Friday, September 22, 2006

Dark Clouds

People who know me, know that I tend to be a bit of a private person. As a result, my blogging has not reflected much of my personal life. I apologize, but this is my comfort level.

However, today I make an exception.

Today I found out my mother's cancer has returned in a most aggressive manner. The doctor has given her only 1-2 months left to live sadly. No more treatment. No more tests. Only hospice.

To let my readers know, my blogging and my posts will be rather sporadic from now on. I will still try to blog and post from time to time as an outlet.

For the time being, some very dark clouds have entered my life right now.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lost in Translation

The other day I was discussing a common Hungarian birthday tradition of "pulling the birthday person's ear" with a couple of my labmates. It was a tradition I had grown up with and they wanted to know more about this tradition. Sadly, I could not provide them with more information, so, we got onto our favorite information source, the internet!

Although we could not find the origins of this tradition, we came across a blog that listed some various Hungarian traditions and customs. As I was reading down the list, one of my labmates (who was much further down the list) mentioned that he hoped that the one he was reading was a translational error. My other labmate who was also further down the list mentioned that it would probably cause him to get arrested in the U.S. if he tried that one. Of course my curiosity was piqued, and I kept reading down the list until I finally came to the one they were referring to:

Touch your knob, if you see a chimney sweeper, it brings luck.

Oh my!!!! The mental image this one produced! I could not stop laughing for I think about a total of five straight minutes. Of course, my stomach just ached from that much laughter. Of course my fellow labmates were laughing just as much as I was at that point. We discussed the fact that most likely someone had not properly translated and something had been, as the proverbial, lost in translation. Or in this case, something was gained in translation. And not a good thing either.

So, I went home that evening and consulted my English/Hungarian dictionary, and sure enough, I found the error.

Knob can be translated into gomb. However, gomb usually means button. Most likely the error occurred when someone translated gomb directly into knob.

So, if I may, I would like to warn, when translating from other languages, please, please, check and double check for the nuances of the words! Otherwise, it can produce some very interesting mental images. Or even worse, someone may even try that!

Considering I am of Hungarian descent, I must say that I did have a bit of explaining to do...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Love Changes Everything

I noticed that the air has been a bit cooler where I live and that has brought about some melancholy on my part.

The reason for this is that in about 6-8 weeks time frame, my photography will pretty much be going into "hibernation mode" considering that my main interest lies in macro photography of flora. Of course, from time to time, I will find something of interest to photograph until springtime arrives, but for the most part, the things I enjoy photographing the most will die back with the first frost.

As I feel this mood of melancholy, I reflect back upon my various photography expeditions.

I think perhaps this was my most memorable expedition:

I was out in Lake County looking for a certain saprophyte that I wanted to photograph. This was after it was quite rainy. Aside from being devoured and annoyed by the various insects, I was attempting to delicately trek my way through some very muddy and wet regions. Suffice it to say, I found what I thought was the "path of least resistance" and decided to go that route. In my wisdom (or shall I say ignorance), I slipped and fell into a nice pool of mud. After being indignant for a few moments, I tried to get up only to slip and fall again. After repeating this a few more times, I found myself quite submerged in the mud pool. Eventually I managed to get myself out, but only after coming out looking like the swamp creature from some horror movie. Fortunately for me, there was a river nearby and I decided to go into the river to bathe and wash myself free of all the mud.

Later that same day, I came upon some rather nice looking mushrooms in my trek. They really were quite beautiful and I decided to start photographing some of them. There was one in particular that really caught my eye and I wanted to spend some time with it getting good photos with different angles and settings. So I laid down on the ground and got shutter happy with it. I was quite pleased and really having an enjoyable time working with my camera. The ground was soft and mossy and rather comfortable, so being there for a while was not an issue. Eventually I decided to get up only to find most of my body covered in maggots and some sort of decaying ooze. Apparently I was laying in what seemed like a "nest" of maggots. Back to the river I went to bathe myself free of the maggots and ooze. I remember uttering something about "there is such a thing as too much nature" in my disgust.

I was concerned about what I could possibly be laying on/in that there were so many maggots. What the heck was all that decomposed ooze??? Fortunately for me, I found there was no "body" that the maggots were feasting on. I figured out that since there were ample mushrooms around, there are certain mushrooms that fly larvae love to feast on and hence was the decomposed "ooze".

I have to confess, that looking back upon this particular expedition, if someone were to ask me a year ago if I was willing to endure all this, I would look the person square in the face and tell that person that s/he was insane for even thinking I would do such a thing.

However, my newfound love of photography has changed certain things about me. I would even venture to say that I myself, have turned into a chimera of sorts. Part city chic, part intellectual, and part nature-lover.

So, it is true, love changes everything...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Katie is a Cookie Today

You Are a Black and White Cookie

You're often conflicted in life, and you feel pulled in two opposite directions.
When you're good, you're sweet as sugar. And when you're bad, you're wicked!

Now I have a craving to go buy a cookie. Geez, I wonder why!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Once again, I am going to be shameless and link to a video for Friday Cat Blogging.

So, check this video out! This is only funny with the sound, so turn it on. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Size Matters

For some, size matters...

This is the biggest super telephoto lens for nature photography. Custom made of course. Click on here for more information and specifications.

I am curious, how does one mount and support that thing at a whopping 256kg? Do you mount it on a small missile launcher or what? Do you use a tank to maneuver the thing? What the heck? And this is designed for nature photography??? What are you going to photograph in nature with this? An ant in a neighboring country? Life on Mars? The man on the moon? Okay, I know I am exaggerating here, but really, what the heck in nature does one photograph with this monstrosity?

However, I am a bit impressed by how big and long that lens is. No doubt, I am sure anyone would be. It is not every day you come across something like that.

However, I will confess and say that what holds my attention and really impresses me is not the size of a lens, but how you use it...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Things I Learned While Doing Photography

Since embarking on my newfound passion of photography early this spring, not only has my photography improved, but I have learned some other things along the way:

Insect repellent is an oxymoron. All that insect repellent seems to do is just slow them down a bit. They will find you tasty no matter what you have put on your skin and clothing.

Protective clothing against insects does nothing. Just makes 'em more determined. They go by the adage of "Where there is a will, there is a way". They WILL find their way through the clothing.

Bees and wasps find you most interesting when you have forgotten the epinephrine. Corollary: Bees and wasps will pretty much ignore you when you have the epinephrine handy.

Direct sunlight does not deter mosquitoes. Only works with vampires and perhaps the more wimpy mosquitoes.

Being stuck in the mud takes on a whole new meaning when you literally can't get out of a mud pool and keep falling back in several times.

Look before you leap into that swamp to take a picture of that nice looking spatterdock. There is a lot to be said for tempering enthusiasm for a good photo.

You stop caring what people think about you carrying around a big black umbrella because you were dumb enough to forget to bring your hat and were genetically cursed with very light blue eyes and sunglasses just isn't enough for the bright sunlight.

You stop caring what people think about you sitting in a swamp taking a picture of that nice looking bladderwort.

You stop caring about what people think about you covered from head to toe in mud from falling several times in the mud pool because after all, you got a picture of that nice saprophyte.

There exists a linear relationship between the number of insect/arachnid bites you must endure and how bad you want to photograph a certain subject matter.

Monday, September 11, 2006


The Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances,
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal-chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
From a world more full of weeping than he can

--William Butler Yeats

Picture taken early this spring at Blue Heron Reserve with my digital point and shoot.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Chocolate Fantasy

Click here to read about the man who go stuck in a vat of chocolate.

For me, this would be more of a fantasy rather than an ordeal.

Gosh, I will not even touch upon the sexual connotations on this one...

Friday Cat Blogging

This video is TOO good! The audio goes well with the clip, so if you have sound, turn it on for this one!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Getting Noticed

I really enjoy visiting the botanical gardens. It gives me not only an opportunity to do some photography, but also it is a place that has a soothing effect on me and seems to melt away my troubles when I can't make it to my woodland escape.

When I initially started visiting the botanical gardens this summer, there was this nice guide who came up to me and started talking to me. He told me that he remembered me from my previous visit the week prior. I thought to myself, how nice, that I formed such a memorable impression considering all the people that must wander through in a week's time frame. Maybe it was my blue eyes? Maybe he considered me attractive? Maybe the "whole package" left a memorable impression somehow. My curiosity got the better of me during the conversation, so I delicately asked him why it was that he remembered me out of so many people that wander through. He told me it was the ring flash on my camera and that he had never seen one before...

Just last week I was browsing through the gift shop at the botanical gardens. As I wandered through, someone at the counter got my attention and told me that I left one of my membership cards there last week and they have it for me. I told the person that it was very nice that I was remembered and thanked the person for bringing it to my attention. The person then said that my camera equipment was very distinctive and not so easy to forget...


Now, I do confess, that I know that I have a pair of really great macro lenses, but behind them after all is a person...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Ah, it is time for Friday Cat Blogging again!

Here is a picture of Rorschach for your viewing! He is licking and enjoying one of the little catnip pillows the cats got for Christmas. Yes, they are STILL enjoying their presents from Christmas!

Picture taken with my digital point and shoot. I don't yet dare go after them with the DSLR just yet!
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