Thursday, December 31, 2009

I decided to end the year by listing the blogs I follow. Most are photography blogs (surprise). I'll start with them.

I checked Guy Tal's blog frequently in the past and recently subscribed through Google Reader. Guy and I think a lot alike about photography and while I don't believe in only exposing myself to those opinions that I agree with I also think it doesn't hurt to know that I'm not alone in my views. Besides Guy takes some great photos that I enjoy looking at.

Another recent addition to my RRS feed that I had looked at occasionally is Kathleen Connally's photo blog A Walk Through Durham Township, Pennsylvania. She presents a very nice collection of photos of rural Pennsylvania. She doesn't seem to have any agenda except to show off the area where she lives and does so with affection and skill.

Absolutely Nothing is probably more portfolio than blog. Like Kathleen Connally, the photographer, Tristan Campbell puts the latest photo on the home page and then moves it to an archive as a new one replaces it. The photos are of England though. I'm a sucker for landscapes and these are good ones.

Chris Orwig's Flipside is a personal/professional blog where he posts his latest family photos along with some professional work. I first "met" Chris via where he has some tutorials. He is a photo instructor at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara. On any given day you are as apt to see photos of his young daughters as you are a portrait of a renowned surfer.

David duChemin's PixelatedImage blog is often philosophical. He also has some interesting and inexpensive ebooks that he sells through his site and is the author of a couple of 'real' books as well which can be found on Amazon. David's work is more in the photojournalist/National Geographic tradition.

Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider is for the techie in me. It keeps me up to date with Kelby Training & NAPP (Association of Photoshop Professionals) with some personal touches.

Jim Richardson's Working Photographer blog has a list of photographers he's jealous of. I find that hard to believe because I'm jealous of Jim Richardson. He does a lot of work with National Geographic and beautiful work it is.

TOP (The On-line Photographer) is an interesting mix of reviews, photography news and opinion. Mike Johnson has been writing for and editing photo magazines for many years and carries on in this eclectic blog.

Lastly PhotoPreneur is about making money from photography, something I don't do well and need to do better next year which just happens to start tomorrow.

If you follow this blog because of the photography perhaps one or more of the above might also interest you. I'll list the non-photo blogs I follow in a later post.

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Touch of PTSD

Those of us living in the Northeast are a bit nervous about freezing rain. Eleven years ago we had several days of it in a row in what became known as the Ice Storm of '98. We went without power for a week and were among the lucky ones. Some rural areas had no power for up to a month and areas of Quebec were without power for up to 6 weeks.

I well remember being afraid to walk out into the yard because the ice was breaking limbs from the maple trees which came down with a crash every few minutes. If you were hit by a falling 4" thick limb that would be bad enough but add an inch or more of ice and they were really dangerous. The 35 maples around my acre lost about 50% of their limbs in that storm and it took them about 10 years to recover. We lost a couple of them since the storm, in part I suspect because of what they suffered then.

We had freezing rain in the early hours of this morning. It wasn't nearly the scale of the Ice Storm of '98 but after an experience like that your mind jumps back and you hope it doesn't turn into another 3-4 day storm. This one was mild. Maybe ⅛" of ice. Enough to make everything slippery and a few things picturesque. The photo is of a vine on one of the garden trellises. We had a couple of different sorts of vines planted there and I'm not sure what this one was.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Littlest Christmas Tree

About 20 years ago Diane was working for Ames Dept Store and they gave each of their employees  an evergreen to plant. It was a single stem with needles, no side branches at all. We stuck it in the ground and it did nothing for about 2 or 3 years then it grew a few side branches (small ones) and then stalled again seemly a permanent dwarf. I moved it to the front of this flower bed a couple of years ago, intending it to be a temporary home but it seems to like this spot and has started to grow again so... I guess I'll be rearranging the flower bed to accommodate the tree as it grows. It seems a shame to disturb it again when it has found a home it likes. Today Diane suggested that we put some lights on it for the holidays. While we were out shopping I bought a string of 50 lights and strung them on it when we got home.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Photographers, especially landscape photographers like me, often feel they have to go off someplace special to make photographs. Photographs of something iconic, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite or the like. I used to tell my photo students to shoot what was around them and though I do make several trips each year an hour or so South to the Adirondacks I also spend a fair amount of time photographing the flowers in my own garden and the sights around the tiny hamlet where I live.

This morning, after several grey mornings in a row, the sun was brilliant but we left the cellular shades down because it was -6ºF and was projected to get up to only about 9º. The shades help retain heat. They also glow nicely as the sun shines through them and I was intrigued by this light on these objects in the livingroom.  As I looked at them and the light, I decided I wanted to make a photograph. It needed a square composition, so it is cropped, and the extremes of brightness required three exposures which I combined in Photomatix using the exposure blending option. I also added a pseudo film edge as a border.

As I'm sure is the case in most people's homes, all the objects have memories attached for Diane and I. The clock in the upper left came from our daughter. She bought it for herself but one of her cats insisted on jumping atop it and knocking it off the wall. I fixed it for her the first time it got broken but after it got knocked down again she gave it to us. The finial from the bottom is still broken and is behind the large cow next to the clear bottle. I bought the two bottles in an Adirondack antique shop while I was in college. The Buddha came from a visit to Diane's parents. Her father took us to a flea market that he occasionally did some work for. The owner, Pete, had a woman's hat on it and it was painted all black. We bought it (but not the hat) and I repainted it copper and gold. I also built the small stand for it. The plant is one of Diane's. If it were up to me to look after them they'd all be shriveled and dead because I'd forget to water them. The small bowl in front of the Buddha's stand holds shells and pebbles from Leo Carillo Beach in California which we visited one Thanksgiving when our son and daughter-in-law lived in Thousand Oaks. The blanket chest everything is on was inherited from my grandmother who inherited it from her parents. I think, though I'm not absolutely certain, that my great-grandfather built the chest.

The moral, if there is one, is that you need not go far to find subject matter.  Don't reserve your picture taking to special occasions. Use photography as a way to look more closely at the world around you every day.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday E-Card Time

Best wishes to one and all regardless of the holiday you celebrate. The traditions of Christmas go back centuries before December 25th was adopted by the Roman Catholic church to represent the birthday of Jesus. The 25th of December was celebrated by early Romans as the rebirth of the sun after it "died" on the shortest day of the year. The traditions of gift giving and decorating homes with greenery in this season go back to even earlier times. Today we have several religious holidays clustered around the solstice and Christmas is a civil holiday as well as a religious one. So whatever your religion or beliefs, may you find joy in the beginning of another trek around the sun.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shameless Commerce

I have created a series of four Adirondack posters which I am selling as archival prints. One of the series appears above. The others can be seen at either my Picasaweb galleries or my Photoshelter galleries. The price is $80/poster. They are signed on the face in ink and on the back in pencil with an ordinal number and the date. They would make a nice holiday gift for someone who loves the Adirondacks or just loves the outdoors. They can be mailed in a tube to your home. If you live in NY state I have to charge 7% sales tax. For the holidays I will absorb the postage. I take Paypal. You don't need a Paypal account and you can put it on your credit card. Email inquiries and orders here. Please put "Poster" in the subject line so your message gets through my spam filters.