Winter term concluded nicely: solid work through 9th and 10th week, then caught a ride with Anna out to Madison for a couple weeks with Justin & company. Finished up my finals and emailed them in from WI--everything was either a paper or take-home, so I was able to take my time, put in my best work on everything, and turn them in without a 4 hour drive. So, spring break felt like 3 weeks, which was a really nice change. I needed the space to decompress, get to know myself again.
I'm taking up the guitar again: bought an old Suzuki from a guy in Madison through Craigslist, which sounds pretty good. Deeply resonant sound, bit of a buzz (in the tuner?) on the open G string, but otherwise plays nicely. I ran into Dirk's Guitar Page, which pleasantly has many of the same pieces I played as a kid: Carcassi, Sor, Paganini. Progress has been surprisingly fast, but I'm a long way from playing well.
Carrie, Justin, Jenny, Bobby, and I all trekked down to Florida for Spring Break; my first independent vacation! It was really nice to spend the time with friends; screaming through the Tower of Terror at Disney World, swimming and hanging out with new friends from Ohio State at the beach, learning to play tennis, and just relaxing on the beach. I do regret not reading more of Quantum State Diffusion, but that's a small complaint.
I attended my first church service in a long time: communion at Unity church, a very open Christian community. Some of the books in their bookstore were a little laughable (crystal healing, for example), but I found many aspects of their faith beautiful. "Namaste", meaning "the spirit within me recognizes the spirit within you." It's a nice thing to remember, I think, because it is a statement one can make regardless of the acts or character of one's partner. No matter who you are or what you have done, we share a common part in humanity, and that much can always be honored. That brings up a question of the separability of humanity from character, but... maybe I'll talk about that later.
I came back to photography again, and the six photographs posted today are the product of that. I'm not entirely sure about the new direction in color; part of me feels like I'm aiming for bold, abstract statements that may be overreaching the original view, but I've also tried to remain true to my experience. Justin took me on a tour of the Wisconsin State Capitol, which started by walking with my eyes closed along the long northwest corridor to the central dome; when I looked up and opened them for the first time, this view of the dome's interior burst into view. It's hard to capture the overwhelming scale and dynamic range in the interior here; I've settled for a crisp dark/light contrast to retain the sunlight detail without introducing noise, but some parts don't feel right at all; for example, the central ceiling is almost totally black, instead of being well illuminated. That's partly a factor of dynamic range, but also of available light: handheld, all the longer exposures I took were too blurry for use.
Images like In the Gallery on the Third Floor are more natural, and reflect the vivid sunset colors without being overpowering. I think that's the direction I'll try to take more in the future. Please, enjoy.
Anyway, only 2 days in to the new term, and lots of work to do! More to follow, I hope.