Daily Archives: 5 September 2004

Photography Progress

Sorry I haven’t posted any pictures yet. I have been tooling around with the new camera, and having a good time with it. I have a couple of images that are near posting quality, but none has hit the mark yet. I’ll keep working on it.

Now that I have equipment that I deem appropriate, I’ve decided to conduct a self-study on photography. I wanted to do this when I first got my analog SLR, but I was relatively poor at the time and quickly realized that the film and processing required to take the number of shots necessary to really become a decent photographer would cost me an arm and a leg. I really have no idea how beginning photographers ever make it.

My study will ultimately include a number of books, I’m sure, but I’ve got some starting ideas. First, I’m going to spend a few weeks just getting comfortable with my new camera. I’ve already kicked it out of the fully automatic mode, and I’ll get more ambitious as time goes on. Then, starting course materials include Philip Greenspun’s online book, which is nice but includes no “projects,” and his tutorial on building an SLR system (which includes projects). I read another online photography tutorial at one point that included a more comprehensive set of projects (which have specific objectives and gradually increase in sophistication), but I can’t seem to find it now. Any suggestions?

I’m going to stick with the zoom lens that came with the new camera for a while, desite Greenspun’s warnings, but I think my next purchase will be a Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM. With the smaller field-of-view of the digital camera, this looks to be a good, reasonably priced prime lens for everyday photography. (In terms of field of view, it is equivalent to a 45 mm lens on a 35 mm camera. The next lens Greenspun recommends is a wide angle lens, which is actually a tough thing to find at a reasonable price due to the smaller field-of-view.)

Also discovered today was Greenspun’s A Rich Person’s Guide to Aquariums. I found it amusing, though the odds of my spending several hundred dollars on an aquarium filtration system anytime soon are pretty darn slim.

I am turning comments back on, but I haven’t solved any of the problems. Tread lightly, please.


Lately, I’ve been very stressed out. There’s more work to do than I can ever possibly accomplish. The tenure clock is tick, tick, ticking. There’s lots of stuff to do at home, too. Painting projects, electrical work, basic maintenance, etc. Yet, I don’t get much done on the weekends. Basically, I come home every Friday afternoon stressed out about all the things I need to accomplish over the weekend. I get some of it done, but I also spend a lot of time spinning my wheels, stressing, and trying to extract some enjoyment from my weekend.

So, I’ve decided that it is time for a change, and I’m declaring Sunday to be the MackenSabbath. The Christian tradition traces its roots to Judaism. Somewhere along the line, though, the vast majority of Christians, including many of the more fundamentalist ones, completely discarded the notion of a Sabbath day. I’m not sure how recent or ancient this destruction of the Sabbath day is. Some of Paul’s writings can be read to say that the Sabbath is not a necessary component of Christianity, so perhaps the Sabbath left Christian practice in the early days of the church. Nonetheless, the fact that it isn’t necessary for Christian practice surely doesn’t imply that it wouldn’t be valuable for Christians. I’ve certainly always thought that it was one of the best practices of Judaism.

So, the MackenSabbath will be observed from sundown on Saturday until sundown on Sunday. Borrowing from several traditions, I will use the day as a day of rest, a day of mindfulness, a day of worship, and a day to spend time with my friends and family. I will read a book, walk the dog, take a nap, or go to a movie. I won’t observe strict rules about what is and is not allowed: I might do some light housework if it is something that I really take joy in doing. I am, however, strongly considering disconnecting from the Internet and turning off the computer for the entire 24 hour period.

I’m going to try to spread my household tasks through the week better. I’m going to try to get some job-related work accomplished on Saturday morning, either at home or by going in to the office for a few hours. And after sundown on Sunday, I will do my weekly review and prepare for the coming week. I’m sure the occasional weekend project or pending deadline will require some work on my sacred day, but I’m at least going to give it a shot.

What Would Jesus Drive?

I saw this bumper sticker on a car today, and I thought it was a joke. In fact, it is not a joke. It is a group of Christians who think that environmental issues are important, and that choosing (for instance) a fuel efficient vehicle is a moral choice. They also think that the United States should be a world leader in environmentalism, and that the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act is a very good idea. I haven’t read enough of their material to really endorse their position, but so far so good. What would Jesus drive?