Nothing on my mind, 14 July 2009


Actually, I’m liking the notion of not having things on my mind. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way, since I still have all sorts of crap rattling around in my head, even when I’m trying not to have that happen. Still, y’all wouldn’t know that unless I told you, so just go on pretending that my head is, indeed, as empty as the vasty nothingness between stars. And, while you’re at it, here’s another photo for your viewing pleasure.


This, of course, is my roommate’s gigantic black Lab, Max (short for Maximus [1]). As you can tell, he’s pretty happy at the moment. Of course, there are plenty of notions as to how man first domesticated wild dogs, generally involving hunter-gatherer culture, canine psychology, etc., but I suspect that the actual start of such efforts is far simpler than these. I’d be willing to be real money that it may have gone something like this: early humans first started noticing these odd but rather friendly animals observing their shenanigans, and decided that perhaps, they might be worth investigating. As said humans approached these creatures, one of the latter (or all of them) cracked a grin like this; subsequently, the humans probably said something to the effect of “Awww…look at the cute puppy!” [2] And thus began a long and mutually beneficial relationship between man and beast! Of course, there’s no way of proving that this sort of encounter ever took place, so I’m not worried that anyone will come collecting on my bet. Still, its amusing to consider.

As for the photo itself, I shot this with my digital camera, set on manual exposure. A friend had mentioned their affinity for the manual settings, even when using a digital camera, and also their belief that such practices were superior to the various programmed settings most cameras have these days. Me being the skeptic that I am, I did not take these statements on faith, but, of course, had to try it out for myself. And now, I’m kicking myself for not taking my friend’s advice sooner; silly me, always doing things the hard way. I had been a little concerned about the time involved in using the manual settings, but now that I think back on my usage of the programmed settings, I probably spent just as much time (if not more) trying to get the damn programming to capture what I wanted to get out the resulting photo in the first place, so I suspect that this is, at worst, a push. The photo required little post-processing, since, as you can see, it was quite a sunny afternoon when I captured this shot. I did dodge around his eyes a little, and the left one in particular to get a little more definition there. One of the problems with taking pictures of Max is that he is all black; as such, finding detail in his features can be difficult. Given the lighting on this particular afternoon, though, this wasn’t as much of an issue. Otherwise, it was a fairly straightforward shot that I subsequently converted to black and white. I think it works nicely.



[1]: In case you’re wondering, yes, he is named after the general from the movie, Gladiator. This happens to be a favorite of my roommate, and apparently, his method of selecting canine names is to watch movies and choose from the names he counters thusly. I suppose there are stranger ways of doing things. One interesting thing to note about Russell Crowe’s character from the movie is that he does not actually possess a proper Latin name (at least, not as he gives it); in one pivotal scene, he identifies himself as “Maximus Decimus Meridius” – while some of these words could be used as part of Latin names, they would have been honorifics: Maximus means “greatest,” Decimus means “tenth,” and Meridius means “noon.” Of course, the way Crowe delivers the name makes it sound extremely cool, and, in all fairness, Latin names often did have three components to them, so at the very least, the producers got that part correct.

[2]: Or, their equivalent in pre-historic caveman dummy-talk (probably a series of grunts and clicks). Okay, so I jest…mostly.


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