Are those flowers coming or going?

Isn’t this a beautiful painting? My cousin did it for an assignment in college, it’s a copy of Matisse’s The Goldfish Bowl.

I’ve had for over ten years and although I have done nothing to physically alter it, I have ruined it. About a year ago I hung it in front of my treadmill so there could be something pleasant to look at while doing the monotonous walking and running. A couple of days ago I looked at those fish, those leaves, the meniscus on that bowl and knew that I couldn’t stand to see that painting another time.

While out shopping yesterday I found another great piece of art to ruin.

I am sure that smile will taunt me, maybe that is not a good choice? Perhaps I should have gone with something like “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch.


Click to zoom

Then I might be able to figure out whether the flowers are coming or going.

What do you think?

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Surely, this must be a joke

Don’t you just hate it when everybody else but you gets something?

Over the last year I’d been seeing more and more references to contemporary American artist Mark Rothko. Maybe one of his paintings recently sold for a record amount, I don’t know why his name kept coming up, but I tell you, I saw a segment on his contribution to the art world and I completely didn’t get it. In fact, that was the big joke in the house over the summer, me running around spouting out at random, “I don’t get it, I don’t GET Rothko! Help.”

At times I thought it was some snobby art joke on people who pretend to “get” things they don’t. Especially rich people who put up millions of dollars to buy these huge color rectangles of paint on canvas as proof they get it.

I almost blogged about it but that would have taken way more research than I was willing to do at the time. Once I start clicking on links about art, I go down a rabbit hole that i might not come out of for weeks or months. I was already entrenched in Ren art. Adding modern art to the mix might have broken my brain.

And it was part of this thirst for consuming Ren art that I found myself in the Dallas Museum of Art this fall, less than 50 feet from the front door and was punched in the face with a Rothko.

It was a canvas so huge it completely filled my visual field. Orange and red, not colors I even care for too much. Just before that, I’d seen about 15 paintings by various artists and my brain was probably a bit overstimulated with all the visual information. Shapes, colors, important moments…

I’ve read that people get the sensation of levitating while viewing Rothko’s abstracts. It was a little like that for me but I can tell you exactly how it felt, maybe this has happened to you.

You know that feeling you have when you are immersed in thought and your brain is racing a million miles an hour and you’re moving around rushing through a well lit room doing whatever it is you are doing and suddenly the lights go out and BAM you stop dead in your tracks and it is so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face? For a moment everything in your mind is cleared and you don’t know what hit you and you have no plan yet to get back on whatever track you were on?

That moment. That meeting yourself in the dark moment.

It made me laugh. It made me feel human and wise and like I was everywhere at once.

It is no joke.

This is the painting that zapped my brain.

Orange, Red and Red

If you want to hunt down some of his work and decide for yourself whether or not this is a pile of crap, click this link to find a Rothko near you.

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Not a Francesca Sort of Girl

It is June of this year and my seventeen year-old daughter Spank and I are in Rome for some major museum crashing. Fresh off the subway with a crappy, zoomed out map, our suitcases rumble on the cobblestones as we search for a tiny B and B. This is the first time it’s just the two of us so far away from home. It’s a little dirtier and hotter than Paris and London and the cars aren’t as fancy, but the colors are more saturated and everything moves in slo-mo.

As there are no signs advertising the place, we pass it up, come back, and stand at the address feeling like suckers with our pre-paid internet booking.

One of the building tenants lets us through the gigantic wooden doors as she goes through. We stand in the courtyard, still dumbfounded. The tennant has never heard of the place. Finally, I spot an intercom near a glass door and see the name of the place in a tiny slot in 10 point courier. Here we are from half-way around the world and this is my mark, a tiny piece of paper less than half a square inch in a courtyard behind colossal wooden doors. And I fucking find it.

After the buzzer, a deep voice says, “Fifth floor” then buzzes us into the foyer. Like every place in Rome, it has a marble corkscrew staircase, and this one, an add on cage-type elevator in the middle.

But it is broken. We carry our suitcases up five flights of stairs and finally get to the office, which is actually an apartment. We are slicked over with sweat from all the walking and stair climbing in this crushing heat wave. A little embarrassed. A six-foot brunette with impossibly long legs opens the door, looks us over from head to toe, then gestures for us to come in. She is the only person I have ever actually seen sashay. As we follow her into the apartment/office, she doesn’t bother to throw on any lights, but I notice her hair is teased up so high I can see through it. Her clingy, belted t-shirt dress barely covers her ass.

In the middle of her apartment, she welcomes us to sit across from her at a desk. Her accent is thick Italian, rhythmic, and spoken like the last waves of high tide. She manages to give us details about the city, where to go for breakfast, how to get tickets to skip the line at museums. I ask if there are places to avoid, especially at night, since Spank and I are two women, alone.

Her eyeballs are heavy, as if the pupils are made of lead while she struggles to keep her eyes level with mine, but she does. She flicks her wrist, flays her fingers, “Rome-uh… is safe-uh.”

She slides a piece of paper across the desk, “Call me-uh, when you-uh, wake up-uh, they need-uh, to fix-uh, air condition-uh.”

There is only a number on the paper, no name. I look back up at her and ask what I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to know, “What’s your name?”

Between that question mark and before she spoke, in my head, my own voice begs, please don’t say Paola, please don’t say Paola, because I’m going to develop a tic right here and give off the tiniest hint of a smile.

And as if she read my mind, the name slowly rolls off her tongue, like that eight ball you call in the right corner pocket, dropping in there with its last bit of momentum, “Paola.”

I don’t tic out on her, or look at Spank, I just write her name, concentrating hard because she’s watching. I had to make damn sure not to write “Paolo.”

Francesco-Francesca doesn’t cross my mind as she isn’t a Francesca sort of girl. No, she’s too angular, her chin too strongly chiseled, cheekbones a bit too sharp.

Then she takes us to the marble staircase with the elevator shaft in the middle. Asks us to wait up there with our luggage so she can “reset” the elevator. Roman staircases have the acoustics that make every footstep sound as if you are right next to it. So we hear her stilettos “tic-toc, toc-tik, toc-toc” like a broken clock, all the way down until they stop. Then the elevator cage closes, CLANG!

That’s when Spank and I look at each other and call it at the same time, “Thatsadude.”

And we are totally cool with that. If Rome is safe for her, it is safe for us.

_______________

I like searching for wireless network names while traveling, struck gold here, look down to the fourth one.

Speaking of fourth, don’t you love it when an artist breaks the fourth wall? Gives me chills. (this is part of Raphael’s School of Athens).

I got the giggles

This is a lovely short from Iran. Four people in a compartment on a train. They go through a dark tunnel and there is a kiss and then a slap.

Who kissed whom? Who got slapped? Of course, it is never what you think. This one got me laughing at the end and crawled up under my skin and kept me laughing for a while.

Who did you think did the kissing and the slapping?

Gifts that leave me speechless

Back when we were in school, I used to make almost all of my gifts. I’d paint, sew, cross stitch, bake, you name it, do whatever I had to do to ghetto a gift. Seems as if things were simpler then, people didn’t expect much and they ended up way pleased with whatever I had to give.

I wish I still had that creative spirit in me, handmade gifts are my favorite things to give and receive. Money complicates and uglifies gift giving. So I’m going to shut up about that.

Here’s something Kara’s boyfriend made for her birthday. Brilliant, isn’t it? He bought a pair of white canvas sneakers and drew her favorite Alice in Wonderland characters on them.

Click on photo to enlarge for detail

They are not identical, each is half of a continuous scene.

Spanky is working like a mad dog on her Christmas presents. See this necklace? She did not buy that chain, she made it, link by link with some little metal O’s.

It took her four hours to create this one. She knows it is easier to just go out and buy a chain, but this is a special pattern Spanky created especially for this person.

I don’t even know how to end this post because I’m overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of these gifts. Oh, wait, Rassles is making a quilt out of her late grandfather’s old suits to give to her dad.

I have no more words. Just watery eyes.

Signs

This is an amazing short that does exactly what a movie should do in the purest sense. Tell a story visually.

Even though the settings are ordinary (bachelor’s apartment, office buildings, city streets), the camera angles and movement, framing, lines, lighting, are not.

“Signs” by director Patrick Hughes is a lovely romantic story.

The lead actor and actress do not have a single line of  dialogue in here (unless you count their signs).

Collision of art, commerce, past, and present

There’s a shopping center near here with a bunch of cowboy days bronzes. I went there today to the camera shop and happened to have my camera with me. What a coincidence.

There are so many people there and so many cars, it’s difficult to get a shot of just the bronzes.

But I thought this one was funny because of the type of store it was in front of. Seriously, it’s a bronze cattle drive spread out right in front of a barbeque pit store.

barbequesgalore

I had to stand in the street to line it up like that and risk my dear dear life to oncoming traffic which was determined as hell to spend every last drop of Christmas money. There are sales and there are stampedes.

The next photo is just one part of a circle of cowboys around a campfire. I like the expression of wonder on this youth’s face as he listens the other bronze men talk. The Men’s Wearhouse sign behind him cracks me up.

img_0864

I keep a fairly updated photoblog over at TheCuckoosNest if you like that kinda stuff.

I’ll be cleaning up some of the photos I took and will put them over there in the next day or so (all the good stuff goes there).

Second Chances

We were so lucky to get a break in the cold weather with a 70 degree day and some bonus sunshine. I took the angel mosaic outside and jigsawed the wood around it.

The blades on the jigsaw are worn or maybe I don’t know how to use the damn thing but it was taking forever and despite the fact I had safety glasses on, the wind blew sawdust into my eyes.

I kept getting this gut feeling that I was going to end up cutting off one of my fingers or maybe even rip an artery in my arm. I always think of the worst thing that can happen, no matter what I’m doing, but I’m used to it, thinking like that. Maybe it’ll earn me some money one day.

So what do people think about while they’re doing man-work with power tools? Drinking beer. I didn’t have any beer. I popped a bottle of wine.

Working with power tools isn’t dangerous enough, you know?

I’m not much of a drinker. I still can’t have a glass of anything without gagging after each sip, no matter how good the stuff is.

So here is how the thing is looking now with the darker grout, post jigsaw. And no I didn’t lose a drop of blood in the process.

angelsecond

Second chances, hey?

Here’s a band I’ve been listening to lately, Shinedown. What’s cool about this video (Second Chances) is they incorporated material from fan stories, photos, videos, and voicemails about their second chances.

Oh, and the temperature outside has already dropped back to 39 degrees in the last couple of hours.

The Only Curse That Ever Worked on Me

I was the only person my paternal grandmother seemed to like. About my father, she used to say, “I should have pinched his head off when he was born.”

We didn’t see her too often due to the miles between us. Once every couple of years or so. But when she’d see me, she’d always look me over real hard, smile, and say, “All my friends say you look just like me.”

I always knew this was why she liked me. She’d parade me in front of all her friends at the beauty shop, the ladies circles, the this, the that, anywhere, just so she could have them tell her again, “Oh yes, Lottie, she looks just like you.”

Maybe she was like that because she never had a daughter. She was a refined lady. She knitted, quilted, embroidered, and knew all the rules of etiquette. We were all pretty much barbarians according to her. I was always asking my mom, “Why do you keep lighting those matches?”

So when I was about nineteen years old, my mom and I went to visit her. Mom told her about the quilt I started making after picking up a magazine with a pattern in it.

I thought for sure she would say “Oh, you’re just like me,” or “That’s wonderful, you’re my favorite person in the world,” or something like that.

What she said shocked me. “You’ll never finish it.”

I, not too experienced in sewing and having never seen a person actually work on a quilt thought she must know something I didn’t know. She was an experienced quilter, had an infamous silk embroidered quilt in a box under her bed which we got to see progress every single time we went to visit.

My quilt, to this very day, looks exactly as it did on the day she cursed me.

quilt

I never put another stitch into the thing. I don’t blame her really, I shouldn’t have been so stupid to allow what she said affect me. As time went by, the curse wore off, I did believe I could finish it, but along with the changes in me came changes in my tastes. I stopped liking the colors in it.

Still, I always wondered why she would say such a thing to me. Why did she doubt my abilities? Was it because I wasn’t a refined lady?

I figured it out yesterday by chance.

I was pulling out all the Christmas decorations, going through boxes I haven’t been through in years. I should’ve figured it out right here with these reindeer my grandmother made.

reindeer2

It wasn’t until I got all the family heirloom stockings together, those from Blane’s and my sides of the family.

stockings

The blue one was made by one of Blane’s great aunts. The other two by my grandmother. All three are of the same fabric handmade by two people of roughly the same age around the same time.

My grandmother never finished hers. Look at those cross hatch stampings on the stocking at far right. Those are supposed to be beaded. It’s supposed to have sequins all over it.

And that explains why there are only three reindeer. 

And most likely why she said I’d never finish my quilt. Not only did she believe I looked just like her, she believed I was just like her.

Finally, The Masterpiece

Five years in the making, I’ve come to a critical point with the angel mosaic. This is not a kit, btw, it’s made from scratch with pieces of old tiles I had on hand, a wet saw, tile nipper, and tons of patience.

I’ve finally glued all the tiles in place over the mesh and am ready to grout it in. The reason I glued them on a mesh instead of directly onto a piece of plywood backing is I intended to hang it on a shower wall but changed my mind. So the extra step here is separating the mesh (I used a strong tulle) from the template I drew on a poster.

First I painted a half inch piece of plywood with primer so the liquid from adhesive and grout wouldn’t warp the wood. Then I applied about a quarter inch of adhesive to the plywood and sunk the mesh with tiles onto that surface.

I hammered the pieces into the glue with a board so all the tile surfaces would be flush.

angel-hammer

And let that dry for a day.

Now it is time for the grout. I used premixed unsanded type and worked it into the empty spaces with a two sided grout sponge which is a dense sponge on one side and a scratchy surface on the other.

angel-grout

This part goes fast. Once the entire surface of the mosaic is covered and grout is in every space, I splashed about a cup of water on it and used the scratch pad to loosen the grout on the tops of the tile. This part also helps make sure there are no air pockets in the grout spaces. 

angel-scratchy

And now my favorite part of all. It reminds me of those old movies when someone has plastic surgery and their face is all bandaged up and it is time to unwrap them. The moment of truth.

I took a sponge (a new white one, dyes in sponges can color the grout) and make only two passes over each area.

swipe-angel

Unfortunately, the moment of truth for me was a cold and hard one. I screwed up by choosing white grout.

angel-all-done

And that is where I am with this thing right now. I do believe I can fix it with a grout dye, I’m just worried that it won’t be uniform in color. Also some of the tiles are porous stone and may take up the dye. 

Once that is sorted out, I’ll jigsaw the wood, following the edges of the mosaic.

I’ll make a frame out of metal strips to make it look like a ribbon framing.

The saga continues…

What’s the Deal with Bokeh?

I’ve seen it before in movies but never knew it had a name. Bokeh.

Bokeh is an out of focus point of light you’ll see in backgrounds of photos. When I joined Flickr, I noticed there were groups dedicated to nothing but bokeh. I also noticed some photographers do only bokeh photos. And photos that have that stuff have a gazillion adoring comments.

There is some in this photo I took, but it is not ideal.

bokeh2

Here’s an excellent bokeh photo someone has over there.

So I wondered, what’s the big deal?

I thought about some of my favorite moments in film and the images that flashed in my mind were ones that had bokeh in them.

A moonlit kiss on a porch with a fuzzy moon as a backdrop would be a good example.

But I don’t have one to show you.

Then I thought about some dramatic moments of my life. Bokeh in the background. Like when my son was born and his face was the only thing I could focus on because they gave me a powerful hallucinogenic drug.

That’s when I really got it.

Secondhand Payback and a Hundred Thousand Years of Life

So Blane’s cousin and his eight year-old daughter left and now I can speak freely of the torture we have been through over the last 48 hours.

Maybe I’ll think of a nickname for this kid by the end of this post. Right now all I can think of is Clifford.

v03360swnhc

She’s been here before and I’d heard all sorts of grievances from Blane and kids, but around me, she’s an angel. She draws pictures for me, gives out free hugs, tells me I’m her favorite “aunt.”

The thing is, she has ADHD and by the time I wake up, the kid’s meds are working.

Before that, she goes to every room but mine and wakes everyone up. How she does that is the nefarious part.
She jumps on the bed and yells, “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”
Shakes a tin box full of coins while standing just out of arms reach.
Yesterday morning was a pretty good one, she dragged Spanky’s floor lamp right over her head and shined it right in her face. Spanky told her, “Get out or I will punt you, Kid.”

Why doesn’t she come in my room? I think it’s because the dogs are in there and they growl if anyone comes near the door. Brave guard dogs, yay!

So yesterday afternoon we decided to take the light rail into Dallas to see the King Tut exhibit.

For about twenty minutes I had to watch the kid while her dad and Blane were fighting with the bandit kiosk for tickets.

She kept running up and down the ramps, tightroping the edge of the train platform, climbing the rails like a monkey…

Now I have a really healthy set of nerves, my little brother was ten times worse. But Blane and Spanky never had younger siblings. They aren’t used to this. Blane himself probably has ADHD, I’ve heard some stories from every single relative about how he was a hammerheaded nerveen.

So Blane at least deserves it. But me? No way, man. When the kid kept unzipping my purse I told her there was a badazz snake in there. Nipped that shit in the bud.
Kid: What does it look like?
Me: It’s poisonous, you want me show it to you?

Telling her that story made her only want to “hang out” with me more. After about ten minutes into the forty-five minute train ride I asked her dad if he gave her a speedball or something.

That’s when he told me he forgot to give her her meds. Oh. Boy.

I felt sorry for all the people around us. Most of them would just get up and move. So the seat in front of us was empty when the gangsta-looking dude with the scowl and doo-rag strutted onto the train and plopped himself right there.

I was fine until that moment, I swear, I was like Mother freaking Theresa of feral children, but I knew this wasn’t good. I begged the kid to go sit with her dad. Offered to let her dig in my purse and play Old Maid with my credit cards, anything to get her away from that dude.

Of course she constantly kicked the back of his seat. What I can’t believe is that he didn’t put a cap in my ass when she elbowed him in the back of the head. Twice.

That was the train ride there.

The Tut exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art was better than expected. There was gold, gold GOLD everywhere. And you know how I dig shiny stuff.

I was surprised with the level of detail in all the pieces, exquisite inlays of ivory, wood, and stone. Almost everything had hieroglyphs on the backside of them. I was especially impressed with the one spell wishing Tut a “hundred thousand years of life.”

And got all existential in there. His spell is better than ours, it ends in about 97,000 years. We get eternity. I mean, what are we going to do in the afterlife in all that time?

The train ride back wasn’t so bad. The kid expended a load of energy fingering up all the glass in the museum. (she tried to pry open one of the glass encasements!)

What kept her busy was she found the pole that you can hold onto if you don’t want a seat. She’d climb it and slide down. Spin around it. I looked at her dad and said, “Watch out dude, payback is hell.”

Got to the car and the kid refused to sit down unless she was sitting with her feet under her. Shoes all over the seats of Spanky’s new car.

Why did she want to sit like that? Oh you will die when you read this. She rolls up her underwear to make them look like she has thong like her mom and apparently it hurts to sit with them all bunched up like that.

Remember This?

The mosaic tile angel I pulled out two years ago to work on again?

Well I didn’t work on it that day or even for another two years. Today I felt like doing something artistic and pulled it out. I almost didn’t get to it as I couldn’t find the tile biter. I persisted and didn’t stop until I found everything I needed.

These are the ceramic tiles in all the different colors I have planned out for the entire project. I used a wet saw to precut long thin strips of tile so I could use the tile nippers to “bite” each little square. Most of the hard work for this has actually already been done.
mosaic-tile-supplies

And here is where I started today:

mosaic-tile-baby-1

See that blank face staring at me? That was the problem. All that time I was afraid I’d fail. So far the thing was beautiful and I didn’t want to mess it up by doing a bad job on the face which I consider the focal point in this piece.

It is unusual for me to have a fear of failure. I fuck up all the time. I don’t dwell on it though because I truly believe the best things in life come from taking the biggest risks.

Which is why today I went straight for the face and finished that part. No practicing on the scrolly parts to get back into the groove of how to do it.

And look:

mosaic-tile-baby-2

Just a quick snapshot, the angle is off, making his head look too small for his body. I’ll get better photos once it’s all grouted in. The thing is, I’m on my way. Hopefully you’ll get to see it finished by Christmas.

Exquisite Cinematography

I found this gem of a short on Vimeo, but you can watch it on YouTube. All I know about this director is he is a filmmaker from Madrid.

The angles and lighting help to convey a tone of pure anxiety. I had to watch it quite a few times as I was completely astonished by this guy’s work. The acting and story line are excellent as well (and there’s a twist at the end), but what stands out for me is the cinematography.

The name of the short is “God Bless You.”

If you like watching on Vimeo, it is here:
God Bless You – Short film from Lizondo on Vimeo.

You Have To Go See This

Okay, I made the video and you all have to go see how we are managing to keep our Obama sign in the yard.

I have done a lot of videos in my lifetime, but I have never edited one. This was my first go.

It’s part reenactment, part prank, all fun.

It’s only four minutes long and that includes the bloopers and credits.

Enjoy the show and make sure you have the sound on:

Let me know what you think, even if you think it sucks. We all had a lot of fun doing it.

How to Take Clandestine Cathedral Pictures in 10 Steps


Photo by http://www.stuckincustoms.com

I was browsing Flickr today and found this dude’s Flickr page. His photos are out of this world amazing. His blog posts about them are also amazing and entertaining. Here’s an excerpt of the post on the above photo. (Go on, the guy has character.)

My method for getting tripods into cathedrals and shooting is this:

1) Go in the exit and act like you are lost if someone asks

2) Wear a long matrix-coat and stuff your tripod up inside like a shotgun. Try not to walk with a limp.

3) Stride confidently through the crowds like you are in a hurry on a photo assignment.

4) Work your way into the pews and have a seat. You can even pretend to be Catholic and say a few Latin words as you sit down. I suggest “Pater Noster (My Father) or Quid Pro Quo (Rub Beads and go to Heaven)”

5) Slide out the tripod and assemble along the ground, When other parishioners look at you suspiciously, give them the sign of the cross.

6) Watch for old people in the main aisle, because they have trouble getting around tripods. Jump out, take your long exposures at 100 ISO, then sit back down.

7) If securty comes to get you, blame Stuck In Customs and that will confuse them long enough so you can make a getaway.

8) Don’t worry about getting caught. The church is much more leniant than they were during the Inquisition. Most big cathedrals do have crypts, but they are full of dead saints and they have never put a photographer in there.

9) If you see a tourist with a tiny camera taking a picture with the flash on, please tell them to stop. The flash does nothing in that situation. It’s just embarassing for them, really.

10) If you want some post-processing techniques, check out my tutorial at stuckincustoms.com/2006/06/06/548/

from www.stuckincustoms.com

What a personality.

Here are some quotes I like from his post about post-processing techniques/.

Regarding Photomatix:

Now it is time to fire up Photomatix and get crunk in the HDR house. Okay that was stupid.

Regarding tripods:

You gotta have a solid tripod. What? You don’t want to carry around a tripod? Comon… if you are going out to shoot beautiful pictures, you better get serious. Also, if you have it over your shoulder or carry it in an aggressive way, it makes an effective weapon. As you can see, I go all over the world, often into sketchy areas, and a big tripod is often an effective deterrent. I carry it so much, I am very good at flipping it around and whipping it around my body like ninja nunchaku.

Regarding Photoshop:

What? You are not good at Photoshop? First you tell me you don’t like carrying tripods, and then you tell me you don’t like using Photoshop. How about this… Let’s get you a little bit out of your comfort zone, eh? That’s what good friends do right… push you to make yourself better. If you keep doing things you are comfortable with, then you are never going to improve and experience new things, right?

Amazing, huh? Check out his website, he has some bad-ass night city photos. And travel photos, and, and, and, just go see.

Mesquite Animal

One of my favorite things is something my father made by hand when he was twelve years old. I didn’t know this thing even existed during the time he was alive. Maybe it was at my grandmother’s house or it was put away so us kids couldn’t ruin it.

It’s some sort of animal he carved of mesquite, a gnarly wood that is plentiful in Texas, where he grew up.

It’s in great shape for being sixty years old.

3 inches tall by 5 1/2 inches long

What amazes me is how little carving he had to do. It is all one piece, nothing glued or pieced together. As if he found this animal already made in the tree, he just had to cut it away.

It has two eyes, a pot belly, a tail, front legs split from one branch…

Two butt cheeks, back legs, and a tail.

I don’t know what type of animal he meant it to be… a dog? horse? pig?

It never fails to fascinate me. This simple piece of mesquite that shows enormous imagination.

Water Ghost

I took the camera and tripod out today to work on photographing water. My aim was to work past the reflections and get a shot of a flower in the pool or something. 

I changed my mind when I saw the reflections and decided to work with them.

This is what I got on the first shot:

Is that wicked or what?

I didn’t use any filters or change any of the colors but PhotoShopped out a few bugs that were on the water’s surface. 

In an ideal world, the reflection of the trees wouldn’t be in there. If you like this photo, I’ve got another similar one on the photoblog.

Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet, I’m using WordPress’ new monotone photoblogger theme on there which is cool so far.  The matting color around the photos changes with each new photo posted.

Anyway, this has been a great opportunity for me to finally get to know my digital slr. I’m finally learning how to use it manually instead of always shooting on automatic. I’m also learning the limitations of my camera, lenses, and the built in flash (that thing is harsh). 

Beautiful Lighted Glass Pipes

In a hotel lobby near here I saw this lighted glass pipe sculpture and was stunned by the beauty of it. It reminds me of fireworks, Silly String, Twizzlers, bad and good hair days, Christmas trees, peace pipes… but mostly it makes me think of taking photos of lights at night without a tripod. Those beautiful goof-ups that I don’t like to delete from the camera.

It’s about 16 feet high. Maybe 20. 

I wish I could create something like this. 

Here is a close up shot:

What do you think about it?