Catalyst – Photography Assignment

The following are my 5 photos for submission for Media Objects photography assignment, and the 500-word reflection. I will also be sending the 5 photos to you (my tutors) in a separate email, in case WordPress compresses the photos.

Water

Water

Earth

Earth

Sun

Sun

Love

Love

Heat

Heat

I approached the given theme ‘catalyst’ by reflecting my interpretation of it. For me, catalyst is first and foremost changes in chemistry. This led to me to think about growth and decay – the life cycle of a plant. However, as the project called for still images, and I had a limit of five, I could not do time-lapse – not did I have the time to do so.

I thought about the aspects that affect plants – namely the four elements. I altered ‘air’ to ‘sun’, because sunlight is key in a plant’s growth. For the 5th photo, I borrowed Captain Planet logic, and went with ‘heart’, or rather ‘love’. That is, the loving enjoyment of the fruits of labor – eating. Digestion is also a chemical catalyst.

Water and Earth are simple too approach but hard to execute. At different ends of the spectrum, water and earth respectively are ever moving, and completely stationary.

To capture the fluidity of water, I had to use high shutter speeds to capture the droplets to prevent blur. My main focus as a new photographer was composition and lighting, and I am very proud of this photo as the best of my series, because of the lighting of the water droplets.

I chose to capture a sprout in the soil in order to create a dynamic narrative to a still subject. This was done with a shallow depth of field in order to focus on the sprout. The same idea was behind ‘love’, by focusing on the details of the food items. Weber influenced the composition of these two photos when he said that “the most important part of any picture is a clearly recognized center of (picture) interest” (38), which is why I placed both focal items about one-third away from the edge of frame (86).

Sunlight is difficult for me to capture on camera, due to the fickle nature of light. I opted to show light through shadows instead. I am not happy with the clutter that I left in the photo, and should have removed some items to create a less noisy photo, but composition wise, I chose Weber’s suggestion to use lines as strong compositional guides (68), and used the shadows heavily to lead the eye to the focal point.

Perhaps the worst photo of the lot is ‘fire’, or ‘heat’. The lighting conditions were poor, I did not choose good camera settings for the photo, and the planning wasn’t done, meaning the photo looks amateur. I am quite pleased with how the steam wraps around the handle of the spatula.

Overall, I am happy with 3/5 photos, which I deem to be satisfactory as this was my first time taking photos while putting creative and technical considerations into practise. On my friends’ behest, I shot entirely in a 50mm prime lens in order to force myself to think of composition and positioning more, and I very much appreciate the difference in mindset this makes. On my next project including photography, I will be focusing more on lighting as well as staging a good photo.

References

Weber, Ernst A. Vision, composition and photography. Berlin; New York: de Gruyter, 1980. Pg 36-39; 44-45; 58-59; 68-69; 86-87)

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I Still Feel Your Breath On Me

[Haunting – Anberlin]

Today I went to an all-you-can-eat chicken wing dinner with Serena, Amelia and Linda at Crazy Wings Glen Waverley. If you do not want to read about how I gorged myself on grilled chicken, then you are welcome to exercise Ctrl+W.

We we originally supposed to go two Mondays ago (or was it last Monday? I’ve lost track of time) but Serena forgot to book. It was probably for the best, because today is one of the days during their mid-sem break, so we could eat and stay out late and it wouldn’t matter.

Let’s back things up a bit, though. First, I had work today, and afterwards I took the bus to Amelia’s house. Meg, who hadn’t seen me for almost 2 months, got really excited and farted on my lap. By the way, Meg is Amelia’s Maltese-Shitzu. Here’s a photo of her:

(Note: I’m not a photoblogger, so the photos are neither well composed, well cropped, nor would my blog theme complement it.)

MEG1She’s rather dumb but pliable, and as long as she loves you, she’ll let you do anything.

ANYWAY, I saw Meg again for the first time in two months, and she farted on my lap. I had to actually check my lap because it felt so warm and smelled so ripe, just in case it was actually poo and not a fart. It was a fart, but I wasn’t any happier.

After being in her house for a total for 20 minutes of a long overdue cuddle (and nothing more), we had to head out again to make our reservation at Crazy Wing, which was where I had come from in the first place not one hour earlier. We picked up Serena along the way, and took a bus back, and the entire trip had us sit in starving silence. Linda joined us outside the restaurant, and after some debate, we went in to start eating.

Long story short, the four of us wolfed down between us perhaps 60 chicken wings, which placed us as having eaten the amount that we paid and then some. Here is a photo of the first round which we ate, before and after.

Afterwards, we went for some ice cream, and sat inside the cinemas while eating it. Serena refused, absolutely refused, to let me have the bottom end of her cone.

After that, I went home, where I ate some fruit salad out of guilt. Currently I’m sitting in front of my computer with a stomach ready for hibernation. My mouth feels tacky and dry from all the grease and the beer which came as part of the all-you-can-eat deal, but if I drank any water I think I might slosh away down the heating vents.

Alex.

P.S. Comment below if you want to see/read more about Meg. I absolutely adore her and I love to talk about her, and both Amelia and I obsessively take photos of her, so I have plenty to share.

 

 

All I ever needed was to eat popcorn with you

[Everything Sucks (When You’re Gone) – MxPx]

And so today marks the 4th month of which I have been dating the truly lovely Amelia. For an awful moment this morning we forgot what  we did to celebrate our 2 months, but a quick flick through my blog – ah trusty friend – reminded us that I nearly died eating at Crazy Wing at Glenny.

But, alas, today we decided to go to Doncaster Westfield Shopping Center. Now, before I write any more, I should note that Mela doesn’t really like going to places she’s not been before for long periods of time, but due to either mis-communication or grievous fault on my behalf, I didn’t know this, so I planned for us to take a 40 minute bus ride to Shoppo, a place I kind of know, and a place she’s never been to. It was a cold day, and she was feeling slightly sick, but determined to make the best of today.

She read stuff on my phone on the bus ride there while I cradled her head, and then when we got there, we immediately headed to eat, being so hungry. We went to the foodcourt, known as The Drum, and she wasn’t feeling hungry so she only got a small salad (which turned out to be massive anyway) while I decided to pig out at Spudbar…which turned out to be a bowl of potatoes at the bottom…and then heaped with loads of Bolognese sauce, sour cream, japalenos, chilli flakes, cos lettuce and something else I forgot. But when I mixed it, it became a bowl of not that appetizing looking goo…that tasted amazing. Albeit I got bad breath. Originally decided to give the tummy a rest and be able to get the $2 Double Cheeseburgers but Mela felt sick, so we just went window shopping instead. Spent a good few hours doing that, until she felt so sick we had to sit down and rest.

Had coffee/mocha at a chocolate lounge, where the girl serving us complimented me on my hair (yey). Stayed there for a bit just chatting about how sweet the chocolate was, though it was great chocolate, then we walked around a bit more. We ended up walking around for hours because we wanted to eat at the sushi train at the food court which opened at 6pm, so we wandered around until my feet got really sore, and she got upset because, like I mentioned before, strange place with nothing to do. We sat in front of the TV display at Myer for a bit watching this HD 3D TV. At 6, the sushi train slowly opened, but it wasn’t really producing anything. We ate 2 plates, and realized they were 5 bucks each for altogether 4 pieces of food. Paid for it (got weird looks from the waiters) and decided to bus back to Glen to eat at a familiar place – Mela was getting really sadface and that made me sadface too, it’s an anniversary after all.

We ended up eating at Star East Cafe, sharing a plate and an entree. She started feeling better halfway through the bus ride back after loads of cuddling, and finally told me what she thought I already knew. We then went to the library where she picked out a picture book for me to read to her to cheer her up, and I put on funny voices until a librarian walked past us.

But yes, 4 months! 5 months will come and go before we realize it, it being around Valentines and…her hating Valentines Day. Then Uni will start, testing us on our bond and ability to not be around each other all the time, seeing as she goes to a different uni, us having different amount of contact hours, and her starting a new course as a 1st year and me in my final. But I have confidence we will hit 1/2 year no worries!

And I like that there are still things to learn about her, like that she hates new places…

Happy 4 months darling!

Alex.

I can’t wait to fall in love with you

[Summer Love – Justin Timberlake]

So I am aware that I haven’t written much for a while. Mostly, life has been pretty routine – I meet up with Mela, I go to work, I have some shifts that are terrible, some that are fun. Mela and I have had a few small arguments but nothing close to a fight. I’ve gotten her Christmas presents and she’s gotten me some as well.

As you can imagine, last night was NYE 2011. Putting aside the “oh my God it was only, like, yesterday that I went to the city for NYE 2010”, I was pretty excited because we’d gotten a hotel room together in the city. Awkwardly, the room was right next to my work, the very place where I can’t be seen because I was “home sick”, so I spent a lot of time cowering behind Mela when we passed my work in case the managers were about.

We met up at Glen, as usual, and took the train up. There was still time before check-in, so we had lunch at this Vietnamese place, except I felt like fried rice, so of course I ordered a Pad Thai Fried Rice at a Vietnamese Pho restaurant. After eating our fill, we took the tram down to our hotel room, checked in, got all excited at the prospect of a night together in a decent for how much we paid hotel room. But not 10 minutes into our honeymoon beyond the threshold mania did Brendan call for me to pick him up from downstairs. There was a bit of a whinge on Mela’s behalf who, understandably, seeing as we hadn’t seen each other properly in a few days, wanted some time alone first. But I got Brendan, and we hung out in the hotel room for a bit watching TV until we went to Coles at Melb Central to get some snacks because I remembered being hungry the year prior. Took almost an hour to decide what alcohol to buy and ending up buying a tiny bottle of butterscotch schnapps which I will say now, sucked. We passed by Dani and Ben eating crepes outside of Harajuku crepes, thus seeing a 2nd year of accidentally coming across Dani in the city on NYE. We went back to the room and watched Man Vs Wild until Brendan had to go see his friends. So then Mela finally had her time alone with me.

At around 7:50, 8, we headed off to go have dinner with Jen in Richmond, seeing as it was also her birthday that we were counting down to. We went to Pacific House on Victoria Street, and since we arrived late, they ordered already. It was fine, because the food was amazing. Once again, we ate our fill and with bulging stomachs hugged Jen goodbye to catch up with my uni group in the city.

Caught up with Jacky who was standing waving his arms in the middle of Swanston Street looking for us, and we went to Gin Palace (a small bar just off Lt Collins) for a bit. Jacky brought along an entourage of our lunch group, including Clare whom I haven’t seen in what felt like forever. We didn’t stay in the bar for long, seeing as it was already 30 minutes to midnight. We went back to Fed Square, and on the way, Mela, Little Sam and I lost the rest of the group. After a good quarter of an hour desperately pushing through crowds and trying to get calls to go through, I finally got through to Clare, who told us where they were. Running like mad people and hurting, I am sure, numerous merry-makers, we managed to run from Fed Square, through the crowd and down to Southbank opposite the Langham in around 5 minutes, arriving to where the group was a mere 2 minutes before midnight.

Missed the countdown, as we always do on Southbank because we don’t have speakers there, but we knew that we’d ushered in the new (and final?) year when the fireworks flew into the night sky. We watched in awe as this year’s (which was much better than last year’s) fireworks lit up the Melbourne skyline, and then we watched in amusement and some degree of horror as the top of the Art Building spire caught on fire, sending massive flaming debris down.

Mela and I trudged back to our hotel room, somehow managing to get there before 1am. We had our showers, then snuggled up in bed with the schnapps which were quickly abandoned. We ate some bread and ham that we bought, even though she was still full. We hugged a lot and told each other many sweet things before feeling fatigue pull its veil over our eyes by 2, and going to sleep.

Sleep was a bit difficult, for me at least, because it was quite warm, but it was nice to be able to cuddle the one you love at any given time during the night. We woke up and had some more cuddles and sleepy talking before her phone went off to let us know that we had to get ready for check-out. Quick packing up, a few moments of Ben 10 on TV, and we said goodbye to our first hotel room together.

The day was already heating up monstrously, and we ate congee at the same restaurant as I had last year with Annie, Anna, Josh and Julia. Then we took the Cranbourne back to Oakleigh, and said a long and sad goodbye as we took our respective buses. But the goodbye wasn’t for long, because I can feel that 2012 is going to be the year where I don’t (and really shouldn’t) feel like I am alone at any time.

Alex.

I’d eat a crazy wing for ya

Today was Mela and my 2 month anniversary. For our 1st month I went to her house because she got food poisoning the night before. That time we cuddled up and watched movies under her blankets. Today we went out.

She had work in the afternoon, so I caught up with her in the last hour of her shift. I watched her stand behind the counter, not yet in her uniform, putting through game returns and trades. She was so small next to her two large manly coworkers.

We had a quick (McDonalds) lunch – it was McHappy Day we felt obliged – and took the bus up to Chadstone. We were both in very loving moods – after all, the past 2 months felt like a breezy dream, surely the next few would be just as easy!

We went perfume shopping, as she’d already bought me the entire series of Slam Dunk on DVD, and she really wants to try a new fragrance. We went around Myers spraying many many different bottles to find the perfect one, and after a good half hour or so, it was a toss up between DKNY Pure or DKNY Gold Delicious. We sprayed both on her neck, one on each side, and after letting it soak in for a while, we realized that Mela’s natural scent masked DKNY Pure too much. She seemed very happy with her present, and I was glad that at least this month I don’t have to worry about failing as a good girlfriend.

(Also, I know how our presents reflect the man/woman dichotomy. I did come across this Ralph Lauren one which I REALLY liked but it made her gag and feel nauseous so.)

Afterwards, we were going to eat at this Chinese restaurant, but the center was closing, so we had to go to Glenny. On the bus back, I remembered that Crazy Wing should have opened at Glenny, so instead of going to La Porchetta as we’d originally planned (because she’s never been and, it seems, still hasn’t been), we went to Crazy Wing. She was brave enough to want to eat two Crazy Wings by herself, but it seemed that the Glen Waverley branch uses much spicier mix than the one in the city, because she started tearing up badly, and when I tried to eat some for her, I was knocked over too.

I was so badly affected, in fact, that about 10 minutes after eating that, I started getting serious stomach cramps. I had to sit there and look like I was dying for about 10 more minutes, making Mela very worried about me. In the end we shook on it – we will never have Crazy Wing again, we’d only order their Spicy Honey or maybe a degree or two hotter, but never that. I also vowed to ban my dad from ever trying it – he has high blood pressure, and me eating it tonight made my ears pop with all the increased blood flow. It was bad.

Finally, after settling my stomach, we slowly walked back to the bus stop. On the bus, I sat by the window and saw her still waiting for her bus, so we texted each other from maybe 2 meters away. Ahhh the disgusting that is us.

Happy 2 months baby!

Alex.

Who takes a train at 11:54 at night to Seymour?

Yesterday I went to see The Wombats at Festival Hall with Mela. I don’t actually like them that much, but they are close to Mela’s favorite band, and what with it being our 1 month, and her coming to Anberlin with me at the start, I felt it would be simply wrong to not go with her. Besides, the smile on her face when she heard I would go with her was worth everything.

We went to her friend Rebecca’s house, where we would be spending the night, to drop off our bags. They live right near MacRob, I am BLOODY JEALOUS OF HOW CLOSE THEY LIVE! So then, Rebecca, her friend Phoebe, Mela and I went into the city to eat Maccas (I had Maccas earlier that day so I felt all fat and stuff but hey) for dinner before heading to Festival Hall.

Everyone lining up were sort of the hipster wannabe tweens, something I was expecting. We went to our seats in the balcony, and I started buying a few drinks so I wouldn’t be bored for the evening. The drinks were pretty expensive, but I felt generous. Mela and I each had one bourbon and coke, then I discovered and started on the Smirnoff Limes.

The bands that played were pretty decent live, I do admit, they could carry their energy well – especially Owl Eyes, considering she’s only well known in certain Australian circles. Faker were pretty good but I never liked his voice.

The mosh was huge – and quite fluid. So when The Wombats came on, I was quite glad we didn’t get standing tickets. Mela was beside herself in excitement, and danced along to all the songs – and knowing all the lyrics. It was quite heartwarming to see her so consumed and happy.

By the end of the night, I was a spot beyond tipsy. Rebecca and Phoebe put up with me quite well – but they had nothing on Mela whose love for me was really put to the test when I continuously complained and hated on everything. At some point, at Southern Cross, I yelled at the announcement claiming that the 11:54 train to Seymour was departing, because who the hell takes it that late?

We went back to the house and went to sleep pretty much immediately. Mela snored a little, which was very cute, except when she grunted when I poked her to roll over.

We got up a bit later than intended the next day (today), and left the house as the rest of Rebecca’s family were coming back from church. Her parents are SO incredibly casual and friendly – I wish my parents are like that!

Mela and I were going to have a quick breakfast of congee, and then go home, but after downing yum cha (or, as I called it, brum cha) and walking around the city to walk it off, we realized we didn’t want to go home and part ways, so we hung around for even longer. We saw Mai for a bit, and then had lunch at a cafe on Hardware Lane. Finally, stuffed full and promising to mutually start eating healthier and exercising more – both of us having developed relationship guts – we went home.

We realized that we’d spent over 24 hours literally in each other’s company the entire time (bar the small moments we went to the bathroom), and yet still weren’t sick of each other.

Alex.

Cucumbers And Tomatoes

Or tomatoes, however you say it.

Thanks to April, last night I went out for the first time in weeks. I went to the city in my nice blazer, with my hoodie in my bag in case it gets cold. My blazer has many buttons because of a certain feature, and so when I got on the train, a lady going to the footy smiled and said to me, “if I ever need buttons, I’ll come to you.”

On the tram from Flinders Station to QV, I had many many people stare at me. I later said to April, “either I’m ri-DI-kulusly good-looking (said in the same way as Zoolander), or each and every one of them was trying to figure out if I am a girl or a guy.” April agreed it was probably the latter. I mentioned that it happens every morning on the tram, too, to the point where I get paranoid and start sneakily wiping my face to check if there’s anything on it.

We sat on the fake grass area of QV, April, Si, Simon’s 2nd April (i.e. his newly bought PS3) and I. It got very very windy and cold, so I went for that cool hipster look where you wear a hoodie inside a blazer, and passersby think “woah, bro, that’s a sharp shoulder line because of the blazer, but a nice and cushy neck-line because of the hoodie. Righteous!”

A small girl began running circles around us, airplane style, so I screamed “WHEEEEEEEEE” which scared her off.

Soph, April’s little sister, showed up and we went to meet April’s childhood friend Tom on Swanston St. Tom is in the army, and has finally started having weekends off. He is training to drive tanks – the ones with 8-wheels and they’re fast so they’re not very good under fire but they’re FAST – and to handle weaponry, obviously. He has many stories of rough training sessions and wilderness camps.

Tom hasn’t been in the city very often, and if he was honest, he’d never had Chinese food at a Chinese restaurant before. So April decided Chinatown would be a good idea, until I reminded her that there is a chance Tom a) might not like the food and b) can’t use chopsticks (when I mentioned this, Tom sort of said, “chopsticks?”).

In the end we decided to hell with that, and went to Lygon St for Italian. Ironically, we met up with one of Soph’s friends called Pasta (nickname, obviously). We were waiting for Pasta next to an Asian busker playing Guang Liang songs on his keyboard.

Walked to Lygon St via Russel St, and it took a lot less time than I thought it would. We ended up going to/being pulled into this small restaurant near Grattan St. The manager who pulled us in was very friendly and incredibly heavily-accented. Fresh home-made pasta, she boasted. Better than the restaurant next door. Simon found an online review of the place, and the review mentioned that the manager would persuade and repeat about the freshness of their pasta. We supposed that we’ve just been had by a nightly routine.

Tom was served Coronas with a wedge of lemon inside the neck of the bottle. He says it tastes interesting, so I think I will try that next time.

After a while, Soph’s boyfriend Erh- arrived (now, I am more than certain I mentioned Erh-. In the post about Hamwu’s birthday last April, when I talked about a guy who walked around in a Scream mask scaring and shadowing everyone, that guy was Erh-) with his friend Anvo. I can’t remember Anvo’s name properly so I will say Anvo but it probably isn’t Anvo. Anvo and Erh- are Turkish and Pasta is Iranian. I have not really hung out with non-Asian guys much so yesterday was an eye-opener, in a good way.

Anvo was a fun character, he would be talking to me one moment, and a girl would walk past and I would just have to wait a few minutes for him to turn back around to me. The dinner table conversation got a bit MA rated when they started evaluating April’s true vegetarianism, seeing as she’s dating Si and everything. (Go on, draw the dirtiest conclusions from that.)

Erh- asked April if there is a vegetarian way of eating meat. April replied, “lick it.”

Laughter.

Soph said, “well, what about cucumbers and tomatoes?”

Laughter.

Erh-: “Cucumbers never go soft though.”

Soph: “What about when they get old?”

Laughter. A passing waiter gave us the eye.

Then, the conversation moved onto whether there is a Halal way of eating meat (still thinking dirty here, folks). Then ensued a demonstration of praying before “killing”, and at that point Tom was looking horrified, I was looking confused (being at the far end of the table, I get parts of the jokes only) and Si was just laughing.

After the meal, we said bye to Erh- and Anvo, and then bye to Soph, Pasta and Tom at Melb Central. Took the train home without too much problem, despite there being a slightly strange girl trying to play some sort of hand game with herself loudly.

I apologize if any readers were offended by what I wrote. I don’t think it’s excuse enough to say “but the jokes were made by people of the religion” but there it is…

Alex.