Are We Walking Or Are We Dancing?
"We were together. I forget the rest." -Walt Whitman
"I wanna hold your hand." -Lennon and McCartney
They say a walker walks to get somewhere, but a dancer dances just for the joy of the dance. So tell me....
Yet another kite-cam shot of us at the ocean.
A place where we hold hands, get sand between our toes, and just beyond the waves, monsters lurk in the deep.
and i just said that stuff about the monster to sound profound...
Every Morning It's Just The Same Damn Commute
"I really haven't had that exciting of a life. There are a lot of things I wish I would have done, instead of just sitting around and complaining about having a boring life." -Kurt Cobain
"I'm notorious for giving a bad interview. I'm an actor and I can't help but feel I'm boring when I'm on as myself." -Rock Hudson
"I'm pretty boring, really." -Brett Favre
"Basically, my life is so boring, it's embarrassing." -Hugh Grant
"I don't want to be boring. But that's not so easy." -John Malkovich
This image got its start, as some do, in the wee hours of the morning. I awoke during the quiet hours half-way between midnight and dawn and, unfortunately, my brain turned on and the thoughts began. Sometimes I can short-circuit this process by reading a bit with my red-light headlamp. However, not this time - so thoughts chased their tails until one waved a flag at me and told me: "You have a boring life."; I grimaced and nodded, "yeah, it's true. I wake up every morning, put on my suit, attend to teeth, face-hair, always granola and yogurt for breakfast, off to work, and then back home, work on computer, dinner, bed, maybe a dream, waken at 3am and struggle with thoughts and sleep, up at 6:30a and all over again... - My God - what happened?"
.... (but after more minutes of tail-chasing) I came to realize, lying here while the rest of the house is breathing slow, how easy it is to fall into this trap - of only emphasizing the dull stuff - but, really, when I look with fresh eyes, there is more to it than just that.... So I need to remind myself: fresh eyes! Look!
My family, my daughter who will launch a life of her own in just a few weeks, the travel, this amazing city that I call home, skiing (the faster the better), friends who have compelling lives to share, and as I look, even the so-called boring bits begin to look different; there are challenges to be met at work almost every day, most of our meals together contain enough laughter to satisfy, and day's end, with promise of tomorrow.
My mantra must be: "fresh eyes, fresh eyes"
"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." -Aaron Rose
Now some notes about this image:
As you might expect, every thing here was shot in IR except the color layers. That amazing IR sky is from two separate images both taken at Lake Chelan (our summer vacation spot in eastern Washington). That place, if the conditions are just right, generates clouds that are like nothing I've ever seen and I was very happy to finally have an image for some of them. The color layers are from a number of visible-wavelength images that I've collected over the years - a couple of sunsets, a watercolor wash, and this very cool red color from the side of a building I collected in Rome (definite high romance factor!).
But here's the real thing about this image that I love: that cliff and that house are real and in that same view as the image of Mt. Rainier (actually the cliff, house and Mt. Rainier are taken from a single IR photo I took from just below the summit of High Rock). This place is called High Rock Lookout and the house is an old forest fire lookout (a google search will show you its location and info on the hike). From the house, we could see Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt St. Helens, and Mt. Hood about 100 miles away in Oregon. That cliff off to the left of the house drops straight down for about a thousand feet and it is impressive (and scary)! I stood mesmerized on that precipice for many many minutes as I imagined flinging myself into the void.... real heights always do that to me. That place is in another world - a beautiful, powerful, cruel, and tempting world.
There you go, my friends.
Underneath These Clothes We Are All Completely Naked
"Under everything, just another human being." -Eddie Vedder
I have my shield and armor, my disguise, my masks - they protect me and hide me.... I wake up in the morning and they are there, I go to work and, perhaps, another veneer slips into place, I meet new people or visit old friends - other veils there are. Then it's 3 AM, and I lay revealed in the quiet darkness... my unadorned self - all this in common with every one every where.
This image stems from my thoughts about the facades I carry around (and use from time to time) and that I expect I am not alone in this reaction to living in the world. The title actually comes from an expression I use when someone is talking about my fashion choice - "yeah? well, you know, underneath all these clothes, I am completely...." ;)
The main shot is an IR image from an occasional shopping excursions to downtown Seattle and the IR SP from around the house.
Each Days Odyssey Requires Hatching An Army Of Me
"A man has as many selves as there are individuals who recognize him." -William James
Strange are some threads; bits of string that sometimes i can't help but to keep pulling and pulling...
But, perhaps, I do have a me that i call upon when i get in my car and drive, and maybe another me is there when i'm at work - another when i come home, and another when i starting thinking about an image, or the me I take when I'm off for a walk...
And... there are those certain selves that, years ago, used to sit on the edge of Kyeti's bed and tell her stories about Kelsey and Little Elizabeth as she drifted off to sleep. I can see him sitting there; i can remember the stories about kitch-kitch crackers and Stendy of Waterville and Ronald-the-Roof... perhaps this me is not gone, merely waiting - single-servings, hatched for a specific moment and waiting for the next.
And yet every day they congregate, for the most part, my friends (although, certainly, some are dangerous and can get me into trouble... but who doesn't have a friend like that from time to time?...) and as events of the day are presented, each plays his part and so the day unfolds. None more important than the next since everyone is required to get the job done.
Notes on the image:
Ha! egg shells were everywhere in the bedroom (I am crunching thru them in the middle of the night and that is not amusing).
Some images come out all at once and others don't. This one was in my head for a while and then in production for a longer while and i'm so happy to have it out into the world. Sessions with different back drops and working with eggs and not getting results. The whole mess got shelved for a while.
Then i found this alley downtown Seattle and after a few experiments - i was on the move again.
I also figured out that one of the problem with the eggs - i didn't have ENOUGH eggs. I bought five dozen this time (and ended up taking a few from our refrigerator as well). Now i had enough to assemble my entire egg rows without resorting to photoshop. I started blowing eggs out (you know, ya poke a little hole in each end and then blow out the innards so just the hollow shell is left - and why is it so satisfying when the yoke finally oozes out? does it have something to do with standing in front of a mirror and popping those nasty.... err.. never mind.) and breaking shells and arranging and saving all the broken bits and wow what a mess. All the eggs were set it all up with double-stick tape on a single board and shot with the same lens as the alley shoot.
One last thing - the foxglove plant. The way this plant (and others that have their many flowers on a single tall stalk) shows all the stages of it's blossoms at a single glance is fascinating. One can to see how a foxglove blossom changes with time simply by looking from bottom to top of the stalk. The entire lifetime of it's flower is compressed to a single moment. Inspiration for the egg layout.
There you go.
In the words of George H. Mead: "A multiple personality is, in a certain sense, normal."
The Occasional Surprise Is All She Asks
"Sometimes I don't even know what I want until I find out I can't have it." -Meghan O'Rourke
She knew he was not going to call. She knew that after five years, her roof would need replacing. She knew that next Tuesday, at her favorite coffee spot, she would meet a woman who would become her naturopathic doctor and would cure her of the yet-to-be-realized burning-mouth-syndrome by recommending dietary changes that at first she would hate but then, in time, would come to love as much as the pastries and caffeine she consumes today with such gusto. And the more she looked at those lines and those wrinkles, the patterns and shapes; the more she discovered and found what was to be...
There was a time when this was all delightful and amazing and wonderful and it all appeared so seamless as if this was the way everyone's life went - everyone could read the writing and hear the whispers and taste the subtle nuances of next Friday-to-be, the way the river will carry them to November.
"It really isn't so bad knowing, come Saturday night, i'll get that table at La Rustica with the cute waiter who will eventually call me (three weeks later) but not for a dinner date, rather with questions about an ex-girlfriend and his next audition."
She had tried to convince herself it was OK knowing the turn of each road from the subtleties of her hands. Back then, it was enough to be surprised, to be startled, even to be a bit frightened, seeing it laid out in her palms. But discerning it there, predicted but, as yet, unrealized began to pale. She longed for the feel of her face forming a genuinely surprised expression at an unexpected meeting with friends - arms out-stretched in wonder, a spontaneous smile, and the glad lifting of eyebrows. And this brought to mind all the fake expressions worn at what seemed like the appropriate times... she sat there on her bed gazing out her window, following her clothes line; towels, underwear, the occasional un-paired sock, and came to realize how much she now despised her 'gift'.
She now avoided looking at her owns hands. In anger, she attempted to thwart their predictions: They told of her walk home today after classes, the shop where a scarf would be found to go perfectly with the Harris-Tweed coat she bought at the Goodwill store - she took the bus instead, to the park where she purchased a kite and spent the afternoon attempting to fly (something she has not done since moving to the city). On Monday, the forecast called for a promotion at work, she walked in and quit on the spot... "Ha! let's see my damn hands cope with that!" And later, she really did have to see - but there was no contrariness there at all. WTF! - There were no prior mistakes, and yet now her hands told the tale of the kite flying, the search for a new job... Her sanity tilted just a bit - and it was just enough. She began buying gloves.
Decision made, her longing for the unknown was now her guiding light- the unknown, how delicious that sounded to her - to wake freely into a mystery, embrace surprise and risk skinned knees and embarrassment, doubt, quandary...
"Hmmm... i wonder what my palms are shouting now..."
A thought she dispelled... but with difficulty...
Notes about this image:
Inspired by a snippet of song lyric that got me to thinking about free-will and determinism and wanting the things i can't have...
The backdrop for the image is from a small park, Browns Point, just north of Tacoma that contains a lighthouse and an old lighthouse-keepers house, beautifully and lovingly preserved. I wanted to get a shot looking down on the second-story window to 'put' my seer in her bed sleeping with fists tightly closed. The angle required sending the camera up on the end of a pole suspend by an adjustable-angle paint-roller handle that screwed onto the end of a 20-foot, telescoping aluminum pole (pretty cool, huh?).
On an overcast day, i made the drive to Browns Point. In the side-yard of the house, i assembled all my gear, attached the kite-cam-rig to the pole and extended same to its full length. I always expect imminent failure when trying this sort of thing and so i started taking pictures as quickly as i could. Smooth - i was taking images and turning the camera to get different views and hoisting it as far overhead as i could to get the down-view i was looking for and i was feeling like quite the clever fellow (which should have been a blatant warning of disaster).
The paint-roller handle I was using was somewhat long and it arched out and away putting the camera about 18 inches from the top (read: connection point) of the pole (which was OK with me cuz then i could get the pole out of the image without too much effort). But, un-realized by yours truly, this long lever-arm was putting a significant strain on the plastic rod into which i had screwed the paint-roller handle. I was shooting away, feeling smug and smart, when the camera suddenly seemed to be turning on its own around the end of the pole...
"Hmm... that's odd. I don't ever remember it doing that before, maybe i didn't screw it down tight enough... "and from that point things started happening very quickly indeed: The odd spinning behavior accelerated into a spin i could neither slow down nor compensate for, no matter what i did (now i'm no longer concerned, i am reaching full panic), i grip the pole trying to slow the spin when the paint-roller arm, rig, and camera detach completely from the pole - i'm now in the process of dropping my camera, with kite-cam rig and lovely fish-eye lens from twenty-five feet. HOLY SHIT!!
OK, so here's the first of two lucky occurrences: if you look at the image, you see that concrete side walk below the window? well not moments before i had been standing on that concrete shooting images and had decided, on a whim (or maybe a higher power was already at work for me), that it might be a good idea to get a few shots a bit further from the house. I stepped off the concrete and onto lawn...
And the second bit of luck: Now the uncontrolled spinning has ended and the camera begins its fall. I don't have time (or the forethought) to drop the pole and just go for the catch (how cool would that have been? Then i could have told you how fast my mind works and how i have the reflexes of an eighteen-year-old... alas) Instead, as my camera/rig flashed by me i stick out my leg, with no reasonable expectations except that i was hoping to deflect sideways some of that downward momentum with the foolish thought that it might help matters. But that didn't work out the way i'd envisioned either...
Driven by a madman's concoction of adrenaline, panic, despair, and optimism, my leg shot out from my vertical stance and i felt the camera and rig impact on my thigh just below the hip. I expected to feel the camera and rig bounce off into the unknown, but no... pure dumb luck steps in and instead the kite-rig (with camera attached) somehow gets caught up and wrapped around my leg (it still baffles me how this one-in-a-million chance came about) and cinches snugly to my thigh as my leg swings out away from my body. My first thought (and this is like a flash through my mind): "Shit, this thing is gonna break my ankle or tear my leg to shreds." But no... the rig attaches to me in such a way that my leg now acts as a brake and, in the 32-inches from hip to foot, slows the camera and rig to a near-stop condition. It gently hits my foot, slides off my ankle and into the soft grass (not concrete) and... no damage - not a broken camera, not a scratch on the lens, not a destroyed kite-rig. I was incredulous. I looked around to see if anyone had witnessed this miracle... *sigh* no one about. I just stood there and reveled in my incredulity.
The rest was fairly uneventful. I borrowed gloves from friends, i scouted around only to find a psychic right in my neighborhood with a cool sign. The most difficulty i had was finding the damn pulley: it took me about a month of searching in antique stores and second hand tool stores. If i wasn't so stupidly anal about the thing, i could have settled for something long before but i had a particular pulley in-mind and i just couldn't seem to find it (and, truth be told, this isn't exactly what was in my mind's eye but even i will eventually succumb to reasonableness). I found this one a wonderful vintage and antique furnishing store in Seattle. Yippee.
My palm-reader, of course, is my daughter with her fists shut tight (i ended up having to re-shoot her cuz the first time her fists just seemed too languid for my purposes... :)) The gloves on the clothes line were shot in my driveway. I put her in the upstairs lighthouse-keepers house with some straight-forward PS work, the backdrop is actually made up of two images shot during the ill-fated pole-cam experience and I held the pulley at arm's length as i photographed it in the antique store.
There you go.
Sometimes The Music Just Plays
"We are the music - while the music lasts." -T.S. Eliot
Took a drive to Snoqualmie Forest in the snow and the wet and the cold. Big water drops kept accumulating on the lens and i was getting soaked but it was great fun to be taking pictures - yippee!!
I showed this to my daughter and she said; "That's what you look like when you dance..."
"err... is that a good thing?"
She didn't answer....
i decided the ambiguity of her (non-)reply was for the best.
Cheers to you and your music.
Every Morning I Wake Up To The Same Choices
"The difficulty in life is the choice." -George Moore
Well, it's a lovely day.... So where did I put that one head?.....
*sigh*... and where did I leave my glasses?
Notes on this image:
Inspired by a line of a song that goes: "How many gods does it take to screw in the likes of me?"
It got me thinking about the choices I make with regards to my attitude and how things would go so much better if I was just a little more careful with my choosing...
May your choices be easy (and pleasant).... :))
Not Out Of The Woods Yet
Let there be spaces in your togetherness." -Kahlil Gibran
Another image that reflects my many thoughts of daughters growing toward completeness...
Original shot from my IR-converted camera. This amazing old forest is located around lovely Lake Cavenaugh about an hour and a half north of Seattle.
It's Always Been About The Chase
"Finding myself is the quest of life." -unknown
I do like the chase. I chase after love and family and fame. I chase after memory and trust and strength and pleasure. I chase after answers and questions and ideas and friends and wishes and power and light and shadow and forgiveness and, of course, always, a bit of fun along the way.
Lately... it seems I mostly chase myself...
Notes on the image:
Greetings, the forest shot was taken long ago and I came across it the other day and started thinking about motion and dodging among trees and speed and chasing... I asked my daughter to run up the street out in front of our house and we giggled as I ran beside her and tried to take pictures and her shoes came off and we laughed some more and then she went in and got these shoes that were completely inappropriate for running and we ran some more. I told her not to grin while she ran cuz I needed a serious look as she chased herself but she grinned and me too (can you see it in her face?) and it became this wonderful wonderful moment.... and that's when i realized... this image is about chasing those moments and never ever knowing when I might catch one.... and so I chase.
I Was Happy But Then I Turned And There Was The Sea
"All rivers, even the most dazzling, go down to the ocean and drown. And life awaits man as the sea awaits the river." -Simone Schwarz-Bart
"Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean." -David Searls
Standing at the edge of this place, the tugging wind, the steady roar of water, the fine spray of salt, and the occasional punctuation of rogue waves, is a tremendous cleansing process - i can look over my shoulder and see bits of heartache and depression streaming out behind me, dissolving into sand.
Are they gone for good?.... only one way to find out.
Notes on this image:
Another trip to the ocean - lovely. Brought my suit and hat and umbrella and fake brief case along cuz one never knows...
I Keep Waiting For The Wrong Things
"The important thing about learning to wait, i feel sure, is to know exactly what it is i am waiting for." -Anna Neagle
It's understandable... right? I figure if i wait just a bit - inspiration will peek around the corner at me and it'll be: "of course! why didn't i think of that before??" or if i wait until this evening, i'll have time to really put something together and it'll be: "look at this! I'm gonna love this one!" or if i just wait till Monday, it'll be: "Ha! now i am really happenin' and i never wanna go to bed!" but then Monday becomes next Monday and i'm waiting for that spark and next Monday becomes next month and i'm waiting for genius and next month becomes... *sigh* and still i keep waiting.... and then i look up and suddenly i realize i'm embarrassed by it all... and so i wait to get un-embarrassed... and that, of course, is useless... if i could just come to an understanding and wait for the right thing... but really it's not even that - the only way for me to stop waiting is to start doing... sure.... that's what i tell myself....
But what do i know?
"If you are not too long, i will wait for you all my life." -Oscar Wilde
"Maybe i can afford to wait... maybe for me, there's a tomorrow. Maybe for me there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten - so much time i can bathe in it, roll around in it, let it slide like coins through my fingers. But then again, perhaps for me, there is only today. And the truth is, I will never really know..." -Lauren Oliver
i took this image during our annual trek to eastern Washington and visit to Lake Chelan. It was a lazy afternoon and i said that i was going up to the Butte for an hour or so to get some shots with my suit and umbrella (it was 92 degrees and everyone was in little tiny swimsuits with spaghetti straps - i am especially fond of spaghetti straps - and there were even a few speedos in evidence, are they making a come-back? i have mixed feelings about that - but i digress...) They looked up and smiled with an 'off-you-go-then' wave and said:
"So, I guess I'll see you in about four hours..." (am i so predictable?)
The road from our posh lake resort to Chelan Butte is a wonderfully dusty and rutted single-lane dirt track that winds and climbs up ravines and along dry grass and sage-covered ridges - the views of the lake and the surrounding mountains are well-worth the dirty car, scratched paint, and jittery nerves this primitive pathway always seems to demand. Today, not quite to roads' end, i turn off into the sage and stop, allowing the trailing dust cloud to catch up, add its small dose of grime, and then run ahead looking for a place to settle. From the back seat, i don my suit, my hat, and clutching umbrella, fake briefcase, and camera and tripod i step out into the heat and quiet and begin my walk. This year has been a bit wetter than usual and the grass seems higher and the grasshoppers more lively than times before (later, when i finally call it quits and remove my suit back at the resort, i find one of these little guys in the cuff of my trousers and another in the pocket of my suit coat - i have to admit the one in my pocket gave me quite a start when i reached in to retrieve my glasses - eek). But that's later, now i mostly hear the clicking and rattling as they make good their escape from my easy footsteps. As I sit and type, it is that sound and the smell of the sage that stands in my mind (when i'm out there, i can't walk past a sage bush without crushing a few of the leaves and breathing its fragrance on my fingers - sweet and earthy and i just can't get enough).
You know i got this thing about this damn suit and hat and umbrella and briefcase, right? It's fun to dress-up, it's fun to be places that seem at odds with this get-up, it makes me smile. Except this time, it is hot. The only thing that saves me as i climb up and down the little canyons of this lone mountain is the breeze and my umbrella - i now understand that the joys of parasols in the blazing sun are not to be trivialized. That little bit of shade hanging beneath my dear umbrella combined with the bit of wind swirling around this prominence is an unexpected relief. i was ready to be hot and sweaty and miserable but instead i am a bit warm and a bit sweaty but it is all very tolerable. So i set up the camera on my tripod and exercise the 10-second delay and run up and down the grassy hills crushing leaves and smelling my fingers (man oh man, if this is the true me - maybe i should be a hermit) and look at the result and smile and say "cool" or grimace and say "shit" and then repeat the whole thing as often as necessary. At the time, I didn't really have a concept in mind - i was just there to take in the place and to take some pictures and to have some fun (as well as some olfactory memories) to take back.
It wasn't until i started processing the images and looking at what i had that ideas started to form. Then it was off to find bus stops with water taxi signs (we have this wonderful water taxi that crosses Elliot Bay between West Seattle and downtown (takes about 15 minutes or so) and is part of our metro transit system) and then getting the right light and finally just a bit of PS work - except now i have to get my sage from our spice cabinet (it just isn't quite the same) and i have to be very careful about who sees me smelling my fingers.... :)
Survival Of Two Friends
"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival." -C.S. Lewis
This shot is about two amazing young women - they both have had a summer of travel and learning and understanding. This past week they have had the opportunity to share their adventures with each other and because of the similar experiences; My daughter in Panama and her friend in Peru, the sharing, so they tell me, was filled with understanding and empathy and a tolerance for listening - and what could be better than that!
Notes regarding this image:
The hillside image is from a wonderful butte just above Lake Chelan (in central Washington State) and that amazing thunderhead occurred one afternoon on my way home from work. Once I understood what the shot was about, I asked the two girls to take a short walk along the beach so I could shot them with the proper lighting....
Cheers my friends, may we all survive with our friendships intact....
"Though a good deal is too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened." -Thomas Hardy
This image stems from the idea of the ambiguity of visiting and where to draw the line between host and guest and who is really visiting who....
Notes on the image:
I went to the Seattle aquarium and they have this exhibit called the jelly dough-nut - an eight-foot high plexiglass ring that is about 24 inches wide with a very gentle current rotating thru carrying all of these jellyfish around the doughnut. I spent about an hour shooting these wonderfully calming jellies as they leisurely make their way around.
This snowy background was taken one afternoon on a recent ski trip with friends as we skied down a run called The Other Way. They looked up and i snapped the image - but who's the stranger here?
30 Years Only Needs A Beginning
Click to see Full Width Image.
"The bonds that unite another person to our self exist only in our mind." -Marcel Proust
We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, spending Friday nite downtown with an all-day-walk on Saturday.
We had just stopped for lunch (very late lunch, as is our wont) and out the window was a wedding party. After a quick order, i said: "i'll be right back", and slipped outside for a few shots of the festivities. It turns out the Seattle Cheese Festival was in full swing just below us in the Market and Seattle's Finest had blocked all the streets nearby. The wedding photographer was taking advantage by shooting in the middle of Stewart street. Their joy, their beauty, and the force of their enthusiasm was so infectious many more smiles left Stewart street then arrived that day. I grabbed a few quick shots and then had to leave them to their life - it looked like a wonderfully auspicious beginning to me.
(i made it back before our lunch arrived and most was forgiven... :))
Distance Between Worlds
"Will knew without the slightest doubt, that patch on the other side was in a different world." -Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife
What Is Life Without Sweet Dreams
"We fear death, yet we long for slumber and beautiful dreams." -Kahlil Gibran
I am coming to realize that as I grow older, my body is telling me that, yes, it is all true - but my mind still remembers that 10 year old kid, that sixteen year old youth, that 30 year old man seeing that seemingly endless highway stretching out before him. Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder at the man that looks back - not so pleasant to see that it isn't endless after all. Now I don't mean to be maudlin, and everyone has these glimpses of their own mortality; all I'm saying is that sometimes when I dream - everyone comes out to play.
Mountain image is of Chelan Butte above Lake Chelan in Eastern Washington State, the infrared rainbow was shot during an amazing rain squall on the way home just after work. My wheelchair-man is my father-in-law, Spiro, who graciously agreed to pose for me on a quiet Saturday afternoon (I had to supply the wheelchair but he wasn't too happy about hanging out on that cliff... :-). The flying-man was captured at Greenlake in Seattle during an afternoon when I was waiting for Kyeti to finish her dance class. I was wandering along the path (Greenlake has this wonderful 2.5 mile long path that follows the shoreline completely around the lake - a favorite spot for Seattlites to walk, run, and ride) and at one of the swimming areas a group of young men were LAUNCHING themselves off the high dive - awe-inspiring.
I Was Just Standing There, Minding My Business... When This Light Came On
"Surprise is the greatest gift that life can grant us." -Boris Pasternak
This made me smile, so that's OK.
Every Cloud Must Have A Silver Lining
"Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light." -Groucho Marx
Does it seem that your clouds have lost that luster? Is it dark, gloomy, and ominous as far as your eye can see? Let SilverLining, Inc. improve your outlook. We at SilverLining believe that in every gloom there should be a touch of light - that every cloud must have a silver glow. If there are times when the dark threatens to overwhelm, you'll never regret giving us a call.
Our cloud technicians will capture, clean, and add the gloss back to each of your clouds so that the glow that you remember, oh so well, from your youth is back again. We will show you that it never really left at all; sometimes it just gets covered by the dust and gunk of the day-to-day grind - a bit of cleaning and polishing is really all that is needed. Let us show you that your world can be bright again!
Our prices vary according to the size of your cloud and severity of the darkness. In addition, our technicians are fully trained and equipped if a partial or complete re-line should become necessary.
SilverLining, Inc. - Where every cloud must have a silver lining!
OK, this bit of silliness was inspired by The Underdog cartoon show of my youth (yes, I know, I am very deep :) "not plane, nor bird, nor even frog - just little old me, Underdog").
There was an episode where our hero had to stop cloud-beings, from the planet Venus (well, a'course), from stealing all the silver from the planet earth. The Venusians would use the silver to re-line themselves because "every cloud must have a silver lining!" Isn't it amazing the stuff that is rattling around in our heads?... well, my head, anyway....
Gee, You Mean It Was Right There All Along
“Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.” -Carl Sandburg
It's out there, I now realize it was there all along... it seems my problem was one of recognition - joy - I can usually see someone elses but I will turn a blind eye to my own. Ahh, but now that I know where to look, it's pretty hard to miss. :))
I like lemons! - beautiful color, their size, texture, delightful - so when I started to think about the joy that is all around if I would only look for it - lemons kept showing up everywhere...
This shot of the girl was taken the day before she left for Panama. I took the day off and the two of us went downtown to wander and to take pictures. I've been thinking about this reach idea for another image project, so we played with some reaching shots. This one worked cuz of the wonderful foursome that happened along as we were shooting (we would set up the shot and she would start walking as when it seemed right I would shout, "Now, Reach!").
So if you see a happy yellow glow... you know what to do!
Leaving The Nest (Some Leap, Some Are Thrown)
"We have had bad luck with children; they've all grown up." -Christopher Morley
There are times when one has to leap to escape! and there are times when one is thrown! In both cases, here's to a good flight and a soft landing...
This image was inspired by my daughter's good friend who is leaving for college in about six weeks. My daughter still has a couple more years of high school but the day of the empty nest is still very much on my mind...
Stumbling Upon A New Trove Of Dreams
"Dreams are renewable. No matter our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born." -Dale E. Turner
"One is never too old to discover a new dream." -C.S. Lewis
Some dreams die... sure. I've bent my shovel a few times in that graveyard and said some well chosen words over the disturbed earth - dammit!
But i love the idea of 'new beauty waiting to be born', of possibilities.... and even if i wander, rudderless - but with eyes open - its out there to be found, waiting for me. So here i am; looking behind mirrors and in the pockets of coats i hardly ever wear and, usually on a Tuesday evening, taking the long way home after work...
The fun thing about this image was the location. I wanted a deep and dark wood and I couldn't seem to find it in city parks - so off to the mountains I went. About 50 miles from Seattle is the Snoqualmie forest; on the way to Snoqualmie Pass - a way thru the Cascade mountains from western Washington State to the eastern portion. Just below the pinnacle of this particular mountain pass, on the western side, are some beautifully dark and deep forests and this was my destination.
For the lighting i wanted, daylight was out, sunrise at this time of year was about 5:30 and this meant i had to get out of bed at around 2:30 to give me enough time to dress in my suit, find my cool bowler hat (i feel so very sophisticated in a bowler - some facades are such a delight :)) get a bite to eat, and drive to Snoqualmie. Ick! that still sounds terrible and i've already done it (twice). (At least i had the fore-thought to not wear my dress-shoes but rather something a bit more serviceable for the deep dark woods.)
So i've got my get-up on and i just exited the highway and found myself on forest service road number 9020. This particular FSR looked auspicious in the satellite image of google map - i wanted something without a steep slope and not too far of a drive off the highway. I had just got on 9020, it was about an hour before sunrise, and i passed a forest ranger (at least it was a ranger truck) on my way up the road. After driving for ten minutes, and as I was going slow and carefully looking with my flashlight out the car window for a place that might work for my shooting, i begin to see lights reflecting off the tree branches all around me (i have to admit, it was a bit un-nerving in the middle of all this dark to begin to see all the branches and tree trunks reflecting red flashing light - thoughts of alien abductions, vivisections, and extra-terrestrial sex began bubbling up in my brain). As the reflections got stronger, I realized 'dang! it must be the ranger i passed earlier'; although it was puzzling why had he waited so long to begin his pursuit. Now you know i love a good, high-speed chase on an unpaved forest road as much as the next guy, but that inter-species sex thing was still messing with my reaction time so i just put my hat on and pulled over (a bit of a misnomer on a one-lane road with huge trees on either side). In moments, Mr. Ranger was right there behind me and the forest was this amazing light show of red and blue.
The best part of the whole meeting (which turned out to be fairly pleasant after my ranger-friend got to know me a bit), was the forest patrolman's first question after, of course, he had turned all his lights on me, walked warily up to the side of my car, shone a flashlight in my face, and took in my lovely black suit and bowler hat: "Well, sir... and what are you doing in the forest this morning?" (I suddenly had this suspicion that i looked every bit the part of an undertaker trying to find a suitable place to bury an embarrassing body.) I laughed as my mind quickly ran thru a couple of possible explanations involving dreams and artistic expression and aliens... and just as quickly tossed them aside: "err... I'm looking for a place for a photo-shoot later this morning." He then proceeded to tell me the rules regarding cameras and strobe equipment in the forest (I thought the only rules in the forest were 'don't get lost and don't get eaten') then he wanted to see some ID and he even checked me for proper insurance; happily, i was fully accessorized (and overdressed). We eventually parted friends (well, not enemies, anyway - after all, he had chewed up quite a bit of my 'dark time' - which, as it turns out, would force another trip in a few days). My conclusion was that boredom and forest rangering was a force better left alone, if at all possible.
A short time later, i found my spot. I dug a shallow hole into which i placed three strobes for my lighting effects. I set up my camera, with its 10-second delay, and i was off and posing. During my two visits to this forest primeval, i got a mess of shots and as i processed them there was much difficulty in finding 'the shot' - there were just so many that made me laugh - i am such an idiot. :)
so come and stumble with me as i search for the light.
Say Hello To Goodbye
"Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation." -Kahlil Gibran
All the late nights and early mornings, all the laughter and the tears and the listening, all the teaching and the reading and the singing, all the joy and the heartache, and it all seems to come down to this moment. (I know that's not really true - I suppose a better way to say it is that now everything will be different and what this moment is about is the beginning of the separation that will be complete when Kyeti has a different place that she calls home...)
At the beginning of last week we helped to move our one and only daughter into college. Kyeti was excited and, maybe, a tiny bit nervous but the overall feel was of her forging ahead (even as she waited in line for an hour and a half to get bed-parts for her dorm-room). And me, I was excited and apprehensive and proud but with this overall feeling of dragging my feet and wanting everything to slow down... (even as i ran from car to dorm-room carrying boxes and books and bits of clothing and from dorm-room to car with empty cartons and returning too-big-for-the-space furniture - trying to unload as quickly as possible so I could move the car out of the way of the hundreds of other dads and daughters and sons wanting to do the same thing). But, of course, then it was over and all the movement and rushing and carrying and jockeying for position was someone else's activity and so it faded into the background. We ate, we talked, we joked, we laughed, and then all we had left to do was to say goodbye... and so we did (as succinctly as we could but it didn't stop the tears).
Then leaving for home and marveling at it all. It was a delicious and wonderful adventure and now here's the thing..... I am curious curious curious about what is coming next.....
I certainly don't expect this relatively simple image to hold the power for you that it does for Penny and me. This was literally the last image I had of Kyeti as she walked up to meet a friend on campus just before the two of us headed back home.
It was the morning after move-in day, We had said our goodbye's about two hours earlier. Then a walk around campus, the bookstore, a wander to the administration building, and finally back to the car. We had parked close to Kyeti's dorm and as we walked down the long sidewalk to the car who should appear but the girl herself heading back to upper campus. We laughed, called and had one more brief hug and she continued on. I snapped a few images of Kyeti walking away. It was a moment like no other I've ever had and I wanted to say something but, really, there was nothing to say... I watched for a moment and turned, paused, and turned once more for a last glance - if Kyeti turned back to look, I missed it - But, still, I had this lovely feeling of confidence and warmth and a smile.
Unsure Of Stepping Into The Light
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." -Plato
and damn that Plato, if he doesn't have my number....
This place... such a delight to remember. There is an old fort within the lovely town of Rethymno on the island of Crete and within this fort is this structure. i don't know what it's for, exactly, but it has lovely lovely light and a ceiling is beautiful to behold. When i was photographing the place, that wonderful stack of chairs is one of the things that really caught my eye - but then, everything about this place is wonderful wonderful wonderful.
Briefcase in hand but i don't know what i did with that umbrella...
The Way You Make Me Feel
"I am a part of all that I have met." -Alfred Tennyson
Hello My Friends,
This image is dedicated to you and it's message is simply a very big Thank You.
I Must Be Going
"Readjusting is a painful process, but one that I find necessary from time to time." -Arthur Christopher Benson
She said she wanted to go out into the wide world... I guess daughters do that.
Leave-taking has been on my mind lately. My daughter has been in the throes of the college application process. She has made a number of decisions about where she might be going next year, what she'll be doing, and what's in store. Of course, it all involves a leave taking that is necessary and exciting and painful. I think I'll be happier, and certainly more relaxed, when all this application business is behind us. The deadlines and the essays and the on-line forms and the baring of ones financial soul to the world and the personal statements and the "tell us a little about your daughter"... I think it might be starting to get to me (even though she is doing almost all of the work!). And I am finding it more difficult to be as light-hearted about the whole process as I have been in the past.
And so thoughts of leaving and moving on and readjustments and a new world are not uncommon in this little house of ours. The consensus is mixed (as it should be) and we are all a bit on edge and there are times when it is most unpleasant and there are times when it is all a delight.
Gee... when has it ever been otherwise?
This shot of Seattle was taken in IR and hdr-ified, the crackle is from a big pot that has forever been at the top of our stairs, the color is from an old rusty bit of car-door and the rowboat is from a bit of my past.
Dad got this rowboat when we were kids and I've always loved that boat. It could be converted to a little sailing dingy and I used to take it out on Puget Sound and sail it upwind (I learned the hard way that my sailing expertise was such that I should ALWAYS start upwind... nuff said) and then turn around and let it run. Remembering still puts a smile on my face. And when I would take it out just with oars, the center board was removed and this left a long, half-inch wide slot right in the middle of the seat and if I rowed too fast water would slosh up the slot and right into my crotch - you gotta love a boat like that! :))
So, anyway, the boat is still there at my parent old house (my brother was living there but now it is up for sale). I went down there the other day and pulled out our old rowboat and saw the cracked and faded tape that we used to cover the slot when we rowed (it never worked completely so I always ended up with a wet crotch) and I sat in it and took pictures. I have to say I was surprised how light the oars felt in my hands. Of course, when I started doing this image I realized that it was my daughter that needed to be in the boat and not me... back to take more shots....
and writing this got me to thinking... that old boat looked kinda grim and the bottom definitely had some questionable spots.... But now I wonder if it still floats.....
Don't Know If I'm Coming Or Going
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." -E. E. Cummings
The original sp was taken while I sat horizontal on a stool that we have in our bedroom. Those huge trees are part of the Weyerhaeuser corporation grounds - I was there looking for a particular tree (which I didn't find, by the way) as I wandered through their amazingly beautiful arboretum. I seem to have a thing for these places that have these tremendous plants.
Caught In The Slow Flood Of Sorrow
"One cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but one can prevent them from building nests in your hair." -Chinese Proverb
A silly hat makes me smile. One of my weapons in my fight against the flood.
The idea has been in my head for about a year and I have started and stopped and reworked and deleted and thrown my hands up and whined and fretted and kicked the dog (well, I would've if only we had a dog... ). Is it what I had in mind? well, no, not really - and it just doesn't matter.
Anyway, this is about the little (and big) things that happen to us along the way... the people we lose, the friends that leave, the body that doesn't seem to skate as fast as I remember, the ideas that don't quite work out, the dreams that fade... my daily job is not to let it drown me, my spirit, my joy. I am reminding myself to be vigilant because all of this happens so very slowly... one drop at a time, grinding away and I look up and suddenly that joyful, exuberant man is gone, that smile is hard to find - and who really needs that!
What's with the hat? well, i was gonna use a flower as a metaphor for my joy that I don't want to drown and then I figured 'what the hell - I love this hat!' it's as good a thing as any to save from the flood...
The grind goes on....
Sometimes I Can't Help But Play The Rube
"One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I just love this town! -taking walks and looking up... fun.
And Then There Were Two
Image was taken with the IR-converted camera suspended overhead on a kite string. Some adjustments to the kite-cam rig were needed, but then I was able to send the IR camera aloft with the heavy fisheye lens.
This very kind gentleman stopped to ask me what I had on my kite-string and after some discussion, I asked him to be my model so I could have a bit of perspective in my shot. He was most agreeable so he and his dog took a stroll under the camera.
At The Edge
"...if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." -Friedrich Nietzsch
The original image was taken with an IR-converted camera suspended overhead on a kite string.
The figure is of a very kind woman I met on the beach who allowed me to take a few shots of her (I only needed to enhance her original glow by a small amount...)
Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream
"Dreams are real while they last. Can we say more of life?" -Henry Havelock Ellis
I was on the way home from work the other day and I happened to look in the mirror and saw these strange shapes. I was already late for a meet with family but I told myself it would just be for a few minutes (it's a good thing that I am so gullible...) Anyway, this sky and the reflection are untouched by PS (really!).
I used my IR-converted camera and and added some color (well... OK... and I also got a bit wet laying in that water! :)) but that sky is just as it appeared. Pretty cool.
"Everyone, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences." -Robert Louis Stevenson
The obliviousness of youth.
I do long for it from time to time - on those rare occasions, to put consequences out of my mind... delightful.
I Think I'm Falling For You
"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love." -Albert Einstein
A valentine idea... that Albert is pretty smart.
The back-drop (so to speak) is a kite-cam shot of the small and delightful park at Brown's Point. This point juts into Puget Sound just north of the main harbor of Tacoma Wa and has amazing views of the sound and Olympic mountains. The SP was shot in the bedroom as I supported myself on a stool with the camera suspended from the ceiling (never a dull moment). And the heart-shaped balloon was a challenge to find.
Safe In The Shadows, And Yet, The Light Beckons
I sit in shadow, safe in the dark... and yet, always... the light beckons.
I was thinking about the secrets I keep... dark secrets... and the sometimes optimistic urge for revelation.
This one sort of showed up unannounced - I was working on this fairly bright scene with white clouds and the road and as I worked it just got darker and darker - next I knew, I was taking naked images all wrapped in on myself and every time I thought I was done, i would tweak the darkness a bit more... still think there's not enough shadow...
A Most Sincere Patch
"The Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch he finds to be the most sincere and flies thru the air to deliver toys to all the good little children of the world." -Linus Van Pelt
Greetings all you Halloweeners! (or maybe you prefer - All-Hallowed Evers). It has taken weeks of patch-to-patch searching and many a long and muddy tramp through some of the most inhospitable of squash fields - but I finally have found a patch-in-a-million that exceeds most of my expectations!
Now please understand, this was no random wander to a few supermarkets or vegetable stands, I have lead a thorough expedition (and might I say, and with all modesty, that scientific methods were used at all times - except lunch-time, as you might imagine) - but it was not all soft weather and glamour. There were definitely some fields I encountered during my quest that were not quite so inspiring - many of the patches were filled with pumpkins that would just lie there - I know! don't tell me, i'll tell you.
Others fields were much more active - I stumbled upon one that, at first blush, was quite amazing - pumpkins were flying all over the place! These wonderful cucurbitas would launch themselves from the ground in beautiful parabolic arcs - unfortunately, the finale was typical for a ballistic flight path (and no less destructive!). I'm sad to report, I later found the farmer had stooped to hiring local high school students to surreptitiously toss the pumpkins around the field (agricultural internships, indeed!) and flight was not an innate characteristic of that particular cultivar... most disappointing.
Still another field had them falling from the sky! It was really quite incredible! - the farmer told me something about cloud seeding (and I'd heard of that before so perhaps she was on to something...) There were two problems that I'm sure you've seen already - how do you go out and collect one without getting beaned and if one doesn't maintain a reasonable harvest, they will start to pile up something fierce! The farmer issued me an umbrella and sent me off.... (it's fine that I'm a relatively fast healer).
And then my quest was over - this patch has sincerity written all over it! When I stand out among them and a particular pumpkin comes to the perfect ripeness, it would break from its vine and rise ever so slowly... it was really quite peaceful! (and the best part is when one's choice is made - there is no bending-over required! what could be better?). I talked to the farmer, Jason, and he spoke of infusing the seeds with a very rare element called Upsadaisium just prior to planting. Jason told me that after a while the upsadaisium diffuses out and the pumpkins gradually make their way back to terra firma (but I have to admit that I only saw them on the rise). He wouldn't tell me the source of this strange material and I couldn't seem to find it in the Periodic Chart of the Elements - but never fear, dear reader, trust me to get to the bottom of this mystery as well....
Dear friends, Happy Halloween! You now know not to be alarmed at floating Jack-O-Lanterns (if you can catch one - save the seeds!) - however, if you see flying ones, look for the nearest high schooler... 'nuff said.
Let me say that this really is a delightful pumpkin patch and the farmer really is named Jason. I chatted with him and he graciously allowed me to wander his fields and take many many photos of his beautiful pumpkins as I held them at arms length! As I was doing all this, I met this lovely threesome and they asked the inevitable questions... I tried to explain and then asked if they would like to be in the picture - "OK! - what do we do?" my reply: "Just look up!" and they did!
Unknown Photographer Discovers Secret About Pumpkins and Upsadaisium
"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living." -Dr. Seuss
Dateline Seattle: October 25th - It was revealed to the world today that there exists a heretofore unknown relationship between the rare element Upsadaisium and the aromatic oils that naturally occur within the seed of a pumpkin. While this symbiosis was suspected as much as a year ago, it wasn't until earlier this week that an anonymous letter was published in The Stranger, a Seattle weekly newspaper, stating categorically the exact chemical reaction that take place when these two materials are brought together. It was reported that editors of The Stranger were immediately contacted by such agencies as the FBI, CIA, and NASA and subsequent information dissemination was mysteriously cutoff. Suspicious? Most Certainly. Conspiracy? Likely.
The tight seal that was placed over all information regarding this amazing discovery has forced this reporter to resort to rumor, hearsay, and vague innuendo (in fact, much of what I am about to relay to you, Gentle Reader, is based on what could be gleaned from the image you see before you - but be not fearful, this un-retouched photograph has been analyzed by a battery of scientists, experts, and college professors - each, without reservation, have unanimously vouched for both its authenticity and veracity). A reliable source has confirmed that this is indeed an image of the anonymous photographer who had made the connection between the almost unknown element, Upsadaisium (which, as I am sure you know, is right next to Unobtainium in the period table of the elements), and pumpkin seeds. It was really a stroke of luck to have captured this image at all since there was very little time to train our duck to carry the camera aloft to the subject.
It was determined this was the self-same photographer that, exactly one year ago (almost to the week), made an initial photograph of strange happenings at a local pumpkin patch. At the time, and after some consultation with the farmer and owner of this pumpkin field, this odd occurrence was thought to be just the random coincidence of some naturally occurring upsadaisium and the planted crop. It was hoped this would lead to the explanation of floating cucumbers and pomegranates that have enjoyed so much exposure in the press lately. Alas, that was not to be. But here is what we do know:
Mr. Anonymous does not believe in coincidence. After the events of last year, Mr. A began collecting pumpkin seeds. He purchased every pumpkin from this particular field that he could find and harvested every seed possible from those pumpkins. Then, using every scientific method at his disposal (and some that he really had no business being within shouting distance from), he began his study. Dissections, manipulations, weighings, titrations, rehydration, high temperature processing, and finally mastications - and after lunch, he began in earnest. But let us not bore with details - what was found will astound. Upsadaisium will only bond with seeds grown from pumpkins in this field - and no other. Soil analysis does show a very slight increase in the concentration of the rare element but certainly not of sufficient magnitude to allow anti-graviation to occur. In his own words:
"It is the ability of this cultivar of Cucurbita to concentrate the Upsadaisium year after year that tells the tale. And it has been just in the last couple of years that the level of the element has been sufficient to overcome earthly bonds. Last year, there was just enough to lift the pumpkin itself and now, well, as you can see, it is a lot more fun looking for Jack-o-lanterns - don't tell me, I'll tell you! Next year? who knows... as long as the farmer doesn't decide to switch to soybeans - all manner of applications could be found...."
Yes, dear reader, a lot to glean from a photograph you say? Well, with the right image, one can move the world...
I have to tell you one thing - I had these two pumpkins up in the bedroom, one is on the floor and the other is up on a stool, and I am jumping back and forth balancing on these things as I work the 10 sec delay on my camera and trying to look like I'm having the time of my life and my wife walks in.... apparently she'd been watching this performance for a while and she just smiles at me, doesn't say a word, turns around and walks back downstairs.... hmmm...
Some Things Are Destined To Get Out Of Hand
"Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law than passing laws which cannot be enforced." -Albert Einstein
Excerpt from a conversation between FAA officials and the Mayors office, Kent, Washington - taken from the Mayoral Archives (at one time, intended for the aggrandizement of his Honor and a hopefully lucrative book deal...) and made public by court order.
"...It's gotten out of hand. First it was that stupid photographer.. what was his name? - anyway, it doesn't matter. Then it was a couple of teenagers out joy-riding and showing-off to some local pilots. Next, of course, came the adrenaline junkies and the new-rich looking for some cheap thrills. And, really, that wasn't so bad - oh, we'd get a complaint or two from the local community airport, hell, we even had Horizon Airline call us over the flap with that idiot and his girlfriend who strapped a dozen or so of the things together and climbed to over 15,000 feet. But sir, as I said, it's gotten out of hand. Now we've got 8-year-old school kids flying around at recess, we've got an old guy down in Auburn who used six for lifting his truck to change a tire cuz his jack was broken - but then three escaped and he ended up being trapped under his semi for five hours, and now we've got business men, can you believe it? - business men! - using them to beat rush-hour traffic - the airspace over the city is a mess! Just this morning there was a near-miss between an idiot on his cell phone and Alaskan Flight 218 inbound from Juneau. Now the question, Mr. Mayor, is what are you going to do about it?"
"Uhh...Sir, I'm sorry, but I'm not the Mayor. If you can wait just a moment, his honor just flew in with his pumpkin, one moment please."
"This is the Mayor, how can I help you?"
"Good afternoon, Mr. Mayor. This is Hiram Pierpont of the FAA and I am calling with regard to recent complaints about pumpkin riding - "
"Wait! I can explain. I just didn't realize I was up that high and-"
"Mr. Mayor, the complaints have not been about you."
"Oh.... err.... "
"So you, too, Mr. Mayor? Sir, this only underscores the validity of the FAA's decision - it is the position of the United States Federal Aviation Administration that this use of flying pumpkins is unlawful and we are unable to continue turning a blind-eye to this activity. We understand the source of these strange squash is a small field within your jurisdiction and we are counting on you to do the right thing..."
"Surely, the FAA is not suggesting outlawing pumpkins.... Not when I'm just starting to get the hang of them...."
"Mr. Mayor, there is no alternative. We can no longer afford to have our airspace clogged with squash, public safety threatened by untrained, unlicensed, and unrestrained libertines, nor our young people corrupted by wayward photographer-ne'er-do-wells who think the world is their oyster and that just because a pumpkin can fly - it should fly. Just look at what has become of the skies over Seattle - every dolt with a gourd has taken to the air. If we must, we will make it an imprison-able offense to simply be in possession of a pumpkin - but we're not monsters, I like pie at Thanksgiving as much as anyone. But sacrifices must be made if order is to be maintained. Mr. Mayer, you need to act immediately."
"But sir, Mr. Pierpont, you know what this means?...."
(I hope somebody does...
Greetings Halloweeners, The feds are now involved and I'm not seeing an up-side to continuing this....
So here's the thing about this image - I'm afraid I succumbed to the old notion that if the plan is failing - over-compensate. Yikes! I certainly let it get away from me and when the pumpkin carving turned out the way it did, I just threw my hands up - the whole thing became a cartoon and well lets just let it go at that.
Now that's not to say there wasn't some fun involved (well, actually, quite a bit of fun). I rented a wind machine. I called the local rental places - "Hello, yes, do you rent wind machines?" "Wind machine? wha'sat?" "You know, something to generate wind - I want to move a lot of air - not quite a gale but more than a light breeze." "So you wanna fan?" "Well, not just a fan, I want something that blows hats off..." "OK, this is wha'we got..." So I finally found the biggest fan that I could still fit into my Jetta (i had to get it home) and then it was an afternoon of jumping up on a chair in the backyard and doing the 10-second delay thing with my camera while in front of these whirling-blades-of-death and all that fantastic noise - like a small plane taking off. I have to say that I had a great time with that fan and changing clothes to try to find the outfit that would flap the best. I succeeded in getting the SPs i needed and still got the fan back to the rental place by 5pm. I chatted with the guy behind the counter (I was still dressed in my cool new suit), when he heard I was a photographer: "Oh... that explains a lot. We get you eccentric creative types in here looking for all manner of strange equipment for your shoots. Always asking for things we don't have or if we can modify this or change that - all for free, a'course. Don't take this wrong, but you sorta fit right in." Fit right in?! I felt hugely complimented to be lumped with all those 'eccentric creative types'. I became his new friend and walked out of there beaming. Now when you need a bit of wind to get those overcoats flapping, let me know and I'll hook you up. :))
When Pumpkins Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws...
"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." -Abraham Lincoln
"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward." -Leonardo Da Vinci
Happy Halloween to you all! And might I suggest you not parade around with your squash in plain sight.... nuff' said.
Discovery - Wonder - Euphoria - Utopian - Misuse - Foolishness - Regulation - Outlaw
It's surprising to me how an image (or a series of images) that is delightfully foolish and full of happy whimsy can start in my head as one thing and then slyly change right in front of my very eyes into something else... and so i find my thoughts are a bit more serious and the world around me suddenly shoves the whimsy aside and looks down upon me with frowning countenance and furrowed brows... and yet, the child-like whimsy is still there and the foolishness that started the rock down the hill is still peeking between legs and over shoulders with beautiful orange pumpkins floating in an autumnal sky. How lovely is all this confusion while here i sit without a belt in my loops nor laces on my shoes...
And least you think this is all fluff and make-believe - at great personal risk, my public defender was able to smuggle out a copy of the arresting officers' report for your perusal. It's included below in comments - now is the time, set fire with your outrage, letters to your local newspaper, start a blog, multiple e-mails to your congressional representative - this must not stand.
"I could have gone flying through space forever." -Yuri A. Gagarin
Quota In A Single Night
"In our lifetime, each of us will eat an average of 8 spiders while sleeping." -Snapple Fact #31
My daughter is not a big fan of soft-drinks; however, not too long ago, she indulged in some Snapple. While drinking, she read to me the fact that is printed on the underside of the cap of every bottle of Snapple - the so-called 'Snapple Fact'. This particular 'fact' first really cracked me up and then it got me to thinking about the word "average".
Now Mr. Webster tells us: "average: an intermediate scale value regarded as normal or usual -or- the middle point of a group of values" - And so I thought - most of us would be the norm and, over our lifetime, we would consume our eight spiders and be done. There would, of course, be those lucky individuals that would be below the norm and they might eat 5 or 3 or 1 or, maybe, none at all (and the gods smile upon the few). And so, by the same token, there are those of us on the other side of normal (the unlucky side of normal), and we might be eating 20 or 30 - and, if we were to carry this to extremes (as I must do...) there will be a select-few of us, the extreme-few, out there on the fringe, and we're eating hundreds of these little buggers! - dining on maybe one a week! or maybe, for that one-in-a-million mouth-breather living in the middle of an infestation... one a night!
So when I read that Snapple Fact and started thinking about the word average, with all of it's wonderful implications, thoughts starting chasing themselves around in my head and I suddenly had this image of some poor sap mouth-breather (of course, I had to land the starring role) and a whole parade of these little guys marching along and falling to their doom in this dark cavernous pit... and so an image is born. :))
And while all that is bad enough...lets not stop there, thinking about a balanced universe... if we live in a truly balanced universe (and isn't it pretty to think so...) then there are certain inferences one can draw... such as:
If, in this world, there are spiders just out taking a quiet evening stroll through their neighborhood with a few good spiderly friends and, suddenly, with no good reason, a pit can open up (a pit, mind you, that certainly wasn't there last night!), swallows old Michael from the web next door, and then -snap!- is gone!...
well, if that can happen in this world then logic cries out that there must be another world, somewhere... where people, just like you and me, can be out taking a lovely evening stroll with a few good peoply-friends when suddenly, and without warning, a great pit opens up right in front of them, there is a scream (or was that a yawn?!) and old Uncle Bob stumbles from sight into this vast cavern- then, just as fast and with a final sleepy mumble the pit vanishes, and the quiet evening returns except for the shocked expressions and the incredulous questions:
"Did you see that?...."
...and suddenly a very large sleeping spider wakes up and thinks: "Oh, yuck... whatever that was, it tasted terrible!"
And so this sorta' makes me wonder....
Which of these worlds are we living in?...
food for thought.....
Suicide Notes Must Be Absolutely Perfect
"Perfectionism is slow death." -Hugh Prather
He had made his decision.... he was done, he'd had enough, it seemed that despair was a constant companion and that he'd finally left the shores of 'despondency', aboard a ship called Acquiescence. Ahhh, and he distinctly remembers making that decision and, just like he'd read time and again, once made, he instantly felt wonderful and at peace.
Now, of course, there were a couple other decisions to make, but hell, that should be easy now that the tough one really was behind him. So, deciding to reward himself with a little break, he went downstairs to make some coffee and hunt up a scone in which to indulge (he knew this latter to be wishful thinking but figured what could it hurt). The process of grinding the beans and heating the water (to exactly 193 degrees, of course) was calming; and today, he happily took extra care to get the grind just right for his fancy-schmancy French-press coffee maker (even so, he ended up having to throw away the first batch of beans - the grounds just seemed a bit too fine... ). He set the four minute brewing timer and stared at the blinking numbers - thinking about what would come next.
"I don't have a gun... jumping from some high place is just too frightening... and not poison, poison might make me vomit (I'd hate to be found in a pool of my own puke... ) But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.... perhaps I should put this aside for a bit. I think there is something else that really is more important - something that I should consider very carefully... The Note."
He pictured the note - his story.
The four minutes were up and the beeper announced 'coffee time!' He smiled, poured a cuppa, and thought some more about the details.
"The note will be my chance to explain, the note will make everyone understand, the note will chronicle my loss, the unfairness at the way that I've been treated. The note will tell all that, and, if I'm careful, will leave nothing unanswered.... no second-guessing.... this note has to be... everything... this note has to be... perfect. Perfect."
He thought about perfection a bit more.... and frowned.
"I thought this three years ago and I still believe it to be true today... perfect." He took a sip... damn! He picked up his thermometer and gave it a shake. "Well, crap! this doesn't taste right.... maybe my thermometer is no longer calibrated..." He threw it in the trash and dumped his coffee disgustedly into the sink. Him? achieve perfection? "The perfect note.... Ha! who am I kidding?"
and yet.... he sat, hunched over his typewriter... "OK, this time for sure....." He knew one thing, he was dearly going to miss the sound of these keys...
"You never really loved me as I have loved you... I suppose I can ask why... but will I really understand the answer? I think not. I suspect instead I will only hear the sighing of the fall breeze moving off to warmer climes - so much white-noise that surely puts me to sleep but offers no communication.
Well, no more. Now I shall communicate to </i>you<i> all the trials and pain that, after years of suffering, I now believe I will never be rid of.... maybe even this attempt will be a failure and beyond that door lies no salvation... only more and more anguish... Well this has been my life... I cannot express the relief that it is finally over...."
He looks over his work and sighs.... "What mawkish and pathetic drivel!!....." jerks the sheet from the typewriter and stuffs it in the latest shoebox.... "Maybe I'll try the coffee again...."
OK, lets take a peek over to the dark side, shall we.... Actually, the image came from thinking about procrastination and perfectionism and what a thorough pain in the ass both were (he says, two months after his last post...) I got to considering 'where would these actually be to ones advantage?' - one of the things that came to mind was suicide... suppose the 'perfect note' was the only thing keeping our depressed perfectionist from a trip to the deep end? Why it might keep him going for years.... in any event, the above quote is so very true.
It's Amazing All We Know, And Yet, There Is Still That Ocean
"I am not young enough to know everything." -Oscar Wilde
I was thinking the world and what i've done and all the things discussed and all the episodes and incidents experienced and what makes me laugh and what makes me cry and how many years it's been in the making... and after all of that - I can still be surprised and amazed and taken unawares and speechless.... (some may tell you not often on that last one but don't believe them...).
And sometimes I wonder that this is so... after the years and years...
And, with a touch of clarity, I realize that we are each an ocean... and a lifetime will not be enough time.
I am very happy to add another kite-cam shot to the mix. An image from the shore of the grand Pacific Ocean. I used the IR camera suspended on the string of a kite for the ocean shot and some visible light images for the coloration and sky texture.
Cheers to you and to continual amazement.
"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion." -Sir Frances Bacon
When I was thirteen, my father carefully looked at me one morning (I suspect he was in a bit of a mood) and said: "You know, by the time you reach 30 years old, you will be completely bald." Now this isn't the sort of thing a young, impressionable, (and vain) teenager wants to hear - ever. My right and proper response was: "No Way!" Unfortunately, by the time I was 20, I could see that there may be some truth to this spiteful forecast and when I was 30 - well, I wasn't completely bald, but I might as well have been. I did a bit of research and this pattern baldness (I HATE that name) supposedly comes from my mother side except my Grandfather is 92 and has the most amazingly thick head of white hair I have ever seen (so does my brother... and no, I not all that bitter) - so what's going on... does it skip every generation? Is it just a random genetic time-bomb that happened to go off during MY conception? ...aah, but that is all behind me now.
Finally! After much consultation with my hair specialist, Dr. D. Taraxacum, and a number of operations (this transplant stuff ain't no walk in the park), what you see is the permanent solution to my hair-loss problem. There are, of course, a small list of caveats and recommendations for success; such as for the first year, it is recommended I stay away from Chicago, hair-dryers, and people in wish-making moods - but that seems to me a pretty small price to pay.
Tell me what you think - do I look twenty-two again? I gotta tell you, it is so nice to be able to walk the street with my head held high and not have to suffer the pitying looks or chuckles of derision from the youth-of-today.
Thank you, Dr. Taraxacum. If there are others out there like me (and I know there are...) - despair not! Email me and I will get you in touch with Dr. T. His technique of scalp preparation and then transplant will work for you too. Now my only concern is will I be able to convince Penny that she has nothing to worry about what with all the glances and interest I'll be getting from young women everywhere...
I am a new man! Cheers to you all!
Perils Of Vanity
"Everything beautiful has its moment and then passes away." -Cernuda y Bidon
I've always been a vigorous dreamer but I didn't think that one night without my hair-net would matter...
I need to call Dr. T. immediately. I'll let you know what he says...
Nothing Is Permanent
"The pain passes, but the beauty remains." -Pierre Auguste Renoir
Dr. T says there is still hope... but I may need to take out another loan.
This is not what I expected... and it had all started with a wish and such promise...
If The Only Tool We're Given Is A Hammer...
"If the only tool we're given is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail." -Abraham Maslow
I must remember that even if teaching is the farthest thing from my mind, they are still learning...
This is one of my favorite quotes and I've had this bit of silliness in my head, in one form or another, for awhile now. So we collected some hammers from the basement and sat at the table staring at each with (what we thought were) angry, disgusted, and generally pissed-off expressions on our faces - and as soon as each shot was taken we would bust out into fits of giggles! When we looked at the images, it was the giggles that came through so our angry stares were not too convincing. :)) But I figured by the time I got done mutilating us in PS it really wouldn't make that much difference! great fun, in any case.
The shot of the girls was from a long-ago trip to Lake Chelan in eastern Washington state. We were having breakfast at our favorite restaurant and they were doing their before-meal foolin' around.
I Can See Daisies In Her Footsteps
"We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I hope this explains why we can't let her go barefoot in the house.... ;)
This image is a combination of IR- and visible-wavelength camera work. Cheers to you and all your beauties... -M