Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 04/26/16: Voting, 28mm, The Ache of Neil Jordan

1.  When was the last time I strode into a physical polling location and cast a vote? Having lived in Oregon for so many years after Oregon instituted voting by mail, I really don't remember. Today, however, I did dash up to Greenbelt Elementary School and pick up a ballot and ink in the circles; then, instead of dropping my ballot in a box, I placed it in a scanner and my vote was electronically tallied.

2. Earlier in the day, I exercised some photography muscles that were going to atrophy if I continued to neglect them. Over the last few months, I've been taking pictures exclusively with my Sigma 18-200, f/3.5-6.3 lens, with automatic focus and built in light meter.  It's the perfect lens, really, for the kind of pictures I've been taking at the aquatic gardens or on the National Mall and other such places because I can easily alternate between wide angle shots and zooming in on subjects.  Well, today, I took my 28mm, f/2,5 manual lens for a stroll around Greenbelt Lake and I suddenly realized that I didn't know much about what the strengths of a wide angle lens are.  I returned home, looked at my pictures -- they are okay -- and I found this article. It's a beginner's guide to the 28mm lens and now I want to get it back out and see if I can more consciously take advantage of what the 28 mm lens is best for.

3. I've been watching movies I first saw 20-40 years ago. Titles pop in my head and I see if they are available at the library and it's been fun to experience again, now that I'm in my sixties, movies I watched when I was in my twenties and thirties and early forties. I've been especially keen on watching movies that are, to me, stories about loneliness, or, put another way, about longing, the longing for companionship, closeness, and, sometimes, intimate love. Today, I two watched movies written and directed by Neil Jordan:  Mona Lisa and The Crying Game.  Both movies made me ache. In both, loneliness and longing had multiple effects on characters, ranging from the development of deep loyalties to outbursts of physical violence to tenderness to acts of courage in the face of mortal danger.

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