Sunday, June 9, 2013

An excuse (again)

Sorry I haven't been on here for a while.  Even the last post was started in April and just posted, as you can probably tell.

Part of the problem is that I've changed my photographic workflow, and I don't have anything to post when I have the time to write.  The other problem is I've been busy.

I've been in 3 local shows put on by the West Michigan Photography Collective, of which I am a member.  I've entered two pieces in the Newago County Council for the Arts Statewide Photography Juried show.  Both pieces got accepted and one won an honorable mention.  I've also entered two pieces in the GR Festival of the Arts Juried Show and one piece got accepted.

Plus I've been trying with varied success to get some actual photography in.  Along with my personal life and work.  It's been an interesting time, as usual.

I'll get some photos up this week.  Plus I will be up north in a week, so I'm sure you'll see something then.

Take care.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Link Roundup

I haven't done one of these for a while, so I thought it might by time.  That is my faithful photo assistant above.  She hasn't got much praise here lately, so I thought it might be time....

It turns out this past Sunday was World Backup Day.  I didn't know that we needed such a day, but any way to remind people to back up their work is good.  This is specific to the Mac, but the advice is good for anyone.

World Backup Day from TUAW

If you still have Peeps left over from Easter, some science experiments you can do with them.

Make Magazines Annual Peeps roundup

Two juvenile Mountain Lions get harassed by five Coyotes.  I'm kind of surprised the Coyotes stood around for an hour while someone was standing by photographing.  A happy ending though!

Using fire painting in a fashion shoot.  It's giving me ideas....  :)

A private island in Lake Superior put in trust as an Artists retreat.

At times I run out of ideas on what to photograph.  Not sure if this will help, but it can't hurt.  I spent the money on it, but there are free versions as well.  For iPhones, a assignment generator.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Catching Up

     Just getting out of the annual winter blahs and thinking hard about what I want to do with my photography this year.   More on that in a little bit.

     I did finally end up out with the Midwest Large Format Asylum a couple of weeks ago for their March outing.  It was the first time I was able to find to to take a Saturday to get out with a camera.  Since the outing was in the middle of Illinois, I drove down Friday eve and came back Saturday.  It was great to get out with the camera again, and just spend a day photographing with a group of like minded individuals.  A great group.

     I've also been in two shows so far this year, with two more in the planning stages.  They are both groups shows though.  I need to get a body of work together and have a solo show.

     I've been exploring bookmaking and alternative processes some more.  I want to combine the two and do a small book of alternative prints.  A small number of copies as well, either one or two to start.  If this goes well, I would try a somewhat larger edition.  I also want to learn some more historic processes.  Wet plate photography for one, as well as photogravure for another.

     I always tell myself I want to get out and photograph some more.  Hopefully this year I will.

     Sit and think about my work.  I really don't spend a lot of time just going through my old work, and seeing how I've changed over the years.  I also need to start organizing my photos better, and pruning out the rejects.

     So here is the list, in no particular order.

  • Shoot more.  Preferably film, since it slows me down, but anything.
  • Learn more.  If you're not learning, you're dying.
  • Publish more.  Whether it is here, in a book or a show.  Get my work out where people can see it.
  • Get a real website.  I need someplace where people can see my work and buy it.
  • Enter more juried shows.  I've been entering the regional art competition every year, but I need to enter more. 

     As a side note, I will be giving my Night Photography talk at the Big Rapids Camera club this month, as well as a talk about Backups for Photographers at the Grand Rapids Camera Club.  If you're around, stop by and say hi.

That's it for now.  I hope spring gets here soon, and things are going well for you.  Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


I've been busy, which is hardly new.  I've got images in one show that is currently hanging and I'm trying to get ready for another. 

I've got three images, of which one is above.  Nudes, but tame in my opinion.  They are going in a local pub starting the 2nd of March.  In other words, I need to get my butt in gear.   I'm planning on printing the three images as cyanotypes, which is one of the first, if not the first ways of printing images.  A simple process, it needs just two chemicals for the print and a tray of water to develop.  Hopefully I can get one done this weekend and I can post it.

I still need to come up with a name for the series, hopefully that will come soon.

More later.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Link Roundup

     I'm sorry, as usual, I've been a little busy lately and haven't got out much to photograph or post to this.  I did take a few photos around Christmas, including the one above.  Unfortunately, I was in a hurry, took the photo handheld without a tripod, and there is more camera shake than I would like.  So you will only see this one on the web.  I believe the lights are still up, but with a early January thaw, there is no snow.  It wouldn't be the same, though I may go try.

   I'm participating in a group show starting January 19th in Kentwood Michigan.  I'm part of a small photography called the West Michigan Photography Collective.  We formed to help each other improve our work and display.  Only a year old, but we are learning every time we get together.  The show will be held at Frames Unlimited on East 28th St. near Woodland Mall.  It runs from January 19th through February 19th.  We will be having an artists meet and greet the 19th from 5 pm to 9 pm.  Light refreshments will be served.  Please stop by and say "hi" if you are in the area.   For more info:

    Battery management is a struggle for anyone who photographs these days.  Whether it's the batteries in your camera or batteries in your flashes, you need them.  Speedlites especially can run through a lot of little batteries.  A good article about managing all those batteries at

    I follow  Not sure why, the are usually a little kitschy for me.  But once in a while they come up with good ideas.  If  your looking for a photo project look at,  there are some good ideas.

    Another good idea is a weekly photo challenge.  A good place is the weekly photochallenge.  They are on week two, but that just means you need to get your butt in gear.

    If you're trying to do flash photography and get professional at it, and you're not following the Strobist at, you're missing something.  I especially liked this article about photographing shiny black articles on a white background.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

As Christmas winds down for another year, I thought I would take a moment to hope that you had as wonderful a day as I did.  It was a day of family and friends, and cooking.  Lots of cooking, with a dash of photography thrown in.

Hopefully you got lots of photography gifts, and maybe you gave a few too. 

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Segue - RIP Dave Brubeck

     As far back as I can remember, I've always been a big music fan.  We always had the radio going in my house.  My folks had a B&W TV, with all of 3 local channels.  Since someone had to get up and change the channels, it usually stayed on whatever news show my father wanted to watch.  When he wasn't around, I always turned on the radio. 

     I can remember the radio being on a local radio station that played pop music.  I was happy with it at the time.  My parents didn't like it, for one.  :)  My peers also liked it.  But then as I grew older, I found different radio stations.  I moved on to, what at the time was, modern rock.  At the same time, I started playing saxophone in the school band.  So I was exposed to a lot of music growing up.  Rock, which had its roots in blues, classical and classical pops in school band.  We had a jazz band in high school, but I don't remember much actual jazz.  Maybe they weren't really a jazz band, they were most likely more like a pep band.

    I made it to college and while I didn't play the sax much, except for marching band, I did hang around the music building.  I knew a lot of people there, and I was comfortable with them.  I got introduced to jazz fusion, a lot of people liked Mahavishnu Orchestra at the time, and of course I was one of them.  It was sort of a mix of jazz and Jimi Hendrix.  I still follow a couple of the musicians in that band since they've broke up.

     It wasn't until my second year at college that I took a "Listening to Music" class.  We covered a lot of classical music, some of which I knew and some of which I didn't.  We then moved into Jazz and that's where I was introduced to 50's jazz and Dave Brubeck.  We heard both "Take 5" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and I fell in love with it.  I've been a big fan of his every since, though I never ended up going to any of his concerts.

     I won't have any more chances.  He passed away yesterday, 1 day shy of his 92nd birthday.  He will be missed.  A couple of songs to remind us what he was like, and for me to hear them one more time.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

More Historic Processes

     If you've been following me for a while, you know I'm into what is called Alternative or Historic processes. These are photographic processes that have fallen out of favor as newer ones have come on the scene. Here are a couple I've been working on. The first is an older photo of Montana Marie I took a couple of years ago in a stairwell in an abandoned church in Gary, Indiana. It's been one of my favorite photos since I couldn't resist printing it in a process called Cyanotype. You may call it the old blueprint process if you remember that. I could have toned it to remove the blue, but I like it this way.

     This next one was taken several years ago at a Michigan Calf Roping event. The process is called Van Dyke Brown and produces a reddish-brown print. Once again, these can be toned, which this one is.  The toning takes it from a reddish-brown to a darker brown.  I really didn't care much for this process, but I've been changing my mind. A acquaintance of mine is doing a series of 16x20 of photos he took overseas in this process and they are mind boggling. I may have to do more with this. My major complaint is the development process can take quite a while, while sometimes it can be a little too red for my tastes if you don't tone the print.  Which adds to the time.

     I'm currently working on a 4 color gum bichromate print. This is a color print created using water colors added to a light sensitive solution and negatives. Somewhat slow and a lot of different options for how simple it sounds.  I'm trying to do a 4 color print of a rowboat I took in Maine last year.   Hopefully I will have something to show you soon.

I hope your fall has been great so far.   More later.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Artprize 2012 Final Thoughts

     Now that Artprize is over for another year, and I've had some time to think about it, some final thoughts.  Take them for what they are worth.

      As usual, I didn't see as much of it as I wanted.  As usual, I get worked up over all the crap I see, or at least what I consider crap.  Art is in the eye of the beholder as they say.  But there was the good mixed in with the bad.  

I photographed the "Lights over GR" event.  I thought it was amazing.  People complained it had been done before.  I don't care.  If you look at Art history, pretty much everything has been done before.  I'm glad it made the top 10.  I wish it would have won, just so something other than a 2d piece would have.  I hope they come back and do it again.  If they do, go see it.

     Another view of the piece in the river.  I sort of wish more artists would have used the river, but there are too many restrictions placed on them.  The City of GR is talking about more approvals after the lights launch above, since people complained about them landing in their yard.  I hope they listen and just nod, without making anything more restrictive.

     A piece that while as a geek I like, since it has so many Science Fiction/Fantasy/Model Building qualities, I don't really consider art.  But I did like it, and I laud the person taking the time building it.  But I didn't hear anyone complain that it had been done before, even though I want to believe a company released a model kit like it several years before.

I was mainly there to look at the photography.  I do want to enter this event, but I have had a hard time coming up with a project I want to put my name on, and think is good enough to enter.  I thought the work at Fountain Street Church was among the best at Artprize.  This piece on Disabilities and Sexuality was on the top of my list of best photography.  I'm glad the jurors liked it.  There was another piece in the same venue about a man trapped in a womans body that I liked as well.  I'm glad the church added these two artists and others to its venue.  I don't imagine they were popular subjects in Grand Rapids.

Todd and Brad Reed, two landscape photographers from the Ludington area, took over a hallway in Park Church.  While I like their work, to me it looked like they were trying advertise/sell their work rather than winning the contest.  Maybe I need to just consider doing that as well.  The did have a lot of nice work though.

A lot/all of the music performances took place at the St. Cecilia Music Center.   They offered a set of iPods in the basement with the artists performances on them.  It was nice to sit there and listen, but there were at lot.  I should have stayed there longer though.  Some of the music was on sale at the site store, but not all.

All in all, I enjoyed most of it.  I get worked up over people telling others how long it took to make their art, since that shouldn't matter.  People should just view the art and decide what it does/does not do for them.  But people do pay attention to statements like that.  I also tell myself I need to take some time off and see more of it, but I didn't this year.  Hopefully next.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Artprize 2012

Artprize is happening once again in Grand Rapids.  Downtown is packed, lots of kitschy art is being voted up to win cash awards, and the restaurants are full.  I needed to update my night shoot talk I'm giving next month at one of the local camera clubs.  Since I love the look of long exposure water, and there was an entry in the Grand River, of course I took a photo of it.

I've asked people on Facebook which one they like better, and it's pretty much the color one.  I tend to like the black and white, because I think it's dramatic.  I also think the color distracts from the image.  The lines, the shapes.  Other people have said different.  One person commented on the red dot in the center of the color photo.  I don't know what it is, probably a street light, but it distracts.  I could take it out with Photoshop, but I don't want to do that.  I know art is subjective, but I feel I'm missing something.  Maybe not.  I'm still going with the black and white.

What about you?  Which do you prefer?

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