Sep 27, 2007

Poetry Friday Challenge: Honk

Yeah, I know, three posts in a single week. Unhonking believable. I'm almost back to my old rate. *S* So, er, just so you know, don't hold your breath. Sorry.

Mona posted a nice one for Friday--Honk. She and her ubergeek coworkers have been using it in place of more common cursewords like damn and hell and Republican. And now it's the Poetry Friday Challenge word.


You know, my first intention was to drive off the last few readers I have with another train post, as it's a pretty easy connection to go from honk to trains and the pattern with which they have to announce their presence at a crossing (never knew they had a regulation about THAT, didja?) but no. I'm gonna talk about honking up photography.

I started into photography like most people, I'm sure. When I was a kid my folks bought me a Kodak 110 point and shoot for Xmas one year. It was the size and shape of a starter from a '94 Ford Taurus, took one of those strangely shaped plastic film cartridges and produced...well, photos of a sort. Images on paper. *shrug* I used the honk out of that little camera, then women and school and other things got into my head, and it got put aside. But humble as it was, it was my start.

I think I always owned some sort of cheap 35mm point and shoot or other but never got back into photography with any sort of passion until probably ten years ago, when I bought my first fully manual 35mm. It was (and still is, it's on my desk behind me) a little Ricoh KR-5 Super II I picked up at my local Ritz Camera for less than $200; a package deal with camera, lens and bag, a little learner's book and a pat on the back. I wanted to learn how to really shot photos and not just point at things and click, and that little manual taught me, sometimes the hard way. Where is the light? What's the shutter speed? F stop? Film speed? Composition? I learned it all, and I really honking enjoyed it.

And just recently here, I decided to take the big plunge I had been avoiding all this time; I bought a honkingly nice, fairly expensive digital SLR, the Nikon D40. And I seem to have forgotten all about how to take photos. Okay, so it's not that honking bad, but it's honking aggravating sometime. And don't get me wrong, I LOVE my D40. It's just that the Nikon is geared to do EVERYTHING for you, and I'm so honking retentive from long manual-use that my results usually aren't quite what I was looking for. And then, just for honks and giggles Nature does everything She can to honk the photographic event up.

Today, for instance. Every afternoon after 5 a train passes by the office, headed for the UP yard. (Yeah, you KNEW I'd work trains into this post somehow.) And so after work I hied myself down to a new friend's house, whose back yard happens to run butt up against the tracks. The sun was good--behind me and off my left shoulder, no clouds nearby, the image area was as I knew nicely uncluttered, the colours of grass and expected subject were good, I was good. I waited.

And then I had to take a brief diversion into the thicket near the rails a call of Nature (when you're a man the world is your urinal) and found this pretty girl sitting in the middle of the rails:

Now, I'll give the Nikon this--it can take some honking close photos, as close as six inches or so. The Ricoh is blind at less than a yard with the stock lens. Anyhoo--

After visiting with my lovely little green friend for a while I heard the distant honk of an air horn and knew my prey was approaching. I genteely tossed my little lady friend into some deep grass and took my spot, long since picked out for angle and viewing range. And it was at this point that the sun decided to pass behind a honking great cloud, casting everything into middling darkness. GAH! Honk you, Nature.

But I soldiered on. The honking great honking beast hove into view, and my heart fell to see--it was the wrong colour. I had expected a grey and red KCS, not a GMTX in washed out UP yellow, but there you are, you take what you can get at times.

See what I mean? Honking lackluster.

I even followed her up the line a ways to try my 'reflection shot' again, hoping for better results this time using the flash.

Same problem as last time. Even with the flash the shutter was too slow, confused by the dark bottom half and the over-bright upper half of the shot, and the subject ended up honking blurred. Honk me!

But this is okay. I know with the flip of a switch and a few button pushes through the menu I can effectively turn my HAL 9000 into a Delta-Minus*, and I'll have to re-learn how to honking use a honking manual honking camera.

Here. How about a picture of a honking mushroom?

*If you missed the somewhat obscure sci-fi references there, I suggest you read Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World." And I don't mean go rent the movies either, you honker.


Rayne said...

After all of this beautiful and descriptive writing do you know what stuck with me? "Oh, my gosh! He's holding the preying mantis. I didn't know you could do that! I have to do that!"
Something is seriously wrong with me.

Irrelephant said...

*lmao* Love it! Yes dear, you can hold them. They're not going to bite, they don't spit poison or anything. *S* The trick is to pick them up and hold still, and let them scamper around if they want to. They'll settle down very fast, and then you get to really enjoy them. Once they realise you aren't going to pop them in your mouth and crunch them they'll sit for hours, watching you watch them until they get hungry or you get bored.

Just for you, a whole Flickr set of me, holding mantises, probably my favourite bug in the whole weird world.

Bob said...

nice honkin' post, except for some huge honkin' bug in the middle.

Irrelephant said...

Thanks, Bob! Sorry about the honking great bug, I think I'm honking well infested...

Rayne said...

I have got to try this. I love taking photos of them because they are so curious and like to explore the camera and check it out so it's almost like they are posing for me. Sometimes they get on the camera and I stand very, very, still and slllloooowwwwlllly put the camera down until they are done.
Next one I see I am going to let him sit on my hand.

Vulgar Wizard said...

Holy honk, man, I had a honking Kodak 110 camera when I was a kid, too, my first honking camera. We are honking kindred spirits! Honk!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Holy honkin bug in a lens batman!

What a cool post!
Loved the whole thing. Very good.

Yes, I knew trains have to honk at crossroads... like buses and emergency vehicles have to stop at train tracks, and you have to stop for trains for sheer delight.

Good stuff.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Irrelephant said...

Rayne, of all the myriads of insects that we share the world with, praying mantises have to be one of the grandest. Have you ever seen the inside of one's mouth? Just as red as a rose. Years ago I got to see one yawn, or stretch it's mouthparts or whatever it was doing, and I was astounded! It seemed so out of place on such a green bug.

About ten years ago I bought three praying mantis egg cases from a seed catalog, Springhill, I think it was, and it was the best ten dollars I ever spent.

And yes, you definitely need to treat yourself to letting one explore your hand and arm.

VW, we both must have started our love of photography there. We need to write a nice thank you card to Mr. Kodak.

Thank you, Scarlett! And I loved your phrase "..for sheer delight." I think if more people enjoyed the little things, like being held up while a train goes by we'd be a lot better off as a society than we are now.

And of course, stopping to play with praying mantises.