Like I said in my last post, Gina and I met up for a little photo date. Obviously I'm dragging this out into two posts...
I'm used to taking photos by myself or with Jason, so it was really fun to take them with another blogger who didn't mind taking a billion shots! We trekked out to Manassas Battlefield Park. We were hoping to take pictures by the cannons there, but we couldn't find them and the light was fading. We ended up stopping in this gorgeous field instead - not a bad choice if I may say so! And then of course after we left and it was mostly dark we drove another block and there were the cannons. Oh well, we will just have to try it another time.
(( dress: Urban Outfitters / boots: Steve Madden / bracelets and ring: forever21 ))
Of course we had to take a few jumping pictures (aka the best thing in the world!) With my new fancy camera you can set up the timer to take multiple pictures, which makes snapping a good jumping shot way easier.
Next up in my little photography challenge is photo stitching using the Brenizer method. Essentially you take numerous shots with a shallow depth of field and then stitch them together on photoshop. The result is similar to picture taken with a wide-angle lens. Gina was nice enough to be my model for this photography experiment. Thanks Gina!!
Here's my first Brenizer photo, which I stitched together in photoshop:
And the original, singular photo:
I don't have my own copy of photoshop, so I normally edit my photos in gimp, a free and open-source photo editor. It is pretty powerful, but it definitely can't do as much as photoshop and it doesn't have a built-in photomerge option. Thus, I tried out a free photo stitching software, Hugin. I don't like the way this photo came out and it took a lot longer than doing it in photoshop, but it definitely got the job done and I will probably end up using it again since I am too cheap to buy photoshop, haha. This is my Hugin photo:
And the original, singular photo:
This was definitely more challenging than I thought it would be. For starters, most of the stitched photos came out with what I'm calling "giant legs," with the legs extra long and enlarger compared to the rest of the body. This was because a lot of my pictures of the foreground also included legs, but taken from a different perspective. So when the photo was stitched together it looked funny. I also had a hard time with the sky - taking pictures at sunset meant I wanted the beautiful sky in the background, but the brightness of the sky meant that my pictures were of varying degrees of exposure. Also, having the bright sun in the background gave me some weird results, like this one:
Although to be honest, I kind of like how this one came out. It's like art!
This week has been gloriously lazy. There's something about getting in that last summer hurrah during these closing weeks of August, yeah? A lot of people from my lab are gone this week, and I've definitely been taking it easy. Reading papers at home with the kitties (amazing), sleeping in (heavenly), leaving early (the best). It's like a mini staycation! I'm not even feeling guilty about it, because I know September and October are going to be totally insane, so I'm enjoying having the few days to catch my breath.
I bought this dress a few weeks ago on sale at Zara. I was got it for a wedding, and then decided it wasn't going to work and planned on returning it. But then it sat in my closet for a while until I decided it was "too late" to return. Accidental shopping? Something like that.
People who go into science tend to be extremely driven, and often academically competitive. Add on top the cut-throat nature of science funding, and you've created an environment that causes a lot of psychological bruising. As a grad student, one issue that commonly develops is a hefty dose of imposter syndrome - the inability to take credit for your own accomplishments. In undergrad you may have been a big fish in a little pond, but graduate school is more like a sea full of big fish. And sharks. What follows are thoughts including being afraid you shouldn't have been admitted to your program, or you don't deserve to be on that abstract, or you only got lucky on that experiment. Graduate school is full of ways to break down your self-esteem, and it's all too easy to crumble to a point where you don't think you measure up to the giants around you.
Shark Week...or academia?
A quick google search will produce numerous blog posts on the subject of imposter syndrome. A few weeks ago, Jason showed me a post entitled "How I Cured My Imposter Syndrome." Sounds promising, right? While I loved the overall sentiment/message of the post (everyone in grad school feels like an imposter because of the difficulty and structure of grad school), I couldn't help but read the article and think "but you AREN'T an imposter. You got grants. You got a paper in Science. How could you possibly understand what I am going through when you have succeeded so fully?"
You know when an outfit looks way better in your mind than in reality? Yeah, this outfit is like that. Meh, whatever. I still love this dress. Except I hate wearing the strapless bra it requires. Throw on a t-shirt and bam, now I can wear whatever bra I want. Take that spaghetti straps!
This picture is super awkward.
How about instead of fixating on my outfit, we all look at the cool background, yeah? Jason and I were walking aimlessly around our neighborhood and found a random path going through the woods. We walked down it a bit and found the remains of a castle. A FREAKING CASTLE!! Sadly, the castle itself was torn down in 1994. All that's left are a few remnants, like these pillars. But still pretty freaking awesome. Things like this are what I love about DC - there is literally history around every corner.
Next up in the photography challenge: landscapes! I wanted to do landscapes because I was in the mountains in Colorado last week and it seemed the perfect opportunity! Unfortunately, most of the tips I found on landscape photography were underwhelming. Mostly I found suggestions for composition, which is definitely important, but isn't going to help me figure out how to use my new camera. Oh well. The best thing I found said to use a small aperture, which will give you the most depth of focus. My camera has an "aperture priority" setting, where you can set the aperture to whatever you want (I set it as small as possible), and then the camera selects the proper ISO and shutter speed. It worked much better than full auto and I definitely recommend trying it out if your camera has a similar setting.
I'm not completely blown away by these pictures. Landscape photography is hard, no doubt. I wish I had taken a whole bunch of pictures so I could stitch them together into one big image. Lauren from Introvert's Introduction just posted a video of her editing a picture in photoshop where she stitches many images together. It makes such a huge difference! This is definitely going to be next up in this little photography challenge series.