Friday, August 31

What's This About?

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They're a technology, those mules and that horse. I came to visit that technology, more ancient than the Phonecians, in a car. I captured their image electronically in a digital code. And I transferred it into two or three software applications for post production on my Mac. And the fact that we muddle all of that together into a final image to glow your monitor thousands of miles from where I'm sitting, and maybe dozens of years afterward... That is so ordinary that we are no more impressed by it than we are of the mud that forms after a rain. We have reached an age where it no longer makes sense to wonder how things work, but only how to work them to our advantage.

We simply don't care what makes a tool function, but how to function something with the tool. This is a very large change. In the living memory of thirty percent of the living population things worked just the opposite way. I am staring right now at letters formed by electricity. How does it get here? Where does it come from? What is it? Hey, that's all behind the curtain offstage. I just want to be able to grab enough to form these letters to write about something completely different. To write about three mules and a horse. Which may or may not have looked anything like the way they look here when I saw them through my lens down in Blue Ball.

They say that a concert pianist should never think about the mechanics of playing when she is performing. Because if she pays to much attention to the act, what she is performing will come apart. See how that works? By examining the way those animals form the image up above... we totally lose sight of the animals. I wonder how often folks fail to accomplish something because they become immersed in the process of doing it? The critics of art photography are a lot like that. They become caught in the details of composition, color, form, shape, and texture. Or they focus upon lighting, focus, apertutre, cropping, or exposure... and they miss what the image means. Process again trumps accomplishment, understanding, success.

Life lessons?

Thursday, August 30

2 Night - 2 Night

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There are two nights. The one we move around in, and the one which we imagine. The choices in the first are few. We can move as the compass allows us, and determinedly wait until we punch through the darkness to some destination.

Ah, but the second night of our mind – there the choices are infinite. We can change everything but the darkness which defines night. But even though we swim through it, we can populate it with whatever . Any turn, any form, any smell, sound, feeling… It’s as if our hands can knead it to be sinister, romantic, inviting, compelling, or a place to shut down and sleep.

I like that second night best. Daylight seems more thoughtful or intellectual, while nighttime pulls out feelings that can expand as far as the darkness goes. And darkness swells on into the cosmos.

Night is a canvas that we paint with light. Night is much larger than day. And maybe that’s why the creepy-sense tingles then. Night seems to reduce us. And it’s only recently in human history that we’ve conquered small pieces of it.

Wednesday, August 29

Here's A Shot

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See down that path, oh about two thirds of the way? Fifteen years ago at about 10 in the morning I walked along it, my frisky puppy about five feet in front, heading for the parking lot. My car was parked just about where my VW's parked here. There was a building to the right back then. Off to the left across the street is a house and some corn fields. I recall the morning was beautiful, sunny with still air painted morning gold. My dog Meghan was so cheery, frolicking along... going for a car ride, one of her very favorite things. Abruptly I leapt forward to play with her – when it happened.

Just behind my ear, off to the right I heard a SNAP! REEEEELY loud, as if a giant had grabbed a tree branch and broken it like a celery stick. I twirled that way, and my dog... rolled to the ground just off on the grass to the right. Springing up, she dashed at breakneck speed for the car... "Whuhhh?" I murmurred, there was nothing there. No trees, just a vista rolling off to the Susquehanna river maybe a mile below. I ran for to the car like a crazy man. Looking everyway. Off to the left, in the cornfields I saw a puff of smoke. But no one anywhere around. No one.... nothing moved in the quiet moment.

Down in the borough over coffee I bumped into a police detective I knew and told him about the oddness of my morning.

He went ashen, leapt up, pulled me to his car and siren screaming flashed back to this place. On the way he explained about mach speeds. “If you've ever heard a plane break the sound barrier you know the crash it makes?” he hollered over the racket of the ride. “Bullets it seems do the same, but the noise doesn't travel far... not far at all.” You have to be quite close to hear them snap... like a giant twig.

Later in the corn field they found an impression in the dirt of where the shooter hunkered himself down. And they found a casing. For some days after that friendly state troopers waited for me in that parking lot drinking their morning coffee when I arrived before sunrise to open this place. They never explained why and simply drove off when I was inside.

And I've often wondered what would have happened if spontaneously at that moment I'd not leapt to play with my doggie. Soon afterward my friend the County Sheriff insisted that I carry a gun.

Two years later business took me away from this place where I'd worked for a decade. Where every morning like clockwork I'd leave to get my morning coffee and grab the newly arrived mail in town. This is the first time I’d returned there in maybe a dozen years. It looks forlorn.

Tuesday, August 28

Personal Assault

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Are you enraged?

Yes, that farmer is burning without a license! And the aromatic smoke is wafting gently into the air - visible for a couple of miles. You gotta problem widdat? "Oh no!" You gasp. "But... global warming... World pollution... Future generations... The sky... It's... It's falling!"

I guess I should have whipped out one of the guns that everyone know that Yanks tote, and shot the sucker. Self defense, right? After all, he's threatening the children and a whole lot of people who can afford seaside homes. And all of these hurricanes this year ... he's provoking them... Wait.. wait... no hurricanes this year? I mean all the hurricanes last year... Yeah... last year... What? Oh, none last year either? Okay... but Katrina. He made that happen and all those people living below sea level in the Mississippi Crescent who got engulfed. He did that. And there must have been blizzzards somewhere, huh? Darn... forgot my gun. How could I do that?

Sure is pretty though, huh?

Monday, August 27


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How many times did this guy visit this place?
No, not the steps in this alleyway,
But the place within that round hole.

The place he can carry about with him
But hidden, he thinks,
In a brown paper bag.

Wherever it is that he goes,
This bag holds no more of it.
So it's discarded like his dignity.

Last night it was filled with either
A bottle of better memories or
The potion of despair.

One that he sucks to move him from
Where he sat on a cement stoop
In a dank alley to somewhere that hurts less.

Because here is not the place he wants to be.
Nor the place that he was last night after
He brought this bag to this step and poured

Escape all over his soul.

Sunday, August 26

Chris Weds Catherine 2

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There are a couple of moments just between late afternoon and twilight when you can walk into a shady grove and the light is thick enough to slow everything. Even the butterflies scurrying home, flutter more slowly, as if the light's become sweet syrup. And if you go there the transitions are as romantic as... as... Catherine on her wedding evening.

Saturday, August 25

Chris Weds Catherine 1

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Chris & Catherine got married today. I was a guest with a camera assigned to do the fill shots. You know,the little ones that capture the mood of an elegant event. As the couple sat listening to Pastor Rick's homily they touched. It's the small hidden things, I think, that allow us to express so much. Two hands entwined - outpower a zillion words.

Friday, August 24


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Okay... I am too preoccupied with the show which I will have exactly two weeks from tonight. Thanks for humoring me through this thing. Today the four LARGE images arrived from Dave Beck at Studio FX, Inc (104 Wheatland Park Lane, Lancaster). THEY ROCK! Whoa. So before you ask which I decided to blow up, I thought I'd pull them together tonight with some info. But then I figured that since I was going to do this for the blog, why not go a tad farther and create something I can attach to a media e-mailing? So, here's what I came up with. They have all been printed on canvas, coated, and stretched on wooden frames in a "gallery wrap" format. This pulls the edges of the images around the wooden rectangle support and as a consequence they do not need additional framing for showing.

From the top: The red image is of the The Fulton Theater and measures 24" X 20". Below it on the left are the Orange St. Twin Spires and they measure, 34" X 52", to the right the Trinity Spire which measures 32" X 50" and on the bottom is the largest print, a horizontal of the ghostly A.S. Groff Hardware building that measures, 66" X 28".

Dave did an astonishing job capturing the colors from the monitor to canvas. The saturation and vibrancy of the prints are eye popping. While I've seen my prints in all sorts of media over the years, I've never had them truly enlarged. The sharpness of the Canon lenses resulted in details I didn't know existed. For example: the weather vane atop the Trinity Tower has the word "West" clearly imprinted upon it. No way I knew that from the monitor. And there is considerable room to make the images even larger. In fact, I'd originally ordered the print on the bottom to be 8 feet on the horizontal edge! All of my advisors talked me out of it. The wimps!

I have no idea how to price these things. Or any of my images for that matter, and it will be a major focus for discussion among friends over the next two weeks. If you have any suggestions... lemme know, either here or send me an email.

Thursday, August 23


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A visual idea often has a moment of life then dies, you know what I mean? Look, how often have you snapped a score of pictures but when processing time comes.... YUCK! What were you thinking when your finger twitched the shutter? It was even worse when you'd send away film and it took a week until two, three, even five rolls of slides came in the mail. You'd pull them out and always... always... always... your heart would drop. Oh there'd be a keeper or two, but overwhelmingly the idea died when the lens chute swallowed that burst of light.

Now we have tools to find what idea or feeling that other guy... the one who took the picture... the younger you... wanted to send to you when he clicked the shot. Look at this image for example. It was sunrise in the center of Middlebury, Connecticut. I'd never been there before and this mill race called me. It seemed so photogenic. And yet, when I looked at the images of the ruins of the old mill... There was so little there. Before. Now, after an hour of teasing the hues and textures here's the image the younger me filled the frame with. Now I can hear the roar of that water. I can feel the rumble under foot. I'm squinting again as the low morning sun gleams into my eyes. Is this really the scene as it was? Or is this image fiction? Know what? I don't care. You?

Wednesday, August 22

Where'd That Come From?

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When an artist works upon a canvas he can tease out a third dimension from that flatness. He can find consequences in that blank space which are able to enchant our childlike wonder. We can stare over his shoulder as he outlines shapes, forms, and textures that we just didn't see there. And out of thin air... or flat surface... he conjures balances and resemblances that were apparently on that thing all along - but only he saw them well enough to brush them to the front. I'm drawn to people who are like that with ideas. You know the kind who find them in everything and relate them to others and choreograph their dancing so that I don't just believe their conclusions... I enjoy twisting and turning them around like a child with a gemstone. Or a youngster peering over an artist's shoulder on a hot June night night on Hilton Head Island deep into South Carolina.

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6) ,1/6@f/5.6, exposure Bias value: -2, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 72 mm, Date/time: 6/3/07: 7:45 pm, Metering Mode: Pattern, Camera RAW

Tuesday, August 21


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The first one rattles and roars down North Lime Street at 4:10 in the morning. A side loader, a pair of laughing workers holler over its belching diesel motor. They pull large plastic containers along on their plastic wheels, bumping them down the sidewalks. then pour recyclables by hand into the truck's bin: SPLANG! WHAM! CRAAASH! For eight to twelve minutes they lug one after another of the man-sized containers and then drag and thump them back. Finally yelling they scramble in and the huge motor roars away to another stop a half block down. The process repeats. After some wenty minutes they're finally out of earshot - someone else's problem.

At 5:18 the back-loader arrives. It's yowling pair of attendants drag larger containers down the long echoing alleyway. A device at the rear grabs the lips of the portable plastic bins and upsides them into the maw of the back when an operator pulls a lever. His pull excites the truck's power to slam the bin's top once, twice, three times and more to shake and bang its contents free. It's smacked down onto the street to be pulled and rolled back down the cement, stepped alleyway - BUMP, SLAM, WHAM! And another's pulled out. The process repeated.... Roll... thump... bang...whirrrr... bang... whirr... BANG BANG BANG... whirr WHIRR WHIRRRRRRRR! With each load a compactor's tongue inside the beast's mouth crushes its latest screaming meal. It's a cacophony of manic fury. It takes this team longer than the first. But finally they too roar to the next stop down the street and their work's a repeat.

At 6:05 it's time for the front-loader. This massive rolling engine has a claw on the front that snuggles into the side of a huge metal bin... scraping it up as the truck's revved way way high... its mufflers shaking against the mighty engine's bellow. A metal door atop the container drops away against its side with a slam that makes dogs for blocks bark in terror. The bin's smashed back and forth, slammed against the top of the truck to shake loose its metallic innards. And then the motor whines to drop it back to the sidewalk, its top door whaming shut. This truck seems worked by just one man, who tugs it hard into first gear, missing it at first, with that loud scratch of badly clutched metal on metal. This engine is worked loud, and the third truck in three hours rattles down North Lime to its next commercial pickup a half block away.

Until recently this all was against the law. There was a noise ordinance which specifically banned commercial trash pickups in the city of Lancaster between the hours of seven and seven. Inexplicably, a new city council apparently changed the law so that pickups could begin at five. Of course these start at four. Waste Management has no fear of enforcement. A policeman came along while this was going on last Wednesday morning. I asked him to take action. He explained that this was not his work, but rather I should call the Mayor's office. I have a picture of the policeman talking with the truck operators. I'd post it, but why bother. It's not art... And not his business.

Sometimes the trucks back down the street, or pull forward and backup in place. In reverse an electronic beeper's engaged, loud enough to vibrate the fillings of listeners' teeth. There are many sleepless listeners in the homes along this largely residential street.

See that window on the upper left? That's where my wife and I used to sleep on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Now we lay awake. Helpless in the night. Little wonder good people, many of its most dependable taxpayers, flee Lancaster for the peaceful suburbs, eh? Nor why, after almost a quarter of a century, we're sadly considering moving ourselves. Sigh....

Monday, August 20

Once Upon A Sunday Morning

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What’s the creative center of this idea? Is it that door aglow with, I don’t know, a golden something? Or is it the way that the building seems to be bursting to… to… Here’s an image that seems authentic without any pesky realism. As I passed it on my bike at around 11 Sunday morning I thought I heard it make a noise. See… see that there was supposed to be a service going on. And yet, when I tried the doors, they wouldn’t budge!

This was all at once a storybook place thrumming with a tale that was like gas quivering to push at its brick skin until it found even the tiniest hole to whoosh through. Pity that it began to rain making me peddle like mad home, since I’m sure if I’d only stayed a bit longer a fable was bound to tumble out of this wonder filled place - because we all know that in life, if you just wait around long enough – everything leaks.

Sunday, August 19


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Bayles & Orland in their classic paperback, Art & Fear write, "Your tools do more than just influence the appearance of the resutling art – they basically set limits upon what you can say with an art piece." Along busy Manor Street, just next to the HQ for the Lancaster offices of Organized Labor, this mural coats the side of a private home.

Since my yesterday was consumed with printing for next month, I took my bike out this morning - looking for something that confirms or contradicts Bayles & Orland. I wanted something splashy, something that would make up for the darkness of this blog yesterday. So, how to deal with the ideas of B&O with a vivid example? How about three examples?

A group of students from The Pennsylvania College of Art And Design executed this idea. "Rise With Strength" it yells almost three stories into the sky. And it's colors turn flowers pale. Hell, they almost make the sunrise seem wimpy. But look... look how the scale and the texture of their palette influenced the artists. See how they became a part of the engine of their effort? I've already discussed the power of housepaint as a tool back on August 12. Click here to see that illustration..

So it seemed that the most powerful way to prove B&O's point was with not one, but three images - an epic tryptic. Which is the only way, on our tiny monitors, I could try to cram in the impact of a 34' high mural. Hope it makes their point as persuasively to you as it does for me.

Saturday, August 18

Reeeeel Minimalism

Um, see the image I've posted tonight? Er, well... there's a reason you can't. There ain't none! I'm working on the finest level prints that I can produce for my upcoming show and it's just taking up all of my computer time here. Is that a bad excuse? I guess it's a reason. Pity because today was a photographer's day... gorgeous sky, great weather... and it sure looked terrific... from inside my studio window. Hey, maybe I should have taken a picture of the window, thrown it misty, and WHAM! ... thoughtful art, eh? Oh never mind... Stop back tomorrow, K?

Friday, August 17

A tower goes here

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The Hamilton Club is private in the center of Lancaster, a place where decisions get made over lunch. Understated authority... that's the way I see its design. Can you sense the impregnability that its builders were after? It's aged well, like Sean Connery - eh? Nothing girlish about it... Nor ugly. Someone said it looks smug. No... as Babe Ruth insisted, "If you can do it, it ain't boasting."

Apparently the club was built at the same time as my home. As you enter each, you're struck by a tile floor which is overall a deep garnet - the tiles are about an inch square. But there is an inner stroking of a darker color, and within that stroke there are a number of tiles which contain embedded designs. Now remember, the artists who created the tiles and laid down the flooring lived in the 1860s or thereabouts.... So the designs, I'm told, are taken from American Indian imagery. And one of the avatars is a reversed swastika! Apparently it was magical to the Conestoga Tribe who lived hereabouts for centuries before Columbus.

At any rate, people notice those tiles particularly, and frequently comment upon them in our foyer. They embarrass me, yet the flooring is historically accurate, the image is reversed, the workmanship is exquisite, and defacing it to remove those six or seven, inch-square tiles seems unthinkable. I'm particularly sensitive to them as I enter the Hamilton Club. Am I, and are they, insensitive to history by leaving them in place? Or are we sensitive to a greater regional history by not tearing them away?

At the moment we cover them with a throw rug in the entryway - which is no solution at all and hides the artistry of our 19th century floor. It is a puzzlement.

Thursday, August 16

Oh My... Just Three Weeks To Go...

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My show's scheduled for September 7, three weeks from tomorrow! I'm nervous about two things. The first has to do with all of the details remaining. I've ordered the four big prints on canvas and expect them to come from the mounter sometime late next week. Most of the twenty or so prints I plan to display in 16" X 20" frames are printed, but I think I'll print another five or six this weekend before I make the final decision re. framing (which I will do next weekend). Early this week I got the idea to print maybe ten on 8.5" X 11" paper and mount them in 11" X 14" frames. I bought the frames, but haven't started that job yet. Perhaps I'll only do five. Decisions... decisions. And I have to send out a press release to all of the area media. I already sent out a large email blast, and want to send out a reminder perhaps on September 1st.

Oh yeah... We ran a large ad for the show in my magazines in this August's issue which went to some 30,000 business executives in the region.

And I designed this graphic for both that second mailer and as a limited small print that I could display at the trust and maybe five or six other places around the area. Perhaps I should attach it to the media release, which I will also distribute by email?

Oh.... Oh.... My friend Steve was laid up with foot surgery a couple of weeks ago, so he insisted that he design and execute some Apple Books of my images and the came yesterday and.. and... WHOA! Apple does a magnificient job, and Steve did a magnificenter (Sp!) job laying the thing out. THEY ROCK! I can leave them out and show off about two hundred images to any masochist who comes by and needs a fix of pain.

For all the past details on the show CLICK HERE!

I said there were two things which have me nervous. The second? Will anyone come? Arrrrgh! Maybe I should buy a bullhorn and stand on the sidewalk that night pleading with passersby to come in? That seems to work for the strip clubs on Bourbon Street in New Orleans and on The Strip in Vegas. Hmmm.....

Any suggestions? I have really appreciated all of your previous input and nerve calming. Odd, I do photography as a therapy to relax... but now I know why so many artists drink. Sheeesh....

Wednesday, August 15

Flat Iron - Lancaster

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NYC has a building that looks like a flat iron. So does Lancaster. Artists find New York's Flat Iron Building an exciting challenge. I don't know of any other artists who have rendered Lancaster's building. So, as far as I know, this is the best... the most outstanding... the absolutely greatest image an artist has ever ... in the history of history ... done of the Park Shoes (which is, by the way, long out of business) Building.

Now that you have seen the finest, well of course all of the others will dis-satisfy, right? Heh heh heh... Seriously, with a world class college of art and design in the city, I'm surprised that the students aren't camping out around this place. If NYCs flatiron is a magnet... hey, what's wrong with this guy, huh?

Tuesday, August 14


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I live in Lancaster's Historical District just two houses down from the Lancaster Museum of Art which sits in front of Musser Park. The park is a rectangular city block in size and it's bounded by four streets. On each corner a private civic organization to which I contribute has erected a camera. The cameras are monitored 24/7.

We are experiencing a crime wave in the city. There is apparently a lone vandal who walks the streets in the middle of the night and at random times pours acid on the sides of parked cars. Over the past year or so, the damages have totaled in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The police are stymied. The vandal has some way of apparently hiding the acid container so as to never be spotted. Not so curiously though, the vandal has never hit a car within the range of one of these cameras. In fact, as far as I know, there has never been a successful crime against property or person within the range of these devices. I say "successful" since the camera operator last year did watch a person walk along one of the streets trying the doors of every car. Finally he found one that was open. But the police were dispatched and caught and arrested him as he tried to start the vehicle.

You'll note that the signs are much more obvious than the cameras which seem to blur into the background. There are some who have protested the opportunity to contribute to having a camera mounted near their homes. Intellectually I can understand, but emotionally, this device's presence ... which by the way is aimed directly at my front door when it swivels about... brings me solace. That even though we never had any sort of criminal problem on my block for the twenty years or so before this guy came to hang across the street.

Some choose to live in gated communities, I prefer the rich diversity of the city. But that invisible beam which the camera throws over my home... like an unseen blanket... Perhaps I don't need it, yet... my VolksWagon Bug's never dripped acid in the night.

Monday, August 13

Nostalgic For The Future

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I'm working on a tech article and interviewing some young technicians. And I'm discovering that they have very little memory but an astonishing anticipation for what's coming. In fact they dwell in a world that has not yet happened...

Where some of us live among our reminiscences – and long to recreate them, these youths know the intensity with which things are racing at us so well that their technological creations almost seem as if they come from some recollection about what's coming.

It's like they are recreating what has never been, from memory – they have a nostalgia for the future.

Which I wanted to picture. And here's how I did it... see... see... see what was once a service station? A place where uniformed people pumped gas, checked oil, washed windshields - all for what? 25 or 30 cents a gallon? It's an artifact - but it's also so bright under a noon-day August sun – so white surrounded now by weeds. It is something that was which is – a specter, or maybe a page mark in our journals. It's so substantial both in shape and color. Yet the vivid thing is under attack by the jungle at its feet and a sky above that's absorbing its hues.

But still it's reflecting what's coming there in the window... see it? See the warm picket fence and the road and that's where newness will arrive - and pass it by.


What differentiates those young technicians from the bulk of people I talk with is not that they fail to see this old gasoline service station, but the fact that while the rest of us take in the blues and the whites and even the spunky cloud that mimics its presence… The techno-kids, what they see is – in the window.

Sunday, August 12

Mayor's House #1

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The Mayor of The City of Lancaster lives in the middle of gallery row on N. Prince Street. Recently Rick and his artist wife Gail repainted their home. Lancaster is a brick and shutter place where Amish horse-carts still click their way down the streets. Like the Gray's, who live three blocks west of us, our home's an 18th century study in Elizabethan style.

I like the makeup the Gray's have pained atop their grand old lady. They've made a San Francisco statement. I thought I'd knock off a tryptic of their home, but I got so distracted by this, the center piece of that threesome, I lost track of the time and my candle's grown dim... YAWN!

But before turning out the light, let me share a thought about the Gray's house... or one it caused. We communicate ideas and feelings,it's the communication platforms that technology's exploded. Now we can tell our stories in video games, here on blogs, in podcasts, and videos. We can publish illustrated novels of depth (remember when comics were funny?), go on cable, or IM and text our thoughts onto the screens of tiny pocket computers.

All of that layered atop, radio, television, magazines, newspapers,books, and snail mail. We can rent billboards, the sides of buses, airplane banners, blimps, and megaphones.

Or we can do what the Gray's did. Look... look here how, on one of the city's busiest streets, they tell us part of their vision of and for Lancaster. Their medium is one of the oldest. One that they dig out of Machu Picchu and Herculaneum - yet a medium as effective today as it probably was when it coated the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Who'd have thought a couple of millennia back that we'd still tell our feelings in house-paint?

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6) ,1/100@f5/6, exposure Bias value: 0, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 12 mm, Date/time: 8/11/07 am, Metering Mode: Average, Camera RAW

Saturday, August 11

The Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House circa 1787

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Meriwether Clark worked on his great expedition to find the Northwest Passage in this house. Rumor has it that Mason and Dixon calculated their great survey to separate America's North and South in this place as well. Now it houses the Lancaster Historic Preservation Trust at 123 N. Prince Street in Lancaster's downtown in the heart of the art district and gallery row.

Here's where I'm going to show my work on September 7th. If you think the outside of this mansion is exquisite, wait until you see the inside when you show up for the show. Or when I show you pictures of people who do come. Um, that is if people come at all. But that's another issue that I'll confront later. While I have a certain reputation in the city, it is not for photography, so it will come as a surprise to many who know me, that I know anything about making images.

And since I do not do organic photography, well my work is anything but historically accurate - an acquired taste at best, eh? I sent off a large emailing yesterday, but it is mid summer and I received an automatic response from so many telling me that they were away just now. Hope they'll go back over their mail when they get home. Oh, wudda heck, I'll nag them with a reminer in a couple of weeks.

Which I hope won't alienate... And make them stay away, leaving me to roam the halls with the ghosts of Lewis, Clark, Mason, and Dixon. Sigh....

GEEK STUFF: Three different shots in this tryptic all taken with my Canonn D20 and all with the Canon EF-S 10-22mm (f3.5-4.5). I took them this afternoon around 3pm (8/11/07). Oh yea, I used a polarizing filter. Beyond that... much differs. Wuddaya think of the tryptic? Any thoughts?

Friday, August 10

Ego Thingee & Show News

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Wheeeee! I've found the ultimate self portrait camera. Huh? Nope, this isn't a mirror shot. Not a reflection. My MacBookPro comes bundled with an application utility called PhotoBooth. What's cool is that it takes images with the light from the monitor. The thing flashes in your face as the, um, shutter opens. Hmmmm... I guess this thing's got a shutter, right?

You know how I run GEEK STUFF with all the tech info after images? Wonder how you do it with this image? I just looked at the metadata in PhotoShop... it give me nuthin! No shutter speed, no aperture, no focal length. It is a mystery. This brings a whole new meaning to "box camera", huh?

Whudaya think of the portrait? Huh? Huh? Izzit art?

GEEK STUFF: MacIntosh MacBookPro: ISO ?: Focal Length ?: Metering Mode ? - Wuddever.


Many of you know that I'm going to have a one man show on September 7 at the Lancaster Historic Preservation Trust. I've decided to show about two dozen images printed mostly within 13X19" dimensions and hung in 16X20" frames. Thanks to all of you who suggested your favorites. Most of them made the cut.


I decided to get four substantial enlargements. And one I wanted to be a BIGGIE! My print-guy found that three of the four I chose could be exploded to BILLBOARD size. Hmmmmm... Okay... too big. But I'm a man. Men like BIG things. So I chose one horizontal image and ordered it blown to EIGHT FEET along the horiizontal!!!

Then all of my friends... in chorus screeched, "You did WHAT???" And my wife refused to let me bring it home.. and.. and...

Sigh... I called the Printer-Guy and I've wimped out, dropping it back to five and half feet on the horizontal....

But in my dreams I see it ... GORDO! Image eight by four feet!!!! Can you imagine? Never mind that we lack a wall in our house large enough to hang it. Never mind it won't fit into my car. It's the idea of the thing. BIG-TIME MAN-LY

They'll be ready in two weeks. Oh, BTW, they're going to be printed on canvas and stretched on wooden frames. Hope they'll be crowd pleasers.

Um, hope there'll be crowds. Could get very lonely standing there by myself.... ULP!

Any crowd inducing suggestions? No, naked models are not an option: my wife also frowned on that idea. Sigh....

Thursday, August 9

Gated Despair

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At first I only heard sobbing.

It was as if there was a hole between me and some other-place which let the deep sobbing moans escape. I whirled in a circle and then, through this long-rust-frozen gate I saw him at the table. See… see how hard he is to make out at first?

Abruptly there came a voice from an unseen partner hidden from us on the right side. There were words: hushed, reassuring, confident. But this man in blue still shuddered and maybe those words were sealed out by those earphones he wore.

I stood there on the public sidewalk: What? Twelve feet away? When it caught my eye like pliers grab a nail… The blood! See that crusted oozing patch by his ear dripping down into his white beard?

What to do? Then there were sirens, and an ambulance lights-a-blare screaming down the street. And I took this one image. And worried about it.

In the months since I clicked that shutter, the thing’s niggled at my conscience. You cannot make out his face. It’s not truly an invasion of an individual. Right? Right? And I’ve since seen him - healthier outside the mission waiting for the charity breakfast.

The yard behind that gate is a private abandoned space. The two people had trespassed. And I fear, I’ve trespassed here as well. Or maybe not.

What I want is to tell a story, or start one. It’s a “Once-upon-a-time” opening, or perhaps it’s an open that needs a back-story? Or a beginning that needs a resolution? Perhaps it is both of those things… or an ending? This moment, in the middle of Lancaster City, on a beautiful spring afternoon in May… that I still hear whenever I look at this image of gated despair - hear the sobbing.

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm (f3.5-4.5),1/100@f/7.1 exposure Bias value: -1.33, ISO: 100, Focal Length: 22 mm, Date/time: 5/27/06, 3:10 pm, Metering Mode: partial, Camera RAW

Wednesday, August 8

Should's And Shouldn'ts

"Anything your heart desires will come to you..."

We play with stardust. Pixels are like that. We can puff and spatter clouds of glimmering points just exactly wherever they should be. "Should be."
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Ah the strength of that word, should. It's not "must be", "can be", or even, "belong." Nope we artists deal in shoulds... Shoulds! And who is it that determines the "shoulds" in life?

Why there are rule books of course. Somewhere someone taught us the shoulds, right?

Shel Silverstien wrote:

Listen to the mustn'ts child,
Listen to the dont's,
Listen to the shouldn'ts,
The impossibles, the won'ts.
Listen to the never haves
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6),1/200@f/8, exposure Bias value: -1, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 79 mm, Date/time: 8/7/7: 4:18 pm, Metering Mode: Average, Camera RAW
Tonight the pixels should glow about and around a flying orange toy alligator because... because... "Anything can be."

Tuesday, August 7

Fuzzy Fred

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We tell the rules in stories. They are how we pass along the stuff we learned that’s kept us from smashing our fists down upon red buttons that could ignite a hundred suns around the globe.

Our tales teach what we know about dealing with the things that go bump in the night. Our legends, allegories, whisperings… fill in the stuff that didn’t come packed into our genetic baggage.

Pity the child who grows up without stories.

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6),1/60@f/10 exposure Bias value: -1, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 28 mm, Date/time: 8/7/7: 4:22 pm, Metering Mode: Average, Camera RAW

Monday, August 6

The Immaculate Perception

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Once upon a time... Well once upon an exact time - the 1740s - the Seventh Day Baptist Community fled persecution to Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and they built these things in this image. Now, here's the question. Did it simply occur to the artisans among them to nail these boards together with these shingles and stones in an entirely original way? Were they inspired by an inner voice that told them, "Stick them together like this, guys." Was their perception, so to speak, immaculate? Free from all other influences?

Or were their plans and actions informed by centuries and centuries of learning that their predecessors passed along?

The reason I ask what seems to be an obvious question, has to do with art in general and photography in particular. See, we make images which we hope to be... strive to be... original. But how many of them are immaculate perceptions? And how much of what we finally sculpt within our frames is the result of tedious, if often invisible, instruction? What have I brought to this image? Anything? Or am I delivering up generations of instruction about composition, color palette, form, shape, texture and aroma. Aroma? Okay... threw that one in. But, if there is nothing original here... Okay class, now let's discuss free will, eh?

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm (f3.5-4.5),1/60 @ f/5, exposure Bias value: -0.33, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 10 mm, Date/time: 4/22/07 - 5:31 AM, Metering Mode: Average, Camera RAW

Sunday, August 5

Rowling In The Right Direction

To the marketer, there is a similarity between imagination and contention. Both are resources that can be mined, and they are boundless. Often they attempt to get us to buy as a reaction to hating something else – that’s called negative advertising. Or they attempt to get us to buy with an offer that’s too good to be true. That’s frequently called bait and switch.

And sometimes they’re combined. That’s called political advertising. Here in the United States for example we’re in the middle of a never ending Presidential campaign and a score of contenders are trying to entice with enchanted dreams of perfection while simultaneously characterizing their opponents dreams as nightmares. My guess it that most people are either turned into rabid zealots, ignore the racket completely or find the whole thing entertaining on the level of a contact blood sport. In fact the shrillest political junkies often seem indistinguishable from dog fight aficionados.

Meantime we have Harry Potter. What a wonderful parallel world of laws that defy science, yet can be tamed for good and evil purposes. Where children are trained in citizenship by stories which conclude that hard work, common action, inherent nobility, mysticism, and aristocratic privilege can combine with skill training to enlighten … or at least potentially enlighten… darkness.

Don’t you long for a secret path to an ancient Hogwarts learning how to control powers that will open dreams of perfection? Where enemies are Volemortian black while good exists and can be identified. Sweet. Meantime in our land of perpetual Presidential pursuit pollution… how appropriate that our youth prefers Harry Potter’s world, where Albus will eventually reveal the meaning of life’s lessons, eh?

Oh the image tonight? I have NO GEEK STUFF at all on it. I took it with a point and shoot late on a very bright Spring afternoon on the campus of Franklin & Marshall College. It was before either I or the camera understood white balance. And the noise level was deafening. So it was with this evening’s news still resounding in my mind, that I pulled the awful lemon of an image up… to turn it into a magical destination a thestral coach ride from the express to Hogsmeade. Walk along the grounds and up this little path… see it there, beyond the darkness? I sense that they’ll serve us lemonade?

Saturday, August 4

Movies - Ugh!

<-Saw a shrill movie tonight. It was all preachy and about how my country is a despicably evil place run by sinister people who are driven to maim, steal, plunder, and murder to enrich or protect themselves. It was ninety minutes of unrelieved hatred aimed at making it clear that the only true patriots are those who awaken from their terrible actions long enough to ruin the conspirators in the Presidential branch.

The unrelenting one sidedness of the thing left me with a grim feeling about audiences. The plot was not based upon any real events, but it was presented as if they actually happened in just the past seven years, which coincide of course with the present President's tenure. All of evil doers in this international conspiracy to wreak world havoc were white anglo males. Two of the three heroes were women.

Which, I suppose is why my image tonight is so passive. The emotion has been sucked away... leaving me as empty of joy as this scene. Oh, I'm still warm and welcoming, but after an evening of watching high decibel insults hurled at much that I cherish... Well, tonight it's hard to find a way to shine the sun onto my neighbor's doorway.

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6),1/20@f/4.5 exposure Bias value: -0.67, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 26 mm, Date/time: 5/30/07: 7:08pm pm, Metering Mode: Partial, Camera RAW

Friday, August 3


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Okay, many of you have read Jean Baudrillard’s, Simulacra and Simulations so you have begun to get onto what I am doing here, right? That my images are my interpretations of his theories about maps and territory? Um, you know where he points out that if you make a sufficiently and perfectly detailed map, well it will have to become the size of the territory itself. And should that happen, eventually usage will wear out the map in the busiest places leaving only the perfect representation to cover (and preserve) the least traveled spots.

Perfection then is preserved only in the out-or-the-way. The places we consider least. The final places we look.

Now suppose that the tales of these hidden perfect spots fill our legends until only the fable of a preserved past perfection remains with us here in our civilized and busy places. If so, then it’s the artist who reconnects with those fables, and all that really was perfectly rendered coincides with the artist’s image. The image then is poetry, while the real is charm… and the fascination is the melding so that the result becomes hyperreal.

Or maybe it’s not about any of that at all? Hmmmm? Heh heh heh…. And here, as you look at the spire of Lancaster’s First Presbyterian Church painted with sunset as if by an artist, take a moment to recall the title of my blogsite, K?

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6),1/320 @ f/11 exposure Bias value: -0.67, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 56 mm, Date/time: 5/30/07: 7:05pm pm, Metering Mode: Partial, Camera RAW

Thursday, August 2


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Cities, like nature, abhor a vacuum. Empty spaces must, like scars, be filled... healed. There is an urban imperative toward convergence.

See here along a tiny ancient street just beyond the Farmer's Market? There was a courtyard here. An open space which, while gated, was open to the view of passers by. And the owners had historically gardened it creating a touch of serenity. But now that scab of grey indicates that the city is filling it in, much the way our body's fill in any puncture or gash. And soon it will be another structure built to the street to house an extension to our quilt museum.

Now this county has nourished the world's finest quilters. And stunning examples of their work have been gathered in this collection. So I feel almost uncivil is sighing over the way need for exhibition space has caused the facades here to converge. There always seems some good reason, if there weren't capital would not flow in the direction of neatly converging buildings across open space.

In cities, open space rarely has a constituency. Convergence is not a destination, it is a process. It doesn't promise us a final equilibrium, just a result. That's probably a good thing in a living city as it continues to prosper. I like prosperity... but... but... it's a pity we can't find a way to make some open space spin off a return sufficient to wall out convergence.

Anybody got a plan?

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6),1/200 @ f/11 exposure Bias value: -1, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 47 mm, Date/time: 7/31/07-6:41 pm, Metering Mode: Average, Camera RAW

Wednesday, August 1

Shape And Shadow

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We all receive our character from the force we oppose and the least resistance we encounter. We flow along walls and into openings whether it's among families or within cultures. How we are perceived is a work in progress - a silhouetted ember glowing against the glare of our pasts. The shape we take in the mind of others is all about how our shapes got worked as we made choices about dealing with those things, people, and events which squared off our character.

"Everyone is broken by life," Hemmingway observed, "but some people are stronger in the broken places."

Rob Bowman, a local contractor says, "buildings should look different in Lancaster." Why? People expect that they will. Visitors expect that they will know when they have arrived here, even though they've never been here before. They expect that the form which the city's received will have come from the frontier it opposed, the culutres it attracted, from the opportunities it provided, from the influence it wielded. Cities are a legacy. But they are also a possibility. It's that balance which keeps them viable. When legacy dominates, cities become museums - Disney Adventures. The only work they provide is amusement . Which is perhaps the tragedy of New Orleans – a fate that cities like Lancaster must guard against.

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6),1/64 at f/14, exposure Bias value: -1, ISO: 200, Focal Length: 81 mm, Date/time: 7/31/07-6:07 pm, Metering Mode: Average, Camera RAW