Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yellowstone.




Here's the scoop on a hobby of mine: I constantly have stacks of photographs laying around my desk (and probably always will), and every now and then I pick one up. It's always a surprise what will be in the stack; sometimes they're from a month ago, sometimes from years ago, but regardless they're all waiting for me to go through. 'Going through' them involves a somewhat anal process of labeling the back of each and every photograph with the place and date of the picture before I can put them in chronological order in a series of photo storage boxes (I have been doing this since high school). It also involves deciding which ones are worthy enough for me to scan. Once those are scanned, I then go through all of my digital pictures from that same time or excursion (although I always like the print photographs better, with the exception of night shots), and begin the process of creating a gallery of all of them for my website.

I have had this website for ages; I pay a decent amount of money for ownership of the domain each year; and organizing one of these galleries of pictures? Takes me a long time. Between going through all the photos, scanning and organizing all of them, making thumbnails of each one for the left frame of the webpages, and then typing up all the HTML. It takes me a long time to do all of this, and I know that no one ever looks at any of them. Seriously. But the thing is, I don't care! No, really! I used to make long LiveJournal entries back in the day and then be hurt when no one commented, so if I said I didn't care that nobody read, I'd be lying. But this is different, because I really enjoy this big waste of time I've been doing for years. I document my life through pictures, and creating a gallery of pictures from an experience for my website is my way of reflecting on that experience, of remembering it and putting it all together in a way that makes sense, a neat little box to wrap it all up in, and it is immensely satisfying. In fact one of my favorite things is picking up a pack of photographs off the desk, and hoping that whatever is inside will be as random as possible, something I will be surprised by: "Oh, man, I remember that. That was awesome. I can't believe I was actually there. Regardless of whatever crap is going on in my life today, I have done all these cool things, and my life is good."

But anyway, now I have this blog here, and I can do whatever I want with it, so why not shamelessly promote these photo galleries from now on? So, after a few months of working on it off and on, I just uploaded a gallery from Wyoming, from our cross country trip in 2007. Devil's Tower, big empty spaces accompanied by big towering mountains a few miles later, Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, the Grand Tetons, abundant wildlife I'll probably never see again (grizzly bears, elk, bison, oh my!), a huge looming perfect blue sky full of perfect puffy clouds at every turn. This place was wonderful. Weird, very weird, and somewhat disconcerting--all that bubbling mud, all that steam rising up from cracks in the ground at every turn, man oh man!--but wonderful. I'd go back in a second. Now let's just hope Yellowstone doesn't blow up in our lifetimes and kill everyone.

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