afford the summer session so naturally, I asked to come back and ride in the pace boat and take photos. Julie Doyle, the coordinator of Adventure Out! was happy to let me come along so yesterday as the sun crept towards the treed horizon, I used that bench on the little boat for all it was worth and managed to not capsize the boat.

 If you're anything like Professor Snyder, all you want to know is where the tight shot is of the face and the act of getting the boat into the water and out. The shots of shouldering the boat down are sub-par (and to exert my independence, this is my blog) and I was quickly drafted to help carry the boat up, my camera and lifejacket bouncing on my shoulder. This is one instance, possibly the only one, where being tall and young is a disadvantage. Older, shorter women don't carry the weight of a boat the same as eight RIT women. The boat got in though :)

I would probably bring a 300mm lens if I were ever to do this again for some of those intense faces and another body. But I'd waited a month for the Leica M8 and it I'd have to have turned it in to get another 5D Mark II! Some days, well, every day, we have to make decisions we can live with and do the best we can with what we have. 

Mary's Place & S'mores

Dea Awuok, Sudan

Yesterday I went out with my fellow Africa loving friend Autumn for several hours of errand running, hung out at the refugee center for a bit, shot rowing (next post) and then went home and made a fire and s'mores with my brother.