Thursday, June 2, 2016

The 'whatever catches my eye' file got really fat in the last month...

So that's going to be the bulk of this post.

But to make sure I keep photography the #1 priority, here are the three indispensable tools i have for doing darkroom photomontage, i made them over 30 years ago:

Click on the image, hold/drag/and drop this one onto your desktop, print it out.
(It will open up to be larger than what you see here) You'll be glad you did :-)

On another note, I do a lot of hand coloring on my montage prints, here's a recent example of a B+W:


Been on a bit of a hand coloring binge lately, doing some watercolors first, then some oils.
Even taking a few into photoshop and seeing what i can do digitally vs. by hand/cotton balls, q-tips.
Here's what i've done with watercolors (for the details in the flames) then scan and add color to the top - blue gradient, yellow/orange gradient. + Hue/Sat to all.
Here's the progression:

Watercolors to flames at bottom

A digitally colored version

The final hand colored version
...totally smokes anything digital.

If you'd like to learn more, I do a blog about it all:

In fact, I invite you to all my other blogs:

Here's that 'whatever catches my eye' file.

There's a lot of total junk on the web.
Then again, there's some really meaty stuff, best of all, it's free.
here's where my 'surfboard' has taken me lately:

Books - MARCH 9, 2015 ISSUE
New Yorker magazine

"Rapt - Grieving with your goshawk." BY KATHRYN SCHULZ

"Writing last winter about the challenges of training raptors, the goshawk in particular, Schulz introduces us to a creature she describes as “a mixture of a Labrador retriever, an F-16, and Houdini,” and the piece itself spreads its wings, soars, and pounces.  A piece about death certificates deepens, with a grave robber’s stealth, into a meditation on classification and causation—on the meaning of “because.” Even when she writes about death, her pages swarm with life.

A larger theme runs through Schulz’s work. It’s about the unruly interplay between the natural world and our efforts to understand it—whether with a yardstick, a theory, or a tale. In her mind, cultural history shares an intimate berth with the history of the natural sciences. A sometimes quarrelsome couple, they fight each other for the bedsheets, but they can’t quite ever be separated. They keep up an ongoing point-counterpoint of observation and interpretation. 

If Schulz’s pieces are conversational, this is often the conversation they’re having. Let’s join it."

—Henry Finder, Editorial Director

 I concur, 110%. That's why i posted this.


Annals of Seismology 
JULY 20, 2015 ISSUE - 'New Yorker' Magazine

'The Really Big One'
An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. 
The question is (not 'if' ...but) when.

"The best New Yorker pieces work on different scales, big and little. They have sections that build into stories, but they also live and breathe in their sentences. Take the piece for which Kathryn Schulz just won a Pulitzer Prize, about the seismic significance of a certain subduction zone in the Pacific Northwest. 
Although she’s justly praised as a “conversational” writer, the prospect of a devastating earthquake was evoked with such immediacy that it scared the bejeezus out of people. But line by line—at the level not of gross anatomy but of cellular intricacy—she took readers’ breath away, too.
Here’s how she wrote about Washington’s “ghost forest,” a stand of cedars killed by an earthquake three centuries ago: “They are reduced to their trunks and worn to a smooth silver-gray, as if they had always carried their own tombstones inside them.” As for the nonchalance that led people in the subduction zone not to build quake-resistant homes, and what will happen when the shaking begins: “That nonchalance will shatter instantly. So will everything made of glass.” Meanwhile, “refrigerators will walk out of kitchens, unplugging themselves and toppling over.” The piece is a cascade of such small, sharp, glittering shards. When they lodge in your skin, or your head, it’s for good.
You see the same craft on the larger scale."
A sad story, for sure:

Were Frank to come back from the dead? 
I am sure he would kick them all in the ass. Many times.

Famous artist Georgia O'Keeffe:

I think i read somewhere that she said after she died, she wanted the wind to blow all her work away, scatter it wherever, destroy it, as if she had never been alive at all.
I've known a few people who inherited $ome rather $ignificant thing$ - what they really inherited was *mi$fortune*.

I inherited a small ($400/mo.) income from a trust my dad set up. I share the income w/ my sister and step-mother. Not nearly enough to argue over, it is pretty much carved in stone anyway. 
Enough to help us all a bit, and remind us that he loved us all. 
The most important things i 'inherited' from him?

A great education at a most prestigious and respected New England boarding school, a curiousity about the world - we watched flocks of migrating geese in Maine, climbed mountains, tended a garden from seed to harvest that fed us all, watched birds and learned their names, and stars and constellations too. We went to many places in the NE, mostly historical places, forts and landmarks, and learned their significance.

My Mom was the one who took us three kids to museums and art galleries. I was taking in Winslow Homer and all the Wyeth's before i was ten YO.
My mom grew up poor in Boston, was determined to give her kids 'culture' ...and she succeeded.
What a great 'inheritance'.
Oh, no monetary value whatsoever. But much value nonetheless.

So i ask you to ponder what 'inheritance' really means... really.
It's not about dollars - it's probably more about 'sense'.



"All photographs are historical photographs. Conventionally, photographs qualify as historical only as artifacts; their content is irrelevant. Their age—the temporal distance from us—is what matters. Historical photographs need to originate in a distant past and travel through time, surviving its vicissitudes. They arrive in the present carrying their baggage of images of places gone or altered. Only then do we consider what they contain to be history."


So you think you are smart?

"As the oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who, like me, no longer eats fish, says: “The ocean has given us so much for so long; it’s time for us to return the favor.”

I went to Jack London's place in Nor. Cal., one very nice place he built himself, it includes a Koi pond. As i approached, the fish all gathered 'round, they could see a human figure, and that's what they associate with food.


(she's Yahoo's CEO, talking about her husband's recent untimely death)

"I have a huge reservoir of sadness that is with me always — right here where I can touch it," she said. "I never knew I could cry so often — or so much. But I am also aware that I am walking without pain. For the first time, I am grateful for each breath in and out — grateful for the gift of life itself. I used to celebrate my birthday every five years and friends’ birthdays sometimes. Now I celebrate always. I used to go to sleep worrying about all the things I messed up that day — and trust me, that list was often quite long. Now I try really hard to focus on each day’s moments of joy."

Finally, she told the audience, appreciate your own capacity for resilience when you're sad or disappointed. Expand that resilience beyond yourself to the companies and communities you create.

"When the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself."

As for my home state (California)?

'Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children'

Someone even wrote a book about it all!

I am now prohibited from smoking in my apt. What a stupid, unenforceable crock of shit.
Hasn't government learned anything since prohibition?? I guess not.
is marijuana legal? The feds say no... otherwise, it's as good as a done deal = yes.
'Prohibition' in any form is a stupid, unenforceable idea.


“A gap year is about taking a time out after being in school for so long to do something different, usually in another country,” said David Stitt, a founder of Gap 360, a gap-year trip planning company based in Britain."

A "Gap 360 - a gap-year trip planning company"???

This is exactly wrong - a gap year should be... *a gap = you figure it out = try anything = try everything*. Leave no stone unturned. You don't/shouldn't need a company to guide you!

I had several of those (gap years), they were among the most formative part of my life.

I did, in no particular order:

• Worked at Children's Hospital, in downtown Wash DC to fulfill 'conscientious objector' requirements to the military draft in 1969. I went from being stoned alotta the time at American University, to making it in to a morning shift, 7:30 AM in the admissions dept. All the while sharing an apt w/ a bunch of deadheads, who rocked out until 4 AM. 
• dug holes for plants, 
• painted houses, inside and out,
• worked at a newspaper printing place, 
• messenger for a law firm... 

...and a few others others i have forgotten.

It was an education in the *REAL WORLD* - what makes it tick, what it takes to make a buck or two. And what employers expect of you. What it takes to survive and pay the rent and buy food, in this world.


"At HubSpot, the software company where I worked for almost two years, when you got fired, it was called “graduation.” We all would get a cheery email from the boss saying, “Team, just letting you know that X has graduated and we’re all excited to see how she uses his/her superpowers in her next big adventure.”

(what a bunch of 'blowing smoke up yer ass' bullshit! 'big adventure'? *You've been fired*!!)

Somehow, this one led me to some wild and crazy thoughts and web wanderings on the topic on language:

(Is this a wee bit like 1's and 0's in a computer?)


Humans have this capacity to communicate, to pass on knowledge, called 'language' - a collection of symbols, and/or sounds, that we collectively as a society/culture/tribe agree on.
We think most presumptively we are alone with this skill - a narrow and arrogant opinion.
?Because we publish books, magazines, etc, do twitter, instagram, blogs, internet blather??

Many other creatures talk to each other, in tongues we do not understand, and probably won't for a long time, hard as we try.
Whales are recognized as having a sophisticated kind of 'singing' - but 'singing' is just our human way of describing their way of sonic communication - to us, it sounds like song. To them? is talking.

I live on the 4th floor of a large apt complex, my north facing windows look out over three lanes that turn into four lanes, headed to a freeway. Pretty gritty and uninspiring to many, but there is a streetlight outside my window, eye level, which is a more than a occasional perch for crows.
Crows are *really smart suckers*, do some reading/research.
They know how to make and use tools of various sorts, they cry *caw, caw, caw*!!!
They also make  sounds that are a series of 'clicks'

But then again there are so many computer languages based on 1's and 0's ( on and off clicks?):

"The modern age is ruled by computers. The penetration is to such an extent that the age is called The Digital Age.
Computer Science as a branch not only attracts the most brilliant minds in the world today but is also the most popular ladder towards a prosperous and delightful career. As a freelancer too, Programmers and Coders are very much in demand all across the world. This is because knowing the basics of how a computer operates is something everybody does not know.
Mobiles, Smartphones, Laptops, Tablet and Desktops are all versions of the device we know as computer. The software and websites which run on these devices require expert knowledge of programming languages. These are languages which the computer understands as a machine. 
They are a combination of binary signals in the form of on and off series.

and it all becomes:

Forgive me if this is all a bit fractured, but there are many interesting thoughts/ideas here - hope you appreciate that. No way to tie this all up into a neat tidy bundle.

If you need an 'escape hatch', this is it:

Bob Seger - Katmandu

Next month, i'll definitely get back to photography, darkroom and digital.