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?

Monday, July 20


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John Updike in an essay quite critical of photography as an art form wrote, "We cannot expect the camera to suck in, with light and shade, the photographer's emotion." Mr. Updike died recently before he got to fully appreciate what photographers can do now. We can suck... and we can regurgitate... at a level with painters. Now whether we can suck as well as they can... Hmmmm... That depends upon the suckability of the individual artist, huh?

Rita's visiting her family this week, so I went to NYC for the day last Friday with my buddy Chis Herr to do a day of pre-processing with my Canon G10. A peculiar thing happened. It felt claustrophobic. I've not ever been as aware of the teeming masses that crammed the sidewalks and streets. The police were enforcing the traffic lights in teams with solid white chains to corral the pedestrians from simply ignoring the signals. Crammed, jammed, slammed about I had no sense of fear, but lots of discomfort as the tide rushed along the grimy ways.

The city's showing its age, and melancholy.

Oh... Post Processing for this surreal capture was done with Lucis Filters in CS4. At the moment at least, my recollections of last Friday seem best described in surreal.

Tuesday, July 7


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Sometimes it pours like syrup... it's stuff we can touch, and feel it run across our skin. And if we peer into it, eyes closed, it's a warmer than a baby's giggle.

"You know," she said with a peculiar smirk, "you're never more than four feet or seventy seven seconds from wonder."

"Huh," I looked up from my book at the woman in the seat across the aisle.

"Actually," she wasn't really looking at me... more through me, "wonders are so commonplace that they're frequently invisible to us. Artists though... artists they recognize every one of them. Or at least I think so."

"Huh?" I said again. Not terribly original but I wasn't really in a conversation with her so much as I seemed to be her very small audience.

"Yet you know, they're not all of the same moment, um, import," there was a childlike quality about her. "But even then it takes an artist to understand the differences. Most are just moving, passionate, instants. And then there are those few wonders which can move the artist to.... to..." Her eyes flittered. Hunting that word sent her head moving almost as if she were a little girl on a midsummer's night adventure tracking a dancing lightening bug.

"They can move the artist to what," I heard myself murmur willing the word to come to her... to have her reveal it to me...

"To... to... _rapture_."

The rest of the trip we both sat... silent.

Apple pulled its service today. Now sits up but my door's closed. I can't remove it, change it, or alter it in any way. I guess if I stop paying for my mobile me subscription it will vanish in a puff. But since MobieMe is a cloud where I sync all of my machines, that's not likely.

So it will bob up there on the virtual seas. Odd huh?

I gotta find another place to store my images. Suggestions?

Monday, July 6

4 Rules Of Wedding Guest Etiquette Photography

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Maria and John were married last weekend in Pittsburgh. And the reception was held at LeMont...

The gourmet restaurant sits behind a crystal wall atop Mt. Washington which peers down upon The Point... where the mighty and historic Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny rivers swirl together to showcase Steel City's astonishing explosion of world headquarters.

While they're destined to enjoy a lot of things, the couple - my wife's cousins - will never again be the stars of a setting to rival their wedding afloat in a glimmering gem filled with everyone they love.

I wanted to capture one feeling to bring them back there each time they open it up over the years. A memory for them... So? How'd I do?

Following the rules...

When you're a guest there's a clear etiquette involving photography.

Most importantly, there's a professional who's earning a living documenting the event. .

Rule number one... DON'T COMPETE! Don't interfere, insinuate, elbow, or shove into the pro-space. You're not the cook, so hunt for the crumbs.
Rule Number two... Don't compose the bridal party. They have entered the zone of photography fatigue. The pro has done all of the standard poses, configurations, assemblies, and CLICHéS!!!!
Rule Number three... Discover the details and candids. These are the atmospherics which will bring the memory book to life for the kids twenty years from now. You know the people better than the pro, know the culture. Know what will make Aunt Clara tear up, Uncle Jim giggle. You know about Harry's hairpiece and Myrna's implants.

And you know what the bride and groom consider romantic. If you want to give them a present, don't go looking to grab yourself one.

Here's your chance to repay your hosts for a great family meeting... By marrying your craft to their tastes.

Rule 4... The wedding is NOT about you... yet strangely, the more invisible you become, the more memorable you will be....

Saturday, July 4


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this is my nephew Justin. He's married to Suzy... who was last night's posting. We're in Pittsburgh for the Fourth Of July weekend. Fireworks are making my dog Rocco crazy. Poor little guy. He doesn't understand how patriotism involves exploding things. Hmmmm... maybe I don't either. Lemme think on that.

Friday, July 3


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My niece is seven months pregnant. Seemed to be a nice milestone to mark.