Tuesday's haven't been very good to me this month

A week ago, my back was twinging at lunch. I noticed it when I was sitting on uneven cushions at lunch.
That night, when I was stretching out at aikido, rather than getting better, it got worse. Much worse. To the point I had trouble straightening up and walking.
I went to a chiropractor the next day, for the first time, and it did help, but my back is still sore.

This was very inconvenient, because I was supposed to take a practice exam for my brown belt test that night. With my exam on June 7th, missing a week of practice is not a good thing.

Last night, I was about to leave the office, to go back to the dojo for the first time in a week, I got called into the owner's office. There are several contracts that they were counting on, and didn't get, and I got laid off.

I'm almost afraid to find out what next Tuesday brings.

Details for the chicago show

I need to include an artist's bio and an artist's statement with my picture. I'm pretty much lost about what to write.

How about for the bio:

Larry Colen has lived in Central California since shortly after his first birthday. His first exposure to photography was in 7th grade when his father bought a Pentax Spotmatic II. A few months later, his family moved to the Santa Cruz mountains and started doing darkroom work in a summer school photography class, then at home when he and his father built their own darkroom.

After college, when he no longer had ready access to a darkroom, his interest in photography lay semi-dormant for several years while his playtime was mostly spent on other interests such as sports car racing and dancing. In November of 2007 he replaced a stolen FZ50 with his first DSLR, a Pentax K100D super and his love of photography was rekindled.

He enjoys both the technical and artistic challenges and opportunities of modern photographic technology, whether it is dancers in a room too dark for reading, studio portraits, food in a restaurant, or a landscape.

While he hasn't had much formal education in photography, he is constantly striving to improve his skills, and now nearing fifty hopes to one day be nearly as good of a photographer as he thought he was 35 years ago.

For the statement:

This photo was taken on a group photo outing to the Salton Sea. It was shot at Bombay beach at Sunset with a wide angle lens and the camera held right at the surface of the water.

With the mirror smooth water, the picture can also be hung “upside down” to lend a sublte cognitive dissonance to viewers.

Missed it by -><- that much

We've got a small crunch going at work, the boss wants something shipped tomorrow so the software department (that would be Gian-Carlo and I) stayed a bit late to work on it. As I was packing my stuff to leave I noticed that it was a rather nice sunset. Then it dawned on me (if you'll pardon the paronomasia) that it was a really nice sunset, with gorgeous clouds and I was not far from a beach with a scenic pier.

Making some small amount of haste on my way to the beach, I watched in dismay as the colors faded from the sky. Not so much that there was no point in trying, but 10 minutes later, it was well past it's prime. I generally avoid sunset shots. Yes, they're pretty, but there's not much I can do that hasn't already been done. However, a beautiful sky can be a very nice addition to an already decent photo.

I spent some time at the beach taking photos in the fading light, none of which really lived up to my hopes, but in the process I did learn a few things, not the least of which is to bring a flashlight so that I can properly set my lenses focused to infinity when it's too dark to focus through the viewfinder. I also think that I've learned that while the K-x does amazingly well at ISO 6400, and in good light it's just fine at ISO 400, trying to get good landscape shots in dim light at 400-800 seem to be where it is weakest in IQ, at least compared to the K20.

On my way back to the car I realized that the post sunset light on the clouds was a much better backdrop to the tree by the stairs than daylight, when I had tried photographing it before. As luck would have it, this afterthought photo, which I had initially walked past, but on a lark walked the 20m back for, ended up being my strongest shot of the evening.

There was also an discussion, amusing in retrospect, with someone going so far out of her way to be conciliatory that her attitude made me feel far more confrontational than she otherwise would have. As you might guess, I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to work so close to such a scenic location. I may have missed the peak of sunset colors tonight, but I'm sure that I'll have plenty of other opportunities.

Just before I got back to the car, I saw a few people walking to the beach. Since there were no other cars parked nearby, they obviously lived in the neighborhood. Just like my father had for about ten years. Dad had always loved photography, and is almost solely responsible for my introduction to the craft. I couldn't help but think how much he would have loved to have DSLRs when he lived right next to the beach.

Just as I missed the photo tonight by just a few minutes, its rather sad to think that Dad missed this era of photography by just a few years.



The rest of tonight's set:
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/ellarsee/sets/72157623614829231/

Larry update

My life's been in a weird holding pattern lately. Not much progress on the career front. I hope to start digging in and getting some programming done again. Get my chops back. The last job had me doing more and more other stuff, which meant that my programming kept getting rustier, though I did get pretty good at writing documentation and putting together training presentations.

I was making fair progress towards my upcoming kyu exam in aikido, and was asked to uke for a friend taking his 5 kyu test on Saturday morning. So while my training has still been intense, it's been a different sort of intense.

I was making pretty good progress on my fitness goals. My weight had dropped from a peak of 207 down to actually seeing 190 one morning. Then, during kangeiko, my weight started going back up, and I'm now back up to about 196. Part of that was probably having cola available at the house, some of that is from eating more to compensate for the crazy schedule during kangeiko, some of that is my having a worse diet while Zab is sick, being more likely to grab fast food etc. Some of it may be muscle mass, but not all of it.

I need to start amping up my cardio workouts. After Saturday my after class training can be more about my doing stuff, rather than coaching my friend. I've also started riding my bike again. I did a couple of short rides this week, only about 7 miles each, but 1,100 and 1,500 feet of climbing, so they weren't totally wimpy rides.

I've been taking photos, but haven't done any studio work in ages. First I tore the living room apart to remodel it, then Zab got sick, then other stuff came up, now Zab is sick again. My new studio strobe arrived today, a Paul C Buff X1,600 to replace the WL 10,000 that died in December. It puts out almost three times the light, and is much more adjustable. I also have a couple of smaller strobes I haven't had much chance to work with.

I have been putting together a portfolio of my photos. I have a couple of small folders of 8x12-ish prints, but need to make some sets of band, food and product photos, I also need to put together a set of my 10 to 20 best photos ever, because 80 is just too much for someone to look through.