"For the artist communication with nature remains the most essential condition. The artist is human, himself nature, part of nature within natural space." Paul Klee

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thrills of a Different Sort

I have never been much of a thrill seeker myself...the ferris wheels and roller coasters of my youth never attracted me. I was more likely to be found riding Dumbo at Disneyland..you know..the slow ones...certainly not those spinning tea cups.
I was too old to get into skateboarding when it first came out (and that was a while back) but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have even tried. I knew my coordination was mostly a visual thing.
My thrill is taking a good picture or I should say a picture that I like and am happy with.

Anywho, here's some high flying skateboarders at the local park. I knew I was going to use my off camera flash in order to light and catch the action, so I used my Nikon D70 which is an older camera but has a native sync speed of 1/500th of a second. So all these are shot at that speed - shot in manual, pre-selecting my focal point to where I thought the skater would be at the snap.  Took several attempts on each and after an hour or so ended up with a good selection of pix. My VAL (voice activated lightstand), my wife in this case, was off to the side holding the flash on top of a monopod. We both paid attention to the skaters over and over to try and get a feel for the rhythm and to be able to coordinate the lens and flash direction.

It must be that thrill of just being airborne and pursuing control and flirting with out of control....

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I love shooting abstracts. Always on the lookout for things that look like other things. If that makes sense. Dabbling with acrylics on canvas is fun but if I can find something just happening in reality(reality what's that??)  I'll work with it. It's all about the final image and it's effect. And here is one filled with ambiguity on high volume - right to 11. What is it? I'll give you a second or two to ponder. Any guesses?

I don't think you'll get this one. - OK, here goes - I was driving by an office park on a Sunday and they were obviously fixing (painting) the generic sign/directory on the lawn. But they weren't done so they covered it with visqueen for the weekend, "visqueen", you know that plastic-y heavy duty saran wrap kind of stuff you use when painting. Well, mother nature came along and whipped up a frothy wind that day and blew the thing nearly completely off. It was still anchored down but was flapping and "snapping" in the wind like crazy.  So I just started shooting it from every angle I could think of using the natural daylight for backlight.
At one point I was on the ground shooting up when I heard a engine running and turned (still on the ground) and a police officer had rolled down his window and asked if I was all right. I convinced him I was and he left me to my creative rolling around in the grass under this huge (probably fifteen feet in length) flailing plastic sail.

A bit of softening in Photoshop to render the illusive illusion.

As photographers, we can make images, any kind we can imagine or dream up.  What matters is experimenting, pushing the envelope, trying new approaches,  and always always - keeping it fun!

Click image for bigger.
Thanks for stopping by.

All images copyrighted.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Here's a picture I took of my mother around 1976. My mother would get this look whenever she was immersed in thought, her eyes would go out of focus or there would be this far off gaze and you could tell she was contemplating something deep down inside and perhaps something of meaning...who knows.  Taken at a hotel restaurant  in available light using the fully manual Pentax Spotmatic with the 50mm 1.8 lens shot on Kodak Tri-X film.

I have hundreds of pictures of my family taken over the years...black and white, color, and slides.
I treasure them all. As I search through my binders of negatives I'll  find one that I really like and scan it. I printed this on some special Hahnemuhle textured paper and it looks wonderful.

So take mom or dad aside and make a nice portrait just using window light. Or any other member of the family. Don't just shoot the parties and get togethers - look for those moments...the quiet ones.
Find different spots in your house where the light gathers and floats and be ready whenever someone goes there to sit and read.
In retrospect, there are so many people I wished I had photographed. Capture your loved ones now...they'll be treasures you'll keep coming back to.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


For those of you who are not familiar with "photokina"...photokina is a HUGE
photographic and imaging trade show held every two years.It's happening right now through the end of the week in Cologne, Germany.  Photographers around the world either attend or watch the trade magazines and websites for reports on photokina and the latest and greatest offerings from the camera guys.

This is where manufacturers of imaging equipment announce their new products. Nikon
announced their latest the D600 this week. Hundreds of new cameras are "exposed" to the
world at this event.

A good place to start is: photokina.com

Then you can google whatever it is you're interested in, i.e. "canon photokina announcements".

 My bluebonnet photo was taken a couple of years ago..the last time we had that great bonnet bonanza as a result of copious amounts of winter rain. ISO was 200, the shutter speed was 1/200th and that was all the EXIF recorded because I was using an old 50mm (pre-digital) lens on my Nikon D70. The shot is a good example of paying attention to contrasts, in this case, color.

Cheers, salut, and skol...thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Noilly Prat Product Shot

Noilly Prat is a French sweet vermouth. Very yummy and good for a relaxing sit down and a kick back. This morning I felt like trying a product shot and keeping my chops up. This is a pretty easy set up. As you can see from the shot below the lighting consisted of the back window with a frosted shower curtain, a 300W Arri fresnel on the right (with a full CTB gel, this is a color correction filter to match the window light) and the Lumiquest LPIII on the left with the Nikon SB600 at 1/2 power.
The ISO was 200, f9.5 at 1/60th handheld.
Some softening and vignetting in Photoshop and I think you have a nice shot for an ad.

Thanks for stopping by.
UPDATE: I did notice later that that's a big shot of vermouth. It should be just a couple of fingers.
Actually it's just colored water. But anywho...Please drink responsibly!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

From the Vaults

Here are several shots that I pulled up from my archives -  around the '75-'76 time frame.The top one is from the Mendocino area, probably the same car trip as the elk from a previous post.
Then there's Jim surveying his land near Cape Porpoise, Maine.
The next one down is shot coming up from the Boston subway system. Big influences for us budding photographers back then was the street photography of Garry Winogrand, Bill Owens, and Lee Friedlander.
The building with the shadows - perhaps coming from my enthusiasm for the flat 2D look of Aaron Siskind.
The bottom shot of the little girl is a mystery. I think she was the daughter of someone who was visiting us at the time - again trying to piece stuff together through the murky waters of time.
Sometimes I took notes but I was shooting a lot...every day...then developing my own film and printing - maybe the notes got shuffled....

I've moved my Wedding page to Facebook - there is a link on my Wedding page.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Shape of Architecture

Here are two architectural shots. The top one is from a business center in Georgetown, Texas dated
9 Sept 2010 and the bottom black and white is Boston City Hall in August 1976. One of the assignments I had while attending the Art Institute of Boston was to photograph architecture. We usually had about a week to shoot, process, and print our shots. And then it was basically show and tell and the teacher would critique the shots as well as the class.
The class was small, 15 students, so there was a lot of one on one with the instructor which I appreciate more and more as time goes by. I'll be looking for some other class assignments and some recent stuff to match up and post.
    This last shot was a favorite of mine - Boston City Plaza - same roll of film.
Click and scroll for bigger.
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

In the Summer of '75

In the summer of 1975, I was living in Kennebunkport, Maine. I just got out of the Army after having served 4 years in Italy. My plans were to attend photography school in the fall using the G.I.Bill.  In the meantime, I was shooting a lot of black and white using my trusty Pentax Spotmatic camera with a 50mm lens.
These pix are probably somewhere around the Saco/Biddeford area as I was always travelling up and down the coastal towns of Maine trying to put a portfolio together for my school application.

Shot on Tri-X Pan developed myself in D76. Didn't get to print these until I attended the Art Institute of Boston that fall and had access to an enlarger. There's hundreds of negatives but these have always been favorites from that time. You can click image for bigger.

Thanks for stopping by - hope you're keeping cool - it's 104 out there!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Still from a Film Set

I took this picture on the set of a short film called, "Remains" in 2007. The film was written and directed by Allison Cook starring Monique Vukovic and Garry Peters. The Director of Photography was Isaac Mathes.
I was the lighting guy or otherwise known on some films as the gaffer.
Shot with a 50mm Zuiko lens on my Olympus OM-1 with Kodak Gold 100 ISO film, scanned on an HP 8180. The film was daylight balanced so the prints that came back from the lab had a strong orange tint. I tweaked in a more natural look using Photoshop.
The film  was quite good and went on to win some awards. For more info on the film check out
www. remainsfilm.com.

Thanks for stopping by.

David and the Elk

Two pictures from around 1975!
Driving through a back road around Mendocino California I came upon this elk who was just grazing on the side of the road. I quietly got out and came around to the back of the car and from across the street starting taking his picture. The first three shots have his head down, then he came upright and looked back down the road letting the morning sun light his antlers. After this shot he sauntered off.

An early people portrait of David. Don't remember David's last name but he was a good guitar player and singer...lived outside of Boston somewhere. Around Easton, maybe. Too many years ago.

Photography can bring back a lot of memories but even then some of the details tend to drift off into "the smokey rings of time" to quote Dylan.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Early Black and Whites

 Two scans of black and white photos probably from around 1978. Can't remember exactly where these were shot but guessing from looking at the other frames on the sheet somewhere around Pleasanton, California.
Both these shots are on the same strip so I was probably driving around scouting for pictures
and  took these out on some side roads off of Highway 580.

For those of you who remember your film stuff this is Ilford HP5 with an exposure index of 640, developed in Microphen 1:3 ratio at 74 degrees for 18 minutes. Sometimes, if I was a good photo student, I would jot down all the specs on the back of the contact sheet.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 3, 2012

An Odd Couple of Photographs

While continuuing to delve into my archives this weekend I discovered a couple of strange oddities.
Double weirdness intended.
Back in Oh '89, one of my assignments was to produce some shots for Fremont's Stage One production of The Odd Couple. Besides the standard shot of Oscar and Felix that was used for the playbill I managed to get some fairly decent action shots. The top one was a favorite. I was using
the Olympus OM-1 with a 283 Vivitar flash. I was allowed access to shoot right on stage during a full dress rehearsal. Lucky for me because I wanted to use my standard 50mm lens. So I was standing right in front of the action and moving quickly out of the way when necessary.
Vinnie is assisting Felix in a rather perflexed/flummoxed mood as Speed, Roy, and Officer Murray scurry amok.
The bottom one is the result of running the film thru the camera twice always resulting in random throw the dice images. This was something we did at the Art Institute of Boston...not only running the film twice but exchanging films with one another for the second run. However, this shot is not one from school but one of my own double runs.
You can click image for bigger.
Thanks for stopping by and hope you're enjoying your Labor Day weekend not laboring.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Two Cats Just Sunnin'

A couple of days ago I was going thru my closet where among other things are boxes of negatives and transparencies (35mm slides). I've always said that someday I would bring those out and start digitizing them and storing them on my computer or external hard drive. That task is still to come because this weekend I had a taste of it.
I scanned several family color shots that I've already posted. Yesterday I found this shot which I totally forgot about. Shot with Kodak Tri-x film (now a thing of the past as well) and the OM-1 and what looks like the 35mm Zuiko lens. Probably late 80's.
Maybe I've gotten the scanning bug out of my system we'll see...but it is tempting to keep looking and perhaps finding sweet pearls like this.
That's two of our cats, Sneakers and Esmeralda, also long gone.

Hope your weekend is going great.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Just a Camera with Film

OK, here I go again looking thru my negatives trying to find something to scan that will bring me back that fuzzy film feeling.  I hope I know when to stop cuz with thousands of negs stuffed in my closet I could get caught up. The film look was just so lovely...warm colors, such a round soft natural look...not throwing away the digital camera yet but sometimes I dream about tossing it.

A couple pix of my wife in Napa, California, sometime in the early 90's...I believe. The envelope wasn't labelled neither was the back of the print. This is a scan from my HP copier/scanner. Camera was the Olympus OM-1 with Fuji HG100 film and looks like the f stop on the closeup was probably 1.8 or so...open shade no fill nothing but camera lens and stock.

Maybe a few more and I'll get it out of my system for now. Don't fear, digital will return.

Thanks for stopping by.