Tag Archives: Matt

Life eases back into glide

Photo: yoga trainee and mock class
In front of the class, I muster my will power and focus to get through the final practicum.

I had all kinds of plans to writing a bunch of entries about my yoga teacher training (YTT) at Thrive Yoga, but I got sidetracked by all the thing that had been piling up during training. Just sorting through the stacks of mail seem to take over an afternoon. I can see myself being swept up by the flow of life and failing to examine this experience thoroughly.

Plus, my son, Matt,  is moving to UC-Berkeley next week to get his master of fine arts so he is dropping off a lot of his stuff for storage while he’s away.  Which means that we have to shuffle our own stuff or donate older items to charity. Our burden of possessions takes over entire rooms. I think my son takes pleasure in reducing his life to two suitcases, a shoulder bag and a couple of boxes sent by mail to the west coast.

One of the prices of being a “renaissance man” (by which I mean a well-rounded man of many outbursts of curiosity, multiple interests, mundane chores,  and middling talents and intelligence to get them accomplished) is that the current crisis tends to get the upper hand on all the other agenda items. Today, a visit to the dentist and the resulting low-grade pain wiped me out for most of the afternoon.  And I get successive visits to my office by my wife to remind me that I owe her big time for her being a “yoga widow” for a month—and she’s right.

Questioning what it takes for good photos

Dana Cohen in
Dana Cohen, an itinerant yoga teacher and creative imagineer, in Kukkutasana or cock pose

When I bought my camera last week, I had a twinge of hesitation, even reluctance, and it was not just because it was almost four hundred dollars more on my credit card. Getting into serious photography means that I have to devote time to learning how to use the unique technology encased in SLR cameras. Sure, with default settings, I can take dramatically better photographs than with a point & shoot camera, like my Sony Powershot A630. But when I get into more challenging shooting environments, like inside studios, then it becomes more complicated to get the right settings. I’ve been winging it so far, and then hoping to correct any flaws in lighting, hue, contrast or saturation while retouching the digital photos on my computer. That brings me to the second cause for reluctance, learning how to manipulate digital photos in Adobe PhotoShop (for serious professionals) — or Corel Paintshop Pro (for amateurs who wanted a full-featured application) in my case, at least for the time being — without turning them into garish reflections of the real thing.

I don’t think that it’s exceptionally hard to get the basics of photography: it just requires setting some time (hours, days, man-years?) aside to read the manual, supports sites, photography blogs, etc. and then apply the skeleton of a knowledge system while the ideas are still fresh in the head. I frequently will do the research, but then not find the time to apply the tips and tricks soon enough to consolidate the lesson. With a number of pending projects and to-do lists, I don’t need another major task, but it looks as if I have done just that.

This became apparent to me after my latest round of shooting yoga poses at Thrive Yoga. Using my son’s Nikon D90, I was able to shot more richly detailed photos and not have to worry about being out of focus or poorly lit. But once I got back home and worked with the material, I began to see shortcomings and flaws. First, rather than using the built-in flash, a separate, stronger flash bounced off the ceiling would have produced much better lighting. Second, another lens or two would have allowed me to have more variety in my angles and scope. Those two points can add nearly $350-500, minimum, to the price tag of this “hobby.”

As to the initial hurdles of getting on firm footing with manipulating the digital files, I probably should have a couple of chats with my son, Matt, who has gone well beyond the initial steps of mastering digital photography.