## March 31, 2009

### contretemps \KAHN-truh-tahn\,

noun;
plural contretemps \-tahnz\:
An inopportune or embarrassing situation or event; a hitch.

For those who know me best, they'd know that it's a real stretch to relate me with this word of the day. I'm very composed and not often embarrassed. Right.

The photo for today's word is a representation of something that has definitely happened to me before, and it truly is embarrassing. It was taken just outside the house, next to a yard with the three loudest dogs in history.

That beautiful looking suit I know you're wondering about is from a buy-one-get-three-free sale at Jos. A. Bank. And thanks to a graduation present, I didn't even have to buy the first one. Man, I look great.

Anyhow, if you've got a photo for contretemps, which I'm sure you do, send it along to me in an email!

## March 30, 2009

### ludic \LOO-dik\,

Of or relating to play; characterized by play; playful.

Today's word of the day will definitely be included immediately in my vocabulary, though I'm not sure when I'll get to use it. In any case, it made for a pretty simple and fun photo.

This makeshift basketball court is at the Salvation Army down the street. They must have thought I was a crazy person climbing the back of their hoop. It was much more difficult than I expected it to be, and I think I may have injured things that aren't necessarily appropriate to talk about on this blog, as I'd like to keep it as clean as possible.

And it must have been a funny sight to see my shaking at the top of a 10-foot hoop, crouching and struggling to look through my camera. But this made for a good, quick word of the day shot, and now I'm off to work on other photo projects. Stay tuned for more on those a little later.

In the meantime, get out there and take some ludic photos, and send them to me in an email!

## March 27, 2009

### feckless \FEK-lis\,

1. Ineffective; having no real worth or purpose.
2. Worthless; irresponsible; generally incompetent and ineffectual.

It was all done in the same small "studio" upstairs in my house, with the homemade softbox and a flash in the background to light the $2.99 wallpaper we found this morning at the thrift store. The sheet that covered that TV tray table was also from the thrift store. All in all, a very good match. In retrospect, I would have changed the way we hung the wallpaper to be vertical instead of horizontal - it's definitely too distracting. In real life, I may have worked a little harder on the wallpaper part, but I'm still pretty happy with having soaked my dad in condiments. So there it is. And if you've got any photos to add for cormorant, just shoot me an email with your photos attached. Happy Monday! ## March 13, 2009 ### inanition \in-uh-NISH-uhn\, noun: 1. The condition or quality of being empty. 2. Exhaustion, as from lack of nourishment. 3. Lack of vitality or spirit. Update: I call mulligan Dear readers: The original photo for today's word was terrible, and it bothered me all day. I have to apologize, but I'm cheating. This is photo #2 for today, since the first one was crap. Hopefully I won't lose too much credibility for this situation, but all the same, I think this one is better. As I said in the previous post from today: "As it's miserable outside today, I was lucky to have a nice, dry, indoor word of the day to work off of. And just as lucky was the fact that this word described the inside of my refrigerator perfectly." And it's true. My refrigerator is close to that desolate. (Thanks to roommate Josh for use of his likeness.) I used the same technique of attaching a blue cloth to the top of a flash via rubber band (in the place of a gel set) and flashed from the bottom. There was also a flash on top of the camera inside the fridge, as my fridge doesn't have a light in it. (Are you starting to see how poor I am?) Since it was dark, I let the shutter go for about a second and used the flash from below by pressing the test button. Incidentally, light from below often looks unnatural or creepy. But in this case, the flash from the floor was just a fill light, and the prominence of the flash inside the fridge balanced it out pretty well. Again, sorry for cheating a little today. I probably won't be posting this weekend as I have to work, but if you've got a good photo for inanition, send it my way in an email! Update #2: One more from Ronny Nause for inanition. His are great, but I would love some contributions from the rest of you! ## March 12, 2009 ### tetchy \TECH-ee\, adjective: Peevish; testy; irritable. Today's word was a bit of a tough one. Short of cutting someone off in the car and turning around to capture their mean looks and rude hand gestures, I wasn't sure how I would portray someone's irritability. Luckily, the people of Raleigh are already angry when you stop them on the street to take a photo, so it worked out in my favor (this time). Joking aside, people were actually pretty receptive to me today. I think the ratio of Nos to Yeses was probably about two to one, which is a winning record. Usually people are less than ecstatic to see me wandering up to them, lugging a big camera with a bright yellow tie for a strap. (Why does #6 look like he's smiling? Way to ruin the effect.) But today's subjects were very nice - one even asked if I would take his picture for him - so that made the whole thing a lot easier. Gear (and today's post will pretty much exhaust this section) Today I shot with my very favorite lens: it's a Tokina 12-24 f/4, which means it's really wide and picks up a bit of distortion towards the corners. It's tough to stop using it once you've started, just because it allows for a little more fun in composition. Definitely not the best portrait lens in terms of photojournalism or the like, but it worked alright for today. As always, if you have a good shot for tetchy, send it to me in an email. ## March 11, 2009 ### ululate \UL-yuh-layt; YOOL-\, intransitive verb: To howl, as a dog or a wolf; to wail; as, ululating jackals. Busy day today, but it seems that I've managed to take advantage of this relatively awesome word of the day. I had to head to Charlotte for work (which was some particularly good Harry Potter on tape time - yeah, I said it), so I had limited time to get it finished up, but I think it turned out pretty well. (Thanks to roommate Bryan for his screaming face.) And as I was a little short on time, I couldn't find a pack of wolves or jackals. I thought it might be fun to take a picture of a crying baby for this word of the day, but it seemed a bit too ambitious to think I could persuade new parents to let me take photos of their sad child. So I turned today into a lighting project. To get the effect I wanted, I made my own softbox, which was only about a 45-minute project. I won't bog my many fans down with the step-by-step directions as they're plastered all over the internet, but I will give you this picture of the setup. It's made up of about 90 percent duct tape. The other 10 percent is made of some leftover matte board, a ripped up T-shirt and, on the inside, tin foil. If you've got any photos of wolves (or, of course, anything loosely related to ululate), send me a quick email! ## March 10, 2009 ### pedestrian \puh-DES-tree-uhn\, noun, adjective: 1. a person who gets about on foot; walker adjective: 1. going on foot; walking 2. without imagination; dull Another pretty straightforward word of the day photo assignment today. I really enjoy taking pictures of people in public, but they often don't like having themselves photographed. I think people feel like a photo might be incriminating or somehow show them in a bad light (ridiculous). And that's why today's photo features my own foot as the subject. Just as a fun legal note, it's not illegal to take pictures of people out in public, even if they ask you not to (and that extends to adults, children, men, women and whoever), though it certainly can be pretty rude. It's also never illegal to take a picture from a public sidewalk or street, though there is a reasonable expectation of privacy for people in, say, the bathroom. Another important note: it's never OK for a policeman or anyone else to confiscate your gear at any time. They can't ask you to stop taking photos or take your film or memory card or anything like that. One guy was recently arrested for unauthorized photography - a charge that doesn't exist - while taking pictures of a train, but the charges were dropped after they realized they weren't real. All that said, try not to give photographers a bad name by being a jerk. I tend to ask people first and let them be if they say no. Don't forget to send your photo of pedestrian by email if you want to join in the fun! Update: Another photo submitted by Ronny Nause for pedestrian, taken by one of these awesome little cameras. ## March 9, 2009 ### incisive \in-SAHY-siv\, adjective: 1. penetrating; cutting; biting; trenchant Firstly, I should apologize to my many loyal readers: I'm sure you were quite befuddled when you came to my site this weekend as you normally do, first thing after waking up. You had only this blog on your mind, and you were disappointed to find out that, because my work schedule is ridiculous and I have to work Saturdays and Sundays, I probably won't be doing this much on the weekends. But don't let that get you down. Since I get Mondays off, I had some extra time to work on today's word. I semi-stole the idea from another photo of nails in wood (which I would show you if I remembered where I had seen it), though I'm sure it wasn't quite as brilliant as this masterpiece. I headed over to Home Depot to get a little block of wood, and they gave it to me for free out of the goodness of their hearts. (Forever indebted to Home Depot, I will never return to Lowes.) Setup (and tips for cheap lighting) This was the fun part. In lieu of any actual professional equipment, I find it helpful to be able to construct a studio out of whatever might be lying around. I bought two flashes a while ago: a used Canon 420ez that may be on its last legs and a Nikon SB 600. The Nikon is definitely a better flash; it's more powerful and more easy to use. But, as I shoot Canon, I can only use it on full manual (which means I only use it in a "studio" setting). Throw in a couple of Cactus flash triggers for under$50 and a couple stands, and you've got yourself a "studio." Today I used a boom stand for a microphone, which allowed me to place the light directly over the subject. Black in the background, and white (though it didn't show in the photo) under the block of wood. (And the "stand" underneath the subject today was just two drums, instead of the usual TV tray table I like to use.)

All in all, the lighting setup costs between $400 and$500. Though it's not up to the standard of most professionals, it works well for me because of, well, poverty.

As always, send your incisive photos to me by email to join in. Have a wonderful Monday!

## March 6, 2009

### martial \MAHR-shuhl\,

suitable or used for war; warlike

Today's word was pretty straightforward, which I'm pretty stoked about because I didn't get much sleep last night due to the midnight showing of this awesome film.

A quick ride downtown was all I needed, and outside the courthouse I found my subject.

Clearly this man was made for war.

Gear for today
Same ol' Canon 10D, this time with a Sigma 28-70 f/2.8, which was my first lens. It's pretty fast and pretty sharp, but when it focuses, it sounds a bit like a jet liner.

Short post today, but if you'd like to add to the word of the day with a photo, send me an email.

Update: email from Ronny Nause had this submission for martial. He took this shot while in Washington, D.C. covering inauguration for News 14.

## March 5, 2009

### For my first trick

Word of the day

As an exercise in quasi-creativity (and also an exercise in getting myself out of bed before 11 each morning), I hope to spend most mornings taking the word of the day from dictionary.com and going out in search of a photo to correspond to it. It's pretty likely that I won't make it out of bed in time every day to find a good photo, but I'll do my best to keep it going if only to keep myself from lying in bed every day, getting fat.

I expect that many words will have to be matched up with a less-than-literal interpretation, but use your imagination and I'm sure you can make the stretch.

I would also encourage what I anticipate to be my many, many followers to join in by submitting their own photos that follow the theme. Just send your best images to rfisherphotos@gmail.com, and if they're great (and I'm sure they will be great), I'll post them up with mine (which may be less great).

Today's word:
parry \PAR-ee\,
verb:
1. to ward off; turn asid
e (as a thrust or weapon)
noun:

1. the act of warding off

As I rode my bike around Raleigh this morning in search of a streetside fencing match, I tried to imagine what else might go along with the word. And there it was:

Gear and whatsuch:
I shoot a Canon 10D, which is the 2003 version of the now popular 40D and 50D, which are much, much better. While it became obsolete almost immediately, it still takes photos, and that's what's important.

For this particular polaroid-looking photo to the left, I used a lens I bought from an old man on Craigslist.