Learning, relearning and acceptance

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin

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(two pictures of the same little toadstool, the first one is with the old camera, the second with the new camera, I think the old camera works just as well. . .Julie Cook / 2015)

I think we all remember yesterday’s post regarding my new camera fiasco.
You remember, right?
The fancy smancy one my husband gave me for Christmas?
The one I was having to venture out onto a new learning curve over?
As in it has all sorts of different lens.
The one that scared me a little, actually a lot, but which I decided learning how to use would be a great new adventure. . .?

Well—(insert heavy sigh)—-

It’s all packed back up in the shipping box complete with the macro lens and camera bag along with the packing slip.
Also the additional zoom lens I decided I needed after it turned out the fancy smancy camera could not zoom in on distant objects as well as my old point and shoot, it too is also boxed up and ready for return shipping.

(insert another heavy sigh)

It seems I may just want the best of both worlds and that sadly does not exist.

The new zoom lens arrived today.
I attached it to the camera and went outside to “practice” zooming.
Imagine my chagrin when the new lens no more zoomed up on anything than I could by squinting.
The old Nikon point and shoot with its fixed lens, not an interchangeable lens, could certainly zoom.

AAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH could be heard echoing off the back woods.

I immediately marched inside and proceed to call the good people at Sony.
The first person did not speak English and I worried that he knew about as much about cameras as he did English.
I thanked him and hung up.
I then called back and reached a nice and informative young lady.
I began my tale of frustration.
She assured me that the camera my husband gave me was top of the line, which I knew, and that it would take great pictures but it just wasn’t going to zoom like my old camera. They (Sony) had not yet come out with a lens for the a6000 e-mount series that could do what I wanted. Which I find odd. Why put a camera on the market without providing it, and those who purchase it, with the capacity to do what other cameras can do? Plus she told me lenses were going to be a huge investment.
UGH.

She suggested a nice point and shoot that had a super zoom ability as well as a macro setting yet wouldn’t “macro” to the extent of the fancy smancy camera’s macro lens, yet could provide most likely what I was looking for in a camera. But didn’t I have a point and shoot already in my old camera and hadn’t I wanted to try something new, hence the new camera? A new camera that just couldn’t do what the old camera was capable of doing.

Dilemma and frustration were now reaching a crescendo within me as I fretted over what to do.

It remains boxed ready to be returned. The point and shoot would probably be the more practical of the two as it would be a great travel camera and an all over “go to” when wanting to take a variety of pictures. The fancy little camera on the other hand did take great pictures with great close ups but that’s about it.

Whoever would think that the purchase of a camera could be so vexing?

So as I wrestle with the decision to keep or to return the camera, I am reminded that not only is the learning of how to work new things, along with the new skills associated with said new things, ever important, the acknowledgement and accepting of where our abilities lie is equally as important.

Multiple lenses and what all that would entail with the investing in endless pieces for a camera that requires a great deal of care and work may not, for me–a mere grab the camera and go for it individual, be very practical. And therein lies my issue—what I am is one thing and what I want to be is something else entirely. Accepting what I am and where I am as far as causal hobbyist verses working toward a level of professionalism is the key to sorting out this little issue.

So as for now I will continue to think about what I want in a camera while more importantly I begin to learn to accept the reality of my needs verses my wants–in both who I am and with what it is that I need in order to be successful in not only the big things but as well as the little things in this thing we call life.

Be careful what you ask for. . .

“You cannot always depend on prayers to be answered the way you want them answered but you can always depend on God. God, the loving Father often denies us those things which in the end would prove harmful to us. Every boy wants a revolver at age four, and no father yet has ever granted that request. Why should we think God is less wise? Someday we will thank God not only for what He gave us, but also for that which He refused.”
― Fulton J. Sheen

“For prayer is request. The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted.”
― C.S. Lewis

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(a practice shot of a toadstool with the new macro lens / Julie Cook / 2015)

Stressed and stretched as far as your limit allows, you decide praying for patience is your only hope.
Oddly life only seems to get worse.
You then try praying for even more patience.
Life gets almost unbearable.
Confused and troubled, it finally dawns on you. . .

God is no fairy godmother waving a magic wand.

There is no heavenly magic Fraiy-God holding a wand over our heads, granting us our heart’s desire.
God is no genie hiding in a lamp waiting to grant wishes.
As much as we wish He worked that way, jumping in to give us magically what we decide we need, He does not.
Praying for patience results in circumstances requiring more patience—call it a heavenly learning curve if you will, as our lives are indeed all about learning and growing.

Enter my latest learning curve.

I thought I knew what I really wanted for Christmas.
A brand new camera.
Oooooo
I’ve always had a little camera of sorts over the years.
When I was growing up, my dad was always into cameras— so naturally, starting when I was around 10, I had my very own small kodak. Remember those flash cubes?
Eventually I graduated to a 35mm when I was in high school–that was back in the day when we actually used real film, had to focus a camera ourselves and attach an expensive flash attachment.

Enter the digital age–an age I have reluctantly dared to venture.

A trusty, ever evolving, automatic point and shoot has basically filled my needs—a camera to take pictures of our son growing up, family trips and vacations, gatherings of friends etc.—-and like the proverbial watch, any camera of mine would need to take a licking and keep on ticking as I tend to be a tad rough on things.

As I got older, I eventually retired from teaching and my sights turned to new forms of creativity.

With newly added gusto, I picked up my camera, started taking pictures and started this little blog of mine.
That was 2 years ago February.

Forever a stickler for detail, I have always loved those closeup magnified images of the simplest objects. Images of random things such as bugs and flowers, items both animate and inanimate, magnified to offer the viewer a zoomed-in hyper image of detail—it’s that wow factor of photography. I suppose that’s why I have such an affinity for the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle ages with their beautiful tiny attentions to detail. And whereas I am no longer really painting or working on my own version of those manuscripts, I am, however, seeking detail—just in a more photographic approach.

Enter a desire for macro.

Frustrated by the fact that my latest Nikon point and shoot could only zoom up on closeup objects just so much, I decided I needed to expand my horizons.
However. . .a new camera would require some learning and adjusting.
It should be known that I am a fierce creature of habit (be quiet Sophie)
I am far from being a camera pro.
I don’t know apertures, shutter speeds, back lighting, yada, yada.
I am no techie.
No pintrest, no instagram, no flicker, no twitter, no facebook.
I don’t like complicated.
I like simple.
I like easy.
I like pure.
Hummmm

I set my sites on a Sony Ax 5100. It would require the ability to change out the lens of the camera.
Hummmm. . .
The camera would still be smallish, sleek and automatic to a certain degree. . .I could certainly change out a lens or two right?

I’ve looked at this particular little camera on and off for about a year now at BestBuy (don’t go there, that’s another post for another day)

I had used a Sony in my classroom and was pretty certain I wanted another one now.
I called Sony.
I explained my level of knowledge—that being low.
I explained my wants in photography.
I explained my likes and dislikes in my current camera.
The kind Sony lady told that the 5100 should do the trick.
Next I wrote down all of the info on a piece of paper (price, order numbers, phone numbers) that I then, not so discreetly, left for my husband to find, and with fingers crossed, he would utilize as his shopping list for my Christmas gift.

On Christmas morning, much to my excitement, I opened a package that contained what I just knew had to be my camera!!!
It was a camera,but wait, this wasn’t the one I had written down.
This was a 6000
What?!
AAAGGGGGHHHHHH
In my husband’s very big but misdirected heart, he figured bigger was better and should not I, his wife deserve, the bigger which obviously equates to better camera? There is sweetness in that thinking but it doesn’t help in detailed specifics.
Lets just say a 6000 is for more of a picture taking aficionado and not the queen of point, shoot, click.
UGH.

Add to the now huge unanticipated learning curve of a very fancy smancy camera that came with one lens attached, along with a macro lens found hiding in another package, as now neither of the two lens could zoom up on far way images, like the birds and deer I so like to stalk with a camera, not like my now old Nikon—hence another lens would be required–making a total of 3 lens.
Ugh.

Enter frustration.

Do you know how to hide disappointment on your face?
I do not.
Which in turn leads to disappointment in the gift giver, aka my husband, who is still trying to figure out why bigger is not better.
I now need a third lens.
May I just say lens are not cheap, with some of them costing 3 to 4 times the cost of the freaking camera.
UGH
Christmas night found us online seeking one more lens.
It should be here tomorrow.

In the meanwhile. . .

Today, after the holiday fracas has finally and slowly subsided as the Christmas company has all departed, returning back home, with Life now slowly beginning to regain its routine, I settled into the studying of this new camera.

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A couple of practice shots with the macro lens appear promising yet tells me that there is still much more to be practiced and learned, yet I did feel a hopeful tinge of excitement edging out the disappointed frustration.

Enter the pink tiny crab.
He was on a small twig of driftwood I found on Oregon’s Cannon Beach a summer ago. He was deceased but preserved perfectly. I brought him home. Who knew he still had sand specks stuck on his body?!

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How about a small dried piece of shelf fungus. . .

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So as I continue this uncomfortable yet productive journey of learning, I am reminded that with any sort of wanting and asking, there will always be responsibilities attached to such, there will be many lessons to be learned, practice and skills will have to be experienced and mastered, as there will be frustration and work.

Things should not always come easy to us.
Things should stretch us, mould us, move us.
God made us to be entities that can learn and grow, evolve and grow.
We are not stagnant creatures.
Yet learning and growing is not easy nor is it always meant to be comfortable.
Beginning the acquisition of any new skill is hard and tough yet the satisfaction of mastering something challenging, not being given or magically granted success but rather toiling, sweating and fighting over it all, is certainly oh so sweet.

So on this new Monday of this new week, of this new month and of this brand new year, make certain that the next time you ask for or wish for something— you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and are willing to be challenged, pushed and pulled mentally as well as physically. Trust me, you’ll be the better for it in the long run.
Now where’s that other new lens. . .

Moral obligations

“Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.”
― Catherine of Siena

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”
Sigmund Freud

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(ornaments / Julie Cook / 2014)

Does the ability to be creative and expressive give license and free rein to the one being creative or expressive to work without limits, boundaries or parameters?

Does the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of United States of America state that freedom of speech, as well as what some equate to be the right of creative self expression, equate to the ability to say everything and anything about anyone and anything regardless of what may be said and as to how it may be said?

Does the “right” to free speech and what is interpreted as the freedom of creative expression, as is often considered to be a subcategory to the continuum of the concept of freedom of speech, bare any responsibility to what is therefore spoken or “created”?

Just because someone may believe that it is an inherent right to say and create what is believed to be funny and / or a parody and / or that which is offensive to others–does that “right” and freedom therefore make it ok to do so? —Even if it is making fun of or mocking another or what another finds important or sacred?
Does it make it ok if the one being mocked and made fun of is considered to be a bad person or not a nice person?

Such questions now swirl throughout this country following the hacking onslaught of Sony Pictures.

“Oh but sure, this is America (you now can heard saying)–we can say and do whatever we want about anybody we want whenever we want and we can do it in any fashion we so choose. We want to laugh so therefore we can make fun of whatever and whomever we so choose and pay good money doing so–because we can. Hey it’s ok, they’re the bad guys, so we can say whatever we want, right? And who cares if someone “over there” gets mad. This is American, we can and will do as we please.”

This of which now seems to be the sad battle cry of those who feel as if the gauntlet has been thrown down over Hollywood’s freedom of expression.

Perhaps there is more to this “right” and freedom business then just the sake of the “right”. . .
Might the idea of responsibility come attached to our rights and freedoms?
Might a moral responsibility to others not play a role?

Just because we can do and or say something, does that necessarily make it right?
Just because they’re “bad” does that make us better and therefore affording us the “freedom to say whatever we want when and how we want?

Yes, I agree. . .I’m mad. How dare they, whoever they are, or anyone for that matter, “hack” us (as in Sony, and all things Hollywood, now seem to represent everything we stand for as according to the news) with an insidious attempt to intimidate, threaten and cripple.
How dare they threaten us, or any other nation for that matter.
Of course we keep telling ourselves that we are America, therefore we are better than them, whoever “them” is, and we, as Americans, always take the high road on the world stage, right?
We are the good guys.
So how dare they do this to us.

Yet if we are supposedly the good guys and they, whoever they are, are the bad guys, does that not mean there should be some sort of moral approach associated with taking the proverbial high road and of being the good and better of the two?
So perhaps the making of movies that depict, albeit a tongue and cheek, assassination of a world leader, is not exactly taking the high road.
The movie is a parody yes.
Something made to poke fun of.
Not making any attempt to use any bit of “make believe” or masking of the true identity of the real country when creating the story line, allowing viewers to come to their own conclusions as to who was the intended subject, the script writers rather took the bold approach of straight up writing a farce about sending a couple of idiots to kill a real world leader, albeit a bad guy world leader.
Somehow I don’t see the humor in that.

The North Korean Government is indeed part of the bad guys on the world stage–there is no doubt about that, however making fun of them or any other evil leader and / or country in our movies, doesn’t seem to lessen their menacing regime and the very real threat they pose on a global scale—try getting South Korea to laugh as they live under the North’s bullying threats on a daily basis.

I fear Hollywood may have forgotten that there was never an ending to the Korean War, which was actually known as a police action, as there was merely a “cease fire”— which means, in the odd twisted mind of North Korea, they are still at war. . .and perhaps, like a hornets nest, it is not wise to take a stick to the nest, banging on it, antagonizing said hornets. Yet sadly we allow our bravado and ego to give courage to our taunting of the hornets.

A moral conscious obligation.

When we Americans learned of the harsh and perceived inhumane tactics conducted by our National Security and Intelligent communities towards our enemies, we were heard to shout “that is not us, we are better than that! This is America, we are the good guys!”

It seems as if we want to task our Government and Governmental Agencies with the responsibility of doing the “right” thing by others. . .yet. . .
should we also not also demand and task other aspects of our society with the same responsibility of a moral high ground? Such as our entertainment industry?
Humor is one thing but when it is cruel, invokes murder plots, underhandedness, lies. . .it seems to somehow lose the humor—especially when we think of the very real human lives which have been lost to this and other “evil” nations throughout the history of wars, tortures and captivity.

Are we not a nation tasked with setting the ultimate example of what it is to live in a nation steeped in democracy and the freedoms and liberties that come with that democracy? Should we not take such responsibility seriously and understand that being “free” comes with a moral obligation and deep responsibility not only to ourselves but to others around the globe? We are the standard bearer of democracy and what it is to live in a free nation— therefore we are expected to do the right thing by ourselves and others, respecting the mantle that has been placed upon our humbled shoulders.

Perhaps we need to reconsider what it means to lead and what it means to be a global example of freedom, remembering that with such gifts and “rights” come grave responsibility—not to do and say whatever we please rather sophomorically out of our arrogance or based upon ego but rather we are to be the example of living out an entrusted responsibility–one entrusted to us for over 200 years.

I rather think any Korean War veteran who fought, was wounded, or to those countless soldiers who lost their lives fighting, would ask that we remember what it is to be a part of this very nation, the country of freedom and democracy, the very things they fought and scarified everything for by setting an example to the rest of the world.

Sadly I know there are those who will argue that our ability to make such idiotic movies and to then see said idiotic movies is all a part of our rights and freedoms, of which I agree, saying that yes it is—but I also then say that just because we can doesn’t make it wise or right. May we be the examples who rise above petty humor and parody, who rise above ego and arrogance, as we take the high road being the example of responsibility to and with our freedoms and liberties.

Rights to entertainment or moral obligation, that’s the real question.