Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good Message For The Holidays!

On Rt. 5, heading toward Scotia, there is a firehouse that often has vehicles like the ones I photographed sitting in its parking lot. I imagine that they use these cars, involved in actual accidents, as a teaching tool. I remember an old photo-assignment where we had to use text to enhance a picture and knew just what to do. I immediately thought that these photos send a clear message in themselves and that all I would need to do is place a title or stat along with the image. I do wish everyone a very safe holiday. Perhaps this posting is a good reminder to us all and that we should remind our students and own children/loved ones to be careful always, but certainly during the holidays where drinking does occur to excess. Not worried about yourself or your family because they do not drink irresponsibly? I remember my own mother saying "I'm not so much worried about you Steve, I'm worried about the other drivers on the road that don't have as much sense."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Abra Cadabra!

Who can pass up a magic act? I know I can't especially when the magician is an adorable niece of mine! Here Jamie dazzles me with her talent. I tried having her keep her head still and yet get some motion in the hat. If you look closely, I achieved what I intended. It is subtle and I'm not sure it makes a difference but what is magic without motion? In the first picture I added a spin to give interest and considering the theme of magic, I think it works well.
Thanks for entertaining me Jamie! Keep practicing because I want another show soon!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Time!

Going out on Black Friday is a tradition that I really enjoy. Today, I took my mother to a few stores in the Schenectady area. The crowds were minimal, unlike the mall crowd so it was a lot of fun! We saw many signs that the holiday season is just around the corner! The shops and hotels are decorated, the restaurants are festive and Proctors is having "A Christmas Carol" performed. This holiday season could be a difficult one for me personally; however, it was off to a great start today! Thank you to my friends and family for keeping me busy...please don't stop!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful For Freedom

This is an "ugly" series but an important one. I wish I knew the story behind this field of flags. One of my students told me about it, saying that a farmer was placing a flag in the ground for every American soldier that is killed in Iraq. Topping 4,000 soldiers killed is unreal. It doesn't seem possible that the war has been occurring this long. Big political movements are coming, people's opinions are strong and mixed and the American people are calling for "change"....all that is fine and is what Freedom of Speech and elections are all about. Today I want to remember to be thankful to those who have already sacrificed their lives to protect me and my country. Thousands of others are sacrificing time away from their families on this Thanksgiving Day so that I can enjoy another safe holiday, removed from war, poverty and danger. Thank you to all of you brave men and women. Thank you to the brave young children who come to understand that Mommy and/or Daddy need to be gone for a while to protect their future. Thank you to all the parents and loved ones of soldiers who worry and care for their families in the soldiers' absence from home. I send good thoughts to all of you reading this posting. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Do you know what this is?? Of course not! I was having fun with light and zooming in/out with my long lens and this was one of the results! Pretty cool.

Below are the images that made the creation above possible. I found the BEST place to park and get shots of this holiday display. I didn't even have to leave my Jeep as I used my window "tri-pod" and the self-timer. I'm going to love the window-pod as I have made it crystal clear that I am not a fan of winter's cold weather. I can sit in my Jeep, drink coffee and catch good shots!!
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Before and After

Today was my "low-desparate" day in photography. I could not find anything that really struck me to capture. But at 4:01, in Amsterdam, NY, there was a break of sunshine. Actually, there was a pretty cool sunset here. This barn sits on rt 67, a quarter mile North out of Amsterdam. The sun came out and made the red-outlined windows "pop". I pulled over quickly and shot this image in fear of the sun getting lost behind clouds again. I did it! I got the picture I wanted, remembering Linda's advice of photographing 3 to make it more interesting. I think the three windows are interesting. To be honest, the rest of the barn was not. Anyway, because I have no life (ha, ha) I sat at my computer this evening adding the blue sky and clouds in the second picture. Picture one is untouched, photo two is manipulated in that I added the clouds. I didn't go as slowly in the touch-up as I should have so you will see flaws; however, please notice the overall effect.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Old Church Lantern, Rt 67

Keeping a notebook on my Jeep's passenger seat was a brilliant idea on my part. When I see "photographable" images, I write them down so that I can make a return visit. Between work and parent conferences I was able to drive 10 more minutes from home to snap this image!! Easy! If I'm going to make 365 days in a row, I need to keep pre-planning!

9pm, image posted, and now I need to think about tomorrow's image! ugh.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Call 911! There's A Fire!

The above photo is using a semi-sepia filter while the image below was captured by utilizing the morning sun which naturally saturated the rust color and the blue sky.

Where do "firemen", and later the use of fire trucks appear in history? When a courageous band of crusaders known as the Knights of St. John, fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors-FIRE. As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled a flaming torch into their midst. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths. Thus, these men became our first firemen and the first of a long list of courageous firefighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each hero a badge of honor - a cross similar to the one firemen wear today. As technology progressed and fires became more numerous (not just during war) fire vehicles (trucks) became the mode to which fires were fought. Here is an "old" firetruck found decaying in a field on Rt. 29 North. I really enjoyed this "shoot". I really like what I was able to do by using different tools available to me as a photographer- lens flare (again, done purposely for affect), black and white, sepia and cropping.
I worked hard to take the above photo. It was difficult to use the blinding sun in a productive manner, rather than having it wash-out the picture. Below, black and white, taken during a passing cloud which filtered the sun, is my favorite. I've seen too many Stephen King movies but I get a "Christine" feel to the image. (If you saw the movie you may understand my feeling).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Again, today, I'm fixated with the light. This time of year has very tricky lighting. The shadows seem darker and the sun seems unable to reach more areas of the landscape. A cloud passing over darkens the landscape much more than a few months ago. These photos were taken within a couple of hours and yet the sky, the colors, the shadows- they are all very different. I wonder how long I will be able to escape the confines of my apartment in order to "shoot" outside. I'm not looking forward to the days of shooting still life inside. "Mother nature, if you hear me, please let Global Warming affect upstate NY!!"---relax, I'm just joking!! I love the environment!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Animoto Short Video

The Farmer

While I was driving I spotted some dramatic clouds that were coming over a knoll. When I pulled over to take a closer look I saw the hay wagons standing just on the edge of that hill with the clouds and breaking sun adding a wonderful backdrop. The clouds do not look as dramatic in the image but my wish is that you can "see" what it was that caught my eye. After taking this image I continued down the road to find the farm which housed the hay wagons. On the front lawn of this farm was the pump below. It is a new pump and one that clearly is in use by the family. I used photo-shop to add a silver tint and a little bit of interest to the picture that otherwise would have been quite ordinary. Recently, I have been fortunate to catch some dramatic light just as evening sets in. Now, with some effort, I would like to catch some early light; light that I have been seeing on my way to work which is just as impressive as the evening light. But it is so cold!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another Self-Portrait!

Just playing around with Photoshop. It has been a learning experience and fun to use Photoshop. I'm off to do some school work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sensational, Sunny Day....but Cold!

The park near my house was desserted in the afternoon. Though sunny, it was pretty cold. I think the cold metal slide and hard plastic swing would be uncomfortable. The leaf-covered bench doesn't look all that inviting to me either! It might be obvious that I do not fancy cold weather. The lighting was sensational! I did not photo shop either picture even though the colors look saturated. You can't beat good lighting!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gloversville, I know, has many nice sections and lovely neighborhoods; however, each time I drive down Main Street there is a depressing feeling that comes over me. I try to imagine Gloversville in its prime. A long Main Street full of bustling shops and restaurants which emit a taunting scent into the air, luring patrons to the table. I imagine families, theater goers and teenagers enjoying all that the city has to offer. Looking at these bleak images takes me away from dreams and ideals, as reality clearly screams out that Gloversville has fallen into disrepair.

Sidewalks, alley-ways and lawns have been substituted as closets and storage areas. Garbage cans are lacking as budgets probably do not allow for collection to occur. As a result, the city streets are dirty and litter is strewn about.
Did you catch the spider in the window? I thought this "toy spider" must be the work of a very clever individual, leaving behind a memento to help identify what the empty space would become. Yesterday I wrote about the month of November and how it represents an 'ugly' time of year. Perhaps the bareness and cruelty of the month exposes what the landscape truly looks like, similar to a woman, who usually paints her face and suddenly is not allowed to apply makeup.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Give light and people will find the way

I have to admit that I wasn't expecting much when I took this picture. Around this image is a lot of "junk". Buildings, cars, highways and people surround the frame of this image. It appears to be a quiet area; however, it is everything but tranquil. I do think the image captures November in the way I see it. November is a transitional month, leaving behind the warmth and brilliant colors of autumn while preparing to welcome white, snow-covered fields of winter. I like how the warm yellow light from the lantern contrasts with the icy-cold moisture stuck to the tree branches. The extra bonus in the image.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time For A New Picture!

It is time that I got rid of that "Grouchy" poster as my identity. I was brave and decided to take some self-portraits while I was at school today. Well a head shot of myself would just be too difficult to look at each time I logged on, so this is my compromise. Which image do you think I should use?

This image is a bit 'outside of the box'. What am I reaching for? Perhaps I'm holding something?
I may use this image as my out of the three, which do you like?


I'm so in love with Natalie Merchant...well I am so, so, so in love with Stevie Nicks but nonetheless I keep remembering Natalie's song "Carnival" and music video. When I first saw this video on MTV I could not escape the feeling that she was doing what I wanted to do- capture people's lives with a camera. Trish's latest posting, inspired me to find this video to ensure that my memory of it was accurate. I still love it! The black and white video, and the simplicity of her subjects inspire me to capture more of the stories and the people that make up our days. Trish did this well at the we realize how many stories are out there?
The lesbian midgets laying on the beach (you know who gave me that story); the young German girl, coming to America for an exciting life; the patient who places trust in the hands of a caring and dedicated health care professional who sees him as an individual in need; the man that oversees Democracy's most valuable tool- the voting process; the poet who travels to distant lands and ends up learning more about herself than those she visited; the woman that balances photography, family, religion, job, mother, grandmother, friend.....and so it goes. There are stories everywhere. If you have time watch this video and let it motivate you to get out there and capture stories!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I will learn my camera "one step at a time"!

I set out on this very warm November day looking for an image to photograph. I decided, when seeing these stairs, to create an image instead. I practiced using shutter speeds and self-timer to create a sense of motion.

I was happy with the results here. Though my legs become more 'ghostly' as I climb the stairs, there is enough pant and sneaker to see what I am doing. These aren't spectacular images; however, I put my soul into it..get it? I crack myself up!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Angels are never too distant to hear you

What a beautiful, warm, sunny November day it was today. I gladly visited a new found cemetery to find this statue, one that I had not photographed before. With fall leaves as the backdrop, this angel caught my eye. I'd like to think that she realizes just how much character she adds to an otherwise ordinary looking stretch of the cemetery.

L-O-V-E .....Here you go Lindsey!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dreary Outside, But Not Through This Window!

Everything about today's outside light and weather conditions were hidden by the stained glass window shown here. You can see my mother's tree behind the glass if you look closely enough which seems to give off more light because of the leaves' colors. The dark edges are actually the frame of the window hanging so I was able to eliminate any of the window that the stained glass rested against. It is simple and it is pretty.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Amish Country

A trip home this evening took me through Amish country which is always rich with interest and photo-ops. I passed AMAZING images of little Amish children walking home from school. With their lunch pales in hand, the photo possibilities were endless. The little boy who stuck out his tongue at me, as I drove by, offered another amazing photo. I; however, respect their wishes not to be photographed (unless the kid sticks his tongue out a second time!) and so I drove past without the photo. The barn-raising presented itself with much space between myself and the Amish and so I didn't hesitate to snap away. I really like the modern farm in the background as a comparison of lifestyles.

The earth provides so much for us whether we are Amish or not. A simple photo of corn seems rather pointless until one stops to realize the percentage of people around the world that would celebrate wildly to be able to harvest a field of corn.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Please Listen To This Beautiful Song

Like photography, music is for the listener to interpret and make his own. I believe one of the greatest compliments to an artist is to do just that...make the photo or the song your own. I changed some of the words to fit my life just as a viewer of a photograph can make up where, how, when, that he "owns" the image now.

This song is beautiful. I know the meaning behind the song, as sung by Stevie Nicks, because I've heard her interviewed about it. Can you make the song fit your life? Can you make someone else's photograph fit your life? If you could choose one photo from my blog or anyone else's blog and have it represent just one moment in time in your own life, could you? That would be a great compliment to the photographer. More importantly it would indicate that you are connecting with art and your own emotions.

Even if I'll never hold you....again
hold you....sleepless child
There's so little time
Your eyes say yes
but you can't say yes
ahhhh...I wish you could be mine
ahhhh...I wish you could be mine
I'm not a child any more
but I'm a fool once more
I loved you
I still love you
I still need you
I wish
I wish that you were mine.....

Lightning Strikes!

Today I traveled far looking for pictures. Having the day off, and not wanting to sit around my place, I headed out with some good music in my Jeep searching for images that would "strike" me as worthy. I know this image is very simple but as I looked up at the dreary, but bright sky, I saw these bare branches that resembled lightning. I thought the bright background was a nice backdrop to the lightning bolt and I liked how the bolt when from upper right to lower left in the frame. Be honest! If you don't see what I see let me know. The second photo is one that I took the other day; however, I liked it and wanted to show it off. Again, it is a simple photo; however, I like outdoor portraits.