Thursday, September 10, 2009


I'm going to cheat a little tonight, but I know you won't mind. This is actually a photo I took on my vacation, but I was so happy with it I had to put it here.

I took a lot of great shots on my vacation, but I especially like this one because: 1. it shows the beauty of the Milwaukee Lakefront and 2. it was exposed correctly (thanks to Ken!). I went out shooting with my friend Ken, who came up for the day from Chicago and we knocked around Milwaukee's lakefront then out to the Boerner Botanical Gardens. Ken was feeding me readings from his light meter and helping me compose. He was a photography major and for me, who's completely self-taught, it was a wonderful experience. I'm hoping I can meet up with other generous souls who are so willing to share their experience with me because we have no local camera shops or anywhere to take intermediate classes.

WARNING: Soapbox time!

You'd think that the capital of New York State would have more to offer in the way of specialty shops (i.e. photography, crafts...) rather than just the national big-box chains. The only fabric store in the area is virtually out of business - taken over by Joanne Craft and Fleece. The only camera shop that isn't a Ritz is so expensive that I can't afford to shop there - and they don't offer any classes. The closest scrapbook store is in Schenectady - 25 miles away and the best one is in Massachusetts! There are no yarn shops left, no upholstery shops, only one bead store in Troy - don't people craft any more? Have we as a society grown so lazy that we've forgotten the joy of creating something with our hands? Or is it just that small businesses can't survive in this 2nd most expensive state?

A lot of people cop out by saying 'Well New York City is so close'. Close my left foot! New York City is 3 hours away - not the place I want to go when I need to run out for a trim or a button.

People also say 'You can shop online'. I do, but I'm a visual, tactile person. I like to feel a fabric/trim/yarn/paper before I buy it. Plus my monitor may not render colors the same way the website thinks it should, so the colors I buy may be off. Did you know that even black has different shades?

For all it's flaws, Milwaukee seems to do a much better job of nurturing small businesses. Yes, Art's Camera (the most excellent photo shop in SE WI) is down to one location from 3. Yes, a couple scrapbook and yarn shops closed - but there are still others to shop at.

So please, people - if anyone out there is listening - please support your local craft or hobby store. You may not realize it now, but your hometown will be very poor indeed if you should lose your arts and craft community!

Sorry gang - off the box now.....

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