Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas

Cross of Stone, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I hope everybody is having a great holiday and looking forward to the new year. I've been quite busy and haven't had much time to post, but I wanted to wish everybody a great holiday season.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

End of Journal

Solo Red Leaf, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

The Red Leaf Diaries have officially come to a close for the winter. Yes, it's true. I've found myself suffering from a newfound fascination with Christmas (and holiday) lights. The temperatures have dropped enough that I no longer want to spend any quality time outside, under the trees, and the wind has blown what was left of our "fall color" off into the sunset. Time to close the chapter on another season. Time to dust off winter, pull her up, and take her out for a spin. The east coast, it would appear, is already out in front, what with a foot and a half of the white stuff falling, with more to come. We're catching up, not with snow, mind you, but it has been a bit nippy around these parts. Time to bundle and drink a lot of warm tea, I guess.

I'm not completely immune to winter this year, however. I have important news on that front. I have just recently started the application process to attend a workshop with Joyce Tenneson in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Come March, I hope to be in the thick of it (well, whatever "thick of it' happens in Santa Fe in March.) Come March, I hope I can catch a flight out of Austin Bergstrom and head off into the wild blue yonder. Come March, well, all I can say is that I hope we do not have an ice storm that will leave me grounded. Fingers crossed, mountains await, and I'm shaking in my boots knowing that one of the world's greatest photographers is going to take some time to look at my work.

In less "horrifically frightening" news, the floor dudes are to show up this week (Thursday) to drop off the lumber and construction begins on December 26th which should give me just about enough time to clear out all of the rooms. Since I have to "get cracking" as it were, and it is the holiday season, expect a few less blog postings in the coming days.

Finally, in more "verbiage-oriented" news, the publication for which I used to write regularly ( in case you weren't paying attention) has changed hands. The "new owners" (as it were) have seen fit to pull me over to the dark side. Expect the software performance-related journal to rise from the ashes and make an appearance sometime in the new year. I don't know when it's going to happen and I don't have a URL for you just yet but my popular "Developer's Corner" column will come back in a new format. I'm more than "slightly excited" about it too, since now it's out from under the guise of my employer and will become a truly independent publiction. Less politics and more concentration on subject always make for better reading, don't they?

So there you have it. The red leaf marks the end of one diary and the start of another. Life is but a series of interconnected journeys. Oh wait, maybe that was the internet itself. Well, either way, if the intertube fits and all....

Until next time...

Sunday, December 16, 2007


This one selected for SpunWithTears photo challenge: body.

It's as close as I can get to a body without going totally figurative on you. And, um, it's a body of water too.

Mom's floor was complete today. She had a hard time getting the men to show up and, once they did, I managed to convince her it would be best for all involved if she came over and watched Top Gear. She now thinks the three British dudes are "cute as a button" and wants to "put that cute one [Hampster] under my arm and take him home." Ah, dearest Mother. It would work for a while but then he'd try to fix the car and, well, we'd all be stuck walking. But, yeah, I get it. He is kinda cute (in an "I don't want to walk but he's still kinda cute anyway" sort of a way.)

In other news, I'm officially going to offer up a free print as part of a contest. To celebrate my completion of NaBloPoMo, look for a more formal announcement soon.

Until next time...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mundane Things

OrangeLeafClusterNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Some mundane things to keep you busy this Friday.

For starters, the floor dudes are going to my mother's house tomorrow. She'll be the first to have the new floor laid and we're looking forward to it-well, all except for her. She's all stressed out about it and worried about the dogs, and the noise, and the whatever else. I'm trying to convince her to come over and watch British television (I get BBC America and she doesn't) instead of sitting there with the jackhammers. We'll see how that goes. Of course, I'm not sure those Top Gear dudes would be much more relaxing, but, damn, are they funny. (I finally saw the episode where they build amphibious vehicles. ToyBota, anyone?)

Kathy has written me that she's arrived in Florida and she's going to stay there for a few days (weeks, maybe months...who knows?) Glad to hear she's near the ocean again.

Flickr has released statistics. All I can say is, Wow! Holy number crunching, Batman! I never knew so many people liked guitars or used Yahoo! search anymore these days. It's like a whole 'nother world in there. I'm lost. Somebody save me before I start using API's to make pie charts.

The Christmas party was a blast. It was a film noir night, complete with fog and mist, but still a lot of fun. The food was great and I, somehow, magically scored numbers 1, 2, and 5 in the lottery so I got to go home with some fabulous prints for my bad self. My prints weren't too unpopular either, so I'm happy about that.

Next up, I'm about to setup for some grand camera swapping. Long story but the prices on the old digital rebels have dropped because a new digital rebel is coming out end of January (Feb or maybe even early March are the rumors actually.) So, thanks to this, I might be getting a newer Rebel XT on the cheap. Except to hear more about this and my newer projects in the coming weeks (months, years, you get the idea.)

Finally, we're nearing the end of the year and so, as a tribute to all things lensbaby, I thought I might showoff some of what the "bad boy" plastic fantastic lens can do. Culminating with my selection for "Carol's Shot of the Year" I'm going to start posting next a "Great Gallery of Blur" brought to you by the little bellow that could. Expect the shots to start as soon as the red leaf diaries are over which should be sometime soon.

All that and I hope you are having a great holiday season.

Until next time...

Monday, December 10, 2007


TikiManNo12, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

There's something primitive about Tiki Gods. They were born of primitive people who believed that primitive carvings, made out of primitive wood, could protect them from primitive predators.

If you look especially closely, you can actually see the chisel marks in this Tiki God. You can actually see how some man, long ago, in a place far away, took the time to hammer and chisel out an icon he thought would protect him. Protect him from the ravishes of the sea, protect him from the Heavens, protect him from the Earth, or maybe just protect him from his primitive imagination-we'll never know. All we know is that his protection came in the primitive form of a small wooden icon, erected outside his hut, thought to protect him, thought to be an image of the first man himself.

There's something elegant too in primitive culture. There's an elegant sophistication somewhere buried deep in the notion that a hand-carved wooden icon can take all of your troubles away.

Don't you wish your troubles could go the way of the Tiki Gods? I know, I do.

Until next time...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Bandido sans Lobster

BlowingYellowNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

The Christmas Tree Bandit is back! The Christmas Tree Bandit is back!

For those who don't know who the Christmas Tree Bandit is, allow me to explain (because, afterall, this is an, ahem, "educational website" right? I mean, where else can you learn how to boil an egg? Nevermind, don't answer that.) Every year in Austin, some "mystery" person goes out and decorates the trees along Highway 360 (the road to work!) as Christmas trees. Garland is strung, tinsel is placed, Christmas balls are hung, the works! On probably more than 100 trees, Christmas decor is adorned.

The people of Austin don't seem to mind the Christmas trees. In fact, I'd go so far as to say, we actually LIKE the Christmas trees. And, do notice I said "Christmas trees" not "holiday" trees or "winter" trees or (oh the horror!) "seasonal" trees (the Christmas Tree Bandit is, it would appear, very politically incorrect when it comes to yuletime.)

So, where does the "bandit" part come in? That's a good question.

You see, the City of Austin has, in it's infinite "wisdom" (do notice it's pronounced with the word "dumb" right in the middle of it) have decided they want to "crack down" on the Christmas tree decorator. So, they organized a task force (did nothing) and eventually called for the police to step in to catch this wild free-roaming outlaw (do note that the purpertrators of the yogurt shop murders are still out there, mind you.) So, rather than catch actual murderers, rapists, or even holiday muggers, the Austin Police now have to try to catch this Christmas Tree decorator, or the person I like to call the "Christmas Tree Bandit."

So, how do they set out to catch the bandit, hot in his tracks? Easy enough, they start stopping people and asking (ok, maybe actually "demanding" would be a better word seeing as they have this penchant for using tasers and large caliber sidearms as they wish) for a description.

So now we have the APD, stopping random holiday shoppers, demanding to see a driver's license (or some form of ID) and demanding to know (least ye be tased, oh merry shopper thee!) "Have you seen the person defacing these trees?"

As you can imagine, the descriptions of the Christmas Tree Bandit aren't very accurate. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they are complete hogwash, but, well, you probably could have guessed that already.

To give you an idea of how outlandish they are, here are a few, ahem, "choice" ones:

He was tall with red hair and a yellow beard
He was a short, fat black man
He was wearing a ski mask (given on an 80 degree day)
He was hispanic and had light hair-bleached yellow
He wore a goatee and had a club foot
He had a tattoo covering most of his face
He looked like a woman to me
He was dressed up like Santa Claus

Now, for those of you, ahem, astute readers out there (all 3 of you, waves!) you might remember that, one time last year, completely unexpectedly, I did see the Christmas Tree Bandit. Of course, I didn't know he was a bandit at the time (if I had known, I would have done my part to help him, mind you.) I mistakenly thought he was employed by the City and was supposed to be putting up the Christmas tree decorations. (Silly me! I thought Austin would like all that extra sales tax revenue this normally slow time of year.)

And, I'm here to tell you now that, while I couldn't get a good look at him because I wasn't really paying that close attention to him, he was wearing glasses.

Go, Bandit, go!

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

End of Year Madness

RedOnPinkBlowing-1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

It's shaping up to be a crazy end of the year. I know it's supposed to be Christmas, and I'm supposed to be all happy and cheery but, this year anway, I feel a bit stressed out.

Got word that the floor people will be dropping off the lumber for the remodel on the 20th and then coming to install on the 26th. There's a photo workshop I want to try out for coming up in March but I need a portfolio to get in (and a real one, not one of these like "little" ones that I typically do) so I'm stressing over that, and then there are the usual print exchanges that happen this time of year, and, well, I'm really stressed out about those.

I never like print exchanges. I do such bizarre work to begin with, so I naturally assume that nobody will like it. I always feel like I show up to these things and I'm the one with the prints nobody wants to get "stuck" with. If I try to bring something popular, it ends up looking "snapshotty" and some people ask me where my "good" work is. If I try to bring something I think is "good" it ends up going to somebody who doesn't want it and doesn't appreciate it (and, well, I guess, doesn't think it's "good.") Oh the humanity!

I thought about doing these red leaves because they are kind of pretty (they look better "in real life" too, trust me on this one-they really have more of a pretty pinkish backdrop to them) but most folks think these too abstract. I could try to do one of my hula at sunset photos from Hawaii but some folks might not like that at all. Ah, I'm confused.

Maybe I'll just go sit on a copy machine and try to pass that off as "high art." Think that'd work? (Nevermind, don't answer that.)

Until next time...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Red Leaf Diaries

RedOnPinkAbstraction, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

The red leaf chronicles took a turn for the strange this weekend, as I happened up a tree that had turned completely....yellow. You read it right, yellow.

Now, I'm not really fond of yellow leaves. Not nearly as much as I am of red leaves but this tree was entirely yellow. It was a big gigantic yellow ball of, well, "tree," I guess. I mean, it wasn't just like "a little" yellow, or maybe "yellowish" if you squint at it. No, it was freaking YELLOW HELLO, I'M YELLOOOOOWWWW. Wow. What can I say? It made other yellow trees green.

In my search for the red, I've hit an entirely different color of the spectrum. All that and, I have to mention, it was just pretty. It's good to have autumn, isn't it?

In other more "tree trunk-erly" type of news, the floor people are coming soon. Hopefully, sometime this week, the floor people will be coming to drop off the cartons of lumber, boxes of trim, and buckets of adhesive needed to install my new floors. I'm so looking forward to getting my house back together again but I so don't want to finish taking it apart. I have to go move stuff, but I don't really want to. I'm tired and I want to go to bed.

But, you know, autumn and lumber from Home Depot waits for no man so off to moving I go. (Wish me luck!)

Until next tree time...

Friday, November 30, 2007

My December

LoneDarkTree, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Early December 1966. It's a bitter cold day in New York City. A blizzard has left the usually bustling city streets deserted-empty but for a few stranded taxi cabs and some vacated corner stands. Smoke from the subway rose up from the metal grates in the sidewalk-that smoke the only thing warm for miles around, fought the cold winter air, trying to reclaim the city. It's a losing battle though, the cold has taken over and won the battle on this particular winter day.

Ed walks the streets alone, trying to navigate through the drifts of snow, brief fogs of smoke from the underground subway, and rows of stranded cabs and empty newsstands obscure his path. He's never been to New York before. On leave from the Army mid way through a tour of duty in Vietnam, he's happy to be "home" even if it means being stuck in downtown Manhattan in what the papers are reporting as "the blizzard of the century." It's better than being shot at in the jungle. Not like he would know fully-being a radio operator and repair technician, he's stationed on a navy ship just off the coast and clandestinely boated in when a tower needs adjustment or a unit needs repair. Even though he's been stationed in Vietnam for over a year, he's spent less than two days on dry land, spending the majority of his time in a small bunk on a large battleship just off the shoreline.

He spots a stranded family, father, mother straddling an infant chid, and another young child in tow. The family struggles to walk in the driving snow, clinging together, he watches as they traverse the snowscape. He wonders about the family. Where are they from? Where are they going? How will they survive these empty city streets in this bitter cold?


He adjusts his tie several times before putting on his heavy winter coat. The papers said snow today so he's adding heavy layers, but he still wants to look his best. It's an important day. Nervous, he paces up and down the long hallway of his brownstone, waiting for his wife to ready their two children. This is a day he's been waiting for-the day he is to be sworn in as an attorney for the State of New York. He's come this far and now fidgets during the last few minutes waiting. He wonders if he will make it to the service on time with all the snow that papers have reporter.

It's blistery cold and snowing outside. The young couple travel with difficulty to the district courthouse. With two children, one an infant, travel in the city is almost impossible. The young family snakes its way around mountains of snow, stranded cabs, and empty newsstands, en route to the courthouse.

The baby cries as the father raises his right hand and takes the oath. The judge says, "I'm going to keep this short," and performs the rest of the service. "Go home now," he says, "the weather is turning. And please take care of that baby."


Besides the wintery cold and blizzard conditions in New York, what do these two stories have in common?

Ed, the stranded army radio operator survived his tour of duty, returned to the 'States, and got a job working with computers in a high-tech company.

The infant child grew, attended school, eventually completed engineering school, and secured her first job working at the same high-tech company as Ed.

I worked with Ed for almost four years before we figured out we had met before, a long time ago, on the bitter cold streets of New York during what the papers had dubbed, "the blizzard of the century."

Are you a child of destiny? Do you believe there are a finite number of people you must meet before you die? Or is it all just happenstance?

Memento mori works in mysterious ways.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Leave a SQUEAK at the end of the message

MrCByTheGateC, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

My human can't come to the blog right now. She's out busy going to her photo group. She takes a lot of pictures-even some of me when she sneaks up on me. When I'm not looking and I don't run away too fast, sometimes she takes my picture too. I'm kind of afraid of her camera. It makes a funny clicking noise that I can't quite figure out, so I just run away. Sometimes, she chases me with it and I turn around and bark at her. She can't run very fast for a human.

My big dog friend, Austin, lets me bite his ears and play with his toys. I like that. I love toys. I always find the squeaker in every toy. My human calls me "squeaker of the house" because I'm so good at it. Yup. That's me-resident squeaker. SQUEAK.

She sometimes calls me "black devil" too because, well, because I tend to get into things. A few weeks ago, I got into some garbage and got sick. My human was very worried about me so she took me to the vet. They gave me special food and some pills and said that, in no time at all, I would be all better. I'm feeling much better now, which is why I don't understand the special doctors. They want me to go back to the vet to get "fixed," but I don't think I'm broken. I think I'm all better now. I'm even out running and playing in the yard again, stealing Austin's toys, biting his ears, and all of that. It's all too confusing for a little dog like me but I sometimes wonder, am I really broken? Do I look broken to you? I don't think I'm broken so, I guess, I don't think that I need to be "fixed."

There's a cute little poodle over in the next yard so I should be going now. Maybe my human will come back tomorrow. I sure hope so. I'm not very good at this blogger toy. I much prefer playing with Austin's ears. My paws are really too big for this keyboard.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dirty Joke About Old People

IAmNotListening, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This older couple were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. About six o'clock in the morning, they get out of bed and Maybell (old people are always named Maybell) says to Burt, "We should eat breakfast like we did when we first got married. Oh, Burt, let's have breakfast in the nude."

So, they stip off all of their clothing, sit down, and start to enjoy their breakfast. A few minutes into the meal, Maybell says to Burt, "Oh, Burt, you still do it for me. After fifty years, three children, now all grown up, a happy home here, all these years as my special someone, my breasts still tingle as I sit here and share the first meal of this glorious day with you."

"I hate to burst your bubble on this special day," Burt says, "but, dear Maybell, I think your breasts are tingling because one of them has sagged into your oatmeal and one has sagged into your morning tea."

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What You Know/What You Don't

BirdBathSepia, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I've been tagged! I've been tagged in one of those "7 Weird/Random Things About Me" games. (I've been tagged by CraftyGuy AKA Starvin' from CraftyGuy's Random Thoughts.)

It's kind of hard for me to do these types of projects because, well, I've been blogging for so long, you pretty much know everything there is to know about me (in almost real-time too) but, since it's "blog a day or helpless already abused women get kicked to the curb yet again" month, I thought I'd give it a shot. (I'll add my 7 people as another blog posting-might as well milk this for two, right?)

Anyway, here are the "rules of the tag" (maybe I just haven't had enough coffee yet but that sounds mildly obscene, even though it's not.)

1. Write your meme, then link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. So people can know whether to thank you, or curse you.

2. Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself. You know the weird random stuff, that you think could make for a interesting blog post, but you were shy to tell about.

3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. Do this step wisely. You know who is game to play and who isn't.

7 Random/Weird things about me:

1. I like odd souvenirs-seldom the usual fare.

I tend to save things from trips and visits that are symbolic or have some kind of personal meaning, rather than the usual souvenirs. For example, on my desk, as I type this, I keep a previously empty film cannister. Part of the first brick of film I shot in Europe-the cannister is now filled with pebbles from the beach at Dover. While I was shooting the "white cliffs of Dover," I happened to finish off my first brick of film and I saved the tank, filling it with pebbles from where I was standing at the time I spent the brick. It now occupies a prestigious post on my desk, right next to my Cafe du Monde coffee mug (it too kept for personal symbolic reasons, though it's much closer looking to a a typical souvenir-I use it as a pencil cup.)

2. My camera gear

I'm not one to, ok, I admit it, I *never* talk about my camera gear. I'm sort of an "anti-gadget head." Even so, occupational hazard-I have, over time, built up a bit of a stash. In no particular order, I shoot:

A Hasselblad 501cm with an 80 mm lens,
a Nikon FE, a Nikon FE2, a Nikon FM, with the following lenses: 100mm macro, 50 mm macro, 55 mm 70-250 mm zoom, plus more.
7 Holgas (this number varies) 4 Dianas, 1 Roscoe, 1 Karen
1 Canon digital rebel 300D
1 Canon digital rebel Xt 350 D (main rig as of late)
For the Canons: a 105 mm macro lens, several 18-55 mm "kit" lenses, a Tamron 11-24 mm wide-angle lens, 2 lensbabies (original and "3G") and now a "pinhole-rigged" body cap
At least 3 Polaroid land cameras including 1 capable of shooting SX70 film

(That's just off the top of my head, there could be more.)

3. These days, I'm not wearing a watch. It changes. If I'm about to do some pinhole or long exposure work, that will change it.

4. I hate flash photography. It's true-I cannot effectively use flash and I hate the way it looks. I use "proper" studio lighting or natural light all the time.

5. Hang Ups

You already know about my EXIF data hang up, as well the fact that I get really, really grossed out (to the point of hurling) when I see somebody use the bathroom and not wash up afterwards.

Maybe one you didn't know is that I hate being fed. I don't mind people cooking for me but I really can't stand it when people sort of "attack" with me with a spoon and try to physically put food into my mouth. (I have to hold the spoon.) I get kind of uncomfortable when people watch me eat in general. This might explain why I like take out so much and why I always prefer to sit in the corner at restaurants.

6. Food related

Speaking of food, you already know that I love olives, celery, and pasta. I drink both coffee and tea (coffee in the morning and I'm especially fond of tea when I travel-I always have tea at 2 am when I land in some odd spot.) I hate Brussels sprouts (by "hate" I actually mean "despise with every fiber of my very being and will never, ever, eat again. Damned satanic shrunken pissy tasting cabbages.")

What you maybe didn't know: I once went for more than one month without eating anything at all. It's true. No solid food of any kind-I lived off of skim milk and orange juice (for more than 1 month!)

7. I hate telephones

Not just mobile phones that go off in movies and other odd places, all phones all the time. I find it to be too intrusive and prefer email or more personal contact.

The 7 lucky/unlucky folks will be tagged and I'll do a follow-on to this posting to let you know who they are.

Until next time...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tranquility My Behind

PinkLilyPads, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Ok, so I just had a nice four day break. A vacation. I'm supposed to be all happy, well-rested, well-fed, and blissful. I'm supposed to log on and tell you all about the great food I ate, the great progress I've made in cleaning up my house, all the sleep I've gotten. Maybe I could respond to the tagging post that's going on and tell you "7 Interesting facts about Carol" because, you know, I just have so much ENERGY after all this restfullness. I'm just full and beaming with fresh blogger content-filled with "blogger fodder" up to my eyeballs-which, as you know, aren't soggy or dark today, on account of the fact that I'm so well-rested. I've slept, I've eaten, I'm full, I'm not cold, I've taken tons of interesting pictures.

All I can say is "yeah right. Bite me."

I couldn't get to sleep last night. I've been having nightmares again and found myself awake at 3 am staring at the ceiling yet again. I ate some leftover frozen pizza-like sludge becuase it was too cold for me to go to the market. It was like 38 degrees all weekend and I don't even have a winter coat yet. Damn it! (Where's the tranquility in that? There's no tranquility in freezing your ass off, let me tell you, snowflakes.) I'm hungry, I'm cold, I can't sleep, I can't take a damn picture to save my life, what the hell is going on? On top of all of that, I've got to "post once a day for a month" because there's a charity depending on this.

HEEEllllpppp Meeeee. I'm so screwed and nobody's left a twenty on my bedside table.

I was going to log on and tell you "7 things about me." Then I was thinking about talking about this freaking hilarious show I saw on BBC America called "Top Gear" (really, really funny. This is a "must blog" if I ever saw one-think "we made a stretch limo out of a fiat" and, well, that's where it starts.) I could yap on and on again about the damned cooking shows or talk about Charlie's full-contact egg-making shenanigans. Crap, even Nicolas Cage has made another appearance (talk about low-hanging fruit!) It's like the whole damned universe is just sitting there baiting me to blog and I still don't have anything to say. I'd call it "wrtier's block" except that, well, I don't really write now, do I? And I'm too freaking tired to think of a new word that describes it better than that ("blogger's block" maybe?)

Well, I will say this much (heh-don't hold your breath.) A certain anonymous donor has agreed to make a LARGE charitable contribution to a certain women's shelter that I support if I can make this damned NaBloPoMo contest and ride it out until the end of the month. If I can post just four freaking more times, a lot of women (and children actually) will get food, shelter, help, and support in ending the cycle of abuse.

If that's not a good reason to post, despite the worst case of "blogger's block" I've ever had, well, crap, I don't know what is. Just be glad I don't need to boil another freaking egg because, you know, cooking shows be damned, I could very well re-name this entire blog "raging kitchen fires and raw eggs" at this point in time.

If I had enough energy to name anything at all, that is.

Until next "oh crap, isn't this thing over yet?"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Almost but not quite

AlmostRedLeaf, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is an "almost" red leaf from our "almost" autumn-autumn that's quickly becoming "almost winter" actually. Speaking of all things "almost" this might be as good a time as any to tell you about the first time I "almost" ate at Z.

One of the many photo groups to which I belong (but seldom participate!) is a group of hoodlums known as the Austin Fine Art Photography Group (I came up with the name actually-"thugs with cameras" was already taken.) This wonderful (sure, if you don't work in law enforcement) group likes to go out and photograph small Texas towns. Sometimes, we photograph bigger Texas towns such as, well, such as Austin itself. One of the more popular parts of town we photograph is the area surrounding 6th and Blanco. It's so popular, in fact, that we've come to call it, well, "6th and Blanco" (for short!)

The area is actually part of an older section of town the locals call "Clarksville." Former Governor Anne Richards used to live there (on several photo excursions we actually waved at her as she tooted her horn and waved back.) There's a bakery, a liquor store, a few art galleries, an antiques place, and, of coure, the now famed Z Tejas Restaurant, with it's familiar patio out front and "million man steps" marching up through it which lead you (presumably) to the front door.

Picture this. We gather en masse on Sunday morning, zero-in at approximately 5 am local (zulu) time and invade the 'hood. About 20 of us, tripods in tow, camera sacks, vests, empty film canisters flying about, zoom lenses zipping along, the photographic works-it all went down at 6th and Blanco that Sunday morning starting at sunrise.

Tradition held that, after a "long" day of shooting (from about 5 am until noon or when the light got blasted, whichever came first) we'd go drinking but oh-so-cleverly disguise this as "brunch." So, there we were, 6th and Blanco glowing in the morning sunlight, empty film canisters piling up like red leaves in autumn (HA!) and we start to get hungry (ok, maybe thirsty would be a better word.) We decide to land it at the Z. Take a break, grab some grub, stash a meal, you get the idea. So, we hike the 100 (actually 12 odd so) steps up to the door of Z and ask to be seated.

"How many are you?" the waitress asks.

"Oh, about 40 if you count tripod legs." Ha ha, jokes on us, as we eventually get a table, plunk our tired (shot off!) butts down, and start to browse the menu. We stash the camera gear at one "seat" on the table and start to catch up. Mind you, we're a group that's really good at "catching up." Some of us go for years without actually talking to each other (you already know about my penchant for attending meetings) so it takes a while for us to get re-acquainted. We start to talk, share stores, yap about the latest in lenses or upcoming shows, and yada yada. Little did we know there was big trouble brewing in the little Z.

The patio at the Z, you see, seats a bunch of people, typically in smaller tables. This time though, for some long since forgotten reason, the wait staff decided to move a horde of smaller tables together to make one bigger table, suitable for the photo masses that had invaded early this Sunday morning. What seemed like a good idea at the time, actually left a giant combined table right in the middle of two different sections for the wait staff and so, snowflakes, that's where the trouble began. Each waiter, you see, thought we were being served by another, and they all left us sort of "hanging out" in the middle.

And so, there we sat. We yapped, we sipped water (somebody, somehow screwed up and brought us some water) we talked about the weather, we gabbed about the latest in zoom lenses, we heard about somebody's trip to the Tetons, we talked about what we shot that morning. We did everything, it seemed, except for this pesky thing called "eat" (which, now we know, you're actually supposed to do at restaurant. Go figure.) About an hour or two went by before someone on the wait stuff (presumably the maitre'd but you know, it might have just been another wise cracking waitress) asked if we'd paid our tab yet.

"Oh no," we said, "we haven't even eaten yet....did anybody even take our orders yet?"

Well, it was like we just informed the host that bell bottoms were coming back in style. The shock, the horror, the tips they had passed up. Oh the humanity! To make up for this culinary travesty, they offered up free drinks.

Here's a tip for all you cursing British chefs in the making, if you ever (and I do mean ever) want to rid your, ahem, "fine" dining establishment of a large crowd of rowdy people do not, under any circumstances, give them alcohol. (It just has "bad idea" but "cold beer" written all over it now, doesn't it?) In fact, I'd go so far as to say, if our butts weren't firmly planted before the free booze came along, well, you can surely imagine how they weren't going anywhere at this point in time now, can't you?

So, the booze starts flowing, the conversation picks up again, the zoom lenses get compared, the trip reports get tallied, and the food never shows up. Another hour or two goes by but, like, we don't really care because we're drinking now. (Horray booze!) We hear, "oh, your food will be out soon now" a few times and learn to say, "thank you" knowing full well and free booze that we hadn't even ordered anything to eat yet.

After about four hours we gave up and went to Charlie's house for "3 minute omelettes." (What, pray tell, is a "3 minute omelette?" you might ask. And that would be a good question, saving the fact that my answer shall be, "a blog for another day." Be on the lookout for the 3 minute AKA "full contact" omelette blog posting, coming to a Carol's Little World near you.) Hey, don't blame me for "almost" eating at the Z. I had to give up, go, and get some kind of food in me. You know, I had to have something to wash down all of that free booze with.

Funny thing about that day too, I didn't bring enough cash with me to eat (or so I thought.) I was going to bum a lunch off of somebody else, since I forgot to go to the ATM. Turns out I got pretty far on the "nothing but lint" in my pockets afterall. I guess, in hindsight, we only made it up to "Y" that day (But then, you know, that's a letter we're all too familiar with here at Carol's Little World.)

Until next time...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

3:57 am

FenceHouseAndTrees, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

That's my house, there, on the right.

Speaking of houses, while browsing tags in Flickr the other day, I happened upon some photos of Maxfield's. Talk about bringing back ghosts and old memories. What a trip.

In Potsdam, I spent one summer living above this bar, Maxfield's. Maxfield's was one of those chichi bars-you know the type, with potted palm trees, wicker furniture on the patio, and couches strewn about the place. Needles to say, when I was a broke and drunk college student, I couldn't afford to drink there.

Even though I could not afford to drink there, my roommate and I used to pass out mere feet from the trendy chic front door of this fancy joint when we got home too drunk to make the flight up to our apartment (I always preferred the fourth step while my roommate liked the second. Go figure.) Even with all the memories (or not) of passing out on the steps, I do (somehow) remember the one time we did drink there.

5:59 pm Friday evening-"Hey, I'm home. I got out of class today and..."

"Oh my God, we should go drinking. I met a guy who works downstairs who said he'd give us some free drinks. Oh my God, Oh my God, we could go drink at Maxfield's. Let's go."

6:15 pm Carol sits in fancy wicker chair, partially obscured by potted palm tree, and orders a daiquiri. "I can make your drinks with a splash of tequila if you'd like," the waiter asks. Newsflash: Carol never met a splash of tequila she didn't like.

7:15 pm Waiter suggests we try an appetizer and gives us some snacks. Carol asks if plants are real.

8:30 pm Cute guy walks into bar.

8:38 pm Cute guy sits down next to Carol and roommate. Carol tries to subtlety touch plant to see if it's real while pretending to charm cute guy into buying more drinks she cannot afford.

8:49 pm Cute guy joins Carol and roommate for "drinks" ends up eating all (or most) of appetizers.

9:30 pm Cute guy suggests we "do shots."

9:45 pm Waiter informs us kitchen is closed. (No more appetizers but shots keep flowing.)

10:15 pm Cute guy passes out in palm tree. (Presumably, he knows it's fake.)

11:17 pm Second cute guy shows up. Asks, "is he with you?" Spots two girls and sits down anyway. Carol informs him, "I've never seen him before in my life, though I did think he was kind of cute before he passed out and all...Hey, by the you think these plants are real?"

11:39 pm Second cute guy orders girls more daiquiri drinks.

2:00 am Barkeep calls "last call."

2:15 am Carol tries to get up. Sudden interest in all things "vertical" leaves Carol wobbly.

2:17 am Carol pukes in "potted palms" (so much for the "nice decor") Carol manages to (somehow!) avoid puking on cute guy #1's (now passed out) face.

2:45 am Cute guy #2 offers to "take us home." We forget where we live and meander off in wrong direction yet again.

3:57 am Carol wakes up and looks at watch. Says to roommate, "Damn it...It's four o'clock in the morning. WAKE UP. We got drunk and passed out on the stairs again..."

The morale of this story: Never ever ever rent an apartment that's one flight up.

Until next time...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wild In the 'Hood

Suburbs, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

The pinhole has arrived! The pinhole has arrived! Yay. This is the first off the pinhole. What fun this promises to be. I can hardly wait to experiment with the pinhole more (if it weren't so cold today, I'd still be out there with it, believe me.)

Speaking of pinhole, lensbaby, wildly out-of-focus, and the like, I was contacted by the good folks who make the lensbabies the other day, asking me how I felt about their product.

I love my lensbaby. I love the soft focus, tilt-shift like springy-ness of it's plastic bellows. I love the soft feminine look of the lensbaby shots. The only reason I don't use my 3G more is because I usually stick to my original.

I have a lot of photographer friends. Some of them shoot stuff that looks like mine, others, well, let's just say they shoot more "traditional" type of work. They make fun of me for being all out-of-focus and soft. They make fun of me for not using autofocus. They make fun of my lensbaby. I don't care. (Really, I don't.) I've been a photographer for a long time. I know where the auto-focus button is on my camera. Been there, did that, got bored with it. Tools like the lensbaby (and now the pinhole) allow me to express myself better. Anybody with a half-way decent camera can take a picture that's in focus. Let's see what you can do when you throw it out. Let's see how you can make stuff abstract. Let's see some "you" and not just what the camera dials found while out in the field today.

In a way, I really hate the lensbaby. If a picture comes out "bad" with my lensbaby, well, it's my fault. I can't take the "easy" way out and blame the "damned auto-focus" for not going off or the flash for not firing. The lensbaby is all me-I'm in the sqeeeze, right in the middle of it and, if it sucks, well, that's all me too. It's easy sometimes to make excuses, it's hard to make expressive, fun images-that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. It's hard to look past the ordinary, to "embrace the blur" as they say, but when we do it, and it comes out right, it's fantastic. Wouldn't you rather have "fantastic" over "ordinary" any time?

So, yeah, my friends can make fun of me all they want. I'm happy with my soft, out-of-focus fun stuff. It's more fun for me and I think it's way more expressive. It's what I want to do and where I want to be right now with my work. Someday, maybe, back to f16 crispy sharp focused work but, for now, it's "embrace the blur" full tilt (excuse the pun) ahead.

Of course, I'm still really scared of somebody going out and making a horror movie with that damned lensbaby "film" lens. That sounds downright horrific and I can't say I wouldn't run from that. (There's fun and then there's, "Holy Crap, Batman-look at that..." right?) I mean, could you imagine that thing in the hands of somebody like Rob Zombie?

Oh the horror of that blur!

Until next time...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mount Stuffing

MountStuffingv2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Adventurous day today-I went out and climbed Mount Stuffing. Got all the way to the top and let out one big BURP. Ah, it's good to be full. (Just think of it this way, if this really were "food porn" this would be the equivalent of something like double D cups and a skimpy thong. Think cornbread penthouse.)

In other, ahem, more "active" news, I sacked out on the couch most of the day but did manage to catch the parade this morning. It's something like 61 in New York City, while it's been a balmy 55 here in Texas. So cold, we've had to bundle up which, as you know, really sucks for me, seeing as I don't yet quite have a suitable winter coat and all. (It sucks to not have a winter coat, sure, but it doesn't suck nearly as quickly as I did to that stuffing. Yum yum.)

Oh and, since this is the day we're all giving thanks and yada yada, I would like to officially give thanks for my family, my health, my wonderful puppy, some great food, my house, my friends, my car, all the fun stuff I get to do, my blog, my photography, my snowflakes (this means you. *Waves*) and a host of other things that keep Carol's Little World filled with so much more than just "stuffing" (though, the stuffing was really good, mind you.)

Seriously though, I know so many people who would give their right arms to be able to take pictures, write, blog, and travel half as much as I do. For all of these things, and more, I give thanks.


Until next time...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Needy Carol-Please Send Vodka

LeafAbstract, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

You've already heard me yap away about things I need to do this month. Well, since there are kind people out there in the world (or so I've been told-I'm not actually one of them, you see) I thought I'd gripe about things I just need.

There's an old Warren Zevon song that goes, "Send lawyers, guns, and money" and I think that's probably a good start right there. You can never have too many lawyers, guns, or money on your side (Note: they must be on "team Carol" least we be totally screwed. "I plead the fifth!" Sorry, practicing there, just in case.)

The other day, I happened upon this website called "Please Send Vodka" and I immediately thought "been there, done that, have the T-shirt to prove it" (remember the T-shirts from NOLA: "got bourbon faced on shit street?") So, yeah, more vodka would be a good thing.

Speaking of T-shirts, I never did quite explain the weird rash of T-shirts that showed up at my door one summer. The "I use film!" people disavow any knowledge of my existence but, somehow, the T-shirt made it into the "tangible spam" category. Free T-shirts are always nice, even if the only film I use these days is of the expired Polaroid variety. (And, yes, if you insist, you'll get a rather fine, though completely "snarky" plug on Carol's Little World for any T-shirts you provide. Provided, that is, I know who you actually are, as opposed to the wild, free roaming clandestine "I Use Film!" T-shirt spreaders, who shall remain completely anonymous, at least until they tell me who they are.)

Any cookbooks would be welcome, especially ones that start with basic stuff like "how to boil an egg" without calling for help from the fire department or frantically googling "raging kitchen fires and raw eggs." Compact Flash is direly needed yet hunted to near extinction but you knew that already. I could also really use a clean blender and a fresh lime because, you know, I have to cook tomorrow.

An infrared capable digital Rebel would be a blast but, truth be told, if the "camera fairy" is feeling generous, I'd rather have a new XTi (I can convert the existing XT to infrared myself given a good supply of duct tape and a fine-ended screwdriver.)

A Nicolas Cage free TiVo without a murder or a cooking show would be orgasmic but a DVD player might be kind of nice too. I really want (or need actually) a warm winter coat.

And, finally, if you really, really want to help a poor blogger out, leave some comment droppings or shoot me an email detailing what I should yap about next. I could always use some fresh, juicy conversation.

It goes really well with that vodka you promised me.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Art of Being Female

ShoesV2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I got new shoes today! I didn't just go out and get a new pair of shoes, I organized an entire caravan of women (who else would blow off work to go and get shoes?) from work-we went to Nordstroms, shoe shopping at lunchtime.

Ok, I admit it. I'm really a tomboy about certain things. I can explain how an internal combustion engine works, I know which end of a soldering iron to hold, and I have been known to play some rocking electric guitar. I'm not all "girly girl" in a lot of ways, but there's one particular (maybe two-if you count my irrational fear of insects) way I'm very feminine. I LOVE shoes.

Shoes, shoes, shoes, gloriuos SHOES.

History will prove Imelda Marcos right-it's all about the shoes.

Oh, and I made Alex help me pick out these supercool black boots wtih like buckles all over them and stuff because, sure clogs are comfortable (I pratically live in them) but, hey, a girl's got to have some funky ass boots too, right?

Ewww-weeee, I got me some funky ass boots, some spiffy new comfy clogs, and I got back in time to nuke some mac and cheese so I could actually eat for a change. I feel so empowered-like my own little "woman's movement" all rolled into one giant "lady who lives in a shoe" package.

Until next time...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oh, I'm Positive-Positively NOT

CreamSicleKoi, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

How do you shoot koi? Somebody posted this in an on-line forum, asking how, exactly, one should go about photographing koi fish. I believe my response was something along the lines of "not very easily." (They are tough little buggers to trap down believe me.) Other answers were more flippant-"in a barrel with a shotgun" was a popular response, along with "use a polarizer." (That last one is actually sound advice for you photographers out there-so sound, in fact, I may have to just go out and pick myself up a polarizer before I go back to the koi breeders. They really do work.)

But, speaking of "shotguns" and the like, Chricel also sent me a link to James Nachtwey. While I love his work, and admire his stance, ("I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.") there's just something about war photography that really bugs me.

Call me crazy, maybe I'm just getting too old for all of this but, any hobby (or job) that requires me to not only wear a flak jacket and a helmet, but one that requires that I stamp my blood type on a label on my helmet is just not something I want to do. I mean, it's bad enough when I have to wear a helmet but you want me to stamp "O Positive" right on the damned thing so that, in case I should happen to need a "sudden" tranfusion, you're prepared? Holy Crap, Batman! Call me a sissy, call me a chicken, do a funky dance around my kitchen while flapping your arms all the while poking fun at me, I don't really care. I like my bodily fluids on the INSIDE, ok? Especially the ones that, like, I'm not quite done with yet. Down, boy! You can't have my life blood. I'm not quite willing to share. (I'm ok with a job where I maybe have to pee every once in a while and you're more than welcome to that snot rag after I blow my nose, but blood? No way! It's mine and I intend to keep it.)

Anytime I have to hide in a flak jacket, a blood type-labeled helmet, behind some good, old fashioned concertina wire, hiding, hoping nobody shoots back is not a job I want to volunteer for, ok? In fact, I'd go so far as to say, "you can't pay me enough to do that." Call me a wimp but, at that point, for a hobby, I'd rather take up knitting.

Sure, don't get me wrong, his pictures are great, and they are worth looking at, and they certainly aren't worth repeating but I'm just not willing to go there. Maybe that makes me extra happy that somebody else is? Maybe I can appreciate them all that much more because I know (a little) of what's involved there. Maybe it's just adrenaline and that rush just hasn't hit me yet. Maybe, if placed in the same situation, I would just dive in and take the same kind of shots (I suspect I would actually) but we'll never know for sure because, as you know, bodily fluids *inside,* thank you.

That full-contact knitting is starting to look oh-so compelling, isn't it?

Until next time...

Sunday, November 18, 2007


TwoTreesDriveBySepia, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is my photo Friday entry for travel. Maybe not quite what you were expecting but this shot was actually taken while driving. It's one of those "60 miles per hour" shots (well, ok, maybe we were just doing 40 'round those curvy mountain roads in South Kona) I sometimes get to take when I'm in the backseat of the car. Insert "Carol was in the backseat of a car" joke here and Voila! my life is complete.

Speaking of all things related to "travel," this weekend I didn't have to "travel" very far to the water gardens. Expect an upload of gargoyles and grotesques to start anytime now. Ah yes, gargoyles. For statues make of stone with ugly faces, you must admit, they really do get around.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 17, 2007


ApproachingAutumn, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Saturday. Wake up late, take dog for a walk. Car almost out of gas. Run to station, fill up. Get groceries, get back late. Too many frozen dinners to fit in freezer. Skip lunch. Notice light is really good. Want to go shooting. Grab camera. Can't find battery. Frantically call Kathy. She's not home. Leave garbled message on machine. Go shooting anyway.

Shooting. Finishing off 4G compact flash. Went to water gardens expecting to see flowers. Saw lots of gargoyles, chimeras, and other grotesques. Ack! Not what was expected but meaning to shoot anyway. Interesting ugly faces. Play with the grimace.

Not good shooting. Uninspired. Still looking for red leaf. About to give up but not yet. Bad day at water garden still better than good day at work. Finish shooting. Out of Compact Flash yet again. No good shots this time. No good shots, no Compact Flash. Damn. Life hurts.

Get home. Put dog out. Go for pizza at Carmine's in Hutto. Good food. Football game on TV. Boring. Pizza good. Yum. Full now.

Back home again. Unboop TiVo. More cooking shows. More Gordon Ramsay. Watch five minues of TV. Realize English lakes are too pretty. Really want pinhole camera now. Ordered pinhole camera but not here yet. Damn. Really wanting pinhole camera. TV show goes to Wales. Damn. Where is pinhole camera? How do I get to Wales? Damn. Must turn off TV. Restaurant in Wales can serve bad food. Fine with me.

Look at clock. Crap. It's getting late. Must blog. In contest. Really hate contest now. Try to upload compact flash. Slow. Watch little status bar hardly move. Seems unfair, shots were bad.

Shots really bad. Ick. Nothing here but a few ugly faces. Start uploading anyway. Still must blog. Still no red leaf. Still Saturday.

Play in Utata. Start typing up blog. Really want some green tea and bed. Never took nap today. Damn. Really want nap.

Blog's done, time for nap now. Maybe tomorrow brings nouns back again. No interesting subjects today.

Until next time...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Get Real

TyandPowerTools, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Breaking news on the reality TV front. It seems that Trading Spaces is going to bring back Paige Davis. (This is one of my shots of Ty Pennington taken on set when they were filming in Austin.) The producers of Hell's Kitchen, A. Smith and Company, have replaced Banyan as producers for the show and they intend to make the show more "heartwarming" (their words, not mine) by bringing back the old designers Doug, Hildi, Laurie, and Frank.

I can't help but wonder, since the folks who bring us Hell's Kitchen, are behind this, is Paige now going to turn into a cursing British host. I can almost hear it now, "Oh Bloody Hell, Hildi, you've gone and painted the f***ing room yellow again!?!"

Still, you must admit, "Bloody Hell Hildi" has a nice ring to it, especially given what she's been known to do to poor, unsuspecting wallpaper and all. I mean, if the British swear word fits...

In other "no this isn't Hollywood but we do produce a lame ass TV show here every once in a while" news it seems the folks who brought you the original have now taken it "big screen." Yes, snowflakes, I'm happy (ok, maybe "crazed" would be a better word) to report that those makers of that plastic fantastic lens we all love to hate-baby, it's the lensbaby-have started making lenses for movie cameras. I'd say, "oh the horror," but it's so blurry I can't quite make out 'horror' from 'comedy' so I'll just have to leave it at that.

Maybe, in a twisted nightmare come to life, Nicolas Cage can direct his next movie with a lensbaby lens and get that cursing British chef to cater his Oscar party. Meanwhile, I'll be in the institution, happily watching Paige Davis glue feathers to a wall while tied up in a straitjacket muttering things like, "I used to be normal before these people invaded. Do you remember what it was like in the days before the war?" to some strange insane man knitting a sweater that isn't really there.

But then, you know, reality bites.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mr. Oven's Got me Crazy from the Heat

CookiesNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Oh, ok, I admit it. One of the "dirty little secrets" you don't know about me is that, even though I'm not the world's best cook (by far!) I'm frantic in the kitchen. I start running around, banging pots and pans, frantically hurling stuff about the place. I get really worked up over little things, you know, like, "Oh my God! That water's about to BOIL..." (as if. I've got it sitting in a hot pot on the stove, over a fire-what else should I expect it to do?) I run around with flailing limbs and flying spoons. I scare the dog-he runs and hides under the couch sometimes-when he's not busy begging for food or scrounging underneath me hoping something tasty drops becuase, well, as you know, I've got bad aim and often miss when I hurl stuff around the place. The phone rings, the laundry finishes, the Compact Flash upload goes "beep beep" (Yes, believe it or not I do sometimes upload the stuff. Sometimes, that is, when I'm not busy running out) another pot lid crashes into the sink. It's all part of my daily routine.

With all that I do, cooking is just too stressful. I do somehow (magically) like to bake though. Maybe because dessert is a reward, maybe because cocoa is addictive, or maybe because baking reminds me just a bit of painting (which toally relaxes me and is something I can do) I actually like to bake. I don't know what (or why) it is but cooking = frantic while baking = relaxing.

Of course, we're coming up on Thanksgiving and I have to bake (a lot) and I'm dreading it. I'm starting to feel like soon I will be reduced to nothing more than my oven's be-atche, and I hate that, I really, really do. I don't hate it as much as cooking but, still, you know (Of course, being a complicated kitchen wench that I am, I also have been getting this strange craving for snickerdoodles-go figure.)

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, at the start of this "baking season" all I can really say is: Please, for the love of God, money, and great American muscle cars built before 1973, go easy on me, Mr. Oven. I don't deserve your wrath yet again this year now, do I?

Snickerdoodle, anyone?

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Balanced on the Head of a Pin

SoftRedFingers, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Those of you who know me (all three of you. *Waves*) know that, lately anyway, I've been on a specific photographic "kick." For the past year or two (ok, maybe three or four actually, I can't recall) I've been doing these sort of soft, feminine, willowy types of images. Nothing hard, no hard corners, everything sort of rounded and full of grace. In part, maybe because of the lensbaby, everything's been slightly off focus, intentionally soft, with a decided feminine twist. Ok, I admit it, I've been taking "girly girl" photos for a while now.

An interesting thing about this type of work though, is that, if you look back at "photographic history" (even mine) as it were, you'd find that one of my biggest influences is Mapplethorpe. While he wasn't quite "soft and feminine" he did have a certain softness to his work and he had that exquisite light going on. Even though I feel as if I've been copying him all this time, I really haven't-it's not quite the same "vibe" (if you'll excuse the random 60's word intrusion.) Uta Barth? Sure, she's been a huge influence too but she's more abstract minimal. Elements of that sneak in (at time, more "sneaky" than others) but that's not quite "it" either. It's not quite Michael Kenna, Joyce Tenneson, or any of my other multiple influences either. Sure, they all make "casual" appearances but nothing's quite "it" (as it were.)

So, by now you might be wondering, if it's not Robert and it's not Uta, and it's not Kenna and it's not any of my direct influences...who is it then? I've thought about this too and the answer might very well surprise you.

My entire "photographic career" as of late has been approximating pinhole photography. Yes, you read that right. It's all about the pinhole. I'm actually trying to get "that look" using the lensbaby, desaturating (or working in sepia) softening, focusing, using blur, it's all part of the trademark pinhole look.

I recently saw some absolutely stunning pinhole photographs taken along the shore in Britain. It was so beautiful, it left me speechless. Stunning really, so evocative and dreamy, like entering into another world.

Then, a few weeks later, somebody posted some directions in an on-line forum that I read regularly something about "how to make your own pinhole." I remembered that I had seen some "home-made pinhole" type equipment that works with digital cameras for sale at another popular on-line "photo hovel" (where would we be without these places?) This got me to thinking...Isn't it about time I did some digital pinhole work? Isn't it about time I ordered the $30 in equipment that I need to do this, plunked my butt down, and actually started doing it? Why continue faking it when I can become "the real deal?" Wouldn't late autumn and the bare trees and barren landscapes of early winter make a great time to try some pinhole photography? (Ok, I really want to go to the English lake district but I still think I could do some really interesting stuff right in my own backyard with this.)

And so, Carol's off and another new photographic experiment is born. This time though, I think it's really going to stick because, in some odd way, I've been unknowingly working up to it all along.

No "until next time" rather "wish me luck...." today

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Go with Grapes

GrapesNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

And the grapes have it. Yes, my snowflakes, the annual "big project" was decided last night. Really to nobody's surprise, we've selected to do a study on wine-making in Texas (hiccup!) Somehow, I knew, I just knew the booze would win out over the other "more serious" topics.

Just so you don't think we're "all fluff and no stuff," the true crime topic was very popular, so popular in fact, that I'm not dropping it. I'm going to organize a "mini-project" (which just might end up being a website rather than a formal gallery opening and the like) centering around true crime in Texas. I really want to do this project, actually, I've been itching to do it for a while, and this will provide me with an excuse to get back into doing some "serious" type of work.

I'm actually somewhat glad we didn't select the true crime as our "big project" though because, while it would have been a "supercool" project to complete, finding gallery space for that type of show could have been damn near impossible. It's not the sort of "pretty" show you can stuff into a gallery that wants to move tons of bluebonnet photos nor is it really the type of show that would go over in a restaurant or other more informal setting. (I don't see "Corpses: Coming soon to a Barnes and Noble near you" in our future anytime soon now, do you?) Even so, it's a cool project and so I'm very happy it didn't get dropped entirely. (And a bit surprised, frankly, that so many people went for it.)

It's always hard selecting projects. At first it seems like you've no clue as to where to even begin, then you get inundated with ideas and overwhelmed with selections. After that you've got to decide and you feel as if you can't seem to narrow it down to just one. And, you know, you just know, some of the "leftovers" would have made for really cool projects on their own. What a relief when it's finally down to just one.

Now that we have some proper direction, it's time to think about making the project come together. I anticipate a few field trips, a bunch of still life setups featuring local wines, and maybe some "wine tasting crawls" to go along with it. I can hardly wait for spring when things start blooming again though, I'm told, there's something going down year round in our local vintners.

Hiccup! Pass that bottle around, will you?

Until next time...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Quoting Kierkegaard

RedNeedlesFacingUp, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Have you ever mis-heard a song on the radio? You know, like gotten the lyrics wrong-thought that you heard one thing when, actually, the singer was yowling something else entirely?

The other day, I was driving, I had the radio on and, I swear, I heard the singer mumble the words, "quoting Kierkeggard." Wow. What deep lyrics, I thought, before I realized that I had made a mistake. There was no quoting Kierkegaard, there was no way a modern singer could be using the words "quoting Keirkegaard" in a pop song, instead, it was something entirely different. (The singer was actually serenading a girl he'd met on a trolley car.)

Even so, isn't "quoting Kierkegaard" a really cool lyric anyway? I mean, it's not everyday you hear someone say, "Excuse me, I have to go run home and quote Kierkegaard," or "pardon me, if you are done quoting Kierkegaard, I'd like to discuss the weather." Even with all the websites in the world almost taken up, I bet you could still go and register Wouldn't it be a good name for a band? (They could call themselves QK for short.)

For those who actually Google, Wiki, RSS, and research all that, here's an almost-applicable quote for NaBloPoMo (AKA "we are all bloggers now") Kierkegaard once said,

"I have never confided in anyone. By being an author I have in a sense made the public my confidant. But in respect of my relation to the public I must once again make posterity my confidant. The same people who are there to laugh at one cannot very well be made one's confidant."

Quoting Kierkegaard: at first I just thought it was some kind of mistake but now I realize, somehow, I just did.

Until next 19th century Danish philosopher overheard in a pop song...

PS Wouldn't Kierkegaard have made a great blogger? Don't you wish you could read his NaBloPoMo entries? I bet he'd even know how to spell it and his charity would be oh so happy.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


BusinessmanFeedsBirds, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Those birds, that poop, need I say more? No, this isn't another six word story blog (though I could.. You have been warned.) It's more Hitchcock-ian. Yes, yes, it's true, those birds really do scare the bejesus out of me.

Hitchcock was downright dangerous with film. Sure, anybody could show you somebody getting their head cut off but let's see you make an entire generation suddenly turn afraid of birds, showers, and windows. Danger like that? Now, that takes some serious skills.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Projects Up And Coming

OutInFront, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

One of the photo groups I belong to is soon to decide upon a "big project" for next year. The way the process works is that everybody makes suggestions, they round up the suggestions, and we (collectively) vote on the suggestions to pick a "winner."

Since I'm an active member of the group, I thought it fitting to make some suggestions this year. I came up with three ideas, and, since this is "yap and snap" month at the zoo (or, um, actually, "NaBloPoMo" in blogger-land) I thought it fitting that I would post some excerpts from the project suggestions here. In case, you know, any of you rise up, bolt away, and start doing photo projects on your own, well, you can borrow some of my ideas to get you started (or, um, not, as the case may be.)

My suggestions were three:
-Lights, Camera, Action-on location Texas style
-Stomp that Grape-Texas wine making
-True Crime-Photography at the scene of the crime

The first project involves shooting anything movie or TV-related in Texas. Austin is kind of lucky in that we get a lot of film crews coming through our little town (if you're clever and you search this blog carefully, you can read about my past "run in" with one once) and they actually film a TV show here (besides the Real World, they film Friday Night Lights in Pflugerville and Austin.) This project offers a lot of opportunity for both beginners and seasoned shooters alike, and allows for a variety of photographic styles. Photographers can do landscapes, set locations, architecture, old drive-in theaters, locations where movies are shooting (or have been shot, like the capitol building, which-honest, not making this up, had a "big" role in the Dolly Parton movie Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.) I think this is a great project and hope they vote for it (but I bet they won't.)

Second on my list is "Stomp that Grape" or an expose on wine making in Texas. If you read Carol's Little World regularly (or follow my work) you might know that I covered Hill Country wine-making in a recent article for the Utatan. (Linked here.) As part of that project, I got to go and visit Damian Mandola's wine-making estate outside of Austin (Mandola is famous for opening Johnny Carrabba's as well as a string of popular restaurants in Houston.) I hope we can continue this sort of coverage by selecting this project and I think it's going to be a favorite, thanks in part to the various wine tasting tours that go on in the wineries around the Hill Country. Nothing like gathering up a bunch of drunks to go out and take pictures now, right?

Lastly, is one suggestion that I'm sure will not go over very well but which fits into my blog quite nicely. True crime, or photography at the scene of the crime would be a project involving photographing crime scenes. Actual scenes where crimes were committeed, Texas law enforcement, candlelight vigils, and that sort of thing. This project would allow me to go and photograph the scene of the yogurt shop murders or any of the roadside crosses that dot our landscape (you can spot them while driving.) Not for the faint of heart, this would be a gritty, in-your-face kind of a project that would offer up the group some seriuos "street cred" as documentarians.

My best guess is, out of the three I have suggested, we're going to go with the booze but it's early yet and there are many suggestions pouring in (excuse the pun.) I'll keep you posted as to what we choose sometime after the votes have been counted.

Until next time...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Six: It's One More Than Five

MeetingBranches, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged in a gentleman's bet to produce a story, "in six words or less." Inspired by classified advertisements in his newspaper, he rose to the challenge ("For sale: baby shoes, never used") and the legend of the six word story was born. More recently, SMITH magazine challenged writers to come up with a six word memoir-detailing their entire lives in six words or less. And, so the legend of the six word story (or memoir) continues.

Most people fall into one of two lots: they can either write six word stories (and they can write them, and write them, and write them) or they just simply cannot fathom how you could fit any amount of literature into such a small package. "My life's bigger than six words!" they cry out, meanwhile the odd-ball, crafty terse folks sit in the back room and churn out more by the minute.

As you can probably guess, I fall into the camp of "writing them and writing them and writing them." I could live my entire life continually producing six word stories. And, since this is "blog a day or die" month, I thought it fitting to devote at least one post to the fabled "six word story" since, well, since I've got nothing else fantastic to yap about today. So, here goes...

Some memoir type six word stories include:
"I'm a photographer; go click this"
"I'm just in search of Doritos"
"Living in my own little world" (what? like that is a surprise? Oh crap, there is another one.)
"My brain: they say it's safe"
"Drive away mad/forgot French fries"
"My bubble hasn't quite popped yet"
"Day late, dollar short, perpetually pissed"
"Wisdom through experience has taught me..."
"My mind, circa nineteen seventy three."
"Always asking questions, never finding answers."
"Lived until I died, now what?"
"For sale: crazy mind. Rarely used." (Sorry, that one's really just plagiarism)
"On the whole, this isn't Philadelphia." (Same as above, only different author)
"Insanity: there when you need it."
"Never quite getting what you want"
"Love is another four letter word."
"Dead flowers in my garden again?"
"Ace of hearts, queen of denial."
"Nuts: not just for breakfast anymore."
"Not another blog/Oh the humanity"
"She yaps, she snaps, she blogs."
"Been there, seen that, blogged again."

Some stories inspired by my Tivo:
"Nicolas Cage: Tivo's all booped up"
"Models that thin should be shot."
"Screaming cooks: TiVo has them all"
"Nicolas Cage: Hero, villain, TiVo man"
"F***ing Gordon f***ing Ramsay, on again?"
"Good thing you can't smell it."
"Too many cooks, not enough kitchen."
"My Tivo: It just does things"
"I'd laugh but it's not funny."
"Tivo: Hijacks TV, makes you cry."
"Not another flipping cooking show again."
"I'd cry but you already did."

It just keeps getting better now:
"Flickr blogger, now I tell all."
"From where I sit, you're funny."
"Lost socks, found lint, not fair"
"Do I look like a wiki?"
"Oh the humanity! I'm helplessly addicted."
"Just another RSS feed run amok"
"Traveled there, took shots, posting now."
"Carol: Always needs more Compact Flash"
"Not enough compact flash in the...."
"Not enough compact flash going around"
"My camera, my eyes, my pen."
"Carol's Little World: now with pictures"

"Seven? Damn! Can't quite count again."

"Somebody please shut it off now."

Until next time I blog again...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Red Leaf Day

TurningAutumn, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This woman I work with, Alex, has recently purchased a new camera. She's started to take photography classes and she's really getting intio it. Today, I saw Alex in the hallway and told her how I had really wanted to go outside. "To find a red leaf," I told her.

"A red leaf?" she asked.

"You know, because it's autumn and all. I want to find a red leaf. Just one freak red leaf before it gets cold or windy and all the leaves blow off of all the trees and then we have nothing to do but sit around this joint wearing heavy sweaters wondering why we didn't photograph the red leaves when we had them."

"Ah," she said, "a red leaf." So, sometime around lunchtime, we went outside in search of a red leaf.

It's actually shaping up to be autumn here in Texas. It's fall. It's the time leaves are supposed to be turning red. I think because I want to see them, I want to photograph just one freaking red, freaking leaf, they are taking their sweet time about it. They have sort of started to turn-there's an odd orange here, a bright yellow there, but, really, not quite the "red, red, red, I'm RED" I was hoping for (yet!)

Still, going outside, on a sunny day, for 10 minutes with a camera and coming back with some cool botanical studies beats the hell out of "real" work (or eating a horrid frozen lunch at my desk alone) anyday, right?

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Things I Need to Do

OxfiordRotunda, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is the round library at Oxford University. It's a manipulated Polaroid I took when I was there for a visit.

While I was visiting the campus, my tour guide told me how they eat "square meals" there. Not just grains, proteins, veggies, and the like, rather they actually all pick the fork up at the same time and chow down in the same split second (kind of like the army.) After the tour, I met some of the students and we went out drinking. Very different from what I expected. I kind of thought kids who ate square meals at school would not drink, boy was I wrong (we got tanked but then, as you know, the Brits are famous for having peg legs.) I had so much fun there and now, seeing this, makes me realize that I really need to go back again, for another visit.

Other things I really need to do:

Start jogging again, get my floors finished (they came yesterday to measure, progress here, yes?) eat more collard greens, get a new pair of black shoes (no really. Mine fell apart. Blog for another day maybe) get outside and take some autumnal pictures (while the leaves are red) clean up my house, do more laundry, run the dishwasher (this one's more pressing. Anybody got a clean glass I can borrow? Like right now? I'm thirsty) finish more photographic projects, send out more portfolios, travel more, read more, learn how to cook, take care of my car, walk the dog, water the plants in the garden, get a winter coat (it's almost cold outside) clear off the TiVo, bake a cake (I love cake) design a new website, rent a good movie...

Gosh, if I actually did any of that, I might not have time left to blog. Aren't you glad I'm lazy? (Nevermind, don't answer that.)

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nobody Wants to Go to the Moon

FencePathTree, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

There's a new Kelly Willis song out with a line in it, "nobody wants to go to the moon anymore." It's true if you think about it. Nobody wants to go to the moon-everybody's trying to get to mars or some other more "hip," more happening, more "now" planet in the galaxy. Nobody sends postcards with stamps on them, nobody listens to records anymore, there are no more drive-in movie theaters, nobody eats at diners, heck nobody even likes to cook dinner anymore. Whe was the last time you heard somebody discussing a book they just read and not the internet? The list goes on.

If you look at the things we used to do, they really say a lot more about us then they do about the times. I mean, it takes a special kind of person to want to go to the moon, right? It takes a certain amount of imagination, a certain drive, and a crafty rocket ship to get up there. Mars is all about raw science but, the moon? That's almost within reach of a home made rocket these days. I could almost imagine a small child mixing parts in the backyard on a summer's day, trying to assemble that rocket ship-asking for Dad's help, using odd ingredients from Mom's kitchen-hoping to reach into the Heavens. These things just don't happen anymore-kids want to spend "quality time" indoors with video games.

Who would actually want to go to the moon when you can sit back, all comfortable in your media room, and let the moon come to you? Some may call me nostalgic but I claim I'm just not that lazy. I like a little more interaction in my entertainment. I like to touch, feel, see, and experience things with my own senses. I was one of those kids who wanted to go to the moon and now, as an adult, I look up at the Heavens and wonder what's taking us so long and how we got so distracted. Does anybody else ever stop to look at the stars at night anymore, or am I the only one left?

Then again, I never really did like video games.

Until next time...