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.

 

 

The Life and Laughs: Revenge of the Laugh

Oh, subscribers, are you still there? Are you surprised to see me again?

As of this moment, I have finished all the assessment tasks for my university degree. There is the small matter of handing it in and, oh, passing, but I have confidence that I will receive a high enough score to get me the certificate.

So, where I left you last.

I was about to start my two-week internship, which turned out really interesting. I found out lots about myself in those two weeks – how quickly I can really write, how to self-edit, how to take criticism (although, the sub-editor who sat me down and went through my work was very nice about correcting my mistakes, much nicer than my actual class teacher), how to make phone-interviews.

I also learned how much I hate journalism. Well, not all aspects of journalism – but I wasn’t a fan of slow moving, methodical get-the-interview-and-write-it journalism. I’m not knocking it, I just guess it wasn’t for me!

I also did some tough interviews for a writing class, since the assessments needed us to go interview complete strangers. I interviewed two research professors, and a few of my friends. For one article, I chose to interview April and Bianca about their personal lives. They were toughies, I had to fight to keep tears back with Bianca.

Overall, I did pretty well in Semester 1. Of course, I knew Semester 2 was going to be a bitch and half. But before that…

I went on the SAMA camp. SAMA is the Monash Anime club, which Mela is a part of. It was in the middle of July, so it was cold and wet – and the place we went to seemed to be creating mud out of every crevice. As the club is a nerdy one, most nights were spent playing Mahjong, watching anime or horror movies. The last night, however, saw everyone wanting to get rid of all the alcohol that was brought. Much drunkeness and throwing-upness occurred. Cindy drank til she was a bit beyond tipsy (we thought she was outright drunk, but a few weeks later we saw a video of her being actually drunk and talking in an infectious British accent). And my girl? Well, she went much beyond drunk – bashed through hilarious drunk by hugging everyone and telling them she loves them, and then crashed into bad drunk and threw up what smelled like pure alcohol. The next day, suffice to say, she suffered.

There was also the SAMA Social Night, which happened in August. I was forced to go, and went through a horrible process of trying to find clothing for the formal event. In the end, I put together some dodgy looking pieces, fixed with the bowtie that Amelia gave me for my birthday (oh, did I mention? I turned 21! I got loads of presents, but Amelia’s was the best: the bowtie, a great scarf, and a crap-load of Nerds lollies). I ended up winning best-dressed male. Clare, who went, could not stop smiling at me when I was up on stage. If I could have melted with embarrassment, I would have.

Semester 2 was tougher. I had 3 subjects again, but all requiring research, and none were creative. One was a whipping 8000 word mini-thesis. Amusingly, the other two subjects overlapped each other almost completely in content, simply from different ends. And so the first six weeks saw me learn a whole load of new information, and the last six saw me revise it in the other class.

Annie and I worked very hard, for once…and the last time. We holed ourselves up in the library every day we were in (which was, granted, around twice a week), for a whole month, and worked our asses off while we were at home. We did up to 20,000 words of research for a 2,500 essay, and sure we laughed about it later, but at that time, it was horrible. I once wrote so hard that my arms cramped, something I haven’t really encountered since VCE exams.

I also got a new laptop! A Samsung Series 9, which is as light as an eyelash and about as thick. It’s a beautiful machine, and I want so much to keep it beautiful I haven’t taken off the plastic cover on the front and on the wrist-rest.

Amelia bought me tickets for and attended with me Maroon 5. It was a shocking concert – although there wasn’t a mosh, and we sat further back than we thought we would, they made up for it with their relentless energy. I did not stop dancing the whole time they were on stage, and neither did they! Jen and I shouted ourselves hoarse (we both wanted to go, and dragged our other halves with us).

Amelia turned 20, and I took her to the Conservatory at Crown. It was a bad start, because I got lost and was late to the restaurant, but Amelia ate a massive fill from the buffet, and I gorged myself on the chocolate fountain. The food was very good (considering how much it costs), but the thing that got me the most was the service. First-class waiters and waitresses were patient as hell, despite covering about two dozen people each.

We also celebrated our 1 year anniversary (yes, it HAS been that long!) but, unfortunately, on the day I had classes I had to attend. We delegated the celebrating to her birthday, since they’re both very close to each other. Amelia also held another birthday dinner at Paesano’s at Knox O-Zone, and so many people showed up that we had to get two massive tables and squeeze together.

Meg, Amelia’s dog, has gotten extremely cute – and much bigger! Although she is still quite small, she no longer fits just on one arm, and I need to carry her with both. She’s not gotten much smarter, but she’s very loyal, and the other week when I visited her after a long break, she was so excited, she peed! I love Meg very much, and I can’t stop talking about her when I’m with other people. I think it annoys them but if they were loved by Meg, they’d do the same.

And now, I’ve finished all the assessments for my university schooling. I’m not going back to class next year, nor have I a job lined up. I was hoping to take a year off and see what my options are. Perhaps I can pay Amelia more attention too, as I have neglected her a lot this past few months.

I’m about to go to China for a two week holiday, by myself. I’m utterly terrified, because I’m about as good a flyer as a rock, and I’ve never had to go by myself before. But, hey, I’m 21 now, I should learn how to hack it.

It also means that, despite this lengthy and vigorous attempt to revive this blog, I will not be blogging for the next 2-3 weeks, because WordPress is blocked in China. But I will strive to come back.

So, Revenge of the Laugh! The Life Returns. Etc.

Alex.

/edit: Also, Brendan happened. He had to carry my drunk girlfriend since I couldn’t, and she kept on thinking she was flying, causing him to nearly drop her a lot. (This was at SAMA camp by the way.) Also a bunch of other stuff including him took place, like um. I don’t know. Also he got a new girlfriend.

Sometimes I want to disappear

[Houdini – Foster the People]

I know I am almost a week late on these posts but it sort of just occurred to me I hadn’t written anything.

So, last Monday I went to see Foster the People at the Palace Theater with Amelia, who else… It just so happened that I somehow capped my incredibly large allowance of Internet because my entire family was streaming and downloading lots, so I didn’t have a way to do my timetable registering. I ended up going to Mela’s house super early to use her Internet, while getting the chance to cuddle her dog which is starting to like me quite a bit.

As usual, Portal crashed spectacularly, so in the end I got Annie to do it for me anyway, but at least I got the chance to cuddle with her a bit and play with the puppy before we realized that we were late. We were trying to move some Doctor Who episodes onto an SD card because the hotel room has a TV that can read SD cards, but in the end it took so long that we brought Mela’s laptop along anyway.

We took the train up from Ferntree Gully station, which was a, oh, 1 hour ride…and we managed to get to the city when it was getting kinda hot. We took the tram up to the Palace Theater, where around the corner our hotel stood, and we passed a girl sitting outside the doors with a book and a water bottle. “Surely,” I said, “surely she’s not waiting already? There’s still 5 hours left!” But Mela said, “why else would someone sit outside a venue?”

We went to our room, which was smaller and less luxurious than the NYE one, but came with a kitchenette and cutlery. We watched Ready Steady Cook for a bit, then went out to a late lunch. It took us a while to decide, but we ultimately decided on the new Taiwan restaurant on Swanston, which turned out quite nice. We missed out on an ice-cream parlor because we were running late on relaxing, so we’ve tucked it away in our mental to-do list. We got some cup noodles and cheeseballs which I was craving, and went back to our room with the leftover fried noodles from lunch to relax. We laid about a bit, then started watching Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood on Mela’s laptop, which I promptly became engrossed with. We started watching an episode of Doctor Who, and I didn’t realize my phone was on silent, because we missed a text from Julia saying she was lining up already. We hurried downstairs and met up with her.

To cut a long story short, I drank a lot of liquid which made me need to pee early, but I was way up front and if I left I wouldn’t be able to make it back. So we stood waiting for the opening act Last Dinosaurs for 90 minutes, and my feet were well sore before the first note was played.

During the open, this girl came up and stood behind us and started having a conversation with another girl in the middle of a song. So loudly. That I still remember that she works at the Art Center and earns 25 an hour. I ended up turning around to tell her to tone it down, at least while the song was going.

Foster was another hour away, and my bladder was really screaming. I didn’t want to leave Mela by herself up front, so I tried to stay with her as long as possible but 4 songs in I had to leave. It was so hard to get out, some people tried to push me back up front. I tried to get back again later, but the crowd was packed from the merchandise table, there was no chance 3 rows in.

Still, even from the back, I could feel the buzz of the crowd. If anything, Foster the People were good performers. Their big finale, obviously, Pumped Up Kicks, shook the place, and even at the back we were jumping.

After the gig, I was drained and unfortunately had no energy to go with Mela and Rebecca from the Wombats to Maccas, so Mela and I went back to our room. We heated up the leftover noodles and watched more FMA, then Mela ate some of the instant noodles, then felt really sick. We ended up just lying there while I rubbed her tummy, then we tentatively ate some cheeseballs and got ready for bed.

Accidentally left the air con on, so we froze if we didn’t pull up the blanket, and boiled if we did. Got up super early the next day to pack up and check out. Mela was tired and not a morning person, so I made toast and washed up. We got out just in time, and went to State Library to drop off our super heavy bags then went to Degraves for breakfast, as Mela’s never been.

We ate a full breakfast and ran into Dani who saw my check-in and called me to say she was next door. Then we walked around a bit and shopped for presents, then watched some more FMA at State before taking a train home.

So yeah, big day. Some else happened in Thursday which I will write about very soon.

Alex

My baby don’t mess around

[Hey Ya! – Outkast]

Today we went to escape the heat by going to Chadstone for the whole day. Mela arrive late and sad because she accidentally slept in, and then had to leave her new puppy Meg (which I met yesterday, and whose love I will slowly but surely earn).

We had some coffee and then curry for lunch, then she felt sleepy so she lied on my lap to nap. I felt bored so I took out my phone, opened up the eReader, and popped my amazingly light phone on her amazingly flat forehead and read Sherlock Holmes.

When the people started to congregate around the foodcourt, and it became apparent that the seats needed to be vacated, I woke Mela up with my tactful and accidental voice-command program which, on loudspeaker, screamed right into her left eyeball: WHAT WOULD  YOU LIKE TO DO?

We walked around for ages shopping, as I always do when I’m with her. She ended up buying a very nice tank top and a dress which we both nicknames Woodland Creature because it looks like what they would wear. When she was trying on the tank top, she was a bit iffy because she was worried how her arms looked in them, so I said through the changing door “if you say that one more time I will come in there and punch you.” I didn’t know a store assistant was right behind me and she laughed.

We got tickets to see Tintin in 2D, and had to switch seats three times cos our original seats sucked. I also managed to whinge some popcorn out of Mela, but it was so salty that we ended up eating only half and then cuddling in the over-aircon’d theater. The movie, dare I say, is astounding, and somewhat pioneering in terms of animation. The sheer detail that they paid attention to, like the way the hair blows in the wind, the expressions in the character’s eyes, the physics, and yet the limits they managed to stretch the suspension of belief with the action and the drama…all at the same time staying as true as they could to a 1940s cartoon series as they could.

After Tintin we visited Cindy at work, and I laughed when I saw she kept the sticker on her cap. Then we had dinner at the sushi train near JB, then went to say bye to Cindy before going home. Now, she’s playing guitar and singing while on mute, refusing to let me hear, and I wonder how her dog is…

Alex.

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.