Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Life’s Little Mysteries

"Rock Art" along the Marginal Way

Maybe it’s the summer heat dulling my brain (or maybe I’m just “dull” all the time), but looking at this image makes me wonder.  About things like –

Why do people like to pile up rocks?  I’ve seen it almost every place we’ve been.  Even in the desert southwest.  If there are rocks available, people will build these little towers, like we all used to do as kids with blocks.  It seems to be a universal tendency.  Nothing wrong with it, of course.  I just wonder why they do it.

Why in the world do all of the conservative female politicians and commentators wear dresses that rise up to their crotches whenever they sit down?  You know, women like Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter.  Every time they do an interview and they’re sitting down they remind me of that famous scene in Basic Instinct with Sharon Stone.  Where she’s being interviewed by Michael Douglas (and some other cops) and she crosses her legs and they instantly realize she has no underwear on?  I mean, is that who they’re trying to emulate?  Why can’t they just wear business pantsuits or something.  It’s bad enough that I have to listen to what’s coming out the other end………

Why did Lebron James have to go on ESPN for an hour to tell me where he’s going to play basketball this coming season (as if I cared)?  Who’s idea was that?  Are they purposely trying to annoy me and every other non-billionaire sports celebrity in the world?  Heck, if you don’t live in Miami, you’re going to instantly hate the guy.  Even if you like basketball.  Wouldn’t a quiet, tasteful press release have done the job just as well?  Not to wish anyone bad luck, but would it be so bad if the guy broke his leg on the first day of practice?

Speaking of sports, why in hell does the clock count “up” in World Cup soccer?  Why does it start at ‘0’ and count up to 90 minutes for a regulation game?  Doesn’t it make more sense to count down to zero?  Then I can look at the clock and say Oh, there’s 12 and a half minutes left.  I don’t have to do any freakin’ arithmetic.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, you have the added uncertainty of how many minutes are going to be added at the end of regulation (since the clock never stops).  How they do that is a complete mystery to me.  And don’t even get me started on how boring the whole thing is.  I mean, Spain walked away with all the marbles and only scored a total of 8 goals.  Can you imagine a baseball team winning the World Series if they only scored 8 runs in 4 to 7 games?  That’s the real reason the fans in the stadium were blowing on those horns from hell.  It was to keep people awake.

Finally, since this is a photography blog (of sorts), I have to wonder why people say that they like (and use) HDR because it matches “how they see”.  Oh, really?  Those images that you like that look like overexposed cartoons are “how you see”?  That’s strange, because I don’t think my eyes work that way.  Yes, my eyes can see tonal ranges that are greater than my camera’s sensor.  But if I’m looking at a bright sky at sunrise or sunset, I honestly can’t see the detail in the rocks or bushes at my feet.  Unless I look away from the sky.  And neither can you.  If you want to make a photograph that shows that detail and that tremendous range, that’s your business.  But don’t tell me that that’s “how you see”.  That’s just crap.


12 Responses to “Life’s Little Mysteries”

  1. Don

    Wow! Someone got up on the wrong side of the rockpile.

    I think when I was a scout that three rocks piled up meant as a trail marker, but then again who knows?

    And PLEASE anything that reminds me of Anne Coulter naked is scary, it would be like a swan with no feathers, UGLY, and sorry but she is already there.

    As far as LeBron it is all about show me the money, no fan or team loyalty at all.

    When it comes to HDR, I have fooled around with Topaz Adjust to make a picture POP, but it is not how I see it and I usually, in less I forget, tell my blog readers when I fool around with PS or Topaz.

    • Paul Maxim

      “Wrong side of the rockpile”. That’s funny. More likely the humidity around here, though. That’ll make me a bit grumpy. Anne Coulter naked is definitely a scary mental image. But she definitely likes those short skirts. Maybe she figures if we’re looking at her legs we won’t be thinking about what she’s saying….

  2. Ken Bello

    Paul, I remember using the zone system in B&W, film processing and printing to get the most out of the highlights and shadows, a type of HDR (without the fancy name). I used variable contrast papers and sometimes I changed filters on a print during exposure to get what I wanted in the print. Needless to say, I wasted a lot of paper, chemistry, time and money on trials before I got what I wanted, but it usually was worth it. Digital makes this much easier and I like having the control it offers without the expense. I think sometimes photographers can’t stop themselves with this control and end up over exaggerating colors and tonality. I’m guilty of this myself from time to time if I think it’s suitable to the photo.
    Also, I usually ignore celebrities, sports figures and most people in the broadcast and entertainment industries, so whatever they do, it never bothers me. Works for me.

    • Paul Maxim

      I think you hit the nail on the head, Ken, when you said “sometimes photographers can’t stop themselves”. They do it not because they need to, but because they can. I remember when Photoshop first came out with their “Highlight / Shadow” tool. People went crazy with it. That’s the only thing I personally object to – the excess. If you look for HDR on Flickr, for example, you can find all kinds of weird looking stuff. It’s like an addiction or something.

    • Paul Maxim

      Chris: Sorry if it sounded like I was singling you out here. I wasn’t. This little rant was more the result of an ongoing conversation with another photographer I met a few months ago. He likes HDR more than I do, but he’s very careful in his use of it. We spent some time the other day looking at images on Flickr that were way, way overcooked. Just plain ugly, in my view. If I had been referring to your post (and my comment on it), I would have directly referenced it. I know that you never said that that’s “how you see” in a physical sense.

    • Paul Maxim

      Hi, Sven. Thanks for stopping by. That’s an interesting article you referenced. In a way I can see his point of view, but in the end I don’t think the argument holds up. Saying that “low scoring soccer fulfills other human desires: such as, to not lose”, kind of leaves me flat. As the old saying goes, a tie in sports is like kissing your sister. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but what’s the point? And I wonder if the writer is being a little tongue in cheek when he says “low scoring games are easy for fans to talk about because there isn’t much to recollect”. He’s certainly right about that.

      In the final analysis, I tend to believe that if you’re going to keep score, you might as well play to win. Playing “not to lose” just isn’t the same thing. But clearly that’s what a lot of the teams were doing. Scoring was secondary to their primary objective, which was to keep the other team from scoring. I think I would rather see “my team” lose while playing to win than see them wind up with a draw while playing not to lose.

    • Paul Maxim

      No need to “apologize”, Michael. It wasn’t our conversation. It was some of the images that we were looking at on Flickr during that conversation. As Reinhard points out, most of the Flickr community HDR examples are “done wrong”. Many appear cartoonish. It’s one of those techniques, I think, where less is more and more is just a very bad idea.

      • Michael Frank

        Agreed, while there may be some instances where the judicious use of HDR is warranted, it’s overuse can be more than just counterproductive. It seems, at least for me in my early development as a dilettante photographer, that relying on HDR can impede the necessary process of learning sound technique. Although, certainly there are some who purposely produce cartoonish images. Those images aside, the others probably could’ve been better served by applying proper technique from the start.

  3. sulochanosho

    Yes, it seems the human mind is one and the same across the globe with little peripheral changes here and there. In India also I have seen in many ‘holy’ places, people just pile up the stones/ little rock pieces like a tower in the belief of some fulfilment of their life desires directly from the Almighty. We know little about the mysteries or otherwise, how the human consciousness may move or live on. Fascinating picture there captured. Thanks.


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