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

Splatter

Adjustments

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

20120909-130100.jpg

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

20120909-130130.jpg

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.

20120909-130555.jpg

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

20120909-130623.jpg

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.

20120909-130740.jpg

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.

20120909-130756.jpg

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.

20120909-130809.jpg

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

20120909-131117.jpg

I learned which hood ornaments were on which models…

20120909-131052.jpg

Which models had a Continental Kit…

20120909-131144.jpg

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

20120909-131138.jpg

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

20120909-131203.jpg

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.

20120909-131153.jpg

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

20120909-131227.jpg

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.

20120909-131253.jpg

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

20120909-131353.jpg

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…

20120909-131425.jpg

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

20120909-131407.jpg

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

20120909-131607.jpg

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.

20120909-131529.jpg

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

20120909-131638.jpg

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.

20120909-131751.jpg

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.

20120909-131821.jpg

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

20120909-131839.jpg

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.

20120909-131856.jpg

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.

20120909-131913.jpg

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

20120909-131932.jpg

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.

20120909-131942.jpg

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.

20120909-131953.jpg

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.

20120909-132011.jpg

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.

20120909-132029.jpg

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.

20120909-132041.jpg

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.

20120909-132056.jpg

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.

20120909-132108.jpg

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

20120909-132309.jpg

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…

20120909-132417.jpg

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

20120909-132335.jpg

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

20120909-132752.jpg

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.

20120909-132809.jpg

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.

20120909-132916.jpg

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

20120909-133003.jpg

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

20120625-175536.jpg

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.

20120625-175725.jpg
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.

20120625-180113.jpg

20120625-180144.jpg
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.

20120625-180251.jpg
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 –

20120625-180455.jpg
Song sparrow

20120625-180532.jpg

20120625-180548.jpg
Resting dragonfly

20120625-180615.jpg
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.

Klediments

Image

Klediment is a word my mother taught me. She told me it was a word that she heard her grandparents and aunts and uncles use in the hills of Appalacia where she grew up. A Klediment is a word that describes an object with great value – but not monetary value. It has the value of memory and sentiment attached to it. I first understood the word when she related the value of this sewing machine to me. It was her mother’s and it may possibly be the only personal item she had of her mom’s. She learned to sew on it. She tried to teach me to sew on it too. It was more valuable to her than money – it’s meaning was priceless.

As a photographer it occurred to me that I could photograph some of these personal things and try to create a portrait of someone without actually showing their image – could you get a sense of who they are just from the things that were precious to them? Can the photos tell the story better than words?

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Barbie

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Minnie

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Harold

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Max

Sometimes I find everyday objects like this evoke more in me that a photo of someone I love. I pick up my grandfather’s keys and touch the places where his hands have worn the metal bare and almost sense him there with me.

Where the Wild Things Are

Image

I’m easily distracted by any photo op.

After riding the rails to Denver, Karen and I caught a cab to the Car Rental lot in Denver near the airport. As she inspected the car I caught a glimpse of a bunny face-off in the small patch of grass separating the lot exit from the street. I dropped my luggage and grabbed my camera – I no longer cared about what kind of car we would rent, or mileage, or color, or insurance, or anything else. My whole world revolved around capturing the images of those bunnies. The scuffle was short and I missed a chance to get the loser flipping backwards – but the victor hung out with me for a few shots.

Image

Image

Image

Karen apparently turned around to ask me a question and discovered I was no where near the car – I heard her mutter something like “Where’d she go?” and snapped back to the present. We hopped in the car and drove the two blocks to the hotel – as Karen carried her luggage to our room I stayed in the parking lot attempting to get great shots of sparrows. I spotted something large on the roof – click – I got it!! Our wildlife adventure had begun!

Image

Now I should clarify that this road trip was intended for us to visit as many National Parks and Monuments as possible – you see we belong to the ultra secret society of National Park Passport Stamp Collectors, we even have a secret handshake – more on that another time. Anyway, I was prepped and ready to go after those big captures, and Karen seemed eager to help me on my quest for amazing animal photos. My new ultra-fast focusing Olympus E-M5 had arrived 2 weeks before the trip. I had been practicing shooting crows with my long zoom in the back yard – I was loaded for bear – I mean really – I actually thought I might get to shoot a photo of a bear!

The next morning we headed north towards Scott’s Bluff in Nebraska. It’s along the path of the Oregon Trail. We had barely left Denver when Karen suddenly brought the car to a screeching halt – “Look!” she shouted ant pointed out my window. I grabbed my camera and caught this guy – nothing special and I never left the car – but he was actually wildlife living outside the city!

Image

As we entered Nebraska and left the interstate we had more and more “in-car” shooting opportunities. After all we were our where the Deer and the Antelope play –

Image

Image

We arrived in Scott’s Bluff at 5:01 – and convinced the Ranger to let us use the stamp. Amazing shots of actual historical sites were all around us. The famous bluff that settlers saw as they left the last outpost of civilization on their way to Oregon was right there in front of us – I snapped a few, but saw a bunny and a robin and was once again distracted.

Image

Image

The next morning we headed towards Mt Rushmore. Along the way we passed through Hot Springs, South Dakota. There was a lovely waterfall overlooking main street – I wish I could show you a photo – instead I took these shots:

Image

Image

Actually I took about 40 shots trying to get that bee in focus – totally worth missing the waterfall shot!

Soon we were entering Wind Cave National Park. I have heard that there is a Cave of some size there, I can’t vouch for that but I do know that there are buffalo there in abundance.

Image

I saw this one and had to jump out of the car to climb up a hill to get a better angle. He was just the tip of the iceberg. This guy was huge and right near the road – I never left the car for fear that he could trample me!

Image

He actually tried to get into the car when Karen flipped a U and offered to let me shoot out her window – She didn’t think he was all that close until he was coming into her window!

Image

We sped off and managed to get about 30 yards away from the beast when we discovered prairie dogs – I won’t bore you with the dozens of adorable photos I took while still only yards from the very large buffalo – here’s a single shot of one for perspective:

Image

And a few more wild things we saw at Wind Cave:

Image

Image

As we left Wind Cave headed for another park with a hole in the ground I managed to capture this meadowlark on the park’s sign post.

Image

We spent the next few hours touring caves and a huge carving of Crazy Horse – I was having withdrawal until we spotted this small herd of deer on the way out of Crazy Horse – BTW – that carving will be amazing once they get the horse done.

Image

That evening we made it to Mount Rushmore. We saw a bunch of cars pulled over as we got close to the park. We were sure they were shooting a bear or a mountain goat so we pulled over – turns out it was just George Washington’s face – bummer.

We went to Mount Rushmore and saw the flag ceremony that night and returned in the morning to shoot in the daylight. What a patriotic experience – I was filled with national pride…and I got this shot!

Image

We headed towards Wyoming and onto Devil’s Tower. Stunning! So many prairie dogs!

Image

Image

Image

This one attacked Karen – lunged towards her and screeched while she was photographing another dog – these guys were camera hogs!

Image

We jumped back over the Nebraska line to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. We walked for a couple of miles and never saw any agates or fossils, but there was a bird bonanza!

Image

Image

Image

Image

From there we went to Fort Laramie, Wyoming were I saw no animals at all – not even a pony for the Pony Express. So we turned south to head to Rocky Mountain National Park.

We hit the park just before 5 so we only got to get one stamp. We thought we might drive to another station but we saw antlers below the roadside – I asked Karen to pull over and we hiked back up the road to find this little fellow:

Image

Image

Image

Karen thought he wasn’t paying enough attention to us so she did some jumping jacks – this was his reaction:

Image

Image

We started back towards the next station when we saw this youngster on the roadside:

Image

Image

As I got close enough to see beyond the brush I found his pals.

Image

At this point I told Karen I would rather take pictures of these guys than get a stamp – we both shot about a hundred shots of these guys and drove back to the main part of town to find a hotel. We found a cool little place next to the golf course and guess what we saw almost outside our room – a young bull watching the goose races!

Image

If we were seeing this many animals outside the park I was sure that this park was going to be amazing, and it was. No historic buildings or markers. Just wildlife at every turn. So many elk we just quit stopping to shoot.

At the Ranger station we saw this guy – totally unafraid of us.

Image

At the first few stops we saw lots of birds and chipmunks

Image

Image

Image

When we climbed to Forest Park we got to see what a marmot looks like.

Image

Image

Image

Here Karen gets her shot at one after being thwarted by a rude Chinese tourist.Image

Image

As we approached the highest point on the loop around the park and the continental divide we saw no animals at all – lots of wind and snow, but apparently nothing hangs out any higher up than the marmots.

As we descended back to the meadows leading to the park exit we saw another grouping of elk. I thought it would be good to get them in their natural habitat instead of on a golf course – but as I got out of the car and started to cross the meadow I saw that these were no elk – holy cow! Moose!

Image

Image

I got to within about 40-50 feet and saw her head come up – I snapped about 5 shots and slowly backed away.

As we left the park I actually did get those last few shots of elk in their actual habitat –

Image

Image

Now I’m back home, back at work. I did hear a bird calling yesterday and ran outside with my camera – no dice. Something about being out on the road that gives me stealth. I guess it’s time to go back to still life.