Thursday, December 31

Baby New Year - 2010

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Just a short nap now and then a whole new decade will happen for Katelynn Rose. And the murk of this decade fades in its light. Happy New Year everyone.

Sunday, December 27

What Are You Doing New Year's?

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Here's a variation.... a touch of New Year's fun while I'm awaiting ordering my new camera. Some of you might recall the original of this babe I posted some time back. Here she is again, all dressed up... and ready to PARTY.....

BEST WISHES EVERYONE!!! Happy 2010, and thanks for all of your support, suggestions, and comments both here and the passle who continue to lemme know what you think exclusively by email. That's why I've posted an email address over there in the colun on the right. You're my buddies... and you've made 2009 a nice year. In Angel's lingo.... MIL GRACIAS!

Wednesday, December 23

Sold My Camera!

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Yeah... I've been quiet here. don't have my Canon 40D anymore. I sold it a couple of weeks ago. Well, I've still got my G-10, but no camera body to use my lens collection. I also sold the the vertical battery grip. I figured this was the best time to get top dollar, but not the best time to buy a new camera body. See, what I want is the magical red button on the Canon 7D. It's a portal into a new whirled. And it will open through my total collection of lenses, filters and stuff.

I'm guessing that prices will tumble in January on the 7D. If they don't okay, I still got top dollar for my wonderful 40D (like new in the box with all the documentation). But it explains why I've been so quiet (in case you wondered about the quiet here and why I've been working some of my archives).

I think I mentioned that we are going to Peru in February, so I want that cool new red button access to a whole new learning curve. I did take the G10 out into the blizzard that passed through here last weeend. Oddly, I've not even looked at the images. I think I'm in a space between just now. Still reading about photographic ideas, and visiting all fo the sites (although pretty quietly for me).

BTW, recently I commented on a posted picture on the The Mindful Eye forum. I commented upon a post (which requested comments and suggestions) with a visual that I'd spent lot of time working upon to show how I thought it might soar. The artist was incensed that I'd made my comments by working on his image. Odd, I've nevre had that sort of criticism. After all, we are visual artists and comments are best made visually, right? He's made me gun shy. I haven't commented upon any images since. Guess it will pass, but for the moment at least I'm startled. In all of the years I've responded to requests for comments that way, this was the first burst of anger that's come back. Sigh...

Don't need it.

Any way... You all have a Happy Christmas, and enjoy whatever other holiday you celebrate this time of year. My best to you all and thanks for your support over the past years. When I get the new machine, I promise, I'll become a lot more active.


Monday, December 7


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It is what it is.


And here is the magician's secret revealed.... Enjoy.

Sunday, December 6

Rocco & Me

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My buddy isn't happy about cameras, even on - or maybe especially on - timers.


OKAY Andreas (see comments).... Here's some wisp of color... sigh.... I hate to break too much with tradition... why, the entire foundation of my political philosophy would shimmy, huh? Enjoy...

Friday, November 27

Candid Woman

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Tammy is camera shy. The lighting was a soft, dim, restaurant stew . Which meant cranking up the IS to 1600 and grabbing the shot with the lens zoomed to max. A problem with quarter frame sensors is that they generally make it hard to narrow the depth of field and consequently tossing the foreground and background distractions into soft focus is impossible.

So what to do with a wonderful image that's steeped in noise with a scatter of eye grabbing stuff littering the plane? Why Alien Skin's Bokeh of course. And PhotoShop's native lens flare filter to discipline the nasty light patterns. And, of course, a bunch of adjustment filters to wrestle the dynamic range away from a glaring tungsten cast toward a more intimate color temperature while holding onto the dark puddles of shadow.

Tammy's a photographer and graphic designer with a sensitive eye for detail. That's what I want to capture here. Not so much a photograph as a feeling about my friend. Wuddaya think.

Thursday, November 26

Maybe -Don't Buy The Apple Magic Mouse!

Okay.... you can read my rant below. The $%^%$ Magic Mouse I bought a month ago was maddening. Today is Black Friday (I'm writing this the day after I posed this original posting). You will note that Flo suggested I take the thing back before throwing it against the wall, stomping up and down upon its carcass, then setting fire to the remaining pieces.

Black Friday is NOT a good time to go to the Apple Store. It couldn't be returned without talking to a genius. I had to wait 90 minutes since both a salesman and a manager failed to find a computer which would recognize my mouse (not their fault really can imagine how many mice are in a store). As always, they were very courteous and supportive and put my name on the genius schedule.

After the wait (I browsed the bustling mall), the genius listened to my story, explained that neither he nor his friends had comparable problem with the Magic Mouse, and offered to replace it. Actually, that was the only offer. I accepted - with the understanding that if the replacement failed to work correctly it could be returned either for credit or for some other company's mouse. They also noted that the price had been reduced on the Magic Mouse, re. the Holiday sale, so they gave me a $9 rebate along with the replacement (sale price $60).

Okay, I'm home now... the thing's hooked up and I'm going to give this new thing a try. So far so good. BTW, I bought my first Magic Mouse on the first day it was in stock at the Mac store. I did not do that on purpose, actually the old Mighty Mouse had gone down and I went to the store to replace. it. However, maybe that first batch had a bug or two?

Soooo.... go ahead... read the rant below. And I shall post something next week as a comment on whether all is forgiven. K?


GRUMBLE! My mouse broke. So I bought the Apple Magic Mouse. Yeah... it's magic if what you want is to reach into the hat and come out with a snake instead of a rabbit. AAARGH!

(1) It is pretty
(2) It fits the hand well
(3) It is a piece of crap!

The "buttons" simply cannot be controlled. You right click, it left clicks. Whimsically. There's no order to it. I have reprogrammed this junky bluetooth thing a bunch of times. And of course the definition of madness is repeating the same action in hopes of different results. Well, it has driven me mad.

Moreover the programable options are stupidly limited compared to virtually every third party mouse on the market. How could this have happened? Worse yet, the speed ... when set at max ... tracks more slowly than a muskrat tethered to a fifty kilo dumbbell! If you can imagine a software design flaw... the Apple people have beaten you to it and incorporated it into this pretty (and expensive) paperweight.

I am going to have to buy a new mouse and flush away this fraudulently impersonator. Don't buy it. Don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 19

Thing Over Seal Rocks

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On the edge of San Francisco
There's a thing
Above the seal rocks it sits there
Looking out
Which is what it does while we look
Back at it.

Have you seen it? If not... so look. There it is.


The thing tugged at my camera's lens. Look how pristine the place is. How sterile and bare. Scoured continually by Pacific winds. But out on this point poking over a cliff into the sea, against the sky hanging above the sand, is this human scene. And the mysterious thing just pokes at my imagining. There's a story here, right?

And this thing, by the way, sucks in light. Which makes it a lighthouse that works exactly in reverse to the way other lighthouses work. Now that's cool, huh?

Saturday, November 14

Baby Picture Goes Here

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I'm very good at creating candid images of children. Not so good with babies. But, since KatelynRose is the first grandniece... Well, hadda try, you know? She's actually a lot cuter than this. Thank heavens! What is it with babies that makes them so hard to capture candidly?

Sunday, November 8


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We lugged all of that stuff from the college darkroom up on the second floor behind us. It was the middle of the night. See the big thing right in front of me? That's a Korean War aerial camera. My buddy Jim Furlong found it somewhere, got us some film and found a single engine, three seat plane with an overhead wing. We took the door on my side off so when the plane banked I could dangle right over the city held only by the seat belt. BTW, that monster camera didn't have a neck strap so I held onto it hard as the ground sped ay below.

We've got those odd expressions because we'd created a timer for the big ole 4X5 Speed Graphic camera. We just sat there waiting and waiting until PHWUMP! Flashbulbs popped all around us. Yep, flash bulbs! Funny, that one shot took all sorts of planning and set up (not to mention break down) and yet, who cared? We were young and time and muscle was what we had.

Jim Furlong was the most important photographer who ever lived. Because he infected me with a graphic obsession that's never gone away... that's why. I always wonder as my work comes together, what Jim will think. He created hurdles, and rewards.

Late last month Jim died. But I always wonder as a new image happens, "What will Jim think about that? You've got to have a standard, right?

Saturday, November 7


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So the guy says to me, "Ted, who's the most important photographer who ever lived?"

I scrunches up my face, the way you do when you're digging way deep into your idea piles and I says back, "You mean who do I think did the most for the way I wonder about image making? The one guy who opened my feelings to the possibility of this stuff?"

"Well, yeah," He says, looking all out of patience and like that....

"Simple," I says.... "No contest. This guy."

Ever noticed how crackling memories are vividly colored, but... but.. the details kind of bleed into one another? Like when you recall a spring afternoon when the sun was hot as a friendship and when you yelled to your friend... "Jim! Freeze!" And your mind and your camera fixed an instant... the latter in black and white, the former in the sizzling palette that the sun had washed away.

I was eighteen when we met. I'd taken some box-camera high school pix and lessons from a camera-happy priest. But the darkroom overwhelmed me. Still I got the rush of seeing images "come-up" in Dektol. Jim already knew all that tech stuff. And he had a Kodak Retina 35mm fixed lens folding camera that he insisted I borrow. He was more than an enabler to a kid with a passion, he was a pusher. We spent three, four, sometimes six nights a week and a lot of the weekends in the college darkroom.

We brewed our own chemistries, burnt through tons of war-surplus paper and film, and tried every trick and stunt the camera mags yacked about. The college had a couple of 4X5 Speed Graphics and a ton of fixed bulb lighting equipment. We lugged the big cameras to sports, car wrecks, politics, and flash-bulbed-out candid pix of our friends. The editors we free-lanced for back then still insisted that we use the old 4X5 150ASA, f4.5 monsters.

But we were young and strong and didn't much care. It did teach us a lot about framing, tripods, lighting, and carefully controlling the instinct to shoot. Even with young muscles we rarely lugged more than eight cartridges or eight potential shots.

Ahhhh... but Jim had a Canon, range finder, interchangeable lens, 35 mm (bought during his AirForce stint... he was the older guy), and until I bought my first Miranda SLR, I used his f 2.8 Kodak. We rolled our own, over-packing each 35mm film cart with 40 shots of Tri-X that we casually push-processed to 1600 and even 3200 ASA.

It was a monochrome world since the critical chemistry demands and expense of processing our own color were unthinkable. Our fixer-turned-brown-fingernails off-put some girls, but the pictures we caught of them somehow seemed to make us more exotic than grungy.

We studied all the periodicals, pestered the library to order all of the classic art and photography books, debated visual art, and of course, whether photographers could ever be artists. Jim and I became drinking-buddy close, dark-room close, obsession-close. And along with Guy, Mark, Lenny, Harry, Jimmy, Santo, and Bebey ... we walked through the door where our feeling-about-ideas lived (or was that ideas-about-feelings?).

Jim graduated to go off to media school and a career in photography and cinematography. I considered that, decided, "Nope, too damned hard" and enrolled in economics graduate school. But Thanks to Jim's little folding Retina camera, the stink of darkroom fixer, and the wonder of feelings "coming-up" in the magical developer baths... photographic art has been my refuge. A place to go where the only deadlines and tensions were my own. Where either darkroom doors or computer monitors could erect force fields that held in pleasure and escape.

And all because of the most important photographer who ever lived, and who died last month. My dear friend Jim Furlong. He made me so lucky.

What a debt.

Monday, November 2

Jim & Lenny and Battles

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In 1962 the guy on the left up there was 26. His name? Jim Furlong. The other guy was also one of my college roommates, Len Freiberg. Like Lenny, I was twenty years old and behind the 4X5 Speed Graphic triggering the shutter. Jim wanted to comment on the idea of subjectivity. You know, how opinions are all a matter of perspective, where you stand, how you view stuff. How people can see the same thing and one guy comes away thinking, "Hey, nice picture of a couple of men commuting on the subway." But someone else goes, "Holy dung! Those characters are dangling from the ceiling!"

Jim kept coming up with ideas like that, and talking us into risking our asses to make them work. He's the guy who taught me photography. We spent a bazillion hours together in a small darkroom at King's College where we were, I guess, the photography departments for the school paper, the literary magazine, and the yearbook. We also freelanced and sold pix to the local papers and some mags.

Lenny sent me this diptych last night. The originals had faded and frankly I was pretty sloppy back then, losing the battle against the dust storm that swirled in that darkroom. It was nice to have a second shot at them after forty eight years. I'm a lot more meticulous now and I've scraped away most of the lint, motes, and dribble that covered the images like a Spring snow.

Judging by the St. Patrick's Day Sale in that paper, it was early Spring when we did this thing.So there was probably as much white stuff on the ground outside as I left on these pix. Still, try as I might I couldn't restore one aspect of that cool evening. There was no real way to bring Jim back. He died recently. At least his body did. But that smile... that cheer... those ideas and feelings... They're just as real as my memories of two friends dangling from that ceiling and the way we laughed and still do... all three of us. Len and I here and I'm sure Jim somewhere else.

If it's a battle between death and Jim's warmth... Death runs a poor second.

Tuesday, October 20


OK enough. Took that one down.... There's a limit to my ego puffery. If you missed the image.... You are among the lucky. Heh heh heh..... <- Click here

We're off for a visit to Peru in February. At least some of the adventure will be way up in the Andes at both Machu Pichu and Lake Titicaca. And I'd not been to the gym for seven years and my job has me sitting in front of computer screens, eating rich meals (not to mention the odd cocktail), well - at my age this trip can challenge this old body.

So.. so.... fifteen weeks ago I started to beat myself back into some sort of shape. Im not just dieting - I am TRAINING! Yea! There's six months between July when this started, and February when we leave. Now is about half way there. So... here's the old guy halfway back into a six month date with running, biking, swimming, and pumping iron thingees between working the gym's devilishly designed devices to pulverize fat!

I've shed thirty pounds and dropped four inches off my pants. But, the holidays are going to tease me big time and they will come at that critical time just before we leave. I know that they can puncture all will power and once lost the momentum will be hard to retrieve in January. Sooooo.... I'm determined to have such a head of steam going into the things that I'll power right through them without stuffing my mouth and body full O'fat.

All of this, scooped atop job has left my muse kind of dazed and reeeely reduced my art attention span. In fact work and training has eaten away the most productive hours leaving me sort of dimwitted in front of art projects.

Hopefully as endurance returns for the trip, it will also return for doing images. But in case you wondered why there's been less posting activity here... just take a look at my album cover and you can see where the creative time's been invested. February's just around the corner.... And by the way... it will be hot summer in Peru. More reason to be totally fit for the Andes, right? Sigh...

Friday, October 16

Summer's End

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How very soon
We paddle away

Thursday, October 8

Blonde In Savannah - 2

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Dolled up for her portrait, the little cutie posed in bare feet. I let the photographer work... And like a voyeur... snuck my lens into the posing space.

Wednesday, October 7

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

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Does this need a comment?

Tuesday, October 6

Blonde In Savannah - 1

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It's called "Factor's Walk". It runs parallel to River Street in Savannah, Georgia. I walked the old alleyway this afternoon. It's where Craig Tanner and Marti Jeffers will hold a workshop this weekend. Participants will work on street portraits. As you can see, there are plenty of characters to grab, eh?

This little star was prancing about in her TuTu. In Savannah I've found, the street photographer's got lots of low hanging fruit to harvest.

Lookit what you missed Andreas.

Monday, September 28

Artist Series #1

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Some time ago Apple pulled the plug on its original gallery page in Mac.Com. In fact it pulled the plug on Mac.Com replacing it with MobileMe. The images which I posted on Mac.Com are still there but are forever fixed - I cannot add to them or rearrange them in any way. I think I can take them down one time, or close the folders out completely. But the gave us a lot of warning so I arranged them a last time and that ship will sail as long as Apple keeps it bobbing - but it will be a ghost ship, never changing.

At any rate, there's a new option to post galleries on Mac.Me... which I'm slowly exploiting and at some point I'll post the URL. One of the new options will be a gallery of portraits of Lancaster artists... And my friend Ron Ettleman is the first in that series. That's one of his larger works which determined the palette and mood for this work.

Saturday, September 26

Town House

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Some people collect stamps. The Landis Valley Museum collects buildings. They pluck them from the past and set them off in their fields to capture the aura of centuries of mystery. It's one of Pennsylvania's least known museums... and it's just around the corner from my gym. Lancaster County's littered with intriguing feelings.

Sunday, September 20

Yellow Plus Blue

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Hmmm... Is there a difference between discovery and creativity in art? Lemme try that differently. Is it all about process or maybe its more about concept? Okay... okay... still not clear, right? Sigh. When Michelangelo decided to pull 'David' out of that enormous hunk of stone... well, how much did he know before he began hammering? Had he imagined the boy/man and then dug him free from the marble? Or did he find him as he chiseled away pieces of rock?

I started this concept out by watching a man on West Chestnut Street in downtown Lancaster. And I used my EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens to snag him free of the crowd. Then I went to work in PS/CS4 to reveal his character which originally attracted my lens - by building up tonal maps that let me dig into shadows and highlights. But as he emerged on my digital palette he demanded a setting. A moment... Yeah, his presence was the concept but the process wanted a place to both compliment and amplify it.

And I thought of the rugged coasts of Northern California where the yellows of the hillsides complimented the yellow of the guy's shirt. And then... then... a palette of yellows and blues all seemed exactly correct - perfect to balance the way that the coastline seemed too romantic for this portrait. So... so... process led to discovery. And where does creativity come to visit? Maybe that's a judgement for the visitor to make? Maybe we cannot conclude we are creative, merely presenters or discoverers... eh?

A FOOTNOTE: I built this image yesterday but before writing this tiny essay I rode my bike through Musser Park, next to my home here in Lancaster. And there on a gorgeous Sunday were two young painters from the Pennsylvania College of Art And Design each working in palettes of blues and yellows. While we each discovered very different images, I wonder. Is there a yellow/blue something in the air here in the Historic District? Cool.


Here's an image of the coastline which is really the result of three virgin images stitched together into a pano in Photoshop, which were taken with my Canon 20D through its EF-S 10-22mm (f3.5-4.5) at approximately the same time as mu subject on an equally sunny day.

Sunday, September 13

Hot Fall Award!

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YIPPEEE! After half a century of doing photographic-visual art ---- DISCOVERED! ME! Lovvit!

Not enough exclamation points left in my quiver. Sorry. But it is very cool to be included among the world's top 35 Undiscovered Photographers. Thanks to Andreas Manessinger for bringing my work to the attention of the judges at the popular EpicEdits Forum.

And I'm number six on a list that is not alphabetical. Top Ten! Um... did I say... YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Saturday, September 12


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For a little while yet, there are those who can mount expeditions to the golden age … which will exist until their memories don’t. When time will not check wither… nostalgia can try.

Thursday, September 10

Happy Anniversary To Me • Ta-Da

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It was on 2006.... September 10 that I did this thing for the first time.... with these guys. You know what, I'm learning all of the time and my work's grown a lot in the past three years of posting, experimenting and experiencing your public and private feedback. Thanks so much to the many thousands of you who visit this site with support and reinforcement. I have a so many more friends as a result of all of this, and you know what? That's the real legacy and wonder of what we can do today.

Thanks to all of you.

Wednesday, September 9

...this kid will pay for it.

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Am watching President Obama tell America why one seventh of the economy needs to be taken-over by the government. Why $500 billion of the payment for the take-over must come from senior citizen care. He explained that he can find this amount in wastage. I've heard government explain how it was going to pay for so much through increased efficiencies. It's not ever happened in my lifetime, so I'm skeptical that this $500 billion will come from waste.

The thing is that policy makers must choose between access and quality unless they can find large amounts of additional health care dollars. If 46 million additional people will lay claims against the existing amount of health care resources, then someone will have to determine who gets what. That rationing... if not done by price... will be done by panels. And if the amount available is specifically reduced by $500 bilion to senior citizens who use the most health care... then those panels will disproportionately ration health care away from the needs of the elderly. Death panels?

Last time the President spoke he promised that government control of health care would decrease costs... tonight he promises us budget neutrality. That means no cost increases. What's next?

There's nothing I can do about any of this. As an economist, I'm terrified. I am going to go and buy a bunch of gold since the first victim of all of this will have to be the dollar. And ... and... As I watch and worry... I'm doing pictures as distractive therapy. And it seems as if the face of youth... who will get the bills for all of this... resonates most strongly with me.

There will be a wave of fury whipping across the land tomorrow. No two waves. They will collide. I hate this.


Monday, September 7

Summer's Last

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Hmmm.... at first I just wanted to show my buddy Andreas Manessinger what he'd miss by postponing his US trip. We drove over to the Wellwood in Charlestown. That's in Maryland and the light you see reflected in the pitcher's flashing off of the Chesapeake Bay. Which is also wafting breezes across my half dozen bluepoint #1s. The pitcher was filled with Blue Moon, and would be soon again. It was about 5:30 on the deck and the sun was just starting to grow heavily golden over the water.

That's Bay Seasoning encrusted on the shells which is a salty/peppery mix. That explains the beer, huh?

But anyway... I got to wondering about this fantasy and thought to myself.... "Self. Why don't you see how cool this still life would feel all dressed up in oils?" So, well .... look at this wonderful mixed media.... Can't you smell the crabby steam that's shimmering upward? Which makes me wonder... which image works best? Thoughts?


About the thoughts? Here's some geek stuff for you. Pre Processing: captured by my Canon G10 in natural light at the Wellwood Restaurant in Charlestown, MD right beside the Chesapeake Bay. Post Processing:Well as you can see by this virgin image taken from my FlashCard... in the first image above, I did some cropping and enhanced the dynamic range with some intense tone mapping in CS4 with the juice-kicking power of TOPAZ (love those tools) which also allowed me to add lights and spot the blue points and beer with some drama. Oh yeah, there' s just a touch of AlienSkin's Bokeh filter around the edges to obscure some distractions. You thinkthis recipe works?

Then... then... in the second image I worked in AlienSkin's SnapArt2 with a medium brush in portrait.... later masking away the oil effect to spot the crabs. I can see either of these blown large on the wall of a restaurant.... lit with one lamp from above on an otherwise dark paneling. How elegant is that? Huh?

So? Wuddaya think?

Friday, September 4


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Where do you go when every place else has tossed you out?


Monday, August 31

Lookout - New Criticism DAMN!

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GRUMBLE! Once upon a time my images were rejected from photographic sites because they were visual art. Now they are getting rejected from visual art sites because... they are filtered! See this image? I've posted the original below. There are photographic based web sites that are for images which have been enhanced by brush and specifically must show the brush strokes. Look at my image here. See the strokes?

Now look at the original. Do you see any strokes? Yeah, I carefully laid the strokes in - with SnapArt2 from AlienSkin. And NO... I did not push a button and get a one-size-fits-all paint-by-numbers, cookie-cutter result. This image was created with over three dozen layers. Look for example at the tree line, the cropping, the quality of light. I have mixed impasto with oils. I have mixed brushes and even in some places employed pointilism. Everywhere I improved upon the dynamic range to create what I felt as I created this image from a picture I took around the corner and down the block from my home here in Lancaster.

This was not a mere swirling about of brushes in CS4 or Painter XI. This is the result of significant forethought, and the application of extensive technique to achieve an end I DARE YOU TO REPLICATE!!!

It is a unique work of art which, among other tools, involved SnapArt2 - a number of times in different locations. And yet it has been rejected as (mere) filtration. If it's so easy to do... go ahead... DO IT! Damn I am pizzzzed.

At first post processing was rejected out of hand by the organic photographers. Now filtration is what? Too easy? THE HELL IT IS! Sigh.....

Grumble... Rant... ERRRRRG! Isn't this just the latest variant of the "I don't know what that is but it isn't photography" close minded schools of mental fertilizer?

Damn I am HOT!

Sunday, August 23


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My friend Steven Issell was brave enough to use AlienSkin''s SnapArt on his own picture. and people have griped about the avatar I'm widely using. Sooooo.... Today I stood in front of a window, held out my Canon G10 and snapped this picture of me. Then I carefully applied the impasto option that SnapArt offers taking care to make me look as good as the basic material will allow. After all, I own the blog right? So here's the result... And I'm holding AlienSkin totally responsible for making me look like that. Pity you can't see the canvas effect, and the depth of the paint. It's cool to see the effect even on such a familiar face.


No virgin images or gear stuff this time. Whatcha see is what I got through the G10. Nice that it has 14.5 Mpxs though, they really allow the filter to function and hold onto max sharpness.

Saturday, August 22


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Ever noticed how scientists are ashamed of epiphany? Read a scientific paper and you will never find the words, "And at this point in the procedure we abruptly realized that Dr. Skinny had accidentally spit into the solution and that his saliva added a stimulus to the precipitate that overcame the impasse resulting in the miracle hair restoration break through."

Nope, read their stuff and Point A results eventually in Point Z through a well planned process that never veers from the genius of the scientific team. Of course Point Q was probably Dr. Skinny's spittle, but the report fails to account for epiphany that emerges during the process.

Visual artists are not scientists. See this first image? I wanted to apply my new interest in AlienSkin's SnapArt to some images I'd taken at Pigeon Point Light on the California Coast. And I thought it'd be cool to create an illustration featuring my feelings about the light.

And then a funny thing happened along the way to creating that image up there.... This happened! BOING! I discovered that SnapArt's oil painting options allowed me to swirl thick strokes to compliment an idea I had when I dramatized the original photograph with Topaz3. I'm thinking of it as Doctor Skinny's spittle...


And the virgin image that started, or startled, my imagination? Here's what my Canon 20D saw through its EF-S 10-22mm (f3.5-4.5).

Friday, August 21

Cape May In August

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Cape May's a city that hangs on New Jersey's southern point. A piece of it faces the ocean, another piece the bay. And between the two edges sit Victoria's houses. Something about the deliberate way people present their homes hits my illustrator button. The town's pieces look like magazine covers, don't you think?

Hey... now you can follow me on Twitter!! Tweet me at


And here's sort of the virgin image, well seven images... pulled from my FlashCard and stitched together in PhotoShop. It should be easy to see where I went from here, right? Not sure if you'd call this assembled images pre or post processing, but they're what my Canon EOS 40D saw through its Canon EF-S 10-22mm (f3.5-4.5). After this assembly I cropped, then warped it into acceptable shape. Of course there's extensive tone mapping then both Topaz and Alien Skin's SnapArt finished the job.

Sunday, August 16

Fisher's Bench

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You know: There's a really big difference between showing a moment, and revealing its quality and character. I'm convinced that technique is what cranks volume into an artist's voice... Right? Technique lets me dig out the feelings I want to communicate with you. It's reassuring to know how many tools we have in our bag now. How much volume we're able to build up.

PreProcessing The hunting camp up in Potter County has a couple of stocked trout ponds. Here's one I like that looked wonderful through my Canon 40D. PostProcessng The tone mapping was done in PhotoShop CS4 with the help of Topaz where I imagined the mist. Then I used AlienSkin's Snap Art's water color tools to tease out some golden grit.


Haven't done this for a while, but given how much effort this image took... thought you'd enjoy seeing the original I stitched together from four shots into a panorama. Enjoy....

Tuesday, August 11

Potter County #6: Gene Kelly?

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Hey, that's pretty cool! Downtown Coudersport sitting in the August saturday sun. Looking like... like... Looking like this image here. The way it's looked for what? A century? More?

You know how people say, "New York City? Yeah, it's a wonderful place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there."??? Well to a whole lot of people who remember a time that they learned about in history class... Coudersport's the sort of very small town where they'd like to visit and live.

Thing is though, it's not real easy to find, which is why maybe it's been preserved. Wasn't there a vincent Miinelli movie once about Scottish village that disappears into the Highland mist and returns for a day every century? Hmmm... Not sure but odd how the woman dancing just off to that park on the left there... Just beyond the frame... Odd how much she looked like, what was her name? Cyd Charise? Pity, I thought I'd caught her... Wonder why you can't see her?

You don't think???
PreProcessing: As you probably realize by now, the only lens I took out in Potter County was the EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6) I screwed onto my Canon 40D. Here I pointed it at Coudersport's main street and shot a series for a panoramic. PostProcessing: Stitched them together in CS4 and turned to Topaz to even out the dynamic range from the extreme light then AlienSkin's SnapArt's Impasto to build up paint into a three dimensional texture. And why... It's Almost Like Being In Love... eh?

Sunday, August 9

Potter County #5: Sunrise Over Clara

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Until digital, photographers were taught to seek and find. All other artists were taught to express what they thought and felt. Photographers pared down what they found, while the rest of the art world built up what they imagined. For the photographer to succeed s/he had to apply imagination to re-work a discovered object or moment. S/he created by eliminating while all other artists created by … well… creating.

Here's a sunrise over the second pond at the Potter County hunting camp I've been discussing since my visit last weekend. Now about that sunrise that's "over" Potter County... the point is: well I felt it crackling through the leaves and pouring itself down onto the shrubs, mists, and glades. And here's how I felt it.
PreProcessing: No surprise that I continued to shoot through my Canon 40D's EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6). PostProcessing: Here we see the power of AlienSkin's SnapArt water color brushing's robust ability to interrelate with Topaz filters. Of course I enhanced the red scale of the sky throughout the shrubbery's highlights. It seemed to me to be a study in early morning textures.

Friday, August 7

Potter County #4: The Coudersport

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Ever seen a glimmering hunk of amber? You know, a translucent glob of ancient resin which collected around a seed, a bud, or an almost forgotten bloom in its center? And as you twirled it around, did it trigger memories that you didn’t really have? Recollections of a time before you should remember?

Coudersport is the county seat of Potter County, Pennsylvania and about 2,700 of the county’s 18,000 people live in the town that was formed in the early 1800s. Young, even by American standards, still it’s collected the ambitions of the turn of the twentieth century along a main street of shops, parks, and small office buildings. The streets hold memories of marching bands, and loggers. It is not a land that time forgot, rather one that time remembers lovingly – even longingly. If Coudersport did not exist, Disney would imagine it. In Coudersport you expected Mickey, Pluto, or Cinderella to skip out from door and alley ways.

On a sunny Saturday last week, it glimmered within its resin of amber time.
PreProcessing: Again through my Canon’s EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6) in Coudersport’s main street where I found their working movie house. PotProcessing: Lots of things going on here. I want to create a series of square format images that will hang among the various panos I created in Potter County and at the hunting lodge I posted a few days ago. To create the Edward Hopper mystique here I first turned to Topaz, then teased in two effects from AlienSkin’s SnapArt2. First the Comics filter, then I stroked in Impasto to deepen the nostalgic sense while reinforcing the palette that could have been washed out in the mid-day August light. Happily, I think it worked well.

Thursday, August 6

Potter County #3: Pond 1(b)

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See if you write, say poetry, you keep your audience attentive with every paragraph, sentence, and word. And you string them together with no hiccups, burps, or stammers. Reality simply isn't allowed to muddy access, distract, or leap out to screech "BOO!"

That's what digital artists do now. Like I did here. Right?
PreProcessing: Here's that pond I posted yesterday captured by my Canon 40D's EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6) at the hunting lodge in Clara. PostProcessing: Okay, I had to move the furniture around a tad on this piece of the pond to enhance the dazzle of this misty place through a gentle sunrise shower. I did the reconstruction in PS4 and exploded the feelings with AlienSkin's Bokeh and SnapArt's oils. Sweet.

Wednesday, August 5

Potter County #2: Pond #1

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If you'll look again at my last post and peer just to the left of the building... well walk that way and immediately beside and to the rear of the lodge is where I stood to grab this pano of their first pond. In fact, that tree to the right here... see it? That's the tree which is framing the top of the lodge in yesterday's post. It seems as if the blue egrets have reduced the trout population this year since even through the mists you can see to the bottom of the six foot deep waters.

PreProcessing: As yesterday, I caught the series through my Canon 40D's EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6). PostProcessing: The four images stitched together nicely with CS4's merge tool. I cropped it some, diddled with the dynamic range then used Topaz and AlienSkin's watercolor devices to tease out the mystery of the pool.

Monday, August 3

Potter County #1: The Lodge

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Went to visit The Endless Mountains at their western edge this weekend. Here's the hunting camp that sits on its estate in Clara, a tiny town in Potter County, Pennsylvania. Quiet, remote, nice neighbors, but not many. It is a tad different from New York City a week or so ago. There's a reason that Pennsylvania's called the Keystone State. It's the doorway between the megalopolis of America's east coast and the country's west.
This lodge sits on a LOT of land which forms the biggest part of an Appalachian mountain. Oddly, the folks up there don’t name their mountains, I guess because there are so many of the things? After all, when you have lawn full of grass, you don’t bother to name the blades, eh?

Um, did I mention that the guys never invite wives or lady-friends along? Un-huh, there are still places where men can drink, smoke cigars, play cards, scratch their…. um… And, oh yeah, sometimes hunt. Think of it as an ANTI-SPA. Wonder when that’ll get outlawed, huh?

PreProcessing: I used my Canon D40 to capture a series through its EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6): PostProcessing: PS/CS4 stitched the shots together and after rigorously adjusting the dynamic range, adding a new sky, and eliminating a parked car – AlienSkin’s SnapArt2 techniques allowed me to mix colored pencils with oil paints and create a mixed media rendering of the lodge-where-women-don’t-go

Friday, July 31


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Imagination works between different versions of the truth… it fills in the inconsistencies either merging the alternatives or patching up the one chosen. Imagination’s a lot like the corner man in a prize fight. He tries to un-batter the fighter between rounds. Tries to send back a champion each time.

The fine artist understands that there’s a difference between showing a moment and cracing open its meaning. Artists communicate auras…. That curious mesh of time and space that‘s a carrier for quality and character.
PreProcessing This is, of course, the protagonist from yesterday’s Night Shelter captured in a Florence Street with my Canon 20D’s EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens. PostProcessing Layers of PS CS4 to model this man’s aura into three dimensions and then the generous use of AlienSkin’s Bokeh to isolate him so I could finally turn to SnapArt for a subtle layering of oil strokes.

Thursday, July 30

Night Shelter

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Digital artists maneuver in a space between technology and magic. A technician is judged by the reproducibility of his results. It is just the other way around for the artist. Rearranging reality is well within the privileges of my poetic license. Technique is a language… it allows communication between subject, artist, and audience. Artists aren’t so much spectators as they are speculators about information.

Feelings find shelter in the night… and in dreams.

We are what we feel.

PreProcessing of each of these elements happened In Florence, Italy through my Canon 20d's EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens. PostProcessing in my MacBookPro with PS CS4 where I brought together my scene and its protagonist using AlienSkin's SnapArt to create the theatrical moment.

Tuesday, July 28

Angry Making

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If you lived paint, worked to make your hand behave your eye, and labored to master drawing, color, form, texture, shape and dimensions.... It has to piss you off to see that now there's none of that between a moment and the artist's feeling except a button and a swirl of the computer's mouse.

I believe that images have to be about something - something that is not photography. If it is merely about photography it is merely about craft. Instead I need to find feelings that aren't words. If they are words, then why not write them instead of imitating them in an image?


PreProcessing Last week in Grand Central Station. That's in New York City. Three shots with my Canon G-10 to create a triptych. Like stained glass in a great basilica... which in a way Grand Central is. The church of bustle, of mid-point, of arrival, departure, of scurry to wait. It is a place for grand tension and release - which is a metaphor for cathedral. PostProcessing Simple glam layer sandwiching, abstracted into neon with pointilism courtesy of AlienSkin's SnapArt2.

Sunday, July 26


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Sculptor Alberto Giacometti wrote, "One never sees things. One sees them through a screen." He argued that the image held primacy over the existence it was supposed to depict.

I take photographs, not so much to remember where I've been, but to discover it. My scan of a moment which will never come again is infinitely inferior to my camera's scan of that same instant. Later I can study it through a different lens... the lens of my emotions and feelings which I can focus infinitely tighter than the distractions of the original moment allowed me to do. There, in my studio, I can find in the image shiny details which come together to form conclusions that were simply not obvious at the 'real' instant.

There is so much more in a photo than in memory. And so much more that imagination can do with that memory when it's discovered for the first time in a quiet study of its photograph.


I had the Giacometti quote in mind as I prowled Manhattan soooo.... Pre-Processing: Last week in Times Square. Usually we look to the Times triangular building from some one or another angle... and we miss the walls to that square. Chris and I ate our lunch from behind one of those windows on second floor of that building up there to the left. And we peered down on the swirls going on below. Then we came out, and I looked back and up... and grabbed four shots for a pano.Post-Processing: I had Photoshop CS4 stitch together the pano using the power of its 'collage' layout option with which I deliberately created a tumbling effect. Then I stitched them together again using the 'cylindrical' option which allowed me to tease out the central building as the star of this trio. I added palette and a sky from Cape Cod. I used Topaz in part to dramatize some elements and the Oil painting option (carefully applied in stroked layers) to the scene all around the central building to drop them back and to allow that central building to pop. Of course there is considerable detailed work with the dynamic range. As usual, my final file for this image is about a gigabyte. I'm a storage hog.

Thursday, July 23

Just More Flowers

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I won’t send flowers
They’re too easy
And yet flowers
Are too difficult

So I won’t…
Except once or
Four times
Each year…

Pre processing in my Lancaster back yard this weekend through my 40D with its Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6) screwed on. Aperture priority of course with the thing opened full to squeeze the depth out of the field. And Post processing? Well I hunted for the personality of these girls in CS4 with AlienSkin’s SnapArt tuned to play the music.
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See… Back in late March I posted the first in this series of my manly attempt to picture girly flowers. Sigh… No matter how I try, they come out hard and muscular. Flowers are about nuance… but I’m not certain a man quite gets that… Which makes flowers for the guy artist simultaneously too easy… and too difficult. Well, there’s always Fall, eh?