February was another fairly quiet winter/pandemic month. The big news was my buying a new camera: a Nikon Z fc. I wrote a post about getting it and a post about my first lengthy outing with it.
The weather started showing some signs that spring is coming. We had a few decent days mixed in with more wintery ones. Holly and I did get out for a nice walk with a friend as well as a few walks on our own. The end of February always lifts my mood since the weather is starting to get better and there is more daylight.
Prior to getting the Nikon Z fc, I went out once with my Minolta X-700 one day at lunchtime. I shot about a third of a roll but any opportunity to take photos since has involved testing the new Z fc.
In addition to the photos I shared in the above links, I took a few more pictures one day after work around the neighborhood. All of these were taking with the NIKKOR Z DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 lens, which I have quickly become enamored of. As I mentioned in my other posts, the stabilization in the lens is great and photos taken at the 140mm end remain sharp, at least in good sunlight.
That same day, I also took a couple pictures of the sunset out our window.
Another photography-related task I undertook during the month was to add the camera brand to the tags of all of my posts. In the past, I always tagged posts with the specific camera mentioned, e.g. Minolta X-700 but I have long wanted to be able to search my posts for all cameras of a specific brand, e.g. all of my Minolta cameras.
So now I have tags for:
I’m not sure anyone other than me will care about this, but I’m sure I’ll find it useful.
As I mentioned in my January 2022 Update, I decided to not post about every short story I read, just that ones that particularly stood out.
The New Yorker had 3 issues in February, and I liked all 3 stories. I have become a Lauren Groff fan over the past few years so was happy to read her latest story, Annunciation. Because she recently had a new novel out, Matrix, I was surprised to see a new story so soon.
The other 2 stories were by authors new to me: Once Removed by Alexander MacLeod and So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan.
I read 4 books in February, although one of them was a photography book, so “read” might not be the most precise word. The photography book was The Photographer’s Eye by John Szarkowski. I bought it mainly as a plan B because I wanted to buy the exhibition catalog for The New Woman Behind the Camera exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was interested in this exhibit but wasn’t going to head to New York during a global pandemic for it. I was disappointed to find that it was no longer available. Determined to get a photography book, I decided to get The Photographer’s Eye, originally published in 1964, from the MOMA Design Store.
The interesting aspect of The Photographer’s Eye is the way it is organized around 5 themes: The Thing Itself, The Detail, The Frame, Time, and Vantage Point. Szarkowski opens each section with a brief description of what he means by each theme and then presents numerous examples. He includes many well-known photographers from a range of time periods: Berenice Abbott, Brassaï, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Dorothea Lange, Irving Penn, and Gary Winogrand, among many others.
Two of the books I read were somewhat disappointing. Part of the reason I wasn’t as engaged with Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle as with some of his other works was due to my not realizing that it was a collection of 3 interrelated stories and not a cohesive novel. Even after understanding what I was reading, I still felt that the 3 stories didn’t add up to much. I had read a short story excerpt in The New Yorker which I enjoyed but led me to believe the book was more about a heist than it was. Clearly, I did not have the proper expectations. Regardless, I found all the stories a bit stilted partly because the historical research was obvious with more details provided than was often necessary.
I loved the first 3/4th of Gary Shteyngart’s Our Country Friends. Unfortunately, I found the last 1/4th to be unsatisfying. I really enjoyed his Super Sad True Love Story and Lake Success so I was disappointed that this one didn’t quite live up to those. That said, the excellence of the first parts made it a worthwhile read.
The last book I read in February, Chaim Potok’s My Name Is Asher Lev, was fantastic. I had read it a long time ago and remembered loving it but hadn’t remembered much about it. It certainly lived up to my recollection. I was probably in my mid-twenties when I previously had read it. I am assuming I got more out of it this time since I am more interested in art at this point in my life. Asher Lev is passionate about painting (to say the least) but is raised in a strict Hasidic household giving the story a lot of tension between his desire to paint and his parents’ expectations of him.
Books Read in 2022
- The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
- Book, They Might Be Giants, Paul Sahre, Brian Karlsson
- All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business, Mel Brooks
- The Photographer’s Eye, John Szarkowski
- Harlem Shuffle, Colson Whitehead
- Our Country Friends, Gary Shteyngart
- My Name Is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
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