Sunday, March 30, 2008

Black And White

Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.
Robert Frank

With time off from active shooting, I considered whether I wanted to continue with film at all. The answer is yes, I still want film in my life through the Medium Format world. So I'm going to try and shoot at least once a month with my Mamiya C-220 or my Bronica SQ-AI. I'm also going to shoot with my Diana and Holga for day to day stuff. I think they have lessons to teach me.

I dug through some old negatives and thought I'd scan and then post them for the next week or two. This photo was shot in the Marin County Headlands at an artist studio. I had just gotten my Bronica, was finishing the last class I would take at the local college here and really didn't get to work with printing it. So it got packed into my negatives folder and I had forgotten about it. I really love the contrast in this photo and am inspired to go out in a couple of weeks to try again.

We were listening to oldies at brunch and this came on so my inspiration for today;
Three Dog Night, "Black and White":

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Looking In

Take your Holga out for a ride. Stop often. Play.
Kit Frost

Hello there. Thought I'd stop and look in. First thanks to all my amazing friends who got me through the past week. I couldn't done it without them. Living life one handed has been an adventure.

While I love to shoot film, it's not always convenient. I love shooting with my Holga, but it can get expensive as I don't have a dark room available and have to pay a local lab to develop the film. Randy at Holgamods to the rescue. I'm now the proud possessor of a "Holgapus". A modified Olympus lens cap with a Holga lens attached. Purists may scoff, but it's a brilliant alternative. I took my first short drive today and went to my friend Judy's. She is an amazing photographer. I managed a one hand shot in her garden. It was so satisfying as I was going into withdraw. A twitchy photographer can be a sad sight. We had a fun time and it was great to be out.

It will be a bit before I'm back in the game completely, but am getting there. In the meantime I'm perusing my favorite blogs for inspiration.

Todd Rundgren, "Hello It's Me":

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Pat's Day

St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time - a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic.
Adrienne Cook

Only Americans can take something from one country and totally make it uniquely our own. On St. Patrick's Day, it seems everyone is Irish. But then any thing that encourages us to take a moment to enjoy life and have fun is a good thing. Tomorrow's the surgery, so I'm going to grab that idea and practice it as much today as much as I can.

Hope your day is full of four leaf clovers and the wearing of the green.

And here's a group that really knows the meaning of enjoying life-
The Wicked Tinkers, "Marching O'Neils":

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.
Douglas Pagels

Sometimes you don't how much the life you have been living isn't the life you were meant to live until you stop that life. Already in 4 days off, knowing I don't have to go back to work for several weeks has brought more relaxation then I thought possible. It's just one more nudge from the universe that it's time for change and I intend to use this time wisely.

Today I said yes to getting healthier and started getting back to cooking healthier meals. I was inspired by this woman who was making Apple Squash Soup last week at the faire. I had squash and apples in the pantry, so I made a batch. It was wonderful, a contrast in savory and sweet. With a bowl filled, I sat in the sun, savored the flavor, sank into a feeling of well being and dreamed of rainbows.


1 med. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced coarsely
2 c. apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 c. onion, chopped
3 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. half and half
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 tbsp. curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste(If using cooked squash, add about 2-3 cups when you add chicken broth.)Melt butter in soup pot. Add squash, onion, apples and curry. Saute for five minutes with frequent stirring. Do not brown. Add flour and mix well. Cook, with constant stirring for two minutes. Add chicken broth and mix well.Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes with occasional stirring. Puree in food processor and add back to the pot with the half and half. Milk can be substituted. Bring to serving temperature but do not boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Three Dog Night, "Shambala":

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Found Objects

I always photograph found objects; excepting portraits, all of my photographs are of found objects. And now, thinking of the best of them, I hear little crashes tinkling back twenty years, for the best of them have always been photographs that found themselves.
Minor White

Being that I've been grounded from going to far afield and doing intensive photography, my skink pinhole pancake lens came at the right time (the universe does provide). As I was out walking Bella this am in the park, I found a hornet's nest and a blue feather (signs of the emergent spring). Voila I've found some direction for the next several days; photography with found objects. I also found out I could take the photos in the bright sunlight without a tripod and actually see the object through the viewfinder instead of blindly composing. Still a lesson in patience. I'm loving the colors and the just plain fun I'm having with this lens, it feels like I'm photographing dreams.

Alison Krauss & Union Station, "Now That I Found You":

Friday, March 14, 2008


The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
Hans Hofman

I've always wanted to try a pinhole camera. I got my chance when a skink pinhole pancake lens for my Olympus E510 came into my hands. Here is the real first experiment. All I can say is tripod, manual setting and remote shutter release. It brings the process down to pure simplicity. It was fun though and made me slow down and really think about what I wanted to get. I'm looking forward to bringing it on shoots. Only problem, I had to clean up dust in Photoshop for the first time.

Camera Obscura, "Keep It Clean":

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tent Oasis

The tent is an object for meeting people.
Dre Wapenaar

I love tents. When I was growing up in Michigan we would often beg for blankets and rope so we could make a tent in our back yard. Often we would stay awake through much of the summer night, watching the stars make their way as we peered through the opening at the end. We could pretend we were anyone and anything was possible. As I grew older it became my way to beat stress by taking off with it and getting away from it all either on my own or with friends/lovers.

When I saw the tent at the faire, all of these memories came back. The couple whose tent this was grinned at me when I discussed those memories...they were quick to assure me that they have made many of their own while traveling with this tent, that it was their oasis in the faires they frequently went to.

Maria Muldaur, "Midnight at the Oasis":

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Games People Play

They never say to you, 'What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?' Instead, they demand 'How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?'
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Some of the people I've talked to about reenactment don't understand why people get so involved. They often think they don't live in the real world. It's too bad they miss the point. I talked with several of the people doing the reenactment at the faire. While these two pointed out that certainly their game materials weren't representative of what actually existed, they were very knowledgeable about the roots of the game they were playing being in medieval times. Besides they knew how to ask the questions that really matter....

I found out today that I will be off from work for close to five weeks. So I'm asking the questions that really matters about this time, how can I use it to enrich my creativity and enjoy the sights/sounds and experiences I'm allowed in the healing period. I trust the universe will take care of the disability, healing and such (of course we filed the right paper work to help it along)...

I love the colors and intimacy of this photo, it was catching a lord and lady at the critical moment of play.

Are you asking the questions that really matter in the game of life?

The Spinners, "Games People Play":

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Come Away

Come away oh human child
To the waters and the wild
W. B. Yeats

When I entered the fair grounds I saw two children eating and playing. The older of the two looked up and saw I was carrying a camera. She beckoned me over. Kneeling down I said hello. With all the beguiling charm of an innocent she pointed at my camera and asked, "Do you wanna take my picture?" Of course I did and she was a wonderful model (I asked her parent if it was okay first though, wise practice when photographing children in public). She set the charm and mode for the day.

Loreena McKennitt, "Stolen Child":

Monday, March 10, 2008

Welcome to the Faire

Welcome anything that comes to you, but do not long for anything else.
Andre Gide

Welcome ye lads and lassies....What a wonderful time yesterday. I met interesting/creative people, got some great portraits and textural photos. I loved the recreation of a medieval village. There were some fantastic interpretations. I'll share some photos over the next few days. Everyone was drinking, eating, listening to music and making merry. Best of all I met someone who is going to become my new harp teacher...

Lisa Lynne, "Where the Wild Roses Grow":

Sunday, March 9, 2008


When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.
Thomas Carlyle

Up early to head to the Celtic Faire to celebrate the echoes of my Scots-Irish ancestry and take photos. Quite a feat on the first day of daylight savings time...Have I mentioned that I'm not a morning person? Strong cup of Irish Breakfast tea is starting my day. Only bad thing is I'll miss my outing with Bella this morning at the dog park. Speaking of dogs, Jessie at Diary of a Self Portrait, has opened her pet portraiture business "Stray Dogs" and is offering a discount. Her work is wonderful and as soon as I can I'm having her paint Bella for me.

A bit of Beoga, one of the bands I'll be seeing today:

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring or Waking Up

Spring is the land awakening. The March Winds are the morning yawn.
Lewis Grizzard

There are some good things about this upcoming surgery, it just took a bit to get to them. I'm going to be off work for potentially a few weeks. It just happens I live in one of the only five states that offer disability pay so I will have my pay while I'm off. So in-between physical therapy sessions, I may not be able to do much photography, but I can catch up on my reading etc. around photography, watching dvds that have piled up and spend some time with friends.

I have to pay tribute to some bloggers also who are helping me count my blessings, Elena, Susanna, Jessie, Jen, Shauna, Alex and others I'm missing. Their thoughts and experiences are like guide lights along life's path and all I can say humbly is thank you.

Spring Awakening (Broadway Musical) Cast, "Don't Do Sadness/Blue Wind":

Thursday, March 6, 2008


We climb to heaven most often on the ruins of our cherished plans, finding our failures were successes.
Amos Bronson Alcott

What is it about ruins that attracts me to capture them on camera? No matter if it's a building, fabric, just anything with character...perhaps that is the key. The character gives it a uniqueness that is wonderful in our streamlined driven by silicon perfection times. And I have found at times when I think I have done something to ruin a plan, an idea, a photo; if I leave it alone for a few days/weeks and come back I gain perspective and find it's a success. A good lesson to remember.

Bruce Springsteen, "My City of Ruins:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Celtic Faire

May the road rise up before you and the wind be always at your back.
Irish proverb

Just a couple of things tonight. My surgery is scheduled and my friends will be there taking care of me before and after, to them I say, "Go raibh míle maith agat! (May you have a thousand good things or many thanks!)" Since I can't go out and celebrate St. Patrick's Day on the 17th as it's the night before surgery. I'm heading for the foothills and a Celtic Faire this weekend. Lot's of great music, food, entertainment and you know ops!

And one of the bands who will be there, Black 47, "Funky Ceili":

Monday, March 3, 2008

Back to Preston Castle Pt 2

The past is a ghost, the future is a dream, and all we ever have is now.
Bill Cosby

Apparently like many places with an interesting past, Preston Castle now has it's believers that it is haunted. It has all the right elements, despair, murder and age. As I mentioned before parapsychologists came to investigate it and they have found the proverbial orbs, temperature changes and even reports of unexpected smells/sounds/voices. I haven't experienced anything, but it doesn't mean that something isn't there. I hold with the oft quoted Hamlet, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

My tripod ball head gave up the ghost towards the end of the shoot and I had to try to get what photos I could with flash and other means. The photo above had camera shake, but with an application of cross processing film, I ended up with an almost impressionistic piece. Just evidence that sometimes our mistakes bring interesting discoveries.

Kitaro, "Heaven and Earth":

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Back to Preston Castle Pt 1

Beauty's a doubtful good, a glass, a flower, Lost, faded, broken, dead within an hour; And beauty, blemish'd once, for ever's lost, In spite of physic, painting, pain, and cost.
William Shakespeare

A couple of weeks ago through an odd series of circumstances I lost most of my photos from Preston Castle. So when I found out they were open again for tours, I decided to go. All I can say is thank you Olympus for putting Live View on your DSLRs as I was able to take shots using it and a tripod with success. I had a different perspective this time and shot different photos then my first set. Three hours went by in a blur and it was time to go. I'll probably return in 2 weeks to finish the shoot.

After I was talking to the docents about Preston, its history, and their efforts to restore it. The concept of it as having a beauty in relationship to it's being photographed was discussed and the irony that in it's dishevelled state it has an eerie beauty that it never had when it was new. One of the docent's shared though that people who had been there as inmates feel that they would it just as soon fall into a pile of rubble then be restored.

BTW: Photographers aren't the only ones who find something eerie about Preston. Apparently parapsychologist or ghost hunters if you will have discovered it and are investigating in hordes. There were several people there yesterday with that intent and some who have come out for evening visits. More on that next entry.

Joe McMurrian, "Broken Window Blues":

Beauty Is...

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