Saturday, April 25

By Request

(Click above)
A participant in last Wednesday's event at Musser Park emailed me. "Ted, I've seen those gatherings portrayed on TV and in print, yet none seem as sensitive as the handful of pictures you've posted here over the last week. I wonder if you could put some together for me... perhaps in square formats... that I might get framed to hang? I'm thinking that this is a quiet footnote to history and I'd like to keep it in my home office."

How flattering. And of course I have done that... and here are the results. He went on to tell me that he might want as many as three, each to measure about twenty inches on a side. So here's what I prepared for him.

Have any of you comments? They do look handsome... and somehow quietly seem to glimmer at that size. It will be interesting to see them matted and framed, huh?

Thursday, April 23

Bokeh Revisited

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Whoa! Got an email yesterday from Terence Tay, the lead developer of Alien Skin's Bokeh. As you'll recall last Saturday (April 18th) I posted a quick doodle I did using the demo version of that application. I'm more than pleased. In such little time I was able to get the effects you can see in that image. I posted other examples of my Bokeh-play on other sites which seems to have gotten a bunch of you interested in the PhotoShop filter. Actually I did the Saturday image about ten or twelve days ago when I first downloaded the Bokeh demo. Then I started applying it to the images I captured on April 15th in Musser Park during the political demonstration.

It's my strong feeling that filters are to us as brushes are to painters. You use them sparingly to tease out the ideas and feelings that you want your art to communicate. I hope that the Bokeh filter was used so subtly in this series that you actually don't notice it since there are a range of other tools at work in each of those images.

My point is, that I'm finding the AlienSkin application increasingly useful, and today's posting from that same Musser Park demonstration would not have been possible in the same time without the Bokeh filter. And yet... I hope that even when you study the image that you won't be easily able to track down the specific elements of the piece which Bokeh helped me create.

It was wonderful of Terence to contact and thank me for featuring his filter. I hope he enjoys this image as well. More importantly I hope that you all do... and appreciate the strength of this man I've pictured here. His strong personality demanded, I think, a dramatic presentation... and yeah... Bokeh seems to help do that.


Sunday, April 19

Another - Bokeh

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Here's another from the political demonstration in Musser Park last Wednesday. It's also another of my uses of AlienSkin's Bokeh which I discussed yesterday. So?

I have the feeling that the event was rich in cinematic moments... even quiet epic feelings. Here's one. Does it work?

Saturday, April 18

Have You Found Bokeh?

><- Click here
The software magicians at Alien Skin have a new application called 'Bokeh'. Oh, alright, I don't know how new it is, but I just discovered it. There's a free thirty day download and you can play with all of its functions.

I discovered Belle on a shelf in a run down tourist trap. See there on the bottom of this post? That's where she stood among a bunch of Gone With The Wind flotsam.

I never could figure out what to do with Belle. She seems to niggle at me to find her a place in an image. And maybe I shall some day. But that's not the point. Nope, I wanted to try Bokeh out on something, so I pulled Belle up and in about ten minutes this is what I made. I can see so many subtle (yeah, I know this one's over the top... don't nag me... K?) ways to use the effects this PhotoShop fllter allows. I'm in love... I think. Wuddaya think? Let me know, and if you try their free demo offer, let me know where you've posted your experiments, this looks like a silver bullet, huh?

Oh, and here's the link to AlienSkin's Bokeh , enjoy...

And here's the original...

Click There

And here's a last variation.... Hmmmmm.... Not real manly though... Gotta think on this one, eh?

Friday, April 17


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She was among Wednesday's demonstrators in Musser Park. Her fingers squeezed at a sign that she dwarfed behind. Here was a teeny person with a large scrawl that screamed, "CRUSHING!"

Thursday, April 16

Bill Died

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I'm tired tonight.

Sometimes life wears us down,huh? I missed Billy's funeral this morning.He died quietly in his sleep last weekend. The mass was in Palm Beach and there was no way to get down to Florida in time... too many balls in the air here. And that's my point about life... it's exhausting keeping all that stuff aloft.

You may recall Bill Manson. Click here to see the original posting back on December 9 of '07. It remains one of my favorite portraitsr... because I can find Billy in there. I can see him in those eyes and the slightly pursed iips. I can feel the dash of the memory he wafted the way a clearing in the April woods tingles at all of your senses.

I miss Bill even though we rarely saw one another... and to be fair, as he unpacked his memory's baggage, he long ago forgot me. But inside my mind are the times that he and Gerry made my parents laugh. The way he'd show up from somewhere in the world with stories and charm... the way he made a young boy dream that things could be wonderful way away... and yet come back here - so that the farthest part of the world was only days away from home. And as I sit here now remembering all of that... I realize that we're all links... his was a strong one.

Men are like that.

Incidentally, his daughters Lisa and Amy chose this picture as the front of Bill's funeral card. I'm glad they also find him in there.

Wednesday, April 15


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They met today. In Musser Park. I live beside the park so I saw them meet. Hundreds of them. Today is important in the United States. It is the only day where there is virtually unanimous participation in a civic action. Today is April 15th. To citizens, or legal residents - it is the only fixed date which we must adhere to or face the potential of large men coming to our homes. With guns. It is a day enforced by coercion. There is no other coercion day in this country. If you don't, um, celebrate it the way you are told... that is if you are accused of not following its rules... you are guilty of the charges unless you can prove innocence. That is the only exception to the rules of American justice prescribed in the country's constitution.

Today there were demonstrators in Musser Park, in Lancaster, PA. Hundreds of them. It wasn't an accident that they chose to gather on this date. CNN has labelled their meeting, anti-government. CNN is known around the world. Perhaps you know what it is. And perhaps you know why April 15th is symbolic to the people who met in Musser Park to express themselves?

Is there a Freedom Of Expression?

Oh, by the way there were no elected officials in the park today. No mayors, no City Councilors, no County Commissioners (Lancaster is a county seat), no judges, no state representatives, state senators, no governors, federal congressmen or senators. Nor were any of their staffs present.

Just hundreds of people... expressing. It's never happened there before. About April 15th.

Tuesday, April 14

Painterly? Yeah... painterly.

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I've been this way before which you can see if you click here.
But this time it's an exercise. I wanted to see how painterly I could make this image, and how surreal that effect would make the final image.

The idea of surreal is fascinating. Our minds evolved to seek patterns. If we could see a puma in the leafy bushes, we had a better chance of survival. So we've become hardwired to discover relationships among facts. The surreal image presents a number of sharp facts which are, essentially un-related. It's a kind of artistic tease. You know a picture of a salami, a mound of sand, and the back of a man in a derby hat. Surreal.

Now my question here is, can you remove enough of the image ... the facts ... to leave a pattern which is not explicable? Of course by linking this to the earlier version as I've done above perhaps defeats the deal. I guess I should have chosen an image for which you had no anchor, huh?

Hmmmm... Okay, back to the drawing boards... Literally! Grumble

Friday, April 10

The Poet Wrote...

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"For beauty's nothing but the beginning of terror." - Rainer Maria Rilke

Sigh, don't you love great German poets? Explode-the-milk-through-your-nose FUNNNNY! You get the feeling that Rainer Maria Rilke had a dazzlingly pretty mother... Who gave him that middle name.

Which wasn't totally funny in high school. Um, well not to Rainer Maria Rilke. I've always thought, as I read Rilke, that his mommy's beauty probably talked his dad into a lots of stuff. Like naming his boy, Maria. Which results in either a totally tough youngster... or a kick-ass sour poet. I'm guessing that Rainer wasn't what women call a bad boy, huh?

Sunday, April 5

Boys Dream Of Angels

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There's a myth about Victoria's Secret angels. They're supposed to be the fantasy of healthy young boys. When in fact the angelic dreams of the healthiest boys I knew had nothing to do with jiggling women in sparkly underwear. YUCH!

Nope, we dreamt at a time when things like cars were made NOT to feed the nightmares of grim governments obsessed with sanding away anything powerful, dangerous, wasteful, or romantic about them. Uh-uh. Then they were sleek, muscular, responsive, and melodic angels gleaming squint-bright through our boyhood night-times.

They let us drive a glowing enthusiasm that's somehow dimmed.

Ahh… but those were childish times when leaders preached optimism and its reward was angels that glimmered in a boy’s sleep.

Thursday, April 2

The Photograph Is A Fact

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It's not the difficulty of technique that makes something into art. Nope... nope... it's the challenge of what an image expresses, you know what I'm saying? Hmmm.. Lemme try that differently. The greatest thoughts have been expressed by the simplest technique... writing.

A photograph is a fact... well it is a couple of facts. What it is about is factual. And the thing itself... you can see it, examine it - its very existence is factual.

An image on the other hand. This thing here... It is not about something factual. But you can see it, consider it. It exists. And its existence is a fact, right?

So... so.... What it is is NOT a manipulated photograph. What it is is a feeling that I've enhanced. And how was I feeling? Um, well... just like that image there. Right?

And that's a fact!


By the way, the feeling I mentioned was all about what's going on in America right now. Urban ideologies are pouring over the countryside. The liberal has broken through the conservative. The taxis are swirling through the covered bridges. How will they be received? Are the country roads two-way? Will they? Can they - ever go back? Are urban feelings way out of place in a foreign country? Or are they the ones that we have been waiting for?