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The life without the APA pictures are here

The The Forks ~ there's no place like home gallery is here

The ART ~ conveys / transports / reflects gallery is here

The Decay & Disgust work/book is here

The single women selects/book gallery is here

The picture windows selects/book gallery is here

The kitchen life selects gallery is here

A 10 picture look at Tangles, Thickets, and Twigs ~ fields of visual energy is here

The the light selects/book color gallery is here. The BW gallery is here

ku # 1278-80 ~ testing, testing, testing

birch fragment on colorful rock ~ forest / Kiwassa Lake, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
pine needle + detritus covered erratic ~ forest / Kiwassa Lake, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
forest floor with raindrops ~ forest / Kiwassa Lake, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
Another part of my current journey into the future has been the acquisition of 2 new Olympus E-P5 bodies. I had been delaying the purchase until; 1) the price was right, and, 2) I was upgrading the computer.

Re: the right price - early last week I came across 2 factory refurbs with factory warranties for about 1/2 the regular price of a body. So, always wanting a backup, I grabbed 2 for the price of 1. Re: computer upgrade - needed to upgrade to a machine with the OS which could run the current RAW software - Iridient Developer (formerly RAW Developer) - for the new cameras.

The new computer switch over has yet to happen, so I am making some 'test' jpeg pictures with the E-P5 even though I am not a fan (understatement) of making in-camera jpeg pictures. Accordingly, the reasons are many - 8bit color (not 16bit), in camera sharpening (ok but not the best), no highlight recovery, to name just a few. That written, the jpegs are quite decent and they give a pretty good indication of what's to come, RAW wise.

WARNING: gear talk alert: In fact, this is more of a the-current-state-of-the camera-making-art critique than it is gear speak. To wit ...

I have using Olympus Pen cameras since nearly day one of their introduction (E-P1) and I must write that I really like the form factor, design wise, of these cameras - small, light, unobtrusive, robust construction, and, in the manual mode, easy to use and operate. All in all, a very nice package, and a true revolutionary trend setter in the now robust ICL mirror-less camera segment.

Admittedly, the µ43 sensor, in its first incarnation, was 'good enough' but not stellar. However, I was able, with good sharpening technique and highlight blending techniques, to produce very high IQ results. Results which allow for very nice - much much better than 'good enough' - 24×32 inch prints (or in my case, 24×24inch). I am certain I could go even bigger but I haven't given that possibility a try.

Over the years, I have added a couple back up bodies (E-P2/E-P3) to the ensemble while I waited for what I was certain would be a significant sensor upgrade. That upgrade finally arrived in the O- MD E-M5 camera. Tempting as it was to acquire that camera (or, even more so, the same-sensored but less espensive E-M10), I was also fairly certain the upgrade would arrive in a new E-P series camera. And even though it took a while, it did, in fact, happen.

All of that written, I acquired the new bodies for one single reason - the new and improved sensor. That's it, period - the sum total of my new-camera lust (such as it is). I could care not a bit for all the other 'improvements' and 'upgrades' and, consequently, I was a bit concerned about coming to grips with all of the added-on features of the new camera. That concern was the result of a number of reviews which complained about the new and complex menu system.

I now know, as the result of being a dedicated and unrepentant manual camera operator, that the 'complex' menu on the E-P5 is, for me, the same as it ever was. Within 5 minutes of removing the body from the box, I was up and running in exactly the same manner as with my other E-P series cameras. It helps that the menu system, expanded options excepted, is exactly the same as it is/was on previous E-P series variants.

Sure, there are menu items and options / settings galore. In fact, dizzyingly so. A fact which must make dealing with it incredibly complex and confusing for average amateur. It's no wonder that so many amateur picture makers find the digital picture making realm so intimidating. And that confusion / intimidation is, IMO, extremely exacerbated by the fact that the printed manual which comes in the box is a very distilled version of the complete telephone-book-sized manual which is only available online.

So, if one is out in the field making pictures and questions / problems arise which can only be addressed by accessing the full manual, one is screwed, so to write. That is, unless one has a smart phone and internet access with which to view the online manual. Of course, one could download the pdf version of the complete manual and take the time, effort and paper to print it out and take that cumbersome paper wad with you whenever one is out and about.

In any event, and in the interest of complete and accurate disclosure, I have used and appreciated one other upgraded feature on the E-P5 - the articulated LCD. In fact, I used it to make the birch fragment on colorful rock and forest floor with raindrops pictures in this entry. Other than that (and the new sensor), it's pretty much picture making business as usual for me - 5 minutes of camera set-it-and-forget-it setup and I'm on the road again.

Which causes me to wonder, will I ever see an Olympus µ43 camera set up for a dedicated manual camera user? That is, a camera with just the bare bones needed for still picture making?

triptych # 18 (civilized ku # 2740-42 / single women # 28) civilized ku # 2739 ~ Eleanor gets it

Our Canadian hosts ~ Chaffey's Lock, Ontario / CA • click to embiggen
breakfast remains ~ Chaffey's Lock, Ontario / CA • click to embiggen

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for. ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated. ~ Paul Rand

While in Canada, the wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Raymond, Eleanor Pinsonneault and their dog, Foxy. They were our hosts in Chaffey's Lock where we stayed in the cottage behind their house. Eleanor and Raymond, advanced septuagenarians if not octogenarians, were very friendly, warm-hearted, and gracious. We felt quite comfortable and at home from the first to the last moments of our stay.

Eleanor is a rather accomplished artist who now works primarily on commission. And, if her website bio is current (I believe it is), she is also currently finishing a Fine Arts program at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ontario.

While we were her guests, I was amazed by her seemingly boundless energy - despite her age and physical limitations - as is evidenced in the picture of her garden tending (take note of the walker she uses to get about). Her work pace in her gardens is very slow but methodical. She does not appear to be able to bend down or squat but she just keeps plugging away.

All of that written, and more to the point of this entry, I showed Eleanor - on my iPad - a few of the pictures I had been making around the grounds of her house to include the breakfast remains picture in this entry. Her response to that picture (and others) was spot on the money, my picturing intent wise.

To wit: her first response was a delightful smile and a chuckle. The smile and chuckle were instigated by the depicted referents but that reaction was immediately followed by a statement to the effect of how the color and the arrangement of shapes and lines all came together to create rather "delightful" impression of such mundane subject matter. To write that I immeasurably pleased by that response from another artist is a vast understatement.

She gets it. She understands. And I can't explain the joy I felt to connect with another artist on that level.

All of that written, I must also write that I fell in love with Eleanor (to the wife, platonic wise). Her dignity, grace, artistic acumen, energy, and all around joie de vivre are an absolute inspiration and an outstanding example of a full life well lived. She will be forever in my memory. Although ....

.... I will be adding to that memory during our return trip to her Chaffey's Lock cottage next month (for my birthday). The retinue for that trip will be the wife, my son (the Cinemascapist), his the wife, Hugo, and hopefully my good friend from NYC. Should be fun and I hope to spend some time with Eleanor in her studio sharing art stuff.

Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 10:23AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2738 ~ jumping off a cliff

porch and flowers ~ Chaffey's Lock cottage, CA • click to embiggen

To us, the difference between the photographer as an individual eye and the photographer as an objective recorder seems fundamental, the difference often regarded, mistakenly, as separating photography as art from photography as document. But both are logical extensions of what photography means: note-taking on, potentially, everything in the world, from every possible angle.

I am about to embark on a course of action which, potentially, could very difficult and fraught with danger - changing my computer and updating every thing that needs to be updated. It's kind of scary inasmuch as every thing needs to be updated - software and especially print drivers / color profiles.

The first order of business is to join the iCloud via the Adobe Creative Suite. While that should be a fairly easy undertaking, I am not happy with the fact that I am tethered to the iCloud - financially until the end of (my) time and at those times when I am not tethered to the iCloud via the internet, I am out of business, so to speak, since the software does not reside on my computer. Welcome to the future (I have been very happy and content to live in the past, computer wise, but time waits for no man).

Until I have worked out the print driver / color profiles issues, whatever they might be, on the new computer, I am keeping the old computer in service as my printing station. This is my most worrisome undertaking. My current printing workflow is spot on the money and replicating that performance on the new machine and its updates may be a frustrating pain in the ass. Hope not but I'll be taking daytime naps to compensate for my restless / sleepless nights until that mission is accomplished.

FYI, once the change over is made I do not anticipate any problems / issues with posting to the blog but ....... Wish me luck.

Posted on Monday, June 9, 2014 at 06:51PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment

diptych # 67 (civilized ku # 2736-37) ~ seeing (recorded by, aided by cameras)

No direction home ~ Port Kent, NY - in the Adirondack PARK / Ottawa, CA. • click to embiggen

The photographer was thought to be an acute but non-interfering observer – a scribe, not a poet. But as people quickly discovered that nobody takes the same picture of the same thing, the supposition that cameras furnish an impersonal, objective image yielded to the fact that photographs are evidence not only of what’s there but of what an individual sees, not just a record but an evaluation of the world. It became clear that there was not just a simple activity called seeing (recorded by, aided by cameras) but ‘photographic seeing’, which was both a new way for people to see and a new activity for them to perform. ~ Susan Sontag

IMO, if one does not have an acute visual awareness, aka: seeing, of what's going on around him/her - in its absence I believe it could be fostered and acquired - the chances of developing 'photographic seeing' are pretty slim. And while the physical act of acute seeing is a critcal component of 'photographic seeing', the pyschological ability to think and feel during the act of seeing is equally important.

IMO, sight + thought / feeling = 'photographic seeing' is a slightly more encompassing notion of Sontag's idea.

In either event / idea, I believe that once one has developed 'photographic seeing', aka: the notion of 'vision', the results of viewing one's pictures in a critical manner (as if someone else had made them) will aid immeasurably in refining one's physical act of seeing. An enhancement which, in turn, will aid immeasurably in enhancing and refining one's 'photographic seeing. The refining / enhancing works in both directions.

Which is why, assuming there is thought and feeling in the equation, the old adage of "the more you make pictures, the better you get" is, in so many words, spot on the money.

A question: have you developed the ability to view the pictures made by yourself as if they were made by someone else other than yourself? In other words, separating the thoughts and feelings experienced and invested in the act of making a picture from the experience of viewing the resultant work.

Posted on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 04:30PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2735 ~ it's nothing

mid-AM light ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

I'm interested in Jackson Pollock's kind of art, where art is beautiful, but it's nothing, and yet it's incredible. ~ Taylor Swift

Posted on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 02:44PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2734 ~ Château Lafayette

mural on ceiling / The Laff ~ Byward District - Ottawa, CA • click to embiggen
While in Ottawa on the day of the wife's birthday, I 'discovered' The Laff, which is reputed to be Ottawa's oldest tavern - serving patrons since 1849.

The tavern is rather small but comfortable. We sat at the bar - 7-8 stools - and the wife ordered and imbibed a delightful on-tap LUG•TREAD LAGERED ALE. The beer is (from the brewer's description) "is top fermented (like an ale) and then cold aged (like a lager) for a lengthy period. This gives our beer some light ale notes complemented by a lager-like crispness. Lug•Tread displays interwoven malt and hop flavours, subtle fruit flavours and a crisp, lingering finish".

If you live in Canada and like beer, you must give it a try. We were lucky enough to find and purchase a couple 4-bottle (600ml / 20oz bottles) cartons of the brew and bring it back home. Word is that it coming to Northern NY soon. Hope so.

Posted on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 04:55PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis | CommentsPost a Comment

kitchen life # 52 (sink) ~ today, tomorrow and forever

kitchen sink ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
If it came to pass that a photgraphy deity / demon (depending upon one's point of view) were to fall from the sky and assume the throne /mantle of what's what in the medium of photography and then decree that all serious picture makers must limit their picturing to one single-themed body of work - friends and family snapshots excepted - I would not be especially displeased. After all, I am a man but I can change ... if I have to ... I guess*.

Failure to comply, the decree would also state, would result (to the offender) in the forfeiture of all serious gear which would be replaced by a single small aperture non-focusing film-based plastic toy camera and the loss of one eye.

An additional provision of the decree would stipulate that all of the results of the proscribed and approved picture making could only be displayed as printed works - on hard-copy substrates, in books and the like. All picture sharing sites and services would be shut down and all picture blogs / websites would be limited to lowres minuscule samples and information on where the work could be seen or acquired in printed form.

I, for one, would not be overly wrought by this paradigm. Despite having several bodies of work - 10 at last count, my choice of which one to continue would be fairly easy. With little doubt, it would be my kitchen life series. Although, the deity / demon, being a stickler for precise detail and definition, would most likely limit me to a very singular type of kitchen picture making.

If so, I would again make the easy choice of limiting my picture making to my kitchen sink because ....

1 my kitchen sink is very convenient and ...
2 both the light and the contents thereof are ever changing. Like snowflakes, as the saying goes, no two are ever the same - in the case of my kitchen sink, no 2 kitchen sink events are ever the same and ...
3 the events are never the same because, the contents and arrangements thereof, despite what some may think, are purely random. No effort on my part or that of the wife is ever made in putting stuff in the sink and ...
4 I love the unpredictable happenstance of what may or may not be a pleasing, to my eye and sensibilities, of placement and light and ...

5 most importantly I believe the kitchen sink pictures are truly beautiful. Perhaps the most beautiful of any I have ever made.

That written, re: item 3: I do on occasion add or subtract an item or two to improve the picturing possibilities. Not very often, but, as in today's picture, I added the drain stopper as a visual balancing element. These pictures are, after all, still life pictures - pictures in which the hand of the maker is part of the picturing deal and the art world loves, one might even say "worships", seeing evidence of the hand of the maker. Although, the deity / demon might have more than little to decree, re: the art world as it exists today.

All of that written, if the deity / demon did actually fall from the sky, could you handle the resulting decree? If so, what would be your choice for a single body of work?

As always, comments sought and appreciated.

*The Possum Lodge Man's Prayer from the now discontinued Red Green Show - a very humorous and entertaining Canadian television show. The prayer is not to be confused with the Possum Lodge Oath - Quando omni flunkus, moritati. (when all else fails, play dead).

Posted on Monday, June 2, 2014 at 03:47PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments2 Comments

civilized ku # 2729 - 2733 / ku # 1277 ~ impressive weather event wherein I abandon the square format

rainbow ~ Jay, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
storm front ~ near Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
storm sky ~ near Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
storm sky / variation 1 ~ near Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
storm sky / cows ~ near Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
funnel wannabe ~ near Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
Last evening as I was driving home from Hugo's baseball game in Saranac Lake, I notice a rainbow in the sky. The location for a picture wasn't right so I moved on to a more appropriate one. Even though that location was only a very short distance away, by the time I arrived the rainbow had shrunk to a rather small presentation. Nevertheless, I made the picture.

Moving on down the road, I noticed that the rainbow was returning to its former glory and I decided to proceed to another location. However, upon arrival, the rainbow had vacated the sky and was replaced by an approaching storm front which stretched across the NE-NW sky. The presentation was impressive, to say the least.

As I stood transfixed in a field watching and picturing the event, numerous mini-events were occurring all along the front. Sheet lighting and thunder was making its presence known and, other than that light and sound, the landscape was eerily quite and still. Goosebumps and standing hair on the back of my neck were also a part of the order of events.

After 15-20 minutes, I then noticed a light/cloud event happening just a short distance away - I got in the car and drove the short 3/4 mile (approximate) distance on a winding road where my view of things was obstructed by trees. That visual obstruction made the appearance of the next event all the more stunning when, after rounding a bend in the road, there it was - for all appearance to my untrained meteorological eye and brain, what seemed to a funnel cloud in the making.

After making a picture of the phenomenon, I didn't stay around to see what might transpire, as in, better safe than sorry. That written, I must assume nothing dramatic came to pass inasmuch I would have heard or read about it, news wise, this AM.

FYI, while I made a fair number of pictures, I was totally in the moment of the actual event. Except for the 4 frame panoramic picture, all of my other pictures were dictated and made by what was unfolding in front of me with no thoughts other than quick reactionary / reflexive point, frame and shoot responses.

I also consider myself lucky to have witnessed this display - a true f8-and-be-there if ever there was one.