Veterinarian Day

We took Belle, our Maltipoo, and Cory, our cat, to the vet today. I took the day off to help. No one needs to try to wrangle two pets at the same time by themselves. Belle got her shots and a clean bill of health. Cory, on the other hand, had us worried for a while. He has been having problems with coughing for quite a while. Pam had looked up his symptoms on the internet and was prepared for the worst.

The vet said he had a heart murmur but he also looked very pale. She said that it could be Feline Lukemia, Congestive Heart Failure, or something else. We decided to go ahead with some X-rays and other diagnostics. Since it would take a while to do the diagnostics, Pam, Belle, and I went to Pam’s parents’ house for lunch.

When we got back to the vet’s office, we were relieved to hear that Cory only had asthma. His heart problems may get worse later in life but for now, medication should help him breath easier.

On the way home, Belle got her McDonald’s hamburger for being a good girl at the vet. Cory was so relieved to be done with the vet visit that he actually nodded off in his pet taxi.

We spent most of the day on the road and waiting in waiting rooms but in the end, our fur children’s health was worth the effort. We’re home at last and ready to get back to our normal routine. As much as it can be said that anything we do around here can vaguely be called normal.

Belle’s Big Adventure

Today Pam and I (and Belle) went to Logan’s Roadhouse for lunch. Pam had been craving prime rib. Belle and I were happy to humor her. This was Belle’s first time at Logan’s. She liked it from the very start. There were peanuts on the table. Belle loves peanuts. Pam took her picture eating a peanut and posted it to Facebook. Belle is used to being Facebook famous. She is, after all, the cutest service dog in the world.

Next, they brought out hot rolls and butter. Belle loves hot rolls almost as much as she likes butter. After many bites of buttered roll and a few dozen more peanuts, the entre arrived. Belle had never tried prime rib before but she made a note to be sure that we got it again sometime. She ate so much that her belly was round.

Then it was time to earn her grub. Belle is a migraine dog. She can tell when Pam is about to have a migraine. She lets her know by jumping up and licking her face. Pam and Belle go everywhere together. Belle likes to go places that smell good. She loves to smell fresh baked bread and hot pizza. We had to stop at the store on the way home and Belle dutifully trotted along next to Pam while we shopped.

When we were finished and checked out, I took our bags of groceries and went on ahead to take them to the car. Belle panicked. She was afraid I was going to leave them behind. We finally got home and put up the groceries. Belle got her new stuffed animal and settled down to gnaw it’s ears off and take a well deserved rest. Life is hard for a working dog.

A Ramble on Photography Then and Now

My father was an avid amateur photographer. He owned a 35mm camera for as long as I can remember. He preferred taking slides and had box after box of them in his office. After he died, they inadvertently got disposed of before I had a chance to salvage them. I mourn the loss of that record of my childhood.

Being a photographer back then required a lot more effort than it does today. There were Polaroids and Kodak Instamatic cameras that made it easier to take pictures but even so, you had to wait for the shot to be developed to see if you got the picture you wanted. In the case of the Polaroid, the feedback was fairly fast, but with more conventional cameras it usually took days or weeks to get your prints back to see what you got.

In the case of the 35mm camera, my dad’s camera of choice, you had to decide what film stock you were going to use; color or black and white; what sensitivity to light (expressed in ISO number); what color balance. You had to measure the light illuminating your subject using a light meter. You had to balance the factors of exposure time (shutter speed), aperture size (f-stop), and the focal length of the lens. An amateur photographer had to be fairly well versed in the mechanics and chemistry of photography in order to be able to hope to capture his vision in a photograph.

Then there was the artistic side of things. Once you knew the details of how to take a picture, you had to learn how to compose a photograph. My college photography professor advised taking a lot of pictures. He said that you had to pay attention to what you did and the results that you got from doing it. This turned out to be hard to do,  given the lag between taking the pictures and getting them developed. It was also fairly expensive even when you bulk loaded your own film cartridges and developed your own film. Then there was the print stock that you printed your pictures on and the enlarger you had to learn to manipulate. That goes a long way toward explaining my dad’s preference for slides. There, the film that came out of the camera was the final product. No printing involved. Of course that meant that what you shot was what you got.

Contrast this with the state of photography today. We have at this point exceeded the quality of 35mm film with the current line of SLR cameras. We can immediately look at the shot to see if we got what we wanted. And with the cost and size of memory cards, we can take thousands of shots without having to worry about changing media. We can even take HD video with many current SLRs.

I wonder how this affects our attitude toward photography? There are still plenty of artists that express themselves through photography. This is evident even after just a few minutes browsing or flickr. The mental processes are still as hard to develop though. Even with all the automation available in the current cameras you still have to be able to see what you are looking at and select the image that you want to capture.

Of course now, with Photoshop and Gimp and the other photo manipulation tools available to us, what you shoot is not necessarily what you get. You have an even greater latitude for creative expression than the darkroom ever provided. Will this raise the standard of excellence for photography in the future? I hope so. And I hope to have more time to make pictures in that future.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I set up a blog for Pam today. It’s currently called Change Me To Whatever. I didn’t want to give it a name that she might keep. I wanted her to make it hers. I’m not even sure she will want to blog. But this way, she has an option.

I want to blog but I can’t seem to get in the habit of doing it regularly. I need to find a time that I can set aside for blogging every day. This constant ranting about blogging is really getting old. I need to move on and quit being so circular. Okay, I will.