Egg slut and Gefilter fishing

When I started this blog, I thought I would plan my posts in advance in some organized fashion.  But I discovered that what I feel like writing about just materializes like George and Marion Kirby. When I go with my impulse, they just write themselves. More spontaneity appeals to me, so I may seem like I am blathering randomly for awhile. And the titles are just as unpremeditated.  I stare at the post and they pop into my head. This one should make more sense by the end of my diatribe.

FISHE EYE 043FISHE EYE 052

As you know, April and May were plagued with setbacks. Geoff leaving town and the ceiling bursting, then all the fire drills with family and work, so last week I went right out and got myself a few little things I have wanted. My two weaknesses are shopping and sugar. Whenever I am under stress, one or the other helps me deal with it.  If I were my own therapist, I would probably advise myself to work on finding healthier ways to release pressure.  But, happily, I cannot afford a therapist, lol!

The first thing I did was get a bunch of clothes and jewelry that I had been eyeing.  I need both like Santa Clarita needs saunas, but it was fun and I did exercise some restraint and get a few things on sale.  I also got myself a fish eye lens that I have wanted for the past year.

FISHE EYE 059 FISHE EYE 103

Now, for a moment, let’s talk about photography and me. Did I need another hobby? No! I have so many.  I sing, play the mountain dulcimer, sew, knit, crochet, garden, study African Grey parrots, bake, collect vintage jewelry, and now write this blog.  What in the world possessed me to go out and get a new camera last year?

FISHE EYE 109 FISHE EYE 197

Flickr.  When Annabelle’s parents (her mother is my maternal cousin) had Annabelle, they started posting pictures of her on Flickr.  That peaked my interest and I began putting up pictures of my yard to keep a record and share with the world the fact that even chaparral can be a paradise if you know what you are doing and put in a little elbow grease.  Naturally, once I started doing that, I realized my small simple camera, great for popping into my purse and carrying to events, was not making me happy, compared to what I saw online.  Typically, when I embark on a new project, I spend way too much money before I even know if I will stick with it. So, we decided to spend no more than $1000 on the camera, case, cleaners, book, accessories, etc. At first.

Why? Well, for one thing, our household cannot, well, house another hobby. We are packed to the gills. Geoffrey’s passions are running, cycling and swimming.  He does marathons, biathlons and triathlons.  He has a super duper road bike and I have my 3-gear bike from when I was 12 years old :-), which still works great since G. restored it for me. He also has all sorts of paraphernalia and tools and parts for his bikes.  Oh, and, we have a garage full of cameras that both of us have accumulated over the years.  I have a Pentax and an old Nikon. Geoff has movie cameras plus a couple of point-and-shoots. Plus, I inherited an enormous stash of cameras and darkroom developing equipment from a grand uncle who was a photographer for National Geographic.  Why he left that stuff to me, I can only guess was because I did so much traveling.  It is all still in the boxes it was shipped in and I have no idea what we will do with it.

FISHE EYE 209 FISHE EYE 229

So, it seemed obscene to spend more money on a new camera for me, if I wasn’t going to take photography seriously this time around.  I say that, because I had really tricked out the Pentax back in the day, with ridiculously expensive lenses, one of which I dropped off a cliff on the Costa Brava, horribly.  Since that day, I haven’t trusted myself with expensive lenses. And, I have thousands of transparencies in boxes that need to be digitized.  Along with boxes of prints. Wrrrrrr.

So, when it has come to buying lenses, Geoffrey suggested I get lenses appropriate for this DSLR camera.  That way, if I upgrade the camera, when we pass on the Canon I have, we can bundle it with the lenses and then upgrade all the lenses for the new camera so everything is appropriate for each body.  Makes sense. By now we are up to $2K and counting.  I probably should have just sunk it into a 5D or something, in the first place, but I didn’t know then that I would really like taking pictures as much as I do now. Still, trust me, I do not plan to become any kind of professional photographer.  I am just going to stumble along, learning on the fly with a lot of trial and error.  Otherwise, it will become a “thing”, and when that happens, I go into it whole-hog, like a person possessed, get to the end and then totally lose interest.  That is what happened with astrology (a future topic!) and painting on wood.  I want to take this slow and steady and keep on being interested.

FISHE EYE 358 FISHE EYE 302

So, my telephoto and now my fish eye are not bank breakers but work really well.  I also got some magnifying lenses to take macros, but haven’t even taken them out of the box.  I have done very little with the telephoto. The fish eye, however, has really gotten me excited about taking pictures. By the way, Gene Ho has an absolutely wonderful video on novel ways to use a fish eye lens.  If you have some time, check it out.

FISHE EYE 410

Filters were on my mind this week too.  I thought about how frustrated I am that, no matter how nice I am, no matter how many years I have attended family events, despite all my smarts and refinements, Geoffrey’s family doesn’t understand or like me.  Last night people were analyzing the phenomenon that  has developed politically in the US, that whatever the Democrats do, a significant portion of the population will see it as negative, even if it is the exact same thing that Republicans do.

Specifically, they were talking about Hilary Clinton and Karl Rove’s malicious smear that she has brain damage.  It just made my blood boil, FISHE EYE 295because it is a bald-faced lie and meant to spread a devastating rumor about her that Rove hopes will end her White House aspirations. What kind of person does this?  No matter how much I may dislike someone, I would never dream of lying about anyone to hurt them in any way. Rove is a reprehensible and small person.

However, in the course of all the analyses of this latest attack campaign, someone astutely said, the use of “filters” is what determines how someone will receive information. When Obama does something, if you have a presumably liberal or progressive filter, you will see his actions in a positive light. If your filter is conservative or libertarian, you will see nothing good about his actions. Your filter determines what you see when you evaluate new information.

Geoff’s family has a filter about us that means when we do the exact thing that they do, they view it as wrong or mistaken or irresponsible.  When we buy a new car, they say we are loose with money.  When we drive an old car, they say we are not working hard enough.  You get the idea. Filters interfere with our dealing directly and objectively and consciously with incoming data. And extreme filters exaggerate things and distort them.  It is almost impossible to change someone’s own filter, much less that of someone else.

gefilte-fishNow where does Gefilte fish fit into all this other than my straining to make a clever play on words? My upcoming Flickr series on my favorite part of Los Angeles, starting smack in the middle of Downtown and tracing the development of LA West to the Pacific in the automobile age, that Los Angeles ushered in!  The first place I told Geoffrey I wanted to go to try out my new fish eye lens was Wilshire Boulevard, specifically, the area with all the historic delis. It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of that artery to understanding Los Angeles, something I am still working on. Luckily, Geoff has a project restoring a protected building in Wilshire Center. I have already taken a series of pictures in Wilshire Center where we headed today, but this time my “filter” or POV will be through my new fish eye lens. The author of this article also wrote an amazing book, which I am in the middle of reading. Anyway,  seeing how sulky I was last week, Geoffrey suggested I tag along to work with him today (Saturday) and try out the new lens. Then he offered to treat me to an upscale Jewish deli that just opened in Bunker Hill, downtown, afterward. That cheered me up!

For me,  a Jewish deli makes me feel at home like nothing else.  My mother loves herring, gefilte fish, matzohs, lox, bagels, bialys and all the ethnic foods that NYC, my home town, is famous for.  When my mom went to college the only girls there were Jewish, except my English/Irish mom, because at that time, most girls in her neighborhood simply got married and didn’t go on to school afterward.  So, she grew up, so to speak, with Kosher food and then shared that interest with me.  I should add that my mother started college at the age of 16.  So, she truly was a baby in a way, and quite impressionable.  She even learned Yiddish, LOL! Whenever she visits, we hit the areas of LA where we can both indulge ourselves in old fashioned delicatessen lunches. And I always keep a stash of canned and bottled kosher foods for her on hand at home.

While I explored Wexler’s, Geoffrey found Egg Slut — so we both discovered something new, and ended our day touring Grand Central Market.

FISHE EYE 424 FISHE EYE 432

So, in honor of all this!  My fish eye lens, my hankering for the comfort of the older part of Los Angeles, where I can feel at home after having had a couple of nasty weeks, voila, my title and the pictures in this post.  Forgive me if this is babbling nonsense, somehow after this long day, it makes complete sense to me :-).

 Images: Beth Byrnes archives (Click on photos to enlarge them.)

paw2014-s

 

18 Comments on “Egg slut and Gefilter fishing

  1. Having been raised Jewish, I have a particular affinity for gefilte fish, lox and bagels, matzo ball soup and even chopped liver. Finding an authentic deli anywhere outside of New York or LA – oy vey! I have an old meat grinder that was my mother’s and once a year I’ll break down and make myself chopped liver. It’s such a treat on small slices of marble rye. A great accompaniment to Fiddler on the Roof or Yentl! 😉

    Like

    • It is such a wonderful culture, so rich in everything. I miss it. There is the Fairfax District of LA but it has become so expensive even to get a sandwich at the few real delis we have. Last time I went to the best one there, Cantor’s, about five years ago, with my mother, her tuna sandwich was $25!!! I had a bagel and cream cheese for $18. Wow! Authentic means money in LA, when it comes to Kosher food. Sigh. But, if you ever come to LA, you will find little pockets with the old fashioned products. I go there for my comfort food, LOL. 🙂 So we now have this in common, too. Thank you Susan!

      Like

  2. Regarding filters, I came across this quote this morning and already shared it on Facebook, so here it again: “When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.” – Maria Popova

    Like

    • Big Maria Popova fan and this quote gets my Amen!
      I love your new lens, but I think you might want to rummage through the inherited photo equipment. There might be a Leica or something else truly amazing 😀
      That might be why you took up the hobby and why you inherited the goodies.

      Like

      • Kelly, you are so nice. And, you are right. I know there is an old Leica in there because my grandaunt told me there was. I wouldn’t know what to do with it, frankly. Another project will be finding someone who either wants it or knows how to sell it. :-), because I don’t want to take prints or transparencies any more (at least not until I scan the ones I have to the computer. Another huge project!).

        Like

    • I am going to have to print that out and post it on my office wall. I keep feeling conflicted whenever I am with them. Giving up Hawaii was in part for that reason. They are so smug and self-assured that whenever I am with them, I feel 5 years old and stupid. Thank you for reminding me of Maria Popova!

      Like

  3. Oh, and the fisheye is awesome! It’s honestly not a lens that has ever been on my radar to try, but I do love the effects it can create. And I am kind of starting to consider selling the macro lens…not sure I’m going to end up enjoying it. I dunno. I’ll wait until I get the urge for something else camera-wise, but it may go eventually.

    Like

    • What I love about the fisheye is that, if you know what you are doing (not that I do, yet), it doesn’t come out distorted. I took over 1000 pictures – depending on where I stood and how I angled the camera, some just came out as wide-angles. My next lens would have been a wide angle lens but now Geoff thinks maybe I need to upgrade my camera. I am going to ask you about that. Thank you!

      Like

  4. Apology for the late return, Beth. I fear my exposure to authentic Jewish deli food is limited to Montreal smoked meat sandwiches one rye, but I do enjoy them.

    Loved your pragmatic analysis of optimizing your financial commitment to a passion / interest / major hobby. I do the same thing regarding stereo components, when I’ve had the chance to consider buying one or upgrading.

    It was nice to see the enjoyment you had with the fisheye lens and the lovely photos you took with it.

    Like

    • Thanks Nav! I appreciate your taking time to comment. I love this new lens — we are heading out with it again this Saturday, so, I am going to be flooding Flickr with fish-eye photos in the not too distant future. I am obsessed now 🙂 (and with Grand Central Market, we are planning our lunch strategy there again this weekend and then walking it off, lol).

      Like

      • You sound like I felt on those very infrequent times where I got a new stereo component. It is exciting to have an addition to or improvement on necessary gear for some activity that we are passionate about.

        Have a great time, Beth. I’ll look forward to more shots with your new lens.

        Like

  5. I’m so impressed anyone knows how to take photos especially if there are people and heads involved! There are so many wonderful photographers on WP able to share pics like yours that I’ve even started snapping a few with my phone. Nothing to impress but surprising and pleasing to me because they turned out ok. No headless people involved right enough.
    My brother has taken up photography since he retired and it’s now one of his passions. My dad did it too for years, developing his own pics. It’s funny how we embrace a hobby and go all out with it. I’m like that too. Fortunately, at the moment there are no new ones pending and needing to be resourced! That’s always fun and quite guilt-inducing when the hobby dies a slight death before I’ve used up all the resources. Thinking cross-stitching, knitting, calligraphy and piles of canvas, floss, wool, patterns, ink and nibs. I always return to them though so maybe not too much of a waste.
    I only recently learned how to schedule posts which has been handy on a few occasions but I too prefer to write as the moment occurs, with the title following immediately afterwards.
    I like your filter comparison to politics and family. Amazing how perception is everything and the lens so fixed in place by some. Removable ones should be obligatory. Would make for much clearer images! (sorry!)
    I enjoy your insights, Beth. Little slices of life from across the pond that make for delightful glimpses into the lives of fellow bloggers.x

    Like

    • Anne-Marie, you are always so kind. I did not want photography to be another hobby — I feel guilty about all that yarn in the garage, but I know eventually I will use it all up.

      There is something healing about taking pictures. For one thing, I get to keep things I care about – the things I see through the lens become my own permanent memories. Now I just have to be careful about not moving too quickly. I have a lot to learn with the equipment I have right now and must resist the temptation to upgrade, prematurely.

      In some ways, looking through the lens of a camera focuses my mind and is a complete departure from the work I do sitting at a computer every day. It is even nice to focus one’s eyes on far away scenes while looking for subjects to capture via the camera. When we go out to photograph, I feel as if I have been on vacation!

      So glad we have connected this way, across so many miles. ❤

      Like

  6. Pingback: Palette cleanser | Beth Byrnes

  7. Pingback: Snap decisions? acquiring minds want to know … | Beth Byrnes

It's your turn! I want to know what YOU think :-)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: