September 26, 2010

A Uniform Understanding

It's that time of year again. The freedom and serendipity of summer fades into routines, formations and new modes of communication. Groups form, huddle and focus on means of accomplishing common goals. Each individual brings their own unique set of gifts to the playing field and offers them into the overall strategy.

Football is the incarnation of autumn. Teamwork takes on new meaning as we gather our resources for the coming season. Training and dedication are tested. Results are measured.

So far it's paying off. At this point in the season my favorite team is 4 and 0.

Go Team!

August 26, 2010

Baci di Dama at Piccolo Paradiso

These little Italian cookies from Caffé Piccolo Paradiso are delightfully photogenic. When I stop by for a Shot in the Dark or a Latte and a small plate of cookies I almost always end up taking pictures of them. I adore their petite shapes, their warm color and the elements of their texture, the way the light falls on them through the window as I sit in one of the front bays looking out onto the sidewalk.

Luckily they are marvelously rich and tasty too with just the right accent of chocolate. There are usually three varieties. At least one of them is called Baci di Dama, the one with the chocolate filling.

While enjoying cookies and coffee it is a treat to look around the small café at what has changed since my last visit; what new painting is on the wall, what new accessories accent the warm Italian décor.

Piccolo Paradiso is still one of my favorite area coffee shops. A stop by is the perfect practical antidote to the dreary weather that is so common to the Pacific Northwest. Stop by and see if you don’t agree.

June 19, 2010

Gallery Window

This window belonged to a gallery the last time I was in Paducah's Lowertown Arts District. I'll be in Paducah again soon. The soul has grown a little dusty and I am hoping for a bright shower while I am there.

March 12, 2010

In a Nutshell - Incense Cedar Pods

Sometimes I just can't decide.

Late last summer I sat on the deck in the corner of my backyard and examineed the interesting pods that rained down on it from our Incense Cedar tree. I had never seen pod shaped cones like those before. I liked the way they fanned and separated as they began to open and release their seeds.

Enjoying the sunshine on the deck I arranged them with other bits and pieces I found nearby, a small half shell from the bark around the deck, the husk of a pink peppercorn from my lunch, and began to take pictures.

So many turned out well. Finally I chose some favorites and made some adjustments. I tried a number of different filters and liked the results. I just can't decide which I like the best.

Can you?

March 1, 2010

Tiny Mushroom

Searching for treasures one afternoon I came across this tiny mushroom among the brown needles, twigs and leaves gathered beneath a tall old tree. In the midst of the debris it stood, blending yet standing proud, alone, apart.

I tried to capture the surprise, the sense that it was a rather unique and exquisite piece of my afternoon's small adventure.

In this treatment of the image the mushroom rises prominently in the foreground. A small dry leaf arches above its form and tiny twigs stretch well above its slight canopy. In the background the color and brightness of spring is evident but softly blurred deferring to the clarity of the dry brown details that welcomed this small wonder into being.

A simple filter and a little extra saturation gave the image a soft polish and a modest intensity to reflect the gentle care with which I hope to add it to my collection of simple treasures.

January 19, 2010

Searching for the Sun

One of the most wonderful things about pixography is that you can travel with a small camera, capture images almost anywhere, then later, in the digital darkroom, transform those images into something that reflects what you saw in the moment.

Take this flower for example. It is a beauty. I found it in a cafe in Victoria, BC where I had stopped in with my family for a late breakfast. A beautiful day was unfolding when we followed our direction to The Heron Rock Bistro. At our booth in a dark corner in the back, nestled in a small glass vase, was this single flower.

After we ordered I passed the time making plans for the day and snapping images of this bold blossom resting casually in the simple vase. The table was slate gray, the wall was gray and a downlight shone brightly on the luscious curve of the flower's petals. I captured it from different angles as we waited.

Later, when I downloaded the images, this one stood out. There were shadows that offered depth and dimension and the contrast lent itself to mystery in the leaves arching upward in the background. The curve of the stem and the distortion of the clear glass of the vase subtly ground the flower and add personality.

I emphasized these features by boosting the contrast and saturation. The simple lines benefit from contouring and the texture of the flower itself, the center eye and outstretched petals, are amplified by an artistic filter. The result is a gorgeous portrait of a single blossom open, outstretched and searching for the sun.

January 15, 2010

Snow Lights

Original photo by GF

I am often amazed by the way low light shots can be transformed in the digital darkroom. This image was captured one evening last December when that lingering snowfall was still new and exciting. Teenagers gathered in front of our house bright with energy and excitement over this rare addition to our winter landscape.

Streetlights provided some illumination but the original photo was still dark and somewhat blurred. After straightening and cropping the image I boosted the exposure and saturation to define the featured elements. Finally, contouring the scene gave it a certain universal quality that conveys the crisp atmosphere and joyous energy of the evening without dwelling on the precision of the image or the individual personalities involved. The result is a festive celebration of light shining in the darkness.

January 11, 2010

Night Sky

Original photo by JE

Tempestuous clouds stretch and sweep above the sleepy streets of my home town.

Though the colorful beacons that light our world shine boldly throwing sparks into the majesty of night, their brash splendor cannot rival the subtle shades and intricate turning of this turbulent skyscape. Indigo, lapis and cerulean are marbled around one milky thread of denim blue as the clouds arch and roil, far exceeding and indifferent to the display below.

Contoured and defined the edges of these colors speak eloquently of nature's creative hand. Thunderous, yet playful, they strike my imagination like flint and spark my own creative fires.