Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The loblolly bay is a tree I'd never encountered in the northeast.  It has a chalky white textured bark and sports a white blossom in this season.  The trouble is that, rather than have the blooms all emerge at once, the tree doles them out one or two at a time.  There is one here, but it's much harder to see in this photograph than it was in 'reality'.  At least there was a subtle difference in value between the leaves and the other foliage which I exaggerated as much as I could making this print.  (Film)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I try very hard to find 'diamonds in my own backyard'.  It isn't easy here.  I had the idea for this photograph a while ago, and then saw someone else do something similar (hey....it's all been done at one time or another by somebody!), so I decided to claim my version in my own backyard.  For those who know something about cameras, a light leak is a bad, bad thing.  It means a seal is compromised in some way, and light hits the film or sensor that isn't supposed to.  I thought titling this "Light Leak" was appropriate.  That fence just ain't gettin it done.!  ;-)   (Film)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The word 'clabbered' is new to me.  It means mottled, and in this case it refers to a buttermilk sky.  I wasn't even exactly sure what a buttermilk sky was until I saw this and figured it must be one.  As I've noted, the sky here can offer an endless display of interesting cloud forms except on the all too often boringly bright, clear, blue, cloudless days. Florida is not called the sunshine state without reason.  I prefer clouds!  (Film)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I got to the beach earlier this morning than I did a few days ago.  The sky brightened gradually until sun-up and then at a faster pace.  When watching it rise close to the horizon, its surprising how quickly it moves away from the 'edge' of the ocean.  That people thought the earth was flat is easy to understand, but when, instead, one realizes that that speed is the planet's rotation, it's quite astonishing.  (Film)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Photographing directly into the sun is a dicey proposition.  It's likely that there will be flare, glare, and lens artifacts.  Exposure, too, is problematic as there is no light source that's brighter.  To get other parts of a scene to render their normal values is beyond the reach of 10 zones.  So, it seemed a good idea to not even attempt a photograph with a large tonal range, but instead to try something more limited and dramatic.  This was photographed at about 6:45 AM on Jacksonville beach.  (Film)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Other than the Atlantic ocean and its shore, the natural environment of Florida is utterly alien to what I lived with until two years ago.  In the Hudson Valley, you could swing a cat once and find 360 likely images.  Here...not at all, except for a very angry cat.  The forests, if you can call them that, are really jungles cluttered with an ocean of palmettos and a sea of impenetrable low lying plants.   So, I have to look elsewhere.  That search has expanded my appreciation for subjects I might not have stopped for in the past.  (Film)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

I rarely if ever include people in my pictures.  While photographing this view, the fisherman walked by and I asked him to stop.  I was surprised that he did, and didn't waste his time.  I took this picture immediately and thanked him.  I had more luck than he did, I think!  I may do more of this sort of thing!  lol   (Film)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

At some of the ocean front parks here, there are rather long walks through the dunes and sea oats to get to the water.  The paths are clearly marked and there are sections with boardwalks and railings.  As in all the parks, walking on the dunes is either prohibited or discouraged.  Thus, they retain the plantings that hold the sand in place, and provide seclusion for nesting birds and wildlife.  This photograph was taken from a boardwalk on Little Talbot Island at the very southern end near the mouth of the St. John's River.  (Film)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This is our beloved standard poodle, Bailey, a couple of whiles ago.  We shared our lives with him for nearly twelve years.  Yesterday, he left us for the rainbow bridge with hugs, caresses, kisses and many, many tears.  He was gravely ill and a peaceful passing surrounded by his loving humans was truly a blessing.  Before that final moment, he was given all the M&Ms he could possibly have wanted, and no doubt wondered why they had been withheld until just then.  We miss him terribly.  "Go play!!", Bailey, wherever you are.  If souls exist, they live in animals too. Perhaps the better word is 'spirit'.  Conservation of energy dictates that our spirit, as some form of energy, lives on.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What you see on the beach in this picture is coquina, which is "a sedimentary rock that is composed either wholly or almost entirely of the transported, abraded, and mechanically-sorted fragments of  shells..."  (Wikipedia)  It's often carved into interesting forms by the action of the surf and sea. Any other rock found on the shore in this part of Florida, at least, has been imported from elsewhere to build jetties or to reinforce some other kind of marine structure.   The sky, of course, was really the point!  (Film)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Looking at some of the negatives I hadn't gotten around to yesterday from my morning at Little Talbot Island SP,  I decided I liked this one too.  The day began with a brooding sky that gradually cleared and gave way to blue with big white puffs pictured first in yesterday's post.  But, things started out like this which pleased me a lot.  (Film)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Probably my favorite state parks around here are Big Talbot Island and Little Talbot Island.  The former features a beach so densely littered with fallen, dead trees that, even at low tide, it's not easy to walk very far.  The beach on the latter is wide open and utterly uncluttered with beautiful dunes that you walk through to get there.  These two photographs were made yesterday (April 30), on Little Talbot.  As swimming is prohibited, there are usually fewer people there than at other beaches, and at the beginning of the day it's all but deserted.  Having read a forecast of partly cloudy in the morning, I was there by about 8:30 AM.   I was not disappointed!   (Inclusion of the little triangle 'pointer' was quite deliberate!)   (Film)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I've found very few places in north Florida where a sense of grandeur can include the land as well as the sky.  I'm using 'grandeur' in the majestic sense since some would consider a vast salt marsh to be 'grand' as well just because it's so enormous.  But, my life in the northeast has prejudiced me to regard 'flat' as the antithesis of anything that thrills and inspires.  But, once again, Huguenot SP came through with its marvelous dunes which, on the day I made this photograph, were graced by enough of a dramatic sky to warrant attention.   (Film)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

One of the nicest things about the Jacksonville area is that the beaches are easy to access, free of user fees or parking permits, and public.  In fact the free parking lots have porta-potties making their use even more convenient.  This photograph was made in the area I come to most often, and always is interesting.  I usually see fishing poles rooted in the sand with their lines extending into the water as far as the fishermen can cast them.  But, I've never seen a fish reeled in though I guess they must be getting caught as the fishermen return again and again.  (Film)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The beach at Big Talbot Island SP is littered with trees and tree limbs that are not washed ashore driftwood, but are native to the place.  The wind, surf, storms, and tide take their toll on the trees too near the water, and little by little they succumb and topple onto the sand.  It would be fascinating to come back a century from now to see what's left of the parts I am familiar with...but, hehe..that ain't gonna happen.  However, photographs will inform those who do visit a hundred years hence of how much has been claimed by the sea.  Of course, there may not be much left of Florida altogether as the earth warms, the ice caps and glaciers melt, and the ocean rises.

I did not make this heart, but thought it deserved a picture before the incoming tide made it a memory.   (Film)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Again, from Huguenot State Park,  I explored the west side of the dunes on foot this time.  The dunes are quite spectacular and off limits to those who would disturb their nesting grounds.  But, even from the 'road' around them, there is much to see and photograph.  I wanted to be there in the afternoon because it was low tide and easy to traverse, and because the sun was to my back and the polarizing filter at its most effective.   (Film)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

This is a photograph I wish I had taken, but my grandson's mom is the guilty party.  The happy little cutie is sitting beside his dad.  He is watching a video of me playing Happy Birthday with some flashy embellishments on my cello for him.  I'm told he watched it several times, and, as this is one of the latter ones, I'm really pleased that he continued to find it entertaining.  Now, if he'll just ask his father to get him cello lessons.  After all, he is now two years old and will soon be about the right age to start on a viola with an end pin!! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

There are several interesting parks that front on the ocean in this northeast corner of  Florida.   I've posted several images from Big Talbot Island State Park before, but none from Huguenot Memorial Park which is where the two photographs below were made. The park is essentially a huge array of dunes that are roped off and patrolled by rangers to protect the nesting grounds of a variety of sea birds.  But, between the dunes and the sea is a vast beach that permits vehicle access and is quite popular with visitors who sun  themselves, picnic, and bathe in the ocean never very far away from their cars.  (Film)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

This photograph presents an odd perspective for this part of Florida.  It was taken from a high vantage point.   Since moving here, I've missed the hills and old, worn down mountains that give the Hudson Valley such character and beauty.  The Jacksonville area seems to be one vast, flat sandbar with little variation, but the Jacksonville arboretum boasts a rather high overlook of the pond below, and a ravine beyond the pond.   I've visited three times now, and look forward to going again later in the day, and later in the season as the trees leaf out.  (Film)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Here are two delightful woodland sprites I discovered dancing beneath a magic mushroom at the Jacksonville Arboretum.   (Film)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's been a while since I've posted anything here.  I just haven't made any photographs I'm happy enough with to share.  There is an arboretum in Jax that I discovered a week ago or so that was interesting to visit.  Within is an actual ravine with at least thirty feet of drop off that is the first inland place I've encountered here that isn't dead flat.  But this image is about something much simpler.  (Film)

Monday, January 26, 2015

It's been about two months since my last post. (sounds like I'm going to Confession...lol!)  As I've written several times before, I am finding Florida a difficult subject away from the ocean.   True, there are places one can travel to that are interesting, but in NY I found much to photograph within a mile of where I lived.  So, this is in honor of that kind of proximity.  It is a scene from behind our house.  The trees are loblolly bays that are as close to the light bark of birches or aspen as can be found around here.   (film)

Friday, November 21, 2014

As I've written, the beach is just a 20 minute drive from where I live.  Unlike the New Jersey or New York seashores, access is unfettered by fees, windshield stickers, or "No Parking" signs except in some exclusive residential areas.  In fact, Jacksonville Beach has free parking lots with porta-potties.   So, to not take advantage of what's there is to really waste an opportunity.  Rather than go to the gym today,  I walked on the beach below.  I didn't realize how strong and steady the breeze was until I turned around to go back.  Yikes!    (digital)

Since posting this in color, I was curious to see it in monochrome.  In Photoshop Elements 11 it was simple to extract the chroma, futz with highlights, midtones, shadows, contrast and brightness with the following effect.  Better?  Not really....just different.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The area of Jacksonville where I live has quite a few corporate parks.  They're landscaped to a fare thee well, but not very interesting to photograph (and...I've tried...a lot!) as the design isn't from nature, but from an architect.  All the housing and corporate developments built in the last several decades are required to include retention ponds to compensate for the acres covered by buildings and pavement.  The effect is nicely verdant with trees, shrubs and ponds, but not visually compelling.  This little tree was difficult to isolate, and it's the best I could do with it.  (film)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's been a while since I visited Kingsley Plantation.  I wanted to wait until the light was different than it had been last spring and early summer.   It's now more oblique, and casts shadows that weren't possible when directly overhead.  There's much more visible texture now, and forms are better defined as well.  These were taken somewhere close to noon, and I want to go back at an earlier hour for even more oblique light.  It is my intention to make as many images as I can, and then choose twenty or so of the best.  So, there may be repetitions in the meantime!  (film)


Monday, November 10, 2014

I've not gone to the ocean for a while...stupid, really, because it's only 20 minutes away, and it's always different and always a pleasure.  So, I thought I'd take my mountain bike to the beach and ride it there on Friday instead of going to the YMCA gym.  When the tide is out, there is a lot of packed wet sand that's perfect for biking, and the knobby tires and rear fender are great for traction and avoiding splashed butt syndrome.  I rode a good long distance and came across the posts I photographed below.  I hadn't known they were there until that ride, and was eager to return with the camera the next day.  Here's one from that second visit.  (film)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I don't think I've ever included an acknowledgement of another photographer's work here.  But, hey...it's my blog, and I shouldn't feel restricted as to what I post, so here's something different.

 I have at least five books of Michael Kenna's work, two retrospectives, one anthology, and two monographs of singular subjects.  France is the most generous and sumptuous monograph I've collected by any photographer.  Knowing his work from these books, I've concluded that Kenna's so-called minimalist, long exposure images are just one segment of  his overall body of work.  The majority of the photographs are just superbly composed and interesting images of subjects that are a pleasure to look at.  (In fact, the long exposure minimalist images do not appeal to me with nearly the power as the rest.)

As I've written before, I am utterly disgusted by what passes for contemporary 'art' photography.  It's boring, careless, and poorly crafted in every sense.  It should be an embarrassment to those who champion it, but they're intent on proffering what hasn't been seen before even though it likely wasn't worth seeing in the first place. But, it's new! And...there are legions of visually illiterate viewers who will follow anyone that appears to be an authority no matter how flimsy their credentials and background. 

I am a classical musician, and have the utmost respect for excellent intonation, tonal purity, beautiful sound, and expressive interpretation.  Kenna meets parallel visual standards with supreme virtuosity.

 (digital, and with a tripod! lol)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

These towers are often very compelling to look at with billowing steam jetting into the clouds.  I expect to photograph them as often as I can when the conditions make them particularly interesting.  From up close, they're huge, and their exhaust impressive.  (film)

Friday, October 17, 2014

I never imagined that there would be a vibrant wine industry in the south.  New York wines are middlin' at best, and don't really compete with California wines I think.  But, Georgia?  Who knew? 
These two photographs were made at Wolf Mountain Winery ...the real deal and truly on a steep-to-access mountain top.  The place is exceptionally elegant and beautiful, and the members of the family I met who own it were really, really nice.  (film)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

After seeing my son in Atlanta, Georgia, the rest of my eleven day trip focused on photography.  I didn't shoot nearly as much as I'd hoped to, but did make a few images that I'm happy with.  This is the film version of the digital image I posted on October 10th.  It's interesting that the aspect ratios of the two pictures are so different.  The digipic is nearly a panorama, while the film image is much less wide (both were cropped a bit on the sides).  Even online, the difference between a hand held p&s image, and one made with a medium format (6x7) film camera on a tripod with an excellent lens is quite obvious to me at least. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Having only glimpsed cotton fields after they'd been harvested, my recent trip to Georgia had me there when 'the cotton was high'.   It's an interestingly heliotropic crop whose bolls aren't even visible from the side away from the sun.   As I drove past a field, I only realized what was growing there when I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the vast ocean of white.  It's a crop that has very powerful associations with slave labor, and seeing the density of the planted field, visions of men, women, and children with sacks suspended beside them with straps, laboring in the broiling sun were quickly called to mind.  The irrigation apparatus is, of course, a contemporary device.  (film)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I almost missed this as I zipped along a two lane rural road approaching a little Georgia town.  It caught the corner of my eye, and I turned the car around and went back to it.

One of the pleasures of using a point and shoot camera is the sense of freedom to photograph anything at all.  My 'serious' film camera sits on a tripod ready to expose a frame to a carefully metered and focused scene.  But, the little digi gets handheld, and manages exposure and focus on its own.  That's a treat!

Friday, October 10, 2014

I didn't realize scenes like this still existed.  I thought laws protecting the environment from this kind of air pollution (and, some fog as well) had put an end to it, but, apparently not.  This is a Georgia Pacific paper mill belching out smoke and steam on a bright October weekday morning just outside of Brunswick, Georgia.  It's going to get worse if the forces of stupidity and greed trying to roll back environmental regulations have their way in Congress.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Splattintootree,  Splittintwoshee, Gladditsnottmee

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Before you accuse me of hypocrisy regarding photographs of sunsets, let me declare up front that these pictures are not posted here as art!   They're P&S digicam snapshots, but they are nice to look at.  They were taken from the "Club" floor at the Sheraton in Atlanta after a stormy day while I was visiting with my son who was here on business.  He travels more air miles than Santa Claus, and I get to spend time with him when his work is done. 

Though I could have converted them to monochrome, sometimes color is the whole point of the photographs, and these are some of those!  ;-)

Monday, September 15, 2014

One of my friends said, "What is lacking here in interesting scenery is compensated for by incredible clouds."  It's true. There is a fairly consistent pattern of cloud formation that often leads to rain in the afternoon and evening.  (It's 6:30 PM and raining now in fact.)  I was getting the mail at about 5 o'clock and was dazzled by the western sky.  I am beginning to enjoy having my little Canon S100 digital for immediate gratification, and grabbed it quickly to record a bit of the drama. A little futzing around in Photoshop dumped the color, and hyped things up a bit.  Still, it ain't REAL photography! ;-)

Well into adulthood, I admit to having had a fear of  'the south' that was linked to the awful behavior of mobs and individuals during the '60s in response to desegregation and the civil rights movement.  Bombing 'black' churches, lynching, burning down houses of African Americans who chose to speak out and up, fierce police dogs attacking peaceful protestors, yahoo bigots screaming racist slurs and a host of other despicable practices made the region anathema.  And, of course, the slave cabins and images from Kingsley Plantation continue to reinforce the notion that this is not a region to visit let alone live in if you are a white, liberal, Yankee.

But, having now been a full time resident of north Florida for more than a year, I feel there has been significant change, and my discomfort has abated.  I know there was no dearth of racist intolerance and bigotry in many other regions as well, but the consequences of red-lining, block busting, unfair hiring and firing and a host of other sins didn't make the headlines the way what happened in the segregated south did.  A bad rap?  I don't think so, but now is not then...thankfully!

So, it is wonderful and refreshing to read the story linked below, and view the images of a North Carolina itinerant photographer made of different stuff.  


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yeah, I know...no kittens or sunsets!  Well, Scooter is 14 and by no means a kitten.  He's a retired cat who can be so laid back that a squirrel will walk past him and not even notice he's there, nor will Scooter twitch a whisker in his direction (true!).  He doesn't have many teeth left, but could still defend himself with claws if he had to.  Perhaps cognizent of his seniority, he is far warier than he used to be and often prefers to be on the screened in porch (or 'lanai', to use the local term) looking out rather than actually being outside...less stress I think.  He periodically adopts perching places that range from a pile of clean laundry, to an empty basket for magazines, or a favorite padded chair seat, and now, to this little table by the front door.  His one principal interest is napping, and he's extremely good at it.  After these pictures were taken, he walked away, jumped up on his favorite chair, and went to sleep.  The perfect retiree!   "I am kitty!  Hear me snore!"

N.B.  As I am now posting the occasional digital image, I'll identify film from pixels for most posts.  These are scans of film exposures made on a tripod with the P67, 135mm lens on Delta 100.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This will be an odd post, and there won't be a photograph or two included.  Rather, I am posing an open question and looking for serious answers.

I am at a total loss as to the way certain contemporary photography disregards most of the criteria I consider essential to a good picture.  In my email today was a new issue of an online photography magazine that baffles me. What I see there over and over again is haphazard lighting, indifferent color...usually somewhat washed out, random composition that seems to deliberately disdain coherent organization, centers of interest that aren't interesting, subjects that wouldn't hold my attention for a moment in reality, a voyeuristic view of people who have no apparent reason for being photographed, and a host of other sins of omission, and commission.  These photographs get published on line and in books, and garner praise by virtue of their being chosen, but without an explanation of why.  (I find it hard to believe anyone would buy any of these pictures for their walls, and I'd love to know how many copies of such books get sold.)

The alternative isn't kittens and sunsets, saturated and over sharpened color landscapes with pristine, dead calm water and snow capped mountains.  I realize that stuff is often kitsch, and is as guilty of  egregious sins as the work I am referring to in the paragraph above.  I make no brief that plodding along with endless variations of Yosemite in winter and the like would be preferred alternatives.
Nor do I  think umpteen Kennabe long exposure style photographs should be thought of as 'better'  art, whatever that is.  I am not writing in praise of stagnation. I also do not contend that my own photographs should garner any particular attention.  But, at least they're honest attempts to meet  standards that have been well established over time. And that's the heart of the question I'm posing...why have those standards been abandoned, and why does deliberate ugliness command the approval of the arbiters of 'fine art' photography???   

So, if you have a comment that will enlighten me, please make it.  If it makes no ad hominem attacks, and uses presentable language, I'll post it.  I apologize in advance for the 'captcha' nonsense that blogger.com imposes, but I can't seem to disable it.  Comments are delayed until I can check them, but I won't ignore any that meet the two criteria I mentioned.  Thank you in advance!

photoeye.com publishes a wide range of photobooks that run the gamut from wonderful to execrable, so look there for examples of the best and worst. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I confess to owning a neat little Canon point-and-shoot digital camera in addition to my 'real' film cameras.  Because I don't take it very seriously, it's fun to use, and I enjoy the easy delete function I employ frequently.  The images below were made with it while driving back from my trip to Savannah and Brunswick.  I had been looking for cotton fields without success, but passed this dirt road that I got a glimpse of at 65 mph, and had to turn around to return to.  While taking a five hour class in Lightroom (a pixel processor), I converted the color image to monochrome and messed around with it a bit.  For me, color is literal and boring and becomes execrable when it's super saturated.  It gets even worse with the nightmare use of HDR. (high dynamic range). 

The idea of HDR is the notion that it records the full range of light the eye can perceive.  But, the eye does NOT register both bright and dark scenes simultaneously.  Our irises open up in low light, and close down in bright light.  Though we may quickly change from one to the other, they are not both viewable at the same time.  Another drawback is that rendering everything in the photograph with equal tonal importance allows no area to become significant ....aesthetically stupid!!   The look of HDR is contrived and false.  So is the rationale for using it.  More and more it seems that software engineers are dictating photographic aesthetics, and like lemmings, vast numbers of digital photographers are drinking the Kool-Aid.  I will not be one of them.