Tuesday, May 26, 2009

SoFoBoMo - Reboot

It seems like I've been out photographing everything but my SoFoBoMo subject. I knew going in that I would have issues with the subject I picked, but I thought I could get by them. Here I am getting near the end of my 31 day period and I have nothing I want to publish. I have a few photos, but not enough for a book and frankly nothing I care to publish and put my name on.

So in the tradition of the summer blockbuster movies, I'm rebooting my project and going to one of my backup plans. A project I wanted to do this summer was to photograph the West Michigan fair grounds. County fairs still are a big deal around here, though not as much as they used to be. I've decided to move up that project and use it for my book. I had four fair grounds on my initial list, the Kent count, Ionia county, Allegan county and Muskegon county grounds. I hit Ionia this past weekend, not because it was closer than the rest, but because I had spent some time there recently and liked what I saw.

My initial feeling for this was to hit up each of the initial four fairgrounds and pick a 10 photos or so from each. My trip to Ionia produced far more photos than I expected though, so I may just go with the one fairground for the reboot. I'll have to try to figure out a sequence and start laying them out before I make the final decision. I may also go back to the fair grounds in the evening. I would like to get some photos of the signs lit up.

More once I've winnowed down what photos I've already taken.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2009 Festival of the Arts - Regional Art Show

I've mentioned before the regional arts festival put on for the last 40 years in downtown Grand Rapids. A weekend full of music, plays, dance and a juried art competition. I entered 3 pieces this year, one of them a variation of the above, and all three got accepted. I had expected two of the pieces to get in, but that the third was accepted also was a surprise to me.

The opening show is May 29th, which I'm already planning on going to and the festival itself is the weekend of June 5th. I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Other Photographers

While photography is a primarily a solitary pursuit, I do like to get out with other photographers. It gives me a chance to learn from them and the company is usually pretty good also. Thursday I tagged along with Ron to Kalamazoo. He's one of the finalists in a contest for the Pure Michigan tourism ad campaign and is going after the main prize of $5000. He's been assigned Kalamazoo county and wanted to get some evening shots. Since he knows I like to do night photography, he kindly invited me along.

We got down there early evening, some two and a half hours before sunset. He had a list of photographs he wanted to work on, all concentrated on one street. He is primarily a landscape photographer, and I see now why he does such good work. He worked the subjects from several angles, and during different times of the evening. We talked about the light and how it changed. He has a ladder he carries with him and used that to get a higher viewpoint. We only photographed four subjects during the first two hours we were there, hopefully he got something he could use.

After that, we wandered down by Arcadia Creek for a bit. Ron tried to get a photo of a bachelorette party, but he was having some flash issues and they were antsy to move on. I took a couple of good photos of the area, but by then it was getting late.

I had a good time and I got some good pointers. Hopefully he'll invited me along again in the future.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

American Bald Eagles

When I was growing up, because of pesticides, primarily DDT, birds of prey were scarce in Michigan. Seeing a hawk in the air was usually only seen when we went camping up north for the weekend. Eagles were something you had to travel to Canada or Alaska to see. Nowadays, a hawk in the air is pretty common. I thought it was pretty cool when they reintroduced eagles to Michigan, but there were only a couple of pairs whose locations were pretty closely held. Fast forward and now there are multiple nesting pairs of the birds within 20 miles of downtown Grand Rapids. Small groups winter in the area, though nothing like the hundreds of birds that gather further south. Though still not a common sight, they are becoming more so. If there ever was an obvious symbol of why we need to take care of the environment, the eagle is one of them.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Apple Trees

While I haven't been getting out as much as I hoped to work on my sofobomo photos, it seems that when I do, I'm concentrating on the apple trees in the park. Part of this is I know that the blossoms only last about a week before they are gone. A bigger part is that I grew up next to an orchard, where we had the run of the place all year round. So the sights and smells of the trees take me to a happy place, at least for a bit.

Since on top of Mothers day, we are going to have more lousy weather, I walked through the park first thing this morning. A quiet morning, with a woman being dragged along for a walk by her two labs, a couple of other walkers and the rooster on the nearby farm crowing in the background. Not any clouds in the sky, but there is a haze in the air. I tend to like morning light to photograph by, so it was a good walk.

A couple random thoughts.

Yesterday was Edwin Lands 100th birthday. The genius who perfected instant photography, it's a shame what's become of his company. Looking over a series of quotes attributed to him, one struck me.

"Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity. "

Then there is Miru Kim's TED talk. She is an urban explorer who "follows the rats". She's explored countless cities subways and catacombs, starting with New York. While I really like her photography, I'm not sure I could do what she does. Note the video does have some nudity, so it's probably not safe for work.

If you're into trains, Saturday May 9th is National Train Day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

SoFoBoMo - Day 5

My plan to get to the park and photograph every day isn't going very well.  So far, I'm not even meeting my backup goal of getting out 5 days a week.  Things just keep coming up.  Basically it's coming down to not planning my day very well.  That plus the normal stuff that comes up during that day that I have to react too.  I may have to change my strategy, but it's too early in the process yet to do that.  We'll see what today brings, the weatherman is promising rain this afternoon and tomorrow.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

SoFoBoMo - 2009 Beginning

I kicked off my SoFoBoMo project on May 1st. I decided to get started early in hopes of getting one project done and move on to a second. Of course it's easy to make plans, but the procrastinator in me always wants to come out.

My project is to photograph a local park, Prairie Wolf Park in Gaines Charter Township, just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan. A type of park called a passive park, it's been left pretty much in the state the township received it. There is a paved trail through parts of it as well as a sitting area, but trails in the rest of the park have just been mowed.

It was difficult to get going yesterday when I first got to the park, it had been a somewhat busy day at work. Wandering around the park and losing myself in the camera helped. Since I only have a rough idea of what I want to do, I scouted several areas once again to see what had changed since the last time. I love early spring, when the greenery starts to come out. The colors are so amazing before the plants start to dry out a bit and turn slightly brown. The early spring flowers are out and of course the birds have seemingly cranked up their activity.

I really don't know if I will use any of the photos I took yesterday. I still haven't really decided a direction my project is going to take. Reading other blogs of the participants, I know that a lot have specific plans and are using this as an artistic voyage of discovery. While I can appreciate that, I really don't work that way. I tend to be a more left brain type of person, and I'm going to let the project guide itself. I'll probably end up with a bunch of pretty photos and a more documentary style of book, but I'm good with that.

My plan is to spend an hour a day at the park. I realize that that is too optimistic, but if I can do that 5 days a week for the next three weeks I'll be happy. More updates later.