Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Through the Eyes of a Pin


TreeOnTheBlur, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is part II in a series of how to experiment with pinhole photography.

Ok, so now that you've got your gear ready to go out and shoot your pinhole camera (don't forget your tripod!) it's time to make the exposures. Basically, you have two choices when it comes to exposure time. You can:

  • Carefully calculate the proper exposure time based upon the size of the hole, reflectivity of the subject matter, the specific lighting conditions, and the ISO of your paper/film/camera sensor, or
  • You can guess.

Now, option one, while sounding quite scientific does not always guarantee results. It can be hard to calculate how long to expose and certain things, like clouds moving between you and the sun, make it hard to precisely calculate how long your exposure time will be. You can use a hand-held light meter here, or you can sort of "guesstimate" based upon how sunny you think it is and how long your last exposure was, and how bright your subject is.

The "just guess" option, maybe doesn't sound like it would produce good results at first, but it can, because of the long exposure times pinhole photography affords you. If it helps, think of it this way. Imagine that your camera may want 30 seconds of exposure time in a specific situation. So, anything between 15 seconds and 1 minute would become properly exposed, right? If you think about it, that's a lot of "wiggle room" and can provide you with a nice cushion to proper exposure. Those opting for the dSLR route might want to seriously consider the guess factor, because it's easier to do and you can rely upon that little preview button for help.

Whatever way you do it, be it by guess, calculation, or a combination of the two, proper exposure is sort of a luxury when dealing with pinhole photography. Part of the appeal of using the pinhole camera is that it's a stripped down version of things. There are no light meters, there are no electronics, no sensitive equipment that's been carefully measured. It's just sort of you, your Quaker Oats box, a sewing needle and some paper out in the wilds. It helps if you think about exposure that way too. If you want to get exact, use a "real" camera. Think of the pinhole as a sort of exercise in experimentation. It's a trial and error technique and you can't always knock out the "error" part of it, so you might as well enjoy your blunders (yes, there will be some.)

Having said that, on the other side of that equation, pinhole imagery is some of the most beautiful work out there. It's evocative, it's unique, it's different, it's way cool without even trying. It's what all the cool kids shoot. All that and, well, it's kind of fun to try too.

One final note about working with the cameras that might be applicable to your situation. There are some pinhole cameras out there that allow you to more easily change out the paper or film once you make the exposure. The Holgas, for example, work as sort of "real" cameras in that they have a little knob to allow you to advance film. This can be a real handy feature to have if you are working with paper negatives and do not have a darkroom immediately handy. In the days of old, a lot of photographers were into caving, because caves afforded them the darkness and cold water necessary to develop film (back in those days, film could not keep very long.) If you can't shoot a paper negative, run into the darkroom, develop, and repeat, you may want to seriously consider a more film-based option (such as the Holga or a camera that can swap out backs, one of the "fancier" pinhole cameras, if you will) or go the digital route, just for convenience.

Whatever you choose, I hope that you give it a try. Pinhole photography is a very interesting technique. It's not expensive, it can produce wonderful images, and it teaches us a lot about exposure, which can be hard to learn if you've never had the luxury of doing your own darkroom work.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You Pinhead-An Introduction to Pinhole Photography, Part 1


CornerDetail, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Since Worldwide Pinhole Day, my post about it, and such, I've been inundated with requests for information about how to do pinhole photography. It's been an endless stream of "I didn't know you could do it digitally," "how long to you take the exposures for," "where can I get that" kind of technical questions which I usually fend off for future posts or just brush aside altogether. Not this time. This time, I've decided to become a helpful Carol and actually provide some (possibly useful) information. So, without further ado, here goes.

First off, yes, you can do pinhole photography digitally. You can also use film if you're so inclined. Film folks might want to check out the international retailer Calumet as they have a wide assortment of pinhole cameras and photo gear. Freestyle Photo, based in Los Angeles, also carries an assortment of pinhole camera gear, including the full line of Holgas (some of which can be run as pinhole cameras) and the paintbucket cameras.

For those shooting digitally, there are two basic options. You can either make a pinhole camera yourself or buy a pre-made "body cap" style solution. There are also a few other choices, most notable is the recent addition of the pinhole optics attachment for the lensbaby lens. I won't go into the lensbaby lens solution here, as you can find out more on their website if you are interested.

For the do-it-yourself-ers out there, you can find tutorials like this one out on the web. There are also YouTube videos, you will probably want to start by typing "how to make a pinhole body cap" into your search engine, though the link I've provided you is helpful. Don't get too distracted by the whole "Canon vs. Nikon" thing, as far as I know, a pinhole body cap is a pinhole body cap, regardless of brand, just make sure you start with a body cap that fits your camera. The basics of shooting pinhole digitally are to make a body cap with a pinhole in it, and then use this as a replacement for your lens. (I'll go into that in more detail in my next tutorial on the subject, which will talk more about how to shoot the pinhole camera once you've made it.)

For those (like me) who prefer to purchase a ready made solution, the good folks over at Holgamods offer inexpensive pinhole body caps. Click on the link here for more information. Starting at about $25-$30, they are an inexpensive investment and an easy way to try out something new.

There are many options available to pinhole photographers. You can buy ready made cameras, make a camera yourself from something like a Quaker Oats box, using a pin or sewing needle, buy a digital body cap and use your dSLR as a pinhole camera, or do something like use the lensbaby attachment to get that old "pinhole look."

Some advantages of using film are that it gives you a paper negative, and it's the "purist" way of shooting pinhole photography. The great photographer Ansel Adams used a pinhole camera and documented much of his findings in a book called The Camera which, to this day, is still a very useful book to have, so I'd recommend this as a starting point if you're looking to read up on things. In this book, he demonstrates the different sized holes he used, as well as the different exposure times, all helpful information, so I'd recommend that as a good reference, even if you've done some pinhole work in the past.

The digital pinhole photographer has some advantages. For starters, it's easier to shoot image after image-no changing out the paper negative and there's no "messy" darkroom work just to see a print (we all love that digital preview button, don't we?) One big downside you will have to address is dust getting into your camera (again, I'll talk about this more in a later posting.)

For now, it's probably best to start by thinking about how you want to approach pinhole photography-digital vs. analog, body cap vs. lensbaby drop-in attachment. Once you select a preferred solution, start by getting all the gear you need and get setup to take your first pinhole shots.

For my next installment of the series, I'll talk about using the gear a bit and how to actually make the exposures.

Until next time, I'm yours in "pinheadedness..."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Pin and a Cloudy Day


SuburbanHellNo2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Today is worldwide pinhole photography day. For those of you who don't know, today is the day lots of photographer go out (or stay in, as the case may be) and take images made with pinhole cameras.

I almost didn't participate this year. I had to go grocery shopping, and do a bunch of stuff. But the clouds, oh, the clouds today were wonderful. Perhaps the best days for taking pictures in a long time-we've had these wonderful overcast clouds with wind, but no rain (or, you know, not much rain.) We haven't had clouds this good, that lasted all day like this, in a long time. Oh, those clouds.

So, the clouds were calling me. What was I to do? Ignore all the work I have stacked up and go out shooting anyway? Just pretend it wasn't good shooting weather and do the work I was supposed to be doing? A little of both? Maybe some of neither?

I decided that work could wait. The mountain of stuff I've gotta do can just sit there another day. It's waited up until now, what's another day, right? But, those clouds? Those clouds might not be there tomorrow.

So, I got my pinhole body cap, my tripod, my doggie, and I went into the yard to do some shooting. I didn't go far, or get anything you would not expect. Still, it felt good to see those clouds, to capture them on film (or, you know, actually a digital sensor, as my case may be.) They really were wonderful clouds.

I've uploaded about 5 pinhole shots today. Some of it's actually kind of interesting stuff. Sometimes, it's the stuff we do at home, when we're not really thinking that tells a lot. It's the stuff we do when we're in our flip-flops, playing with our dogs, enjoying a beer that's really the closest to our artistic vision. But that, that analysis shall be left for another day.

Today was just all about clouds. Lots and lots of clouds....

Until next time...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Birthday-Now Almost Old Enough to Drink


TwoCrossesWithHillside, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

In the "happy birthday and yay, you are now almost old enough to drink" department, this year marks the 20th year the Santa Fe Photography Workshops have been around. For the past 20 years, in a quiet (well, ok, sometimes not-though I have to admit I personally blame Joe McNally for that bit) sleepy little ex-convent of a building, tucked away on a high mesa, somewhere near the top of Canyon Road, the workshops in Santa Fe have brought together some of the best image makers from all over the work, to congregate, share, create, inspire, and coexist. Broken down in week long classes, covering everything from black and white master printing, to making your own book, marketing your work, or learning the beginnings of Photoshop, the workshops teach, train, inspire, and have become, over the course of the last 20 years, almost a rite of passage for most photographers. (It's been said by some that you've not a "real" photographer unless you've been out to Santa Fe and experienced something like the workshops firsthand.)

Rather than celebrate (though I guess now I'm doing that too) I thought I would present you with a riddle. This year, as part of their workshop offerings, the Santa Fe Workshops have many workshops in what they call "Workshops Around the World." According to their website, "Workshops Around the World embrace the photographic exploration of nature, cultures, and places in the U.S. and around the globe."

So, here's the riddle.

As part of their offerings, they are going to visit some of the following places: Nepal, a photographic journey through the Katmandu Valley, Bhutan, land of the thunder dragon, and Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali.

The riddle is this: which, if any, of these three workshops would you pick, assuming that they were about the same price. That is, which of these three places (if any) would you want to visit first in the context of a photography workshop. And, as you're mulling over that riddle, think about this next one as well. Which workshop do you think that I would pick?

Isn't it fun to even think about it? To think about a journey to such a distant land? To wonder what it would be like, to think about the pictures you'd take, the people you'd get to meet, the food you would eat? Do you wonder what the bars look like there, or maybe the restaurants? How about the streets? Are they crowded with many tourists? Or bustling with locals en route to busy markets? Doesn't it just blow your mind to think about it? Where would you even begin to photograph that and what kind of pictures would you get?

It's an interesting riddle and, perhaps, I'll post my answer in a few days. For now though, I'm busy just enjoying the question. (Oh, and, it goes without saying really but, Happy Birthday Santa Fe Photo Workshops!)

Until next time...

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Million Little Pictures and One Kind of Large


Warped Landscape No 1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

In the "all these little victories" department, I found out this week that I had an image accepted in the Center for Fine Art Photography's upcoming Works of Man show. Juried by the wonderful Chris Jordan, an eco-friendly photographer who has appeared on the Steven Colbert Report as well as served as an ambassador for Earth Day, the exhibition is shaping up to be an outstanding one and, needless to say, I'm very stoked to have my work included. Watch this space for more news about that upcoming show.

For those of you in the Austin area, tomorrow night marks the artist's reception for A Passion for Polaroid II at the wonderful Studio 2 Gallery in downtown Austin. Don't forget to stop in and say hello if you should happen to make your way down South Lamar. Polaroids really are glorious and I can hardly wait to see that show. Look for me hanging with the Cupcake Lady and chillin' with all of the folks down on South Lamar tomorrow evening, enjoying the 'Roids.

Finally, for those of you aspiring photographers out there, do you ever read this and think, "I wish I could be in a show like that" or maybe want to get your work into a reputable gallery but just don't know where to start? Well, wonder no more, here's an opportunity you can take part in too. Yes, snowflakes, here's your big chance to participate in a gallery show right alongside me, and, you know, people just like me (999 people like me, to be precise.) Called A Million Little Pictures an upcoming documentary project at the Art House Co-Op in Atlanta promises to provide disposable cameras to one thousand people from around the world, people just like you and me, who will document their lives in 24 frames. An exhibition will be held latter this year in Atlanta (and other cities) featuring 24,000 pictures. You can find out how to participate by visiting their website where you can also sign-up to receive your own camera in the mail later on this year.

That's, well, it's not quite a million but it's a lot of pictures for one night, isn't it? Here's hoping your enjoying a photographic Friday evening, wherever you may roam.

Until next time...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Photo Friday: Circular


GlowBalls, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's been a long time since I've posted a photo Friday entry. This week's theme is "Circular."

Do you know all of the meanings of the word "Circular?" From the wiki:

Circular may refer to:
* Circle, or something in the shape of a circle
* Flyer (pamphlet), a single page leaflet advertising an event, service, or product.
* Circular reasoning, also known as Begging the question.
* A circular letter is a letter written by a bishop and addressed to his clergy.

Wow. Who knew?

Well, let me give you a hint. The oddly glowing balls you see above? They aren't exactly artistic representations of letters written by bishops addressed to their fellow clergymen. Just in case, you know, you were confused about any of that.

So now you know.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Crazy Landscape for a Crazy Day


NewMexicoSceniceNo2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Happy Sunday everybody! I hope this Sunday finds you doing well. I have been busy as usual, prepping for my next round of shows and sending more stuff out, but, as you know, still try to make time to post because it's Sunday.

Why busy? What have I been doing? For starters, I found out that I have one of my Polaroids from my London series accepted into the next gallery show over at Studio 2 Gallery. The show is going to be called "A Passion for Polaroid II" and is going to celebrate, what else? Polaroid Film. Yeah. (Oh how we love Polaroid film here at Carol's Little World.) I'm very excited about the show and am now prepping for it. I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, but there's just something so magical about those Polaroids and, I must admit, the ones I did from London really are some of my favorites, so I'm really looking forward to this show (not to mention there looks to be some great work in it.)

I have been asked to submit some of my black and white work to an upcoming review. I never know how to feel when somebody asks me to submit something. I mean, I guess I should be flattered, right? They are inviting me to submit work and, typically anyway, when you get invited into something, they usually take you at the door, but it always feels a bit odd. I always feel a bit like, "well, why are you picking on me when there's so much stuff out there?" Anyway, maybe because of the sudden interest in things black and white, I decided today's image should follow. Here's one shot in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I hope you enjoy it

Alex, my favorite model, is vacationing in Canada (snowboarding or skiing, I'm told.) Here's hoping she has a ton of fun and gets in one last cruise down that mountain before spring hits. Yay! Go, Alex, go!

I hope you are having a nice, maybe crazy, day where you are.

Until next time...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Tried, Honest, I Tried


IsThatHonestAbe, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Did you ever have one of those days when it just feels like the entire known universe is conspiring against you? Last Sunday, Easter Sunday, was one of those days for me.

Sure, it started out all well and good. It was Easter, I had plans to eat a nice, quiet dinner with the family, maybe get a jump on my taxes (those would be the very same taxes I've now since forgotten to do. Gulp.) The TiVo was even cooperating, well, as best it could, seeing as there was an NCIS and a Top Gear marathon on and, well, everybody knows that blood, guts, autopsies, and fast cars are all highly symbolic of Easter Sunday, right? (Nevermind, don't answer that.)

I even had plans to blog. I was going to write this very funny rendition (well, funny to me) of the Lord's Prayer, done up in true Top Gear style ("Our Stiggie, who art in Heaven, Unknown be thy Name.") Yes, I was. I was going to write a (somewhat blasphemous) blog post ("Thy lap time come, Thy will be done, as fast as the Gods of racing.") So, I sat down at the little "Compose your blog entry" familiar white box, and that's when all hell broke loose ("Give us this day our daily brake horsepower and forgive us our cheap car challenges.") In a strange twist of fate, my blog post got eaten by the ethers of the Internet ("As we forgive those who overtake us in the corners.") I somehow accidentally hit the little X button up at the top of the browser tab, before I managed to hit the big, blue, "POST ENTRY" button down at the bottom. ("And lead us not in Lamborginis, But deliver us from diesel.") Oh the horror! My gloriously funny (well, ok, it wasn't exactly glorious. Or, you know, come to think of it, all that funny either) blog post had gotten eaten by the Internet. ("For thine is the kingdom and the POWER and the glory of the supercar")

Now, as much as I hate it when that happens, I started to think that maybe it was all for the better. I mean, I would not want to post something so blasphemous that I would wind up burning in hell for all eternity, especially not on Easter Sunday, the holiest of holy days on the Christian calendar. Still, what's a girl to do? I mean, I so wanted to post something about the irony of an NCIS marathon being aired on Easter. Talk about your for ever and ever Amen's, right?

So, it goes without saying really but, if you are one of those easily offended folks, you should be happy I did not post last Sunday. And, for the rest of you, the non "holier than thou" types, I will one day try to remember (and post!) my silly, but blasphemous, Lord's Prayer, just for you.

And that's the God's honest truth.

Until next Amen....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Now That's Taxing


VendingMachineRoom, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

In the "gee, there's nothing like waiting until the absolute last minute" department, I have yet to file my taxes. Now, I know what you're thinking ("She's not going to make it. She's lazy and she's not going to make it. Idiot should have started sooner.") but it's not actually my lazy self this time. This year, in fact, it's less a matter of April 15th sneaking up and biting me in the ass, and more a case of I just don't know what to do.

Last year, you see, we had that entire "rebate" thing and Motive, a company I used to work for, got purchased by Lucent. What does all of this have to do with my taxes? Well, as it turns out, in order to file this years' taxes, you need to know how much of last years' rebates you got and, since Lucent purchased Motive, I technically sold some stock options last year, which really complicates my return. Oh the horror! I shall now grant you three guesses, two of which do not count, as to what I'll be doing tonight. (Hint: It will probably start with me banging my head against a wall and end with me filing for an extension of some kind.)

To prevent the tax man from being the only one around here enjoying himself, and appreciating a "New Beginning" I thought today might be a good time to tell you a bit more about my new project as well. A long time friend of the documentary photography group I belong to happens to be a professor of art over at Concordia University. Concordia University has recently moved to a new location in Austin-they've purchased what was once the old Schlumberger site on the west side of town, and converted it into their new campus. As part of the move, our professor friend invited us to the new campus on Monday evening.

The "New Beginnings" project will be a long running photographic project where we document aspects of the new campus. Culminating in a show sometime in the fall, the project will attempt to highlight and sort of "show off" the University's "hot new digs." I'm very excited about the project because the new campus backs up to a nature preserve and is quite "wooded" so it not only affords something for the nature photographer, but the architecture of the buildings is very interesting and modern too. With all of the students (people,) architecture, nature, night work, and other potential aspects of the project, well, let's just say, it's my cup of tea. I'll all over this one like a cheap dress, which, as luck would have it, is probably all I'll be able to afford when the tax man gets through with me tonight.

Oh the horror! Does anybody have a sharpened pencil? It's going to be a long evening.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Beginnings


PackOfPhotographers, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is what a pack of photographers look like as they walk away. Do you wonder what they see? Do you wonder where they are coming from? How about where they are going? Do you wonder what kind of pictures they took? Do you want to see what they just saw?

Tonight I started a new project. Called New Beginnings it is set to document the start of something. Now, just to be a bit of a tease, I won't tell you just yet what that something is, but I will tell you this. These photographers are going to photograph it too. They are going to see it, experience it, photograph it, and share it with the rest of us (myself included in that actually, as I will get to see their pictures too.)

It's very interesting to be a photographer. We get to see things, experience things, take pictures, and share our work. At the end of the day (this picture actually was taken, quite literally, at the end of the day) it's great to be able to do all of that. It's a wonderful thing to be the imagination, eyes, and hands, that bring all of this to you, and bring all of this to life.

It's great to start something new. It has that fresh, shiny, new feeling about it. It's great to be able to do what I do. I get to take that fresh, shiny, new feeling, those new sights, sounds, and experiences, and bring them to life, on film (or, you know, maybe a digital sensor) for you to enjoy too. I hope you'll come along with me, on this magical ride, into such New Beginnings. If tonight is any indication, it promises to be quite a trip.

This is what a pack of photographers look like as they walk away. Do you wonder what they see? Do you wonder where they are coming from? How about where they are going? Do you wonder what kind of pictures they took? Do you want to see what they just saw?

Stay tuned and, well, you will. For now though, this is the start, the very first "shot off the roll" as I always like to say, of a New Beginning. I hope you like it, and I hope it makes you curious and wanting more.

Until next time...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Doesn't Anybody Make Porn Anymore?


Approaching Night, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I had to get gas tonight. I was running very low, almost out-you know the expression, "running on fumes?" Yeah, well, that's what I was doing. So, I stopped, on the way home, at my local Valero gas station, the one that used to be a Diamond Shamrock (back before they converted them all over to Valero's, as part of a "clever" marketing ploy) and filled up my car with fuel.

It's a boring process, getting gas is, especially when you're almost out. It takes a while to fill up the tank, even a little 12 gallon tank like mine. So, there I sat, with my feet propped up against the little curb, watching folks line up at the car wash, thinking about things. I remembered that I was in the same gas station, the very same one, where Steve's car once broke down-we were stuck there at some odd time of night. It was something like 2 am, we stopped to get gas, and his old Honda would not start again. Lucky for us, the guy from CarAd.com (this was back in the .com days) happened to pull up, at the pump next to ours, to get gas too. (At 2 am, imagine that.) He was able to get Steve's car working again, and get us on our way. (Lucky for us, right? What are the odds? God bless you, Mr. CarAd.com man, wherever you are in the great dot com bubble of a universe.)

Tonight, at the very same station, there I stood, waiting for the pump, the slow moving pump to fill up my tank, my mind drifting, thinking about the old dot com days and thinking about nothing in particular and everything in between. That's when I spotted it. The pump, the gas pump that I was filling up at, started flashing at me. It was actually blinking, trying to tell me something. It was trying to talk.

"Check us out on Valero.com!" It said, in its happy bright light LED style "voice" (which was actually just lights blinking and flashing long enough to distract me from watching a new Mustang drive through the now sudsy car wash.)

Would somebody please answer this question for me. Why on earth would I go to Valero.com to checkout a website for a gas station immediately after I just filled up? I mean, what could possibly be on a gas station website that I need to read to begin with? I started going over this in my head, thinking about what could be on that website. It must be something quite impressive, right? I mean, crap, it's making all of the gas pumps blink. (Imagine all of the Valeros, all around the world, with their gas pumps blinking the same message at the same time.) Oh, now this has got to be something really good, right? It's not like they could have the hours the gas station were open, no, you see, this is a 24 hour "pay at the pump" kind of a joint. So, what could be on that website that could possibly be so pressing? So urgent? It must just be mind blowing, that website, right?

Maybe they have little known facts, you know, things like the date and time those hot dogs, now rolling around that rolling grill for God knows how many years, were first put in there. Maybe they have a listing of all the different color Slurpee's you can get inside the gas station. Oh yes, I could really see that. I mean, here I sit, getting gas, filling up my tank, paying at the pump, zooming off into the great beyond, only to come to a screeching halt somewhere down the road when I discover that, much to my horror, I've just left the only gas station in town that has any grape Slurpee left to its name. Oh dear! I'd have to spin around faster than The Stig to get me some of that grape Slurpee, yes indeed. I can really spot the use for this website now. Surf on this! I really need that Valero.com, don't I? Sign me up! I may have already won! (It's more useful than twenty two Nigerian diplomats and sixteen penis enlarging pills, that website is.)

I mean, think about it. I had just filled up with gas. why would I need to know anything about the gas station at all? It's the last place I'd go back to at this point. The next thing I want to see is the bank or the grocery store or, crap, even a dance review featuring aliens playing Canasta on my front lawn would be better than a visit to Valero.com at this particular point in time. What were they thinking putting this on all of their gas pumps and, holy sweet bejesus on a cupcake with sprinkles, what could possibly be on that website that I would want to see at all? I mean, we're talking about a gas station for crying out loud. Why does a gas station even need a website at all? Don't people just go there to get gas? It's not like we have some kind of a magical [Buy Now!] button on our Internet connections that instantly fills our cars up as they rest in our garages (now that, oh my, *that* would be technology at its finest.) No, you have to go and pump the freaking stuff into your gas tank, how is the web relevant to this at all? (Get your damn computers out of my gas tank and I promise to keep my damn gas tank away from my Internet already.)

I liked them better when they were Diamond Shamrock and yet, somehow, I can just sit here imagining a lot of people suddenly "mysteriously" clicking on Valero.com right about now, only to be barraged with a "Visit Our Refineries!" happy blinking icon and link. (Oh the Humanity!)

[So now, what I really want to know is, has anybody told Jeremy Clarkson about this yet? I want to see him pop his cork when he finds out about this "oh so great-drop what you're doing run and check it out right now" Valero.com website. At least that would be funny, and it might make the website actually worthy of a click or two. Maybe.]

Until next...holy sweet bejesus on a cupcake with sprinkles, they have a website for WHAT?


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Ballad of Pink Trees


TwoTrees No 2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I've been thinking a lot about altered images lately, especially how altered images and experimental photography (sort of) go hand-in-hand. (Altered images are things like distressing, transfers, hand coloring, acrylic enhancement, and such.)

I've always considered myself, first and foremost, an experimental photographer. Sure, I have a passion for art photography (that's really what I'm doing) but, deep down, at my core, I love to play around with things. I'm the type of photographer who likes to throw a monkey wrench into the pot, just to explore all that is different, to sort of put my own stamp on reality. That's fine, I mean, the world needs people who break all the rules (especially now. This is, in fact, a really good time to have some rule-breaking and experimentation going on) but the thought of experimentation got me thinking. Just how do experimental photography and altered images differ? How are they the same?

When I think about altered images, I think of things like distressing, transfers, hand coloring, acrylic enhancement, and all of that. They are techniques. When I think of experimental photography, I think it has, as a basis, the desire to try new things. Sure, the process is part of it, maybe the process defines it, but it's that passion for experimentation that keeps it going, and is really what it's all about. One is grounded in the technique, while the other the mindset. Or, at least, that's my working theory (for now, anyway.)

I guess that somebody could have a passion for altered images but still be sort of "traditional," but I really don't know about that. This one has me, shall we say, a bit stumped.

This image was taken along the high road to Taos. It's an image made using a digital infrared converted camera with a lensbaby for a lens. Is it altered? I'd have to say a bit. I mean, the world does not usually provide us with pink trees. Is it experimental? Maybe so. I mean, you could say I'm working in "traditional" digital infrared techniques, if such things were to exist. Then again, maybe I'm just over thinking it (as usual) and I really need to just get out there and admit I like to play.

I'd be curious to share in your observations about this. It's a subject I will have to revisit at some point but, for now, I shall be happy just enjoying my perky pink trees.

Until next time...

Monday, April 06, 2009

Catching up/Ironing Out Free Associations


IronAndChurch, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I was a little bored today so I thought that I would catch up on my ironing. Speaking of today, it's supposed to get down to something like 28 degrees tonight in River City. Twenty eight degrees, I remember then, I think they were some kind of a boy band back in the 80's. Oh, how memory fades.

So, what have you been doing lately? Up to no good? Or doing good despite things not being up?

It seems like, lately anyway, I never get to converse with you anymore. I'm always posting some deep philosophical mumbo jumbo about the state of art in the free world or the price of tea in China.

Speaking of tea, actually, Starbucks, because nobody drinks tea anymore (well, nobody who admits it. I mean, I still do but you don't hear me bragging about it. Well, not too often anyway. Well, crap, never if you discount this silly little blog) I had lunch with Scriber today. We went to check out a book store near where we work and putter about during lunchtime. I like to putter. Do you ever enjoy a good putter? It's sometimes a lot nicer than moving so quickly all of the time.

Speaking of moving quickly, another dandy episode of Top Gear is on tonight, so I'll keep this brief. Oh, how I wish I could putter with the Stig. We could even stop for a cup of tea. Heck, even if it's only 28 degrees outside, he could hum boy band tunes to keep me warm. I'd even offer to iron his colored laundry. Oh wait, I guess he doesn't really have any laundry now, does he? Hmm. Must be great to be the Stig, even if he never gets to putter about like the rest of us mere mortals. Oh well, almost time for me to putter off and go do something real again.

I should mention that, much to my excitement, I found my little "webway" book from England this morning. That's news, isn't it?

Well, ok, it's not the state of the economy, the status of art in the free world, the price of tea in China, or even the real identity of Stiggy my love, but still, that's almost news, isn't it? I mean, it's sort of approaching news in a free association "I'm almost news!" sort of a way. Isn't it?

Bah. Nevermind. I don't think you're talking to me anymore. You up and left me with all of this ironing to do.

Until next, hey, it's a dirty chore but somebody's got to do it...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Haircut for Your Internet


DomeCathedral, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Finally, today I got a haircut. I got a haircut, went grocery shopping, and ran a bunch of errands. But, wow, I really needed a haircut.

Don't believe me? You can see for yourself. Yes, snowflakes, you can see for yourself here.

And, yes, in case you're wondering, that was a sneaky sneaky way of me pointing you to my new, uber-cool on-line interview. (Well, ok, even I have to admit, it wasn't so sneaky, but there you have it.)

Well, what are you waiting for? Click the link already!

Until next time...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Magical Dreamland


WalkwayNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Did you ever feel like you were in some kind of magical dreamland? Like maybe the "real" planet earth doesn't exist anymore, but you've been transported somehow to this magical mystical place? Someplace far away that's so wild it didn't even exist in your imagination. Have you ever been someplace so unreal it feels surreal?

I love it when that happens. I love the feeling of surprise, the sense of wonder. You feel like a child in a toy store or, I would imagine, like the first astronauts who blasted off into space. Up there, staring at the strange blue ball of earth from so far away, imagining what it's like for the people "down there," all working and sleeping, playing, driving their cars. It's a wonderful feeling to be so disconnected like that. It makes you almost feel reconnected in odd ways. It lets you look at your life and your world with a whole new perspective.

I always try to make some kind of "magical dreamland" even if it's only subtle. Kind of like a movie that you actually get to step into, or maybe another world, far away, that, up until know, was unfathomable.

I absolutely love it when we can catch magic like that on film. It's a surprise, it's an amazement, it's a glorious celebration of imagination brought to life, one small pixel at a time.

I think that, at its core, photography, art, film, theater, and many of the performing arts are really about escape. That sense of escape you get, the notion that you can just sort of "put your world down" for a spell, cast all of your troubles and worries aside and just enjoy something because it's so different. I think it's what we're all about sometimes.

And, then, you know, I remember that a lot of people take pictures of the grandchildren.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

What's on Your TV? The Anti-Post


ObjectDeTV, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is a public service announcement. Please be on the lookout for wild, free roaming TV sets. Be especially cautious of any TV sets which feature a monkey head trapped inside of them-they are especially dangerous when confronted or cornered....Oh screw that, happy April Fool's Day everybody!

I was going to write some deeply philosophical blog about something art-related today. I was going to talk about my philosophy on entering shows, or maybe talk about my preferred "Threshold" setting for the Unsharp Mask. Maybe it was actually going to be about the price of tea in China, yes, actually, I think that was it, or maybe it was all set to be another blog about Top Gear, about how I recently saw their Vietnam special (I did honestly, that part's true, and it was really good-too bad you missed it) or how The Stig showed up on my doorstep last night with flowers serenading me (it was like a tenor version of a V-8 humming perfectly, that was.) Yes, snowflakes, I was going to tell you all this and more, but I can't. I mean, I couldn't. I mean, I didn't.

It's April Fool's Day, what, were you like expecting a "real" post?

Now, quick, go lock somebody in a phone booth, put massive amounts of confetti someplace unexpected, or stuff a sausage in a DVD drive somewhere. Hurry up already, you only have about 16 hours left. What are you waiting for?

Until next "is that a sausage in your DVD player or are you just happy to see me?"