Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Shock of It All


TheShock, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

More from the self portrait series I've been doing. I'm actually about to stop now, for a little while, as I'm in preparations for my trip and have some other things to do. It's been a bit fun to do these, I have to say, though I honestly wish I had more time to devote to them. I'd love to be able to take one day, maybe one cloudy day, and do projections all day.

I did find a new (and better!) prop store yesterday, one which I stumbled upon almost by accident. I went into this place looking for something else entirely, when I noticed all of the items they had and started poking around. I must admit, I came out impressed-it was nice. A nice selection of good and inexpensive props. This will help me with my projections, since a lot of it revolves around getting the right props.

Still loving the iPhone and I still have yet to do my "homework" for my upcoming workshop. I am getting close, and think that I have all but decided upon the "one (and only one) photo I wish I'd taken" even though I so wish I could select a painting. Think you know what mine will be? Ah, I'm not telling yet but, I have to admit, all will be revealed soon enough. Soon enough, I tell you, soon enough.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Abstraction

Today's upload is an abstraction. As a photographer, I think that iphone's are very good at abstractions. Unfortunately, my brain sometimes needs training in seeing them.




Until next time...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Settlement Cove,Cedar Park,United States

Monday, June 28, 2010

Test post

This is a test of mobile blogging. First blog from new iPhone 4.
Here is lunch. Enjoy!



Until next time...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:N Capital of Texas Hwy,Austin,United States

There's Always Trouble in Paradise Once I Show Up


TheVision, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Here's one from the self portrait series I've been working on. As you can see, I am getting a shadow now, which can be quite hard to control, and I'm having a bit of difficulty with the scale. I'm looking too "big" in there (I really want myself to be more like a smaller head in a "big picture" rather than a large person standing in front of something interesting.) Anyway, I still have to work out the details, and get things setup so that I like them again. It's always hard doing these-it takes about two or three attempts to get the size and scale in proportion and then I have to fiddle with the exposure, and, by the time I've done all of that, a few days have gone by. Still I enjoy shooting them, and I have some new ideas about how to do them, so they are very much a work in progress, an experiment of sorts.

This weekend, I went to get a case for my iPhone. I have yet to figure out how to get photos off my iPhone, so this is going to be interesting. I have no way to download and, of course, there's always a limited supply of memory in the world. You know what that means, right? I'm headed for catastrophe. Wish me luck. Actually, it's a bit of a short trip and they already know me there, so, you know, I should be prepared for this journey.

It's a bit less "poke you in the eyeball with a stick" than the eyeglass shop, though not much, that catastrophe place is.

Until next time...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Welcome, My Friends, Welcome to the Machine

It was two days ago now that I got my iPhone 4 in the mail. It arrived a few days early and I was surprised to get it, especially since I've been getting ready for my next big trip out west. I guess I lost track of the time, or maybe they just shipped them a little earlier than I thought. Either way, somehow, the iPhone, the little device that could, made it to me.

I have to say I honestly love this thing. I mean, it's like nothing I've had before, and I absolutely love the idea that you can have the entire Internet right in the palm of your hand. It's really hard to describe this feeling, if you've not owned an iPhone before, it's not a thought that dawns upon everybody right away. I've spoken to several people who feel the same way-even some computer programmer type folks who are older, more seasoned, and don't (typically) fall for the "you must get this new device" type of hype buzzing around the bush. Seriously. The iPhone will change the way you look at things. It's revolutionary.

I can honestly see why the iPad is so popular as well. It's like a giant iPhone. All of this, all of what I have now in the palm of my hand, only bigger. Wow. Me want.

But, enough of my drooling, I should probably clue you in on what's been going down. For starters, I downloaded a bunch of applications for the iPhone, mostly apps people have recommended. I totally need a case, so I'm going to spend a chunk of this weekend "case shopping" at various places. Yes, I know, part of the whole Apple deal is that you spend, they make you spend, a ton of money on accessories. Yes, that's part of the plan, and, yes, I know it's annoying, but it's part of the deal.

I've already started taking pictures with the new device, though I have yet to upload to Flickr. I also have not blogged yet from the iPhone, though I intend to at some point in the future. Look for that milestone to happen at some unexpected time in the near future, ok?

I intend to use my iPhone, at least in part, as a secondary camera. I have download some cool applications and want to try them out. I am thinking about it in terms of it being a sort of "toy camera." Not a camera which offers you full control, no, instead a camera that's highly portable, easy to use, has a flash, and allows for unusual angles, odd cropping, snapshot aesthetic and the like. I can now easily envision a very cool iPhone only exhibit of "crap I shot with my camera phone." I also feel that iPhone will allow me to break out of my mold a little bit-maybe try something different, some different styles out. I've always wanted to do an Elliott Erwitt-style body of work-almost street, very snap-shot, kind of funky, maybe even in black and white or trippy colors, you know the drill, and this might be just the best camera for the job. What for this to unfold, as I get more used to the camera and the device itself.

Yes, it's been a wonderful week. I feel I've really embraced the machine, as it were. It's a little bit like being over the moon, that's really the best way to describe it.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

For My European Photographer Friends


LonelyGondolierNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Almost every time I participate in some kind of portfolio review, I get an email from one of my "photo buddies" over in Europe. "It's too bad they don't have stuff like this where I live!" the email starts out, "you're so lucky!"

Well, my fine European friends, your luck has run out (or run, um, "in" as the case may be.) Indeed, they do have European photography reviews and I thought I would share an email that I got, to pass along the information with you. (Apologies for my State-side shooters-you'll have to either just drool or save up your old film canisters with a lot of pennies in order to afford an airline ticket for this one.)

So, without further ado, here are two portfolio review type opportunities. (Insert drum roll here!)

The first opportunity is in Birmingham, UK and runs from July 29 - August 1, 2010. It's called Rhubarb-Rhubarb and it was one of the first professional portfolio reviews in Europe. Many of the artists who show there work here move onto showing their work at FotoFest and other international biennials, not to mention the review itself tries to pay close attention to the needs of the artists.

The 2010 Rhubarb review, "Collision - Where Image Worlds Meet," is designed for photographers wishing to explore the cross overs between multiple genres - documentary, commercial and fine art practice. International reviewers from all these genres will be reviewing work at Rhubarb. For more details, see the website at www.rhubarb-rhubarb.net. (This last paragraph is taken from their website.)

The next opportunity is in Paris and is called "Lens Culture FotoFest Paris 2010." It will be held in Paris, France from November 15 - 17, 2010 and the website of interest is www.fotofest-paris.com. According to their published "blurb," this is, " a new forum for photography portfolio reviews in Paris. Lens Culture and FotoFest International are collaborating on a new portfolio review program. Over three days, 120 photographers will engage in one-on-one meetings and portfolio reviews with 40 international photography experts, including museum curators, gallery owners, festival directors, publishers, and representatives from photo agencies. The meetings will take place at Speos Paris Photographic Institute." For more details, please see their website.

So, there you have it. Two opportunities for my European photographer friends. I don't know how you'd say "good luck!" in French (or, you know, Hungarian for that matter) so I'll have to say "Good Luck!" for those headed to Birmingham or Paris and leave it at that. Hopefully the rest of my European shooting buddies have good pocket translators.

Until next time...

Finding Notes on My Door All Too Soon Enough


Notes, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

In other news...the postman is going to be bow-legged this week. Not only did my spiffy new Apple iPhone 4 get packed up and shipped off for delivery, but my B&H order, complete with new camera bag, compact flash, and other assorted odds and ends also shipped today. Yes, yes, it's true-all kinds of "goodies" are headed my way and I can hardly wait!

I wasn't too excited about my iPhone at first, I mean, it's just a phone, right? But, the closer and closer it gets to my home, the more I want it. I'm getting excited!

I'm so excited, I keep checking the tracking number in the delivery service. First, it was stuck in Memphis (gosh, I hope it went to Graceland-I expect a full report!) and then it was in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville, Kentucky? I mean, come on, unless you're like especially fond of baseball bats or some such thing, who goes there? Well, jokes on me, my iPhone did and it sat there for hours.

Now, the all-knowing web wisdom page tells me it's in "Dallas/Ft. Worth A/P, TX, US." Now, there's a mouthful-all that just to say "DFW." But, yeah, my iPhone is stuck there now. Hopefully, soon enough, maybe even tomorrow, it will be at my door-in my hands even! Yay! Go iPhone, go!

Ok, I'll quit obsessing now.

Until next time...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Studio vs. Field


SheLooks, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I want to do something with this. This is one of those timeless faces, I just have such a strong desire to play with this image.

Did you ever take a picture like that? One that's ok to start with, but you know, you just feel it in your bones that you're going to work it over? This image is like that for me. At the time I took it, I knew I was going to "do something" with it, I just didn't know exactly what. Now the time has come, and I'm tossing it around in my mind...playing around mentally with what I want to do, how I want to work it.

Sometimes, shooting out in the field is great-it's what we all need to do, but working over images in the studio, reworking them, re-shooting, playing with them-that's important too. Especially my work. I've always been that way. In a lot of ways, what I shoot in the field winds up as "raw material" for me to work over, to sort of "have my way with" once I get back to the studio. The studio is where like to play, where I'm most at home, relaxed, fiddling with things, twisting, playing, and experimenting. I like to think that's where the "real" magic happens, though the field work is important too.

For sure though, this will be back in the studio at some point. Watch this space, you'll probably see it here (eventually) once I have a go at it yet again.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Preparations Continue


PassageToMesa, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The preparations for my workshop have started and are continuing in full swing. I have to get my work together, get my camera together, finish getting all the gear I might need, make sure the laptop is running ok, clean the house, do the laundry, etc. etc. It's a never-ending stream of "do this before you leave" that just builds and builds until the point of the workshop, that point when you collapse on the plane, just seconds before the pilot blurts out, "and we're now cleared for takeoff." Make no mistake about it, the workshop experience can be the most rewarding and fun thing a photographer gets to do, but it's also some of the most grueling. To make everything perfect, to make everything run like clockwork, you have to do a lot in the days leading up to the workshop, and that can be quite difficult.

I was reminded today that I did not make all of my travel arrangements, for example. I forgot to order the blue van-the van that takes me to the airport the morning of my flight. *Sigh* So many little things, so many things to remember, to do before this or that, it can make you feel like you're running on empty. But, since I've done it before, I know that it's going to be fun. It's going to be a great experience, once I get out there. Once you are there, under the light, and the sky, with the models, and the compact flash flowing, the shutters all freely clicking away, it feels like magic, really it does. I wish everybody could know that feeling. The feeling of working on location, the feeling of a shoot that goes really well, the feeling of getting to do it all, to live it, to make the passion happen, not just sit behind at a desk, waiting for some opportunity. There's something very gratifying about working on location that, if you've never done it before, you don't really quite understand how it feels. I don't get to do it often but, when I do, I sure do enjoy it.

It's hard work, yes, it can be really hard, but it's also very rewarding. It's getting to move from the "I think" into the realm of the "I do," even the "I did," and that precisely that is why I think it's so rewarding. It's seeing the vision, crafting the vision, shooting the vision, and bringing it all to life. It's a steady stream that goes from "I think this might make a good shot" to "here's a portfolio of my recent work" and it moves so quickly, like the blink of an eye really. When you're on location, working like this, things really move and flow at such a blinding pace.

Now, I know, over the course of the next few weeks, leading up to my workshop, you'll hear me bitch and moan, complaining about this or that, how I forgot this, or I'm running around to get that. Yes, it will be a pain, and yes, you'll probably grow tired of hearing my rants (almost as much as I will grow tired of ranting to you!) but, in the end, at the end of the day, when you sit down at that desk and you process those shots, the workshop experience, no matter how painful it might seem leading up to it, it's *so* worth it in the end.

I really wish that every photographer could take some kind of a workshop, master class, or get to study in the field this way at some point in their careers. Honestly, it makes all the difference in the world. It's shooting in its finest hour, unabashed and unbound, for all the world to see. It's immersion, it's learning by doing, it's bring it all to life in real time.

To those beginners out there, if it sounds like I'm bitching now, yeah, maybe I am a little bit. But, I've got one final thing to say on the subject. If you're thinking about doing a workshop, if the thought has ever crossed your mind, I'd have one thing to say to you, and only one thing: DO IT! You won't regret it, I promise.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got lots of preparations to take care of, so I must get back to work.

Until next time...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Visions of Self


AlienFamilyJewels, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The other day I had to submit my picture into something. Being a photographer, I usually don't mind sending in a photo, hey it's what I do, right? But, this time I noticed something odd. In all of my self-portraits, you can't really see my face. I mean, yes, they are self-portraits, but, most of the time, they are so abstract, I look like a blur, I'm moving, or something else is going on. It's hard to find me looking like, well, me.

Maybe that's by design, really. I mean, I don't actually want to look at myself, right? I just shove myself in there because, hey, let's face it, I'm a cheap model, but, you know, still, it might be nice if you could actually, I don't know, maybe see me in a shot or two. Wouldn't it? This is actually the closest I've come to taking a shot where you can see my face (sort of) and even this one is really a far away kind of a shot.

Now, I'm doing a new series of self-portraits and, hate to say it, but they'll probably be blurry and out-of-focus too. I know, I know, it would be nice if I could look "whole" in one but, let's face it, old habits die hard. And, the blurry wild stuff is so much more, well, interesting, isn't it?

Does it bother you that you don't know what I look like? Really? Is it more fun to have the voice from the blur? Or would you rather I be more upfront about it all? Would you rather my self-portraits be clear and presentable? (Questions to ponder.)

Until next time...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pardon Me, Your Vuvuzela is Showing


PresHallTrumpClose, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Have you been watching the world cup? Are you really into it, or just don't care?

It's one of those things I think everybody can get caught up in once in their lives. I've never been a big sports fan, frankly US team style sports bore me to tears-especially the "usual" ones like baseball and football, (The wife-beating drug abusing convicted felons playing the game don't help the cause much here) but the world cup is different. It's so big and the players are actually athletes who care about the game, not to mention it's just more fun than most traditional sporting events. I don't know, it just seems larger than life to me, something I want to be a part of, something to actually enjoy. It's fun, I think in part because commercialism hasn't corrupted it yet (well, you know, not all that much.)

Everybody has been talking about the Vuvuzela too. Should they ban them? Outlaw them? (If that were the case, then we could say that "only outlaws have Vuvuzelas!") Or are they just part of the fun?

Up until the world cup this year, I thought that a Vuvuzela was one of those body parts I'm not supposed to talk about in mixed company. And I didn't really think Slovenia was a real country. Now I know better. (Ahem, did you know that the wiki has an actual recording of an actual Vuvuzela so that you could click on it and hear what it sounds like? Great, now the entire universe can be annoyed by the din.)

I really hope the US does well this time too, since more people are into it. Maybe not as well as Slovenia but, you know, play a respectable game at least.

Toot that in your horn and smoke it!

Until next time...

One Photograph You Wish You'd Taken?


HouseThruLeaves, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

What's one photograph you wish you'd taken? One and only one. The one. The only one, if, you know, you had to select from all of them out there.

It might seem like an easy question at first, but, when you stop to really think about it, it's a little bit tricky. I mean, how do you narrow down to just *one* just one photo that sums up how you think, how you feel, the way you are? That's hard, isn't it?

What would my choice be? Would I go for history-to stand at Iwo Jima or witness perhaps the ultimate "Saigon Execution?" Would I go for fame-Marilyn with her dress blowing up, maybe Elvis in his early years or even the Beatles arriving at the airport? How about art? What's the most beautiful picture ever taken? Would it have a beautiful model or be "old school" elegant? Maybe be new, modern, and hip? What would you do if you could do only one, pick only one, see only one?

There are several that jump out at me - several contenders if you will. Perhaps it would be best to pick the photographer first then the image? I don't know about that. What I do know is that it's hard to knock it down to just one.

I kind of like to see something special in every photo, not just focus on one image alone. I love to experience a great series of shots as well. But, the option, perhaps the restriction of forcing just one paints you into a corner. It's near impossible to narrow down photography to one image, so the next best thing is, maybe, to select one somewhat randomly, based upon what mood you're in at the time or which one matches my dress at a particular time. (Hey, you might laugh but it's better than matching my couch, no? And that is, after all what a lot of people do instead.)

I'll be thinking about this over the course of the next few days because, as luck would have it, I do have to pick one, just one, for something. And, it's probably safe to say, you'll know my choice, my final selection, shortly after I come up with it.

Honestly though, I have to say, it feels a bit like trying to balance all of the world on the head of a pin.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good Karma or Just Dumb Luck?


PensiveFace, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Since my beloved (Ha! Yeah right!) current mobile phone has opted to croak out on me just days before the big iPhone 4 pre-order release, I thought I would stop off at my local AT&T store on the way home from work to see if I could rectify the situation.

All day long I heard rumors about how the computers were acting up, about how AT&T and Apple were having a hard time keeping up the pace of the "big iPhone 4" order, yada yada.Oh, so I don't know, maybe I was expecting a long line? Or, even worse, for them to tell me they had run out? What was I in store for and how ugly would this get?

So, after work, I trogged down to my local AT&T store and, as I was pulling my car into the lot, I noticed a promising sign: the parking lot was not full. Not full to say the least-I got a spot right near the front, almost right next to the door. Ok, so much for the "angry mobs and long lines" theory, still, there could be a lot of on-line ordering "foo" going on behind the scenes, right?

I went in and put my name on the list, then plunked myself down in front of the big AT&T U-verse display, which is basically a TV set. I waited for a few minutes until they called my name. I'd have to say the wait was no longer than maybe 5 minutes at worst and, frankly, watching TV a bit wasn't too shabby.

I spoke with the nice man behind the counter, who looked obviously tired from a full, harrowing day of filling iPhone 4 orders, but was still nice enough to chat with me a bit. I answered all the questions as best I could, and picked out the options I had to pick out, all the while thinking, "gee, am I really going to get this thing?" He did warn me that the iPhones might not ship and be delivered on the 24th-that they could be delayed until July 5th (or later) because I did not get my order in "by 3 pm" which was some kind of unadvertised "cut off" time. Ok, again, whatever. I've waited a few years now, what's another few weeks, right? I placed my order and the computer didn't back up, nothing blew up, the world didn't end, and life just sort of quietly went on.

So now I want to know, was it good Karma, dumb luck, fate, destiny, or some other thing? I mean, why did so many other people have such a hard time securing their iPhones? Did I maybe like order the wrong device? Maybe I was just a new customer and so they were kissing up to me a bit? Maybe their computers just decided to grace me or the sales guy I got was jumping? I don't know.

But, this I do know. I'll be getting a new iPhone 4 sometime in the near future. I hope. At least, I think. At least, that's what all the paperwork was for.

And you know, you just know, the next time I try to get some kind of device, the entire world, life the universe and everything is going to blow up in some grand big "kaboom!" because, well, crap, even *I* can't be all that lucky.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Today I Saw A Grackle In a Magnolia Tree


LoneTree, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

From the "tips that you are living in the southern part of the United States" category, I next offer up tip #34. Today I saw a grackle in a magnolia tree.

Now, for those of you who don't know, grackles are these big black birds that squawk a lot. Really make a lot of noise. And magnolias? Well, they are these beautiful, sweet smelling giant white flowers that bloom on trees in the summertime. I really, really love the smell of magnolias in the summertime-it's something everybody should experience once in their lifetime.

The magnolias have started to bloom around these parts. As I drive, or even walk around, I can spot the dark foliage of the trees, dappled with the giant white blossoms of the magnolia flowers peeking through. The birds have come back too-it's no longer winter and we now have big black loud birds to remind us this. So, put this together and what do you have? Today, I saw a grackle in a magnolia tree. And, I'll probably see one again, sometime soon, sometime before the end of summer.

It's summer in my little world today. The heat is starting to rise up, the birds have returned, the trees are blooming. The lazy dog days of summer are upon us.

I was going to post something about traveling today, or maybe a new photo, possibly a round-up of my weekend events. But, at the end of the day, I opted instead to talk about the magnolia tree and the grackle. Why? Because, well, it felt more in season.

I hope you enjoy a most excellent summertime no matter where you roam this season.

Until next time...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Prayer for the Dying or How My Mobile Phone Has Opted to Croak Just in Time for an Upgrade


PrayerInAlabaster, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I've been trying to keep this a secret, but I've finally decided the time has come to make my next "grand announcement." I'm going to get an iPhone.

Now, I realize that some of you may be thinking, "yeah, so what?" but it's kind of big news for me. You see, I am a "non-mobile" kind of mobile user. Since I work with computers and gadgets a lot over the course of a day, (until now) I have not really wanted the additional "tether" of a smartphone. I like being "hands free" in more ways than just having a headset, ok? I love the notion that, when I'm out in the wilds, roaming God's green earth, well, I'm out in the wilds. Free as a bird. Far away from anything resembling an annoying electronic device. Seriously. I like my space. So, I've resisted the temptations of the latest in electronic devices.

I've noticed recently though that I've started to feel a bit disconnected. I wish I could Twitter more. I wish I could check my Facebook page more than once a day. Even though some of it moves at too fast a pace for me, I love social media and, frankly, I'm a bit jealous that I cannot always keep up with it. All of this has been building up while, at the same time, the iPhone has been getting better and better. They keep adding more to the device, making it easier to use, cooler, nicer, sweeter, in oh so many ways. And cheaper too-the data plans have started to drop in price. All of this convergence has made me realize that, with the announcement of the iPhone 4, well, I might just have to take the plunge. So, I'm going to, I'm going to try anyway, to get myself a new iPhone.

The pre-orders start sometime on Tuesday, I believe. I might even make my way over to the AT&T store this weekend, to ask about starting the paperwork. I'm actually looking forward to making this jump. For the first time in a long time, I want to be more connected. I want to play with this new social media technology even more. There are a lot of good things about the iPhone and I'm actually excited about the possibility of having the entire Internet fit right squarely in the palm of my hand. It's a brave new world, and I'm looking forward to jumping in with both feet.

By now you might be asking, "what's all this about a prayer for the dying?" In what can only be described as an act of fate, my current cell phone, the phone I've had for about 5 or 6 years now, my trusty little antiquated buddy, has started dying. It's no longer holding a charge and it's cutting out on a regular basis. I think it too is trying to tell me something. Yeah, I guess the entire universe is conspiring-it's time for Carol to get a new phone. Run, Carol, run! Wish me luck in the lines with the mobs at the Apple store.

Even though the process of actually getting a new cell phone might be a royal pain, I'm hoping that, once I have it in hand-once I sign on the dotted line, dot all of the i's and cross all of the t's and the phone actually shows up at my doorstep, it will have been worth the wait.

Do you use a smartphone? Do you love them? Hate them? Find it rude when somebody sits in a restaurant "flipping through" their phone, rather than engaging in conversation? Wish you had a better one? Are you maybe getting an iPhone 4 as an upgrade (or new phone) as soon as they come out too?

Wish me luck at the Apple store for I am going to need it and please do check back here over the course of the next few weeks as my giant "leap forward" in terms of mobile technology catches up with me.

Until next time...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh Good Grief-Something I Enjoy Even Less than Framing Artwork


WelcomeInRedOverDoor, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Just yesterday, I might have stumbled upon something I like even *less* than framing artwork. (Ahem, for those of you who do not know me, cutting mat board and framing artwork ranks right up there with "walking into the ocean" or "skydiving without a parachute" on the list of things I'd rather not be doing.) So, what is this horrible thing and why was I doing it? You might ask, and, I'd be here to tell you.

Making travel arrangements.

Oh good grief!

It all started innocently enough. I thought I'd just "point and click a bit" to check on the prices because, as you know, my trip to Santa Fe is coming up (that's this place!) and like I need a hotel and stuff. So, off to the web I went.

Oh what a glorious mistake that was!

I was attacked by travel websites. I was bombarded with "This is the #2 ranked hotel in Santa Fe!" web banner thingies (to use a technical term on you there.) You know that little travel gnome? Yeah, well, now so do I and he's not so friendly once you poke him with a stick, let me tell you. It was a nightmare.

I finally manged to book the flight (after doing hand-to-hand combat with several, ahem "user friendly" airline websites) when I decided it might be a good idea to book my hotel room for my stay in Santa Fe.

Now, let me explain something to you. I know Santa Fe a bit. I've been there before-relatively recently too. I've been a couple of times and I know the deal there. The hotels, well, they are not cheap. Pretty, yes. Convenient, yes, but not cheap. Santa Fe is pretty much a tourist trap, a land where their favorite occupation is "gouging tourists for large sums of money" (hey, it beats "bank embezzlement" or "highway robbery" any day, right? It's even less felonious!) I know some of the hotels there-I've stayed at a few of them already. Heck, I've even gotten drunk in some of the "secret dark corners" of these places. So, me booking a room for a night should be easy, right? Piece of cake? Eh, if only-I wish!

I tried to book the El Rey Inn. I checked on some of the websites and it looked like they had rooms, or maybe not. (Somebody needs to tell that stupid $%^& little gnome that "rooms might be available! Click now!" buttons should actually like, oh, I don't know, lead to a *real* web page!) After that led to websites from nowhere, I wound up ditching the Internets all together and using some archaic form of communication: the telephone. (Now, for you kids out there-it's this large brick like device that has a rotary dialing "knob-like" front that you stick your index finger into and....well, never mind that. Think of it as "an iPhone in an old age home" and your just about there.) I called and spoke to a nice lady who told me that they had, "just booked their last room for all of July!" She said this is a nice chipper, cheery voice. I wanted to kill her. Honestly, I had visions of stabbing her in her sleep.

So then I went back to the web and started attacking the gnome again. I Travelocitied, I TripAdvisored, I out-gnomed the gnome. I poked him in places that, well, let's just say I'm sure he didn't want to be poked and leave it at that, ok?

After all this, what did I end up with? You might be curious, and I'd be (almost) happy to tell you. Shhh. Don't tell Mythopolis, but I seem to have secured a relatively cheap-ism room (well, it's low cost anyway) in a joint called "La Fonda."

What's La Fonda like? You might be wondering, and, again, I am but a humble servant here to help.

The rooms there usually go for about $350 a night. The place is right on the plaza, in the heart of Santa Fe. It's fabulous. It's the place to see and be seen. It's all of "old Santa Fe" and more. It's like an adobe version of the Ritz Carlton. It has a spa, antique furniture, famous artwork, and a world-class restaurant. To mis-quote that famous philosopher, Groucho Marx, I honestly don't know how I managed to secure a room there because I don't want to sleep in a five star hotel that would let the likes of me in. Normally, if a hotel of this caliber knew I was coming, why, they'd warn the bell hops, kill the concierge, and turn the lights out as soon as they saw me walk up the drive. I don't know how I managed to get a reservation, let alone even have it pop up on my "check for hotels under $250 a night in Santa Fe" listings. Wow. Did I get lucky.

Of course, I still want to stay at the El Rey Inn. Someday. Every time I go to Santa Fe, I try to stay there and every time, it seems like just before I make my reservation, they wind up all booked. So now I want to know, who are these people that wait for me to book a room at the El Rey Inn and grab it, snatch it from my clutches minutes before I get mine. I want to know who they are so I can hunt them down and kill them. But not, of course, not before I stay at La Fonda. (Seriously, I hope they die in a hotel fire. But, you know, not one at the El Rey Inn because that, well that would be just bad.)

I'd have to say it "almost" feels good to be all booked for my trip. I say "almost" because, well, the process of booking my trip has served to remind me how much I *hate* to book travel plans. I really hate all of this stuff-I hate making reservations, reserving cars, figuring out the "seat finder" thing for airlines (why, oh why, should I know the inner workings of a McDonnell Douglas MD83?) It's just so *painful* in more ways than I would care to admit. (Would somebody please explain the different between "economy" "compact" and "small" because, like I sure as heck can't figure it out.) But, you know, at the end of the day, I'll be staying at La Fonda which, in case you could not figure out, is Mythopolis' favorite hotel in Santa Fe.

Gosh, after all of this, I sure hope there's a mint on that pillow.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Thirty Questions


FlowerCenter, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's been a while since I've posted a more "personal" post. I've been quite busy with photo-related items and have had a lot to tell you about recently, so I've kind of let these sorts of posts just sort of, well, pile up.

I thought it might be kind of fun to post one, just for old time's sake and so, without further ado, here's a line of questioning and my answers to the same:

  1. It's 2AM and you are not home. You are more than likely: either out drinking or on an all night photo shoot
  2. What's the last thing you spent more than $100 on? Camera gear
  3. What do your bank checks look like? Blue and plain-they are the ones the bank gave me for free.
  4. Where did the shirt you are currently wearing come from? It's a blue T-shirt with horses on it. Oddly enough, it comes from White Sands National Monument. I say "oddly enough" because there are no horses there, though I did see a coyote there. Sadly, they did not sell T-shirts with coyotes on them there, so I had to buy one with horses.
  5. Name something that will be on your Christmas wish list: camera gear
  6. What color is your toothbrush? It's white and boring-I use a sonic toothbrush though, so it makes a cool noise when it spins.
  7. Name something you collect and tell us about it. I collect Moroccan lanterns and Lava lamps. I'm also a photographer. I guess I have a thing about light.
  8. Last restaurant you ate at. Who were you with? How was it? Mandolo's Italian Cafe with some friends. It was fantastic. I had a small piece of pizza, shared some baked dishes and had fresh iced tea.
  9. Who was the last person you bought a birthday card for? My Mom.
  10. What is your worst bad habit? biting my fingernails.
  11. Name a magazine you subscribe to? Lenswork. Aperture. Art Calendar. Mostly photo-related crap.
  12. Your favorite pizza toppings? I tend to like pizza just plain-with cheese and sauce.
  13. Whose number were you looking up the last time you used a phone book? Precision Camera and Video I think.
  14. Other than family, who is the person that you love most? My dog, Chase, though he is not (technically) a person.
  15. What is the last thing you cooked? pasta
  16. Name something you wouldn't want to buy used? a laptop
  17. Which shoe do you put on first? usually left but it varies
  18. What is the last thing you remember losing? I always seem to loose my car keys. And my lens caps. Not in that order though.
  19. What is the ugliest piece of furniture in your house? I have these two big art bins that hold a lot of my framed pieces. They look a bit like square buckets-not very pretty.
  20. Last thing you bought and ended up returning? I don't remember the last thing I returned. I tend to be really bad about returning things. I usually just keep them and re-purpose things a lot.
  21. What perfume/cologne do you wear? If none, why? Almost never wear perfume (because it attracts insects) but, if I do, it'd have to be something that smells like lavender (because that helps me to sleep well.)
  22. Your favorite board game? I like a lot of board games-monopoly, scrabble, backgammon, chess.
  23. What was the last board game you played? I did a photo shoot with Scrabble but the last time I actually played a game, I think it was Catan.
  24. Where did your vehicle come from? My car is an Acura. It came from my local Acura dealership. I got it new. (An Acura is the same as a Honda in the US.)
  25. If a movie was made about your life what would the theme song be? "I Think She's Crazy," by Gnarls Barkley (would be my obvious choice.)
  26. You're sad, who can cheer you up easily? My camera, though it's not a who. Either that or, maybe, Chase.
  27. What was the color of the bridesmaid dresses of the last wedding you went to? Um, last wedding I went to, they all wore shorts as it was in the summertime and informal.
  28. What house cleaning chore do you hate to do the most? I hate cleaning in general, so "all of them" but, if I had to pick one, it'd probably be cleaning the bathroom.
  29. What is your favorite way to eat chicken? I love chicken so almost any way. BBQ maybe, grilled, or even in a sandwich. One of my favorite restaurants, Z-Tejas, makes this incredible jerk chicken and pasta dish that I absolutely love. It's spicy and it's called "Diablo Chicken Pasta" (I think.)
  30. It is your birthday. You hope the cake is? Not too sweet but has some chocolate in it. And maybe some cool icing. Oh, and, since I'm getting old, not enough candles to set off the fire alarms!

Until next time...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

What Just Might Be The World's Coolest Door

I'm back from Salado! Did you miss me?

On Friday, I went up to Salado, Texas for the curating, hanging, and opening of my show at the winery there. The show is called "Stomp That Grape!" and it documents the making of wine in Texas. It runs through July and features 27 images.

I was there early and I helped arrange the work. The first thing I do when I arrange work is look at the empty space and try to visual the work installed-try to start to formulate where things will go and which pieces go with which other pieces. It's not really an exact science, but it's one that a lot of photographers do from time to time. Anyway, as I was walking the space, the big empty space, all of those white walls staring back at me, I noticed they had this door near the back of the exhibition space. It wasn't just any door, no, I kept looking at it. Basically, I could not take my eyes off of it.

Of course, most people probably don't look at doors all that carefully. I mean, a door is just a door, right? But not this door. No, this door was perhaps the world's coolest door in oh so many ways. For starters, it was a white door in a white room-excuse my French, but that's a photographer's "wet dream" right there. No need to go any further. But, this door did. It had peeling paint and a lace curtain panel. Oh, more "wet dreams" in oh so many ways. Then, it had one of those old door knobs, you know, the very black heavy ones? Yeah, like wow! It was a door to end all doors. Seriously. Yes, I know it's a door, and, yes, I know I'm perhaps a bit, shall we say "lulu" in the head, but, honestly, I thought it was the world's coolest door. Evah! I so wanted to just shoot the door and forget about hanging up the photos. And, hate to say it, but I wasn't the only one. No, almost every other photographer was clamoring to get into the back room-to be next to that door-you know the door, *that* door. Oh, it was almost a hair-pulling fist fight of epic proportions. It was just the coolest door and everybody just wanted to be near it. It was like the "Brad Pitt" of doors or something.

As the show started, the people started to come, started to drink wine and nibble on the finger food and all. There were even some other photographers there-a few folks showed up with cameras. And what did they shoot, you might ask? Nope, not our photos. Not the room, not our photos, not the other people at the show. Nope, nope, and no. You guess it. They shot the door. They all shot the door. Everybody wanted to get a picture of that door.

So, before I left for the night, while the sun was still soft in the sky, the shadows flickering through the screen door behind me, what did I do too? Yup, you guessed it. I shot the door. (Behold! Here is a photo of my framed photographic print hanging next to, right next to, what just might be the world's coolest door.)

It's the coolest door in the world, I tell you. The absolute coolest.

Oh, and, you know, in case you were wondering, the show was kind of nice too.

Until next time...

Friday, June 04, 2010

Aqua meets Oil


LakeNo3, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

How do you think photographers are going to respond to the giant oil spill in the gulf? Do you think they'll be out in force, covering the story as photojournalists? Do you think they'll be interviewing the many boaters, fisherman, and people along the shore impacted by this great tragedy? Maybe following around the politicos as they each try to point blame, craft spin, and dodge responsibility or shoot the big oil corporations when they think we aren't looking? Do you think they'll get close, really close, and show us bits of oil trapped in the wetlands? Maybe large sweeping panorama style shots, showing us oil spilling into the gulf? All of the above? None of it?

It can be hard being a photographer in times like this. We're people too. We react in much the same ways as you do. We react, but then we go to work. Our job begins, you see, almost (in a way) where yours ends. We pick up the pieces and figure out how to show them to you, to everybody, in such a way that it draws attention, it documents, it visualizes, it drives home the point. That's what we do best-we're sort of the collective consciousness for society. We're that little voice inside your head mother warned you about. Yeah, that's us. We're here to help, really, if you think about it, though, sometimes, it seems like we hurt, and we have to hurt, to do it. We have to drive home that point because, well, if it could be said, it would have been said with words already, so, BAM! here's a picture. It's times like these that demand we be in your face but also quietly whispering in your ear, reminding you that we're there. It's alright but, just in case, here's a compelling image to remind you of what it looks like. Yes, that's us-that's our department. You rang?

How do you think photographers are going to respond to the giant oil spill in the gulf? What do you think they are doing? What would you do? It's a hard call and a tough job sometimes, don't you think? What would you do if placed out in a row boat, in the middle of a giant oil slick that stretches three states away? How would you respond? What if you had one frame, and only one frame, to show the world what it looks like? What picture would you take? What would you say if your only voice were your camera?

It's hard to do that sometimes. It's not the kind of photography people think about when they pick up their camera and go off looking for a pretty flower or a pleasing sunset, but it's the kind of photography that must be done sometimes. We all need a dose of reality, no matter how bad it can taste doing down, don't you think?

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Part V on FotoFest-The "I Can't Believe You Missed...." Post


BurstingWeeds, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's been a while since I started my FotoFest ramblings, but I realized that I never finished posting them, so here's a short piece to help wrap things up. Since I've yapped on and on about some of the "way cool" work I've seen at FotoFest, I thought it *finally* time to talk about some of the good stuff I know I missed and I thought it might be a good idea to do this today, while some folks were returning back to work (and wanted something a bit more substantial to read.)

I hinted at the Keith Carter exhibit-I managed to catch some of it, but missed seeing it in full swing. We did manage to catch a few leftover prints and a few odds and ends though and I'm sorry I missed the entire exhibit.

Some of my friends, had some work up at the Museum of Printing History. In a show called "Photography: Printing with Light" that explored alternative processes, there was work included by several folks I know, including Ed Buffaloe, Chricel E. Portela, Michael Rigby, Terri St. Arnauld, Ann Texter, Spiffy Tumbleweed, and Kathryn Watts-Martinez. I'm really sorry I did not make it over to see this show, by all accounts it was a must see and I'm really sorry I missed it.

Allison Hunter's "Zoosphere" looks like it was really cool-it was a multi-channel video installation with sound that captures zoo animals in gallery spaces.

The Lawndale Arts Center is always good and I missed going there. Shelley Calton's "Traces of Her" is an interesting series-it's one I have encountered on the gallery circuit before, but I did miss seeing it at FotoFest. The DeSantos Gallery had an exhibit by Austin's own Sarah Sudhoff, called "At the Hour of Our Death" that explores the last mark's people make as they die-stains on textiles. This work looks a bit gory but interesting and also ranks high on the "sorry I missed it" category.

David A. Brown's "Unfiltered, trying to find my way..." 3-D series looked absolutely stunning and I'm sorry to miss this as well. Michele Wambaugh's "The String Theory of Cities" looked really interesting too.

And then there's Steve McCurry. You might not recognize his name, and you might not even know his face, but it's not his face that makes up his most iconic image. No, it's a face he once photographed-a face in Afghanistan in 1984 that makes this show worthy of a look. From the blurb in the book, "Afghan Girl appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic. The image-she wears a red scarf draped loosely over her head and her piercing sea-green eyes stare directly into the camera-became a symbol both of the 1980's Afghan conflict and of the refugee situation worldwide. The image itself was named "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the magazine." All that and I missed it. Damn! (You can see a "virtual tour" of the image at this link.)

Geoff Winningham and Loli Kantor both had exhibitions that I would have liked to have seen. Laurie Lambrecht presented "Inside Roy Lichtenstein's Studio" and "Re-Imagining Place" by Rusty Scruby and Susan Wides looked really interesting. There was a show on "New Visualism: Abstractions in Photography" and also one exploring social media, called "Poke!" that looked really interesting and finally, there was "International Discoveries II" to showcase talent discovered by curatorial staff from events across the world. Looks like some really interesting work in that, so I'm sorry I missed it.

FotoFest has tons of work and I'm really glad I got to see as much work as I did, but there's always more. Every year I swear I say the same thing-next time, I'm going to stay for longer than a day and get out to visit more stuff. Maybe one year, I'll make it to visit Meeting Place while it's in full swing and not just stop there for iced tea on my way around. Yes, yes, I know, here's hoping, right?

Until next time...