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panoramic (ku) / kitchen life # 69 / viewmatic #2 ~ recent picturing

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Vermont view across Lake Champlain - yesterday at dusk ~ Adirondack Coast, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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milk bottle with soap suds ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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Sunoco gas truck ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to write that I am having a run of fun of late, picture making wise.

civilized ku # 2881-90 / doors 24-25 ~ enjoyable un-planned pleasure

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Essex Inn porch ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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tree /Lake champlain ~ Peru, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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buds /Lake champlain ~ Peru, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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restaurant on lake ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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Vermont view ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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GoldMedal Flour ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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Federalist house ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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gazebo ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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window and flower ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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purple door ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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white doors ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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shuttered motel ~ Keeseville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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motel sign ~ Keeseville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Spent an inordinate and unplanned amount of time this weekend past along the shores of Lake Champlain - often referred to in the tourism marketing world as the Adirondack Coast*.

It started on Saturday with a noon drive to Plattsburgh for Hugo's hockey game. I went and returned via a route which runs for most of its length along the shore of Lake Champlain. On the drive home, I stopped to make a few pictures, to include the motel pictures.

Those pictures were made along a strip of motels adjacent to Au Sable Chasm, a once thriving tourist destination, now re-emerging as a resurgent and popular destination, albeit no where near the draw that it was in its heyday. The motels have not enjoyed the same resurgence. Some are shuttered while others have been converted to Section 8 (low income, government assisted) and transient units. The chasm and the motels are but a proverbial stone throw away from Lake Champlain.

Sunday noonish I drove the same route to and from a driving range (golf), again, stopping to make a few pictures. After arriving home, the wife and I headed out to look for Westport-style Adirondack chairs for the front porch. As you might surmise, Westport is located on Lake Champlain so our route took us in the direction of the lake.

Had no luck in finding the chairs, at least not locally made ones. However, we did end up in the village of Essex on the shore of Lake Champlain. The entire village of Essex (pop. 600-700), founded in 1765, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The village has one of the finest and most intact collections of Federal and Greek revival architecture in New York State and, for that matter, in all of rural America.

After a walk around the village complete with picture making, we dropped into the historic 200-year old Essex Inn for drinks and shared appetizers: Stuffed Artichokes - poached artichoke bottoms, maryland crab, smoked gouda and Pigs in a Blanket - smoked wild boar sausage, flaky pastry, maple pomerey. After leaving the inn, we took a very short walk on Main Street. A few more picturings ensued and then it was in the car and north along the lake for the 30 mile drive to home.

Indeed, a very nice weekend.

*FYI, Lake Champlain is approximately 125 miles long, 14 miles wide at its widest point, and covers 490 sq. miles. It is bordered on the west by New York State, the east by Vermont, and the northern most reaches crosses the US - Canadian border in the province of Quebec.
Posted on Monday, May 4, 2015 at 11:54AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis | CommentsPost a Comment

thru the murky viewfinder # 1 ~ customized from an iPhone app

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gargoyle ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Came across a iPhone app which harkened back to a time in the analog era when I started to play around with making pictures of scenes as viewed on the viewfinder screen of a beat up vintage TLR. I messed around with it for a while but never got serious enough to really pursue it.

A fair number of picture makers did take it seriously and enough of a picture making "movement" was established that an enterprising app maker came up with the Viewmatic app. An app designed to produce pictures with "the experience of looking through the viewfinder of a classic film camera". However, like most, dare I write "all", apps which end in "-matic", the user is presented with a canned set of options. Some are good (enough), some not so much.

So, never one to leave almost well enough alone, I scavenged the viewfinder frame and then proceeded to make my own master viewfinder file into which I can drop any picture I desire. The master file has a number of layers - grain, vignette (light and dark), grid, crop guide, etc. - which can be modified and combined to produce a much more custom finished look than I can get from the app. The only effect I have yet to make is a layer which can add the dust and scratches which were part and parcel of an eyed TLR viewfinder screen.

In any event the screwing around beat goes on. Round and round. Where it stops, nobody (including me) knows. Next up, the Polaroid emulsion transfer look.

oddly exalted # 3 / Polamatic # 6 / Wood Camera # 4 ~ tchotchke

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tchotchke ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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speaker top tchotchke / Polamatic app ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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speaker top tchotchke / Wood Camera app ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

As I continue to play with various camera and developer effects apps for the iPhone, it has occurred to me that, sooner rather than later, there will be a considerable number of iPhone derived pictures culled from which a book will emerge.

That book, in keeping with my picture making life long belief that Polaroid prints are little joys and should be seen as such, will be a small format book. And as I make display prints, those too will be kept small. All because, to my eye and sensibilities, the small thing seems to create a visual impression which I can only describe as "precious".

And speaking of small, it has come to my attention that Polaroid (the real Polaroid) offers a digital instant print printer, the Polaroid ZIP Instant Mobile Printer. The printer fits in the palm of your hand and it spits out, directly from a mobile phone or table, little 2×3" prints with a smudge-proof protective polymer overcoat (and a sticky back for extra fun!!!).

And, just like the original Polaroid film, the paper, ZINK (zero ink), has the heat activated color dye crystals embedded in the paper. No inks to replace is a most definite plus. The paper is available in 10 sheet packs at the modest cost of $.50 a sheet.

Needless to write, my wanter is in overdrive and I just might have one of these printers by this time tomorrow.

oddly exalted (still life) # 2 ~ beyond the basic hard cold facts

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vase + flowers ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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vase + flowers / wood camera•iPhone ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Yesterday on LENSCRATCH in the entry, DENNIS WITMER: THE STATES PROJECT: ALASKA, Dennis Witner stated

While some claim that a place doesn’t exist until it has a poet, I think the same can be said of photography—a place doesn’t exist until someone has created the defining photographs of it.

Upon first reading, my reaction was simply that the statement is a fine example of artist / art speak bullcrap and hubris. After a bit of reflection, I believe it to be discussion worthy inasmuch as ....

.... I would certainly agree with the idea that the understanding, appreciation or knowledge regarding a place / person / thing can be enhanced, at times greatly so, by the work of a poet or a picture maker (photography, painting, illustration). Hell, I would even throw in the work of authors, film makers, and song writers as well. In the best of work, the result(s) can be an iconic representation(s) - a thing regarded as a representative symbol of some place / person / thing.

However, whatever the source of inspiration for a given work, it most definitely existed prior to the work derived from its existence. In the case of a place, Alaska for instance, I am certain that the people populating that place, had no trouble whatsoever knowing, without the help of a poet or picture maker, that Alaska existed. And, seriously, even before there were people, the place we now know as Alaska existed, in point of fact.

That written, I am reasonably certain that the word "exist" as used in Witmer's statement is employed with a dash of metaphoric / symbolic meaning. If not that, then employed, not in the literal meaning of "actual being", but in the sense of not "existing" in the mind beyond the basic hard cold facts of a place / person / thing.

Some poets and picture makers are capable of injecting honest and true emotion and feeling, as adjuncts to fact, into the perception of a place / person / thing. In a sense, making it more completely "real" than a merely visual / word depiction of something. Imbuing a place / person / thing with a richer perception of a place / person / thing's identity and place in the scheme of things.

And, IMO, that's what separates the men/women from the boys/girls in the world of art.

As for making the (pronounce it, with emphasis, like "thee") defining pictures of a place / person / thing, get over it. No single picture or group of pictures can completely define anything. The best picture(s) can add significantly to perception of something but experiencing a place / person / thing, aka: personal experience - despite its inherent self-limiting prejudices, is the still best way to fly in the cause of trying to fully understand a place / person / thing. Although ....

.... there is most definitely something to be said for the quite contemplation of a poem or picture

manipulated Polamatic Polaroid # 4

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Polamatic Polaroid • click to embiggen

I'm curious. Is anyone else out there making cell phone pictures, screwing around wise? If so, can I/we see them?
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 at 04:42PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments3 Comments

screwing around in a hotel ~ getting up to pee and a great Japanese meal

In Albany for the weekend and haven't made any "serious" pictures but I have been screwing around nevertheless.

Top 2 pictures are Polamatic Polaroids - very early morning light (had to get up to pee - one of the "advantages", picture making wise, of getting older) and Chicken and Shrimp Teriyaki, haute cuisine style.

Bottom 2 are Wood Camera (app) pictures - using the nearly infinitely variable lens tilt adjustment - and should be self-explanatory.

still life - oddly exalted (kitchen life # 69) ~ the value of screwing around picture making wise

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radishes / condensation ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

My screwing around, picture making wise, on Monday past consisted mainly of producing a homage to William Eggleston and his iconic tricycle picture. Since then, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. To wit, my bicycle picture has engendered some un-expected / un-intended consequences.

Consequence # 1 is that I have ended up really liking the picture despite the tongue-in-cheek picturing attitude with which I approached its making. There is just something about the looming presence of the bicycle which draws me into the picture in ways I cannot fully describe. That presence gives it an exaggerated importance in spite of its relatively pedestrian nature which, of course, is exactly how Eggleston's tricycle appears to present itself.

I like the picture well enough that I will be printing and hanging it on one of my walls. It will be interesting to see if that looming presence comes across to John/Jane Q. Public who are not familiar with Eggleston and his pictures.

Consequence # 2 has to do with my ongoing "what's next" search in which I am leaning strongly toward making still-life / constructed pictures. So, a few days ago when I noticed the radishes in a plastic container with condensation, I knew I wanted it to be a still life referent. I just didn't know how or in what visual context I would use it inasmuch as I wasn't yet under the "looming presence" spell.

Now I am. So, I placed it on the kitchen counter and pictured it from a low angle. Lo and behold, the resultant picture did exhibit a looming presence which, like Eggleston's tricycle, tends to "oddly exalt" (phrase taken form the previously linked piece about Eggleston's picture) the rather mundane / pedestrian referent.

Not that looking up at something from a close-in low angle tends to create a looming-presence visual effect is a surprise to me. After all, it is a tried and true picture making technique which I have used to my advantage many times in my commercial picture making career. However, that technique has rarely been employed in my personal picture making wherein I tend (deliberately) to picture life from the perspective of my own eyes when standing upright.

All that written, consequence # 3 is screwing around a bit more with this low angle picture making approach in an effort to determine whether it is a viable technique on which to hang my hat, ongoing body of work wise.

Such are the risks and rewards of just screwing around, picture making wise, from time to time. Just try it. You just might like it.