Sunday, November 28, 2010

seeing more than you thought you would

post #9
      Thanksgiving weekend, our first chilly weather, a funeral visitation for Cobern Fannin whose garage/gas station has kept various vehicles of ours going for years and years -- all these changes make me think of a reality that photography has helped me be aware of, that change is a large part of the work I do.  In an earlier post I wrote of the importance of Being There.  And of Never Knowing What Might be Important.  Now I add Look for Whatever (which includes Celebrate chance and change and Appreciate people you meet.) 

       One way to share my fascination with the unexpected is to show two pairs of photos, each having one more intentional effort and a second one close by, but I wouldn't have seen it had I not been trying for the first one.  Pair #1 happened on Labor Day ten years ago, early in my photo career.  I was applying for a grant and decided I'd use all seven photos required by choosing from multiple photos on a single day of shooting.  I think I was trying to point out that I could take more than one good photo in a day!  My neighbor Larry's barn nearby was filled with newly hung tobacco, so I took some slides of that, using a tripod.  While there, I happened to look at the other side of the barn door, and saw the tendril!  Who knew!  I love this quieter photo, and I loved discovering it was there.  So, for several reasons, I remain grateful for that partial grant I did receive from the Kentucky Arts Council . 
hanging to cure


       Pair #2 happened this fall.  For a week I passed by these bales of hay lined up, sometimes in sun, sometimes in shade.  Last year I had filmed my neighbor Herman as he mowed those hillsides and made his bales, but I didn't see any lined up the way they were this year.  I had to wait for morning light, so I took the photo, now a digital one, the day my husband and I were driving to Lexington.  (Where I live, the term neighbor isn't limited to next door.)  By the time we noticed a section of the hillsides that had not yet been cut for hay, I was in a hurry, taking only a few shots.  I've made note cards out of both images, shown here with their card titles.

over hill, over bales

fall field
   Two different views of same places, three paragraphs when I've promised only two per post, thus, "four" the moment, thanks as always, Ann

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A good photo doesn't mean a pretty picture.

post #8
       I probably would have chosen to be a photojournalist had I been able to conceive of doing such a thing when I was younger.  It is kind of what I do now, but I couldn't earn a living in photojournalism at this stage of my life.  
       Still, my brain works by stories and connections.  I live where there are rural traditions and four seasons and a rich natural environment.  There is always something changing that literally catches my eye.  
       But sometimes the wrong kind of change can happen.
       In the spirit of how we each need to stand up for a saner world, I am sharing my photo of one of the 470 disappeared mountains in Appalachia, flattened due to the devastating practice of mountaintop removal mining.

     I took this from the front seat of a four-seater airplane, leaving from the Hazard, Kentucky, airport.  (Being a photographer has benefits:  I got to sit up front!)  In the back seat were my friends, writers Ed McClanahan and Mary Ann Taylor-Hall who helped prop open the window so my image could be clearer.  I should have taken even more such photos, but I knew that ace news photographer David Stephenson had been taking some as well that day.  However, it later turned out his images were entirely the property of his newspaper.  The best site for learning more about MTR is here; take a moment to look at their multi-media selections.  Very cool stuff about something tragic, ugly, and selfishly short-sighted.

      This is not a pretty picture, in both senses. Well executed perhaps but not pretty.  (Doesn't sell either well either, partly because who wants to be reminded that this is happening.)  
       The second photo, hanging fern, is from our woods, taken a few days ago, an image to celebrate the richness and diversity of the forests in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, in the Appalachian mountains, a region that is itself a national treasure. 

        Thanks for reading...and for, in return, reducing your other electricity usage, to help save a mountain.      Ann

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pieces of a photo life

post #7 --  Today, some notes about this and that...
             This:  Had a wonderful visit Wednesday morning -- from "my" pileated woodpecker.  This time he came even closer to the house, exploring the aged apple tree just outside our living room window, near where I happened to be sitting briefly before getting ready to leave to run some errands.   He didn't seem to mind my using my camera from inside while he carried out his intense hunt for bugs.  Yum yum.  It is never optimal to take photos through glass, but sometimes the light angle does allow acceptable snaps. 
Several photos were a blur of moving head hammering.
Why the raised feathers?? Anyone? Squirrel alert??
       That:  Last Sunday I drove a couple of hours to Rockcastle County for a gathering of the Kentucky Women Photographers Network.   Over a dozen of us members met face to face for a change, mostly to discuss where next to put our energies.  I marvel how no one in this interest group is fascinated by the exact same aspect of photography.  We have done some group exhibits across the state, and we share all kinds of info on our Yahoo listserv, but we realize there are even more ways we could be supporting each other.  I share here one of the photos I retrieved that day after the return of our most recent traveling exhibit. 

       I am making a portfolio of my neighbors at work, and this image shows Sandy, Junie and Dorsie stripping the tobacco from the last crop of it they'll grow.  They are tolerant, patient friends -- I was standing on their work bench!  I am tall, but not that tall.

    a final note:  Yesterday was the annual art show run by MAGI in Morehead.  I entered the rooster Big Wheel photo (see post #5) in its large size version and actually received a monetary award! This was a much appreciated surprise. A lot of volunteers who care about art make the day possible. I thank every one of them, and thanks to you for reading this -- Ann

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Of course the American People want the new health care!

post #6
       At least this American people does.  I am not happy to hear my senator tell the world that the American people want to repeal health care!  Many of us "people" disagree with him but you would never hear him admit that.  He won't even give it a chance.  Well, I guess I need to confess that as of Tuesday, despite a change, Kentucky still has TWO senators who are myopic and short-sighted and, in my opinion, not very democratic.
     So, to pass beyond dealing with the unappealing, I thought I'd share an unexpected photo, one I never anticipated or even hoped for.  It's "my" pileated woodpecker whom we often hear but rarely see so close to the house.  Plus usually these large birds stay on the hidden side of a tree.  This time when one visited, I was sitting inside near the glass door of our deck, and I looked out!  My camera was nearby, with the 300mm zoom lens on it, my favorite, all by chance.  I was then able to slide the door open a bit without scaring the big bird away.  Took the photo and got it sharp.  All this still amazes me.  The photo here is cropped, to get the feeling of being even closer than 15 feet away, but to me each piece of this process is a gift.  To share.
      At this point, it is only fair to show an earlier photo from that day.  I call it A Pileated Woodpecker Checks Out the Local Rain Gauge.  This informal shot does give a better idea of the size of these charmers. 
      Enjoy your own miracles, and thanks for visiting my blog, Ann