Slice of Life

Meaningful Nothings - Revisited

In between sending emails, contacting people, and making myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I came across - and decided to revisit - my old mini project, Meaningful Nothings. The idea of combining prosaic poetry and photographs have always been close to my heart. I realized, however, that I did not capture the essence of the combination in my last rendition of Meaningful Nothings. I decided, then, to redo the whole thing; this time rethinking the use of text, specifically its purpose and relevance within the image. Instead of putting the text side by side with the image, I decided to incorporate the text within the image, and play around with the formatting to reflect the feel of the prose. 

A little background about the items; they are pieces of memories I collected over my lifetime alongside various ticket stubs, receipts, and random maps I found on the street. The items I picked to show in the series are those that have the deepest stories - stories that are both mine and not mine to tell. Playing with the text's format has been easier on some proses more so than others, and I ended up having to rewrite some of them here and there. I found the way 'untouched' in the Twinings image truly fit the way I wanted the prose to flow at the end - slow enduring, and somewhat playful. 

There are more images under way, containing some more memories, but I suppose it won't be so easy or obvious as the first two, but we'll see where this project will go. I realize I'm not the best writer in the world, especially with prosaic poetry, but I decided to keep doing it anyway. Email me with thoughts or whatnot about the story, or let me know whatever you think about it. 

Meaningful Nothings

Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with words as much as images, and the idea of somehow combining the two had always been close to my heart. Also close to my heart, is my own stories; ones that plays over and over in my mind - loudly, softly, or otherwise. In short, Meaningful Nothings is a mini-series trying to combine my love for words, images, and stories (that of my own, in this case). Meaningful Nothings is also an experiment; an attempt for me to try different things in exploring my work. _DSF4469

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Feel free to drop me a message/comment on thoughts!

Cheers!

They Who Dance

Last month, I was able to visit the city of Ubud, Bali, in search for stories to cover. What I found was an interesting dichotomy between art preservation and means of living. I wished I had more time to work on the story, instead I had to return before long. I visited one of the performance space, Ubud Palace, to see if I could get access to the behind the scene of one of Bali's most famous dances; tari Barong. The show was on almost every day in the Ubud Palace; that night was Sadha Budaya Dance studio's turn, who kindly allowed me access to behind the backstage. _MG_8180

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And so it was

Following a couple of hours of plane ride was three days of marriage ceremonies - my sister's of course; not mine. Having been married already in the states, my parents longed to see her married in our hometown Makassar, in front of our grandmothers, and inside the church we had been going to for long. That time arrived yesterday. The procession was complex as it was long, with one formalities followed by another, long hours in the humid air of the typical townhouse, and sometimes inexplicable activities, and yet the couple marched through. With all the camera around, almost dictating every single move, it was hard to get a glimpse of truth in the whole situation, but perhaps, just perhaps, I managed to obtain some - a small window in which nothing matters but love. _MG_7763

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At the end, perhaps there's more to marriage than the photos, and that photographers should strive to capture real moments instead of creating them. Also perhaps, is that I know nothing about weddings, and am just being a bitter old man. All those bitterness dissolved down the sink when I then realize that regardless of what the people put them through, it was their moment, as a couple, in a home where she lived in. Moments of truth will arise when it felt the need to, wherever they are, whenever it is. Love needed made, and so it was.

Another three cheers for a sweet marriage. Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah.

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Iphone photojournalism? why not!

I have never been a big opponent of Iphone (or ANY SMARTPHONE) photography - I love using it when I don't have my camera with me, and I had always thought that it takes good picture; for instagram at least. Whenever I could, however, I would prefer my DSLR - faster focusing, better dynamic range, and... now that you mention it, I don't know what else. Indeed, one day, a mob of workers in protests appeared in front of my eye when I didn't have my camera with me. I took out my Iphone, and started shooting. IMG_2210

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Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) the Iphone (or again, ANY SMARTPHONES) allowed me to get really close. The tiny, non threatening size allowed people to be more comfortable with me putting a piece of thin box before their faces. I might look funny running around pointing my cellphone at people's faces, but at least I got great photos from such tiny contender (it's smaller then a Leica!)

So, Iphone photojournalism? Why not indeed.

Within the Walls of the Prayer - an Ongoing Work

I crept my way on the wooden floors towards the room, stopping silently by the door. Beyond the wooden frames, lit by the morning sunlight filtering through the window were the sounds of chanting. Earlier in the day, a woman came to give offering to Buddha through the monks. Other than the sounds of the chants, the room was completely silent as the sunlight shifted and gave way to rain clouds - soon water started to trickle down the temple roofs. Buddhist temple 1 (2)

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"Within the walls of the Prayer" is an ongoing work, stemming from the interest in the confined space upon which faith and culture blooms. In the big cities like london, where culture and religion are largely a private matter, it found itself confined in the physical walls of stones and steel. It is in those space, however, another wall was erected, a wall of prayers. Growing within the walls of the prayers were faith and culture, bloomed, and flowered into a microcosm of its own - a completely different universe from those outside of the walls. This work attempts to take a peek into those microcosms, and make sense of its place in the largely cold city of London.

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I managed to visit three different places of worship; a Hare Krishna (ISKCON) temple, Buddhapadipa Temple, and the East London Mosque - all of which contained not only the most pleasant people I had met in London, but also a solemn air unlike those outside. Teachings were told, some in english, others in their own native language, or both, and prayers were said to their own faith and for some reason, the warmth provided by each institution had always contrasted the cold rainy weather of London streets.

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I long to continue working with the people in each institutions, and perhaps along with others to continue this work. Having always been interested in faith and culture, I long to understand more of each faith.

And Then There Were Three

_MG_4683A year had passed since the last Columbus College of Art And Design graduation commencement, and this year she is proud to present us three more proud graduates from its bosom. Those that knows them knows how much they had poured into their craft, and those who don't had missed the acquaintance of three of the most wonderful artists I had ever seen. I was honored, and lucky enough to take their pictures as they walk upon the grand stage where they set down their cornerstone, upon which they will look back in pride - "that was where I started", they would say. First and foremost - a congratulations; or rather, three congratulations, one for each of the graduates. Incidentally, I am indebted to all three of the graduates much much too deeply, so a couple of words must be said about each of them.

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Vincent Tjandra. Where can I ever be today without the shoulder, words, and heart of this fine young lad? I could go on forever, but open minds and ears, patient; kind; passionate heart, and unforgiving critiques, are among the very little I can say. It was perhaps a little over three years ago when I met him, and his heart had called him somewhere else - perhaps much like myself. I had never meet someone as patient nor kind as him, and yet so strong in his stance against the world - this would lead him to the choice he made a little while ago, a choice even I would see as fitting. Those who hadn't heard of the full story should ask him in person, but as for now, I would rather just say: Thank you for the long nights of conversation, thank you for the stupid pointless things we've talked about, those which without, most of my times in Columbus wouldn't have been as much fun - and as meaningful. Congratulations, Vichan. Wherever life takes you, you'll make a deep impact; and I shall find you again. Again; congratulations.

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Arianni Kurniawati. It would be massively unfair to compare anni to Vichan, but this I have heard many times, for aside from Vichan, I had never met someone as kind and gentle as Anni. Such humbleness, such kindness, such caring. Funny, smart, understanding, and headstrong. Those that know her as much (or as little) as I do, would wholeheartedly agree with what I just said. A long time ago she accompanied me on the rooftop of the parking lot in OSU, and we talked for hours end. One can only pretend to be so nice when talking to Anni, for soon they will be pulled down through her personality - as was what happened to me. She didn't say much but the words from her heart, and the things she had obtained through the years, and yet it humbled me beyond those I had ever experience before - a surreal yet wonderful experience. Talking to Anni had always been, and I dare say, will always be comfortable for reasons I had said prior. If what she has doesn't make her an amazing artist in the future, I don't know what will. Ariani Kurniawati, Congratulations, much, much congratulations I give unto you, and a billion thank you.

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Vania Ardelia Soemarsono. There are so much I could write here, a little of which could be captured in the photo I took above. When I asked her if she was close to the (correct me if I'm mistaken) president of CCAD of whom she hugged above, she answered; "not really." "Why, then?" I asked; upon which she said: "Why not?" Wonderful spontaneity, vast, boundless mind, yellow green imaginations, along with a million other colors incomprehensible to others. I had seen passion in others, but none like the one she had. I had delved into minds of others, but none as wonderful as hers. I try to capture what she sees with my camera, and never had I succeeded aside from a few very tiny tiny hint of success. I had never have a talk as encouraging as the talks I had with her, and nowhere as wonderful. I wished I could say more, but I prefer to leave some for myself. I have said this a long time before, and I will say it again, I love your art, and long to see the future you hold. Vania ardelia soemarsono, thank you for everything, thank you for showing me what I thought was improbable, and, I give you my congratulations, and wishes for future others can only imagine.

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Now truly, I could say a lot more about these three people, but my I don't want to soil what reality they had with my writings. Vincent Tjandra, Ariani Kurniawati, and Vania Ardelia Soemarsono; thank you for your friendship, thank you for everything. Words cannot describe the wonders you three behold, and I truly love all three of you. Congratulations.

Yours truly, Adhytia Dwiprakoso Putra

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The White Table And a Pile of Books

_MG_4221Hours of editing and four bottles of coffee later, here I was, finally typing the introduction to My sister's pre-wedding photos. The wonder of writing is that you don't have to worry about how you look while saying something - usually the readers will take care of those by their imagination themselves, so here goes. The four of us; My sis, Doug; her fiancee-but-actually-husband-already-but-for-the-sake-of-this-writing-fiancee, Vincent, and I, spent a whole day shooting prewed pictures. We went to about 8 locations, scattered around Columbus, OH, in around 7-8 hours, non-stop. We spent a total of around an hour of sitting, and that included driving, so needless to say it was a long day by the end of the day. I have to say, however, that all throughout the shoot, it was a wonderful experience. My sister and Doug never ceased to be energetic, never once lost a smile on their face, and to our gladness, never ceased to have fun - even after the long photo-shoot (some of which included running, and *ahem* faux-running). Over the eight locations, there always exist tons of "blooper" shots, which usually includes either or both of them making stupid poses, non-publishable expressions, and stupid gags; it was those fun and games that kept us going, and perhaps, for once in my ignorant life, made me a tad jealous of another's relationship - something I hadn't experienced before. There you go, sis, that's as much of a compliment as you're gonna get from me. Long story short, I believe that love is being able to have tons of fun even after 7 hours of pretending to point at books, running around in front of a stranger's house, and trying not to get run over by passing cars; for we are all young, and couldn't truly understand what love is, let us take it as such for now. I pray in the little time I spend praying, that the two of you never cease to make stupid faces at each other, no matter how difficult the times may be. Cheers. _MG_4199

Potentially heartwarming introduction aside, time for the pictures. With the help from a friend, I developed a pre-shoot vision of what the pictures are going to be like, and then decided on the theme and general color palette. There's a first time in everything, and this is my first time with said workflow. Many of the shots were preplanned to fit a certain narrative, though to be perfectly honest, it did not come out as effective as I would have wanted. I was wondering to myself how I could present the picture, and decided to go with narrative based arrangement. Below are some of the photos arranged along with the intended narrative.

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I hope the narrative flowed along the pictures above. I took an alternative shot for the table and the books:

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Following the narative shots, was supposed to be some more follow ups with sunsets, but the weather wasn't very helpful that day. I decided to skip the (practically nonexistent) sunset, and go ahead with more non-narrative shots. Most of the following shots were decided based upon lighting conditions. I would go somewhere, and would fall in love with the lighting of said place, and noted on how to utilize it. Near the heart of OSU, is an old building called Pomerene hall; an undergraduate based classrooms with huge windows allowing downpour of natural lights. Armed with a reflector/diffuser on hand, we played around with the light.

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Finally, location based shot. I was walking around pomerene hall when I noticed some stairs/steps with large windows. The lights weren't as nice as I would've loved, but I thought that it might look good with some strobes. I took a canon 430EXII with an umbrella attachment, and shot away.

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I also fell in love with the windows at Pistacia Vera, and decided to take some shoots there:

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All in all, it was a great learning experience, and a great time working with three great people. I also want to thank German village's Bookloft for letting us shoot inside their store. Bookloft is jam packed (quite literally) with awesome books, both new and used, and most definitely many obscure ones, at great prices - also, seriously? did you guys see the interior of that bookstore? that's one awesome bookstore. The more spacious bookstore shots were taken in half price books - again, super great bookstore with awesome book at low prices; I got all of my photography books there! Another super thanks also to Pistacia Vera for letting us shoot at their awesome bakery. With PV, you have to, or rather, MUST try their macaroons, specifically their pistachio macaroons - not much can be said about that than "awesome piece of round thing."

If you somehow make it this far, I personally thank you; it means a lot to me that you enjoyed looking at some of the pictures I made. Thank you!!

Cheers.

I Do - and after

_MG_2117The rain came down harsh; it was no storm, but harsh nonetheless. The last time rain came down, life for our family changed. This time, it changed yet again - my sister got married. Perhaps I was mistaken, but I believe she shed a single tear, none more than that, when Doug, her then fiancee said "I do." I believe that single tear told more than what many would need to hear - she was ready, and she was happy as hell, to say the least. At the end of the day; Congratulation sis, you had just gotten married! Have fun feeling old! _MG_2088 _MG_2141 _MG_2157 _MG_2259 _MG_2274 _MG_2287 _MG_2292

Candlelight Vigil From a Friend

I heard of the riot in Libya late on tuesday, earlier this week. A group of Libyans, rioted over an offensive movie made in the American Soil, which led to the death of four Americans, including one Ambassador - and a passionate one, at that. The story is filled with sadness and anger on multiple sides, but that is not why I am writing about it. Wednesday, 12/9/12, a certain Ohioan group held a candlelight vigil for the souls of those lost in the riot; they are the Libyan Americans of Ohio. Nearly twenty of them stood near the Wexner center fot the arts, next by the High street, holding candles and signs and flowers - passing letters to passerby. The letters were filled with condemnation of the attack, and perhaps, more importantly, How the Libyans felt towards one of the lost souls, Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Many of the attendees that I talked to were disqusted by the attack, one remarked that it was non-Islamic. All of them, however, were praying for the souls of the lost, and the families they left behind. For Ambassador Stevens, "He will be missed dearly," the letter said.

This is not a story about how brave Ambassador Stevens was, nor on the actual riot and the ensuing politics - much have been written on that, and I know that I am not qualified enough to talk on the subject. This, however, is a story about compassion, sanity and friendship. One of the signs held in the vigil was "USA, thank you for all you've done." Not all Libyans raised their pichforks to attack the embassy on that day, some, if not majority of them, condemned the attack, and speak for sanity, friendship, and thankfulness. Let there be no mistakes, it was not the work of religion, nor culture, nor countries; it was the work of people with their clouded minds. Never forget, that for every hand that was raised to attack that day, there exist many others that hold hands alongside the victims; especially among Libyans. This is a story on those Libyans lighting their candles to remind all of us: we're still here, and we still remember.

New Site

A friend of mine and I had a chat about the importance of web presence. In this day and age (spoken like a true 22 years old) one cannot undermine the importance of web presence and attention to detail and design. As a practitioner of the pictorial arts, I understand that whatever improves the experience of enjoying said picture, is a part of the art itself; web design is one of them. David Duchemin, a humanitarian photographer whom I look up to once said (paraphrased) "do not skimp on portfolios, get it done, and get it done right."  A website that helps focus attention to the pictures will prove to be a indispensable tool today - especially for those who do not yet have the opportunity to display their works in a showroom or studio. So I did - I spent some time to finally revamp my blog and gallery. Along with walking around and taking pictures, spending some (difficult) time working on how you present those work of yours are also as important. That all said, to those of you taking the time to look at my blog and ramblings; first, thank you very much, you all made me happy, second, and most importantly, Enjoy your stay here. :)

More photos and stories coming up soon.

Cheers!

Journey with a friend

Where will my curiosity take me, if not the unknowns? and what better way do I have find out than to walk? With that in mind, I called a good friend of mine living in Wooster, OH. "Andika, what say you I go to Wooster this weekend?" I said. An okay away and there I was, 12 AM in the morning, driving towards Wooster, a little over an hour away from Columbus, OH. I went to Wooster to meet an old friend, and to get fresh with my head; my old friend also helps with the second one. I brought with me my Camera, a wide angle lens, a tripod, a cable release, and left Columbus. I arrived at Andika's house at a little over 1 AM; it took a little over half an hour for him to recover from his sleep before we can start our journey.

The night was dark, the moon red; it was a night unlike others I've had in Columbus - I suppose it was normal in Wooster. We went to some fields where I would stood my tripod to take pictures. "I swear those fireflies have some kind of firing pattern in their glow", he would say; we would continue to chat non-stop as I kept taking pictures. One of the fields we went to, a soccer field behind a church, was full with fog. The skies were starry, and the grounds cold, wet with morningdew. We stayed there for almost an hour, if not a little more, and chat throughout the night.

The time was close to 4 AM when we finally decided to leave the soccer fields. Andika was aware of a swamp that he found interesting, and we were going to go there to check things out. As we drive through the city of Wooster, we passed through an interesting spectacle by the side; I noticed a mechanical monstrosity hid behind the thick fog. I yanked Andika and asked him what that was. "A train weighting station, and a junkyard" he said, "wanna go there?". Now both of us have a gleam on our eyes that says "yes" - so we stopped there. We walked around the junkyard, behind the thick fog, a skeletal-dome like structure looked sinister, especially when the surroundings are bathed in red and green glow.

A little more walking around and we noticed three trucks were left to dust in the junkyard, next to a couple more vehicles.

As dusk approached, we decided that we wanted to take some pictures of the sunrise, so we headed to a lake in Wooster. Unfortunately, the sun was faster than us, rushing towards the horizon in the speed of, well. a sun. We stopped next to a soybean fields to take some pictures of the sunrise. As i snapped a couple picts, Andika managed to identity the stage of growth of the soybean plants, along with their health conditions. It is as good of a time as any to explain that Andika is a soybean researcher focusing in mycologic diseases.

As we walked back towards our car, I snapped a couple more pictures.

Seeing as we were close to the lake, we decided to pay a visit. We visited the lake's marina, and walked around.

Close to 8 AM in the morning we decided to go home and get some quick rest - it turned out to be a 4 hour rest. At 12PM, we went out again to visit the city of Wooster. We came across a gemshop, filled with stones and gems. The owner was nice enough to answer all of our questions, which took him almost an hour. By the end of the day, we had grown to like the guy and the shop, we decided that we're gonna go stone searching and return there with any results for him to shape.

As we exited the store, Andika received a phone call from his friend. I barely heard words like "goat, beer, drinks, this afternoon?". He hung up, turned to me, and say "do you wanna eat some goat?" A friend of his just finished slaughtering a whole goat, and asked if we wanted to come over and enjoy the spoils - So I said "yes!" with all my might.

Andika's friend, Godwill, is one heck of a guy, he hunts, prepares, and cook one hell of a goat too. Along with his cousin and families, Godwill helped brighten the rest of the day with barrage of delicious dishes of goat - Goat leg, goat liver, and goat soup. Goat, beer, and company, there's no way the day could get any better - oh and a lot of dancing with the newest African music. It was an unbelievable lunch, Godwill and his family couldn't be more hospitable.

The trip ended at 4 PM; I was pleased, Andika was pleased and promised to tell me when he'd visit Columbus. It was such a great time. He left off with a gem of words: "Wooster, is a small city, but what makes it worthwile, is the people in it" - I couldn't agree more; Godwill and his family is a testament to that. I will visit wooster again, and if you have a friend there, don't be afraid to visit. Wooster is a gem within a gem.

The horseshoe

As an Ohio State University Alumnus, I felt obligated to take a picture of the Horseshoe stadium. This is my version of Horseshoe stadium, channeling a little bit of ansel adams into the picture (granted, Ansel would probably scoff at my picture, or not, since he seemed like a pretty chill dude), but here it is.

A bench in the middle of the woods

There's a bench in the middle of the woods. It faces the riverbanks, away from an open grassy area roofed by trees. In summer, when night comes, the grassy patch would be overrun with fireflies; it became a small planetarium, yet the bench faces away from it. One could sit on the bench and the starlight would fill the background. Now i couldn't take photos of the place; I didn't have my tripod with me, and a long exposure shot would be impossible, but i did capture other photos. Here they are:

From The eyes of Leica M3

After a long time, I finally got the chance to get the films from my M3 developed. All of the picts I took are without exposure metering, as my leicameter wasn't (and still is not yet) working. Surprisingly none of the picts are severely over/under-exposed, which makes me happy. Some of the pictures even are surprisingly good. Not bad for no metered  exposure shooting. The Color photos did not come out as good as the B/W, as the exposure was way more difficult to do without a meter, but at the end, it was heck of a lot of fun.

Enjoy!

A small journey

What is it that compels us to travel 2.5 hours from Columbus only to return the same night at 12 AM? Nothing. One good friend of mine during the voyage said "it's the journey that matters", and boy I couldn't agree more. It was a wednesday afternoon when we decided to randomly go to Cleveland to check out a waterfall there. the Brandywine waterfalls. Another friend of mine told me that we should just go on the same day, just because; so we did, we gunned the trip for no apparent reason other than "just because", which is sometimes more reason than one (or three) ever needed. In the middle of the path, we came across a giant bridge, which attracts our attention. We decided to just stop and take a couple of photos. The lights and the sky was nice; it was a good moment. When we then arrived at the waterfalls, it wasn't as nice as it seemed in the pictures, which is as expected seeing as this is summer and all. We took a couple of pictures anyway and go with it. A couple more strolls and we obtained more pictures of the area. Below are a couple of pictures from the voyage.

Cruising through life with your camera

Sometimes the best of photographs are obtained through the unlikeliest, or rather stupid methods. I would say this is one of the example of such photos. Had anybody actually see me as I was taking this photo, I would be condemned as irresponsible, stupid, and just a downright terrible human being. Sure, no one was harmed in the process, but I still strongly discourage anyone from trying to use the same method. That said, the photo was taken on a journey back from Cleveland; I took of from Cleveland at around 12:30 AM. Somewhere in the middle of the journey, as I was safely cruising at 65 mph, I noticed glimpses of light next to me; it was from random cars passing the opposite direction, road signs reflecting my headlights, or just some towers. I took my camera that has been sitting next to me, accompanying the lonely journey, and started taking long exposure shots. All of the waves and movement of the lights are 'naturally' created from the bumps and movements of the car; I didn't move the camera any more than I need to keep it steady on the steering wheels. The resulting pictures, about 15 of them were ranging from "nothing at all" to "trippy-LSD-induced-hallucination" shots.One of my favorite one is the purple thunder above.

Granted, my method was less than conventional; I couldn't even compose the shot, even less see what was happening, but one of the joys of photography is actually taking it. This picture represents the "fun" aspect of photography, and almost solely so. The experience was beautiful; there I was, the only car going my direction, and I was by myself taking shots accompanied only by the sound of the five for fighting CD I purchased before the trip, it was as close to fun as possible when taking pictures.

Again, I STRONGLY discourage people from taking picture while driving at 65 mph. However, when there's no other car around, and your trusted camera is right next to you, and you're into this sort of things, it is up to your own free will to try doing it, because for me it was one heck of a lot of fun (just be VERY VERY CAREFUL). In extension, not only this, but any other fun-non conventional methods you can discover as you randomly have fun with your camera, cherish it, and don't be afraid to try anything. Sometimes it's only between you and your camera (whatever camera you own, obviously).