Saturday, August 13, 2011


Here's the Photoshop sketch of the darkroom print for this post:

But first, the 'whatever catches my eye' file......

Gray Matter - When Data Disappears
By KARI KRAUS - NY Times - Published: August 6, 2011
"...for all its many promises, digital storage is perishable, perhaps even more so than paper. Disks corrode, bits “rot” and hardware becomes obsolete."


Yosemite: The nature of danger
"Nature has a power and thus an unpredictable danger all its own; that is its very attraction.",0,7603422.story

I have done a lot of wandering in places out west where it is easy to get lost, easy to encounter circumstances that are less than 'safe'(whatever that is). When I first moved here in '92 I did things that now seem downright stupid.
Now?... my rule of thumb is: if the worst that can happen, happens, can you survive that?/are you ready for the consequences?
If your answer is 'No!' then that's the answer to 'going there, trying that', whatever it might be.
As an example, try Joshua Tree Nat'l Park, an awesome place, but with all those similar piles of eroded rocks, a very easy place to get lost just a mile or less from the parking lot. I am VERY careful - no picture is worth getting in any serious trouble for, ya know?
Photographers Capture Mysterious, Beautiful Patterns in Sand - July 25, 2011 - 7:00 am - By Danielle Venton
A nice gallery indeed. I have done many, many images using all the marvelous things sand can do!

Grains of Sand Reveal Possible Fifth State of Matter if the states of matter we already have to deal w/ aren't enuf!
How the drugs of the 60s changed art
By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN - July 15, 2011 10:33 p.m. EDT

"The words "psychedelic" and "art" likely conjure images of acid rock posters, fluorescent mushrooms and tie-dyed ... stuff."
But New York Times art critic Ken Johnson wants to expand your mind. "Psychedelic culture had a really central impact on art beginning in the '60s and really changed the direction of art." I agree.. and i was there.. and i actually remember a good part of it!

On to the darkroom!

I have quite a number of shots of 'holes thru rocks' (with some sky beyond) taken both at the ocean/beach or the desert, and have been struggling to do something with them for years.

They are a great visual opportunity, I shoot them for hi-lites, and let the dark areas die into black, so I can burn back into some of the fading black, and blow in something 'surprising'... but so far I have had limited success figuring out what that was.

Finally, a blast of inspiration came my way (at least on this one) - the hand w/ the candle, and some petroglyphs from Joshua Tree. I think it's the quality of light that makes this hang together - the candle illuminates this 'cave' of sorts. Below, the photoshop sketch:

The rocks at the top were sandwiched w/ the hand & candle, as one exposure, the 'glyphs @ bottom, the second exposure.
Print #1 was a total winner!!

.... and i still had two more partially exposed sheets to work with. When that happens, i feel free to really wing it on whatever sheets are left. My attempt to use some different 'glyphs on #2 really sucked, i missed by a mile and then some.... but #3?
Hey, i was happy to see i can learn from mistakes, and quickly, too! This one worked well... but i was left with some doubt - everything is tweaked w/ photoshop these days - these glyphs are little dark and low contrast - should i give these glyphs a bit of a 'boost'?

Why not, I could just as easily give them a boost by handcoloring... so WTF, a levels layer in P'shop, 'painted in' carefully to boost just the glyphs ain't much different.

Once again, an old adage becomes true - I collect negatives that i think have a purpose, though i don't know what that is when i trip the shutter. Many times it takes years before i find a place for a negative.
The hole thru the rock was shot in 2008, the first glyph was shot in 1996, and the second one in... 2008.
The hand and candle?... i don't remember, i think it was '93 or '94, at night in my apt. after I'd shot something else for an assignment illustration, & had a few frames left on a roll.
Took a while to get around to using that one, hunh?
If that's what it takes?... then that's what it takes. I am patient.

And music has taught me some lessons, at least that done by the most talented:

"Learn to be still" - Eagles:

There's times when it pays to shut yer mouth, turn off the internal chatter in your head, and be 'open'.
That's what I do, let my raw thoughts (negatives) speak to me.

Was it Rumi who wrote "only an empty vessel can be refilled"?

Yeah, that's it. I think...

This one definitely is Rumi:

“Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation.”

So if you are asking 'what does this image mean, if images can 'mean' anything?'...
Hhmmm... my best guess is:

First of all the title points in the right direction - 'Illumination'.

If your viewpoint is inside a cave of sorts, and the only daylight that gets in is scant illumination, you may not see much. If you bring some additional light (man-made, hand-held)... you may 'see' much more.
So there's two kinds of 'illumination' - what happens every day when the sun comes up...
and what happens when we add our own 'illumination'........
Chew on that one for a bit....

As usual, for larger images, etc... a page on my site:

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