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This blog is intended to showcase my pictures or those of other photographers who have moved beyond the pretty picture and for whom photography is more than entertainment - photography that aims at being true, not at being beautiful because what is true is most often beautiful..

>>>> Comments, commentary and lively discussions, re: my writings or any topic germane to the medium and its apparatus, are vigorously encouraged.

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In Situ ~ la, la, how the life goes onLife without the APADoorsKitchen SinkRain2014 • Year in ReviewPlace To SitART ~ conveys / transports / reflectsDecay & DisgustSingle WomenPicture WindowsTangles ~ fields of visual energy (10 picture preview) • The Light + BW mini-galleryKitchen Life (gallery) • The Forks ~ there's no place like home (gallery)


civilized triptych # 1 ~ one thing leads to another

kitchen table stuff ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Later this afternoon I am once again off to the Boston area for a hockey tournament. On Sunday, at the conclusion of the event, Hugo and I off to the Annual Jersey Shore / the Wife's Family Bacchanal for the week. The weather forecast looks to be only moderately hellish so maybe I'll survive.

While at the shore, my intent is to begin a series of 3-picture segmented images. There was a time past when I created quite a number of triptychs but they were different than the above image inasmuch as they were comprised of 3 related pictures as opposed to 3 contiguous pictures.

I have yet to work out the precise technique - lens, camera rotation or straight line movement (that is, move the camera to the left and right of the center picture), my normal black edges (or not), etc. - so the first day or two will be a work in progress kinda thing.

I'll post pictures as I go. Comments always appreciated.


civilized ku # 4015 / diptych # 206 ~ photoshopping

Saratoga Diner sign as pictured ~ Saratoga, NY • click to embiggen
Saratoga Diner sign w evening cloud / clear sky ~ Saratoga, NY • click to embiggen

In yesterday's entry John Linn wrote, "I do love old neon signs." To which I reply, so do I.

I have a ragtag collection of old sign - neon and painted - pictures which I never organized. I have also given thought to pursuing an old sign body of work. However, one of the problems with that idea is that some old neon signs are still in operation and the ideal time to picture them is at or near dusk. In most cases I am not in the presence of such signs at a time which allows me to hang about waiting for the ideal picturing conditions. Consequently, I picture those signs in daylight, which while still interesting, is not the same as picturing a lighted neon sign.

Most likely, I will continue to picture old signs as I encounter them unless I have the opportunity to picture working signs at dusk.

In any event, as can be deduced from the as pictured picture of the Saratoga Diner sign, even daylight can be not very ideal. I made the picture knowing that it would not be a "winner" and that was exactly the result.

That is, until I had some time on my hands and set about trying to improve upon the "real" world.

PS to John: I've noticed a few pictures made at The Hedges on your blog. I am intimately familiar with those referents in as much as I have been staying at The Hedges since 1975 - literally over hundred visits over the years. Any of the lakeside cabins are great, the Ice House cabin is even better, but my favorite place to stay is the Colonel's room. Well worth a return visit just to stay in that room.

diptych # 205 / civilized ku # 4014 ~ good dining

old style McDonald's ~ Albany, NY • click to embiggen
Lombardo's / owner ~ Albany, NY • click to embiggen
Lombardo's ~ Albany, NY • click to embiggen

While walking to dinner in downtown Albany, the wife and I passed what I believe to be an old style McDonald's. Or, maybe a unique style which I have never seen before.

In any event, we resisted the urge to dine at McDonald's and continued on to Lombardo's, a very old restaurant (c.1919) which serves up some very interesting and very tasty Italian food. Had a chat with the owner and made a picture of him.

We went to the restaurant simply because I had previously passed by it a number of times (see daylight picture, c.2013) and was really impressed with the sign. That criteria is not my normal guide for choosing a restaurant but, in this case, the sign caused me to research the restaurant online and I discovered that it had great reviews.

civilized ku # 4012-13 ~ reflecting on the moment

rink reflection ~ Marlborough, MA • click to embiggen
rink reflection ~ Marlborough, MA • click to embiggen

Gotta find something to do while waiting for a hockey game to start.


civilized ku # 4010-11 ~ tragic / lost hope

MEMORY LANE / DEAD END ~Marlborough, MA. • click to embiggen
tree / tree shadow ~Marlborough, MA. • click to embiggen


civilized ku # 4009 ~ here, there and seemingly every where

nifty little building as seen through a dirty window ~Albany, New York • click to embiggen

Yesterday, Saratoga - the wife for the races, golf form me - then on to Albany for over night - the wife had Federal Court case. Back to Saratoga after court - the wife goes to the NYC Ballet performance, I buy a shirt, cigars, drink scotch and kill time waiting for The Cinemascapist and Hugo to arrive after which we will pick up the wife and proceed to Boston for, you guessed it, hockey.

More pictures from Albany / Saratoga tomorrow after the 8am hockey game.

Ireland / Scotland # 42-43 ~ RAW FILES / In Search of the Perfect Picture

Amsterdam airport ~ Amsterdam, Netherlands • click to embiggen
View / Dunottar Castle ~ Stonehaven, Scotland • click to embiggen

During our departure from Scotland - airports and all - the wife picked up a book, RAW SPIRIT ~ In Search of the Perfect Dram, for me to read. A book which I wish I had read before our trip but one which is driving our return to Scotland next year to rent a castle and visit the Western Highlands and islands.

The book (non-fiction) in question, by Iain Banks* is ostensibly about Banks' quest for "the perfect dram", or, if you prefer, the perfect single malt whisky (aka: scotch). However, while Banks - a Scot with a taste and a hankerin' for the "water of life" - does visit many of the distilleries of Scotland and gives the reader his opinions on their whisky expressions, his other musings on subjects such as cars, politics, personal anecdotes (lots of high jinks) and travels around Scotland comprise the larger share of the books's pages. I found it to be a very enjoyable read and it led directly to my purchase of the single malt which impressed Banks the most (fyi, there is no "perfect dram" in his opinion), 21-year-old Glenfiddich Gran Reserva.

That written, in addition to being the inducement for a return trip to Scotland, it is also the inspiration (and final kick in the butt) for a project I am have been kicking around for quite some time - writing a book about photography.

I have been kicking this can down the road for quite a while due to the fact that I had not been able to come up with a schtick - an approach to the writing style - for the book. I most certainly did not want to write a how-to book, gear book, or any other such trope. And while a monograph of my biggest hits has a certain appeal, I considered that approach to be rather impractical for a number of reasons.

Enter RAW SPIRIT ~ In Search of the Perfect Dram....

Reading that book made me realize - not that I didn't know this before - in a very vivid manner that I have had a very interesting life in photography. Like, who would have thought that I would stand in front of an elephant with my arm up to the elbow in her closed mouth, or, having a (different) elephant roll over to vacate its bowels, or, that I would ever learn how to hypnotize a chicken, all in the name of making pictures ... to name just a very few of my who-would-have-thought commercial picture making activities.

Then there was the almost serendipitous manner in which I discovered the medium and somewhat unconventional path I took to learning it. Like, say, my time spent as the personal photographer to a US Army 2-star general.

And, as anyone who has followed The Landscapist over the years knows, I have had much to IMO write about the photography medium and its apparatus. Amongst many, topics ranging from reviews of gallery exhibits / picture books, picture making genres (very opinionated), and other miscellaneous musings about pictures, picture making and a few things technical. My blog is a veritable treasure trove of material waiting to be rummaged through and edited into a cohesive (yet rambling) whole.

The thought which has also been planted (by the wife), writing schtick wise, is that I - like Banks' travels around Scotland - hang the whole thing around my wanderings around The Adirondacks in search of the perfect picture - a travelogue component.

Last, but certainly not least, the book would be illustrated with many of my "perfect" pictures.

So there you have it. To be certain, it's a challenging and time intensive endeavor. However, I won't stop making pictures and I won't stop posting entries (on my about to be launched new-version Squarespace platform).

*A Scottish author. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.

Ireland / Scotland ~ fait accompli

Ireland book ~ • click to embiggen
Scotland book ~ • click to embiggen
Outtakes book ~ • click to embiggen

Done at last, done at last. Thank the picture gods, I'm done at last ... or least I think so*.

After what seemed like a blurry-eyed eternity, I have finished processing pictures from our Ireland and Scotland trip. The books are finished and ready for printing - I am waiting for the next 50% off sale at Shutterfly. Otherwise the books,in total, would cost approximately $350USD. The next sale should start by the middle of next week.

Fyi, the books are 8×8 as opposed to my 'normal' 10×10 size. I wanted the finished products to look and feel more like picture albums rather than as books.

Also fyi, here's the project by the numbers ...

The pictures:

  • 1946 - total pictures made on trip
  • 545 - pictures processed
  • 345 - final pictures
  • 239 - pictures in books

The books:

  • 100 pgs / 95 pictures - Ireland book
  • 94 pgs / 91 pictures - Scotland book
  • 59 pgs / 53 pictures - Outtakes book
*It might not be over yet inasmuch as I am thinking about challenging myself, editing wise, by trying to make Ireland / Scotland books edited down to 1/3 - 1/2 the number of pictures - just to see it can be done successfully. The wife will be the judge of that.