Sunday, October 31, 2010

Must Be the Season of the Witch

TheScream, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

If celebrating my birthday the other day wasn't enough to convince you that the season of the witch is upon us, today is also Halloween. Happy Halloween Everybody!

Here's multiple choice quiz for you. What day is it:

1. Halloween
2. A really, really nice autumn day with a light breeze and mild temps.
3. Almost the start of NaBloPoMo

If you answered 4, why, you'd be right.

Not only is it a really nice autumn day today, here in beautiful sunny downtown Cedar Park, Texas (oh, you can stop laughing now) but it's also Halloween, and almost the start of NaBloPoMo or National Blog Posting Month.

Once again, I'll be handing out candy to the little ones today and hopefully tomorrow we'll start blog posting on a regular basis. It's going to be crazy this month, since I have not prepared a thing and there's a lot going on but, heck, I think I can still do it. In case you're wondering what NaBloPoMo is, it's a contest (of sorts) where I have to blog once a day, everyday for the month of November. Thirty blog posts in thirty days, think I can make it?

I've done it now (successfully too, I might add) for the past three or four years. It can be difficult at times, crazy at others, and sometimes it feels like I just can't wait until December rolls around yet again but, somehow, each and every year, I pull it off. We'll see if I make it again this year, or not, as the case may be. Please keep your fingers crossed and here's hoping for the best!

I feel so like a racehorse in the gate. Who wants to cheer us out of here?

And, we're off...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Studio Blahs-What to do when you're just not feeling the love

Houses by lake, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Today's upload-not a very good picture, I might admit, but it's a hand held grab shot, taken with my iphone, which is the result of last night's studio work. I did some pastels last night and this is the result.

Yesterday I had a big case of the blahs. I just could not get my act together. I could not decide what to draw, what I wanted to do, just nothing seemed right. Even as I was layering on the pastels, it just felt sort of "meh." I'm a bit more cheery today, so maybe it's getting past me. It's also getting closer to the weekend, so that always helps.

What do you do when you're in the studio and you just don't feel it? When you're not feeling the love? Do you just pack it in, call it a day and go read a book? Or do you force yourself to kind of work through it? I never know what to do in these situations. In the end, I guess, I'm glad I worked through it but I might have been just as happy if I had packed it in. We'll never know that, I guess, but I'd welcome your suggestions.

I think working through it is probably the better choice because, sometimes anyway, you can put those blahs to good use. You can blah out a color palette, a sky, or something and maybe do something a little bit differently. I don't know, it might just turn a new leaf for you. Then again, you might get totally frustrated and throw everything away. Yes, I guess, when you have the "blahs" the best thing to do is to try and figure out if it's a little "blah" or a big "blah." If it's small enough, work through it, if you're totally "blah-ed" out, maybe take a spa day instead? Oh, I don't know. These things are so difficult, aren't they?

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Carol's Little Birthday

Fish eye koi, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

In case you have not heard the news (thanks, Facebook-ing people!) today is my birthday. Now, I thought about getting myself a present. I should do something nice for myself, but, you know, that's kind of boring isn't it? Besides, am I too old for presents? I really should not be celebrating this day of all days-it just really means I'm one day closer to death, doesn't it?

I just got a new camera, you'd think that would be present enough but, funny enough, I hate cameras. (I love pictures, I just hate cameras, ok?) So, what to do, what to do?

I've always wanted a fish eye lens (a proper fish eye, not the faked iPhone one you see here.) Maybe I should get one of those for myself? It'd be frivolous I know but it would be a gift. Maybe I should get a few new lenses anyway, and just sort of use my birthday as an excuse? Meh, I could also get a new pair of pants, a funky pair of boots, or something else. I just can't decide. Perhaps a sweater and some cool magazines or a new pair of reading glasses-one of those with sort of sparkling rhinestones on them in a funky shape. I could use some new socks too, come to think of it. Maybe I should just go out for dinner tonight? Or lunch, heck I could eat now, right?

Ah, when all is said and done, I'll probably go with a new pair of pants.

The fish eye? That will have to wait. (But, yeah, I still really really want a fish eye lens.)

Until next time...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Short Shoot Today-Hill Country Water Gardens

CrowPerch, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Well, it's been really nice outside, so today I decided to go out and head over to the Hill Country Water Gardens. This is one of my favorite local spots for shooting, as I've shot there a lot over the years. Today was such a nice day, but I got there a bit late and was feeling a bit uninspired. It was kind of pleasant out, so I wasn't expecting much, I just wanted to get outside and enjoy myself a bit.

There were a lot of crows there.

Now, I don't know if I should take this as some kind of omen. If things are going to go from bad to worse for me. If the devil really is going to have, well, his due. I kind of took it as a sign that it's autumn and sort of left it at that. Autumn. Red leaves. Apple cider. And, crows, lots and lots of crows.

Frankly, I like crows. I love them actually. I love the symbolic black birds that squawk up in old oak trees. I love their meanness, their strength, their age, their tenacity. Yes, I'd have to say there's just something about crows that I like. They were out in full force today, as I was even able to photograph a few of them up in old trees. I don't feel my shots were all that great, but a couple have come out good enough to share on the site here.

I had my lensbaby lens and my infrared camera. I'm still have trouble with my old camera and the new camera is too new-I didn't want to spend my short time out in the sun today fiddling with new settings, so I opted instead to leave that at home and use the infrared. And, the iphone. Always with the iPhone. I think I got a couple of shots with the iPhone actually, although that blasted hipstamatic app started to get all flaky on me. It had some kind of hiccup. Man, I hate it when hipsta goes crazy on me like that. Ah, it's an iphone, I know, what more should I want?

Uploaded a few shots and working on a couple more. Nothing crazy but was nice to get outside and now I totally feel I have to get back there. Totally. And soon. Too bad I didn't have the "real" camera and the longer macro lens as a lot of close up details were to be had today but, you know, maybe next time. And, maybe soon.

You do anything cool this weekend? Hopefully you're out shooting more than I am these days, what, especially now that it's shooting season again and all.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

No Actually 15 - Artists That is

FourteenTriumphRed, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I've been asked, of sorts, to name 15 artists who have influenced me. I've been asked to name fifteen artists who've influenced me and whose work will always stick with me.

1. Robert Mapplethorpe
2. Andy Warhol
3. Cindy Sherman
4. Julie Blackmon
5. Claude Monet
6. Vincent van Gogh
7. Joyce Tenneson
8. Sharon Kyle Kuhn
9. Barbara Hagen
10. Michael Kenna
11. Elizabeth Opalenik
12. Robert Polidori
13. Uta Barth
14. Leonardo Da Vinci
15. Stephen Shore

For me, it's not so much about naming the first fifteen that come to mind, rather it's narrowing down the list. Some are people I've studied with, some are famous, some are living, some are dead, etc. It's a variable mish-mash of artists, a smattering of creative thinkers, photographers, painters, etc. but that's who it is.

I sort of started out in chronological order. My earlier influences were people like Monet and Warhol, also Keith Haring (although he is not on the list.) Even Mapplethorpe, and I keep him on the list for an important reason. He's my one connection to my past-he's the photographer I liked most before I became a photographer myself. Since I now participate, since I now do this myself, I have to wonder if my selections are in some way tainted by my own artistic vision. That is, am I picking people that I want to be like on this list? Or am I picking people who are just my favorites? While I love Warhol's soup cans, I don't want to make them myself, but he's one of the few connections to my past, so I leave him on the list.

Other people, like Uta Barth and Julie Blackmon, well, I just want to be all like them when I grow up, don't I? So why shouldn't they be on the list. Yeah, they go there too.

And some names you might not recognize. Teachers, mentors, people like that. We're all in this together, right?

Who would make your list? Do you even have one? What kind of art do you like?

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Red leaf diaries-iPhone autumn

Today's red leaf diary entry finds me reaching into TREE with my iPhone. TREE has started going a bit red in spots! Proof here:

Until next time...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Drowning in Hot Lights and Black Velvet

Picture514, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I have a new eBook available on "How to Photograph Your Artwork." I have put it on Scribd so that you can access and download it. I believe that everything is free and here's a link that I hope will work link to article.

This weekend, I was asked to give a talk on how to photograph artwork. Something that you may (or may not!) know about me is that I used to do a lot of copy work. In the past, I've done copy work for the Austin Visual Arts Association and for several local and prominent artists. Seriously. Like I was drowning in hot lights and black velvet. It's just one of those things, one of the many "checkers" in my checkered past that I sometimes opt to forget but never really goes away.

So, picture this. This weekend, I'm all setup, all ready to start in with my talk. I hadn't prepared anything. I almost forgot what I was going to say. I've done so much copy work you see, I almost don't know how to tell anybody else how to do it either. I was so afraid I would leave out something obvious too. But, in the end, I think it went ok. I think I remembered to touch upon everything, even if just a little bit. It's hard to do these things from time...maybe cliff notes or something?

I had written the eBook figuring that I could use it for people who could not make the talk and also for people who wanted more information. I figured I would share it with you here too just, you know, just in case.

So now you know. Happy photographing!

Until next time...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tracking The Journey-How The UPS Tracking On-Line App Thing Now Has My Undivided Attention (Well, Sort of)

CompassAntique, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

So, by now you know all about my new camera, how it's on its way to me from up in the big city and all. Yay! What you maybe don't know is that I'm not in a hurry to get it.

What?!? You might be wondering. And I'd be here to explain.

I'm going to get the new camera. I know I'm going to get the new camera. The new camera is coming to me. It will get here, maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day, maybe...eventually.

Once the new camera shows up, I'll probably travel with it. I'll open it, I'll fiddle with it, I'll play around, learn how to work all the shiny new buttons, knobs, and dials, yes, but at some point, I'll take it on a trip. And it will go away yet again. It will travel. Cameras like to travel, that's a big part of what they do-travel and take pictures. Since I want it to get used to traveling, I want it to sort of enjoy the little ride here. I want to live vicariously through it's travels too. Stop at Graceland, new little buddy, why don't you? Heck, I wish I could. Say hello to Elvis for me while you're there, won't you? Smile and wave as he stares back at you in his sequined jumpsuit and slicked back hair. *Waves*

Seriously, I hope my camera has a nice little inaugural trip. It won't be it's last trip but I do hope it enjoys its first trip. What's that you say? "Ouch! Get off of me you big lug of a TV set!" Yeah, sorry, little buddy, there's nothing I can do about that just yet. But...soon, you know...very soon, you'll have you're own little special padded little room, a specially reserved spot in my camera bag just for you, new little buddy. Don't fret, just get here when you can, ok?

So, yeah, stop at Graceland. Spend some time in Secaucus. Meander around Mobile. Go for it, little buddy! Enjoy the ride! You'll have plenty of new memories to make once you get here.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Incoming! Gear that is...

Today I'm pleased to report that I have just completed the ordering processed, pulled the trigger and all on a new camera. Yes, I've finally made up my mind and I've decided to purchase (for starters!) the Canon Rebel T2i.

Yesterday, I went to the camera store and I happened upon something totally boss! Seriously, I started out for a late lunch and decided to dart over to the camera store to feel out both the Rebel T2i and the 7D, the other camera I had been considering. After poking around a bit, I decided that the T2i was just smaller and lighter and more along the lines of what I would need to wear around my neck, since I have such a bad back and all. As I was leaving, my boss was walking into the store. How funny is that? I was about as surprised to see him as he was to see me, but, if you'll recall, he's also a photographer so it kind of makes sense.

As for the camera, well, I thought about it overnight and I've decided that, while I love the 7D, it's just a tad too heavy for me. I've opted to go with the T2i. I am planning on getting an additional full frame camera at some point, but that has been pushed a bit down the road for now. Since I made up my mind and the T2i felt better in my hands, I ordered the camera this morning and it should be on its way to me as I write this.

Here's hoping that my new INCOMING! gear splurge will get me out of my current funky funk mode. I'm sure it will, as things have just been churning around in my head a bit, just not coming out on paper so much.

Oh, and in case you're wondering about the photo, this one was brought to you thanks to that current other, "oh yeah that still works" camera, my iPhone. This car belongs to the owner of the Valero station, the one that's almost now kind of famous thanks to my rant about their website advertising on the gas pumps (See "Doesn't Anybody Make Porn Anymore?" at this link for details.)

The owner parks in this spot whenever he is there and I had been wanting to take a picture of this car for a while, but I could never seem to rid myself of annoying background "foof." The iPhone provided just the ticket for me-I was actually able to get a few shots off while waiting for my car to fill with fuel, and I used some of the iPhone apps later on to limit the background, highlighting the car and such. Beep! Beep! I hope you like it, as it'll have to do until I get the new camera rig.

And, for those of you in Austin, one final bit of "small-ish" news, I'm giving a talk this weekend on how to photograph artwork. If you're an artist in the Austin area and interested in attending, the talk will be this Saturday morning at the library on Exposition Boulevard. Shoot me an email for details if you are so inclined and want more information and look for an eBook on this subject to follow.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Analysis Paralysis - The Photographer's Conundrum

PlantonDune, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

You might be wondering why you have not heard about all the great new shows I'm in. About how I'm showing my work over here or how this wonderful gallery has just dropped everything it was ever intending upon doing and is now showing my work. You might be wondering that, of course you probably aren't, but I'm going to tell you anyway. I'm going to tell you what's happening as of late in an attempt at helping you out, in case you ever get stuck in the same sort of a funk that I'm in right now too.

I've come down with what appears to be a case of analysis paralysis. I've started over thinking every entry I send out. It's like I get all set to send some work out, I sit down at the computer, and I think to myself, "it's not good enough. You can do better."

Yesterday, I had all of these plans. I was going to come home from work, pop a frozen pizza into the oven so I did not have to cook, and start sending work out. I didn't. Instead, I started gathering work to send out and I sat at my computer thinking over and over again, "this isn't good enough. No. No, I don't like that. This won't do. Oh, that will never fly." It was like a broken record stuck on the track of "No!" it was getting louder and the neighbors were not about to turn down that stereo anytime soon. It was annoying. It was maddening. I felt like some kind of crazy artist trapped in a cage about to cutoff my ear and storm off, leaving a bonfire of all my so-called work behind in my wake.

No, I'm not stupid. I know I've sent work out before and I'll probably sent it out again. I know there will be rejections and, heck, I'll probably get into some cool stuff too. So, why am I doing this? Why am I beating myself up about this now, at this point in my life?

I think I'm just not satisfied with my work.

I think I am feeling the need to push myself further. I feel like I've reached a sort of "hump" and I can't get over it. Like I'm stuck in a rut of some kind. Ok, maybe not a complete rut, I mean, I like some of the work that I'm doing, but it just seems like it's not enough. I want bigger, better, faster, badder, louder, more in-your-face, or whatever kind of work. I want to drag myself kicking and screaming to the next level kind of work, instead of hanging out down here, with the riff raff. I just somehow want to turn it up a notch and the knob is stuck. It's like I'm on a plateau, maybe high mesa of some kind. I know where I am, and I know I'm not at the bottom but yet, somehow, the top seems so out of reach. Help!

Now, I'm sure this conundrum will work itself out. In fact, this morning, I got up early, got down to business, made a new set of stuff that I actually like (you're looking at one of the pieces-it's a new black and white textural series) and I'm almost happy with it. I say that very tentatively, because, well "happy" is a loose word with me these days. I guess I'm "ok" with it and leave it at that. But, you know, getting there, baby steps and all. Slow acceptance over time I guess is what I need right now.

Did you ever feel this way? Ever get stuck like this and don't know how to get out of it? Do you sometimes feel like you're in your own way, like you can't move out of your own shadow? Like the whole world is moving faster than you and you just can't seem to settle in and find your groove? Yeah, I'm there now.

I'm hoping that I'll just break free from these chains and, maybe even at some point, something completely new and different will emerge. Until then, I guess I'll have to just make the most of being stuck on my own little high mesa.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guilty Pleasures Running Wild and Free

BlueAstonAbstraction8, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Ok, so I admit it. I'm one of those people who falls for guilty pleasures. You know what guilty pleasures are, right? People who actually admit to liking the Simpsons. People who loved the Brady Bunch as a child. Those who order (and like) giant pink cotton candy bails at the state fair. 80's hair bands. Guilty as charged!

Ok, so you know (or maybe you don't) that one of my guilty pleasures is David Tennant. I love David Tennant. Really, I do. Even though I do think he bears a striking resemblance to a weasel, I'm quite fond of him. I just think he has this streak of "cute" about him. He's a-dork-able, what can I say?

So, the other day, TiVo happened upon something...shall we call it a "little guilty pleasure gift" for was the PBS airing of David Tennant in Casanova. Oh, what joy this is bringing to my otherwise tiny little world of doom and gloom. David is swashbuckling costumes, you know the ones I'm talking about here, the tight leather boots, the puffy shirts (I'm not talking the "bad" kind of puffy here, no, we're not going all "Seinfeld-ian on you, these are the "good" puffy, sexy flowing kind. The ones that resemble satin sheets, without, sort of, the "sheet" part) the brocade jackets. Oh, my! What can I say?

The radio is an almost boundless source of guilty pleasures. Why, just the other day, I heard one of my favorite guilty pleasure songs on one of the local stations. As luck would have it, it turns out this wasn't just a mere coincidence. No, I actually heard the song "Cry Little Sister" from the movie soundtrack for the Lost Boys because they are making a new Lost Boys movie. Guilty pleasure nirvana! The two Coreys are the biggest guilty pleasure since macaroni and cheese. It's like I've hit some guilty pleasure lottery, won some guilty pleasure jackpot, or some such thing. Wow!

Then, as I was processing my shots from the car show, I happened across this one. It's very abstract and, frankly, I'm sure that none of you will like it, but I do. I like the funny figure 8, the bright color, the odd white light. I realize it's not the best shot I've ever taken but, meh, it's good enough, and I like it. It's my visual guilty pleasure. It's kind of a sunset, puppy, kitten, Christmas tree with the lights on kind of a shot. I like it, I'm posting it, and I'm not afraid to admit it. (Well, ok, maybe not *too* afraid. *Gulp*)

So, there you have it. My guilty pleasure. Somebody queue the ABBA music and dance. Somebody grab the keys for the Partridge Family Bus, we've got places to go people to meet, cotton candy to eat at state fairs. Seriously.

Seriously guilty, that is.

Until next time...

PS I'd be curious to hear about any of your guilty pleasures. I mean, come on, there must be somebody out there who loved the idea of David Hasslehoff on Dancing with the Stars. Somebody. Anybody. Bueller? Bueller? (Ah, there's another one!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Texas All Briitsh Car Day - More Shots Uploaded

RollsHoodieFacingRight, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Tonight I've taken some time to upload some additional shots from my recent trip to the Texas All British Car Day 2010.

The event is held every year in September in Round Rock, Texas, at Old Settler's Park. It features about 150 British cars, ranging from classic Rolls Royce automobiles to spiffy modern Aston Martins and everything in-between.

I've uploaded some of my work and made a set on Flickr for you to check out if you are so inclined. Here's the link to the set if you are curious and want to see my recent car shots.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Pastels with Maria

Ok, so I guess I've forgotten to tell you, but I've signed up and have started taking more drawing sessions. I'm actually taking pastels at the local art center near my home. I'm working with the wonderfully talented Maria Lyle.

So, last week, I just showed up without getting supplies. This worked out ok because I wanted to see what was best to get. Maria recommended these wonderful pastels from Germany, which they do not sell locally, but I was able to order online. Today, my order arrived and I can't wait to go home and unpack my new pastels.

This is the brand in case you are curious.

Until next time...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 04, 2010

My Camera Woes - Long Form

LucasMotor, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Ok, so by now you probably know all about my camera woes. I've been trying to get a new camera, the one I want has been out of stock, my camera keeps hobbling along though it's getting more broken with every click of the shutter, yada yada.

So, I tried to do some shopping. Before I can get a new camera, I have to get a new version of Photoshop. Because my version of Photoshop is so old, it won't recognize the RAW file format from the new cameras. Ok, this isn't too bad, I had to spend a certain amount of dough, plunk down some cash for the latest and greatest in Photoshop. This weekend, I ordered that and it's already on the way to my doorstep. So far, so good.

Next up, I started looking at cameras. For a while now, I've been trying to hunt down the Canon Digital Rebel T2i. It's a nice camera, I still think it is, and I might still be getting it. Over the course of looking for it, since it goes in and out and in and out of stock every twenty minutes, I did some googling, searching on the Interweb and such. I found a few reviews. After reading the review, I'm now starting to re-think my decision. I've started looking at the Canon 7D instead of the T2i.

Now, on the surface, the 7D doesn't make any sense. It has the same sensor as the Rebel T2i, it is more money than the T2i, it's larger and heavier than the T2i. At first, this was a no brain-er. Why spring for the 7D when you can get the cheaper, lighter, spiffier T2i?

But then I started to do some thinking. Yes, they have the same sensor, that's true, and, yes the 7D is three hundred dollars more than the Rebel T2i. The 7D has a much better autofocus system. Much better. It hooks up to external lighting rigs more easily. It's heavier, yes, but it is also dust and wind resistant. It's got a stronger body, since it's made of metal not plastic. It uses Compact Flash, like my infrared camera, so I would not have to purchase two different types of memory. When you look at it, when you really stop to think about it, the 7D might actually make a lot of sense for me.

So what to do, what to do?

I'm probably going to try to go to the local camera store this week and try them both out a bit. I want to hold both in my hands and see just how "heavy" the "heavier" 7D is. I want to poke and prod and inspect and think about it with both cameras in front of my nose. I'll make up my mind later, right now, I'm punting until I have more data.

Yeah, I need a new camera, and, yeah, I'll probably get one very, very soon, but I want to make sure I get the right one. I want to make sure I get the one I need, not just any one and not just the cheapest one. I want to do it right, even if it takes a little more time in doing it at all.

Yeah, I know that makes me boring. I've love to post here and tell you how happy I am that I got a spiffy new camera. I'd love the show it off and scream and jump for joy about all the pictures I'm going to take. I know you don't really want to see me take so much time, but that's how it is. Sometimes, taking your time is a good thing, even if it doesn't fit into the overnight lickety split world of blogging, Facebook, Internets, the webs and all. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it's got to be right now. Take my time, consider the options, and think a little bit (ok, maybe a lot.)

You'll be the first to know as soon as I get one. Wish me luck!

Until next time...

Camera crisis

I'm having a camera crisis of epic proportions! I was all set to purchase the Canon rebel t2i when I started doing more digging and realized the 7d might be what I want instead. My trusty old camera has gone kaput so I must get something and fast. The t2i is hard to find in stock. Oh how my brain hurts over this!

Until next time...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, October 01, 2010

I Love the Hipsta

It's the hipstamatic iphone app in all its glory. I love the hipsta. It's designed to make iphone photos look like old ("real film") photos.

The thing I love about it the most is the unpredictability. You just never know what you are going to get. And, I love the look of it. It's old, cool, hip, square. Hipsta in all its goodness and glory. Love the hipsta.

Another iphone app that I just love to death.

Until next time...