Sunday, February 26, 2017

fog and fun and Chelsea Clinton

post #325
      I've had a busy week photographically - our photo class assignment was to present contact sheets for 80 photos and then decide on 6 of them to work on before making fine prints this coming week on the Epson 4800 printer which the University uses as a work horse.  With luck, the new version of this printer will be available before the end of the semester.  I do believe I will have even more trepidation using newer than I already have for tried and true. That's my problem, though, nobody else's.  The theme for these photos is supposed to have something to do with a personal connection to land in some way  -- so of course I headed down to our beloved waterfalls since they are an emotional siren for many of us. Here are two photos from Wednesday late afternoon and Thursday; R. helped by carrying my tripod down for me. She then returned a couple of hours later to bring it back out. Sweet! T. loves her book about seeds.

Good help is priceless.

Lucky for me, the sky was cloudy (no glare) and actual water was coming over the highest of the falls!

I'm using the tripod here. That big waterfall looms to my right.

A second "project" this week was the discovery of early morning fog when I woke up. Such a fleeting moment is always a way to get a literal jump start on the day! There were those magical glistening spider webs everywhere (see one place with them 7 photos from now.)

The barn is in each of the next three photos.

 from the front of my gallery/house:

my driveway looking its best

          I will be showing more photos from the waterfalls next week, after I have lived with them for a bit and perhaps tried some tweaks on them for the class. I want to mention some other work I did, some on Friday and more yesterday, gathering photos for the second book that George Ella Lyon and I have had on the back burner for a couple of years.  George Ella is making a presentation today at an elementary school neear Cincinnati, and she'll be showing the PowerPoint that she assembled for "Apple Orchard, Bluebird, Creek". Shw wrote it and I have provided most of the photos. After hearing about the responses from the kids, I'll share more.
        Lately I have been quiet on the blog about the strange, challenging behaviors coming out of the White House and Congress this month, but that doesn't mean anything is getting better. I hate to hear all that nonesense about the press being an enemy when the constitution defends the need for open, reliable, and accessible information as a protection from secrecy and corruption. It's called Democracy. Get over it, tweeter. If truth is to be told, it will have to be by the press, since there are as many lies as ever coming out of the White Lies House.  History tells us sowing lies is a classic strategy for causing confusion, establishing unrest and then seeking control.  I'm proud that so many people who understand this are speaking up. Maybe soon some real Republicans in leadership positions will find their hidden backbones and do the same instead of being bamboozled by someone who doesn't dare to show his tax returns or speak with civility to his fellow Americans in all their variations.
       Anyway today I wanted to celebrate The Curious Mind that is not afraid of new ideas. I happened to read today's New York Times Book Review interview with Chelsea Clinton. I was amazed and heartened by the tone of her words as well as by the range of her reading -- with two small children around! (I know, she has household help.) So here is the link to that article even though I know most viewers may be understandably too busy to read it.  

        Now here are the last three photos for today:
headed to the pond

passing some fog draped webs en route to the pond

returning to the waterfall area for some fun and some boots in the creek
My thanks for visiting, listening, watching, and wondering with me what life is all about.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

words and wishes

post #324
       First, a photo of our biggest snow....some cold times but no real snow times here in Eastern Kentucky, and only one snow day for the schools. (I meant to post this last week.)

         The main item to share this week is news from a college roommate/close friend who lives in Massachusetts and who has been part of a women's choral group for years. I then share some fairly recent photos of mine which speak to me in connection to the song:

          ....In chorus, we are now preparing for our annual contest in May... which is a bit stressful, although I really love the experience.  We did have a special performance for the other choruses in our region a few weeks ago that I'd thought I'd share. We were asked to be part of the Saturday night show.  Normally, we would sing a standard set of our acapella music ... but this year the director wanted to make a statement about the chaos and negativity that is so much a part of the news and everything going on. We taught the audience (about 500) Dona Nobis Pacem (which most of them actually knew, but they were delighted to sing it together with us ... with renewed feeling), and followed it by "Light One Candle" by Peter Yarrow.  We turned out the lights in the auditorium on this one and started with one voice and one candle, then two more, then 4 more (this is where I joined), then chunks of the chorus, each with a candle (all battery operated not real, but they looked real).  In the last chorus of the song, about 20 or so chorus members came down off the risers with their candles and handed them to members of the audience. I couldn't believe the responses from the listeners -- the tears -- the notes -- and the personal comments. Probably one of the most satisfying things we've done. 

Wow, thanks, Beth, for sharing this story about the power of art. I know you rarely ever write, so receiving your email [recently] was already a treat. Then I loved imagining your choral experience. Despite my being a Peter, Paul and Mary fan, I have to confess that I not really familiar with the song you sang, with candles, so I am including the lyrics next on today's post. I would have been a puddle if I'd had the opportunity to be in your audience that day. Even watching this YouTube (despite the opening ad) did me in.

Light one candle for the Maccabee children
With thanks their light didn't die;
Light one candle for the pain they endured
When their right to exist was denied;
Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice
Justice and freedom demand;
And light one candle for the wisdom to know
That the peacemaker's time is at hand!

Don't let the light go out,
It's lasted for so many years!
Don't let the light go out!
Let it shine through our love and our tears!

Light one candle for the strength that we need
To never become our own foe;
Light one candle for those who are suff'ring
A pain they learned so long ago;
Light one candle for all we believe in,
That anger not tear us apart;
And light one candle to bind us together
With peace as the song in our heart!


What is the memory that's valued so highly
That we keep it alive in that flame?
What's the commitment to those who have died?
We cry out "they've not died in vain,"
We have come this far, always believing
That justice will somehow prevail;
This is the burden, This is the promise,
This is why we will not fail!


Don't let the light go out!
Don't let the light go out!
Don't let the light go out! 

cardinal flower, at the pond, a favorite photo of mine

Mother Jones, who fought tirelessly for the West Virginia coal miners

singing a beloved song from the sixties with other Appalachian Volunteers at a recent gathering

Not one of my photos, but I feel it directly expresses why we do speak out for freedom and justice

and for community where each person can find support.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Class Photos - as in "homework"

post #323
        I have survived another week of my university photography class. I even printed out those 3 contact sheets we learned how to do --- 60 photos in all. It's not as if there's anything like a whole biology book to learn, but taking a photo all the way to the printer kind of requires a committment to do regular work or else start from scratch every time. Luckily I am enjoying the experience very much, including confusing everyone with my lack of expertise when I actually have a reputation in town for being a good photographer. 

       My plan today is to highlight several of the photos I took during this initial process, and comment on each one for what I learned by taking it. All along on this blog I have shared my imperfect attempts along with my successes. I'm very comfortable with that. How else do we get better over time? I always appreciate the comments about what my viewers appreciate or what they don't understand. Thanks!

Thank goodness for my tripod -- using all manual controls is not my strongpoint! This photo is also evidence that I was the one doing the work....

One of FIVE photos in the dark: I have a security light at the moment, so I incorporated it into my night images.

This is my favorite photo from the project, taken through both a window AND heavy rain. Nothing like having an empty horse barn on my property just waiting to be photogenic.

The next morning, after some frustration with doing everything manually and arbitrarily (which is necessary to trying new things) I decided to go to the pond and shoot there, where I am used to being. I still did it manually and with a tripod, but it calmed me to be outside in early morning light, which has always worked for me.

This was just for fun. Or was it expressing my not always knowing which way to go or how to get there.....

To show: a pair of images. The first one is a reflection in the pond, while the following photo is the shed the roof is actually on.

A rebel moment -- after a visit to the art building to print out my completed contact print pages. I passed through a big construction project on campus, and I set my camera on automatic for shutter speed and F-stop, though the focusing remained manual. So easy!  I like to joke that I am at heart a street photographer, but I don't live anywhere near a street, especially when I am in the woods!
Behind me was the area where the building will rise. The MSU library is in the background. Notice: no snow!

It's appropriate, perhaps, to end with a snapshot.  This is my granddaughter, who's discussing with me the photos on my contact sheet that I would be taking to my class after her dad came to pick her up. I loved working with her nearby. We shared the sun coming into the room, and her imagination led her to one thing after another while I dealt with some mundane prep items. I don't get to have her there all that often, so it was a very special time.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

discovering the worth of my own point and shoot camera

post #322
          I'm a student this semester in the beginning digital photography class at nearby Morehead State University. At last I am learning some of the basics and what they really mean. In my public personna as a recognized photographer, I'm often embarrassed by how hard it has been so far for me to explain how I do anything and why. I am now hopeful that the discomfort of feeling like a beginner will go away by the end of the semester. By then I might even learn to be a better photographer. 
         Here are two images that are part of my home work -- five of this same picture but at different f stops, then five with different "film" speeds (ISO) and so forth. Doing everything manually is excellent training that I have put off for years, and so I endure the slowness of it all as best I can.
one of five versions of this view, each one with a different F-stop

"Put the important object at the edge of the photo."

       Our homework is to present 55 of these prescribed photos by Tuesday evening, ready to put in a contact sheet, 20 to a page. I didn't even know colored photos could be printed out as a contact sheet. (I admit this as evidence that I have known too little for too long.)

         I have also taken up learning how my Canon PowerShot S110 works since it is so much easier to travel with than my regular camera.  Eureka! I finally used it in a happy way during the Denver trip. Today I'm sharing some of the photos from when I was there. They are similar to the iPhone images that I posted last week, yet they are better. Also, once I learn fully how to use the camera, I will even be able to mess with focus and depth of field and all that. I actually like that stuff, but it doesn't come naturally for me. I too often rely on having a good eye. I'm more often the dork instead of the qeek where my tools of the trade are concerned.

        So here are additional snow photos plus four grandchildren photos from the birthday gathering. Several readers let me know they really appreciated the happy faces. One of those readers was my roommate from freshman year at college -- who has been in the hospital. Thanks, Meg! So glad you are home now! Good riddance to that pesky appendix!
        While I am at it, I would like to say hello to whomever it is in Ukraine who has looked at my blog regularly for a couple of years. All I see is that at least 1 person looks from there every week, and sometimes others do as well. I'm not able to learn exactly where anyone lives -- just the country. I imagine you have more snow than these photos show from western Colorado. Here in Kentucky we've so far had hardly any snow at all.
upstairs window view, tracks on the far mountainside

living room window view of the same mountain

a sweet small tree, from above

Will's mom made "Panera" mac and cheese, per request!

Both kids enjoyed the "dart board" present, with magnets.

Audrey in the sunshine -- she turned 8 a month ago.