West's take on the media in the West

Monday, February 20, 2012

A few hundred words on the worth of a picture blog

So, I have this blog, which has been neglected for months, and I'm thinking about starting a new one.

Crazy.

Perhaps the smarter thing would be to actually start posting on this blog regularly.

That would be the smart thing.

I'm not sure I'm a very smart guy though. But there is a method to my madness.

The reason I'm thinking about starting a new one is twofold. One reason is that the blog could be, in a roundabout way, related to work. One of the hats I wear at work is to do the photo editing, cropping and color correcting of staff photos. I've been trying to share photo tips with the staff to help them improve their photography, but the way I've been doing that, with staffers scattered in four states, has been to write up photo tips. It's not very visual. Photography is sort of a visual medium. So, text-based tips seems just wrong.

The other primary reason I'm thinking about starting a new blog is to start it in WordPress. I've using Blogger for a long time and really know nothing about WordPress, so I was thinking it would be a way to expand my knowledge. I like to stretch my skills and try to make myself learn new things in this whole digital media realm.

I suppose there is actually another reason too, that really isn't about work. It's about returning to a first love. Photography and photojournalism got me in to the newspaper businesses long ago. I have recently been confronted with the reminder that I really do still love still photography. I came to realize it would never pay my wage full time long ago. But maybe a photo blog would get me out shooting some more, even if it was just for my own enjoyment and selfish purposes.

I haven't decided whether to start a new blog, or to include photo posts here or even on a work blog that already exists. But I thought confessing the idea here may push me to made a decision one way or another, sooner, rather than later.

I may be just the push I need.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Emotional legacy of 9/11

The fear is gone. The questions of how and why have been resolved. The feelings of unity of purpose and resolve have long-since disappeared.

But 10 years after Sept. 11, 2001, the pain and emotion remain just below the surface, like water behind a dam just below the level of the spillway. All it takes is the least bit of rain, the smallest wave, to make the emotions spill over again.

I am not delving in to much, or any, of the 9/11 anniversary coverage. I don't want to be overwhelmed by the pain and sadness anymore. I'm tired of tears.

The rawness of emotion exposed on Sept. 11 has never healed in me. Any sad news seems to strike that same sensitive wound created on that surreal day. My heart bleeds at the slightest touch.

This weekend, I'm just trying to get through and not poke that sensitive spots any more than is absolutely necessary.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Smudging my digital fingerprints

My digital life is too complicated. I have too many usernames, addresses, accounts, IDs, passwords and profiles.

I started off intentionally trying to keep some parts of my digital life separate. Keeping home away from work. Keeping family away from hobbies. That sort of thing. But I am beginning to wish I was part of a younger generation that doesn't compartmentalize life that way. With all these accounts, it would be much simpler to just let me be me, regardless of which hat I'm wearing.

I am so tempted to just go through and start merging or deleting accounts and just let Google or Facebook be my conduit to the whole digital realm.

But that scares me too.

I thought I simplified my life when I was able to merge calendars and check multiple e-mail accounts on my cell phone. But I got digging around some of my accounts tonight and realized I don't know which one I use for some services anymore. And don't even get me started on things like phone numbers.

I couldn't tell you what my direct line phone number is at work if it wasn't printed on my business card. If my phone every breaks and I'm left stranded on the side of the road, I wouldn't know who, or how, to call anyone for help. I guess I could call my parents. I remember their phone number. They've had the same one since 1973. That I can remember, but their address, which changed some years ago to make it easier for police and fire department find their house, well I haven't known their address since then. I think I have it in my GPS. If the battery is charged.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blogging by phone

I added the Blogger app to my Droid phone. I don't know if it will make me blog any more. But it's nice to know I can blog on the go.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The day the mountain blew

For many Northwest residents who were old enough to remember it, May 18, 1980, invokes powerful, visual memories of the destructive eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Those too close to the mountain died. Other who were close enough to the mountain could actually see the eruption, and for those east of the blast, they can remember the massive ash cloud turning the sky dark and raining ash and pumice hundreds of miles away. Our house was in the path of the ash, but like most of the rest of the nation, my family watched the events on the TV news and read about it in the newspapers.

We weren't at home when the mountain blew.

We were visiting family in Nebraska. I was 14 at the time. Why were were in Nebraska at that time of year, I can't remember. My parents couldn't remember either. As dad remembers it, we heard of the eruption when we landed in Rock Springs, Wyo., for fuel. He thinks we were headed to Nebraska when we learned the news. But given that it was a Sunday, I wonder if maybe we were heading back to Oregon, and that news of the eruption turned us back.

To this day, I have bad memories of the Rock Springs airport. We seemed to have a helluva time getting past Rock Springs on our family flights to and from Nebraska. If we were ever to have heater problems or other mechanical issues, it required landing in Rock Springs. And there was absolutely nothing for a kid to do at the Rock Spring airport, which is way the hell-and-gone away from town.

I don't remember learning about the St. Helens eruption in Rock Springs, but I remember spending extra days in Nebraska, stressing about the school I was missing as a nerdy 8th-grader who wanted to get back home and not really understanding why this mountain, thousands of miles away from where we were then, and hundreds of miles from where we were trying to go, was stopping us from getting home.

Once we did get home, days later, it was a little easier to understand. There was still ash residue at our house in Eastern Oregon. Some friends had collected some of it into jars and told stories of what had happened there the day of the eruption.

I could empathize with all those European travelers earlier this spring who were unable to travel because of the volcano erupting in Iceland. I had been there too, 30 years ago. Although we were traveling by a small private plane, life and plans had to be put on hold until the air cleared.

Until Sept. 11, 2001, there had really only been 2 dates etched indelibly in my mind as major events of my lifetime. One was the day my daughter was born. The other was the day Mount St. Helens erupted.

In the years since, particularly after my daughter moved to Portland, I've gotten a bit nervous when St. Helens goes in to her more active periods. She has a might long reach when she's angry

For my family, we suffered a little inconvenience due to the mountain's wrath. Others suffered far worse. The scar left on the mountain itself is a very visible and permanent reminder of the awesome power Mother Nature can unleash when she's so inclined. Some of the Northwest's most scenic locations are a tribute to that power -- Crater Lake, all the volcanoes of the Ring of Fire in the Cascades, massive basalt flows, the Columbia Gorge. Perhaps it's knowing there is potential fire hidden beneath the icy caps of those mountains that adds to their beauty, majesty and mystique.

Photo J: Capturing the Moment