29 September 2010

Window portrait

I entered the room and saw Mom sitting on the edge of the recliner, leaning against the window sill. She was waiting for Dad to come back into view so she could yell another instruction to him.

"You look like a portrait," I exclaimed. Then my eyes darted over the scene, making quick assessments. It's really dark in here compared to outside. Lamp? No, wrong color temperature. Flash would kill everything I like about the light. Foreground would probably be all grainy. Oh well.

For a moment, I just stood and soaked the image into my brain.

Then I changed my mind and said, "Don't move," as I bounded out of the room to grab a camera.


The image isn't strictly what I was looking at. The walls in that room are white for heck's sake. However, the foreground was so dark it went black thereby sidestepping the potential noise issue. And the available light edging her body, that's what I wanted to capture.


A year ago on TTaT: Catching up

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26 September 2010

Sketchbook, page 48

(Other pages)

The process of filling a 120 60 page sketchbook and posting it all by year's end continues:

Alien planet by Claire


A year ago on TTaT: Life's soundtrack

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24 September 2010

Life of Art SitRep #33

Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the journey, full of zigs and zags that are collectively, thankfully, progress.

Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I cheer you on.)
*******
This week, I
  • Shot 344 photographs.
  • Prepped and uploaded Western Auto Half Cylinder Building photograph.
  • Wrote product description and created Western Auto Half Cylinder Building product line: prints/posters, cards, postcard, mugs, t-shirts, binders, tote bags, stickers, keychain, magnets, buttons, mouse pad, apron, return address label, and stamps:
    Nine days into a cross country road trip, I stopped in Kansas City, Missouri to see Union Station. It was pouring when I arrived, but when the rain eased up later on, I ventured out to photograph exteriors. The humidity was intense, but I wanted to see a bit more of Kansas City. The Link is an image I made during that excursion.

    Ascending the parking exit ramp, I beheld an excellent semi-cylindrical structure and pulled over to shoot it from my car window. The Western Auto sign atop the building is encircled by an arrow. Since the sign is not parallel to the flat side of the brick edifice, it draws attention to the building's curved design.

    The exit ramp's decorative concrete railing angles across the foreground beginning in the lower left corner of the frame. Aside from a few much shorter buildings to the left of the Western Auto building, the background is sky with a few clouds.
  • Added link to Western Auto Half Cylinder Building products in The Road is my Favorite Place: Day 9 post where the image appears.
  • Blogged, tweeted, FB'd a sale.
  • Installed Photoshop CS5 and started teaching it to myself. If you've come across a helpful book about it, please leave the title in the comments.
  • Drew Deir el Bahri sketch.
  • Watched Iconoclasts: Tom Ford on Jeff Koons.

*******

What did you do to pursue the life you want this week?


A year ago on TTaT: Somebody with my name likes what I like

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21 September 2010

Bubbles



Two years ago on TTaT: playlist: BIRTHDAy, part 2

19 September 2010

Sketchbook, page 47: birthday edition

The past couple of days I've been preoccupied with what's not on my birthday list, the things it doesn't occur to me to ask for or that it feels weird to ask for, and what it would be like if I did.

As I sit here now, I'm still not sure I can do it. I thought I could, but I'm hesitating, it's late, and I'm tired. Screw that.

Things I'd like for my birthday that I'm writing here instead of saying out loud:
Encouragement.

Help with my pursuit of a life of art. See something at Rocklawn Arts zazzle or Rocklawn Arts redbubble that someone you know would like? Share the link. See a photo here that you want to own that isn't in either store? Let me know and I'll see if I have a high resolution version of it.

If you now feel tongue-tied, don't stress over it, birthday greetings are always much appreciated and are totally on the list too.
Yup, definitely feels unnerving to ask for intangibles. Somehow resisting the urge to delete all of the above. (But only barely, so I shall hit publish and call it a night.)

(Other pages)

The process of filling a 120 60 page sketchbook and posting it all by year's end continues:

a Deir el-Bahri of sorts


A year ago on TTaT: A personal odometer click

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17 September 2010

Life of Art SitRep #32

Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the journey, full of zigs and zags that are collectively, thankfully, progress.

Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I cheer you on.)
*******
This week, I
*******

What did you do to pursue the life you want this week?


4 years ago on TTaT: The Road is my Favorite Place: Day 5

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16 September 2010

On the road with construction

I'm not usually a fan of orange, but it appeals to me when I'm photographing road work from the car.



4 years ago on TTaT: Multiples of Eleven

14 September 2010

A solution!

As I walked away from the cake-specializing bakery today, I realized my solution was even better than I'd considered. Shopping for my mom's birthday is routinely challenging, but it actually gets on my nerves more because it's two days before mine. I'm not in the mood to pull teeth for suggestions (all of 2 this year), hunt for gifts, or fight with wrapping paper when I'd rather coast up to my own birthday unfettered.

Of course I know it's selfish and petty. There's only one way the compressed birthdays will change, and I do not wish for it in the least. I'm not a total prat.

Anyway, ordering the cake had appeal because it would get me off the hook for baking, a great boon considering how messed up my sinuses have been recently. Not having to wrap anything is a super awesome bonus. All I have to do is pick it up in a few days.

If skipping a birthday cake for myself* is the price of a few days mental peace, I'll take it.

*I'm sure her cake will be good; it's just not anything I would choose.


Two years ago on TTaT: Feeling calmer today

13 September 2010

Favorite semi blurs


On the highway last week, I spotted a semi hauling a bed of fascinating, unusual construction equipment pieces. The sun hadn't set yet, but a mountain blocked its rays making it effectively twilight.

I wanted to capture the cylinder with sparse small angled openings similar to a cheese grater, the odd jagged teeth, and the grinding spiral, but it was too dark and I was too close to freeze the elements as we drove by. Under different circumstances, the solution would be to crank up the ISO to reduce the shutter speed, open the lens iris up while being mindful of the loss of depth of field, put an empty lane in between us, and match speed with the semi during shooting.

As it was, I had one minute to capture these three shots as we passed the truck; I really like the blur that occurred. The yellow in the final photograph is the cab of the truck; the angled blacks, the foreground interior of my vehicle.


A year ago on TTaT: The Silver Moose

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12 September 2010

Sketchbook, page 46

(Other pages)

The process of filling a 120 60 page sketchbook and posting it all by year's end continues:

Captain Shusuke Amagai, 5:24 Bleach #168



3 years ago on TTaT: Of boots and bras

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10 September 2010

31. xkcd: volume 0

31. xkcd: volume 0 by Randall Munroe (5/5)

A large collection of strips from the webcomic xkcd plus extra bits of cartoon commentary and coded messages. Good times!

Also, it's the first book I've ever read with Creative Commons attribution instead of a copyright. Kinda cool. Made an excellent gift (for me anyway).

Reminds me I need to finish my drawing for Sunday...

Life of Art SitRep #31

Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the journey, full of zigs and zags that are collectively, thankfully, progress.

Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I cheer you on.)
*******
This week, I
  • Shot 591 photos and 3 videos.
  • Winnowed selections of hibiscus and cherry tomato photographs.
  • Scanned 1 sketch.
  • Listened to 2 Going Pro podcasts.
  • Finished reading The History of Japanese Photography.
  • Finished reading Sept. issue of Popular Photography.

*******

What did you do to pursue the life you want this week?


A year ago on TTaT: 36. Lilac Mines

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09 September 2010

Trillium and self-portrait


I moved my foot out of the way in subsequent shots (well, almost completely out of frame; as much as my upside down contortion would allow), but I still like this photograph best. It's the tree trunks angling up from the lower left corner and the length of trillium stem descending from the top that does it for me.


A year ago on TTaT: Gettin' My Groove On... (vol. xi)

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07 September 2010

The History of Japanese Photography

30. The History of Japanese Photography by Anne Wilkes Tucker, Dana Friis-Hansen, Kaneko Ryuichi, Takeba Joe; with essays by Iizawa Kotaro, Kinoshita Naoyuki (4/5)

When it comes to art books, I'm leery of the essays because the suppositions proposed are often unverified. I'm interested in what the artist or photographer has to say, not so much the musings and intellectual dissections of critics and scholars. That said, the essays in The History of Japanese Photography are definitely worth reading as they focus more on historical context.

The book is arranged chronologically from the first appearance of photographs in Japan in the mid 1800's through 2000. There is a fairly in depth chronology at the back of the book. Also at the back: short biographies of most of the photographers mentioned/featured, descriptions of the major camera clubs and photo magazines. I would've liked to have seen more of this information interwoven with the rest of the book. As it is, it's 80 or so pages at the back all printed with footnote-sized type. (Yes, I'm feeling my age. Darn kids, get off my lawn!)

There are, of course, loads of photos in the book. It's cool to see the evolution of styles and what different people do with their photography. My favorite photos are from the most recent section of works. With luck, I'll be able to find some of the photographers' books I wrote down. (It's cited quite well.) I'm a new fan of Hatakeyama Naoya and Sugimoto Hiroshi.

Not a book for everyone, but if you're interested in photography, history, or Japan, I recommend it.


A year ago on TTaT: twelve by eighteen

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05 September 2010

Sketchbook, page 45

(Other pages)

The process of filling a 120 60 page sketchbook and posting it all by year's end continues:

Sleepy pup, Puppy Bowl VI


3 years ago on TTaT: Overheard in Costco

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03 September 2010

Life of Art SitRep #30

Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the journey, full of zigs and zags that are collectively, thankfully, progress.

Play along in the comments if you'd like with your own pursuits. (That's where I cheer you on.)
*******
This week, I
  • Shot 608 photos.
  • Tweeted, blogged:
    Labor Day Sale
    60% off aprons
    50% off posters (unframed)
    30% off shoes
    20% off bags
    10% off shirts
    10% off mugs
    until September 6, 2010 at 11:59pm PT.
    Use coupon code: LABORDAYSALE

    Green Man bag
    Green Man by RocklawnArts
    Design a canvas bag at zazzle

  • Learned that first 5 tags get most weight in zazzle. Also learned about Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Let's you see how different words rank in searches. Need to rework tags.
  • Watched Sunday wrap-up of CreativeLive workshop with Jasmine Star about wedding photography. I need a 3rd word! Cool, unusual, and …? It's what my photography is and perhaps, also who I am. Or at least a part of me through my photos. Defining the brand and what I'm looking for in every photograph. ”What are the three words that describe you, and your style?" "Are those three words describing you now? Or are those words describing what you want to be? If it’s the latter, you need to take a step back.”

    That 3rd word, maybe: curious. Or curiosity.

    What words come to mind when you look at my photographs?
  • Finished reading another issue of Popular Photography.
  • Listened to another GoingPro podcast.
*******

What did you do to pursue the life you want this week?


A year ago on TTaT: Gettin' My Groove On... (vol. x)

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01 September 2010

From the vault: Phoenix Rising

Posted first in 2005. The original had a final paragraph that was a bit of a "but." I actually had forgotten about the day's one bit of frustration since then, so this time I'm following 2005 Claire's inclination: "Maybe I should delete that in the hope that in the future, I will remember today as unblemished perfection." Why not? What's important about that day is what was good about it.

********

“How’s your pyromania?”

Mom was standing in the doorway. I’d just gotten out of the shower and was picking at a callus on my foot; reviewing the meaning of pyromania in my mind, I assured myself it meant what I thought it meant but couldn’t figure out what her question had to do with what I was doing. “I’m confused.”

“Your Dad’s out burning, he’s going to need some help keeping it going,” she explained as she walked down the hall.

A smile spread across my face. “It’s up!” I called after her. I pulled my hair back, changed t-shirts, put on my boots, grabbed my gloves and walked outside. When the snow had first started to melt, I had remembered with satisfaction that it heralded burning. Then the fire permit appeared on the fridge under a palm tree magnet, and finally today was time to burn.

For the first time this year, the temperature broke into the 60s reaching a wonderful 69 with low humidity, not that it mattered near the fire; heat waves rippled the air and felt like an instant sunburn. Flames licked twigs, wet limbs smoldered, pine needles smoked and crackled into floating sparks. I had a strong urge to toss all my filed paperwork into the fire. Instead I threw more sticks in wondering when my loose glove would decide to make its suicidal leap into the flames.

Dad found a great green limb and sawed it to my specifications for the perfect poking stick: about four feet long with a lopsided Y at the end for a little fork action. Mom joined us and we spent the rest of the afternoon picking up sticks from the yard and sawing fallen trees into manageable pieces. With some experimentation, I was soon reading the fire: small twigs here, chunkier dry branches there, increase the temperature to burn it all: easily my favorite type of yard work.

In addition, we retrieved outdoor chairs from the shed and carried them up to the deck; the glass-top table we left for another day. Smoke permeated our clothes, skin, hair, so we opted to pick up dinner since none of us was going to cook. The fire burned down to ash, embers, and charcoal. Dad carried shovelfuls of snow from one of the remaining piles in the yard and tossed it on top. Smoke smoldered through gaps in the snow like dry ice until it was sufficiently covered.

We picked up some grinders and chips and drove out to eat with a lake view. On a hill above the water, the vista through the trees was impressive. Most of the lake was still covered with ice which gave me a better idea of how thick it had been. Beyond the lake were mountain ranges; Mom pointed out the tower on the tallest mountain in the state. The mountain next to it looked taller.

“It’s an illusion,” my parents said overlapping each other. A discussion of measurements, sea level, and altimeters lead me to conclude that altitude measurements are always relative to something and thus can’t be absolute. As my Dad pointed out, even sea level isn’t constant with the pull of the moon affecting tides.

On the way home, Mom got a coffee and I got a hot fudge sundae from Ben & Jerry’s. I ate outside while Mom called her sister, and Dad went to shower. Near the end of my sundae, I was shaking with cold so I went in and down to the basement so I wouldn’t smoke up any chairs that mattered.

A rerun of Smallville was on that I hadn’t seen: a pivotal episode in the story arc that I’d missed when something I liked better was on opposite some other year. Earlier in the day, Mom handed me the latest novel by my favorite author. It was shaping up to be a perfect day.

Last to shower, I dumped my smoky clothes outside the bathroom door since mom planned to throw them all in the wash. Pajama-clad, I towel dried my hair and watched the season finale of West Wing. Though a great hair day at this point might seem to be a waste, I felt it topped off the perfect day.


Two years ago on TTaT: Cookie Monster: just can't get enough

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