Monday, July 31, 2006

Pine cone study

1. Straight photo. 2. Manipulated to make the shadows more intense. 3. Manipulated; frosty tips.

More pine cones fell into my yard last week during the heat-wave.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I first became aware of this plant with its filigree leaves about a decade ago. Outside of the gym door at the local college there was a huge bush of it. I broke off a few pieces and to my surprise they rooted within two weeks.

The left top image is a close-up of the plant, the other three images were manipulated. The manipulated images might add a touch to an underwater scene.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


This particular succulent has always reminded me of sky-scrapers. After a few attempts I nearly have an image that I like. The viewpoint is difficult to get but with a little PSE manipulation the black-and-white image is pretty close to what I visualized.

"The sentimentalist ages far more quickly than the person who loves his work and enjoys new challenges." Lillie Langry - actress 1853-1929

Starting over after the hard drive crash of a month ago this quote shed some light on why in some ways I've stoped mourning over the lost images. I'm not much of a sentimentalist . . .

Friday, July 28, 2006

A rich patina!

"In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us."
Virginia Wolf

The brass bowl has been out in the yard for a few years; the benefit is the rich patina its acquired! A patina like this can't be faked with one of the new faux paint kits on the market.

The feather was lying on the stone path, but it didn't photograph as well as I had hoped it would. A little drama was required; I challenged myself to find something in the proximity of the stones . I think there is bit of humor in the scene. The handles on the bowl almost look like ears . . .
The play of the dark moss against the light stones only became evident when I looked through the viewfinder.

I might have missed the feather on the stone if the sun had been out. After a nearly week long heat wave the fog came rolling and and cooled us off in a big way! The temp yesterday and today is 60 degrees! Amazing how fast a heat wave can vanish! The fog softens/flattens the light and often brings out details that are missed in bright sunlight.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sweeping away . . .

A rather mundane object, but a necessary one! The broom leans against the house next to where the brick fireplace juts out. The combination of the textures is more evident in the manipulated version than the color it was shot in. I couldn't wait to get inside and turn it into a black and white photo!

I need a broom to sweep away more than debris! I keep mourning the lost photos and work that can't be retrieved from the crashed hard drive! Word came earlier this week that the hard drive is refusing to give up any of my work!
What a hard leason to learn! So, now I'm getting into the habit of saving a second copy of anything I'd like to save and most likely I'm over-doing it and will have endless CD's! Keeping them organized will surely drive me mad!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


No sooner than I say that finding images might become more difficult than this one appears! In bright sunlight the rocks are flat and uninteresting, but in the early morning when shadows from the tree land on them the colors and depth are quite beautiful. No, I didn't place the feather there. Birds occasionally leave behind a variety of treasures such as acorns buried in pots where an oak tree has no business sprouting from.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Labyrinth Assemblage

The 5X7 inch frame is more gold than green . . .
Embossed metal, metal strips, and wrapped metal bead.


"The piece is done when it stops questioning me."
Joan Mitchell

Pine Cone Study

The search for images continues as I make my way through my yard. Pine cones drop into my yard from the giant tree next door! Whatever is in my yard becomes "found art." Two of the images on the left, the second and third ones, are manipulated. The rest of the images have been cropped and all were taken using the close-up feature on the digital camera.

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one." Mark Twain

How true! For years I've thought about photographing on my home turf, but it wasn't until I broke it down into a daily activity that I was able to start the project. I give myself 5 minutes to find an image; if I don't find one in that time-frame I try again later in the day. Sometimes when the light has changed suddenly something will appear that I hadn't noticed earlier in the day.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Faces in Stone

The "caricature" in the stone walkway from a few days ago was the inspiration for this. The color was removed from the image and manipulated a little, then 3 face brushes, that I created, were blended in. The number 56 is on the upper area.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Speaking his mind!

When I opened the front door this morning to bring in the Sunday newspaper the crow, who has decided he too lives in your yard, gave me a piece of his mind!! I hadn' t yet filled the birdfeeder or put cat food in the bowl by the front door for Gilligan! The crow prefers cat food.

I photographed the clouds this morning along with the crow perched on the fence and a shot of a birdhouse I made a couple of years ago. I couldn't resist putting the crow in the pic with the birdhouse. The crow needs a name! Any ideas?

We're on the 5th day of record breaking heat! I was so tired of the fog so it's kind of nice to have warm evenings.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Count None But Sunny Hours

I didn't get yesterday's
double image posted. My dad built the birdhouse and I repainted it about 6 years ago. There is cobweb in the doorway so I imagine a nasty creature has made a home inside!

I absolutely l0ve the stone walkway into my house! On the lower right side there appears to be a caricature. My neighbor gave me the sundial because it was in lousy condition! I sprayed it
black and used gold paint to highlight the numerals, design and quote! She wanted to know where I got such a nice one! Ah, the miracle of paint!

Mandala - Labyrinth

A little Labyrinth history:
Medieval European churches often incorporated a labyrinth pattern in the floor near the entrance. The circular design is a representation of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem; some believe that performing the symbolic journey to the center helps the devout Christian move closer to Jerusalem and union with God.

This labyrinth overlay is based on the one in Chartres Cathedral in France. The overlay is attached to a piece of embossed metal and hangs from a dowel.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ribbit, ribbit!

Day 5 of photo challenge.

The frogs have been myteriously sitting like this for awhile now. They are supposed to be perched around the bird bath, but between the birds, Gilligan (the cat who has claimed us as his people!), the deer and raccoons the frogs are constantly knocked off of the rim. The mystery? How did they end up in such a perfect pose? I doubt that I could have posed them any better than this!

(Yes, I know that I left the "r" out of turn. There are flaws in most of the scans, it's just my way of insuring
my copyright. Some flaws are more obvious than others.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Photo Challenge

I haven't been able to tame the ivy from popping through the boards on the gate. The gate could use some paint; actually, I prefer the aged look!

"Youth is the gift of Nature, but age is a work of art." Garson Kanin

May your days be filled with art!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Photo Challenge

I believe that if you can't photograph your surroundings in an exciting and expressive way it won't matter how far you travel to photograph; the subject matter may be different but without acute obserservation a change in locale won't improve your photography. I also believe that we should occasionally observe our surroundings with a "fresh eye." Become a tourist in your own house or town!

Outside of few day trips this summer I don't have any major vacation plans so it's the perfect time to concentrate on making "anew" what is in my own backyard. The photos on the left were shot on the 16-18th ; the "712" is obviously a house number. The rocks are of my fireplace and I sort of cheated on the bottom photo, but the crate is in my yard! A friend gave me a crate with peeling paper on it and it's a treasure!

Not only is the challenge to photograph something every day for awhile but to do something with the photographs. The 3 images on the left were used in the manipulated photo on the right.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


The waterfall photo was shot at the Hakone Japanese Garden in Saratoga. A little manipulation and viola! A Mandala!

The text says: According to Jung, the mandala is the ultimate symbol of well-being and wholeness.
The bottom text: The mandala is an ancient pattern that has a specific center, and concentric rings that emanate from the center.

Not all mandalas seem to be based on the belief above. I added a touch of light emanating from the center. The photos shot at the garden on July 7 were previsualized, something I hadn't done in quite awhile. I knew exactly why I took each of them. Previsualization makes working on photos even more exciting than the moment they were taken!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hwy 156

The day, June 30, I shot this I had no idea what the night held for me! This shot can only be taken from a moving car and I've tried for years to get it. The road is narrow, busy and the speed is normally about 65, but on that day we were able to slow down to about 45. I had rolled the window down and my friend, the driver, said, "now," and I clicked! I'm pretty happy with it.

On that Friday we were on our way to San Juan Bautista for lunch at our favorite German restuarant and after I shot the above photo I thought the day would continue to be perfect. The weather in San Juan was a perfect 85 with a slight breeze. Lunch was great and browsing through a couple of antiques shop turned up a post card of a man riding in a carriage. In another shop I purchased a printing block with a motif design.

At about 10pm I was downloading some photos when the computer froze and then delivered a message on the screen letting me know that Windows had shut down to protect the computer from further damage. I had no idea what that meant but when I couldn't reboot I knew in the place where we sometimes know things we don't want to know that the computer had crashed big time! The next evening at 4:45 I got the word from a guy at PC People that I had been right and of course I hadn't backed up anything in about 2 years! Hysteria!

A week later the computer has a new hard drive and I can honestly say that life feels a little bit lighter now that there isn't so much stuff on the computer! Maybe it was a good thing to lose so much of my work. I had no idea that it was dragging me down. Posted by Picasa