Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Turn it Up


VolumnAndBridge, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is the "loudest" part of a guitar-the pickups and, of course, a volume knob, just in case you really wanted it to go to 11.

Actually, electric guitars are rather quiet. If you really want to make a ruckus, try playing an acoustic. (Hint: it's hollow and it resonates more. A lot more. That makes it louder.)

Now, give a man an amplifer and, my, how things change.

Until next strum...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Koi As Silk, Heads in Bags, Game Over, World Ends


KoiAsSilkNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is one from the recent garden trip.

And, speaking of "garden trips," it seems like I've been on one big "garden trip" as of late. I've started organizing the "Finding Eden" series, sure, but I'm also all about natural landscapes, overgrown "jungle looking" vistas, and the like. Maybe it's all the rain we've been having-everything is very lush, green, and almost overgrown, since it hasn't been too hot yet-but I'm really starting to get hooked on the garden stuff.

Last week, I got this really cool Buddha head at World Market. It was on sale but not too cheap. I think it was $24 or something. Still, I found myself really having to get it, so I splurged. It was really funny too because, with tax, it came to just over $25 and, when I went to pay for it, the lady told me that anything over $25 earned me a free tote bag. So, she gave me a tote bag, from World Market, and she started to wrap up the fab Buddha head, when I told her, if it would be easier, that we could just put the head in the tote bag. She made fun of me for leaving the store with "a head in a bag." (Actually, it was true. I walked out of World Market, in broad daylight, with a head in a bag.)

So, now that I have this really cool looking head, what I am doing? Gardens. I'm actually thinking about plunking the head down in some overgrown plants to photograph it there. I started thinking about putting it in some bamboo but that stuff is just pure evil. (It multiplies. Really, it does. And not in a good way. Can you say invasion, anyone?) At the end of the world, there will be roaches (eeew) and overgrown, garden invading bamboo plants. (I bet the plants even survive the microwave!)

But still, what's with me and all these gardens? Have I gone mad? Or maybe just green? Everything leafy this, botanical that, floral over here, koi pond in the garden there. It's nuts. I have a black thumb and I'm on-line "complaining" about bamboo. You know, I mean you just know, it's bad when I start gardening and yet, here I sit, seriously thinking about putting in one of those disappearing fountains into one of my flower beds. Yipes!

Makes me really, really afraid of weeds now, doesn't it?

Until next time...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Seattle Drivers Keep Left


BoatsOnHorizonWWaves, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

With all the rain we've had over the past few weeks (months?) this could almost pass as Highway 183 these days.

Yesterday, Mopac was flooded. For those of you who don't know, Austin has several "commuter" roads that stretch through the middle of town. Interstate 35 (or I35 as we call it) is one of them-it's noted for it's "upper deck-" two lanes up top, two on bottom, and Mopac is another. Mopac gets it's name from the railroad, Missouri-Pacific, who actually paid the City of Austin to build the road (originally) around the railroad tracks. Mopac is noted for having a train run down the median of it. Yesterday, I guess, it was noted for having a river run down the median of it. It was quite flooded in spots. When Mopac slows down, the entire City is in a slump, really, because everybody seems to take Mopac everwhere. It's the central artery of Austin, in more ways than one, really.

An interesting thing about the way people drive. Native "Austinites" (as they are called) don't do inclement weather. They just don't. If there's a drop of rain, a spec of hail, a snowflake, or anything like that, within, say, a twenty mile radius? Driving stops. They just don't know what to do. It's like you've gone and hit Bubba over the head with a 2x4 and nothing you say, from that point forward, computes.

Other drivers? Well, as you might guess, not so much. They can drive in the snow, the rain, the sleet (ok, maybe not the ice. Austin gets horrible ice storms, where the entire earth gets crusted in black ice. Really hard to drive in. For anybody.)

So, this got me thinking. We should start putting up signs that say "Seattle Drivers Keep Left." It would aid in the confusion out there, don't you think?

All that and they have better coffee than we do.

Until next itme...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Food


LuckyDogs, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Maybe not the easiest, maybe not the best but, you have to admit, this is one way to get yourself some food.

I swear that Lucky Dogs dude didn't move. For like 30 seconds. I don't know how he kept still for so long.

Mustard, anyone?

Until next time...

Vacation Photo


TikiHutNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This was my first photo from a recent trip to Kona.

An interesting thing about vacations now, in the era of digital photography, we can actually upload while we are still there. This shot was first uploaded and posted from Kona. It was kind of fun to start getting comments from people while I was still sitting under those palm trees.

I can remember the old days when you had to lug film all around the globe, get back home, and then start the daunting process of, well, processing. Ugh! i don't miss that at all. Sure, we still have Compact Flash to clear off but it's so much easier this way. My luggage was a lot lighter without those horrible film bags and I wasn't limited to those 80 or so odd rolls I could stuff into a carry on.

Going digital has made travel so much easier. It makes me want to travel more.

So, where to next? Maybe the coast? New Mexico? Peru? Ireland? China? Who knows?

Until next vacation...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No Space Left on Device


DiagLandscape, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

My hard drives are full. I mean, not just full but like FULL. To put it in perspective, right now, at this very minute, at this very moment in time, I HAVE MORE COMPACT FLASH AVAILABLE THEN I HAVE SPACE ON A HARD DRIVE.

You read that right. And, those of you who know me, or who have checked in here before, know all about my love/hate relationship with Compact Flash. I never have enough of it, I'm always out of it, and I always have a mountain of it that needs backing up. It's no secret, if I ever won the lottery, I'd buy a big glass jar and fill it with Compact Flash cards of varying sizes, shapes, and capacities. It'd be like one of those old jugs from the '60, where people used to store drugs (pills) and you could just dip you fist in when you needed a fix. I'd do that with Compact Flash, honest I would, if I ever won the lottery.

But, today my attention turns not to the portable media, which I know and hate so well, no, rather it turns to the hard drives, which back up the portable media. I have like 6 Gigs left on one drive and 7 on another. Sure, that sounds like a lot but, try adding a layer to something in Photoshop and bam! your file size jumps up considerably. So, there you have it. I'm out of room.

I shot the lovely water gardens and so want to look at some of the results but, unfortunately, I've got a 2G Compact Flash card and nowhere left to put it.

Somebody help me, I'm drowning in pixels.

Until next time...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thank Heaven


CloudsFromAboveNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

It's Saturday, I've finished all but one portion of the Utata project (I have yet to finish the text portion of my photojournalism entry) and, more importantly, I've finished off a busy week.

This week, I really feel a sense of accomplishment, since I submitted a portfolio for review to a major gallery. I really don't think that I will get the show (in fact, I'm certain that I won't get the show) but I submitted the packet because I happen to know who makes up the "review committee" (it's some interesting people.)

If I get the show or not, well, it doesn't really matter to me now. My feeling of accomplishment comes not from actually submitting work to these (interesting) people, rather, it comes from the fact that I submitted the best possible portfolio that I could have submitted. I really feel very strongly that the work I presented to them was a cohesive body of work that, while not "pretty" in the traditional sense of the word, is truly novel. It's work that doesn't look like anybody else's work. It's not derivative. It's work like you've never seen before. It's work that, well, it's entirely "me" in every sense of the word.

I've been trying for a long time to gather a cohesive body of work that is new, novel, non-derivative, and whoomp! there it is. I define this as success, even if I don't get the show (which, I'm sure, I won't.) Because this work is such a part of me, so defined by me, so created by me, well, frankly, I don't care if they like it or not. I don't care if they accept it. It's already a success in ways they cannot even imagine.

That's not even the start of it either. I submitted about five things in the past week. I'm on fire in terms of marketing my crap-on-a-stick. I don't know what's gotten into me but, lately anyway, I'm sending my stuff out in record pace.

Sure, there's a lot more to come, a lot more shows to enter, a lot more portfolios to submit to galleries but, after this week anyway, I can take it at a more leisurely pace. I can sort of kick back, take my time, gather my thoughts, and enjoy myself.

When I'm exhibiting my work, I like to think of myself as a juggler. Even though I don't actually know how to juggle, I do know that the cardinal rule of juggling, if you will, the creedo that keeps the knives from chopping off your toes, is to "always have one ball in the air." I try to live by this when I'm exhibiting.

What does it mean? Well, that's a bit harder to describe but, basically, you want to get yourself into a state where you always have something out for review, something "out there" that somebody is looking at, a show result that you haven't heard back from yet. You do this so that, when the rejections come, and they do (they come for all of us, don't kid yourself) you always have hope out there on that horizon. Sure, you might have gotten rejected TODAY but, who knows what tomorrow will bring? It's in that hope where all the fun lies.

Right now, I've got more hope than sleep but, hey, that's ok too. I can always take a nap but I can't send my stuff out so easily. It's hard to buy yourself some hope, it's a lot easier to take a nap.

Some day I may actually learn how to juggle-the "real" kind not what I'm doing now but, until then, this ought to tide me over.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Inner Workings of a Not-So-Secret Mystery


HighwayAndPond, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, it's getting close to the 20th, and I'm only about a third of the way finished with all that I have to do by the end of the week. I'm not stressed though because today was busy at work. Busy hands keep me out of trouble, so that's good.

Everybody's been Utata-ing. It's kind of funny. It's like they left the back door open to a house and everybody congrigating in the rear hallway. When they finally do open the front gate, as it were, we're all going to breath this collective sigh of relief and be like, "yeah, well, we've been here all along. Cake?" But, still, the project looks "spiffy" from what I've seen.

It's kind of funny how things go down "behind the scenes" in the art world. Sometimes, you think it's never going to come together and, sometimes, odd things happen, but it works out in the end. It's very weird to be a part of it. Somehow, I always feel like an outsider looking in, even though I know I belong there. It's like I'm not a part of the inner scantum of planet art but I dip my toe in the pool every now and again. I guess that's just as it should be though. I mean, I don't want to get too caught up in it, I just like painting and taking pictures. A lot of the inner workings, politics, name dropping, butt smooching, and so on, is better left to the professionals.

I have things like water gardens and oddball doll heads to paint and shoot. I'll leave all that "art" crap to somebody else. :~)

Until next time...

Monday, July 16, 2007

More Flying Over Things


HazyDistance, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Here's another "fly by" shot for you. This one was a bit closer to Phoenix, so you can actually make out some city "foo" and all that.

Yesterday's field trip that was only about two blocks away turned out to be pretty great actually. We went to the Hill Country Water Gardens, which is a lovely place. It's in extra "bloom" this year as well, since the rain hasn't stopped. Everything's very lush and almost tropical, so that place was extra green.

I had been there before, though not to photograph, just for a visit, kind of a thing. When I was there last, it really wasn't fantastic-it was really not much to talk about at all. I was surprised that it's bloomed (excuse the pun) into a thriving business. It's a great place to photograph so the 4 gigs or so of Compact Flash that I went though, I'm sure, will be just the start of it. With it being so close to my house, and such a fantastic find, I'm sure to go back and shoot there more.

They breed koi, both Japanese and domestic, there, so I found myself oddly addicted to trying to photograph the koi beds. It's very hard to photograph koi actually. They are such lovely creatures but they don't sit still and they don't make for much visually, once they fill in a frame. Still it was worth a shot (again, excuse the pun) to give it a try. I might have gotten one or two motion blur, koi as silk, kind of shots, which I will post once i get to processing them rightfully.

The lotus were not blooming, but there was a bud or two to work with and, with about 20 or so people from the photo group there, we had lines to setup in front of some of the more popular "photogenic" scenes.

Our trip was supposed to start at 9 am, but early morning found pouring down rain. I stayed at home until it let up, and then met up with the group around 10:15 or so. At that point, the light was fantastic, very cloudy with no sun at all, and so we got great shadow detail. It was quite humid and buggy there, which again made for great shadows (read: none!) but, man did we get eaten by the mosquitoes. Especially in that joint, what with all the ponds, fountains, and water features running about.

I did some weird abstracts and close up (Uta Barth-like) shots of their pottery which is also great. Lots of giant pots, urns, and containers, in earthen tones and soft colors. We'll see if any of those come up and, more importantly, if you recognize them when they do.

I'm quite busy prepping for another portfolio submission and the big Utata project this week, so I don't know how much time I'll have to post, but I will try.

Hopefully end of the week will bring in good news and images making the rounds of view. Until then, watch out for the mosquitoes and the giant roaming photo groups. You never do know when they'll show up in your backyard.

Until next time...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Outside of Phoenix


LandLikeLinesNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

In Egyptian mythology, the Phoenix is a mythical sacred firebird that burns itself to death and then rises from the ashes. In Arizona, Phoenix is one very hot city. So hot, in fact, that parts of Phoenix have little to no vegitation. It's a barren landscape, especially when viewed from above.

Looking at this photo, you'd almost suspect it was some kind of a macro shot-a close up of some kind in line drawing perhaps, or maybe detail from a painting. If you look carefully, you can see a mountain range in the lower left hand corner.

This is the desert outside of Phoenix, as seen from a jumbo jet. It's very barren. Nothing grows here-nothing has, and probably nothing will for a long time.

I somehow doubt that anything will rise up from these ashes to live again but then, I'm a mere mortal, and my kind has been wrong about these things before, right?

Until next time...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Grumpy Without Ferns


EmergingFrmTheFernsNo4S, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I'm like the queen grump today. I had to ready a portfolio and I'm really tired, so this is making me grumpy. All that and I didn't have any food yet today either. Not to mention I can't have any now, since there's not a clean dish about the house anywhere, and there, my snowflakes, you have the extent of my grumpiness.

In other, more "interesting" (read: less snarky) news, it seems that photo group I keep avoiding yet somehow find myself a member of, has decided to schedule a field trip this weekend.

It's not just any field trip, to any where, mind you. It's a field trip to the Hill Country Water Gardens. Now, this might sound all "normal" and such to you (no surprise that a bunch of photographers would want to shoot a water lily and all) but, actually, I find it quite shocking. Shocking? You ask. Why yes, shocking. Want to know why?

Well, my snowflakes, it seems the Hill Country Water Gardens is right in my backyard. I could literally walk there from my house.

Yes, you read that right. The photo group I somehow manage to avoid is now taking field trips to my backyard. You do know what this means, don't you?

They're invading!

Until next time...

PS I can even say I'm out of compact flash on this one. I'm so close, I could run home, upload, go back, and reuse. Even with a 128 card. I'm screwed! Help!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lawn Chair in the Clouds


LookingToLandNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Balloon me up, Scotty, there is no intelligent life on this planet.

Until next time...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Busy


SuburbanTileNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

One of the strange things about Phoenix is that a lot of the houses are alike. And, I don't just mean alike, I mean exactly identically, incredibly alike. It's almost like they clone them or something.

I can remember driving around Phoenix one time, driving past row after row, subdivision after subdivision of identical houses, thinking, "damn! If I got drunk tonight, I'd never make it home." It's true. If you even plan on getting drunk, don't try to find a house in Phoenix. You'd never be able to tell yours apart from the neighbors.

They put them up in this grid like patterns too. It looks exactly like this, all over the city. Giant tile after tile, row after row, column after column of identical houses, all nestled neatly into suburbia.

Makes my eyes cross and my heart ache really.

Until next time...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

One Stupid Boom! After Another


PineNeedlesNo1-1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Yesterday was the 4th of July. For those of you (not in the US I presume) who don't know what the 4th of July is, well, let's just say it's a day marked with fireworks, BBQ's, and other odd celebrations. It's the day folks in the US celebrate their independence, although that happened so long ago, it's really just become a day to relax in mid-summer. Most people go to the beach or lazy around the house, enjoying the summertime for a day, before we all have to go back to work again, on the 5th of July.

I say "most people" but I really should say "most NORMAL" people. Some (oddball) people like to blow things up. Yes, you read that right, fireworks, though illegal in most states, cities, and towns across the US, are a big part of July 4th.

Now, call me a spoil-sport, but I was never a big fan of firecrackers. Don't get me wrong, I love (absolutely love) going to the park and watching the pretty "bombs" go off in the sky-I especially like this when coupled with a symphony orchestra. It's magical. It's romantic. It's fun. But, firecrackers? Little "poppers" that just sort of go off, make noise, and get done with it? Not my thing. They scare the dogs, annoy me, and just don't look pretty.

Now, I've also told you about my neighbor in the back, the moron, who loves his trampoline more than his wife. Something I didn't tell you is that said neighbor is a fireman for the City of Cedar Park (where I live.)

The other day, on the 3rd of July, actually, the paper ran a big article about how fireworks were banned within City limits and how, this year anyway, there was to be a $2,000 fine for anybody caught breaking that law.

While my neighbor in the back is a moron, I thought that he might be smart enough to avoid getting caught with fireworks this 4th of July since, well, since he is a fireman and all. Call me crazy but, since he's one of the guys you call after your hand gets blown off accidentally, I thought he might, he just might, be smart enough to avoid playing with fire on his day off. Couple this with the fact that the fire chief lives over on the next block, behind him. (That would be his boss, in case you weren't paying attention) and I really thought there might be a chance for this idiot.

But, nooo. Said idiot was out there showing his kids how to light off firecrackers. Even with the $2,000 fine, even being a fireman, how did he spend his day off? Breaking the law and lighting illegal fireworks off in the yard.

Now, the stupid one in all of this is not actually him, no, he can't help it-he was born a moron and a moron he'll stay-the stupid one is actually me. You see, I missed my "golden opportunity" this July 4th. I could have called the police, yes, it's true but, this being Cedar Park, well, you already know about their "keystone cop-" like behavior and all. That would have been a no-brainer, since they would have just told him to stop and not fined him.

No, the *real* opportunity here would have been to take the newspaper article, the same article detailing the $2,000 fine, wrap it around a brick, bounce it off the trampoline, and break his back windows, while he was out shooting off the firecrackers.

I mean, think of that opportunity. What could he have done? Called the police? He was already breaking the law, so that wouldn't have worked. I would have had him dead to rights.

Instead, I just took poor Chase inside and tried to comfort him. He hates fireworks, he really, really hates them.

Now, if only I could train him to hate fireman (and bite them in the ass!) as well...

Until next boomingly stupid idiot...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth of July


AngelsTrumpetNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Hey, just a quick note to say that I hope you had a great, safe, and happy fourth of July.

It's still raining down in Texas but it hasn't been hot and all of the rain keeps the fireworks from getting too out of hand. The trees love it and, of course, we all love having a day away from work, even if it is a rainy day. We got some great clouds and Chase was all confused as to why I was home all day.

I've been busy processing and uploading some new sepia work, that I'm really excited about. It's a new series I'm working on called "Finding Eden" ... very lush, tropical, almost Biblical in the way it looks - figurative with softness and tones galore. Think "garden of Eden" and you're pretty much there. I really like it, have started to send it out, as it were, and will probably post some of it next week, so please check back after the holiday.

I also shot my local VFW post this 4th of July holiday so look for those in the coming days (weeks, months, you know how it is.) My local post now has a framed Carol original of their new building as well as some cool interior shots of the bar and some of the empty rooms, which will soon be rented as used for catering and the like.

Stay safe, happy, enjoy your day off, and I'll catch you next time.

Until next BBQ...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Crazy Summertime


SpikeyTreeAndFriends, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Well, it's been a busy summer so far. I'm in something like four shows, a couple of on-line galleries, and I just got word that one of my pieces was selected to be included in the collection over at File Magazine.

What's a File Magazine, you might ask? Well, to quote from their website:

"The purpose of FILE is to collect and display photographs that treat subjects in unexpected ways. Alternate takes, odd angles, unconventional observations - these are some of the ways photographs collected in FILE reinterpret traditional genres. We leave the Kodak Moments to the family album, the glossy fashion spreads to Vogue, and the photo finishes to ESPN. Rather than taking the well-trod paths, we veer off to get a different perspective. Confused? Browse The Collection. The photos say it better than we can."

To put it in perspective, I'm sandwiched in between a photo of an upside down house and that crack of light that sneaks in under your door at odd hours of the day.

I love File Magazine. Really, I do. Now I feel like I've come full circle. The truly bizarre have embraced me. Gosh, I feel so loved.

(All that and nobody left a $20 on my bedside table.)

Until next time...

Did You Get Yours?


BuddhaInFernsNo2-Adj, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Did you get yours? And, hey, who's that guy in the bushes all dressed up like a gorilla? What am I talking about?

Becoming "one" with an iPhone, of course!

In case you have been living under a rock (or, maybe sharing a cell with some chick claiming to be a hotel heiress) the iPhones are out! Did you get one? Well, did you? (Methinks "Queen Paris" was too busy eating her first meal and signing her first million dollar book deal to wait in line for one but, like, you never do know.)

And, in the "wacky but it came from the web so it must be true" department (people can't make up stuff that's this good. Trust me. Not even people dressed in lame gorilla suits) one enterprising young fellow (or maybe two?) is offering to scare people out of the iPhone line for you. Yes, it's true, my snowflakes, according to the article, techniques he uses to scare people include, "a giant clown bicycle, a scary-looking bear, a two-headed snake, and a piece of poop." (No, for those paying attention, the aforementioned "piece of poop" is *not* the iPhone itself, ok?)

The big questions still remain. Did he save up enough, after paying off the gorilla suit people, to buy his own iPhone? Will he ever tell? Did he get all the "pieces of poop" off his shoes before sneaking into the Apple store? Is the "scary-looking" bear as lame as the "scary-looking" gorilla? Will somebody wake me when Paris finally OD's?

Ah, the wonders of the universe. I'd stick around to answer all of these questions and more except that, well, my iPhone is ringing...

(And, if you believe that, you must think Ms. Hilton doesn't drink and that's a real gorilla too!)

Until next time...