Tag Archives: photos

Nearing the end of the semester

And all is well! Well… sort of.

The last two weeks have REALLY ramped up the busyness, and I am constantly reminded of how far behind I am on everything.

Joseph is not amused.
Joseph is not amused.

Despite all of that, I gave a well-received paper at the MTSU Holocaust Conference last week discussing Germans’ responses to the Stolpersteine. The conference has helped rekindle my interest in the project, which has been needed to help get this thing “put to bed” as we say in the newspaper business (not that I’m in the newspaper business anymore, but you get the idea.)

Also creeping up on my to-do list is the very, very, very scary decision of where to go for my Ph.D. program. I narrowed it down to four schools, but today I added one more for a nice, round five. Applying to five worked well for Master’s programs, so I will stick with the trend. The programs (in no particular order) are:

  • UTK (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right?)
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Georgia
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • The Maxwell School of Syracuse University

Not a bad collection, if I must say so. All of the schools have upper-mid-range Geography programs if you go by the most recent NRC rankings. History has taught me not to put much stock into getting accepted at top schools (cf. my experiences with Wisconsin and Minnesota), but none of these schools should be (too far) out of reach. Going by the rankings actually reveals some surprises:

  • Kentucky ranks as high as 9
  • Georgia ranks as high as 14
  • Syracuse at 16
  • UNC Chapel Hill at 20
  • UTK at 27

You really have to read the link about about the NRC’s research and ranking methods to understand the whole “as high as ##” statement, but suffice to say that the NRC does not give an outright ranking of programs anymore but rather a range based on multiple surveys and calculations.

Regardless of the rankings, I am excited at the possibility to work with the faculty I’ve picked out at any of these universities. To name drop, for the geographers in the audience, these include: Jamie Winders and Don Mitchell (Syracuse), Andy Herod (UGA), Altha Cravey and Nina Martin (UNC), Richard Schein, Patricia Ehrkamp, and Michael Samers (UK), and last but not least the most excellent Micheline van Riemsdijk, Josh Inwood, and Ron Kalafsky (the UT with the CORRECT shade of orange). Now I just have to start emailing all of these brilliant people to get the conversation rolling… Not a small task!

I know this post is just whetting your appetite for more, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to post some of my initial dissertation topic thoughts in the near future. They are still a work in progress, so we’ll see!

Scary-lantern? (Flickr Photos)

Originally uploaded by archelenon

I realize that I haven’t blogged or posted photos to Flickr in a while. But really, nobody has any comments? I’m disappointed!

I might have more time to blog this weekend or in the coming weeks, as we approach Thanksgiving Break.

I’m definitely going to try to post more pictures with my pretty new camera… Oh, did I fail to mention that I have a Nikon D90 now? Sorry…I didn’t want to advertise it right away.

News du jour

Karen and I made a couple of important decisions today, after we spent a good deal of time discussing things after work.

In no particular order:

We decided to begin looking at apartments around Martin, so after a Taco Bell run, we drove to a few spots in town. We looked at different apartments from the outside and got names and numbers. We won’t need one for a year, but one can never start the data gathering process too early.

Second, we decided that we are going to get a Westie when we get married. We have discussed on and off every few weeks for the last six months what kind of dog we want to get, when to get it, etc. We recently began looking for dogs that don’t shed much and that have hair instead of fur, because we are 99.5 percent sure that Karen is allergic to certain dogs (Rachel and Blair’s Murray, for instance).

So we decided on Westies. They fit our carefully planned list of criteria, and besides, who could resist something this cute?

With all this busyness, I didn’t get to have my photo adventure. Oh well. Suggestions are still welcome, and on top of that challenge, I’m issuing a new one!

I’ve been on Flickr a LOT lately at work (seven hours a day, only one or two hours of work to be done) and I’ve noticed that many of the top photographers on Flickr have at some point in the recent past shot a year-long series of self portraits. I thought this was a fabulous idea, and was contemplating taking on such a project myself.

But then Karen reminded me that I’m not so photogenic. And she didn’t exactly volunteer to model and be my subject, either.

I’ve thought of a few more ideas: 365 days of UTM, 365 landscapes, but there are problems with these ideas. I’m not at UTM every single day of the year, and there are plenty of days where no interesting landscapes come into focus on my camera.

So therefore I’m extending the challenge to you. What can I photograph for 365 days? Be original. Best of luck. I’ll let you know when one of you/I come up with anything.

In the meantime, enjoy more Westie photos.

Photo Lesson for Wednesday

I know that there are myriad photo lesson Web sites out there in the vastness of the Internet. (It is a series of tubes, after all.)

Today I reminded of a very valuable lesson about the importance of white balance that I think the world should at least have the opportunity to read. So with a little Fleetwood Mac on the iTunes (Don’t Stop/Yesterday’s Gone – the live version with what sounds to be a marching band accompanying them) let’s get down to it.

Backstory: As I was riding my bike to Gooch today from my voice lesson I passed the awesome tree shown above, which is right outside of the Honors Center. You can tell spring is coming just by looking at the tree, and for once I noticed it. Hey, sorry tree. I’ve been busy lately.

So as luck would have it, my camera was waiting for me in The Pacer office. I let Will borrow it yesterday to photostaff Cheryl DeYeso’s art show. He left his in that place that he lives. Not sure where that is exactly…

Anyway, I get up to the office and throw my stuff in my chairs—yes I need two, one for sitting and one for stuff—and then grab the camera.

Unsure of go about shooting the beauty in the world outside, I headed to Tomi’s office for a morning Reese’s break. Then it occurred to me: Tomi’s window looks down on the tree, adding a unique perspective to my tree.

“Perfect!” I think. Only there’s one problem. The blasted rain has covered Tomi’s window in a stippling of water droplets, but I decided they would just have to add to the effect.

I saddle up to the window and move the blinds, then take my first few shots. It takes a little time as I wait for students to be out of the shot (or in the shot if they are interesting enough).

Tomi comes in about half-way through my shoot.

“What are you doing?!” she asks in a typical Tomi voice that could just have well been asking why I had been stupid enough to staple my fingers together or something.

“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to shoot this tree. Have you noticed it lately?” I responded. Her curiosity satisfied, we both went about our business like nothing was strange about me hovering over her computer desk to photograph a tree. She’s cool like that.

The lesson here: I kept wondering what I could do to fix how gray/blue my first few photos were. I couldn’t capture the light as it actually showed up in front of me, and it was frustrating. But then I came to my senses—too blue (cool) means white balance! A quick switch from auto white balance to the cloudy preset was all it took to yield the difference shown in the comparison photo at the top of the post. Pretty much awesome.

That does it for today. Just remember to keep white balance in mind when in the field on a cloudy day!