The Obvious

let’s have a photo friday

Posted in friends, nablopomo, photos by theobvious on November 12, 2010

My friend works as the marketing director of a chain of home improvement stores. She also possesses an entirely ungrounded faith in my manifold abilities, including a knack for photography. Which means that sometimes I get to do things for her that are usually reserved for the pros, like weddings, family portraits, and other stuff.

Today, for example, we had an extremely fun afternoon styling and photographing goods for a Christmas advertising booklet. We played around with tools, appliances, rolls of wallpaper, and two very suave looking polar bears in impromptu red boas. I even got paid; A.’s going to go wild with that gift card, he practically lives in these stores.

However, I don’t believe I can post these photos online, at least, not until they’ve gone to print. So instead, let me share one from that walk a while ago which I really enjoy for the light in it.

DSC_0050

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a strange friend

Posted in nablopomo, photos, vilnius by theobvious on November 4, 2010

they say it's modern art

This guy is a companion of mine in a way. Him and his kin of all shapes have appeared under all of the city’s bridges this summertime, supposedly as a project of art in unexpected places. Stands to reason that they picked these places, too, as V. is a city so very defined by its river and the bridges across it. Each of the bridges has its own character (the White, the Green, the King Mindaugas, the Žvėrynas/Menagerie…), and now each has a silvery shape dangling underneath it: a ball, a spiral, a straight stick, a sort of a cone.

There are three roads to choose from when going from our house to work, one of which leads under this bridge. When cycling, A. and I almost always take this one, and it’s good for walking too, as it goes on right by the river and is open and airy. Without fail, the silver ball is there to greet me every time. A few days ago, taking my camera for a walk after a long hiatus, I spent several minutes playing around with the perspective of the bridge, the ball, and the river reflection. It is, indeed, better with this art than it was without.

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picture perfect

Posted in nablopomo, pets, photos by theobvious on November 21, 2009

Today, Lorca and Oscar are my blogging fodder. To keep with the grim tone of things, here’s a picture of Oscar with rolled eyes. He’s just several weeks old, but already a teenager. Soon he’ll be requesting a car, a phone, and to be left alone in his room at all times.

brotherly nap

Lorca, meanwhile, is being nice. This morning I sat down at the computer as he wobbled in having just woken up. As soon as he saw me, his ears pricked up and all sleep was off. He ran towards me, jumped into my lap and purred and kneaded until it was time for me to go.

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november 4th*

Posted in nablopomo, photos by theobvious on November 4, 2009

*One good thing about NaBloPoMo is that when times are tough, there is no need to exert myself coming up with post titles.

Just wanted to post something warm for today.

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the neurotic kingdom of teenage angst

Posted in emotions, friends, link, people, photos, studies, video by theobvious on September 2, 2008

I’ve been watching this all day. It’s about a young woman’s experience at art school. I asked a friend what art school was for him (he is a fourth-year student at the school I’m considering for myself), and he told me to watch this hour-long film.

Yesterday I was positively jumping with excitement at the thought of taking all the classes on the curriculum, finally getting a framework for my photography (as it were), and laying a theoretical foundation to my practical blunderings. Today I am back to my (permanent, as of recently) state of anxiety and self-deprecation: I am not, nor have I ever been, a creative, smart, and interesting person who can actually pull off art school. My photos aren’t good enough to be accepted.

Meanwhile, today was the first day of my third year at my current school. It went better than I’d expected, though I’d expected something so dreadful I had nightmares and woke with a tremendous headache. (The day is over, but the headache is still here.) Tomorrow I have a date with my orthodontist which will interfere with a class. That’s an early start by any standard, even for me. I usually don’t go skipping classes for the first couple of weeks or so.

All hope is not lost, however. On Saturday a dear friend appeared out of nowhere (okay, he was driving from Latvia to Russia with his whole family and passed us on the way), and we spent the whole afternoon with him. Also, we have tickets to see and hear Katie Melua October 13th. If that’s not something to look forward to, I don’t know what is.

our friend a.
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home improvement

Posted in diy, home, photos by theobvious on August 28, 2008

We’ve lived in this apartment for eleven years now, I think. It has three bedrooms (my parents, my brother, and my grandma each have their own), and a living room which A. and I inhabit. For many years the room looked like this:

old room plan

old room plan

It felt very brown and we were living more or less in a train carriage: long, with little space between the furniture, and no privacy, because it only has three walls. We had a screen between our sofa and wardrobe, but it only functioned as a symbolic ‘Don’t Look’ sign, and we had to get our clothes and carry them ‘inside’ to get dressed. Of course, entertaining was a drag too.

A while ago, A. and I bought a new bed and redesigned our whole room. I wrote about it here. Now I have pictures, because everyone likes to look at pictures, right. I’ll put them under the cut just in case. (more…)

escape into blogland

Posted in emotions, love, people, photos, travel by theobvious on August 22, 2008

For the past several days my mind has been an informational and emotional Alcatraz: plenty of treasure on the inside, nothing ever gets out. The trip was so overwhelming and so tiring that I felt as though my ability to share had been swept away. I was all left back there, exhausted.

Every time I’d close my eyes, I’d immediately fall asleep and see people laughing, frowning, waving at me. My favourite girls in dresses wet with seawater, my dear boys with stubble on their chins and hoarse voices from the singing and the endless arguing. I saw countless breathtaking Crimean views – mountains, plains, the sea – but none as beautiful as my friends. Then, again and again, I’d force myself awake and find myself alone, hundreds of miles away from the people I regard as my world.

I thought I needed a timeout to get back on track, but it seems like that timeout could go on forever. So I’m easing myself into normalcy, browsing Etsy, working out, editing photos (half-thinking of selling some prints), drinking Coffee of the Week at the Coffee Inn, following Olympic basketball (Lithuania lost to Spain in the semi-finals, bah), watching Wall-E (the cuteness!), reading all your blogs, trying on my own blogging hat once again. Welcome back, me.

people on the roof

people on the roof

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frank london and lens trouble

Posted in event, gear, music, photos by theobvious on July 25, 2008

A. called me yesterday about lunchtime and announced: ‘We are going to the Frank London concert today!’ This had been discussed quite a while ago, with me assuming, after said discussion ending in complete inaction, no tickets having been purchased, and the concert not having been brought up for over a week, that we weren’t going. Suddenly, though, A. got us tickets; we went.

It was not just Frank London, of course. With Petras Vysniauskas playing sax, Anthony Coleman at the piano/keyboard, Arkadijus Gotesmanas as the drummer, and Brad Jones on bass, this was quite the dream team. They played some of the very obscure sounds I am told are called free jazz, and some wonderfully rich melodies, inspired partly by Jewish traditional music and composed by the musicians themselves.

I was busy running around the church wherein the concert was taking place, trying to get the most out of my D40 with the kit 18-55/3.5-5.6 lens. Obviously, nothing really good could come out of it. However, I did learn things.

Brad Jones

 Frank London admiring his trumpet

So today, I’ve been reading through dozens of LiveJournal communities, pages upon pages of Ken Rockwell’s website, online shops, and second-hand auctions – all to get at least some vague concept of an idea of an understanding of what lens I need to aim for next, and how much it would cost me. And you know me well enough by now to tell that I found out precious little; otherwise I wouldn’t be whining here.

All that can be said for sure right now is that it’s going to be a lot of time and money before I can enjoy myself while shooting a concert in a very dark hall. Word of the day – absolute befuddlement.

a penny for my thoughts won’t be enough

Posted in emotions, home, important, language, me myself, people, photos, places, thoughts, travel, valuable lesson, writing by theobvious on June 23, 2008

This trip turned out to be a learning trip. It was so rich with revelations there was practically no room left for much else.

I learned once again about real friendship, which doesn’t always need to involve personal presence, but is all the more exciting when it does. A friendship I value is a lucky, tricky, strange, full, and happy convergence of two people who couldn’t be more different or more alike. I am lucky to have several of these.

I learned about being the object of the emotions other people usually evoke in myself: concern, kindness, incomprehension, puzzlement, impatience, endless patience, affection, and a desire to share. I haven’t thought much about the way I react to these, and it is probably time to give it more consideration.

I learned a very important lesson about coping with loneliness. I was by myself a lot on the trip, however this was not the self-sufficient solitude of choice, but rather the desolate loneliness of choicelessness. The hours I spent this way left me despairing, with nothing to apply myself to, scared. I want to avoid these.

Finally, I learned something about writing. Someone gave me ‘Lost in Translation’ by Eva Hoffman to read, and the slow, soft, reflective style of someone who went through assimilating a whole new language as their main means of self-expression is an epiphany for me. There is much food for thought in this.

looking up

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wet

Posted in photos, random by theobvious on May 13, 2008

daily illustrated

Posted in a., books, life, photos by theobvious on April 14, 2008

The words – I have none of them! Let’s try pictures.

chestnut

It is decidedly spring. There are green leaves on every bush, and most trees are sprouting buds as well. This particular tree is a chestnut. With their enormous buds and beautiful candle-like blooms, they have been a joyful sign of spring for as long as I can remember.

pita

While the trees are bringing forth their new clothes, others are shedding theirs. With a fluffy cat and a furry dog in the house, this is tiresome business. Don’t take this to mean I don’t love our pets. I just don’t love them enough to eat and breathe their hair. I still get to.

reading

We have gotten the hang of teaching. As the group finally forms, our purpose grows clearer and ipso facto so does our message. It is rewarding to see seven people, four of whom have taught me in some way, listening attentively and trying the new skills we show them.

a.

This is A. He is mine and I love him.

it has arrived!

Posted in news, photos by theobvious on April 10, 2008

Shhh! Don’t talk so loud! You’ll scare it away. My dream – it’s here.

(picture from http://www.cameralabs.com)

It turns out this is not as easy to switch to from a film SLR as I thought. The main controls with film are, of course, aperture and exposure. The settings for these are hidden somewhere inside this camera.

The easily accessible settings, on the other hand, I know from nothing, having never used them before. And the user manual only helps so much – it’s in German, so I get the general drift, but not all of it.

This is so exciting! New things to learn and major changes in my possibilities! I am waiting impatiently for the sun to come out, so I can go for a long walk with A. and the Nikon and experiment.

noone said i couldn’t be boring

Posted in photos, sports, the thrilling goings-on by theobvious on March 18, 2008

At the hotline workshop today, I was a gay teenager first, and then a suicidal 17-year-old. These things can wear you out, but it helps to remember that it’s natural to be tired when you are working hard. And if I’m working hard, that means I’m learning a lot and getting closer to my goal.

Same goes for the gym. It’s the second month now, I’ve been going 5-7 times a week lately, and there is definite progress. My jeans feel loose, they come off still zipped up, and even though today is Bloated Day, my belly is looking smaller. I can even see definition here and there.

I won a Flickr Pro account for a year, now the wretched thing is showing the 91 pictures it was holding hostage before. I have also signed up for Twitter, but I guess it makes more sense if you have lots of friends using it, otherwise – meh. My username is ollka though, if any of you care.

Today was the first day of Easter break, and there’s a week of that left, and then a week off in Russia teaching and hanging out with friends, and then spring will be here. Sneaker time has arrived, but much less dramatic than usual, no feeling of making feet-love to the ground this year.

So much news for today, it seems. I’ll get back to watching House and munching on everything I see now. What have y’all been up to recently?

boy and chick
This is one of the rediscovered pictures on Flickr. An Arab boy showing us his chicks in the hope that we will buy them.

unsnapped shots

Posted in photos, thoughts by theobvious on March 5, 2008

When one begins to associate oneself with photography in some way, one’s mode of looking at life inevitably changes, dividing the flow of everything around into a series of stills. Some of these stills one is lucky enough to capture – those go into the portfolio. Others remain unphotographed (do check out that project). The only place they go is into the amazing album of memory, tagged maybe with a shade of disappointment, a feeling of could-have-been.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the usual verb for producing a picture is take. A picture is meant to be carried away to store somewhere, to return to years from now – to reminisce over. Some believe that to be photographed is to lose part of your soul – that part is taken away by the photographer. People often link even the most ephemeral or spiritual matters with material things, like photos. So when one misses out on taking a picture, it is natural to be disappointed.

The photos I could have taken today were, among others: – A young woman, hurrying down a downtown street with a large empty glass frame in her hands. Who knows what will go under that glass. – A man, sitting alone inside a bus belonging to the military orchestra. What a feeling of contrast when you think of the main feature of such bands, their populousness. – A shabby board: ‘Restaurant for those who love their stomachs’. No restaurant in sight.

Maybe some things are best left, not taken. A material anchor has its benefits, but a memory can become even more interesting as it fades, changing one’s past as it transforms with time.

too grey

Posted in emotions, photos, places by theobvious on February 18, 2008

wineglass

This is what I miss. The sunshine and the simplicity. I’m very tired today, nothing is going the way I’d like it to, and all I really want is to take a long lazy walk in the sunny streets of Jerusalem. Barring that – to curl up in a nice cosy bed in a neat and pretty room and watch happy musicals until I calm down.

I hope tomorrow will be a better day. Meanwhile, if you are reading this, can you share some of your go-to websites for when you are sad? Some feel-good blogs, or fun online games, or things to do, read, and watch around the net that help you get yourself back on track? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

free hugs in vilnius

Posted in event, important, life, photos, vilnius by theobvious on February 11, 2008

This Saturday the Free Hugs Campaign was brought to Vilnius by Fabrice the fabulous Frenchman. The nice people over at Laimikis brought this to public attention, and they also said they could use some photos. So I grabbed a friend, and more importantly, his camera, and went out to shoot some hugs.

I took close to 300 pictures, out of which about 30 came out presentable. They are all on my Flickr page, and here are three (to make all the numbers match) I especially like:

When I asked Fabrice why he had decided to do this here in Vilnius, he said he had done it twice in Siberia, so Vilnius was bound to be easier. Which is a strange answer, but what do you expect from a guy who gave out hugs to frowning people in furs.

We walked around the two main squares of town, the eleven huggers with their signs and me with my camera, making people laugh, squirm, run away, nudge each other, and swear at us (just a couple times), and experienced the city like never before.

We hugged tourists who spoke different languages, children who looked shyly to their mothers for permission, old people whose eyes shone at being happily addressed by youngsters, salesmen who gave us small sweets and gifts for every hug…

We advertised more than Juan Mann, the inventor of Free Hugs, would probably recommend, but then we live in a much colder climate. So we followed people asking them for hugs, and said time and time again: ‘Come on, it’s absolutely free!’

At some point we stopped for some tea/milk/cake at the Milk Bar, and when we came out, it was already getting dark. So I packed the camera away and took a hug sign. Hugging a stranger is like having an epiphany – intense, and different every time.

And then, for the first time ever, a local newspaper published a photo I took that day, and I realized that it’s all about being there when it happens. This simple effort will bring me so much closer to everything I’ve ever dreamed of. You too, probably.

Thank you Laimikis, and thanks to everyone who did this. Meeting all you guys and watching the things you did was so much inspiration.

Update: my friend Mark has posted almost every picture I shot with his camera here. Check them out, if you like.

përshëndetje (hello in albanian)

Posted in books, link, photos, random, the thrilling goings-on by theobvious on February 1, 2008

So, the hits on this blog seem to peak whenever I update and plummet the day after. Truly perplexing. Will need to investigate.

Meanwhile, I have exciting plans for the weekend (featuring an interior design exhibition, some gift shopping, a classical music concert, and a jazz concert, not to mention a class we teach with A. at the community), but I also seem to have contracted a mild, yet very unpleasant infection of the, umm, burning type. So unless I magically get better by tomorrow, it will be pills and the hot water bear for me this weekend.

With regard to this exciting news, I will just post an assortment of unrelated items today in the hopes of keeping you folks moderately entertained until I have something more fun to say.

Do you know what will happen if you type in ‘find Chuck Norris’ on Google and hit ‘I’m feeling lucky’? No? Well, go try it. I believe it’s all to do with that scandalous Chuck Norris fact-book he is apparently trying to get recalled through court.

I’m absolutely loving the new version of the Flickr client, which has a very handy pre-editing area, so that by the time the photos end up online, they are already tagged and put in sets. Especially good for when it’s just several images.

Yes, that means I have finally taken some new pictures today. I am also ending my ‘all new music in the walkman’ experiment by stuffing it with old favourites such as Herman’s Hermits, Les Fatals Picards, Goodbooks, and Brazzaville. Down with depression!

Now the exams are over, I have time to read real books, so I’ve finally enjoyed Coastliners by Joanne Harris, a writer I cannot recommend enough. And now I’m reading Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson, it’s full of factual errors, but quite entertaining.

Come to think of it, most of these could have been separate elaborate posts. This sickness is making me waste thoughts! Better get off the blogging horse and get to real work, seeing as I can’t sleep anyway. Good night, frères.

picture day again

Posted in a., family, love, photos by theobvious on November 8, 2007

This is A., my husband of two years. I love him still, though I’m sure it’s not going to be much longer if he doesn’t cut his hair JUST LIKE THIS PICTURE again! It’s too long! Too long and messy! And long! Ahem. No, just kidding. I love him and I love his hair. (Maybe take just a little bit off here and here?)

hi

Posted in important, me myself, photos by theobvious on November 6, 2007

Another picture. This, in case you were wondering, is me.

I do look a little square in this picture, and I did mess up the black-and-white filter a little. But it is me.

I need to remember that: even if my filters are messed up (and they sure as hell are), I’m me. And I’m fine. Hi.

what do you see?

Posted in me myself, photos by theobvious on November 5, 2007

This is another one from Krakow. I like it. It’s strange, but mellow and rather descriptive of the mood I’m often in: brow furrowed, looking through the window of myself at the world, grudgingly admitting it’s beautiful, but always noticing the black shades from the window frame.

Sigh. I wish I didn’t do that.

talking in images

Posted in important, news, photos by theobvious on October 21, 2007

I am currently unable to force a blog post out of myself, especially as the top priority for forcing is work, of which I haven’t been doing much. So I will try and distract you, o readers, with a couple of photos – always entertaining, and easy for me to post.


The legendary courtyard on Jozefa street in Krakow. It was a bit of a walk, but that’s okay, because we found two bookstores and a pizza restaurant on the way (Pizza Factory – my gnocchi were top notch, and so were the other dishes, I hear). The courtyard itself was nice but not extraordinary, largely because of an ungodly eatery located smack in the middle of it.

tiny hand
An old family friend with a very new family friend. This is I. with baby E., born exactly two months ago to a couple of our dear friends. Even though I. has no babies of her own, she knows exactly what to do with them. As soon as she takes E. in her arms, the child stops whining and falls asleep. Look at those precious tiny little baby hands!

baby

Look – E. has a face (sorry about the layout, if you click on the picture, you’ll see its full glorious version)! And I have watermarked my pictures! But only some of them – because who would want to steal my pictures. Right? Right?!

My computer is being excruciatingly slow, and I need to get back to writing some stuff and then maybe working. Don’t tell A. – he is sure that we’re both heading to bed now.

—-

THIS JUST IN: Another couple of our friends just had a baby girl five hours ago! Yee-hah and mazal tov! Pictures will not be posted on this blog anytime soon, but let’s all think a great big good thought in honor of the new girl.

house sweet house

Posted in photos, places by theobvious on October 15, 2007

As I’ve said, I did enough point’n’shooting in Krakow to fill more than one little blog. So on to ‘a little less conversation, and a little more action’.

What I loved most about Krakow is how it balances perfectly between feeling just like home and giving off that new and different feel every great city has. The architecture is really quite similar to that my hometown (after all, most of Vilnius was indeed built by the Poles), but there is that sudden dash of colour:

…that unexpected buttress:

…that old-looking lantern or other:

..that makes it that one deciding bit new and breathtaking. Kind of like a picture you’ve been seeing a framed copy of on the wall above your bed every single day for decades, and then you suddenly encounter it at a gallery or museum. It’s not that it looks better or grander or anything – it’s just that in a different environment the essentially unchanged image strikes you anew.