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civilized ku # 3029 / diptych # 2000-02 ~ little Xmas joys

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a Ruby Slipper ~ Lake Placid Lodge / Lake Placid, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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between courses things ~ Lake Placid Lodge / Lake Placid, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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appetizer / butter ~ Lake Placid Lodge / Lake Placid, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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soup / dessert ~ Lake Placid Lodge / Lake Placid, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Since moving to the Adirondacks in 2000, Xmas tradition at our house has been a Xmas Eve family sleepover gathering for tree decorating and dinner followed by Xmas morning gift giving and a hearty Frittata breakfast. By just after noon, non-household family members depart to their household and the wife and I are left to our self amusements and the predominant amusement is Xmas day dinner at the Lake Placid Lodge.

The Xmas dinner at the lodge is a prix fixe four-course affair consisting of 2 starter / appetizer courses, the main course and dessert. Each course has 4-5 choices, some of which can be found on their "regular" menu (which changes according to the season to feature seasonal fare) , some of which are unique to the Xmas affair.

I find the menu itself to be rather obtuse inasmuch as I did not attend culinary school where I am certain they have courses in menu writing. Writing which I am also certain is design to confuse and, at the same time, impress the non-cognoscenti (food / ingredient speaking wise) fine diners of the world. I am equally convinced that, if the menu stated, using everyday Americanized English words, clearly and exactly what it is you are eating, they might never be able to justify the prices they charge for the stuff.

As an example, the picture of the appetizer exhibited in this entry is listed on the menu as:

SCOTTISH OCEAN TROUT ~ HOUSE CURED, MANDARINQUAT, CITRUS CRÈME FRAÎCHE, DILL, PINK PEPPERCORN, KNÆCKBRØD

Reading that is kinda like being in a foreign country where you know just enough of the language to get the jist of what is being said.

Because I didn't picture the menu, I could not, in any detail, tell you what the other food is other than to name the primary food item. And, to be honest, in several cases I did not know exactly what (other than the main food item) it was I was eating although some recognizable ingredient tastes emerged in the various offerings.

In any event, the cuisine at the Lake Placid lodge is uniformly excellent. In large part, that is due to the local farm freshness of many of the ingredients, exquisite preparation, and just the right light touch / blend of the various ingredients - in some cases, seemingly odd combinations - which make up each dish. There is most definitely an artful coming together of the taste of the featured food item and the various accent ingredients which compliment but do not overwhelm the taste of the featured food item - striking a truly delicate (and delicious) balance.

As an example, the soup pictured in this entry is butternut soup with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some other minor ingredients which are either lost to memory or never recognized in the the reading of the menu. Now, I never would have thought of putting any kind of ice cream into any kind of soup, but the contrasting sensation in the mouth of warm and cold was quite interesting. And, as the not overly sweet creamy ice cream melted, it progressively changed the texture and taste of the soup itself. A truly outstanding combination.

In addition to the preparation, as should be made obvious by the pictures in this entry, the presentation is very visually intriguing. At several points in the meal, I commented to the wife that I wanted to have 2 of every dish I ordered - one eat and one to just look at.

I also mentioned that I wished someone would develop and offer a menu translation dictionary.
Posted on Saturday, December 26, 2015 at 11:50AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , , | CommentsPost a Comment

diptych # 199 / civilized ku # 3028 ~ it's beginning to look a NOT like Xmas

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Au Sable River / tree ~ near Clintonville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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Supercuts Santa ~ Plattsburgh, NY • click to embiggen

As one Xmas song goes, "Oh the weather outside is frightful ... Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!"

Well, the weather outside is frightful. That is, unless you like 65˚F-with-rain-showers weather on Xmas Eve day. Personally, I don't, so, for me, the weather outside is indeed frightful. And, there is no let-it-snow in the forecast.

However, if that weather situation puts one into a funk, one can always take delight and get into the Holiday Spirit by watching and listening to a life-size mechanically gyrating Santa screech out Xmas Carols - - through crappy sounding speakers - at a local shopping plaza.

In any event, Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night.

civilized ku # 3027 / diptych # 198 ~ channelling the view

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9N / I87 entrance / exit ~ near Keeseville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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channeled views ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen

To my eye and sensibilities there is something visually interesting to be had by making pictures which look through enclosed diminishing-perspective spaces.

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 at 09:07AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 3026 / diptych # 197 ~ cultivated urban flora

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church window ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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urban trees ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen

During my recent walk about in Pittsburgh while looking for urban flora / scrub I did come across some cultivated urban flora.

Posted on Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at 04:46PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , , | CommentsPost a Comment

kitchen life # 77 / book covers ~ holiday tasks

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used tea bags ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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TREES book covers ~ • click to embiggen
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URBAN FLORA book covers ~ PARK • click to embiggen

I've been busy with a passel of year-end / holidays things.

Prominent amongst them has been the design of 4 POD books that I want to get ordered before the end of the year. Since I use my books as portfolios for presentation to gallery directors / owners, they are considered marketing pieces which are tax deductible. So I want to get them in under the wire for the 2015 tax year.

In addition to the 2 books pictured in this entry I am also working on a Noir book and a 1/5 second book. There will be a pinhole book. However, I do not have enough pinhole pictures in my nascent pinhole body of work to create a book. That book will have to wait until some time next year.
Posted on Monday, December 21, 2015 at 11:14AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments1 Comment

civilized ku # 3025 / sports update ~ keep on moving

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sidewalk, trees and bridge ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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Hugo / hockey ~ Lake Placid, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

FYI, I did not make the pictures of Hugo's Player of the Game performance in a recent hockey tournament.
Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 09:36AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , , | CommentsPost a Comment

kitchen life # 76 / painting vs photography # 5 / noir # 9-10 ~ le moyen de la photographie et de son apparel

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dish strainer with stuff ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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painting vs photography ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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noir book spread ~ • click to embiggen

Apropos of nothing significant, as I was contemplating the painting vs photography idea while pursuing an issue of PleinAir Magazine, a thought occurred to me .....

The definition of en plein air or plein air painting is the the French equivalent of "open air" and is commonly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. The French also use the phrase peinture sur le motif which, roughly translated means "painting of the object(s) or what the eye actually sees". The common objective of Plein Air painters is to reproduce the actual visual conditions as encountered in situ and at the time of the act of painting.

That got me to thinking ... when I leave the house and go out into the "open air" to make pictures of referents and their actual visual condition at the time of my picture making, am I not a Plein Air picture maker? And furthermore, why do painters have all the fun with fancy French phrases?

Why, when I make a picture of decaying food, am I making a still life picture and not a vivent encore photographie picture? Or, as in the case of the kitchen life picture in this entry is it not a la vie dans ma cuisine photographie picture? Just think of all the prestige, adoration and high-minded kudos that would be heaped upon me at an exhibition opening soiree as I sling about a veritable plethora of hoity-toity French phrases.

iMo, it's time to rise up and demand that more fancy highfalutin' French phraseology be developed and applied to the medium of photography and its apparatus, aka: le moyen de la photographie et de son apparel.
Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 09:16AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 3024 / painting vs photography ~ abstraction vs realism

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porch railing leaves ~ Plattsburgh, NY • click to embiggen
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painting vs photography # 1 ~ • click to embiggen
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painting vs photography # 2 ~ • click to embiggen
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painting vs photography # 3 ~ • click to embiggen
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painting vs photography # 4 ~ • click to embiggen

First things first ... a disclaimer of sorts. In the past I have made it known that comparing the art of painting to the art of photography is somewhat of a fools errand. While they may have a limited number of shared characteristics, they are at the root level very different forms of image creation, both in the manner of their making and, iMo, how they are viewed / perceived. And, it is regarding the viewed / perceived characteristics that I have been pondering.

Weekend last, I was in an artists cooperative gallery which displays photography, painting, and a limited number of handmade objects (jewelry , sculpture, and the like). For the most part the work on display is of reasonably decent quality. While there, a couple paintings caught my eye and sensibilities and that set me to thinking about how, when viewing a painting vs viewing a photograph, I have rather different expectations.

Foremost amongst those different expectations is quite simple and should be obvious to most. Re: paintings, I expect to see a somewhat "abstract" impression (subject) of whatever referent the artist has chosen to paint. Re: photographs, I expect to see realistic representations (objective) of the referent the picture maker has chosen to picture*.

To wit, subjective information or writing is based on personal opinions, interpretations, points of view, emotions and judgment. Objective information or analysis is fact-based, measurable and observable.

an aside: Even though the medium of photography is defined by its capability to make objective pictures, that does not mean that a picture made with the medium and its apparatus is not made with emotional and interpretive intent nor does it mean that the picture maker has not employed personal opinion and judgement. end of aside

All of that written, what has lingered in my head is the notion that most people who are interested in viewing and/or acquiring visual art lean heavily to the medium painting rather than that of photography. iMo, the reason for that is simple .... most people (critics and curators excluded) want art that provides them with an escape from reality. A mental and emotional safe haven / oasis that allows them to escape from the trials and tribulations (such as they might be) of every day life.

FYI, this observation is not meant to be a disparaging comment on those people or the art that they prefer. It is merely an observation. And it is that observation which instigated me to "convert" a few of my pictures to painting-like images.

When all is written and done, I have little doubt that most people, when confronted with those pictures side-by-side on a gallery wall, would chose the painting over the photograph. And that they perceive the painting to be more of an art object than the photograph.

*I do not consider one form of art or the other to be inferior / superior. I judge work (painting / photography) on entirely different criteria with each given the respect and consideration it deserves.

Any thoughts on the matter?
Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 01:41PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment