Friday, July 29, 2011

Canon's New Fisheye Lens

So I ordered a new lens today, hoping it would get here before my trip.

I've always wanted a fisheye lens but could never afford one. Even if you can afford one, the digital crop vs. full frame and fisheye full frame vs. circular debate will make your head spin. Luckily for me, it would appear Canon has solved this problem (of sorts.)

Canon has an L-series fisheye zoom lens that allows you to operate it as a circular fisheye (you know those shots, with the whole world appearing in a circle, rather than rectangular, like a "normal" photo) on a full frame camera but also use the zoom mechanism so that it can also be used as a full frame fisheye on either a crop sensor or (with the zoom) on a full frame.

To put it in a nutshell, this means I can have my circular fisheye goodness on my full frame Canon while also still enjoying some square frame fisheye love on my crop sensor Canon cameras. It's kind of like the best of both worlds, only a bit more bug eyed and wider.

The only problem? (What? Like you knew there would be a catch.) It's on back order and not sure I will get it before I leave for my trip.

Now, I know you don't much think of me as a fisheye shooter and that's because I'm not, at least, I haven't been. But, secretly, I've always wanted to do some sky shots on the fisheye, some landscapes, maybe an ocean series. You know, I've always wanted to do it. I've always been one of those people that, if I'm going wide, I'm going W-I-D-E, none of this 45mm crap for me. No, it's either go fisheye or go home. If I'm going to do anything slight, might as well leave the nifty fifty on there and go all normal on you right? And, well, let me just put this one to the crowd...when have I ever been anywhere near normal? Can you recall? (Nope. Didn't think so.)

So, fisheye it is!

I have so much gear to get before my trip, it's not even funny. Wish me luck, for the postman is going to be bow-legged once again. *Sigh*

Until next time...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm In the Mood for Some Architecture


LasTrampasOld8728, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Today's upload: I'm in the mood for some architecture. This is an old (authentic) adobe house situated in the small town of Las Trampas, nestled along the high road to Taos, between Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I love Las Trampas. It's this small, tiny tucked away town that's long forgotten by most on the well-worn tourist paths. It's the kind of town most people would just drive straight through, without stopping to see. It's the kind of town I might have lived in, had I lived so long ago, down Mexico way. Really, it's that sort of a place.

Having said all of that, I think this building has been patched. But still, it's authentic, it's adobe and it's probably still there in downtown Las Trampas, waiting for somebody else to discover it.

We really all should get out more, don't you think?

Until next time...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Carol's New Reality, of sorts


FlowerPower_1608, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I've always been one of those people where, when life is crazy, it's really really crazy and when it's not? Well, it's usually pretty quiet.

Enter the craziest of the crazies.

I've been thinking about what to do for my next move. I've been wanting to go on some "big shoot" but couldn't quite decide what I wanted to do. I am in the (photographic) mood for doing something different. I was thinking about maybe going over to Europe, and even started looking, but I just could not commit. I've been meaning to go to Barcelona for a while now and still have not done a big shoot out that way, so I was maybe thinking about doing Barcelona in the fall (or some such thing.)

It's 105 where I am today, hot, VERY hot, and it's been over 100 in Texas since June. The early part of June. You know that part, right? The time in June when the pretty birds sing in the parks and young girls get married in white dresses without so much as breaking a sweat on their brows? Yeah, well, that didn't happen here. It was 102 from something like June 2 onwards.

Ok, enough about the heat.

Back to the workshop. I looked around, poked, researched, added up costs, thought about what I wanted to do, and just pondered a bit. Thought about going up New Mexico way but I've been to Santa Fe several times recently, it's still not really cool there-in fact, it's what they call "monsoon season" on account of the heavy rains and storms that wash across the desert this time of year. Santa Fe was kind of out for me, even though I do want to go back again and gain. I went to Hawaii earlier this year so I wanted to do something...different. You know, someplace I've not been to before. I kind of wanted to go to Europe again but I couldn't really fully commit if that makes sense. I poked and I prodded and I finally found a workshop going to Iceland. Yes, that Iceland. The place with the...glaciers? In August? Yeah, that place. So I booked my workshop. Yesterday, I sat down at my computer, sent the email and pulled the trigger as it were.

Then, I decided that, since I was going on this wonderfully fabulous new trip, I would need a new camera. A nice new camera. To, you know, to hold up over all of that "bad ass glacier action" I'm about to enjoy. I think. (Does one enjoy bad ass glaciers? Gosh, since I'm going to be up close and personal with one soon enough, I certainly hope so.)

So, what did I do about the camera?

My 7D has been acting up. It's working but it's got the weird focusing issue plus the LCD panel is crooked and falling. It's got a bezel issue. It's still under warranty so I can still get it fixed but I don't want to depend upon it for anything at this point. I feel like, though I absolutely love that camera, it's on shaky ground if you know what I mean.

After several years of being one of the self-proclaimed "cheap camera connoisseurs," I've gone off and bought a Canon Baby Mark camera. Yes, I'm now going to be shooting a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera in Iceland sometime very soon now.

Me? From Texas. Going to Iceland. The place with the glaciers. With a not-so-crappy camera this time. Even a nice new big camera? What is the world coming to? Is this like normal? Do you feel like some kind of anti/alternate universe rising up and has it already swallowed us all and I just didn't notice? Is this the "real" me? Are people now going to stop me on the streets and say things like, "what have you done with the 'real' Carol?!?"

Now I'm feeling a bit disconnected. A bit odd. Even a bit out of sorts. For me, this new big honking killer camera is kind of like buying a new car, house, whatever. I've got that "did I really just do that?" moment rushing through my veins. And it's scary. And fun. All at the same time. It's scary and fun and now I really want to go tromp across a glacier with crampons and a shiny new not-so-crappy camera. At least, I think I do anyway. (Does that even make any sense at all?)

Maybe I'm just crazy from the heat but this workshop was so just pulling me. It's 105 in the freaking shade and I want to go sit on a glacier with a shiny new camera and play. Is there something so wrong about that? About any of that? Isn't that what photography is supposed to be all about? (Please don't tell me it's model releases and insurance forms because I think, at this point anyway, I would really loose it.)

Right about now, I need some kind of morale support, a stiff drink perhaps, maybe even a pinch and possibly a new ceiling fan because, well, it's still 105 degrees out there in the freaking shade. Oh, and I'd really like it if you could send some links, stories, or just "yeah, you go girls!" about Iceland so I know what it looks like too.

I feel like I've walked into an entirely new reality. Like I'm on some kind of freight train that's barreling down the tracks at 300 miles an hour and I just barely even noticed we're even moving. I know people always exaggerate things like "that's so surreal" but this time, why I actually mean it.

Iceland in 2011 with a baby Mark. It's bound to be different, that's for sure.

Until next time...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Going Vertical


SaltyDog, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I don't usually shoot a lot of verticals. I used to do it a lot more and then, a few years ago I happened to decide I wanted to do a calendar. There's nothing quite as maddening as sitting down to edit and organize your work, only to discover that you've got one or two stubborn vertical images that just don't seem to fit in with the rest. It's difficult to do a lot of print work, sometimes even fit images into a Blurb book, for example, if you've got a mish-mash of verticals mixed in with horizontal images. Maybe it's because of this, or maybe it's just because I force myself to nowadays, but I just don't do a whole heck of a lot of vertical images after that experience. I just don't shoot them all that much anymore, not unless I really have to or the scene really calls for it.

One thing many people don't realize about vertical images is that they are a great thing to do if you are providing text. If you want a "cover" image for a book, for example, vertical might be just the way to go. You can basically make a square image, leaving a lot of negative space up top for the accompanying text, and then you've got yourself a nice cover (or image with text.) It works. The text looks uncluttered and has a natural place to "breathe" and the image retains its natural strength. I actually really like that combination.

When it all comes down to it, some people just see the world more vertically than others, I guess. Some people like the strong vertical lines, they play upon that natural sense of height, while others like a more landscape-inspired approach. I've always been a "live and let live" type of photographer in that regard-I'll never try to convince anybody to switch off of or onto vertical or horizontal images, I just don't think I'll be taking tons more myself. I think, in my case anyway, it's just more a matter of convenience than anything else.

Do you shoot a lot of verticals? Do you prefer having that nice, straight horizon line? Or do you prefer the natural height, implied scale, and perspective of a vertical image?

Until next time...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Book - Hill Country Water Gardens and Nursery

Finished the first draft of my latest Blurb creation tonight. It's all about the Hill Country Water Gardens and Nursery. You know that place, it's my local koi breeders and water flower joint.

Here's some linky goodness foof for you to click upon while I'm recovering from the battle of the font wars (Blurb always seems to win that one.)




Until next time...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Seashore


TreesAtSunset2903, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Maybe because it's summer or maybe because it's been so hot but, lately anyway, I've been feeling a real desire to go to the seashore again.

For the folks who live near the shore, it's great to be able to get out and go there whenever you want. For those of us "trapped" in the middle of the country, well, the seashore can be a hard thing. It drags on us, in a way. We sometimes just wish we were there.

If I had all the money in the world, I'd probably run off and buy some dream home in Santa Fe. You know those kind of places-the adobe palaces with all of the artwork and the really cool red throw pillows on the couch. Heck, I'd even tolerate some of that New Mexico mountain snow in the wintertime. I love it there and really like the architecture that much.

But, part of me, secretly, would still dream about having some sort of Balinese-style home on the beach, with a great deck overlooking the waves and the shoreline.

Until next time...

Friday, July 15, 2011

For My Next Trick


RedOrangeCluster_1729, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

My next project is something that you might not expect.

I've been shooting my local Koi breeders/water gardens for a few years now and I've finally decided to make a book of this work. The book will have chapters on "the secret life of plants" and "on being Koi" as well as one called "soft abstractions."

This is not the kind of work you'd usually expect from me. Typically, I shy away from floral type photos, don't do landscapes, and at least try to avoid the "ordinary" type of nature photography you might expect to see from a true nature photographer. My thinking here is that, frankly, the nature photographers usually do this kind of work better than I'm suited to do and my forte is really more along the lines of "oddball art" type of subjects. To each his strengths, right?

I decided to do this project for a few reasons. One, it's more "normal" and allows me to "play" in the "normal kids" sandbox for a while. Places like ImageKind and some catalogs really go for this kind of work and, until now anyway, I haven't really had a body of work suitable for that environment.

It's more than that really though, as it's never about the money with me. This is not about "cashing in" more than it's about stretching myself a bit as an artist. I wanted to do a more "pretty" book, a lighter body of work that was more accessible to folks. Many folks don't understand my "out there" artsy stuff. This is an excuse, of sorts, to reign things in and provide something a bit more ordinary for those who are so inclined.

If you're a fan of my "normal" work, don't panic. I expect to go back to (continue to produce actually) my quirky oddball stuff. It's just, you know, every once in a while I too want to play in the sandbox with all of the other more "normal" kids. That's all.

I am putting the finishing touches on the book now and expect it to hit the Blurb bookstore in a few days (or so.) Watch for other announcements as they unfold (once, you know, once the book is done.)

And, yes, tomorrow don't expect a flower in this space as, seeing as this is still my site, I can't predict when the urge to return to self will happen. It could happen at any given moment, really, so be on the lookout for that. Next day might bring an ordinary flower, an oddball artsy shot, or anything in between really. If I were predictable, why that would be boring, wouldn't it?

Until next time...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Make Mine a Double


Cover-2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The "little book" I did as part of the Sketchbook Project has now gone on-line. You can find it over at an Art House Co-op near you (or by following this link.)

One of the things I love about being an artist is that you sometimes never do know when your prior work is going to sort of "pop up" again. What I mean by that is, once you send stuff out and it goes on exhibition, you never know if old images will get rotated in (or out) of exhibition again, old catalogs get picked up and granted a new life, even sometimes old shows come back and find their own sort of resurgence. Sometimes, art has a life of its own.

In a way, this can be a good thing, because you never know when or where or how your work is going to pop up again. I'm kind of glad that I was not a beginner in the days of the Internet, however, because I could see cringing as many of my old mistakes come back to haunt me. I guess there are two sides to that coin, right? I mean, on the one hand, it's great that artwork can take on a life of its own but, on the other, we sometimes get little to no say in *which pieces* get picked up and travel into the next life. That's kind of hard to swallow sometimes, especially if you're one of those artists who like everything perfect and really try to protect yourself from mistakes getting out of the studio.

Even so, it's kind of fun to re-live old stuff. I've been doing it a lot lately, so I probably should stop but even I have to admit that it was fun digging through my old slides and it was fun checking out my little book from the Sketchbook Project.

I'm probably going to do a sketchbook next year as well, although they have the paper issues sorted out a bit better (or so I've been told.) I'm really happy about that because, as you can see from the link, I really struggled with the paper being too thin and I had a lot of "bleeding" going on in my Sketchbook. If they give us better paper, as promised, I'll probably be able to do more "real" watercolors and less dabbing on of color (all the while secretly hoping it doesn't bleed right through to the other side of the paper.)

Photographers can participate in this project too. I used some glue to glue my images in the Sketchbook and that really helped (in some cases) with the paper bleeding. To sign-up or participate in the project, follow the link to Art House Co-Op and add the "Sketchbook 2012 Project" to your shopping cart. This year, friends from Europe and Australia can participate as well, so it's a bit more global in scale.

Until next time...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

And the Winner Is...

This is the final image they have selected for inclusion in the Long Shot photo marathon.

You can see all of the selected images on the web here if you want to check out the rest of the work selected for inclusion in this year's Long Shot.

Was it the image you expected? Do the images look like they go together or "match" in any way? Do you think you would pick some or all of these images? How do you think the finished show is going to look?

From my perspective, I'm not surprised that this image was selected. I think it's one of the better ones from the batch. When making my selections (deciding upon my "top 10" to submit for their consideration) I wanted to give them a choice. I opted to give them some "traditional" looking images (bees on flowers, pretty flowers, soft macro style work) and then some of my new pinhole series.

Had they chosen a bee on a flower, I would have said they opted for "something safe" and were looking to make sales. Had they chosen one of the more "whacky" pinhole shots, I would have said they were really looking to pull out all of the stops and get a little crazy. Instead, they chose something a bit unusual but still within the norms of "pretty" (or so I think.) I do feel this is one of the strong images from the batch, although it's not necessarily a "safe" image in terms of I'm not one hundred percent certain it will sell.

Regardless of their selection criteria, I'm now going to matte and frame the image so that I can ship it off to them later on this week. I'm happy with the choice of image they made and I'll try to do a good job printing and presenting it for them. Since this is a charity show, I have no idea what the image will (finally) sell for, or if it will even sell at all, but I will do my best to help them with this bit.

One thing people don't realize is that getting into a show is not the end point. There's a lot of publicity, press, promotion, etc. that goes into a show after you're in it. For example, if I were to post this on my Facebook page, along with a tag that says something like, "Hey Seattle Friends, check out this upcoming show!" it might get a few more people to go to, or at least hear about the show. It might get more people from Austin to wonder about the show in Seattle and maybe consider submitting work next year, and it will probably get even more folks (from all over the world) clicking on the link and viewing the show on-line. Likewise, it I post this to Twitter, same thing.

If this were a "big show" for me, I'd have to maybe even do interviews and be prepared to talk about my work. I'd probably do a press release and look to get some coverage of the show in my local papers as well as in national media (if I could.) There really is a lot to do after you get into the show, it's not just hang the stuff up on the walls and run. If you want your show, any show, to be a success, you have to work at it and, like many things in life, the harder you're willing to work, well, the "luckier" you become in terms of sales or just name recognition.

It can be difficult for me to explain this to beginners because, more often than not, they just want to rack up sales. They don't care about building a reputation, they just have it in their heads that exhibition, any exhibition, equates to "sales, sales, sales" and they somehow have been fooled into believing that random massive sales of work will just fall into their lap.

There was a great comedian who once said, "nothing ever fell into my lap that I didn't have to go to the dry cleaner's to get out later on." That's a very true statement. Luck is what you make of it and you have to work at being a successful artist to, well, to become a successful artist. Apologies if I have spoiled the fantasy for you, but, here in the "real" world, that's just how it works.

Now, speaking of "real world," I'm looking at a trip to Iceland and seriously considering pulling the trigger on it. Iceland? Me? Can you imagine? (Ok, so maybe one of the little "perks" of doing this is that, once in a while, when I catch a break, I can justify going to some uber-cool location for a grand photo op or two. Once a great while, you know, like when the weather is too hot in Austin to take any pictures and I really need a break from all of the paperwork.)

Until next time...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My Other Self


Willow, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

In case you forgot (heck, I know I sometimes do) I maintain another website (ahem, a "real" website) over at HouseOfCarol.com. Since it's been a while (ahem, a "real long while" actually) since I've updated this, I've started the long and arduous task of updating this site. Wish me luck, Snowflakes, for Queen Flake is going to need it.

It's been a while since I've updated my "real" website. It's been a while since I've had to sit down and remember things like, "that show in Colorado, was it in January or March?" and "what was it called again?" Oh, it can be difficult if not impossible to keep up with these things.

For those of you wanting to do a website, there's a tendency to want to "get er done" as they say. The notion that you can just dump a lot of stuff into a website and forget about it for a while is a grand one, but the reality is that there always seems to be stuff you need to update, stuff you need to tweak, things to maintain. It's a bother sometimes, really it is and, frankly, sometimes I wonder if anybody bothers to go over there and look at it anyway. (You all seem to love my blog so much more these days. *Hugs*)

I use a service for my website and I highly recommend that. My service is called VisualServer and it's run by the good folks who bring us PhotoEye (both the gallery and the bookstore.) I love that gallery and bookstore-it's always a highlight to visit and no trip to the Santa Fe area would be complete without it. There are also a few other services I've been seeing and reading a lot more about lately too-BigBlackBag seems to be very popular and is making some nice looking websites (IreneS of Flickr fame has a fantastic looking website designed using these templates.) My advice here again is pretty simple: find a service you like and can afford and GO! You really just need to have some kind of a website already, so get on with it. The sooner you do it, the sooner it gets done, better get while the getting is good, and all that (as they say.)

Since I've been a bit busy updating the *other* Carol's Little World, I thought I would just stop in here and explain what's going on in case, you know, in case you were curious (not that you'd ever look over there, mind you, as I know how you Snowflakes are. Wink Wink.)

And, by all means, if you are an artist and you do not (yet) have a website, go on, go. What are you waiting for? Shoo, already!

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Show News


FrontPorchView-2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Some upcoming shows to tell you about.

For those of you in Austin, I have a show currently installed at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. It's called "Taking Gonzales 2" and it's about the small Texas town of Gonzales, which I shot using slide film back in the early 90's (that's the 1990's in case you were wondering.) The show runs through July and is on the second floor of the museum.

The next show is called "Wonderland: Photographic Fantasies" and is to be held in the Vermont PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont from July 19th through August 13th. The show is an international juried show, featuring work from over 30 different artists from around the world, all focused on the subject of creating a "wonderland" with our cameras.

For those of you in Austin and those of you in the Vermont area, I hope you can get out to see the shows. For those of you who celebrate Independence Day, I hope you had a great holiday weekend.

Until next time...

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Independence Day


Flag, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

For all of my friends in the 'States, today marks Independence Day. Please have a happy and safe 4th of July.

Today is a great day to celebrate with BBQ, picnics, time at the beach, or just time spent relaxing and enjoying the throws of summer. I hope you have a great 4th and get to do some of these things.

Until next time...