Round and Round

I know my brain is not normal, and I’m OK with that.

Last week I went out to take care of my mushroom logs, and holy shiitake, I had tons of fungi to harvest. Before I could remove any shrooms from the logs I had to take some photos to mark the occasion. I crouched down on the ground and snapped this…

Holy Shiitake, Batman - I think it's ready to eat!

Holy Shiitake, Batman – I think it’s ready to eat!

I suppose most people would put down the camera and grab the butter and garlic, but not me. The sight of something round and smooth in the midst of the woods sent me off on a tangent. My right brain took over and I spent the next hour shooting round things. By the time I was finished it was dark and too late to harvest and sauté mushrooms. I had some Oreos and called it a night. What follows is my right-brained tangent – see if you can identify them all.

1. Ozark Treat

1. Ozark Treat

2. Happiness

2. Happiness

3. Pedal to the metal

3. Pedal to the Metal

4. Sparky

4. Sparky

5. It came before crossing the road

5. It came before crossing the road

6. Pogs went here

6. Pogs went here

7. Scratch

7. Scratch

8. The Source

8. The Source

9. Vrrrrom

9. Vrrrrom

10. Savor

10. Savor

11. Hammered

11. Hammered

12. Sweet

12. Sweet

13. Spirit

13. Spirit

14. Stang

14. Stang

15. Water

15. Water

15. Open

16. Open

17. Getting Warmer

17. Getting Warmer

18. Cellar

18. Cellar

19. Stumped

19. Stumped

19. Line

20. Line

21. Fair

21. Fair

22. Vintage

22. Vintage

23. Short Sighted

23. Short Sighted

OK – so some of them were pretty obvious – this should be pretty simple. Whoever gets them all right first in the comments wins an 8X10 print of their favorite (or if you don’t like any of them you can pick something from another post)

You guess – I’m gonna sauté some shrooms.

Ready. Set. Go!



March on Film Roll #4 – 1974 Olympus OM-1n

If you are following my series on film photography you might wonder what happened to roll #3. Well, when I started this project I bought several rolls of film, all Kodak T-Max. The first two rolls were 100 speed, the last 2 were 400. I made the mistake of making adjustments to my shutter speed and aperture based on the results from Roll 2 and all of my outdoor shots were completely washed out. Seriously, I should have known better – it’s like ramping up the ISO on my digital and shooting towards the sun. The thing about film photography is that you need to slow down. I shoot almost intuitively when I see something that intrigues me. As I get reacquainted with film I have to plan more and shoot less. I knew I needed to make some changes.

Something I have learned is that when you have your negatives scanned, they are quite grainy – this is evident in Roll 2. For this and all future rolls I am having prints made and am scanning them myself – it gives a better sense of what a print looks like, the grain is smoother but still evident. Another change is that I acquired a new camera. I was able to get a whole Olympus OM-1 kit with several lenses and filters at a great price. The OM-1 is a professional grade camera. It has a locking mirror, interchangeable focus screens. It also has a lever on the lens that lets you see the effect of an aperture change – it shows you how the DOF will appear in print – while it’s certainly not Live View, it does give you a better sense of what you are shooting.

Small, efficient, and packed with features - the OM-1 was the coolest piece of camera tech you could buy in 1973.

Small, efficient, and packed with features – the OM-1 was the coolest piece of camera tech you could buy in 1973.

The OM-1 and the whole OM system were revolutionary in the 1970s. Full functioning SLRs in what seemed like impossibly small packages at the time. The OM is a fraction of the size of a modern Nikon or Canon DSLR – it is almost exactly the same size as my OM-D that I carry everyday. When you combine this with a dizzying array of high quality lens options – you get a system that stands up better than most over time. Most of the lenses us the same filter size, so you can carry one set in your bag and only need one lens hood – very smart. The lenses are surprisingly compact too – they were designed to sit a bit closer to the mirror than other systems so they needed less length to achieve the same focal distance. I started shooting Olympus Pen digital cameras when they were introduced a few years back because my OM system lenses were so adaptable – some of these lenses give amazing results still today. My post about luna moths features a few macro shots taken with my OM Macro Bellows set-up.

Having seen the disaster of Roll #3, I am glad that I chose to shoot the new camera in mostly indoor and low light situations. I paid closer attention to the light meter and made use of the DOF preview button – I had no idea what that button was until I acquired this camera kit complete with a users manual.

Sushi Roll

Sushi Roll – my first shot with the OM-1

It’s funny that I don’t think about focusing at the mid-point of an image very often on my digital camera – shooting film and seeing those focus screens has made me more aware of this option. This is one of the many things I have taken away from my film project.

Petals, Veins, Water, and Bokeh

Daffodil Opening – Petals, Veins, Water, and Bokeh

I took to a shady spot and watched the light meter closely, hoping that I could capture some water drops after the rain. Shooting in black and white is making me think a lot more about contrast. Color is what motivates me to shoot many things and stepping back has made me look more for tonality even in color images.

Grass, Furr, and Sunshine

A Timeless Kirby – Grass, Fur, and Sunshine

Understanding how the pieces – aperture, shutter speed, film speed – all work together made me look for lower light opportunities to shoot. This shot of Kirby was made with the aperture closed down in a shady spot. He rarely lets me get this close with a camera, especially one that takes time to get right. I like the tonality of his white fur in the sun against the darker greys of the tree bark.

Wooden Croquet Balls

Wooden Croquet Balls

The OM-1 kit I bought came with a “fast fifty” – a 50mm 1.4 lens. Sometimes I forget how shallow DOF can be when shooting a 35mm camera. My area of focus here is about 2 inches deep. I love the ability to focus on just the front of the croquet ball. In my digital world DOF is more isolating – there is less ability to make something just trail off into the bokeh. I also thought that a shot of something with such distinctive colors was fun to explore in black and white.

Mason Jars Full of Bird Nests

Mason Jars Full of Bird Nests

This last shot is my favorite – I shot it 5 times, each time placing my focus in a slightly different spot – risky when you have so few shots to work with. On this roll I did that with most of these subjects – working on getting one good shot rather than a wide variety of subjects. I think this will help me dial in my technique. This shot is taken on my kitchen counter – I have a skylight above that creates the light reflections on the upper right side of the jar. This is a row of different sized mason jars containing bird nests. In the foreground there are stone artifacts and arrowheads that I have picked up in my lawn over the years. The rubber ducky soap dish is the only element that pulls me back into this century when I look at it. I am pleased at how the reflections in the jars behind the first one become spheres of light. I like the detail in the nest and all the tones of grey in the whole thing. It’s not perfect, but it was the shot closest to what I imagined when I shot it.

I think I will continue with the OM-1 for my next couple of rolls. I like this camera and I want to hone my skills rather than switch around. I’m a couple of months behind – I need to start ordering film online – it’s just not available locally, but I am going to get some 100 speed and really get the hang of shooting in brighter light with it this summer.

Point of Interest

I don’t get my gear ready and think, “Wow, I hope I can find some leaves in the ice today!” I tend to come upon things that capture my interest. I have always been drawn to transparency and light. Anything with complimentary colors makes me take a second look. Texture intrigues me.

Sunday I thought I should head over to the mass of daffodils on my hillside when I encountered this – the ice from the top of the birdbath, cast aside and melting into the grass. It stopped me for almost an hour.




I forgot the daffodils, I know they will still be there on the next sunny day. You have to appreciate ice while it’s here. It melts is fast and then it is gone forever.

Frozen Dinner

I’ve had a miserable week.

Monday morning started with a flat tire on the Jeep. From the time I texted work to let them know I would be late, I have felt like I have been chasing my schedule to catch up.

Tuesday the temps dropped 40 degrees and we got a couple of inches of much needed rain. I met a friend for dinner and we marveled that the storm could seem so intense. I arrived home to find a foot of water in my cellar. I turned off the breaker for the outlets down there and used a broom handle to unplug the dehumidifier that was now under water just in case.

Wednesday I scrambled to find a plumber to root out the cellar drain. It took me all day to find someone who would return my call. I met him at my house and he took one look at the cellar and said he could not work from inside the house with standing. I showed him the end of the drain in the woods some 200 feet from the house. It was brutally cold outside – the windchill was about 12 degrees, but soon my problems would be over…or so I thought. After 45 minutes the plumber called me outside. There would be no opening the drain, the drain was collapsed about 100 feet up the line.

As he put together a list and a schedule that would include a backhoe and about a mile of pipe I started to zone. When I check out like this, the best thing I can do is shoot. It was a cold grey soggy day, no color to be seen. I spotted my platter feeders. They were completely iced over. As I shot I consciously decided to not focus on the birdseed below the surface, I focused on the ice.

I was surprised by the depth…

20130131-223602.jpgThe seeds below the surface seemed to be saturated in color…

20130131-223641.jpgThe ice almost magnifies the seeds below…

20130131-223659.jpgHow hungry would a cardinal need to be to try to get at these…

20130131-223733.jpgI’ve been filling a chipped mosaic birdbath with food, I like the color for photographs…

20130131-223810.jpgBut now it takes on a more painterly look…

20130131-223936.jpgThe mix of colors taking me to a warmer place.

The plumber came over and gave me a puzzled look and then dove into the details. There would be no draining the basement. I called a friend with a shop-vac and we hauled about 150 gallons up the stairs five gallons at a time. The water level dropped an inch. We gave up and called it a night.

Today I looked for a sump pump and finally found one late this afternoon. After work I put on my new rain boots and headed down into the cellar/wading pool. I got everything set up and discovered that all my garden hoses are frozen solid, just like the birdseed in those feeders.

Tomorrow at lunch I will buy an unfrozen hose and this week will finally come to a close. Once I empty the cellar I will take an ice pic to my bird feeders.

If this goes on another day perhaps I will open an underground ice skating rink.

Getting Back to My Photographic Roots

I come from a long line of shutterbugs. If you have ever checked out my memoir blog, The King of Isabelle Avenue you may have noticed a treasure trove of family snapshots.

It all started with my great-great-grandparents. Their Daguerrotype portraits hang on the wall of my living room in heavy carved frames. They are formal poses, each in their Sunday best. It must have been a special occasion to sit for a photograph. They likely could not imagine owning a camera of their own.

This would all change a generation later. My great-grandmother Rilla was a Cherokee Indian born in the 19th century who seemed driven to document her family’s daily life with a simple Kodak Brownie – maybe a Six – it was basically a simple box with a vertical and a horizontal viewfinder, a crank and a shutter release. The camera is long gone, but thankfully the photos remain.

20130125-201402.jpgMy Grandmother took after her mother and went through a series of Brownies when she was first married. This one was one of hers, I love that she sprung for the flash version. I love that she was confident enough to go for it. I still struggle with flash photography.

20130125-201419.jpgMy brother has another of her Brownies, a Bullet and it looks just like this one, he shot with it until film was no longer readily available. It was so simple, look through the viewfinder, frame it, click the shutter, advance the film, repeat. The functionality was basically unchanged from the box made a couple of decades earlier. Anyone could do it. These cameras made photography available to the masses and changed the way families recorded their personal histories.

20130125-202012.jpgBy the late 40’s it was time to upgrade to a Kodak Tourist, a bellows camera. This camera gave Grandma the ability to move the lens away from the film allowing for focusing and some modest zooming. It also allowed for the changing of the aperture, the fastest stop was a dismal 12.5, no wonder they pushed an enormous flash kit on her. Many wonderful shots of my father’s childhood were shot with this Tourist.

20130125-201515.jpgThe Tourist featured a T.B.I. Shutter – Time, Bulb, and Instant – so much more sophisticated than the simple Brownies, but so many more possibilities. I use the Bulb setting on my DSLR when I shoot the moon. The operating principles remain unchanged.

20130125-201527.jpgBy now Grandpa was becoming more and more interested in photography, and he was a man who would save up to buy a more expensive item if there was a difference in quality. The Agfa was definitely a step up. All the features of the Tourist with a distance ring for accurate focusing.

20130125-201540.jpgThis baby featured a more sophisticated bellows and the ability to stop all the way down to 6.3. Interior shots would be possible with decent light. You could play with the depth of field with this baby.

20130125-201552.jpgThe surface of the Agfa was like a tightly woven fabric, even after 65 years it still feels right in your hands.

20130125-201606.jpgThe mechanisms are sturdy and still operate smoothly today. This is a camera that I would love to shoot if I could find the film. I would love to see what this glass could do.

20130125-201613.jpgBy the mid 50s Grandpa was drawn by the lure of instant photography. His Polaroid Land Camera came with all the bells and whistles. He would shoot thousands of images with this beast. It was simpler that the Tourist or the Agfa – fewer shutter options, no specific aperture settings, tons of accessories. Basically you set the camera for indoors or outdoors, focus using the bellows mechanism, and click – then the magic happens. You time the developing time and peel apart the negative and the photographic paper to see a photo in under a minute.

20130125-201637.jpgI remember the wonder of it all when Grandpa would count down the seconds and peel the layers – he would let me squeegee the surface with the swab that stopped the process and sealed the photos surface. Polaroids were not just black and whites, they were wonderful vivid saturated color images.

20130125-201648.jpgMy father didn’t have a great interest in photography, but while he was stationed in Okinawa, he bought the family’s first Japanese-made camera – a Minolta Model P pocket camera. It’s very small, but unlike the 110s from the 1970s it has lots of controls. You can select the aperture and it opens up to 3.5, pretty fast for a little camera. It’s shutter is crisp even after all these years. Pops told me it was a spy camera when I was still young enough to believe those things.

My mother had a real interest in photography, she was blind in one eye, but her good eye was a really good eye. She started with an instamatic, but soon discovered manual photography. She came across an old Rolleiflex. This one isn’t hers but the Rollei changed very little in function over the years. The format is called a TLR – twin lens reflex. The top lens is the one you look through from above, the lower lens is the “taking” lens.

20130125-201658.jpgOne year we all pitched in and bought mom a 35mm for her birthday and she moved on, but she taught me to use the Rollei when I was about 15 years old. I loved the prismatic viewfinder. The controls were simple – aperture, shutter, focus – click and shoot. The crank was so elegant. The feel of shooting felt so natural, odd for a huge rectangular cube.

20130125-201705.jpgIn college I shot the Rollei – black and whites that I developed myself. Grandpa let me set up the closet in his den to transfer the film into the developing cannisters, then he let me develop the negatives in his kitchen. I would use the exposure units on campus to make prints.

20130125-201722.jpgI also picked up an Olympus OM along the way. I fell in love with the Oly and still shoot them today. My digital Olympus OMD is easily adapted to use all of my OM lenses from the 70s and 80s. I like the challenge and the control of using vintage glass.

20130125-201747.jpgI’ve decided that I want to get back to basics. I recently picked up this pristine 1953 Retina on eBay. It shoots 35mm and is the final stage between the bellows style cameras and the SLR. It has a small bellows and the lens stops all the way down to 2 – pretty fast for it’s era. The controls are all in German, so learning to use it will be a challenge. A challenge is what I’m looking for.

20130125-201756.jpgEvery month I plan to shoot a roll of film and have it developed. I have already shot a roll through the Rollei and should be able to pick it up next week. Shooting a TLR again was so much fun. My Rollei dated from 1936 and I’m dying to see how they came out. The camera hadn’t been tested – mechanically everything worked so I am optimistic.

20130125-201951.jpgMy hope is that by shooting film I will slow down a bit and put more thought into what I am shooting, that the limitation of 12 shots will make me focus, that relying on a mechanical camera will make me get more out of my digital bells and whistles. I will still be shooting my digital every day. But I will take the time to slow down, even if it is for just 12 shots. Living in a rural area, I will likely have to wait as long as my Great-grandma Rilla did to see the results, and I think that’s a good thing. Right now I feel like a kid waiting for Santa. I think I’ll like getting back to my roots.

Frosty Gaze

This morning’s frost caught my eye, so while waiting for my Jeep to warm up enough to defrost the windshield I decided to get out my camera. My Leica macro lens was calling to me. Since I’m surrounded by woods, I made my way down my drive to the road – it was a little like driving in braille. The sunlight at the road made it all worth the risk.

I found the frost to be filled with images that were almost familiar…

Curved tracings - facing straight ahead down the road

Curved Tracings

The payoff, sunrise out my driver's side window.

Driver’s Side Sunrise

Shot skyward - right out front

Blue Sky

A sweet spot in the sunrise

Frosty Feathers

The bulk of my windshield looked just like lace

Lace Curtains

Star towards the sky

Blue Star

Skyward on the sunrise side

Sunrise Dragon

Wisps in the sunrise

Pine Boughs in the Morning Light

A Heart of Glass

A Heart of Glass

This is exactly why I take my camera everywhere I go – you never know what wonders you will encounter doing the most mundane things like warming up the car.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

You know the song.

Since Thanksgiving you’ve heard it a hundred times. Listening to the lyrics it’s not explicitly about Christmas, but it is from a movie we watch during the holidays. The list in the song is not my list. I’m not big on whiskers – I prefer the rest of the kitten. I don’t think I need mittens when using a kettle – it’s all a bit disjointed. Lyrically it’s genius – in practical use it’s not my cup of tea.

So what would my list be? I decided for my 100th post to share the list of things that inspire me behind the lens.

Raindrops on…


Naked Lady in the rain

Naked Lady in the rain.

You can see my house inverted in this raindrop

You can see my house inverted in this raindrop.

A newly opened dogwood drenched in the rain

A newly opened dogwood drenched in the rain.

Lilac buds shining after a shower

Lilac buds shining after a shower.

I love redbuds - the first color of spring

I love redbuds – the first color of spring.

I’m not so much into bright copper kettles, but I am fascinated with…


This is the rust and patina on my copper fire pit.

This is the rust and patina on my copper fire pit.

This hay rake was in my woods when I bought the house - every surface is beautifully rusted.

This hay rake was in my woods when I bought the house – every surface is beautifully rusted.

This padlock was on the jail in Midas Nevada. The lock spoke to me more than the shack it was attached to.

This padlock was on the jail in Midas Nevada. The lock spoke to me more than the shack it was attached to.

I don’t even know what schnitzel is – it sounds odd to me. I know it’s odd to love…


I like the delicate structure and I like to find a way to look at them in new ways

I like the delicate structure and I like to find a way to look at them in new ways.

The structure of the actual flower is pretty amazing even before it goes to seed.

The structure of the actual flower is pretty amazing even before it goes to seed.

The substructure is so intricate. I shot this with a manual macro lens from the 70s.

The substructure is so intricate. I shot this with a manual macro lens from the 70s.

I grew up in the desert so the idea of sleigh bells is foreign to me, but door bells make me think of home. I have a strong bent towards…

Sentiment and Kitsch.

I love kitsch and I love it unusual places. I have had lawn flamingoes in the front lawn of every home I have ever owned.

I love kitsch and I love it unusual places. I have had lawn flamingoes in the front lawn of every home I have ever owned.


These are my Grandpa’s keys. I love shooting things that belonged to someone special.

Purple Glass

My Grandma taught me about purple glass, I love to shoot things that are transparent and have color.

Apricot Pit

My great-grandfather carved this out of a peach pit. I love the surfaces of handmade things like this.

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes. I like snow, but not so much for its photographic opportunities. I prefer…

Spring Flowers

First color on the ground often before the grass starts to green up.

Crocus – the first color on the ground, often before the grass starts to green up.

Cherry Blossoms open skyward

Cherry Blossoms opening skyward captivate me.

Daffodils have amazing color before we even notice them

Daffodils have amazing color before we even notice them.

Lilacs open as the sun hits them - here for too brief a time.

Lilacs open as the sun hits them – here for too brief a time.

My garden fairy planted a few of these a couple of years ago in a spot were there was once a cistern. I love them.

Hyacinths – My garden fairy planted a few of these a couple of years ago in a spot were there was once a cistern. I love them.

Cream colored ponies and dogs biting. I’m not too far off here.  I love the company of…


Sunshine is my Goldendoodle. He’s a lovely goofball and is a bit camera-shy, I like to catch him when he is unaware of me.

These are my brother’s pointers – I shot this one Christmas when Vegas had a rare snow. I loved the sheer joy the pups exuded as they ran in the frosted desert.

These are my two female terriers. They hate each other’s guts unless they are sleeping – they are precious when they sleep.

This is a pup I met on a trip – I love that he was interested in my camera. Curiosity is a favorite thing to capture in an animal.

Zipper was my first Kayak dog – he was so relaxed on the water.

Brown paper packages, blue satin sashes, silver white winters – there’s a lot of color in this song. I love color and am drawn to vivid colors. One color draws me more than all the others.

I shoot anything that is…


The color of this car drew me to it - hundreds of cars and this was my favorite.

The color of this car drew me to it – hundreds of cars and this was my favorite.

I'm pretty sure I chose this hard drive for that orange bumper.

I’m pretty sure I chose this hard drive for that orange bumper.

In the shop where I work I see lots of color, but this set of mixers caused me to go get my camera.

In the shop where I work I see lots of color, but this set of mixers caused me to go get my camera.

These Tiger Lilies grow wild around the Ozarks. I have them pretty thick in the springs right at the edge of the woods

These Tiger Lilies grow wild around the Ozarks. I have them pretty thick in the spring – right at the edge of the woods.

This sunset was so vivid that I missed an appointment when I stopped to shoot it.

This sunset was so vivid that I missed an appointment when I stopped to shoot it.

Now that winter is here and it’s a grey day, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so … bad.

Ink – spiration

I work at a large T-shirt manufacturing company. We screen print our own line of tees that are sold all over the world. While I spend my days working with the design team in what we affectionately call the “art cave” the action happens out in the shop. I have always been inspired by the colors of the ink and the industrial finishes of the machinery. One day while the print team was at lunch, I took a walk through the shop with my camera looking for color.

Orange smear

Ink on aluminum

Lights on for safety

Glitter Heart Screen

Aluminum Frame

Mesh Counts



Press Station

Clean up

Ink Mixers

Color Choices

I have a practice of trying to shoot at least a little every single day. Some days there are no birds or deer or flowers in my path. Sometimes I have to find beauty where I am. I shot these on a grey winter day.

What inspires you when the flowers are all hidden away?

Chrome Sweet Chrome


I’m a car nut – have been since I was a little girl. It’s all my Grandpa’s fault.


When I was about a year old my Grandpa bought a new car for to celebrate his and Grandma’s 25th wedding anniversary. It was a 1963 Impala Super Sport.


It’s the very first car I remember riding in.


I went almost everyplace with my Grandpa when I was young. He was pretty crazy about me and I was crazy about him as well.


While we would drive along he would play this game with me – I would point out an old car and he would tell me the make, model, and year.


I could never stump him. He knew the differences in the small bits of trim and chrome that separated a ’49 from a ’50 Chevy or what defined a Pontiac from a Buick made in the same year.


I learned about Buick portholes, Pontiac chevrons, and Caddy V-crests.


I learned which hood ornaments were on which models…


Which models had a Continental Kit…


I began to look at the details of a car as well as the sweeping lines of the whole.


My grandfather left his family farm as a young man and got his first job in town painting cars.


He knew how to care for a car’s paint and I learned to wax a car by watching him wax that Impala nearly every Sunday.


The miles we spent in that Impala – around town, around the state, all over California, and to Nebraska and back…


When I was very small I was sure the chrome jockey box in between the front seats was built just for me. Later on trips I thought the indentation of the speaker in the back seat was made as a place for me to rest my head.


In the mid 60s my grandparents opened an upholstery shop. I learned the meaning of tuck-and-roll and grew to love diamond-tufting.


Grandpa did a lot of furniture but he specialized in car and airplane upholstery. He told me once that a new convertible top would tighten right up when left up in the desert sun for a few hours…


That the details of the interior were just as important as those on the outside…


That a perfect interior was the sign of a well cared for automobile.


As I entered my teens he planned to pass that lovely Impala on to me, it was finally time for him to buy a new car.


My folks were having none of it so he reluctantly sold it for twice the price be paid for it.


I learned to drive the family sedan and the first car I ever owned was the LTD he replaced the Impala with. I bought the car from my Pop who Grandpa had passed it onto a few years earlier. It had not been cared for so well after leaving Grandpa’s driveway so my time with it was short.


Somewhere along the line I bought an old Jeep, just like one my grandparents had owned when I was a kid. Grandpa insisted on taking me out into the desert to learn to drive it off-road safely.


I went through a couple of odd cars until I was almost through college. I became obsessed with first generation Mustangs.


I found one I felt I could not live without, the owner said it was 99% restored – I guess if you didn’t count the engine or interior that he was pretty accurate. My Grandpa gave me a loan to buy it and together we restored it. His arrangement with me was that as long as I graduated from college, the restoration was his gift to me.


The real gift was much more that parts and paint. It was the time we spent each week and the satisfaction we felt as we saw it come closer and closer to a completed project.


We scoured junkyards looking for elusive parts. He bought me a buffer to keep the paint looking showroom perfect.


Every Friday for a year and a half we started a new project. Paint, chrome, AC, carburetor, upholstery – the day we had the carpet installed he sat down next to me in the passenger seat and beamed as he told me it smelled just like a new car.


It may not have been our beloved Impala, but it was a car we both loved. Each time I drove it I could see him in it.


I could see his hands in the details. One time after our drive he was concerned about a rattle. When we got home he took a screwdriver and disassembled the dash looking for the source of the noise. He did the same thing on his own car.


When the time came for me to move on to a new town in a new state I packed up that Mustang. I wept upon leaving him, but took comfort in taking a part of him with me in the car we restored together.


I kept the Mustang for several years until the snows of the Cascades made it impractical. It was Grandpa who urged me to sell it and buy something safer.


In the 90s I was restoring a 1967 Buick Riviera. Grandpa gave me some good advice and helped me solve a few technical problems. He also told me when it was time to let it go and move on.


He advised me on all matters automotive for the rest of his life. He advised me on all matters non-automotive as well. His wisdom and belief in me gave me the courage to try new things – to pursue my dreams, even if they lead me away from him.


I took these photos yesterday. I was at an annual antique car festival in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.


As I saw the parking lots in our tiny Victorian village filled to overflowing with so many gorgeous old cars that had been lovingly cared for, I thought of the details that Grandpa taught me about…


I found myself identifying so many of them based just on these details.


The owners patiently listened as people like me shared our memories of cars gone by.


There’s something about an old car that brings these memories to the forefront. We all remember the cars of our childhood or the great times we had in cars with friends and loved ones.


These days I live out in the woods where a classic car is just too impractical – even as a hobby. I miss working on one like I miss my Grandpa.


When I see an old car that’s been lovingly cared for, no matter what the make or model I think of him.


But when I see an Impala, it all its splendor, I gasp and am taken back to that place where I sat in the passenger seat alongside the most noble man I ever knew…

Saturday in the Park – hotter than the 4th of July


This weekend the real heat of summer settled over the Ozarks. We hit triple digits and in this humidity that an be brutal. I met a friend at a local lake – she was introducing some friends to kayaking. I knew I couldn’t take the heat on the water so I stayed on the docks and played with some newer gear.

This is a shot of the docks taken with my Lensbaby set up, shown at the top of the blog. It’s a tilt-shift system – meaning that you tilt the lens so that it is no longer parallel to the sensor, this gives you a slice of focus that is tilted away from the sensor. This look is used a lot in those photos that look like dioramas or miniatures. I think that look is cool and I’ll probably try it at some point but for now I am interested in experimenting with the shift. I’m not interested in sacrificing composition for a novelty effect.


These shots let you see how the focus is off center – the second one really shows how the focus is tilted when you look at the license plate.

This is a stack of John boats and canoes on the shore. I made the grass near the canoe my focus, letting everything blur towards the edges.

Of course I cannot go anywhere without trying to practice capturing images of flying things and the Lensbaby is just not the tool for that –

Song sparrow


Resting dragonfly

Nectar filled blooms

I’m always game to try new things photographically – it pushes you to master a new skill set. I’m just a noob when it comes to tilt-shift, but I’m intrigued and curious about the potential. I think that’s a good thing for an artist.

As I hit the road for the drive home though, the tilt-shift is packed away – my long zoom is in place in case I get a shot at Bambi.