Friday, February 15, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - February 15, 2019

More feathers this week, hope you don't mind. Yes, I realize it's been a few weeks since my last Opportunity Weekend but the listings were starting to repeat themselves and I had bigger fish to fry so I left a couple of weeks on the table. Back now with a fresh take and some new opportunities for you. Here we go:
That's a bunch of calls for you to get after.

Until next time...

Sunday, February 03, 2019

It's What I'm Searching For These Days

Black tipped feathers in studio, Cedar Park, Texas
More feathers today. These are some black tipped variety, they are a sort of reddish brown color by nature. Still on the feather kick for now, here's more proof of that for you. Speaking of feathers and, well, props in general, I've been thinking about a couple of shots I want to setup next. I need to get some items before I can merrily shoot away. My list, as you might imagine, is odd and growing stranger by the day. I need some craft paper, a mad "Russian" style bomber hat, a jar full of those twinkle lights, a teacup, a bunch of books, some socks, and, of course, more feathers (always more feathers. I'm really on a feather kick these days, in case you could not tell.)

Bringing together all of these "odd" props has me thinking. It might be a great time to do a scavenger hunt. Now, when I say "scavenger hunt" I'm not talking about a standard style scavenger hunt here, no. I'm not talking about the "go out and shoot a mailbox" variety because, frankly, those just bore me. No, I'm talking a Carol style scavenger hunt here. Think about the ones the good folks over the Sketchbook Project did back a couple of years ago, you know the ones where they had items such as, "just a minute, just a second" and the ever so popular, "the space between us is small." I think the most "normal" item on the list had to be a toss up between "wisdom" and the oh so concrete "ducks, lots and lots of ducks." I really loved doing that project. It was a lot of fun, even if the damned, "just a minute, just a second" was tough to shoot for a photographer.

Now, I'm thinking about bringing this kind of project back. I'm thinking a scavenger list is in order. If there's enough interest, I'm going to make the list and offer up a small prize. I was thinking maybe making it a "Mayday" scavenger hunt, and by that I mean, have the actual work be due in May. That would give us enough time to shoot and scratch our collective heads. Probably offer up a gift card for those who enter sort of a thing. Nothing major, just a small prize or two for being a good sport and all. I've already got a couple of ideas lined up for things we can hunt. As you might expect, they are not that ordinary but, hey yeah, it's going to be a lot of fun. I mean, if you are searching for something out of the ordinary, this would be quite the project for you. (Think, "Ducks, lots and lots of ducks," only with a few more moving parts or brain teasers thrown in for good measure.)

So, what do you say? Who's in? If you are so-inclined, get with me. Either drop me a note here on the blog or follow the links to my email and let me know you want a piece of it. If there's enough interest, maybe we could have somebody jury the lot and pick out the prize just, you know, for giggles and all. Aye Scallywags, we just might be a huntin' soon enough. Who knows? Maybe one of the items will have something to do with biscuit eating after all.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 27, 2019

I Do Not Visit, I Do Not Want

The famed poet Mary Oliver passed away this week. To honor her memory, one of my poet friends posted the following excerpt from her work:
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world

-- Mary Oliver
This really got me thinking, in fact, it set off all kinds of ideas racing around my head. For starters, the line "I was a bride married to amazement," got me to take a hard look at myself and question what exactly I might be married to? What does amazement look like? They always tell us to shoot what we love, perhaps it's a better plan to shoot what we might be "married to" in her sense of the word. What is amazement and how would I even begin to take it into my arms? What would "amazement" even look like to me? An interesting question, no? As an artist, how would I begin to represent "amazement" over the course of my life?

In many ways, photographers are visitors, yet she talks of, "[not] simply having visited this world." It's poignant. It's a hard reminder that we should not sigh, we should not argue, we should all strive to live life to the fullest. Death comes someday. To all, death comes someday. Are we ever really prepared for it? Are we all mere visitors, having visited this world? Is it even possible to live one's life in such a way as to have no regret, no sigh, no fear, no argue?

The "door full of curiosity," the "cottage of darkness." These are all interesting concepts. I reckon one could fashion an entire artistic project from either of these suggestions, just the thought alone. It's heavy. Is time really, "no more than an idea" and eternity just a "possibility?" There is a lot here to digest yet in a lot of ways what she puts forth is extraordinarily simple. It's a simple thought, a single idea, a common theme, played over and over again, though told this time in a touching manner.

In some ways, we are all visitors. Each and every one of us, at some point in time, is a visitor. We are temporary. We are impermanent. It's just the nature of the beast. We are each given but one short life and it's up to us, to each and every one of us, to make the most of that gift.

I like to think of myself as an explorer. I live with a sense of discovery, always learning, trying new things, exploring new places. By her definition, I guess I am not actually a visitor, as I've lived some of it, some of my life, that way. I wish, at the end of the day, I could lay my head down upon my pillow, when it's time, when it's that time to rest, and be able to say, "I did not visit, I did not want. No, I lived." I think it's how you make the most of it, but thank her for the poignant reminder.

She will be missed.

Until next time...

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Opportunity Weekend January 26, 2019

A close up detail of a zebra striped feather, taken in home studio, Cedar Park, Texas
More feathers to ruffle this week as there are more opportunities to share. Here at Carol's Little World, we are maybe not so good with the puns but we (hopefully) more than make up for it with our opportunities. Here they are:
That's a bunch of opportunities to get after so go on, go out, and get some.

Until next time...

Monday, January 21, 2019

This House is Not My Home

A mineature house with lights as part of the Trail of Lights in Austin, Texas
I've got a friend who insists she is going to win the Publisher's Clearing House. Every year, she's mad about it and goes on and on about how this year she's going to get the big prize. She has visions of that black van, those party balloons, that game show host like character showing up at her door, ringing the bell with the cameras rolling, and jumping up and down while meeting the prize people with glee. She's convinced. It's going to happen for her one of these years, she's sure of it. While I do my best to dissuade her from spending any of her not-yet-gotten winnings, I have to admire her spunk about the whole thing. I mean, she's really convinced she's a winner and they just have yet to pull the black van into her driveway.

Now me on the other hand, I'm convinced I'm going to win another contest. No, I don't have fantasies of the black van running about the place, though I would welcome it, let's be clear. I would so grab those balloons and run out of the house jumping for joy in my pajamas (and you already know how I feel about wearing my pajamas outside now, don't you?) But, somehow, I just don't see this in my future. Maybe because I have always been particularly fond of architecture, or maybe it's because I'm just warped in a slightly different way, but somehow I've always envisioned myself winning some kind of dream home. Yes, it's a house for me, my friends. If I am to win anything (which, let's face it, I probably never will) it would be some kind of a house. I don't know why, but I've always envisioned myself winning a house. Not like I could carry it home in my purse, but there you have it.

Every year, the good folks over at HGTV do just this. They give away a house. They have a contest called "Dream Home" where they give away a fully furnished home, complete with a car, and about enough clams to pay for the taxes and insurance for maybe the first year. Every year they do this. It's amazing really. As you can imagine, why, I'm convinced I'm going to win.

"Pack your bags!" I tell my Publisher's Clearing House winning friend. "I'm moving!"

Sometimes, she falls for it. Usually, she doesn't. This year she flatly said to me, "Where is it this year?"

"Montana," I said, "Whitefish, Montana."

Now, I don't even know where Whitefish, Montana is. Heck, I can barely find Montana on a map and, if I'm being frank, I often confuse it with Wyoming. Aren't they both kind of square? Quadrilateral shaped states aside, I'm moving to Montana, I'm sure of it. Pack your bags, here we go! Montana. A cabin in the mountains, out where nobody can hear you scream. A quiet little get away from the noise and pollution of the city. A cool place to visit in the summertime. I bet it's all of that and more because it's a dream home.

You can be certain I'm never going to actually win the dream home, but it's kind of nice to think about it for a little while. I love architecture, and I like the idea of thinking about what a "dream home" might be like. Would it have a big bathtub? Maybe an old-fashioned claw foot tub or a fancy new soaking tub? What about the kitchen? A chef's dream complete with a high end stove and a monster pantry space? Would there be exposed beams and fancy lights? What about a cozy nook and a comfy fireplace? I think this is why I fantasize about this "dream home" in the first place. I guess I like to think about these things, as I've always been a fan of architecture. A "dream" home represents a blank slate of sorts. An empty vessel. A place you get to imagine, to envision, to fill up even, with your own hopes and aspirations. What would you put in your dream home? Would you make it a quiet place, a solitary refuge from the daily trials of life? Or would you make it some kind of entertainer's paradise, a place in which to host a bevy of extended family and friends? There are so many possibilities here. What about the design? Contemporary? Modern? Rustic? Maybe you fancy a farmhouse or one of those old Victorians? And where would you live? A ski chalet? A quiet place out in the country? An urban retreat next to everything but yet somehow away from it all?

It's an endless source of imagination really. It fills me with a sense of wonder and, I suppose, this is why every year I think I'm going to be the big winner. I guess really, deep down inside, I don't want to actually win the big "dream home," no, I really just want to think about what it might mean to dream about a home. That's kind of better than any contest really, although, I must confess, I would so grab those party balloons and run down the driveway in my pajamas if the opportunity presented itself. 

My dream home, what would it be? It's hard to imagine really and, I guess, when I really sit down to think about it, I'm not sure I would want to win somebody else's vision of a "dream home" although I sure do enjoy checking them out every year. And you know, you just know, that one of these odd years, why, I'm going to win myself that fancy new "dream home" now, don't you? 

Yeah, right. OK, I'll stop now. Dreams aside, that house is not my home.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - January 20, 2019

A collection of zebra striped feathers, just a random assortment
Playing around with something new this week leads me to post new work. This is the start of some studio work, this one featuring a grouping of feathers. Look for more of these to come but, for now, it's time to stop ruffling and start opportunity weekend. Here are some opportunities for you this week:
That's a bunch of opportunities for you to ruffle your own feathers.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - January 13, 2019

A ghost image of a tree bathed in purple light, as seen at the Trail of Lights in downtown Austin, Texas
As my friend Tazz Taz says, "you have purple trees in Austin." Yes, we do! While shooting the Trail of Lights, I was enamored with this particular tree. It was quite large and I loved the way it was bathed in this purple light, so I wound up shooting it a bunch. I basically planted myself in front of it, stood there, and shot it for a while. Not how I was expecting to shoot the Trail of Lights but, sometimes anyway, you get what you didn't come in for, right?

For those of you who came in for the opportunities, here they are:
That's a bunch of opportunities to keep you away from trees this week.

Until next time..