Sunday, December 30, 2012

last Sunday [of 2012] this Sunday [today]

post #118
       The sun is shining!  So what am I doing inside??  For one thing, I am settling in at home after eight days away.  For another, now that we don't have to be driving long distances, I am getting used to enjoying the snow we've finally had here in eastern Kentucky.   
      Snow is hard for the photographer me.  I am rarely satisfied with the color seen in my photos of snow, so it is tempting to change everything to black and white.  But I don't do that often -- which translates to "I don't do it particularly well."  
       However, I woke up yesterday totally thrilled by the view from my window.  Snow had arrived during the night, and it was still snowing.  I decided to jump up and take photos from windows while the light stayed wonderful and the snow had not yet blown off the branches.  And now I can try these photos out on this blog -- and learn from them.  Four of them are shown with my version of black and white.

looking east, from upstairs, the view from my window

looking north, from downstairs

the other bedroom, upstairs, bird and barn

same barn, from a different room

standing and staring, on the stairs upstairs, showing the stairs outside

front door, our stone steps

looking up toward the driveway

The woods in the background are also in the next photo.

traveling through

                   Now, in honor of the current American political crisis, here is an eastern Kentucky

May your 2013 be filled with wonders.      Ann

Sunday, December 23, 2012

winter, travel, family, holidays in December, 2012

post #117
       Keeping it simple today, thinking of the world with all its variety and machinations, while I continue to try to figure out how people can all get along and how the planet can let us see clearly what we need to do.  I guess the answers are not so simple, actually.  But I am currently with family in Massachusetts, enjoying grandchildren, exchanging minimal presents, eating well and all together, seeing two of my sisters as well as other family, and being grateful.  It is a privilege to be thinking about other peoples in this world in addition to the ones near me, and about the planet we share while I am happy to be in this one place.  I do realize that thinking by itself does not do much, but visualizing the possibilities of change can be strengthening for our collective hearts.
        I give a special shout-out to the loyal readers of this blog, whoever you may be, and where ever you are.  Thank you!  Here are three photos in honor of this season and of this time of gatherings.  

I have always thought this stump a place of elegant feasting, even if it be in the forest.

This photo of friends, from three years ago, continues to amaze me.  Once again, I thank each one for being willing to put up with what it takes to get such a good group photo  -- which mostly means that each one did his or her part for the good of the group.  This year's holiday gathering will be smaller, since many of us will not able to be there.  I am so glad we made the time and effort for this photo when we had the chance to do so.

Warm holiday greetings from this "well red" cardinal -- and from me, Ann


Sunday, December 16, 2012

on a Sunday before Christmas, all through the house,

post #116
       a kind of a pall hangs over us.  Gray is the color of the day.  Outside there are real gray clouds, yet the chill that comes isn't from not having warmish weather but from what happened to young children in Connecticut. This light today is not interesting for photographing - though clouds often are -- but, oddly, it does gather us all in.  
      I am deeply sorry about these senseless killings.  I am equally deeply convinced that our culture of violence is part of this story.  At the very least, I don't understand what multiple rounds of ammunition have to do with the second amendment and the right to bear arms.  I never have understood.  I never will. 

     I had planned today to take a few of my photos and share the story behind each one --   where I was, what I saw, what worked, what didn't, what the problems are, why I like the image, etc.  For starters, I am sharing a single one, the image of the hornets nest that first appeared on the last post.  Here is the photo again.

        Next, for purposes of this discussion, I have somewhat cropped the image.  I do believe it looks better.  I rarely play with my images, however.  What you see is what I saw, as best as I can manage.

        Now here is where I was and what I was thinking:
        I was taking a walk in our woods, with camera in tow.   The small cemetery on our place was along the path I was on.  I took some photos there in evening light and eventually noticed the hornets nest high in a tree along the edge of cemetery.  I almost missed it.  I share this because I have found that invariably it takes time to see everything.  I have to slow down, knowing that otherwise I am capable of missing even the most obvious image.  It is like circling and considering something from many angles.  It requires a learned process called "paying attention." My work is to feel present in the place I find myself.
       A problem was that I did not have my tripod with me.  And it was getting dark.  So while this photo is sharp, it could be even sharper.  Also, the light of the setting sun at first gave too much contrast to the nest.  It didn't allow the texture of the nest to be shown as fully as I wanted it to be. 
      Another on-going consideration is the movement of air -- which usually becomes increasingly still at dusk.  This is what it did so this time.  I never would have gotten what clarity I did had the wind continued while the light faded.  The balance of light and movement is becomes the challenge.
       As I said last week, I was truly fascinated by these textures and the hard work it took to make them.  
      Finally the light was right, and then it was gone. Next I had to bring myself back to the practical because I needed to finish my walk before the path got totally dark.
       What I haven't done yet is to return to this spot another evening, probably with the tripod, and see what I could do.  The situation is sure to be different, and I would be writing differently about the experience.  I plan to do this, of course, and I will hope it provides something of interest to share on this blog.

       Writing these two accounts causes me to perceive a parallel.  I know that what happens resulting from the tragedy in Connecticut could be important.  I know it is possible to see the time is right for changing the course of how things are, especially if President Obama stays true to his intent.  We need to work with this reality before the possibility for change is gone.  We can't continue simply to hope the light shining now on us to honor these and so many other lives slaughtered won't be lost in darkness.  
      I ask myself again, how can we each be present in the places where we find ourselves. I also ask how can we work together and not feel alone in working for change.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

catching up with the present, after three weeks of reminiscing

post #115
     Three weeks is a long time without showing any current work. Therefore, for today, here is a random collection of recent photos, each with its own story. 

A wasp nest, hanging above it all, looking lovely and being amazing.  The layering fascinates me as does all that evidence of teamwork.  I was enjoying the evening light on the hilltop where the cemetery is.

Another moon view, and I got the craters in focus again.  This time I set it through branches.  

Ground pine reminds me of growing up in Connecticut.  There is little else in the woods now as green  and prolific.  I had to find a patch without a lot of sun on it, so I took advantage of the shade of a tree trunk.  I made this photo with my iPhone while on a walk in our woods.

A photographer friend in Lexington, Betty Hall, loaned me a card rack to use at the Appalachian Arts and Crafts Fair a week ago.  I discovered she had been cultivating SNAKE GOURDS over the summer, and they are now hanging and drying, getting ready to be objets d'art!  She grows native plants, and she blogs about butterflies and nature on Betty's Backyard Blog.  Bravo, Betty, and thanks!

                      My husband took this photo of me at the Fair, with his iPad.  Betty's rack is visible at the back of the booth, on the left.   The day was hard work, but it sure is fun to see so many people and hear reactions to my work.  Thank you, Sandy and Jean, for staying a while to help out in the middle of the day!
       Here are two last images, made on a recent windy day (duh!) at Jean's house.  I have been known to call such a photo Jean's jeans, but this day I ended up first standing at one end of the line of clothes, and then I stood looking from the opposite direction.  It was pretty clear which way the wind was blowing, so to speak, but I was mainly trying to keep my shadow out of the image.

I favor this view, and the echo of Jean's line with the edge of the field behind.  I will be making one of my photo note cards from this one and giving it the title uplifting.

      Thanks so much for visiting -- Ann 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

photos of Indonesia, part 3, with guest photographers

post #114
     I am happy to be able to share some photos of Indonesia by my neighbor, Chris Garris, who visited there in August, 2011.  He is an excellent photographer!  Chris currently lives and teaches in Saudi Arabia  -- and travels when he can.  Since the images my husband and I took there were made over 40 years ago, I thought it would be fun to see some current views of the place.  However, I will start with two photos taken by Carolyn during her recent visit to Indonesia -- last month! (see post #113)  Thanks, Chris and Carolyn, for letting me use your work.

    First, last month's view, at Borobudur.  Carolyn didn't take the first photo -- she is in it -- but it shows the sarongs that everyone is required to wear while visiting Borobudur.  Carolyn says there are now two luxury hotels nearby!  (As for us, back in the dark ages, we arrived there after riding a crowded bus to Mundelan.   "and then [from Frank, in our journal] hitched a ride the last 9 km with a Chinese and his kids from Suribaya.  We walked all over the edifice.  I was glad to have read bits from Claire Holt's Art in Indonesia [while we stayed earlier with friends of friends.]  Beautiful views from all sides of mountains and plains, planting goes all the way up to the nearby mountains.")

Borobudur, in 2012, now refurbished from when we were there in 1971
Thank you, Carolyn! It seems none of the rest of us had managed to catch this important view!

Borobudur, by Chris, in 2011, a view of the stupas that are part of Buddhist shrines, without any tourists in the view.

Chris says these fellows were very curious about strangers and tagged along for hours.

Indonesia has many variations of curious souls.  I really like this excellent photo Chris made, with its green shadings throughout the image.  I believe this is a long-tailed macaque?

By Chris: rice paddies.  In Bali?

Chris calls this photo Ancient Serenity.  I think it's a great title for this fine photo.

      It is also possible to see many, many images of Borobudur on GOOGLE IMAGES.  Very interesting to see them all.  However, I prefer showing photos made when I know the story that goes with them.  I may be adding a couple of photos to this post -- I asked Chris at the last minute if he had one or two favorites he wanted to share, and I hope he is willing to do so.  .... And now (Monday) Chris has sent two favorite photos -- thanks so much!

Raise Your Flag, by Chris, who adds "it turned out better than I could have hoped - I was snapping these kids candidly and somewhat slyly, because they were being a little sheepish. It was sunrise looking over Mt. Merapi at Borobudur."

Again, in Chris's words: "Nothing Left For Us Here is one of my favorites - perhaps from any location.  I'm a big fan of human and animal silhouettes, as well as dramatic shadows...they all came together in that shot, I think."
I am adding this second version that I tried to lighten, because on my laptop the first version is too dark.  On my desktop it looks just fine.  But it is not my photo, so this is an experiment which Chris and I will communicate about from opposite sides if the world! I suspect he doesn't mind the darker look, more like it was at the time he was seeing it, and the image looks fine on his computer.
        Please remember that if you click on any photo, they all become viewable in a larger size, at the bottom of the screen, waiting for another click.  Did you know that life is just a click away??   Go for it!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

more from Indonesia, mostly Borobudur

post #113

      Indonesia again, with its kids in central Java eager to check us out.   I believe these folks all appeared while we were waiting for a train!  They didn't ask for anything in return.  There weren't all that many of us Americans off the beaten track back then.
     However, as promised, this post is mostly about the Buddhist temple of Borobudur, in central Java.  After looking up the place on Wikipedia, I learned that major renovations have occurred  since our visit there 40 years ago.  These few images may seem like ancient history!   Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, is now also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and evidently the most visited location in Indonesia.  We, however, had the place pretty much to ourselves.

It seems we didn't take a slide of the front of the temple, so this is as much in situ as I can provide.

It would be so interesting to return for another look!

We liked how the building was so in harmony with the mountains.

For those who expressed curiosity about the journal and the notebook, when I mentioned them last week, here they are, together, loyal companions. 
A favorite photo from our whole trip, taken while visiting Prambanan

     I was thrilled to hear from my neighbor Chris last week in response to my last post.  It seems he is a remarkable photographer and was in Java last year.  I hope I can work it out to share some of his photos from Indonesia on this blog, very soon.  Maybe Carolyn or Ashley have a photo from there to share as well.  Cool!

    I want to end with an INVITATION: I will be sharing a "doublewide" next Saturday, the first of December, with Jennifer Reis at Morehead State University's annual Arts and Crafts Fair at the Laughlin Health Building Gym, from 9 to 4.  LOTS of note cards to choose from and photography banter and some matted photos and copies of Counting on the Woods.  Come see Jennifer's jewelry and her one of a kind embellished textile assemblages.  We have a great time.  Again this year I offer 10% off to any one who mentions this blog -- like Ann S. did last year -- and visit Appalachian Holiday Arts and Crafts on Facebook.
  Note: I have had expert preparation help this year from my friend Sandy, and I am grateful!

Appalachian Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair

Sunday, November 18, 2012

a detour to the other side of the world

post #112
       A friend of ours, Carolyn, has just returned from a part of the world that my husband and I visited long ago, in the early 1970s, with our backpacks and a budget of $10 a day.  We left before Christmas and returned in late June.  
      Photographically, we took slides as we went along, mailing several rolls at a time to my mother from wherever we happened to be.  We thought she could follow what we were doing, but the reality is that those little packets greeted us when we got back to the States.  Had the camera not been working, we wouldn't have known until our return!!  
      Today I am going to scan some of the slides to share with Carolyn and with Ashley, whom she visited  -- and with the 100 or so weekly visitors to this blog.  We had one camera, one lens, and two of us taking turns making photos. So, duh, the ones I took for sure are the ones with hubby in them.  We also took turns writing daily in our journal, a legal size spiral notebook that now is a treasure of specifics.  In a smaller blue notebook, we kept track of addresses, when we mailed something, and of every coin we spent.  By the way, believe me, traveling cheaply is a lot of work.  And without networking along the way and staying with friends or friends of friends, we couldn't have pulled it off. 
      It was a most memorable trip, one I am so grateful to have made. A lifetime of stories. Once we started, I realized that I had always really just wanted to see what was on the other side of the world.   
       OK, today, therefore, is the Indonesia segment of the adventure. We arrived there in late January.  (We headed west most of the time.)  This is embarrassing to admit, even now, but one reason I wanted to go there was because I didn't really know where Indonesia was located!  Yet it was the fifth most populous nation in the world!  (It's now the fourth.)  How American ignorant is that!  It is such a beautiful place, very different from anywhere I had ever been before.  (Of all the countries we visited, we had always thought we would like to return to Indonesia, Japan and Afghanistan.  It hasn't happened -- yet.)

friends of a friend: Our letter to Winnie and Dick about our arrival was never delivered, so we showed up in their village unannounced!  They were wonderfully welcoming.  Notice the ducks in the canal behind them.  They had come from Boston so Dick could carry out a Harvard research project about rice growing in very rural central Java. 

ducks in another canal, started in the days when the Dutch were in charge

ducks in the fields, central Java, eating the fallen grains
taking some of the crop home at the end of the day

harvest time, with the kids fascinated by us strangers
riding in a cart, for half an hour, headed to an uncertain address

then traveling by train in central Java

      It takes a while to clean up these slides for viewing, so I will show the other half next week.  These include our visit to Borobudur, and more kids -- who seemed to show up where ever we went.  (These slides are somewhat worn, from being shown in my husband's classrooms for many years.)
      I know that since we were there forty years ago many things will have changed, but perhaps these images from back then will be of interest to those who live there or visit there now.  The people we met were unfailingly kind as well as curious and helpful.