a friend asked me to take photos of her wedding. she had hired a real photographer to take outdoor and studio pictures, but wanted some taken during the service as well. it was a casual job, nothing fancy. in fact, she offered me a loan of her ps digital camera for the job. i told her i'd use both her digital and my canon slr, because i want to try a hand at wedding photography.
no matter how casual the assignment is, i can't help feeling nervous. the wedding will be in november but i've started browsing for tips and techniques, and started an ever-lengthening list of equipment to buy. a decent flash, check. a longer zoom lens, check. a shutter release remote control, check. a foldable reflector, check. a soft-focus filter, check. an ND graduated filter... the list just kept growing.
well, it'll nice to get everything, but i'm going to get back to her for more information about the time and venue so i can be more selective in getting additional equipment. nevertheless, the zoom lens, a sigma 28-300 mm, and the flash, a 420EX, are indisposable. they'll cost 900 sg dollars though, and an extra 350 if i want the more powerful 550EX.
the thing about photography is, money matters. it's not like being, say, a watercolor painter, where skills matter a lot more than materials. not that i'm saying photography does not require skills; quite the opposite. though with the advent of affordable digital SLRs one observes a boom of newbie photographers who get plenty of decent pictures via trial and error rather than technical skills. one can compare the difference between learning the violin versus the harmonica as an analogy. to play the violin some basic training is needed before one can pick out a tune. the harmonica, on the other hand, allows anyone with minimal knowledge of music to start playing almost instantly. both are equally hard to play well, though.
i use a film camera. before i start shooting i've done my homework with the basics of lighting, exposure and composition. but still i need dozens, if not hundreds, of them in order to develop the necessary skills, as what every photographer worth his salt would suggest. and since i join online forums, it irks me when people pick on dust specks and other artefacts even after i've explained that i use negative film and scan the print at home. they just don't understand the inefficiency of the process since they can shoot hundreds of film, select the ones they like, delete the rest, and post the best ones on the forum.
the house lizard (gecko, cecak) must be the stupidest animal on god's green earth. this is what a friend claimed a few years' ago. at the time i was still too charitable, or else hadn't found enough evidence to make my own verdict. today i found the last straw, after saving a lizard from death by drowning in a pot of swill water that someone left in the kitchenette.
when i saw the lizard it was floating belly up and i thought it was surely dead, look at that greenish tint on its pale, puffy skin. then it gulped. i went for a closer look, and the lizard suddenly jumped into action. either it was smarter than i had thought, knowing that help was at hand, or else it was much stupider, perhaps thinking that i was a predator who's going to gobble its appetising form up.
i fished it out of the scummy water with a fork (not mine, thank goodness) and suddenly realised that it was the third time in my life that i saved a lizard from certain death. the magic number. lizards are stupid.
for the sake of completeness, the other two incidences involving lizards are:
1. one starving fella thought he had stumbled into lizard heaven when he saw a flypaper full of, what else, flies. crawled up and got stuck. i had to peel it off the sticky paper.
2. found a forlorn and rather dessicated (but alive) lizard when i poured some powdered drinks out of it's foil container. finding itself at the bottom of my mug, it sprang into action by running in circles, before finally catching on to the idea that a mug has an opening at the top.
and the friend of mine, who didn't need three examples to prove the idiocy (or rather, lack of self-preservation; you don't find cocroaches getting into all these embarassing situations) of this species, once found that a kettle of water he set to boil turned into lizard stock as one managed to crawl in and got boiled to death. i never asked if he found out only after he drank the water.
the time before an exam is always highly charged for me. and for most people too, for that matter. but personally, i never understand people who mope for the fact that they get a B- instead of a B. they passed, so what's the problem?! it's a different case for me, who plays at the pass/fail level. failure means retaking the test: another round of misery, or even staying back a year, which is both humiliating and costly. sometimes i wonder if this is due to some subconscious masochistic impulse. or probably it's just the gambling gene that runs strong in my family.
so, exam time equals excitement. to my consternation, it's also the time when i feel most compelled to write. i used to think it's just simple procrastination. but now i entertain the possibility that during exam time, probably owing to adrenaline overdrive, i become quite a different person. more headstrong, confident and less tolerant. certainly more opinionated. hence a boom time for writings on my observations of the human condition (both my own and others), and the education system. too bad i can't spare the time to write, as i have to read about a thousand pages in two days if i want a fair chance at passing.
and then there is also some definite reluctance to air my feelings on how things shouldn't be run in the faculty. after all, i don't have an alternative to offer and i don't want to be diagnosed with the backseat driver syndrome. not only that, i realise that the dislike is mutual. i don't like them, they don't like me; for i'm one of the problematic students who never hand up assignments on time and fail exams on a regular basis. thus the best solution, i believe, is to grin and bear it and hopefully some day soon this is going to end.
blog of someone who's going crazy, or else getting enlightened. sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, you know? i'm a jack-of-all-trades who dabbles in photography and martial arts (not at the same time), reads books of every description, keeps stray animals and tries to pass exams in my free time. That was then. Now I work, and work and work, and I don't know what possessed me but I find myself bloging again. And no, I didn't forget to take my pills this morning.
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