Monday, December 17

Black Bile

Melancholy

I cannot answer or comment upon comments to this blogsite!


Dunno what's happened but when I log in and attempt to reply to comments - for the past weeks - I've been abruptly redirected to the back room where posts are created and edited! Which is where I am right now, composing this essay. Meaning, I cannot post responses to your comments on this site!!! At least until I can figure out what's happened. 

Hence perspicacious thoughts like those from Felix and Andreas - have become orphans. Dunno what to do short of  tedious interaction with the Blogger folks (if there are any. I have a sense that Blogger is entirely managed by an algorithmic robot) so, given so many niggling details of life just now, it's a meeting that's impossible for me to schedule. Which, of course, injects me with a hot-shot of melancholy.

In the interim, if commenters would send me thoughts to the "Email Ted" mail link on the right - that'd be nice.

So, I'm pissed, since I've composed responses to every comment, but cannot drop them here. Grumble. Oh well... Merry and Happy season everyone. Hope it's blessed and wise. Meantime, I'll lurch around mumbling to myself in a cranky huff...

BTW, the 2019 Cranky Huff model has just been released to dealer showrooms where it throbs dully in one color... black matte.

WAIT! WAIT! NEVER MIND THE ABOVE... I THINK I CAN POST NOW! WHEE!

Yep, I've responded to Cedric on this post... Now lemme goto the previously unanswered comments to past posts. Hope it works. Sorry about the rant, but I'm leaving the pict and my explanation. K?


That image up there? It's a Spanish bano serving an otherwise elegant restaurant. Don't know why, but bathroom engineering and design fascinate me the same way that Stephen King's stories used to. Anyone know what a Roman toilet-room looked like? Greek? Egyptian? Mesopotamian? Druid? Talk about "The power behind the throne..."

Monday, November 26

Synerdipity



So, how do notions of clean and clutter interact? I mean, minimalists believe that less is more,while that’s me up there in the title image, wondering if more is less?Huh?

Clutter’s the quarry of minimalists and me. We both want to shrink a story to its essence. Yet I do the opposite of whatever minimalists do. Is there a word for the opposite of minimalist?

The thesaurus cranks out synonyms for minimalism like; essential, austere, basic, conservative, moderate, spare, stark, or unadulterated. While its opposites are; embellished, ornate, lavish, and outlandish.

Giants of photography like Henri Cartier-Bresson hunted Decisive Moments: instants when life’s parts lined up into a meaning. They stalked frames of evidence. Like life: Cartier-Bresson’s stories are intricate yet straightforward. But even with their complexities it’s wrong to think of his images as embellished or outlandish. His parts epoxy together. 

Look here at Bresson’s Rue Mouffetard  Paris. 


Henri Cartier-Bresson: Rue Mouffetard, Paris – 1952
Last sold for $43,750

Here’s a sense of time, place, culture, and feeling. It’s a novel squashed onto one frame. Genius!

It’s the whole of a concept that makes a meaning. To paraphrase Antonio Salieri’s wonder over discovering Mozart’s hand-written scores in the movie Amadeus, “There are NO corrections, deletions or additions: None!  Add or remove a single note and the entire masterpiece implodes. It is as if he takes dictation from God!” 

So? Is Cartier-Bresson a minimalist?

I’m re-reading Michael Freeman’s Fifty Paths To Creative Photography, (IIlex Press 2016), and he’s triggered me to think that life and art are all about, lining things up – where to put stuff. Unlike other artists who could move things where they wanted, before digital it was photographers who had to move around. While it’s still a good idea, now we can move life's furniture in post. 

To photographic digital-artists, just as they are to many drawing-artists, what comes out of a camera are reference-images. Many of my artist friends take a series of photo-sketches… that they lug back to clip beside their easels. Some are facial or body expressions, some mood impressions, while many lack the lighting that ignites feelings. Most are simply snapshots of stuff – their photo sketchbook. But they contain the essence of theme for the artist to extract a narrative by realigning the pieces into an inclination greater than the sum of these parts. Which of course is the essence of conceptual art.

Serendipity happens when you find valuable or agreeable stuff you weren’t looking for. Synergy happens when the sum is greater than its parts.  Squoosh the two together and it makes me imagine what Synerdipity might mean. Isn’t synerdipity what the artist does? An artist wills things to relate. 

Once at a party I came upon a pair of literature professors wondering if one could think without words. Distractions happened and I never heard their conclusion – Damn! Perhaps they could have inserted “symbols” for “words” so that they wondered if thought had to involve the symbolic: and that thinking was a matter of sculpting an angel from a stone made up of symbols? Do y’gotta’ have a pile of tangibles to arrange into something intangible? 

For the moment let’s forget that our Latin/Greek based languages  (the only ones I know enough about to make sweeping statements) are all substantially metaphoric at heart. You know that abstract reasoning is also called conceptual reasoning. It’s an ability to problem-solve by identifying patterns, logic and trends from new data, then to focus conclusions. IQ is an attempt to measure degrees of insightful (or useful) intelligence while EQ is a similar attempt to measure the usefulness of an individual’s emotional tools. Great creators in every field are generally high IQ & EQ. They can CQ (Conceptual Quotient) at astonishing levels. 

And CQ is a tool of synerdipity. With or without words, artists reveal patterns. Now, let me digress for a moment. 

Regardless of the complexity of their challenge: mathematicians and engineers seek elegance. Which means they abhor clutter. So does an artist’s concept. In his frame of evidence for my conclusion look again at Bresson’s Rue Mouffetard. Think again about Solieri’s  startled reactions to Mozart’s scores. Both those scores and Carier-Bresson’s decisive moments are elegant in the mathematical and engineering sense. They can be condensed no farther. 

Their frames are bursting with meticulous meaning without any of the embellished, ornate, lavish, or outlandish which thesaurus-makers say are the antonyms for the word minimalism. They contain only the essential, austere, basic, conservative unadulterated pattern of whole concepts. And yet while we have a word for minimalists there is none for their opposite.

Here're three examples of photographic-based art which I could never have accomplished in a wet darkroom.

Here, look first at a 2007 shot I grabbed when a street carnival opened in a small Lancaster park.

Air Chairs • Buchanan Park, Lancaster, PA • May, 2007

The reference image showed a Ferris Wheel’s empty cages juxtaposed against flashing lights and a grey rain-stained sky. But the final image brought those lights and carriages together into a surreal feeling backlit by impossible heavens. 

Second in complexity here is a 2013 Dublin street capture – well actually two snaps. The first one was of street facades which, upon close inspection, showed lingering ravages of the real estate collapse of 2008. See how these are X-ray buildings? You can look right though them as most of their floors were empty. The second, which I placed in the foreground involved a mother and pram against a poster’ed wall. This second of the two suggested hope which was now both placed in front of, yet walled off from, both the immediate and distant past.  Again matching the dynamic (and depth of field) range of these two disparate photo-sketches into this seamless collage was a darkroom impossibility: Synerdipity.

In Sunshine or in Shadow • Dublin, Ireland • May, 2007

And finally, look here at “Time Ravages All Roses 

Time Ravages All Roses • Geo-Collage • May, 2007

Yeah, the reference pix were stark. The coffined background was captured in a Dublin mausoleum, while the taxidermy monkey stood years earlier on an antique shop’s dusty shelf in Beaufort, South Carolina.  I found the back wall beneath an Amsterdam bridge. 

Complexity grows among these three images. “Air Chairs” involves one reference image, “In Sunshine or in Shadow” two, and “Time Ravages All Roses” a bundle of stuff. But just as “Rue Mouffetard, Paris” demands all of its component pieces to complete its narrative, so too do the three images that follow. None of the reference images stood alone. It is their juxtaposition which adds sufficient detail to tell their stories. 

Mathematical elegance does not require fewer equations, but rather the fewest components to prove a premise.  I suggest that minimalism in conceptual fine art photography demands sufficient pieces to convey a unity of both complex thoughts and feelings. Which means adding stuff until (but not beyond) the narrative’s need for clarity. Which means that in conceptual fine art, more is necessary until the point is made elegantly. See what I mean? CQ is the tool of synerdipity.

With respect to conceptual art, more is frequently essential to make a Spartan point. Which brings me back to the question… If conceptual fine artists are not minimalists, then what are they called? Why is there no word that defines the opposite of minimalist: A word that compacts elegance, and irreducible meaning? Have you ever noticed that until there’s a word for something, it doesn’t exist? Take say, the internet”. Or how about feminism, cartoons, or fusion cuisine? Did electricity exist before it was named? How about econometrics, existentialism, or porn? 

Perhaps synerdipity’s the word for that which is definitely not Spartan, austere, spare or stark, yet not outlandish, decorous, ornate, lavish, or outlandish. Is the frame of evidence opposite to minimalist that carries none of those pejorative overtones synerdipidist?

 Just wrestling with the synerdipity of art, y’know?


Wednesday, November 14

5 Mirrors, 6 Windows



Bedroom Window on the Arno, Florence, Italy, Oct-2007

Sometimes I feel less like a spectator than a speculator about my feelings. You get that, right? I wind up, not so much presenting facts as representing emotions. Someone told me that speculation is a necessary condition of artistic creation. Andrew Wyeth, for example, represents ideas as feelings. His work shows misty colors that a hand-wave might swipe away... along with the moment.  


GEEK STUFF: Shot of the Arno grabbed with my Canon 60's  EFS 17-85mm lens. Hand-held at about 7:30am in the very early Fall of 2007. Processed in PS-CC and Topaz Clarity to enhance the dynamic range of the curtains. Our second floor apartment was on the Lungarno Ameriga Vespucci about 4 blocks down-stream from the Ponte Veccio. 

Sunday, October 28

Racist?

Drive south along Interstate I95 and leave North Carolina. Within a quarter of a mile South of the Border appears on your left. It's a sprawling tourist trap filled with clip-joint shops, restaurants, a gas station, and assorted tourist attractions - including a large public toilet. It presents you with a battle between ticky and tacky, with tacky ahead by a nose.

The motif is sort of stereotypical Mexican... as imagined by people who don't seem to like Mexico all that much. Now I'm not a believer in the concept of La Raza. Most Latin Americans that I've met have as much European blood as me. However they are as ethnically different from my Irish ancestors as Serbo-Croatians. There is a Latin culture that's taken on unique national characteristics as you travel from nation to nation. What ties them together is Spanish.

However, ethnic cultures always seem to clash - and those clashes produce some hot sparks, even fires - right? Last week, a television news lady was fired from her network job on NBC for having a discussion which seemed to license black-face halloween costumes. Which brings me to South of the Border in South Carolina.

Here's that Pedro public toilet. So? Is "Pedro" not as ethnically insensitive as black-face costumes? The place has been around for decades -  perhaps half a century. Its designers probably consider the motif to be fun. Moreover it's thousands of miles away from the Mexican border. But... have definitions of humor changed drastically enough over the last couple of decades to pop the place's humor balloon? Is South  of the Border a racist (or at least an ethnic) dog-whistle?

Thursday, October 11

Andreas...

Distinguished Austrian art photographer: Andreas Mannesinger - Vienna 10/8
My friend Andreas generously gave me an entire day of his time last Fall to tour his city. It was a gorgeous, if hot, walk through the capital of European art and music history. Nowhere has  contributed more to Western thought and culture. Imagine, I had a personal guide to wander the ancient city's streets. And what a guide. Many of you visit Andreas' site where he's uploaded a stunning image daily for what? 12 years? More? If you've not grazed his work.. go on over to:  https://blog.andreas-manessinger.info.

Of course with only one day to "do" Vienna - I was overwhelmed. But Andreas took me through the streets,  subways, river banks, pubs, restaurants, and historic sites that I'd never have found on my own. We even had time to relax for an hour in the university's quadrangle to sit and talk about this moment in world-time. 

This was our second chance at a photo-shoot together. Our first came when we met in Florence, Italy in 2007. Odd thing about Andreas... he doesn't age! It must be something in the Austrian water. On the streets, Austrians are handsome and intelligent people - Perhaps they hide plain and ugly folks? Nah... :-)


Saturday, September 22

Dappled Street Art

Musser Park, the Green Heart of Lancaster, sits fifty feet from our front door. It's the city's only central green space. Weather permitting, it fills with lunch-baggers, free-range kids, rallies, pick-up games, family picnics, music groups, holiday events, sunbathers, young loves or readers on benches, chess players, dog walkers: like that.



Sometimes it's where people assemble to do politics in the sunshine. Then, thousands come to learn and share beliefs. It's a civics place that allows for loud and quiet reflection. Over the last handful of decades we've renamed parks, now they're public spaces (as if they weren't before). Even among public tumult, even when hundreds or thousands of people swirl around... A man can sit in the grass, and try to figure out a moment in time. 

In Musser Park, more than sunlight dapples. 





Monday, September 10

Crystal Clarity


What's clear? Is anything doubtless? Anything? Look, there ought to be facts. Things that... are, correct? I know some deconstructionists. Literary scholars. Well, sort of. Each was once upon a time an academic... College instructors. None earned tenure. Literature departments gush green Ph.D.s into a collegiate labor market that's become a lot like the market for art. Which is to say, no market at all. Increasingly universities are contracting arts and humanities positions through attrition. So tenure-track demand has fallen below replacement levels. Supply of humanists way overwhelms demand. 

Markets require a price that will clear surpluses. Yet only a negative price will clear a market like art or deconstructionism. Meaning? Market entrants will have to give their services away or, increasingly, pay customers to take them. Now subsidies are effectively a way to pay customers to accept a product (think Tesla). And while there are significant heaps of government,  donor, or endowment subsidies to colleges and universities - they have not reached a level sufficient to clear the market (in fact they've fed the beast). Meaning? There will at first be a bulge in unemployed humanists, until eventually many leave the market, seeking to retrofit themselves to fit the demand for customers who are hiring. These are labor markets only tangentially (at best) in need of deconstructionidt scholarship.

To the market emigrants, deconstruction becomes perhaps a memory, a hobby, therapy, or a creed - maybe all. Trained to deconstruct... they do... in business, government, non-profits... in whatever port the storm's driven them. Which is different from critical or strategic thought. They are graduate critics - a lay priesthood. 

Nothing to them is clear. Subjective kicks objective's ass. 

They're trained to miss the point. They are driven by a faith in nothing. Nihilism. The critical question is: How acceptable are life options. If we take our eyes off of that for even a moment, we are at risk of allowing distractions away from the obvious. Like the numbers on a pay or assistance check... smiles on family faces... risk benefit results... Or risk benefit analysis at all. 

They are driven by a faith in nothing. Nihilism. Only to discover that hope is not a business plan. 

The GEEK STUFF?  Nothing special. Here's a grab-shot of  vessels cooling before packaging at Ireland's Waterford Glassworks. The golden light bulb cast turns mood into fact. Reflections spark the imagination. As in life, we confront each successive object through its foreground. Knowing even the nearest future through what the immediate moment permits us to know. Is reality what filters allow us to believe? Or is it crystal clear that here are three beautiful objects? Of course, beautiful's a weasel word, huh? Adjectives do that. 

Wednesday, August 29

Bernie Came To Town - 5 (End)

Here's Vermont's Democrat-Socialist Senator and 2016 Democrat Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders. He's speaking before Jess King's logo in her race as Lancaster County's Democrat candidate for Congress in November 2018. 

Pity that Senator Sanders won't come out of his shell :-)

He spoke flames to this crowd who began hot for Congressional candidate Jess King. There is nothing more American than a summer stump speech from an explosive orator who's scattered facts onto a bed of bubbling emotions. The base is entertained, informed, and cranked to a pitch to, well... pitch for anyone this guy likes. Sanders is a missionary for his ideology.

While a partisan wants to grab power for a party, an ideologue seeks to focus power narrowly toward a cause. Trump and Sanders are both ideologues and each has a base of believers. Ideologies are similar to religious doctrines. At some point unanswerable questions are satisfied by belief. I was once a progressive liberal, now - not so much.  But recollections are tickle-able.

This group's triangular shape reminded me of the famous Marine rising of the
American Flag  over  Iwo Jima toward the end of WWII. 

Yeah, the crowd tickled my golden memories of solidarity, hope, and faith. I could feel the shoulders, smiles, and heat of unknown friends crowding against me from rallies past. Here's a community of people bound by wants, needs, and desires. Do they all agree? Mostly - well maybe not the unknown sign holder up above. And who knows - if the devil is in the details - there probably are a bunch of micro disagreements among these folk. But they were making memories aligned with mine. 


There was logic here, and facts... but overall there was feeling. Maybe. by the time you're visiting this cluster of five posts, you'll know Jess King's and perhaps even Senator Sanders' futures after the November 2018 elections. Maybe you'll care. One thing's certain - this lady above, and her sister-in-Sanders/King below - will... care deeply.


Welcome to small-town-grassroots America.

POSTSCRIPT: Since I posted this series an election was held and the candidate that Bernie came to support in Lancaster - Jess King: A Democrat for Congress -was crushed by over 50,000 votes by Amish-born Congressman Lloyd Smucker in November of 2018. 







Tuesday, August 28

Bernie Came To Town - 4

So? Is Bernie Sanders controversial or mainstream? Izzit possible to be both? Who decides whether something is "controversial". To some President Trump is controversial, other find Mrs. Clinton leads their list of controversial folks. By the way, is there something wrong with being "controversial"? Is that a negative label? Miriam Webster defines controversy as, "a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views." And "controversial" the dictionary define as, " Of, relating to, or arousing controversy." Are these bad or even dangerous things? 


I'm going to guess about this happy mother and child that, even if she finds Senator Sanders, controversial, that she neither finds him bad, nor dangerous. Mothers rarely expose their babies to hazards. In fact, to the degree that she finds the Senator's views to be in opposition to others, they don't seem in opposition to hers. Hence - there's no controversy here. Yet, someone has defined this Senator, the present President, and the views of so many others to be controversial. Who are the labelers? 

A supporter of AFSME vigorously supports Democrat Congressional candidate Jess King.

Yessss... there are people strongly invested in Senator Sanders and Jess King's views. And frequently they represent groups to which they belong. For example the enthusiastic lady above wears a tea shirt sporting the emblem of the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union which feels changes in legislation or the courts might be difficult to deal with. 

Nobody likes change. Many hopefully endorse it, yet find its disciplines uncomfortable. Hope's a fragile business plan. Now I'm not writing about trends here... Trends are like the ocean's currents that move things along in a kind of predictable way leaving lots of time for, well, assimilation to a trend's dynamics. It's when people notice changes in trends that they go like, "Huh"?

Where's Waldo? Is Democracy lost like Waldo, or has it found it's
setting among the large  audience in  Musser Park, PA?
Then they wonder where their world's going... or went. Irving Kristol, wrote "The leverage of ideas is so immense that a slight change in the intellectual climate can ... twist a familiar institution into an unrecognizable shape." Which is when people wonder, "Where's Waldo?" What's happened? 

A random grab shot of about a dozen of the thousands of faces listening to
Senator Bernie Sanders speak  in  Musser Park, Lancaster, PA. 

Political rallies can be about groups or individuals... Forests or trees. It's the trees that I like. The emotional waves that beam from faces: each telling a separate story. Here's an exercise, click on the image above then plumb each expression and let it plop you onto a story arc. I  learn the most about forests when I pay attention to the trees. 

Niccoló Machiavelli, the father of modern political science, taught his Prince, "Whoever wishes to change the government of a city to his whims and wants it to be accepted and to maintain it to everyone's satisfaction, will have to retain at least the shadow of the ancient ways, so that to the people nothing will seem to have changed although in fact the new laws are in all respects completely alien to those of the past." 

When  "reform" changes things - politicians aren't above faking a tradition when necessary. The appeal to tradition is useful both to sustain a social experiment or to destroy it. Think of the phrase so many politicians are quick to tell us when they oppose opponents of the impact of their experiments, "That's not what America is about.

Waldo is about the forrest, faces tell the story of the trees. 

Sunday, August 26

Bernie Came To Town - 3

Once I read a guy who wrote, "We regard politicians as self-interested opportunists and nothing else."

At 7am noises began for the 10am event. Sanders fans began swirling onto Musser Park's quadrangle.  The media likes contention. But most political gatherings in the U.S. are filled with happy, enthusiastic people which dials down chances for unpleasant, click-bait, stuff. So the average rally doesn't get much coverage. See this fella below? He came to hear Bernie Sanders, but happily waggled a Jess King lawn sign at me. That's the deal, Sanders is the headliner and opening act, the local Democrat candidate follows up as the main event. Point is that the campaign trail for every candidate is lined with believers and audiences who love a parade. Regardless, the price is right and most folks are in a great mood.




Speaking of signs.


Along the edge of the crowd, a critic of the Senator and the local Congressional candidate hefted his argument into the sun. It seemed to me that the lady was in kindly debate mode. Cynics say we have lost belief in politics as a source of betterment in our lives. Believers who pack into Sanders or Trump rallies haven't lost faith in politicians' interests in their dreams. 

Thursday, August 23

Bernie Came To Town - 2

And the beat goes on.

Street portraiture's a bit like fishing. I cast my lens into a pool hoping to catch a prize... Something worthwhile. There are two kinds of artistic images. The first is a question, the second an answer. Oh, ok... maybe there's a third - the image which both asks then answers. Frankly, answering questions is above my pay grade. Personally I feel that asking questions is what the best art does. Answering can too often become a polemic.

So I look for questions that each visitor to my work answers alone.

The first in this series set the tone for the questions that occurred to me on May 5th. Here's another, more will come and perhaps the entire set may contain an answer. Synergy happens when the whole becomes greater than its parts. When each sentence is a question, perhaps the impact of the essay is what Sextus Impericus invented maybe 2,200 years ago? You know, a set of questions which while each is seemingly unrelated the whole allows inductive insight?

Truth is revealed from the bottom up. Now don't get me started on "truth" - OK?


What can we conclude from this man and young woman? He wears a wedding ring. They each carry signs... His read, "America Is For All Of Us", and her's "Jess King For Congress". Each of the signs were given to early arrivers, but no one had to take them. Bernie spoke as I grabbed this image. They were rapt, nodding to his points. Can we tell more? He wears a fashionable stubble. Her ears don't appear pierced. I'm imaging that this is a father/daughter pair, their jaw and cheekbone lines suggest a familial relationship. Can you find more clues? Their expressions are serious, attentive. Awaiting Senator Sanders, they'd stood and squinted into the sizzling Spring sun for hours. 

GEEK STUFF: Same equipment as the first in this series. However the afternoon's sunny contrast pulled me to use Alien Skin's Exposure 4's powerful emulation of Kodak Ectachrome EES to take advantage of its saturated palette and low contrast. It's was a workhorse film with a tiny grain structure and reasonably wide tonal range at low ISO (ASA) settings. Plus my 300mm lens permitted a sufficiently narrow depth of field to pluck my subjects from the large crowd surrounding them.

Tuesday, August 21

Bernie Came To Town - 1


Democrat Congressional Candidate Jess King addresses a large
crowd in Lancaster's Musser Park on May 6, 2018
Last Saturday May 5th, Senator Bernie Sanders, a previous Democrat Socialist candidate for President of the U.S., arrived in Lancaster to endorse a local Democrat candidate, Jess King, for Congress. Some 2,800+ Sanders' followers joined him in Musser Park which is about 500' from my home. With press credentials hanging about my neck I did street photography of the crowd. It was a warm sunny Spring afternoon with the audience in a happy mood. Here's the first of those portraits.


Geek Stuff: Agfachrome slide film presented my favorite color palette. Thanks to Alien Skin's Exposure X3, I can approximate both that palette and its grain structure. Of course my Canon EFS 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens was easily hand held on a Canon 7D MrkII producing needle sharp images. I guess I was, on average, about 50' from subjects - but I made no effort to hide: The park crawled with press photographers. 

Incidentally: I estimated the crowd's size at 2,800 by breaking the lead pano in this post above into 21 quadrants and meticulously counting the people in each. I then similarly analyzed two other panos I shot from different angles - angles which revealed the additional numbers to the left and right of the pano atop this posting. 

BTW, Lancaster has about 55,000 residents and Lancaster County (where few homes are more than 45 minutes from Musser Park). 



Saturday, July 7

Pennsylvania Barn #7


That's the diving/fishing dock poking into the emerald lake there to the lower right. The brown field mid-right was recently seeded for a winter crop. And in the center is the fully restored barn they've converted into a full service event site. They successfully hosted a first wedding the weekend before this series was photographed. 

If you look closely just to the left of the tree -  see the lavender covered trellis? Perfect for bridal pix from every angle - especially with the photographer's back to the barn and the pond, fences and the heart carved into the hill shown in Series 5 behind the wedding party. 

It feels like a romantic chic-flick movie set. 

Tuesday, July 3

Pennsylvania Barn Series 6

Catching up time... Thought I'd stylize these a bit... Explanation in the GEEK STUFF below


Here's the Southern Side... Or a northern view of the barn. There's a large parking lot off to the left rear with room for overflow under construction behind the fence to the right. You'll recall that there are two distinctive details to the Pennsylvania Barn. I discussed the overlay or overhang back in Series 7, well this is the other side where the construction is banked to allow ground access to the upper floor where we find those glassed access doors enter into...

This is a monster space capable of holding 750 people for parties, meetings, and weddings.This image covers only the eastern half - note how the room's constructed to allow north and south light avoiding the glare of morning and afternoon sun.  Hmmmm... and  I guess it might also host funerals? One could hold the funeral downstairs then come up here to join the family for drinks and luncheon. Or... maybe not, depends if they'll all have to caravan to a cemetery. Heck, if it's a cremation or an Irish wake, they can bring the urn and/or the coffin right on up to join in the celebration of life.

I'm really lit but that circular staircase, it's a woodworker's art! Again, everything is red oak without nails... Instead holes are drilled then wooden pegs are glued into boards. There's a loft upstairs but I wonder if gowned-women will negotiate that staircase. They've installed professionally lit makeup bays off the the left corner above with a huge-multi sinked bathroom to the right rear. There's also an ice box to keep the champaign chilled. There are lots of USB ports and charging stations along with blue tooth speakers to play favorite music from the bride's cellphone. The TV screen is on the wall behind me where I think that beyond full cable options, they've added CCTV to watch the guests arrange and congregate in the Great Room and on the grounds around the lake.


What's good for the geese is great for the ganders. Here's a fully equipped man-cave with broadcast, movie, and sports channels. There are also blue tooth speakers to allow groom to play loud music (the room's soundproofed. There's planned CCTV to watch the guests arrive, and a game box under the TV with controllers on the couch. Of course there are abundant USB outlets and charging stations. The wet bar is part of fully equipped kitchette and that's a large changing room/bathroom in the right corner. 

GEEK STUFF: Unfortunately I had to resort to paintings for these last two images since I was invited to capture the exterior at sunrise and consequently did not tote along indoor lighting. Bummer. These are all multi image panos stitched together from hand-held Canon 7D images then processed with various tools. 



Saturday, June 30

The Pennsylvania Farm Series 5

Go on back and study the 3rd in this series which I posted on June 26. See there on the lower right... behind the spring house? There's a natural spring fed green lake. This one... In the Fall...


Now look up there on the upper right. See it? There's a heart carved into the crop. Remember, this is a working farm. And in October, well, there are few more gentle places on earth. Can you envision a bride in the foreground? Some of the party lolling in the chairs... Drinks in hand? Once this was a swamp which the family dug out and created more efficient drainage into a stream. See there on the lake's right? Yep that's a diving and fishing dock. The float on the left is the drain as well. Centuries of hard work. 

And now, directly behind me here sits the restored barn. Nope, not shabby at all, huh? BTW: Look at the last post in this group... Series 4. Follow your eye to the far right about a quarter of the way down. See the chairs? Yep, there they are up above. This is a large scene, perfectly executed. 

GEEK STUFF: Yep, hand-held with my Canon 7D Mk.II through its 17-85mm glass - I captured a 3 panel pano. Then it got stitched together in PSCC-2018 where I fixed the distortion, optical range, and relative dynamics. Then I added pieces of various imaging from Topaz Clarity and finished the work with the power of Alien Skin's Exposure X3's Agfa slide film. 

Thursday, June 28

The Pennsylvania Barn Series 4



Ahah! See - there's the barn and how it fits into this scene. Told you that it looms over everything. And since this is a wide angle view, well - this still understates its mass. Anyway, look at its overbite. 

Okay, that's really an overlay, the way that the second story overhangs the space below - it's a key feature of a Pennsylvania barn. It kept farmers and animals out of the elements, and allowed wagon and truck loading and unloading as well as pulling stuff to the animal stalls up there. Easier to clean out as well. The place is huge.

GEEK STUFF: Hand-held my goto 17-85mm on the Canon 7D Mk-II. Processed with PSCC-2018 and worked with Clarity in the Topaz studio then finished with AlienSkin's Exposure X3's Technicolor - at least in spots. Really love the color density that it affects. 

Tuesday, June 26

We Ain't Got None Of These. You?


Even in Baltimore, Philly, and NYC - well, this franchise hasn't come yet. I mean America's planted KFC, Starbucks' and Mac D's worldwide - but the Dutch haven't slipped this idea into U.S. streets. Least I don't think so. Maybe they've already had a growth spurt? Anyone out there had a Condomeri come into your town?

I almost missed this shop as I walked the city's streets. I'd gone a few steps beyond it when it dawned on me what it sold... And I mumbled, "Huh?!" Unfortunately I was scurrying back to our boat and lacked the time to look inside. Next time... 

Blow this up, the window displays are intriguing. 

Monday, June 25

The Pennsylvania Barn Series 3


Ok... still haven't reached the barn there on the right in this series. Lens distortion caused the foreground to appear bigger - while in fact - the barn actually LOOMS over the caters' truck entry and the professional full kitchen... Cool the way the designer incorporated the food support wing to look nothing like what it is. 

GEEK STUFF: Canon 7DMk II, Canon 7D, EF-S17-85mm, Processed in PSCC-2018, multiple iterations created then blended on the macro side with Alien Skin's ability to capture such emulations of film with Exposure-X. I grew up using Agfa slide films with its decisively elegantly rich palette. On the micro side, after the usual cleaning up in Photoshop Topaz tools allowed me to enhance every little part of the image. Together with Photoshop's adjustment layers - there's every tool imaginable. 

But perhaps others can imagine more?

Saturday, June 23

The Pennsylvania Barn Series: 2- Daybreak - 6/19/18

The Caterers Quarters
   The restored Pennsylvania Barn session I did last Tuesday was sort of a convocation for the place. The owners have built an "Event" structure aimed at hosting any number of celebrations, particularly weddings. 

   Now I'm walking slowly around the building in the background is the spring house displayed in an earlier post, in the foreground is where a catering truck can enter directly into a fully equipped professional kitchen so they are out of the elements with a LOT of room laden with all of the equipment for a team of cooks to work. This building is connected to the stone barn behind it and stairs together with hidden hallways allow wait-staff to access multiple levels of event rooms.

   Look there on the upper right behind the farmhouse. There's a huge heart mown into the hillside grass.

GEEK STUFF: Not much to add from the earlier captures, same camera and lens, however this is a five shot pano stitched together in PSCC-2018 in post where I used Alien Skin's powerful Exposure X3 to add a Kodachrome II palette while painting in the sky and highlights with PP's curve adjustment layers. while the lighting was just pre sunrise and relatively flat, I added the romantic glow with my own tools to emphasize the key details and to allow edges to fall into vignette.

Thursday, June 21

The Pennsylvania Barn Series 1

You're entering a Lancaster County farm. OK, you know I guess that this county sits atop America's richest non-irrigated land. Friends own the spread and they've just refurbished their stone 


barn. So they let me take sunrise pictures last Tuesday (June 19th). There was a storm brewing in the east as the sun rose just beyond those trees. No, that's not their farmhouse there beside the road, nor is that the restored barn to its right. Today they're both storage structures. See the cobblestone drive? They're from Europe. Once upon a time, empty or partially filled sailing ships needed ballast on the way over. The blocks were quarried on that side of the Atlantic and dumped over here into large mounds around Chesapeake and Philadelphia ports. Hence they were free resources to early road builders. They are just one authentic touch on this 18th century working farm.  

Now turn around 90 degrees and facing West... Look how the cobblestones wander through the alleyway with a spring house on the right and on the left - Yep: Here's the authentic 1840 Pennsylvania barn. 


The Pennsylvania Barn’s main feature is the projecting 7-8 foot forebay, or overshoot. But, it is important to remember that in order to be considered a Pennsylvania Barn, it must have these essential features: a projecting forebay and banked construction, almost invariably with the eaves side in the bank.” The Pennsylvania Barn appeared late in the 18th century and flourished from about 1820 to about 1900. It is most common in the southeast and central parts of the state (although it can be found in many parts of the state). Although people from all social groups built Pennsylvania Barns, they are most closely associated with the Pennsylvania Germans. And at the center of it’s epicenter of interest sits Lancaster County with this barn on the Armstrong farm in Refton built in 1820 and entirely restored in 2018. 


GEEK STUFF:  I did the series using my Canon 7D, assorted lenses and post processing with a combination of tools from PSCC, Topaz, and Alien Skin. For particular drama, the sun rose through a cloud bank of a gathering late-spring storm providing a combination of strong light at first then flatter light perfect for avoiding the super contrasty early morning sun.

More to come...

Sunday, June 17

Tack-Sharp Enigma

Explaining Amsterdam
After my fourth visit, I'm thinking that Amsterdam's one of my favorite places. 

It's like everything I understand but isn't. The city's infrastructure seems comfortably similar to my world, yet it's in a culture-bubble that's puzzlingly different. Its people have a methodology that seems so like mine but which just doesn't crunch and chew at life as I've been taught. 

Amsterdam's like San Francisco without the hills. 

GEEK STUFF: What's to say. I roam streets with my Canon 7D and look at them through my default 17-85mm lens. Afterward the serious image making began in PSCC-2018 where I tried to puzzle through the feelings of a moment.

Look here... where land meets the sea, but nowhere beneath the sky is there anything remaining of "The Natural" world. Even the water's engineered to behave lest it spill over everything the Dutch have created. And in the very center of the corset-tight control, there's an equally precise piece of black and white art that's drawn with the same precision in a monotone that leaves no room for subtlety and yet no clear room for interpretation.

It, like its city, is a tack-sharp enigma.


Saturday, June 16

Whoa! They're... Like Tribbles!

A Couple Of Amsterdam's Bike Park Lots
There are other cities where bikes are like... well... cockroaches. They scurry everywhere in Amsterdam. And the inspire every visiting mayor from America to accomplish the same thing at home. The thing is that except for some humpy canal bridges - Holland is FLAT! Still it doesn't stop the hope-springs-eternal-crowd. There's a relentless effort here in Lancaster to duplicate Amsterdam's bike-friendliness. And I do bike around regularly, particularly in summer. 

Still, in Amsterdam people of all ages own bikes and they collectively congest every inch of the place. Lancaster's built on the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania. These hills are not particularly friendly to people uninterested in serious exercise. So we're going through a lot of bike-path-on-existing-streets-construction to satisfy a really small percentage of the population. Today, Sunday, I watered the front flora and in the twenty or so minutes on a perfect summer early afternoon, a lone kid on a bike passed by. And we live on one of the city's main arteries. 


Not surprising I've got mixed feelings about Amsterdam's bikes. On the one hand, they fit the place so perfectly, and they are a faster way around that place than even a car or cab. But they infect the ambitions of American politicians to duplicate an unduplicatable phenomenon. In that latter case those burgeoning bike lots are just another threat to my pocketbook by the same well-meaning dreamers who tried to give everyone a mortgage back in the first decade of this century... A whim for which we are still paying ten years after.
Sigh!


GEEK STUFF: Used my Canon 7D from a river boat where the bright sun allowed me to hand hold its EF-S17-85mm at about 900 ISO. Post processed in PSCC-2018 implying Alien Skin's Snap Art 4 after I'd reworked the photo to bring out its ominous feelings with a starker palette. Fun stuff. 

Thursday, June 14

No Bull - Mbarara Bustles


Patiently Awaiting the Stoplight
Here's the early afternoon midweek epicenter of Mbarara - the largest central place in Uganda's SouthWest. Growth? Founded in 1901, Mbarara's 2001 population was about 69,000, 82,000 in 2010 and  in 2014 about 84,000 making it the country's fastest growing city and 3rd largest after Kampala and Kira. Why so busy on a typical afternoon? Hey, the reason for Mbarara is its position as a a key transportation hub for long distance trucks destined for and coming from RwandaBurundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Yep, that's a 20% population growth rate in around a decade, right? In demographic terms, Uganda's a young country its streets swirling with children, teenagers, and young adults. 

GEEK STUFF: Snapped this with my Canon 7D through its EF-S: 17-85mm glass. Post processed in PS 2018CC with a bunch of my own tools to emphasize the action of this scene under the equatorial mid-day, way-high contrast sun. No bull about it, Mbarara bustles - huh?

Monday, May 28

Comfrust Madrid



Twin streams pierce the lingering darkness of Madrid's AM drive-time where the sun comes late but rains come early. The morning's metal muddle squirms from both directions - as if one flow is seduced to fill the hole the other's created. A sort of equilibrium of ballast. Pity that the soft stuff within those machines won't trade homesites so that the morning snarl goes flaccid. 

GEEK STUFF:  How'd I do it? Well I pointed my 7D Mark II's Canon EFS 17-85mm through a bus windshield to grab the scene. Then in PSCC-2018 the image was kneaded with an array of tools I created along with those from Topaz and Alien Skin so that each of its parts could be first plucked for independent attention then reassembled to highlight my question about commute-frustration (comfrust?).

How badly did the Apian Way clog from morning traffic into ancient Rome? Were the arteries of classical Athens clogged with squirming streams of carts, riders, and carriages? Did Egypt or Mesopotamia need traffic cops? Is congestion a symptom of civilization's  success or its curse. Certainly it is a tax that seizes hours/days/months/years of life. In a way, that's the harshest tax of all. 

Friday, April 27

A Mist of Tower Bells


Nearing Vienna
A mist of tower bells
Glazed the Rhine
Snuggling into ears,
Muscle, and
Feeling.

I still haven't figured out how to use GPS feature on my 7D Mark II. From the date and time our Teeming River Cruise boat was maybe ten miles west of Vienna. The sky was clearing and the bells pealed. Our boat was so silent that only the waves lapping against the shore added a percussion line. Pretty moment, very typical, but nothing much deeper. Hmmmm... perhaps if I'd dropped a nude couple climbing the trees? Howzabout I dyed the two yellow? Is beauty alone sufficient excuse for making an image 

I think we use beauty up quickly. There's something about it that wears out fast. Even when the original moment startles, its image rarely invites a return to study or enjoy it. 

Oh well. You all know that i'm an Alien Skin beta tester. And I totally enjoy using their newest sophisticated application. But just now the lure of Topaz's new Impression offers so many options to dig into an image. Fact is that the two apps are powerfully complimentary. I finished this image in Alien Skin's Polaroid, creating a romantically subdued palette that I have no other way of accessing. 

A few years ago, a friend told me that she thought filters were merely devices to save a bad image. No, she's wrong. No one charges that a larger bristle brush is what is necessary to save a mediocre oil painting. Filters are tools. I've never found one that allows a miraculous one click redemptive overlay. Instead I employ my large collection of filters to work upon parts or an image - or a feeling. 

Perhaps I'm just paranoid? And yet the same folks who abhor post processing techniques are gear heads anxious to talk about the latest lens, camera body, or light array. Is this an ideological thing: progressives anxious to find new tools, conservatives determined to protect tradition? Wuddaya think?