Thursday, December 30, 2010

On comments to the blog....

...and a year's end wrap-up.

Yeah, I know I wrote that the previous entry would be the last of the year, but I received a comment made about a print I did on New Year's day 2010, and figured it was perfect for N.Y. Eve, a year later.
Oh, and also some interesting & timely ('year's end') 'whatever catches my eye' file things:

December 27, 2010, 6:00 pm
Here Are the Snows of Yesteryear
By David Dunlap
Kodachrome: The Legendary Film's Last Days
The World's First Consumer Color Film was Used in 100s of Iconic Shots; After Dec. 30, It Won't Be Sold or Processed Anywhere
By Jim Axelrod Dec. 26, 2010


Op-Ed Columnist - NY Times
Thinking of Aretha - Published: December 24, 2010 - By Bob Herbert
"Nineteen sixty-seven was a tough year in many respects — riots, protests, an unwinnable war — but I can’t think of it without thinking of the glory of Aretha Franklin, a woman in her mid-20s, introverted and somewhat shy, who sang soul and rock ’n’ roll with the power and beauty of a heavenly choir....
So a toast or a prayer for Aretha this holiday season would be terrific — just a moment of appreciation and a wish that she continue recovering nicely."
2010: The Year in Pictures
Bearing Witness
Published: December 23, 2010
by Michael Kamber
TWENTY-FIVE years ago, Joao Silva was a troubled high school dropout on the streets of Johannesburg. His future looked bleak until the day a friend took him along on a photo shoot. Joao fell in love with the camera.
The NY Times: The 10th annual year in ideas:
For the 10th consecutive December, the magazine has chosen to look back on the past year through a distinctive prism: ideas.
Our digest of short entries refracts the light beam of human inspiration, breaking it up into its constituent colors — innovations and insights from a spectrum of fields, including economics, biology, engineering, medicine, literature, sports, music and, of course, raw-meat clothing. Happy thinking!

Personally, I really like that they do this splash page w/ typography! Well done!!! Herb Lubalin is happy!!!
What? You don't know who Herb Lubalin was??? Well, it's damn well time you found out!

RIP, Richard Holbrooke, a giant among men, who took on challenges that would make most others cringe... and run.
"Holbrooke devoted his life to public service, a notion that is now derided in many quarters. Some say his death marks the end of a Kennedy-­inspired generation — and an America — that believed it could be a virtuous force in the world. I fervently disagree.
All of us have the chance to follow his example."

The photo shows a guy who is not looking at the camera, and probably not interested in his picture.
He is looking off, somewhere else, perhaps to the next big problem to solve...?
We need more people who think like he did, and 'march into the fire', and do some good things.
"All of us have a chance to follow his example" in some small way....?, by doing what we do best, to the max.
Let those be words to live by.
Yosemite National Park, in winter's grip
No voices, no crowds. Just Times photographer Mark Boster, a few fearless wild animals and a host of winter-in-Yosemite memories.
The skies behind majestic Half Dome in Yosemite National Park take an eerie glow as the sun sets on another beautiful winter's day. (Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times),0,3041116.story

Framework - Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia
My New Year’s photography resolutions
Posted By: Robert Lachman - Posted On: 12:15 a.m. | December 27, 2010

And yes, the weather is treating California bad these days, but the storms do have their good moments. Above, the Golden Gate bridge
last Sunday the 26th. Yep, there's a pot of gold in the bay, not far from the north end of the bridge.
In 50 degree water, with treacherous tidal flows. Guess it'll have to stay there, untouched...

On to the comments:
I've gotten a few that are interesting, among the many Viagra URL's, and breast enlargement possibilities... these spammers spare NO one, do they? I mean spamming comments on a blog?? Please, get outta here!
From a few months ago:
'Anonymous' has left a new comment on your post:
In my "Shadows - Darkroom Print" posted 2/28-ish I included a quote you should commit to memory:
"Failure is an option, fear is not..." James Cameron

The comment: "In it something is. Thanks for an explanation. All ingenious is simple."

Yes, all 'ingenious' is many times simple (maybe it just looks simple?)... but it takes a lot of work to get there - a bit of a paradox isn't it?

"E=mc squared" is pretty simple, and explains a lot...but getting to that statement, you've got to be (an) Einstein = ingenious!

I have a saying I made up just for myself, many years ago, before photoshop, to get a handle on 'special effects', it goes like this...
"There are no rabbits! (that can be pulled out of a hat)" = it's a matter of using the available tools, VERY smartly... and..uh..ingeniously.
That's how special effects were done before computers.

I guess now that there's photoshop, you don't have to plan that way, you can 'fix it all later'... an attitude I hate.
It breeds 'sloppy'! of which I have seen a lot in recent years.
Anyway, thanks for the comment, and... take James Cameron's advice.

On 12/23 - 'Anonymous' has left a new comment on your post "A surreal hourglass" - Posted 5/2/2010.

I ended the post by wondering out loud about what the image meant:

"What does it all mean?
Well... uh.... I'll give it a try -
'Time flows forward, a torrent that knows no end, and has had no beginning - but our experience of it, is a drop, a second, at a time'.
That works for me, how about you?"

The comment I got:
"Hey great post. Thought I'm not sure I agree with you 100%. Keep em coming. Are you interested in having anyone guest post opposing views?"

I got no problem w/ publishing comments of any kind or opposing points of view, giving them their own post no less, as long as they are on topic, and polite/intelligent.
Whatever it was in the post that 'anonymous' didn't agree with? ( what this image might 'mean'?)...Sure, bring it on!

And finally:

'Anonymous' has left a new comment on the post "Darkroom - a 'silver lining' in a cloud":

"Hi there, Thanks for sharing the link - but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?

Dear John (what a great way to start any letter/note!),
I don't know what you're talking about - there's only one link in this post, to a page in my website, and it works just fine.
For any future comments? Please read the instructions in the right hand column, about how I much prefer comments be sent to me directly, at my email, and about not being anonymous, After all, if you are 'anonymous' I can't reply ( other than doing a post like this) can I? And I'm only gonna do a few (and far between) like these....

Need a bit of music?...(Don't we all!)

Hendrix - The wind cries mary

Warren Zevon - back in the high life again

Steve winwood:

Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

'Private' - darkroom montage

First, from the 'whatever catches my eye' file...

Eye of the storm: The jaw-dropping image of an enormous 'supercell' cloud
Nat'l Geo photo contest

An incredible sky!!! ( it's the last one, # 13 of 13 )

(all rights reserved to the photographer, I am sure!)

use the 'back' arrows on this page to view all the winners - a great collection!

Read more:

The "Burritozilla" - A Monster 5-pound Burrito!!!
I like burritos, for sure - it's a meal (or two) all wrapped up in one package...but this one is awesome!
Spindly Species

Wed Nov 24, 6:07 am ET
PARIS (AFP) – Scientists unveiled on Wednesday a gossamer, ghostly creature discovered in the deepest reaches of the ocean between Indonesia and the Philippines.
The squidworm, up to 9.4 centimetres (3.7 inches) in length, is far more elegant than its name would suggest.

Apple's Steve Wozniak:
"All of a sudden, we've lost a lot of control,"
he said. "We can't turn off our internet; we can't turn off our smartphones; we can't turn off our computers."
"You used to ask a smart person a question. Now, who do you ask? It starts with g-o, and it's not God," he quipped.


The Record Industry's Digital Storage Crisis
'The advent of digital technology was supposed to preserve content, including multitrack master recordings for songs and albums, forever. But when record labels have gone into their vaults to work with masters, they sometimes find that the recordings are just ... gone.
"That's the problem with digital," says Steve Webbon, head archivist of the Beggars Group, who faced that problem when he tried to reworkthe Cult's 1985 album Love. "When it goes, it's just blank." '
so.... has this made your mental wheels start spinning, w/ back up plans?
It should.
Rock stars: World's greatest temples in stone
Hop on a tour with some of the world's most famous "rock stars," some with legacies that span thousands to even millions of years.

Thursday, December 9, 2010
photo caption:
©Yory Frenklakh
Found in Ma'an, a governorate of Jordan, Petra was established around the 6th century BC and is famous for its rock cut architecture.
You may well be familiar with some of these, but some were surprises to me, that I wasn't aware of.
Sometimes comments sections are just a bunch of idiot wackos.. but sometimes there are very valid and intelligent remarks:
'No mention of the fact that the Taliban destroyed one of the greatest examples of large scale Buddha rock statues in the history of Afghanistan?'

'How can you forget Ayers Rock (Uluru) in Australia?'

Another commenter lamented 'what about Angkor Wat??'
Good question.

On to darkroom montage!

I've done a print previously, w/ this delapidated shack as the focus...
but there's nothing wrong w/ revisiting old images, and doing something new w/ them, is there?
Here's my photoshop sketch:

And here's a final darkroom print, one of 3:

I have really liked what happened w/ this montage for a very long time:
It's just 2 images.....blended ( if I don't say so myself!) *Purr-fectly*!
If I had wanted to 'plan' this one?... I think i would have 'thought' too much, and that might get in the way of serendipity. And 'serendipity' is a thing you should have a lot of respect for!
When it happens? get out of the way!
I took much the same approach as I did to the 'stairway' image, expose the landscape, and dodge back the center to accommodate whatever I wanted to burn in there.
I had the neg of the 'desert space' with the cones placed 'just so' - i have no idea why someone placed them there - warning anyone to 'keep out' - keep out of what, exactly? I mean... who in their right mind would wander into this space/place without being 'heads up'?? And why should these silly cones slow anyone down?
That connected w/ the sign on the shack "Private property..."
The sky in the 'cone zone' shot is dull, so I replaced it w/ a much more interesting one. And did three prints, all slightly different, all 'keepers'.
Not as surprising as the 'stairs' above, but keepers just the same.
I don't think I've ever done a piece w/ 'spot' handcoloring, but this one could use it - just a wee bit of orange on the cones :-)
As usual, If you are so inclined, proceed on to a page at my site:

That's all for this year, folks - Have a very Merry 'Christmoose'!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Monumental -photomontage

First, from the 'whatever catches my eye' file:
So we are some 15+ years into the effects of this thing called the internet/web... and where has it gotten us?
I would refer you an article in a recent Atlantic Monthly article:

"Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said (or is famously reputed to have said)
..."we may each be entitled to our own set of opinions, but we are not entitled to our own set of facts."
Yes, indeed.
But facts and opinions seem to be seriously muddled these days - it's hard to tell which is which!
Once Sarah Palin gets on the podium?.... forget about facts, this is opinion, and BS opinion at that.

Now, on to some photography

It started with the Native American ruins shot, which was a bit more underexposed than I expected, but that turned out to be fine. (I never carry or use a light meter - I did architectural photography for 10 years, I've got a pretty good eye for the exposure, and with B&W, you a good bit of flexibility. And if I screw it up? oh well, c'est la vie!)
So if all i had was the hi-lites? that's OK. I kinda like having shadows that are close to clear film base - that means I can dodge that shadow out smoothly, with very little detail, and burn in something else overlapping into the shadow and not have conflicting textures.
Soooo what could I do with the bottom of this image, below the ruins?...
Hhmmm..... I came across this very enigmatic petroglyph, found in Joshua Tree.
A lot of petroglyphs, at least you can make some sense of them, they represent something (people, animals, etc) in some relatively clear way.
These glyphs?...... are an enigma.
I think they are older than many of the others I have encountered/photographed, and less easily 'interpreted/understood'. They are just 'symbols' of some kind. What's amazing to me is that someone, a long long time ago, made some considerable effort to 'speak'... to someone, anyone, who might come across this. In hopes of...communicating....what exactly?
I 'hear him speaking'... but I guess I don't understand. That would be asking a lot.
I feel humble and stupid. I am sure someone, way back when, was trying to SAY.. something.
And these are in a most unique location - in the hollowed portion of a stone about 12 ft tall. Whenever I am in Joshua Tree, I look at the many rock formations, and ask to no one in particular - 'How does it get like to be that(what forces created this?)??'.
( If you follow the link at the end of the post to my site, there's an opportunity to see more of the glyph rock, and some 'How does it get like to be that?' views of Joshua Tree.)

Anyway, back to the image...
To just blow in the 'glyph below the ruins wasn't spooky enough for me, I had somethin' going on, though.
So I came upon a shot made at Chircahua, in SE Arizona, that added yet another spatial twist to things - the ruins are probably 30 feet wide, the glyph is about a foot wide, and the Chiracahua landscape is probably, oh, several hundred yards wide.
This played with the sense of size and space very nicely, that is to say, you look at it, and can't resolve the sizing!
Is the glyph that huge?... Where the hell am I?? what kind of place is this??

The sky above the building ruins was pretty unremarkable... so time to blow in something better, more interesting.
I have loads of nice B&W skies... :-)
So, four negatives got into the act on this one.
There are 3 slightly varying prints (it was the sky (last exposure) that was the variation), and as usual,
larger images, and more darkroom info is at a page at my site:

Have a good Thanksgiving holiday, if you are in the US - may your turkey stuffing be at least half as good as my mom's was!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stormy Skies, California style

Winter has arrived!... And I've got the skies to prove it!
But first, from the whatever catches my eye file....
The Medium - NY Times
Published: October 29, 2010
Funeral for a Friend
Mourning the analog (old fashioned!) phone call

12 Bizarre Sea Creatures
Remarkable Creatures - Translating the Stories of Life Forms Etched in Stone
PUZZLE- Many of the creatures found in the fossil record from the time immediately preceding the Cambrian are so unlike modern forms that deciphering what they are and how they lived continues to challenge paleontologists.
Published: July 26, 2010
Deep Sea Treasures: Amazing Pictures from the Census for Marine Life

This is where all the news sites are gathering their info, Check out the real deal:

Deep-sea images reveal colorful life off Indonesia


The Scales Fall
Is there any hope for our overfished oceans?
by Elizabeth Kolbert

This reviews and expands upon several recent books about the topic:

OK, now on to skies, and a bit of photography. Winter has arrived in Northern California....
No doubt about it when the sky looks like this!:

For more:
I have accentuated all of these a bit in Photoshop, with 'levels' adjustments, but that's all - I could no more create these knarly, angry, twisted cloud-scapes than I could fly to the moon!
'Mother nature' is a bitch sometimes... but she's always creative about it - it's never the same sky twice.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


October 3 - Took a day trip to the Marin Headlands, not only in hopes of 'fog' (and the many curious things it can do) but also just to get out of my apt., and away from this blasted computer screen. I don't do it often enough. My hunch, for some good fog, paid off. It was well worth the 12$ bus fare!
Fog is definitely a very curious and inscrutable thing, here's a start, if you want to learn more...

The thesaurus that comes w/ my Mac OSX defines 'fog' as:
"A thick cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth's surface that obscures or restricts visibility"
"an opaque mass of something in the atmosphere"
It continues, to cover the more figurative uses of the word:
Phrases - 'in a fog' - in a state of perplexity, unable to think clearly or understand anything.
That kind of fog is well beyond anything I can comment on! - if you are experiencing it? you need to consult someone much more professional than me, a photographer!
How 'bout ''... or if there is such a thing: ''.

(Of course they would have to mention photographic fog, but we won't have any of that will we??
I sure hope not!)

"Fog can form suddenly, and can dissipate just as rapidly, depending what side of the dew point the temperature is on. This phenomenon is known as flash fog."
It's no surprise to me that a number of the photos on this wiki page are of San Francisco, or California.
I have seen fog form in less than a minute - you can go from miles of visibility.. to zero... and vice versa, in no time flat. (And if you ever have to drive in CA's central valley when there is tule fog? Can you please drive at less than 80 mph??)

So I did little google searchin'....

And that's just an edited selection from the first 4 pages.. after which *I* was feeling a bit foggy.
So here's a bit of my 'foggy day' in small size.

For larger images, and a bit more commentary, as usual, a page on my website:
'Heads up' if you are on a slow connection - It's a long page of full size images.

Other/Older fog pages:

A few days ago I noticed an article in the LA Times - the linked image to the article was a *sweet* picture of Yosemite valley... with some fog drifting through:

Yosemite: My special place, a photographer's journal
By Mark Boster Los Angeles Times staff photographer
October 17, 2010,0,7226286.story

And there's this one, just recently, probably more important than ALL the above:

Last but not least, a musical suggestion (or three) :-)

Jethro Tull - 'Nothing's easy' - 1969
Nothing's easy in 2010 either...
The more things change? the more they stay the same!
Thank you, Ian Anderson!
'Come rain or come shine'
Ray Charles :
Billie Holiday:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

View from a desert shadow

First from the 'whatever catches my eye file':
A whole lot, this time round.
Still playing with toy cameras

Posted By: Bryan Chan
Posted On: 11:05 a.m. | September 23, 2010

If this catches your attention, a place to shop these cameras is:

'Lee Friedlander - America by Car'

If you don't know of Friedlander's work, it's about time you did.

While we're on the topic of photographic road trips, this one is very nicely done:

Now Showing | The Graceful Dead
By Andrew Belonsky
September 9, 2010, 6:35 pm

“People dealt with death differently in the 19th century,” says Eva Ulz, the curator of “Memento Mori: The Birth and Resurrection of Postmortem Photography” at the Merchants House Museum. “People looked forward to a reunion in heaven. Creating portraits was considered a precursor to that heavenly reunion. They shouldn’t be thought of as creepy.”

On to some 'darkroom'!!!

The second print from my most recent darkroom session was this one - 'View from a shadow'.
I'm not happy with the title, but haven't been able to come up with anything better...yet.
Got any suggestions?
The key neg. ( the view from a shadow, under a huge rock, looking out over the desert) was made in Joshua Tree. What a great place, I never get tired of it. Someday maybe I'll bump into the ghost of John Keys (one of the first guys to try and stake a claim here), or Gram Parsons.
(If you don't know who Gram Parsons was, google the name. You've probably been listening to his musical influence for many, many years.
Here's a stunning, chilling track, especially considering Gram's unfortunate demise:

If you walk out to the 'Wall St. Mill'?.. will definitely feel like a ghost could appear at any time!
Or maybe a mountain lion. I'd much rather see a ghost!
If you'd like to see the Wall Street Mill images larger, and more of Joshua Tree:

The starting point for this print? - I (re)discovered a 'sketch' I had made quite some time ago.

When I searched my contact sheets, I couldn't find the interior shot at the right. No way, no how. Best conclusion I could come to was that it was definitely something I swiped from elsewhere to do this sketch, as some sort of placeholder, 'remember this thought'.
When I sifted thru my contacts sheets, this one got the thumbs up:

It's is a shot of the captain's dining room on the 'Balclutha' ship harbored at the Hyde St. Pier/Maritime Museum in SF. Perhaps it came bubbling to the surface, so to speak, 'cause I made the trip into SF recently, to take this in again, after many years. A very interesting place.
If you are wondering something like 'this is a bit underexposed, isn't it? there's very little shadow detail!'... well, yes, you're right, and it IS intentional. All I wanted was the sky light, and if the shadow detail 'dies', fine.
I shoot for hi-lites, and let shadows fade into clear film base for a good reason - it makes it a lot easier to blend into another image if there is little shadow detail - there won't be conflicting things going on in the shadows.

Lots of interesting things happen in shadows (or darkness!), don't they?
(I don't care, nor should anyone else, what you do in the dark(ness) - hopefully that is protected by the constitution: "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness', whatever version of it you make up!)

I saw the bottom rt. corner as being a vortex of sorts, and worked with that. So I sandwiched the neg of the dining room skylight... w/ a sky.
Since this was the second print of the day, and the first one worked out so well, I felt obliged to... 'just fucking wing it'. Glad I did. So I did a couple of prints like the one above
..and for the third one? I added 'something else'....
As usual, click on the link to see much larger images, a bit more talk, and the visual conclusion - the print with 'something else'.
Need a musical interlude?
Check out this guitar playing,Totally awesome:
Next entry?.... Hey! some marin headlands fog, shot last weekend!

Monday, September 6, 2010

I've had a number of comments submitted, over the course of this blog.
I am not real good at dealing w/ all the "in's and out's of the 'blogsphere", or 'moderating' these comments in any way.
Perhaps showing up to say "thanks!" for the comments, will suffice? I hope so.
I will continue to attempt to write something intelligent, come hell or high water.
I do this in large part, because of the excellent teachers I had many years ago, at Northern Virginia Community College. They 'passed it on' and i would be relinquent not to do the same. Joyce Tennyson, Anne Salley, Bob Capps, Frank DiPerna, Tom Devlin and Michael Platt?? I love all of you, I hope i am 'continuing on' as you would wish. I've always loved the 'path' you set me on, no regrets, ever!
Thank you!!!

Darkroom - 'Edge of town 2'

But first, from the 'whatever catches my eye' file, this one:

It's 18 minutes long, worth every second of it. Most of you reading this are in the developed '1st world countries' - we have no idea what goes on elsewhere, but we should. This kinda makes me feel guilty, that all i can do is make pictures.
Watch it! every 18 minutes worth!!!

Tens of millions of 'missing' girls
September 5, 2010 10:28 a.m. EDT

Editor's note: TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to "Ideas worth spreading," which it makes available through talks posted on its website. Author Sheryl WuDunn spoke at the TED Global conference in July in Oxford, England.
(CNN) -- Discrimination against women and girls takes a staggering toll around the world, says author Sheryl WuDunn. It leads to as many as 100 million fewer females than males in the world.
Ending the oppression of women is the great moral challenge of the 21st Century, a cause she compares to fighting slavery in the 19th century and totalitarianism in the 20th Century.
I don't think I should have to mention the recent Time magazine cover image, of the afghan girl w/ no nose, cut off by Taliban lunatics, but I will anyway.
A very excellent decision, to publish this. If it makes you gasp...?! ...maybe it will also make you think, and feel, a few things you didn't before?
GOOD!!! That was the point, wasn't it?
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Time magazine editorial/photo editing staff!!
Do this more often! You have the 'bully pulpit' - use it, to good ends!!!
Now for a bit of hopefully interesting, but i must admit, compared to the above, rather inconsequential images.
I don't get into the darkroom nearly as much as I did 10 or 15 years ago.
Goddamned computer is why, I guess.
And when I do, sometimes I am 'on'... and sometimes not. Getting a bit rusty, but when everything goes right, it's marvelous, this was one of those good days.
I started by working on an image that came from a neg. taken right after the key neg. in 'Edge of town'.
Here's one of the photoshop sketches that got it started, below.

It is an abandoned building facade, and in contrast to the 'edge of town' neg, it was dead on, no angling off to one side. This imposes some limitations, in that whatever it blends into must also seem similarly 'dead on', or at least I have to deal with this, somehow. I found an image taken in Joshua Tree that fit the bill, and once I did a photoshop sketch of the two together, I noticed something happening - a big shadow in the JT rocks, kind of like an ear. It seemed like something had to be going into, or coming out of this dark shadow ear. Wherever you go in the desert, no matter how remote it seems, there's always a crow.

Aha!.......So i found some birds ( actually they were gulls shot at Ocean Beach in SF, but in silhouette, who can tell the difference?)... and that's what i wanted to have coming out of the 'dark shadow ear'.
10 or 15 years ago, Ilford made an RC version of it's matte surface B&W paper, which I liked alot. The matte surface was excellent for handcoloring, and being RC, I could dry a test strip out in a few minutes, tape it to the easel in register, and build a really good 'preview' of how things were coming together. This paper is history, can't do that anymore, so now I go w/ Ilfords Matte surface Fiber paper (which doesn't dry so fast, can't dry it out, tape it down in register, like the RC paper.)....I think making the prints on fiber is the way to go, and because I love that matte surface - it scans well, and I can hand-color it if I want to.
(I have found that photo paper w/ any surface texture is a bad choice for scanning - that surface texture (pearl, luster, whatever it's called) shows up in the scan, and is impossible to get rid of. but mybe that's just because of the scanners I have at my disposal.)

And I have devised a different mode of working - I make more prints than I did before, so I can develop one or two that are 'unfinished' (but many times quite useable), to see how the image is shaping up. You can see the progression (much larger) at the usual 'at my site' link, below.

A few words about my various dodging tools, if you haven't clicked on the link in the right hand column to my 'darkroom methods' pages. Many years ago I devised a 'below the lense' filter and dodging tray... 'contraption'.
I simply add a strip or piece ( or multiple pieces, as the case may be) of black construction paper, positioned as I wish/need into the 'tray'.
Very improvised and "Rube Goldberg'-ish, but it definitely gets the job done. I can accomplish some simple dodging, and still have two hands free to do more dodging or burning.
I also set my exposure meter to 2 or 3 second intervals, and decide on a total length, and also on number of exposures for dodging/burning.
That way I can keep track of them easier, and can also switch tools when necessary.
For instance... 4 'hits'( I am 'hitting' the button, so that's what I call them.. as opposed to other kind of 'hits' ;-) ) of full exposure, plus 3 more hits dodging out this, plus 3 more hits burning in get the idea, break things down into manageable chunks.)
Here's the tools:

Pretty simple, hunh? The dotted line is where i fold this over, so it becomes the simple/'straight edge' tool.
Bill Gates? Adobe? Steve Jobs? Don't even think about stealing these radical and cutting edge tools/ideas! I have lawyers that will make pit bulls look like pussycats! Patents are pending, I've already shopped Caribbean islands for sale, mine will be next to Johnny Depp's!! ;-)

Back to the print.......

Once I was happy w/ the way the building and the rocks were coming togther (50/50 combination of a straight right to left dodge, and a curved/oval dodge tool) I added the birds. I suppose one would think I would make a hardline/litho neg to burn these avian rascsals in. I'm too lazy for that, it's excess/one time use toxic chemistry, which the planet doesn't want, ...and besides it's not necessary. I use the tried and true 'black card w/ a circular hole' and burn in what I want, and I use the 'below the lense' tray to blend out any hard edges. If I expose some background, the exposure is so fast and soft it just doesn't show up much, there's no 'hard edge', things just blend together.
Are you familiar w/ the term 'reciprocity failure'? It explains some things that happen w/ film, when light levels are really low, and your light meter is basically 'lying to you' (the reciprocal relationship between shutter speed and f-stop breaks down) and you need to expose longer to compensate for the much lower light level.
Same thing works in the B&W darkroom, for the exposure of the birds.
The very slight and very short exposure of the background tone just barely shows up. The birds, a bit darker, definitely do... which is what i wanted.
No mask necessary.

So here's the progression, Prints 1 - 4, much larger:

Next time round? the second part of this darkroom session, a mysterious place in the desert, the view from a hiding place, a shadow........

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Somewhere.. in the middle of nowhere..."

This is a diversion of sorts - some thoughts and links accumulated over the past few months.
Darkroom photo enthusiasts, I haven't lost my mind, next couple of posts will *definitely* be darkroom montage!
There's some digital images here, if you follow this all on, to my webpage.

Has this miserable economy affected you? I guess not many people reading this would say 'YES!'.
It hasn't affected me as much as many, but the drop-off in a second passive/inheritance income has reduced my travel budget to Zero! Nada! Zilch!!
So I relive my last trip, to Nevada in late 2008 by looking over, yet again, the digital/color captures frame by frame, all 600+ of them.
("Yum, yum - & don't bogart that joint, puh-leeze!")
Late one night, after looking over a lot of these, & after a few drinks, and a couple of bowls, I used a few Kb's of memory to record these thoughts.
You can 'like ' 'em... or hate them...' but at least, I suggest you think about them -
how many mystics and religious savants have found wisdom or enlightenment of some sort in the desert?

Somewhere.. in the middle of nowhere, in the desert...there is something incredible to be found.
it's called 'yourself'. Just you, and nothing but you.
But the hard part is... you've got to drop 'everything else you think you know' to get there.
NO cell phone, blackberry, none of that crapola. Get out of the car, walk a mile into the landscape.

I like....
the silence, except for an occasional crow.
...the enigmatic qualities of the land - it is very dry now, but if you think about it, and look at it hard, this land has been formed by water (rain), over the passage of probably hundreds of thousands of years.
The land is soooo raw and rough, yet there are many plants and animals that happily call it home.

That's why I like the desert. It has no mercy, cuts you no slack.
Even if you are a casual observer/traveler.. it's hard to miss.
It's severity is stunning. You either 'get it' or you don't.
The people who lived here a thousand years ago...?
They apparently didn't think it was too severe - they survived just fine.
Could you?... or me?... I highly doubt it.
Most of us pass thru in gas-guzzling oil powered vehicles, oblivious to anything but...
our personal comfort, and maybe the next exit, restaurant and motel.
I must admit, that describes me much of the time, but at least I can realize what I am missing/forgoing,
by making the choices I do.
I don't expect to get any medals or gold stars on my forehead for realizing this.
I am more than a bit of a wimp, compared to people who lived here long ago.

Yeah, all 'wild & crazy thoughts', from a rather civilized suburban guy.
...."A rather civilized suburban guy" who will keep going back, to lose and regain his sanity in this crazy-ass world.

A few more images from a Nevada trip in late 2008:

If you want to read about someone who is much sturdier than I am?
(That would be a certain writer, Craig Childs)

'House of rain'

'Secret knowledge of water'

No matter how much of the desert just northeast of LA has been consumed by development, it's pace has been greatly slowed not only by economic implosion, but by the reality of the places we attempt to civilize. - they are just too raw for modern living.

California City’s “second community” has miles and miles of mostly unpaved streets -- a ghostly monument to overreach. In the background are a park and country club.
(Photo credit:Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times / August 3, 2010)

A desert city that didn't fan out
Nathan Mendelsohn, a professor turned developer, believed California City would become the state's next metropolis. Instead it's a sleepy outpost that exists largely in the imagination.
The rest of Mendelsohn's eccentric dream unfurls to the east, some 185 square miles of mostly unpaved streets — a ghostly monument to overreach that, from above, looks like a geoglyph left by space aliens. Only Los Angeles and San Diego leave a bigger footprint in the state.

"Nature wants to take it back," said James Hanson, a California City public works employee.
Yeah, nature definitely wants it back, I suspect nature will eventually win.,0,2325763.story

I've driven through here, once many years ago - it looked exactly like the outskirts of Phoenix, or Las Vegas. Big plans... come to nothing.

How little we know or understand., especially about people who lived here only a few thousand years ago. They seemed to have do just fine, and had the time to make some 'art' - that's what we call it, I think they would call it 'worship'.
I have found this to be the most interesting petroglyph I have stumbled upon.
The human figure seems to be related to the cracks in the rock.... or maybe not?
If you think petroglyphs are an enigma, geoglyphs are even more so.

This is the story that kicked this particular entry off, it's months old, but the header in this blog reads "no attempt to keep up w/ the frenetic pace of many blogs " - this is a leisurely and I hope well thought-out series of posts.
Plane crashes near Peru geoglyphs
February 25, 2010 4:30 p.m. EST

"There are more than 1,500 geoglyphs extending over 190 square miles, according to the National Geographic Society. They were constructed by the Nazca culture about 2,000 years ago.

Though they're virtually indecipherable from the ground, from the air they are clearly visible as a monkey, a killer whale, a hummingbird, a condor, a pelican among flowers, trees and geometric shapes.

The Nazca Lines are believed to have had ritual astronomical functions, according to UNESCO, which designated them a World Heritage site in 1994."

Ancient, Giant Images Found Carved Into Peru Desert
Gonzalo Castillero
October 8, 2002

Ridgecrest/China Lake, CA -
"......there may be as many as 100,000 images carved into the dark volcanic canyons above the China Lake basin, some as old as 12,000 to 16,000 years.."

Canyon of ancient ones:

YouTube does a really good job of offering similar content to your choice, it shows up in the column on the right.
Here's one:

Zuni Sunrise - Newspaper Rock Canyonlands National Park Utah

Ancient Aliens and UFO's - Ancient Cave Paintings

No, I don't beleive much in aliens, or 2012 prophecies, but it's amusing train of thought. Who knows?... maybe, just maybe.....

The Prophecy of Native American Elders
2012 Prophecy

Sunday, July 25, 2010

From the 'whatever catches me eye' file, I see the news about the gulf oil spill, who could possibly miss it? It will haunt us for decades, I suspect.
Let's try and look on the bright side, marvel at what still exists.... ( in keeping with the blog title 'the beach blog'....)

Deep-sea discoveries off Canada's coast
By Derrick Ho, Special to CNN
July 22, 2010 8:34 a.m. EDT
Using high-tech robotic cameras, a team of scientists is getting a rare first glimpse of marine life in the North Atlantic that could shed light on the ocean's ecosystem and climate to as far back as 1,000 years.

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australian scientists have discovered bizarre prehistoric sea life hundreds of kilometres below the Great Barrier Reef, in an unprecedented mission to document species under threat from ocean warming.
More images:

Say What?! Whales Shout over Noise Pollution
Just like a New Yorker shouting to be heard in a crowded deli, whales must shout to be heard in ever noisier ocean waters, a new study suggests.

Wed Jul 7, 4:10 pm ET

Coral find in sanctuaries proves hotbed of life
David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thirty-five miles west of the Point Reyes Lighthouse, and 10,000 feet beneath the ocean surface, scientists steering a robot submersible have found beds of cold-water corals that provide a unique habitat for countless sea creatures, from brittle stars to octopus and rockfish.

Tuna’s End

A few other things worth noting:
America's Strangest Roadside Attractions
These odd and quirky attractions lure in motorists to out-of-the sights.

As for things digital???........
The Web Means the End of Forgetting
Published: July 19, 2010
'The problem she faced is.......... how best to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing — where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever. With Web sites like LOL Facebook Moments, which collects and shares embarrassing personal revelations from Facebook users, ill-advised photos and online chatter are coming back to haunt people months or years after the fact.'
Digital Tools for Making Brilliant Mistakes
Published: July 19, 2010 - The New York Times
Progress toward perfection has genuine skeptics, who insist on sticking with marginalized tools. The newer thing may seem less flawed or simply easier, such traditionalists insist, but it sacrifices warmth, soul, depth, personality, chance and the human touch.

On to some photography!

A Cryptic Signpost

This is one of those 'don't know where it came from, why I did it, don't have a clue what it means' images.
But I did it anyway. In fact that's the very best reason to definitely do a print.

I love the signpost, at the left, directing one towards...'who the f*** knows where', since the letters are rather illegible, and it points to...nothing? - maybe that's what I liked about it. I found the collection of stuff at the right along a road somewhere in the desert, at an 'L' turn in an otherwise straight as an arrow road.
On one side was the (aptly named) "No Gotta Ranch", on the other side, a place that shoulda been named "No Gotta Ranch #2", but wasn't named or described at all, no 'shingle' hung.
And probably not interested in visitors - that's why people move here.
What there was on display were racks of various old collected things, lanterns, mining equipment, bottles, etc... and also, in a corral by the roadside a couple of friendly donkeys (or burros? I don't know the difference ) ...who heard me stop, and came to the gate to say 'hello'.
I returned the hello (all equines have the most marvelously velvety soft noses(snouts?!), don't they?
& shot a frame of the 'collectibles'.
With a name like 'no gotta ranch' I figured the owners were not much for strangers pointing cameras in their direction, so I worked fast, and moved on.
For whatever reason, this image made sense, to be somewhere in the distance.
The print is, as always, technically easy at first glance, but the subtleties of how things get burned and dodged is where it either succeeds or fails.
There were 3 final prints, all interesting in their own ways, the differences were subtle, to be sure.

This is one those images that whispered 'hand-color me'.
Why do some images 'ask' to be hand-colored, and some not?
Maybe the B&W image is still a bit too ambiguous?... not that I have a problem with that, but perhaps viewers may.
One thing I have learned from years of working w/ images and seeing how people react to them, and what they buy, is that too many people want something that isn't too challenging, and looks good over the couch. No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public, did they?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Have a 'bang-up' July 4th!!

First, From the 'whatever catches my eye' file:

I know we all hear all kinds of negative things about the US Military, it's pretty easy to throw that stone.
They don't always do things right.
(Is anyone reading this perfect?? Helloooo!!! I highly doubt it.)
BUT!... they are capable of great good, when they put their minds to it, and I think they are definitely trying as best they can.
The circumstances they have to work with? ..would leave about all of us reading this as definitely helpless and useless.

When Afghans Seek Medical Aid, Tough Choice for U.S.

'Stung by a venomous snake in a primitive and isolated corner of a war, helped by a persistent father and a chain of people who heard him, Sadiq had reversed Afghanistan’s cruelest math.'
If this is what my tax dollars contribute to??? I contribute, MOST happily!!


Op-Ed Contributor/ NY Times
America’s General, Afghanistan’s Friend
Published: June 25, 2010
Kabul, Afghanistan

"..I never had the opportunity to say goodbye to General McChrystal. I hope he will return when there is peace in Afghanistan, because he will be the father of that peace."
If you haven't read the profile in Rolling Stone magazine, you should


Guards Of The Revolution - Iran
16 minutes - check it out.
If you have any interest in what is going on there, CHECK IT OUT!


As technology advances, deep reading suffers
Nicholas Carr
Sunday, June 20, 2010


Report: Toxins found in whales bode ill for humans
By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer - 6/24/2010
AGADIR, Morocco – Sperm whales feeding even in the most remote reaches of Earth's oceans have built up stunningly high levels of toxic and heavy metals, according to American scientists who say the findings spell danger not only for marine life but for the millions of humans who depend on seafood.


As technology advances, deep reading suffers Nicholas Carr Sunday, June 20, 2010

I haven't touched on any digital images in a while, have I?
Well, with July 4th drawing near, I remembered an image I did a few years ago for a friend who was having his 60th Birthday, and I made him an explosive card for the event.
(The image was 'explosive', not the card.)
It started w/ a big firecracker my boss gave me - Why? I don't know. In late May, the California fire season starts, and setting of fireworks is pretty much a big no-no. By July 4, it's an even bigger NO-NO!
I could however scan the sucker, for later use.
The scan, I can use. The firecracker? Probably not, ever.
So I came up with this image.
You can download a small Photoshop file to see how it works,
and you can download a larger image file, if you'd like to do anything with it, help yourself.
It's at:

A while ago, I promised a second scanograph... which died along w/ several hard drives a few months back.
I ended up finding it on a back-up disc, so here it is.
I can't offer a layered Photoshop file, only a 'before'(the scanograph) and the end product/image.

This one is made much like the previous one - a scan of a bunch of stuff...
I then added to it, w/ digital images.
No big secrets, other than working at it, and adding more things to the image, a layer at a time.
In the darkroom, it's 'shit or go blind' time, the developer only lasts so long, I've got a few hours or so from the time I start a print until I have to finish it. And once I've made exposures on the paper, there's no 'command undo'. Working without a net, so to speak, like live performance musical improvisation.
Digital is the exact opposite, you can hold anything in suspension indefinitely.
The basic scanograph is years old, probably done a rainy/foggy Saturday or Sunday.
Didn't know what to do with it, or the other 4 or 5 scans I did that day.
Then there was another 'rainy/foggy Saturday or Sunday'... and I returned to the image.
I constantly collect sky images, both on film and digital... I added the skies (actually one sky, copied and stretched in several ways) on layers above the scanograph, and erased carefully to reveal what was below. At that point, I didn't know what else to do, and so hit command+save, and parked it.
Months later, I took a day trip to Marin Headlands, and shot many frames of waves crashing on the beach, it was a particularly 'high surf' day, which took many captures of, so I added one of those frames to the bottom.
As usual, a page at my website:

Related blog entry: March 14, 2010

Next time round?... probably some darkroom, maybe with some hand-coloring, too.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Departure?.. A Mysterious Cruise...?

But first, from the whatever catches my eye file:

The Shallows: What The Internet is Doing to Our Brains
A book by Nicholas Carr
"Carr grabs our lapels to insist that the so-called information society might be more accurately described as the interruption society. It pulverizes attention, the scarcest of all resources, and stuffs the mind with trivia."
I noted the initial article Mr. Carr wrote in The Atlantic magazine some two years ago, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” in this blog. Glad to hear he has expanded on the topic, it's well worth our attention.
Check it out!

No, Seriously, Why is the Sky Blue?

Weird Clouds Look Even Better From Space

Historic Polaroid collection going to NYC auction
By ULA ILNYTZKY, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, June 12, 2010

This photo provided by Sotheby's shows Ansel Adams' "Canyon de Chelle National Monument, Arizona, 1942." The image is among 1,000 Polaroid and gelatin silver prints by some of the biggest names in 20th-century photography being offered at Sotheby's on June 21-22 as part of a bankruptcy court-approved sale.The largest number of works were taken by Adams, about 400 Polaroid and non-Polaroid images.

Wouldn't it be nice to review this collection before it gets sold?? WOW!
I've been close to where Ansel A. took the photo above,
and I've gotta tell ya: the trail down from the rim to White House ruins is totally treacherous.

On to photography...

Not sure what to title this image. Is it a departure?... a mysterious cruise?
or just a long walk off a short pier?

This the second print of the day 4/17/10. Initially, it didn't work out so well, and made me aware that maybe doing a photoshop sketch that looked OK wasn't always a ticket to final darkroom print that worked well. It made me 'rest on my laurels' which is never a good idea.
C'est la vie! - sometimes it's good to get a 'check-up from the neck, up' by whatever means it is accomplished.
This image (above, at left) definitely went thru some development changes, way more than I usually go through, before I finally was happy with it.
The dock was shot somewhere along the Salton Sea, in So. Cal., the ship was shot in SF Bay, during a 'fleet week' thing...and the clouds ( behind the ship masts) come from Nevada, Xmas 2008 trip.

I thought it would come together much better than it did. Perhaps it was late in the day, and I was fading.
The ship is too clear and detailed, I wanted it to be 'fuzzier', in some way, and to 'sit' on the shoreline, so that the shoreline and ship became one.
And the sky I burned in, in the middle from the left edge was kind of a desperation move - a 'the day is ending, I am fading' thing.
It definitely deserved a second pass, or more work of some kind - I'm always up for a mysterious cruise(=trip) of some kind :-) aren't you?
Instead of immediately printing it again in the darkroom, I tried a different approach, for a change - what happens if I scan the print as is, and scan some additional negatives, and make a hybrid 'darkroom & digital' image?
I discovered a neg that added some interesting things to the horizon - taken at Ocean Beach, SF, and I added that digitally (above, at right), but ya know what?....... it just didn't have that... 'magic' that I look for, where the sum is more than the addition of the parts.
Sooo I went back to the darkroom, and printed it again. After I exposed the dock/shoreline at the bottom and the ship, i questioned the sky I had used before. There must be something better....
And I found it.

And it was much more compatible/contributory to the concept that was already brewing, that of a 'departure gate for a mysterious cruise'.
And that was the print I can call 'final'.
As usual, for more, a page on website w/ larger images.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Ready or Not"

#1 of 2 images I worked on, during one day, 4/17/10.
But first....!
A lot of things in the 'whatever catches my eye' file this time:
Travel - N.Y.Times:
Rugged Country, Rugged History in California’s Owens Valley
I haven't been to the places mentioned above, though I have driven through Owens Valley:
(the top 4 images in the white background)

Signs of Neanderthals Mating With Humans:
Neanderthals mated with some modern humans after all and left their imprint in the human genome, a team of biologists has reported in the first detailed analysis of the Neanderthal genetic sequence.

My questions are:
What does Hugh Hefner think about this?? ;-)
...and... is this why some days I 'just feel a little bit mean'?

The SFMOMA Museum panel asks, 'Is photography over?'
The link in this article to the SFMOMA material does not work - this/below, does.

"But when virtually every antique process — daguerreotype, tintype, and cyanotype; albumen, salt, platinum-palladium, and wet-plate collodion printing — has been revived over the past few decades, there's no reason to think gelatin silver will disappear totally anytime soon. There's never been just one kind of photography, and now there are many."
Yep, definitely.

I've always been a typophile (is that a word? I hope so - it's just 'someone who appreciates typography, big-time'.)
And this/below is good news:

Why Arizona Drew a Line
I totally agree w/ the AZ law!

Now, on to photography!

This one started w/ the collection of stuff at the bottom. It was shot in the Marin Headlands a decade or so ago, as some kind of display, lying on the ground, of what soldiers packed when they went off to war duty (I think that's what is was, anyway). Some gloves, some matches, some soap, a clean pair of socks, a straight razor.
Compared to what troops pack now in Iraq, these guys were definitely ill-equipped, to say the least.
What I connected/juxtaposed this with was a 'landscape' of some kind, whatever sort of place someone might pack this stuff for the trip. I got quite a few of those, from many places in the desert. 'A nice thought'...but they were all pretty sunny and bright landscapes... and I'm no where near ready to pour out some dektol into a tray yet.
This definitely needs 'something else'. And it would/should..not be sunny and bright.
It needed to be something exactly opposite of that.
...back to sifting thru contact sheets...until...! :-) ....
I find a shot taken in Nevada, a year or so ago - a VERY cold and severe mountainous landscape - the Pentax shutter froze up pretty quickly, but I got off a few frames.
(I love this camera, the 55mm lense is sooo sharp, you can slice slice salami with it. ;-) )
The juxtaposition of the two was great - 'hot and cold'... but not 'there' for a print yet, it still needed something else.

I came upon a neg shot years ago at Rhyolite, a ghost town of sorts at the NE end of Death Valley. It's the shadow of myself cast upon a ruined building's basement.
This managed to do an excellent negative/positive thing, between top and bottom.
NOW I am getting somewhere :-)
And that's how I printed it.
A larger view, with the negatives contributing ( 'partners in crime', aren't they? ;-) ):

As for the 'title' inspiration?

Michael Hedges - 'Ready or not' - studio version

or a live version:

"As the whole world turns us around
I keep hearing life's echo sound
songs of rhyming, meeting, hiding
somehow... ready or not!"

RIP Michael - you have many imitators... but no equals.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A surreal hourglass

This was the first montage print of 2010, a nice way to start the year :-)
What's above is my photoshop 'sketch' of the image, not the final print.

I had spent a number of days ruminating over many photoshop sketches of potential ideas during the week before New Year's.
I also read this NYTimes article...

Time, The Infinite Storyteller
Published: December 31, 2009

...and for whatever weird reason, I woke up New year's day thinking "I gotta print this one - & this is the perfect day to print it, too."
I wake up w/ 'strange thoughts' in my head - don't you sometimes, maybe from a dream?
( 4.5 years ago I landed in a hospital w/ burst appendix/peritonitis... which got me 9 days in a hospital hooked up to god-knows-what - a drip feed of morphine, some saline/sucrose? definitely loads of antibiotics!... also a catheter and diaper (how humbling!)..& there were many side effects from all this, that none of my doc's can explain.... including *remembering my dreams*!!, which never EVER happened to me before.
Nice side effect :-) ... i have been enjoying it ever since, however scary it can be sometimes.)

This one started w/ an hourglass, of sorts, built on Ocean Beach in SF, which I shot in silhouette, no detail in shadows.
(Ocean Beach is the kind of place where most anyone can show up, and do (or build, however temporarily) whatever they want, very few rules, very little law enforcement. Nice place to be for a while, hunh? :-) )

Something needs to flow down from the top, right?
I chose a waterfall I shot somewhere in the Santa Cruz area mountains, years ago. The light was pretty dim, this is surrounded by huge redwoods, so the exposure is a second, or maybe more.
What happens at the bottom? The rushing water of the waterfall?...goes to... what? about that it yields only a few drops, that create the ripples of water at the bottom?
(The ripples were shot at a Pt. Reyes tide pool, tide-water stranded in a shallow depression.
I threw a rock into the pool, and shot the ripples, did it a few times....
I am glad there's no one around to see me doing this crazy shit, they would definitely think I was wacko.)

There needed to be something more going on in the middle, between the waterfall and the ripples, something..uh.. 'transformative'? in some way?..
So I made a 'sandwich' of some really abstract lens-flare things shot thru a cross star filter,...and a sky, and that's what I burned into the middle.
What does it all mean?
Well... uh.... I'll give it a try -
'Time flows forward, a torrent that knows no end, and has had no beginning - but our experience of it, is a drop, a second, at a time'.

That works for me, how about you?

The final print at:

Next entry, more darkroom :-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Digital Decay, Pt 2

I have this joke ( well, sort of a joke, anyway...) about getting so frustrated and fed up with everything digital & modern that I decide to bail out completely, and call..oooh...Air Ecuador, or some other airline that can take me to South America or Asia, and ask
"Helloo, can I get a ticket on the next flight *OUT!* (to some place far, far away)?"
...And the next thing I am heard to say (after the ticket rep asks 'will that be round trip, sir?')
... is "no, one-way will be just fine!"

(("There must be some way outta here, said the joker to the thief,
There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief..."
Bob Dylan, 'All Along the Watchtower', best performed IMHO by Jimi Hendrix.))

Well, that's what I felt like a week or so ago.
Both of the hard drives in my Mac G4 seemed to be dying, and that would mean I have lost a shitload of work, and image files.
I had too many thoughts, all at once, including the mention of 'digital decay' in my last post.
(No sooner than I mention it, than it happens to me! Is there something ironic or karmically symmetrical about this?)

And whenever I have these kinds of thoughts, I look over my shoulder to my closet, where I have ALL the film I have shot in the last 18 years, and a whole lot of stuff from even further back than that, dragged from the east coast, 18 years ago.
No 'decay' there, at all. Not a bit. Film *lasts*, unless you get burned down, or flooded.
(Since I am on the 4th floor, flooding is pretty much out of the question.
Fire? my apt bldg. has sprinklers everywhere, and the suitcase the film is in is a very old and tough one.)

But, hey folks, the sad reality is that digital decay (or loss) can happen anytime - it's all just 1's and 0's, and if the smallest something gets corrupted, guess what?'re fucked! (and not in way you would find enjoyable, at all).
Soooo.. that next scanograph I was gonna talk about? "RIP" it's in the ether somewhere, it's gone.
Maybe I'll find it sometime...but most probably not.

The lesson?...pretty obvious,
"a word to the wise is sufficient" -
I've certainly learned my lesson.
Don't wait 'til you have to learn this the hard way!

Let's catch up on whatever crazy/interesting has happened in the world lately....
(and then a word about the next darkroom post)

For Photographers, the Image of a Shrinking Path
“There are very few professional photographers who, right now, are not hurting,”
said Holly Stuart Hughes, editor of the magazine Photo District News.
Boy, ain't that the truth!
In my professional lifetime (starting in 1976 as an ass't art director/paste-up guy at an ad agency in Baltimore Md... 'til now, having grown thru art directing, architectural photography - 10 years, 1982-1992 - and freelance photo-illustration, '86-'98...and a few other things along the way)... this business has changed so much, it's unrecognizable.
It's still about images, but EVERYthing else about it has changed.
As far as I am concerned?..NOT for the better.
A 'shrinking path' indeed.
But not to get too depressed, we just gotta change, as best we can.
Nothing will be as nice as shoots in a photog's studio were in the late '70's/early 80's -
Good times, & many times, good smoke, too!... AND! we got the job done! :-)
April 6, 2010, 6:15 pm
Olivia Judson on the influence of science and biology on modern life.
"Yet although trees are familiar to all of us, many aspects of their biology remain enigmatic: because they grow slowly and live for so long, they’ve been hard for us to study in the laboratory. Which is why they are my nomination for Life-form of the Month: April."
Olivia writes 'deep and long' - a very good blog.
April 6, 2010, 8:14 pm
Remembering Namir Noor-Eldeen
"Namir Noor-Eldeen stood out among a gifted group of young Iraqi photojournalists who emerged from the war. His well-composed photographs showed his natural sense of color, and his gift for capturing the dramatic moment.His death, in 2007, is now at the center of a public controversy over whether the American helicopter pilots who shot him acted properly — or callously."
'The fog of war' indeed.
"Donkey Cart explodes at police post, kills 3 children"
What could possibly be stupider than this???
If Islam is a religion of peace and moderation, you moderate intelligent non-violent Muslims better show up, make your voices heard, and deal with these (emotionally and intellectually) 'petulant children', who can't stand that the rest of the world doesn't agree with them.
In America, we can 'agree to disagree', without (for the most part) taking up arms, and killing each other.
It's called 'democracy' - it ain't perfect (what is?)... but it's a whole lot better than blowing up donkeys, and school children!!
Madman, Perhaps; Survivor, Definitely
Dennis Hopper
Sounds like Dennis is not long for this world? - his spirit would/will surely be missed.

Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In Again
By John Tierney
Published: April 11, 2010

Well, it sure did take ya a while didn't?
Like we didn't already know this in about... 1969? Helloooo!?
Native peoples have been using what we now call 'drugs' as medicine for a very long time.
Cannabis, peyote, mushrooms, opium, coca leaves, you name it, they used it.
It's only us modern (neurotic? confused?) people who have a problem.
I live in California, and I'm definitely voting for legalization in November.
I used psychedelics in the late 60's/early '70's, and never jumped off a building.
I did do a lot of rather weird artwork, though... and my mind was definitely changed, forever.
Time to legalize (and tax) all of it - if you can't handle it? Hopefully the taxes can pay for some of your recovery...
but frankly, I think that if you have a 'drug problem', it's not really a 'drug' problem - it's a personal problem of some sort.

Last but not least, the LATimes travel section seems to keep expanding it's 'western road trips' section.
Last time I checked, the headline was '100 road trips...' - now it's 161?!
61 more ways to get oh-so-pleasantly-'lost'!. :-)

161 road trips in the West,0,7620686.htmlstory

Next entry, I'll get back to the heart of the matter, some darkroom montage, something I printed on New year's Day, 2010.
An hourglass... of sorts.

If you'd like to see what else is in store for Darkroom 2010:

Last but not least, a musical interlude:
'A song for life' - Eric Johnson
He plays this on a steel string guitar, however it sounds so much like it could be played on an acoustic/nylon stringed/classic guitar.
Beautiful stuff. I think Segovia would be happy...

...and another one, Eric Johnson @ House Of Blues 11

EJ is one marvelous guitar player - he has technical chops... but he also has *soul*! (more than enough to go around!),
and if you have the first one, but not the second?, I am not sure you have that much to crow about.
"I'll be back" ;-) in a few weeks.....