Saturday, December 07, 2019

Notes From the Road - First Edit

Notes from the road contains tonight's first edit. As part of our travels, we have to prep sample images and be prepared to talk about them. These are mine. I am pulling together eight images for the talk and you can tell from the bunch there is some architecture some natural world, some shot fairly straight and some my usual blend of reflection or just abstract in some way. On the whole, the shooting has been very good here. There is a lot to shoot in Kyoto, it's really a rich subject. Today, I got to eat lunch with a Geisha (look for images of that to follow) and I got to visit with a gold leaf artist. He was a lot of fun, really very entertaining. I'm sure I'll have more time to edit and it's safe to say I've got a lot of images in post now, with post holding up the works for sure. I just don't want to spend quality time with post duties, as this sort of thing can wait until I get home, so I'm doing a rough job-just enough to get me something to talk about while I'm here. All of this with a promise to do more once I have returned home and the shooting is done. Editing can wait until later, for now, there is more shooting, as my days are filled with gearing up, heading out, walking about, taxi rides, lunch plans, and the like. Yes, we are shooting a lot and it feels good.

In other news, I have started jaywalking here so that's a sign I am starting to feel comfortable. I can tell you where there are at least 5 Starbuck's and I know some of the major intersections, although I have yet to figure out the subway. I know where the local (and best) soft serve ice cream is and I've found at least 3 noodle shots you could write home about if you were so inclined. Yes, this place is starting to feel a bit like home for me know.

I'll keep things short as my internet is spotty now. Look for more notes to follow as I can.

Until next time...

Monday, December 02, 2019

Notes from the Rain - Notes from the Road for December 2nd

It rained today in Kyoto. Reading this, you might be thinking, "oh no, not that," but, actually, in many ways we were blessed by the rain. Now, if you've never gone shooting in the rain, there are a couple of "gotchas" you have to watch out for when in the field. For starters, everything gets wet. When I say, "everything," I do mean everything. Your camera (it will get wet, trust me on this) you shoes, your camera bag, your map, your cell phone, yup, everything gets wet, wet, wet. That's kind of how rain works, right? It's almost like, no actually it is, water falling from the sky covering everything here on earth. So, why should camera gear be immune to this?

Sometimes, it's good to have things wet. Streets, for example, look much better wet, so much so that, when they film car commercials, they sometimes hose everything down to make it look like it just rained. Moss on trees looks really cool when wet. Dry? Eh, not so much. (OK, sometimes it's cool too but, trust me on this, it really looks better when wet.) Flowers and plants generally look very cool with little water droplets on them. The rain makes people do certain things too, like carry umbrellas and wear jackets which can look really awesome when photographed. Rain actually softens the light too, and that works wonders for colors. You can get some really intense, deep color when it's raining. It's hard to shoot in the rain, yes, but you can get some interesting shots from it. I've always found rain to be very hard on the photographer, on our gear especially, but lovely if you can manage a shot. It turns you into a sort of "Babe Ruth" of photography-you often strike out but, when you get a "hit" it's out of the park good. Rain can make you miserable, yes, but it can make you pull shots out of your anatomy you didn't think you had in you.

Another side effect of rain is that a lot of times it keeps people indoors-other "normal" people don't like to be out in it. That can make things (well, except for museums, movies, and the like) kind of empty. Such was the case today in Kyoto.

We started out from hotel and decided that, because it was raining, we would try to shoot the market, since that is covered and we could walk around inside. That's one way to get out of the rain. Of course, we were not the only people with this idea. The market was packed, making for hard shooting but interesting shots nevertheless. We took a cab over to market, shot some in the morning, and then decided to go to an outdoor market (actually street area) to shoot and checkout some handicrafts, since these are usually located indoors also. The shopping wasn't our style but, over the course of our travels, we encountered not one but two temples, and we had them both pretty much to ourselves. We got to photograph both of these pretty much by ourselves, sans the typical packs of tourists that sometimes free range themselves into your shots. What a relief!

It was very pleasant shooting the quiet contemplative temples in the rain by ourselves. Almost like a meditation itself, that was. Another moment where we were lost in it, taking our time, working slowly and deliberative, working the shots. As you shoot, subtle movements can make all the difference in the world and, if you have the luxury of working slowly, of really working a location, you often find there is a lot to gain from this technique. Today, that's exactly what we did. Work slow, in the rain, in the temples, lining up the shots. No hustle, no bustle, no timelines, just camera in hand, working with the sound of the soft autumn rain as our soundtrack. In some ways, it was really a gift.

Stopped for a snack and then late afternoon headed back over to Gion to try and shoot the geisha district at dusk. Managed to get there a little late and it was packed with mobs of tourists. We did get to see some back alley streets and even shoot them too before we noticed the signs. They have signs up that you cannot photograph on the private streets there. Managed to put the cameras away and go for some tea instead. Sill really happy we got to see Gion at dusk, even if we don't have a lot of images to share for the experience. It's nice to just experience these things sometimes and we did just that.

Tomorrow, we are going to try for philosopher's path and more Gion in the daytime, possibly more shrines and temples over on the east side. It's calling for cloudy weather which might make for good foliage shots, if we can manage to find some of the red leaves.

Until next time...

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Spending a Quiet, Sunny Day in Gion - Notes from the Road

Today was a wonderful, sunny day here in Kyoto. It was really quite pleasant as we made our way around town. We opted to set out walking and then cab it back to hotel once we petered out, and this turned out to be a fabulous idea. We walked over to the Gion district which is famous for, among other things, being home to most of the geishas. We saw a few of them, but it was more about the experience of the entire district. It really was some great shooting. We stopped to have some tea and chatted with the guy from the tea spot for a while. He was really nice and we talked about Kyoto, life in Japan, Texas, New Mexico, food, and probably a bunch of other things I'm forgetting right now. This shot was taken right near the tea stop and, as you can tell, we also managed to somehow time this trip pretty well with the near peak fall foliage, at least a lot of the leaves in Kyoto right now seem to be red.

Kyoto really seems to be a magical place for photography, at least I am really loving it so far. There is just something so special about the architecture, the food, the people. Even if this trip ended tomorrow, it has been really fabulous. A fabulous experience so far and it's hardly begun, as most of our crew did not arrive just yet. Tomorrow, they start filtering in and we get to meet the other photographers, plus the artisans.

For now, for today, it was really great to spend a day outside, in the sun, walking around, cameras in tow, just taking it all in. I always say that, when I travel, I love to get lost in a place. For a time today, for a short time, I was lost in Gion and oh what a wonderful experience that was.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 28, 2019

I Have a Yen for Some Notes from the Road

Playing around with the camera on the iPhone 11, this one is actually taken from some foreign currency. Speaking of foreign currency, I must confess I have a serious yen for some ramen noodles, maybe a zen garden or two, perhaps a temple, and, heck, there's even a geisha calling my name. Yes, it's true, I'm prepping for my next photo trek. Can you guess where I'll be going?

So far, packing is going OK. I've got a new camera bag (one of these: Kelly Moore Jude Bags in case you are curious) and it seems to be better than the last, although the jury is still out on this. We'll see how it holds up on the plane, as this is the real test. At this point, it's all like stuffing, stuffing, stuffing anyway, we're past the point of order and into the final stretch here. I'm trying out a lot of new things this time around, mixing it up a bit to see what works. Meeting a friend in LA before we travel onto Osaka, Kyoto, and other points in Japan together, and she summarized it best, "Everything with the excuse that, 'oh, well, I need that for Japan' is how this trip is going." Yes, that about sums it up for me too. It's been some retail therapy cleverly (or maybe not so) disguised as a location shoot.

Ah, but those ramen noodles, they are so calling my name! What's that you say, I really didn't need that new sweater? Hey, I've got a lunch date with a geisha, did you expect me to be under dressed for this? Nah, didn't think so!

On the more mundane housekeeping front, look for more, "Notes from the Road" as I can, "Opportunity Weekend" will be on a bit of hiatus, yes, I know my top 10 list will be forthcoming, and please let's all prey my house sitter can figure out how to work the coffee pot and the TV while I'm gone, m'kay?

This time, it's me who's getting the, "safe travels and good light," well wishes. Wish me luck, for I shall travel far in the hopes of getting my next great shot. I am about to embark on my Japanese adventure. Let's hope the travel is indeed safe, the light good, the geisha in fine spirits, and the ramen place can translate my shoddy Japanese well enough to give me a bowl of soup.

Sayonara until next time...

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Eight Images from Home

Recently, I was tasked with pulling together "eight images from home." While this might seem like an easy task, I'm here to tell you, it's no easy pickings. For starters, lately anyway, a lot of my preferred images have been shot far from home. Limiting me to "from home" means no Iceland, no Italy, no Peru, no China, no Mexico, heck, you get the idea. In a way, this is a good thing, as it makes me stop to reflect what I shoot when I shoot local, the homegrown stuff. It's really easy to just shoot the Eiffel Tower when you're standing in front of it, right? I mean, it's there and you're there, and it's just what you do. When you are "at home" you have a choice.

You can see my selections above. Of course, I opted to include my usual hat tip to architecture, starting out with one of my earlier pieces, which also doubles as a reflection in water. Gosh, I love to shoot those. Then, there's the abandoned building trend which I definitely fall into at times. Sometimes, I hate to admit it but I do love a good empty building so there's that. Of course, some night work is included along with a nod to my inclination for painting (actually mixed media) and then we get into some of my more recent garden series work. I still don't have a name for this series yet, tentatively titling it, "The Garden that Grew on Me," but it's in the new folio since it fits and I wanted to include some of that.

Amazing to me really but eight images goes kind of quickly. You run out of slots pretty fast so, for these things anyway, I tend to try to pull a reasonable cross section of what I like to do. The "from home" thing made it a bit tricky for me but here you have it. It's hard to introduce yourself in eight images but then, in a way, that's all it should take really? I mean, how much more do you need?

Hello, I'm Carol and these are my "eight images from home."

Until next time...

Holiday Prints - Available Now

It's holiday season so time for me to launch some prints. Every year I launch some new work as part of "Black Friday" and the holiday season. These two are from my garden series, tentatively titled "The Garden That Grew on Me." They are available over at in various sizes, everything from 5"x7" to 60"x44" in my Minted storefront. Minted takes credit cards and offers various framing options, everything from an unframed print to a fancy frame for the artwork.

Here are some links:
"Linear in Green" is available at this link:

and "Half of Me" is available here:

I hope you'll consider purchasing from a local artist this holiday season. It goes a long way to support the arts in our communities.

Here's to a great holiday season. May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and happy Black Friday shopping to one and all.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - November 23, 2019

Abstract view of a high rise building in downtown Austin, Texas, featuring blue and gree colors
Going a bit abstract for this week's Opportunity Weekend, this one from a recent photo walk around downtown Austin. Don't worry, your opportunities for this week are anything but abstract. Here are some "real" opportunities for you:
That's a bunch of opportunities for you to "get real."

Until next time...

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - November 17, 2019

"Oh, you don't know, the shape I'm in." I think there's a song that goes something like that. Never mind about shapes, as it's time for opportunities, and there are some happy opportunities for you this week. Here you go:
That's about 25 opportunities to get you in shape this week, not to mention it's EAST and AVAA has their upcoming 12BUY12 exhibition for those artists local to Austin. Get after it!

Until next time...

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - November 3rd, 2019

It's Daylight Savings Time here which means you get an extra hour of opportunities. Here they are:
That's a bunch of opportunities to fit into that extra hour.

Until next time...

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Back From Seattle with a New iPhone

So, I've returned from a recent trip to Seattle and decided to take the plunge. I ordered a new iPhone 11 Pro to replace my old, trusty iPhone SE, which had seen better days. The poor little SE was unable to hold a charge (bad battery) had an old raggedy case, and the headphone jack was acting weird, not to mention it was just getting up in years. Rather than wait for it to actually give up the ghost, I decided I would try for a replacement. As I was flying back from the Pacific Northwest, they announced the new iPhone 11 Pro line. Talking to a few folks on the plane, we all had the same impressions. The old iPhone in our pockets had lasted long enough and, yeah, it might have been time to order a new one, yet somehow the iPhone X and XS had left us more than a little bit, shall we say, cold. There just wasn't anything all that compelling about upgrading. Nothing forcing us to do it, no attraction there. Just no love for the 10 is how I would best describe it.

Fast forward to the iPhone 11 Pro announcement and things just seemed to line up for the better. For starters, the iPhone 11 Pro has three cameras, one of which is a telephoto. I always love telephone shooting, it's just part of the way I see the world, so this was a big draw for me. The iPhone 11 Pro also has something called, "night mode" which, if you know me, you know I do a lot of night shooting, so this too was calling my name. Also, while still "big" or at least a lot bigger than my SE, the new iPhone 11 Pro didn't come in gigantic size, it looked to be just a bit larger than the SE, although everything is larger than the SE these days. Couple this with the dead battery and issues in SE-land and, my friends, there is your upgrade. I took the plunge and ordered the iPhone 11 Pro in something called "space green" with a forest green case.

The phone itself has shown up and I've famously started using it, although I have yet to really put the camera through its paces. The upgrade process has been a bit of a chore, with all kinds of bad things happening to me along the way. I still don't have a fully functional Bluetooth setup (still working on that) and, I must confess, it has taken me way longer than I would have liked to perform this upgrade. The phone itself is much larger than my SE and a lot heavier so it's making me miss that little phone I could easily tuck into my pocket. It feels a bit like a brick. OK, maybe a flat brick, but a brick nonetheless. This will take some adjustment on my part, for sure and I must confess I'm not quite there yet. Every day brings me a bit closer to getting more comfortable with it, with the feeling of holding it in my hands. (I've no choice but to adjust to it, just going to take some time is all.)

I have yet to put the camera through its paces but, what little I have seen leaves me wanting to play with it a lot more. It's way better than the SE camera. At this point, it's probably safe to call this new iPhone 11 Pro a camera with a phone attached. The camera is all that from what I've been able to discern. Honestly, I can't wait to really put it to the test, open the taps, and see what it can do. The phone part? The rest of it? Yeah, it's there and almost gets in the way of the good stuff.

If I had to sum it up, if you asked me for a review, why, that would be it right there. "Nice camera and, oh yeah, there's some kind of phone thing like attached I think...." Frankly, I can hardly wait to make a video.

Bottom line? The upgrade process has been most cumbersome, the phone itself looks nice, but I'm so used to something a lot older and smaller so it's going to take some adjustment on my part to get used to the feel of it. I think it's got a better camera, can't wait to make a video, want to do some night shooting with it, and have a bunch of things in store. For now, it's shiny new and I'm still getting used to it, kind of like breaking in a new pair of hiking boots or the like. My feet hurt a bit here and there, might even be a blister or too left in the process, but I can sort of see how this movie is going to end.

Until next time...

PS No, this one not taken with the new iPhone 11 Pro. This was shot with the Canon 5DS from the top of something called a "Great Wheel." Walkabout lens that was spinning around a wheel for a time, myself attached at the back enjoying the view. No "Notes from the Road" or Top 10 list for Seattle this time, as it was a quick trip.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - October 19, 2019

You know I love these kind of shots. This is Seattle from what is I think the back of a cab (or maybe out a window.) OK, so enough abstraction for you, here are some real opportunities:
That's a whopping 24+ entries for you to get after this week.

Until next time...

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - September 28, 2019

I'm back from Seattle and ready to get you a new batch of opportunities. Here are your opportunities for this week:
That's a bunch of opportunities for you to unpack this week. Good luck and get after it as they say.

Until next time...

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - September 15, 2019

A slightly different take on China for tonight's "Opportunity Weekend." Here are some opportunities for you this week:
That's a bunch of calls to get you going this week.

Until next time...

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - September 7, 2019

This week's image in memory of Andrew and Adrian Fritz who perished in the boat fire in California.

Here are opportunities for this week:
That's a bunch of calls for you this week. I hope your art blooms in full.

Until next time...

Monday, September 02, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - September 1, 2019

It's a long weekend in the US this time, so I'm offering up a few opportunities for those of you wanting to make the most of it and send out your work. Here they are:
That's a bunch of opportunities for you to go out and get after. Have a great long weekend.

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Last Goodbye - RIP Chase

Some sad news to report. Today, Chase lost his brave battle with cancer. After a particularly difficult night, I made the decision earlier today to put him down. He was 13 years old and pretty much full of life until the past few days, when the massive tumor in his belly finally got the better of him and he all but stopped eating. He had been wasting away and was almost skin and bones. We didn't want to see him suffer so I made the difficult decision earlier today. My vet has a "quiet room" that's a bit more comfortable so we went and spent some time with him there before leaving. I had them take some pictures of us together, and got a few with the family. Some last minute images to remember him by. This is the last picture of him ever taken.

The thing about dogs is that there is a certain nobility in their simplicity. They like to eat, they like to chase balls, they love it when you come home. Chase always loved a good belly rub, in fact, that was one of the last acts we shared. He hated to be held (the way I'm doing it here) he preferred to be free and on the ground, but he loved nothing more than getting close to me, flopping down on his back, and letting me rub his belly. He loved sitting in the grass. He loved sticking his head out car windows and catching a breeze. He loved squeaky toys and balls and was afraid of potato chip bags. He was slightly afraid of wheels and, at one point, was afraid of his own shadow. He was quit skittish as a dog but then he also went after things, sometimes things he should never go after, like cats. He loved to chase cats and squirrels. Thank goodness he never met a skunk.

I'm really going to miss the little guy. He was such a part of my life. As I gear up for more travel in the bottom half of the year, I can't help but think how empty the house will be now once I return home. I'm really going to miss my little buddy. He was such a good little guy.

I hope someday you get to know the love from a dog. It's really special and noble that is. Chase was no exception. He was a good dog and he will be missed.

Rest in peace, my little buddy, rest in peace.

Until next time...

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - August 24, 2019

In the mood for a little black and white tonight, so that's what you are going to get. Speaking of black and white, here are some opportunities in black and white (OK, the puns are getting a little thin but, heck, the opportunities are ripe these days):
Finally, there is one detailed opportunity to tell you about, this one from A. Smith Gallery:

Everyone in the world is cordially invited to celebrate World Cyanotype Day at A Smith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas on Saturday, September 28 by creating cyanotype flags of their interpretation of Land/Sea/Sky on white cloth, each 12×12 inches (30×30) cm. Strung together, the flags symbolize the beautiful planet we all inhabit. If you would like to participate in the A Smith Gallery flag installation, please send your flags to the gallery. We also invite you to celebrate with your friends wherever you find yourself on September 28, World Cyanotype Day.

If you would like for A Smith Gallery to hang your flags in celebration of World Cyanotype Day, please mail or ship them for delivery by September 16, to:

A Smith Gallery
103 N Nugent #175
P O Box 175
Johnson City, TX 78636

If you would like for us to return your flags, please include return address and postage.

The installation will hang in the gallery until October 21. The flags will then be taken to New Orleans to the Healing Arts Center for an exhibition beginning in December for PhotoNOLA until the end of Mardi Gras.

There is no entry fee. We just want to fill the gallery with cyanotype flags!

For more information or questions, please contact

Until next time...

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - August 17, 2019

Strike a pose! It's time for you to strike some opportunities running around in the wild:
That's a bunch of opportunities for you. Good luck!

Until next time...