When: February 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
When: February 2011
This is an experiment I've been wanting to try for a while, but couldn't figure out how to get it to work in Lightroom - combining three photos into one jpg in a way that looks nice. I'm excited about finally figuring it, but now of course can't remember which photos I had wanted to apply this too. I took these today, however, and thought it was an appropriate application - on their own they aren't particularly good photos, and perhaps together they still aren't particularly good, but I think at least in a series like this they convey the movement and happiness that coming home entails.
Posted by Gwendolyn at 6:18 PM
Friday, February 18, 2011
Where: On top of my building
When: Sunset tonight
Just such a ridiculous day, 60 degrees in the middle of winter is intoxicating. And then it ends like this! Fabulous.
Posted by Gwendolyn at 5:51 PM
When: February 2011
Well, Kitten nose, really. This was another experiment with the 50mm 1.4, and I thought the focus point was on the eye, but I was wrong. I still like it though.
Posted by Gwendolyn at 8:04 AM
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Where: The Met, NYC
When: February 2011
These were actually real! I couldn't believe it. I feel like they always have these huge sprays of cherry blossoms in the lobby, I don't know where they get them from. I assumed they must be extremely good fakes, and maybe in some seasons they are, but at the moment they are real. I can't wait until spring starts happening! It's already warmer - we're getting 40s and 50s this coming week.
Posted by Gwendolyn at 8:38 AM
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
When: February 2011
Posted by Gwendolyn at 4:46 PM
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Where: Central Park, NYC
When: February 12, 2011
It was Dave's birthday today, and we spent it having delicious brunch, followed by walking through Central Park to the Met, walking into the Met's main hall, deciding that actually we didn't want to go any further into the Met, and walking back down Central Park to have DELICIOUS coffee and chocolate at Fika. Then we came home and collapsed.
While Dave programmed on the couch, I went through the photos I had taken with the lens I rented over the weekend - it is another 50mm lens (I already own one), but this one goes to 11! Not really - it has a maximum aperture of f1.4, while my other 50mm starts at f1.8. I was experimenting to see whether I want the extra two stops, and also whether the quality was notably better.
I still haven't decided - the extra two stops are nice, but it is notably finicky about sharpness and focus points - having a lens open that wide gives you a thin sliver of focus, which may or may not land where you thought it was going to land when you took the photo. I'm sort of wondering whether this copy is soft, in fact. It is, however, a bit brighter even when the settings and subject are identical, and I like that. And the colors are pretty, and the bokeh is smooth and cool looking, which is really the main (photography related) thing that makes my insides go all gooey. I'll post some more from the 1.4 version as the week goes on.
Posted by Gwendolyn at 6:58 PM
Friday, February 11, 2011
Where: SoHo, NYC
When: January 2011
I tried to find something shallow DOF-y and in color for you Adrian, but when I posted it I realized that I already had a couple of weeks ago! That's what I get for only posting once a week or so these days, I can't remember what I've put up here recently.
I'll see if I can hunt up some shallow DOF worthy flora, but it's hard to find in NYC, especially midwinter.
Posted by Gwendolyn at 9:11 AM
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Where: Farmer's Market in Washington DC
When: September 2010
Of the resolutions mentioned in the last post, Practice Positivity is easily the one I'm having the most difficult time with. I have managed to remember it at key moments since starting the project, and have therefore managed to keep skimming over the top of a more negative mindset, but I have so far not been able to fully reverse an already negative state of being.
One of the main things I'm noticing is that I am definitely not pursuing it with the same dedication of the first day of the experiment, which may be why I'm having a harder time with it. While I'm willing to rephrase something positively, I often follow it with negative language such as, "well, that's just a total lie", which is probably less than helpful. I am also almost certainly expecting too much, and would likely be better served by practicing my second resolution, Noticing Accomplishments. Perhaps simply noticing that I've remembered to try to be positive in any given moment (even if the result isn't what I was hoping for) can be success in itself.
Posted by Gwendolyn at 9:58 AM
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
[Don't forget to look up.]
When: November 14, 2010
Title from a fun song by Paramore, my favorite part goes like this:
Oh no, no one is as lucky as us
Now I've got a feeling
if I sang this loud enough,
You would sing it back to me
And I thought it was appropriate considering my current project.
The Extreme Positivity project is going quite well. While I haven't reached quite the heights of giddiness the first day of the experiment induced, that is probably because I'm not bouncing back from a depressive phase. On the other hand, I have been more productive, and have felt generally more cheerful.
In the spirit of the Happiness Project, I've come up with some resolutions I am aiming to practice every day that are related to the recent epiphany to help keep me on track:
Practice Positivity - I will try to notice negative thoughts, and rephrase them as positively as possible.
Play with Piper - She's been having some health problems, and her age is becoming more and more obvious, and I want to put effort into making sure I remember how wonderful it is to have her around. It also makes both of us so happy to do little training games, and she always finds a way to make me laugh. So I'm going to make an effort to practice our tricks or learn new ones every day, to keep her happy and her brain occupied.
Here's a toy I purchased to help facilitate this - this is a puzzle toy, and the majority of her dinner goes into it. She gets to use her nose to find the pieces of food (thus fulfilling the most basic of drives for a dog), and then has to figure out how to get them out, and from her wagging tail and the intensity of her focus, it's quite a rewarding game.
Notice Accomplishments - I am going to put significant effort into consciously pausing and noticing when I accomplish tasks both big and small throughout my day, so that at the end of it I can't lie to myself about having done nothing.
I Don't Have To Do Anything - This a more specific subset of the "Practice Positivity" resolution. I find that when I have thoughts that start with "I have to", it makes me feel sad and helpless. Instead, I am going to notice when a thought starts that way, analyze the truth of the statement, and rephrase it to "get to", or "want to". It's a simple mental trick, but it is instantly empowering. It's also surprising how infrequently "have to" is an actual truth. There is always a choice - we might not want the consequence of certain choices, but regardless, the choice is there. "I have to go to work" is really, "I choose to go to work because I enjoy having money to pay for food, rent, retirement, and nights out when my friends".
And then there are a few bad habits I'd like to work on, because I think that they impact my happiness by subtly intruding into my mental space and giving a place for depression to take root:
Reduce internet usage to 1 hour a day: I spend a lot of time reading a variety of boards and blogs on the internet, and while it's fun for a little while to see what's going on in other people's lives, it can quickly change from a mindful exploration to mindless seeking behavior. Exploration leaves me feeling newly educated or inspired, but mindless seeking leaves me feeling drained and useless.
I've installed a timer application on my computer, which I now turn on when I start reading blogs and looking up random stuff online, and then turn off when I stop, so I can track just how long I'm doing it for. The challenge is REMEMBERING to turn it on, which I'm, at the moment, having mixed results with. I may temporarily change the resolution to "track the time I spend online", without it implying a restriction on that time, and then once it's a habit to start and stop the timer (which will also encourage a state of mindfulness at the beginning and the end), start to restrict the amount of time.
Stop chewing on my fingers: This is a habit I'm pretty ashamed of, and at the moment, my goal is to notice and stop once I've started - I don't have even the smallest chance of being able to notice BEFORE I start right now, it's such a deeply subconscious habit that there is no thought that precedes the action. I'm lucky if I notice that it started a minute in!
This habit impacts my happiness in a couple of ways - it is usually a precursor to or the result of stress, and it is a way for me to escape from the stressor rather than directly dealing with the stressor (and thus making it go away). Also, I will be a licensed massage therapist in a month or two, and it is important to that I care for my hands, and don't leave them looking or feeling rough.
So that's the update! I appreciate all the words of support and sympathy for the description of my experience of depression. I want to reassure everyone that it is now far more manageable than it once was. I've suffered frequent bouts of depression for all of my adult life, which culminated in an unrelenting and miserable year and a half before I finally found a solution that works for me - coming from that to the current day or two every once in a while is acceptable progress, as far as I'm concerned! While it certainly still sucks, and I'd rather it didn't happen at all, it is no longer an emotional emergency - it's a state that I know I will come out of as long as I take care of my body and mind. It is really an inconvenient (although often embarrassing), temporary paralysis now, rather than an experience of dark emotion.
Posted by Gwendolyn at 10:33 AM