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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

straying from the straight and narrow

passel o' cameras / iPhone picture ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
iPhone picture (#2) Polaroid-like conversion ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
I woke up this AM without a thought of straying from the straight and narrow, straight picture making wise. However, seemingly the next thing I know I am making a picture with my iPhone, something I have done only once previously - a Xmas day selfie using my brothers's Xmas gift to me with the intent of sending the picture to him.

I made the iPhone picture as a result of the desire to picture the passel o' cameras sitting in our front hall. The only digital camera I had at hand to make the picture without removing one from the bunch was my iPhone which, of course, isn't a camera cuz it's a phone. The more I thought about using the phone to make a picture, the more it appealed to me and my long standing like of crappy cameras and the pictures they make.

To wit, is the iPhone picture making capability "crappy"?

I have made my share of crappy pictures using crappy cameras, most notably various Polaroid cameras which produced pictures which were; 1) small, 2) not very sharp, and 3) color and tonal quality which were unique to Polaroid film and varied depending upon the particular Polaroid film (and camera) used to make the pictures.

Turns out, at least in the relatively dim light in which I made the picture, the answer to the crappy question is neither here nor there.

The results were not good enough to use as a good quality picture. On the other hand, while it displayed some crappy camera characteristics (grainy, sorta soft, blown highlights with an odd look) they were not so pronounced as to constitute a true crappy picture - a kinda betwixt and between sorta thing.

IMO, to deliver true crappy pictures, the files require a fair amount of processing in order to bend the results closer to crappy-ness. Sorta like I did in making a Polaroid-like result.

That written, I don't think I'll very often think of my phone as a picture making device. That's true in large part because I don't go anywhere without at least 2 cameras from my passel hanging from my shoulder.

Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 12:29PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2666-68 ~ it's all really about the pictures

Hugo splits the defense ~ Saranac Lake, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
Front hall stuff ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
Upstairs porch / mirror and icicles ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
I've come to a point on this blog wherein I feel I have very little left to write about the medium and its apparatus. That's because over the past 5-6 years or so I've written volumes on the subject and I'm not in the mood to rework the same old ground.

In the past when I made an entry, I almost always posted a picture with some form of commentary of the medium and its apparatus. At this point, since the well has gone dry, re: writing on the subject wise, and even though I keep on making plenty of pictures, I seem to have a mental block, re: posting pictures without words on the subject. Consequently, I am taking a lot of time between entries. That is until I finally decide the hell with it and post some pictures without much in the way of the medium and its apparatus commentary.

As a result, visits to this blog have fallen off, not drastically but noticeably. Comments from visitors have also fallen off as well.

And, to be perfectly honest, I have never really figured out exactly why, in the past, visitors kept returning to the blog. Was it the pictures? Was it the commentary? Was it a combination of both? I have no answer to those questions. So, the question arises, what the hell do I do with this thing now?

The blog has never been much about gear and I sure as hell don't want to go there even if the photo blog-o-sphere loves nothing better than commenting endlessly - and, IMO, ad nauseam - about gear. If the medium was all about gear, I'd sell all I have and start raising exotic chickens to wile the time away. Although I could make pictures and raise exotic chickens, but I'm not sure how the wife would feel about the chicken part.

Another blog road I have no desire to venture down is to turn the blog into a personal diary with pictures. I have a pretty interesting life but I'd much rather spend my time living it than writing about it. And hopefully, visitors to this blog probably have their own lives to live and really don't need to know all that much about mine. That written, a little bit of the diary thing has crept into the blog, well run dry wise, and I want to nip it in the bud before it goes any farther down that road.

Most certainly, I have arrived at a point where I would much rather make pictures than write about making pictures. After all, for me, the medium and its apparatus are all about the pictures but ...

I do like hanging my pictures out there for others to view and blogging is one of the ways in which I do that. So, for the immediate future, I'll re-start posting a picture a day. Words probably not so much. Although, I do have a treasure trove of quotes from others - notable and not so well known - which I can use to provide at least a modicum of written food for thought.

Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 05:49PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments6 Comments

civilized ku # 2662-65 ~ good clean fun

making a selfie ~ Canton, NY
St. Lawrence vs Harvard ~ Canton, NY
some of Hugo's teammates ~ Canton, NY
busted ~ Canton, NY
This past weekend Hugo had a hockey game in Canton - for me, a 250 mile round trip - the home of St. Lawrence University. After his game, there was a team dinner followed by a Division I collegiate hockey game, the SLU Saints vs the Harvard Crimson, at the SLU arena where Hugo got busted sitting with his girlfriend ( a teammate). Some of his teammate buddies ragged on him unmercifully. Nevertheless, a good clean fun time was had by all.

FYI, you can read about - a featured comment on TOP - one of my picture making misadventures.

Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 11:31AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2661 ~ box o' prints / the time has come

Window / Bar Vino ~ North Creek, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
OK then. We've got a core group of participants for the Box O' Prints project. If you were invited or requested a spot on the roster, you're in - you know who you are so I won't name names. Except for John Linn who was "thinking about it" - stop thinking and just do it.

That written, there 2 individuals whom I have been unable to contact with an invitation - Colin Griffiths / Rich Gift of Linns and the More Original Refrigerator Art guy (who's name and email address have vanished from my email archive). Neither has any contact info on their blogs, at least not far as I can tell. Anyone know how to contact either of them?

In any event, it's on with the show: the time has come for participants to contact me directly using the Email submission link on the sidebar (under About This Website) - be certain to include your mailing address. Upon receipt of your email, I will contact you with some project particulars and my mailing address so you can send me your first print submission. Once I have a full set of prints, the portfolio will be on the move.

I have ordered an 11"×14" portfolio box and a shipping box in which to mail it. I chose that size because: a) that print size is big enough for the project purposes, and b) it will keep shipping/mailing costs reasonable. If most participants think the size should be bigger, let me know and I'll consider it.

There you have it. It's up to you. Let's get this thing moving.

Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 11:50AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment

triptychs / the light ~ I'm not a b+w guy .... really, I'm not ... but ...

bathroom light • click to embiggen
stairs light • click to embiggen
yellow chair light • click to embiggen
kitchen light • click to embiggen
... every now and again one or more of my pictures seem to demand a conversion to b+w. Such a demand arose a day ago as I was working on an image from my the light series / book.

I was making a small localized contrast adjustment using the LAB Lightness channel - where I do all of my contrast / tonal and sharpening processing adjustments - when I became acutely aware of how interesting the pictured looked in b+w. Consequently, I started to explore the possibility of converting the images to b+w. As I did so, I was actually quite impressed by how the pictures translated, technically and aesthetically, into b+w.

I was even more more impressed when I printed a converted file on heavyweight matte paper. The print was very rich in tonal quality and, to a very significant degree, it rivaled results I use to obtain back in my wet darkroom days. In a word, nice. So the die was cast, and I set to converting all of the files from the series.

B+W CONVERSION TECHNIQUE ASIDE: Over the years I have read (online) about the trials, tribulations and angst experienced by dedicated b+w analog pictures makers regarding the problems of digital picturing and printing in their beloved genre. Some were even pining for a b+w/greyscale only sensor (their wishes were granted by Leica in the form of the $8K [body only] M Monochrom digital camera). Most were fiddling around using various PS adjustment tools - Black & White, Channel Mixer and the like - or test driving various stand alone conversion software.

Since b+w was very low on my picturing list - can't say I ever made a digital picture which was intended to be a b+w image - I didn't go down any of those paths. Instead, I concentrated on what I belief to be one of the best and easiest methods of color>b+w conversions methods available. A method, which in a sense, is not a conversion method at all inasmuch as it relies on a b+w/grayscale image / information embedded in each and every RGB RAW file - the Lightness channel in the LAB color space.

Most digital picture makers are unaware of this wonderful greyscale information simply because visits to the LAB color space are seldom, if ever, undertaken simply because LAB color space is little understood by most - there are only 2 color channels (+ the Lightness channel) and curves in the color channels work in a very different manner than they do in RGB color space. While figuring it out ain't rocket science, most tend not to bother.

I first started using the Lightness channel (years ago) for sharpening. One can perform significantly stronger sharpening - without corresponding sharpening artifacts - in LAB than in RGB color space. The same is also true with contrast/tonal adjustments. In both cases, you work on only the greyscale component of the file and the color channels are un-effected.

In creating these b+w files, I went into LAB with each picture and threw away the color channels which left just the Lightness channel. I then applied a tonal adjustment curve - the same for all the pictures in the series - to the Lightness channel and then converted the result to greyscale. The next and last step was to convert the greyscale file to a RGB file. IMO, in the name of high quality color>b+w "conversion", it doesn't get any easier than that.

An interesting aside to creating the b+w pictures was that I discovered several related pictures triptych possibilities along the way.

Will I forego the color pictures in this series for the b+w ones? No, I will not. IMO, they are different but equal. Will I print a b+w book in addition to the color book? Yes, I will. However, I will be very interested to see how my RGB b+w files print on a printing press.

Comments on the b+w vs color pictures, re: the light, are both encouraged and welcome.

Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 11:21AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments1 Comment

civilized ku# 2657-60 / decay # 50 / kitchen life # 47~ where are the lies / falsehoods or untruths?

still life / decay ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
hotel pool / Queensbury Inn ~ Glens Falls, NY, • click to embiggen
spaghetti sauce burst ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
Pete's Ahhhs pizzas ~ North Creek, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
Zeronine-Moon climbing a porch post ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
Whiteface Mountain / entrance ~ Wilmington, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
As I have mentioned previously, one of the blogs/sites I follow pretty religiously is Jörg M. Colberg's Conscientious Photography Magazine. I do so because, for the most part, I like the pictures he presents and his commentary which accompanies them. And, even though he's an academic - Professor of Photography at Hartford Art School/University of Hartford - Colberg, IMO, manages to walk a fine line between the academic and the academic lunatic fringe, photography division, rarely crossing the line into the latter.

That written, in a recent entry / essay (link at end of quote) he wrote:

As an artist, you have no obligation to the truth ... Photographers often have a very hard time dealing with that. Is not what is in front of the camera the truth? Well, yes and no. In some – rare – cases more yes than no. But usually more no than yes. And regardless, the truth is what you want it to be, even if what you do is to make pictures with some sort of machine. ~ Jörg M. Colberg - Conscientious Photography Magazine

A fair amount of Photography Theory has been written about the medium and its relationship with truth and its cohort reality (example: read this and come back after the dizziness is over). Most of that writing has been put forth by the academic community, much of that by the academic lunatic fringe and, IMO, most of that of the how many angels can dance on the point of pin variety.

The idea of truth and reality have been, for centuries, a preoccupations of the study philosophy. And once again IMO, those topics are best left to philosophers and picture makers shouldn't touch them with a 500 ft pole. Lest, if they do, they are apt to end up making specious statements such as "the truth is what you want it to be".

When it comes to statements such as that I, for one, tend to jump off the head of the pin - where I, the angel, can occasionally be found dancing - and attempt to get down to brass tacks. It is at those times when I am reminded of, as an example, beady-eyed close-minded ultra right conservative /tea party nut jobs who steadfastly hold true the belief that President Obama was born in Kenya and is a closet Socialist / Communist who is out to destroy the "American Way of Life". Second in line are the ultra conservative religious fundamentalists who hold true to the belief that the earth is 6,000 years old and humans walked the earth alongside the dinosaurs.

Now, the actuality about those beliefs runs distinctly contrary to the ideas themselves. And, no matter how intensely or devoutly one holds those beliefs, the fact remains that they are not true. They are simply delusional beliefs - they are delusions / fictions not supported by facts or science. Calling those beliefs truths simply because those who hold them want them to be true is a rather ludicrous concept.

The dictionary definition(s), re: truth, contain (amongst others) such notions as "the real facts about something" and - here's the one I like, re: pictures - "faithful reproduction or portrayal".

Without a doubt, the camera is the device most capable of creating an accurate and faithful reproduction or portrayal of what is in front of an observer who is sporting such an instrument. Assuming, of course, that the intent of the picture maker is to represent, in picture form, what is in front of him/her in the most accurate realistic manner possible (as the medium and its apparatus will allow), a picture making activity most often referred to as straight photography.

Furthermore, it is my belief (therefore it must be true) that the tangible material / physical objects in front of my camera are both real and true observable things (animate and inanimate) with which I do not have a hard time dealing with, re: telling the truth about them, picture making wise. It is a truth that every thing I have ever pictured actually existed and the resultant picture was an accurate and truthful / faithful reproduction / portrayal thereof.

Now, all that written, it should be written that most of my pictures are also meant to be more than mere documentation. My various bodies of work are driven by concepts / ideas and the pictures therein are intended to be not only visual illustrations but also illuminations of the concepts / ideas driving their making. And it at this juncture - the crossroad of art objects and art / meaning - where things are apt to get a bit fuzzy.

But of course, IMO, it is that fuzziness which is the true beauty of art - art expressions which instigate the quest for meaning. Short of outright and obvious propaganda, the meaning(s) to be found in any art piece is apt to be as varied as are the knowledge, experience, and beliefs with which an observer brings to the proceedings.

In a very real sense, every art expression is a bit of a Rorschach experience. And it is the medium of photography which is capable of creating the most difficult of Rorschach tests inasmuch as the visible expression of the straight picture maker's art, the picture itself, can be a very detailed and literally accurate representation of the real world of observable, tangible, material things and events. And in viewing prints of the real world, many come either to a brick wall, meaning wise (a cigar is always a cigar), while others come to a many-forked choice, meaning wise, in the road (while sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, at other times a cigar can be much more than just a cigar).

Whether or not the meaning(s) to be found in a picture is believed by the observer of a picture to be a / the truth or not is really quite immaterial relative to whether or not that meaning is, in fact, true (a truth) or not.

In any event and all of that written, in this entry I put forth a few of my very recent pictures for you to view and, if you are so inclined, tell me where the lies, falsehoods, and untruths are to be found in those pictures.

Posted on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 04:06PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments2 Comments

civilized ku # 2656 ~ crud from the bird's nest above the sink

light over sink ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen

Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 04:39PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment

civilized ku # 2655 ~ the restless many

Purple vase ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
It's the day after (the Super Bowl) and I have finally managed to scrap the top of my head off of the ceiling above the couch and get it reseated where it belongs - while I was watching one of the commercials which aired during the Super Bowl game, the top of my head launched like a Saturn rocket and was sent spatting onto the ceiling.

To be completely accurate, the volcanic eruption-like event was triggered at about the 10sec. mark of the commercial in question. It was at that point when the phrase, "... stillness is what actually kills us ...", struck my ears and cerebrum with the same effect as a sharp stick in the eye. It literally almost took my breath away.

OK, OK. The commercial's intent was to sell a particular vehicle, one which it was suggesting was a great means of conveyance to get "the restless many" to a destination(s) where they could engage in an activity which could not be described with the word "stillness". OK. I get that - the phrase stillness is what actually kills us, when considered in that context, could be understood to mean, if you spend all your time sitting on a couch, you are most likely gonna die sooner rather than later, or, exercise is better than sloth, which is certainly true enough.

However, that written, I would venture that it is our consumer-culture's lack of stillness - def: the state or an instance of being quiet or calm - which leads directly to a population comprised of "the restless many", those who are, def: marked by a lack of quiet, repose, or rest and are not able to rest, relax, or be still.

IMO, it should go without noting that "the restless many" are so affected due to the fact that their restlessness state of mind is fomented, fostered and pandered to by corporations - when I'm watchin' my tv and a man comes on to tell me how white my shirts can be. But, he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke the same cigarettes as me - which convince them that they must have the next big thing / take part in the next big thing or risk not being a real (wo)man.

In effect, implanting the notion that the "restless many" must motion, most preferably a spend-and-get motion - mental, emotional, physical - in order to avoid the state of stillness. A state of stillness which could promote / instigate thoughtful contemplation, introspection, and self discovery / awareness.

A state which might actually bring one to question the notion of why they are so restless. Why do they desire and seem, in fact, to need non-stop motion? Why, when they are restless, is stillness a thing to be avoided? Why does it always have to be the next big thing which occupies their mental, emotional, and physical attention?

And, god forbid (corporation-wise), a state of stillness which leads one to contemplate meaning in life which transcends the spend-and-get fixation of the "restless many".

FYI, what does this seemingly off topic entry have to do with the picture making medium and its apparatus? Simply written, attaining a state of stillness is one of the primary reasons I prefer, in my picture making, to contemplate the quietness of everyday / commonplace being.

Posted on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 01:31PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments3 Comments