February on Film – Roll #2 – 1983 Olympus OM-G

So it’s almost April and I am just getting around to posting my February roll of film. If you want to know more about my roll-a-month project you can check out the first post in this series January on Film. My delay isn’t laziness, it’s the difficulty I am having getting film processed. I have been shooting B&W and to get it developed I need to go to a camera store in a Fayetteville, Arkansas – about 45 miles away. They mail it out to Little Rock where they have a store that still processes B&W. Then they mail the roll back to the store and I have to make the drive to pick it up. It’s not expensive if you don’t count the 180 miles of driving it takes to get a roll in and back.

In February I shot my Olympus OM-G – or OM-20 as it is known outside of the US. It was one of the earlier consumer grade OM cameras. The sound of the mirror flopping was a bit disconcerting at first, I turn the sounds off on my modern camera. I came to like it – the mechanical feel of it. I have a motor drive for this camera – I haven’t used it yet but I can only imagine the sound and fury of that mirror flopping in hyper-drive. For this first roll on the OM-G I shot almost all of these shots with the kit lens – a 50mm 1.8 – a pretty fast piece of glass. On my digital camera I like to shoot with the aperture wide open so that the subject is isolated and the background is either blurred or filled with colored disks – bokeh to us shutterbugs. I love bokeh, creamy bokeh, sparkly bokeh – I never shoot a closed down aperture unless I am shooting the moon. On aperture priority on a modern camera this is pretty easy to pull off. On a 30 manual camera with just a simple light meter, it’s not as cut and dry. You have to set the shutter speed too. I did not know it when I shot this roll, but there is a remedial “preview” button that lets you see what the image through the lens looks like with the aperture held open to the setting you select – it does nothing to give you an idea of what will happen if you change the shutter speed.

I shot this roll on a sunny cold Saturday morning – there was frost everywhere. I specifically shot things that had a strong color to see what was left when you take the color away. I also shot some things that had surfaces that light rested on. I did take a couple of shot with my long zoom – 90-230mm. The film was Kodak T-Max 100 speed.

The fun of shooting film is that you don’t really know what you have until after you drive that 180 miles and fork over 6 bucks to see the finished product. I wouldn’t say these were the best shots I’ve taken. Overall everything is a bit softer than I usually like, but there were a couple of shots I really liked.

50mm f1.8

There was actually frost on this pumpkin. I do love the way the greys in black and white film print. So many shades of grey. It's tough to pull this off in photoshop.

There was actually frost on this pumpkin. I do love the way the greys in black and white film print. So many shades of grey. It’s tough to pull this off in Photoshop.

A close up of the frosty pumpkin - I love how it disappears into the darkness of the shadows.

A close up of the frosty pumpkin – I love how it disappears into the darkness of the shadows.

These dried leaves were still hanging on in mid February. Again shot at f1.8.

These dried leaves were still hanging on in mid February. Again shot at f1.8.

Shot with the 50mm wide open. I love the way that lens creates those circles outside of the area in focus, I hadn't imagined that the effect would be so interesting in B&W.

Shot with the 50mm wide open. I love the way that lens creates those circles outside of the area in focus, I hadn’t imagined that the effect would be so interesting in B&W.

Another shot of icicles on frozen branches. The sunlight almost illuminates the icicles. The smoother bokeh isolates them, making it easier to see what the image actually is.

Another shot of icicles on frozen branches. The sunlight almost illuminates the icicles. The smoother bokeh isolates them, making it easier to see what the image actually is.

Pine needles in the cold sunshine. Very shallow DOF

Pine needles in the cold sunshine. Very shallow DOF

Judy let me take this snap - her smile is so bright in B&W. The dappled light on her face is the result of the sunlight through the leaves above us.

Judy let me take this snap – her smile is so bright in B&W. The dappled light on her face is the result of the sunlight through the leaves above us.

Vivitar 90-230mm f4.5

I mostly shot this to see how much the contrast of the white platter and the dark old wood would play off each other. One thing I love about B&W is that in the absence of color, the sunlight seems so strong on surfaces.

I mostly shot this to see how much the contrast of the white platter and the dark old wood would play off each other. One thing I love about B&W is that in the absence of color, the sunlight seems so strong on surfaces.

Ceramic bird feeders in the sunshine - I had the aperture wide open and enjoyed playing with the DOF

Ceramic bird feeders in the sunshine – I had the aperture wide open and enjoyed playing with the DOF.

Of course – I had to try to get a bird shot in.

I had to try to get one bird shot - I used an old zoom. It was tough to focus a something that moved so fast in the old-school focussing screen. I like the soft look of it.

It was tough to focus a something that moved so fast in the old-school focussing screen. I think I like the soft look of it.

I’ve actually shot 2 rolls in March – I need to get them over to Fayetteville to see what I’ve got. I shot the first roll before I picked these up and shot mostly with the zoom. The second roll was shot with an OM-1 with some new glass I recently acquired so I’m anxious to see what I can do with it. Honestly, I think I am starting to regain the feel for using these old cameras, it’s like muscle memory. It’s been almost 30 years since I shot one so I was more than rusty. More importantly, focusing on the fundamentals makes me more aware of what I am doing on my modern camera – I am refining some of the settings I use, I am taking more care in focusing, I am shooting more like film.

Shoot Out in Texas

I am a fan of photographers.

I am inspired to see how someone else looks at a place, or an object, or a person. I enjoy the comradery of seeing my fellow photogs out in the trenches at a parade, in the field with the elk, or out chasing the fall colors. One of my favorite things to do is to have a “shoot out” – shoot a photo of a fellow photog shooting a photo of me shooting them.

Your camera is an extension of your eye, or is it your arm? Whatever. It has to come between you and whatever it is that you’re shooting. In my book, a portrait of a photog requires a camera somewhere in the frame.

Last spring I shot the Artrageous Parade with my pal Judy. After the festivities I asked for a shoot out…20130124-104337.jpgNote her concentration and the delicate way she operates the zoom, she’s closing in on me. Judy has a love for shooting, and a love of life. She can tell a story better than just about anyone I know and her photos are full of insight – Judy shoots thoughtfully, capturing the light at just the right moment.20130123-211132.jpgShe seems to have caught me growling. That’s what she gets for insisting I not cover my face with my camera. When I know I’m shooting outdoors I wear my Transitions Aviators – I can mash the eye cup all over those huge lenses. I must not have noticed the lack of sunshine, since I’m sporting the huge rectangular hood. I used exactly one lens that day, so of course I carried 4. That Domke Bag is classic though…

This is my sister-in-law Karen in the Observation Car of the California Zephyr. We shot constantly for 3000 miles last spring. We shot elk, marmots, prairie dogs, and each other.

20130124-110911.jpg I like Karen’s grip, it’s almost like the camera was made to fit in her hands, corners covered with fingers free so that she can still zoom. Karen always seems to hold her camera so level, she studies shots carefully. It shows in how she holds onto the camera and how she has all the controls completely in within reach.

This is Chip – an amazing local photog who has self-published the definitive work on the area in and around Eureka Springs. 20130123-211222.jpgOn this day Chip was shooting for the local paper, the Lovely County Citizen. He was shooting me, covering my show last summer. Chip is not only one of the most talented photogs I know, he also shows so much grace covering silly things like my show or a parade. You might see his work in galleries, and you might see him covering a traffic jam. He does it all and does it all well – and he does it with one kick-ass Nikon. That sucker is the most amazing camera I have ever seen. Great photography may not be about the camera, but rocking a D4 can’t hurt…

Just last weekend I had the opportunity for a shoot out in Texas…20130123-211243.jpgI met Honie Briggs!! This is a shot of Honie shooting me. I was in town for a trade show and I read her awards post – she shared her position on crazy Dallas Freeway Onramps – Seriously, no one does an awards post like Honie. I left a comment about having driven on one that day. She emailed me and asked if I had time to meet – it was awesome to meet her and her Loyal Follower…20130123-211313.jpgHere is Honie’s shot of me shooting her, she did a better job with the light inside this amazing Italian market. I was using my Leica portrait lens, I had hoped to shoot my reflection in her filter, but that prime doesn’t focus close enough. A couple of times we snapped at the same instant and all I got was flash, those shots look a bit like an alien with a huge glowing eyeball, nothing at all like Honie…20130123-211345.jpgAnd one more shot of Honie shooting me. Nice form – nice gear. Honie takes wonderful shots of nature and flowers, I love her classic car shots too. Truly a renaissance woman here.

My quick trip to Texas gave me the chance to meet on of my favorite bloggers in person. 20130123-230717.jpgShe was a warm, thoughtful, and funny in person as she is here in the blogosphere!

Raining Cats & Dogs

What follows is an excerpt from my Art House Coop Sketchbook Project from a couple of years back. Basically you buy a sketchbook, fill it with whatever you like and you send it back – the Brooklyn Art Library then sends your book out on tour with thousands of other sketchbooks in a traveling exhibit – a library where art lovers can check out your book and even leave you comments. It’s a wonderful project and when the road show returns to Brooklyn your sketchbook becomes a part of a permanent library. I have loved doing Sketchbooks – I’m on my 4th and my niece is joining me this year.

Check it out here.

I live on about 6 acres in the Ozarks. When I moved here a decade ago I had one dog. With so much room it seemed natural to add another, and another, and another.

Here in the hills and hollows the neighbors have “country dogs” – basically dogs that have no limitations, no fences, no kennels, no boundaries. So even with my humble pack I am often surrounded by dozens of cats and dogs. Some days it seems like it is raining cats and dogs.

I decided to make a photographic record of all the cats and dogs in my life over the course of a couple of months. Some are mine and some are my brother’s family’s pets. I shot everything with my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app. The captions on the photos are things I have heard said about each pet.


"The softest cat in the universe"

“The softest cat in the universe”

One day my sister-in-law Karen got a call from her neighbor, a local veterinarian. Someone had dumped kittens at the clinic overnight. They were only 2-3 days old. Only one was still alive when he arrived at work. He asked if she would be willing to try to bottle feed the lone survivor – translation “Karen, take this cat and be responsible for it for the rest of its life.” Karen obliged and Oscar thrived. Oddly this yellow cat that was never nursed is on a mission to nurse every small animal he meets. Puppies, kittens, the chihuahua – he tries to be a wet-nurse to them all. He has been known to allow Karens birds to feed in the same bowl he is eating from. He has the loudest purr of any cat I have ever seen. Oscar is odd…and soft.


"She's like your crazy old aunt"

“She’s like your crazy old aunt”

When Karen’s great-aunt passed away she left behind Daphne -14 years old, deaf, blind, and not housebroken. Daphne was a difficult houseguest. Every 12 hours Daphne would bark non-stop until she was fed. Even the time change to Daylight Savings Time had no effect on her – every 12 hours, every day.

Karen began to take Daphne to the Doggy Spa once a week for grooming and massage. Daphne served her master and then enjoyed her golden years by bossing around her new humans. She was like that crazy old aunt – we all have one.


"if you're my friend, you must be special"

“if you’re my friend, you must be special”

Kirby hates:

Camera – he hides when he sees one

Snakes – he has been bitted by Copperheads 8 times

Pills – he has to take them after snake bites

Kirby loves:

My living room rug

Killing snakes

Kirby was bred to be a show dog. He is perfectly proportioned and has a gorgeous coat. He is a dream to walk on a leash. There is just one problem. He is terribly shy, so shy that he could not tolerate being touched by judges in the show ring. His breeder was eager to place him in a home because his behavior was spreading to the other dogs. So Kirby came to live with me. He was at my house 29 days before he let me touch him. Kirby chooses his own friends in his own time. He will always be shy. but if you’re on his list you must be special!


"That is one crazy cat"

“That is one crazy cat”

Lola belonged to my nephew Tommy, she was sent to live with Karen for a few years, but now she lives with Paul, an old friend from the neighborhood – he seems to be the only human she genuinely likes. Lola has issues. She’s that cat that will sit on your lap and purr sweetly until you move a muscle – then she will attack you with claws out.

"Lola has crazy eyes"

“Lola has crazy eyes”

I’m not certain that she ever blinks, I have never seen her sleep, she looks cuddly – but it’s wise to keep your distance!

I don’t know if there is such thing as an “alpha cat” – if there is Lola is one. The other cats scatter when she enters a room. She strikes with lightning speed and pinpoint accuracy. That sweet look lulls you into trusting her, then she strikes without warning. It’s a good idea to keep a supply of band aids on hand for Lola encounters. If Lola cannot attack you she will attack her own back leg, it’s her evil nemesis and it’s always stalking her – day and night. It’s her eternal struggle for victory – victory over her own read leg.

That is one crazy cat.


"The sensible one"

“The sensible one”

Cocoa was my Pop’s Corgi. After Pops passed away Cocoa missed him terribly. Being a herding dog, Cocoa is alway looking for a job to do. She’s the sensible one.


"She's not a dog, she's his daughter"

“She’s not a dog, she’s his daughter”

Cambria Louise was a gift from Karen to her husband Max, my brother. Karen and Max have three sons, no daughters. Cammie is not a dog, she’s his daughter. She is a pointer and she is obsessed with birds, this makes for interesting times since Karen raises birds for a living. Cammie has her own couch, her own bed, her own bowl. In a house with 6 dogs, 4 cats, 3 boys, 14 birds, and a turtle, Cammie is the only organism that has anything that is entirely her own.

I went out to the desert with Cammie and Max one day. She was very annoyed that I was permitted to sit in the front seat of the Jeep. The front seat is her seat. If the princess is in the car it’s best to give in and crawl into the back unless you want a fifty pound dog on your lap.


"He believes he is a tiny dog"

“He believes he is a tiny dog”

Sunshine is a rescued goldendoodle. I named him Sunshine because he reminds me of a blonde hippy I met in Oregon with the same name. Sunshine is tall and thin like a standard poodle, and sweet and loyal like a golden retriever. He hides under my end tables, he barely fits under there. He believes he’s a tiny dog.

Sunshine was abused and neglected as a puppy. He is very cautious around strangers, but I have no doubt that he would defend me from any danger.

"He's got crazy hair"

“He’s got crazy hair”

Sunshine has crazy hair, in the summer I have him cut close like a schnauzer, in the winter I let his coat grow out. Right now it’s so long that I cannot see his eyes. I know his coat keeps him warm, but I miss his face. By February all of his hair will be over six inches long. Bringing Sunshine into my home and into my life has required another addition to the household…a Dyson.


"Why is the smallest one always the alpha dog?"

“Why is the smallest one always the alpha dog?”

One summer my Pop came to visit and admired my Jack Russell Terrier. He had always wanted one but they were very expensive back home. Here they are hunters and ratters – work dogs. I found a breeder for him – they showed us two pups. Pops asked which one would be the best and I picked the smaller squarer one. He seemed drawn to the pudgy one with a short nose. I went to the car to get the back seat ready for the ride home an Pops emerged with both puppies. He spent the rest of his vacation in my house picking up puppy poop.

Squeegee is a small terrier – about 12 pounds. She is also very bossy. Why is the smallest one always the alpha?

She was bitten by a rattlesnake when she was six months old, she’s a tough little thing. She dislikes my other female terrier, even so she sleeps next to her each night. She’s a barker – she trees squirrels, chases away deer and rabbits, and sounds the alarm if she spots a snake – but she catches nothing. Squeegee is the very definition of “all bark and no bite.”

Squeegee hates:

Cameras – she always looks away

Snakes – she barks like crazy

Velcro – not the sticky stuff, my other terrier.


"King of the dingle-berry"

“King of the dingle-berry”

Poor Zeno is an odd Pomeranian. He belongs to my nephew Brian. His tongue always hangs out over his teeth. He urinates on every vertical surface in the house. He has massive dingle-berries – he’s the King of the Dingle-berry! He’s not very huggable.

Poor little Kingle-Berry.


"Massive underbite"

“Massive underbite”

Charlie is kind of homely. She has a short nose and a massive underbite – she looks a little like a tiny boxer. Charlie belongs to Karen. Karen often chooses odd dogs with issues. We sometimes call Charlie “Chucky” like the scary dog from the movies. She looks like him and she is a terror – so it fits.

Charlie often plays possum, she closes her eyes while pretending to sleep. Keep an eye on her and you’ll notice that she is sneaking a peek at you. She’s a tiny spy making sure nothing gets by her. I wonder who she reports to, is she an enemy agent, or just an eavesdropper. I don’t trust her.


"Big personality - tiny package"

“Big personality – tiny package”

Ruthie is a yorkie. You know when you look at a puppy and think, “wouldn’t it be cute if they stayed this small and sweet?” Ruthie did stay that small, and is mostly sweet. She makes the Charlie the chihuahua look like a giant next to her tiny teacup face. She really is all hair, I’m convinced that she is just a hamster with a really long coat. Small as she is, she is fearless. She takes on the cats and the other dogs with no concern for her tiny stature. She is Charlie’s best friend and together they are a tiny, powerful tornado. Ruthie is a big personality in a tiny package.


"Pretty pretty"

“Pretty pretty”

Anabelle is Karen’s Maine Coon. She has paws that look like catcher’s mitts. She is very sweet and loves to sit on your lap. She is a very patient model and isn’t bothered with my camera, even if I am using a flash. She’s a peach.

Whenever Max sees Anabelle he says “Pretty – pretty!” in a high-pitched tone. It’s so unlike his natural voice – this big manly construction worker cooing at a fuzzy cat. Anabelle really is pretty and she is the sweetest cat in the house – no issues, no odd habits, no psychosis, no drama – just pretty pretty.

I don’t own a cat. I’m not a cat person. Anabelle makes me think I could be though. Of course with three terriers at home it would take a very special cat to survive in my household.

UPDATE – since this was in the Sketchbook Project, Max and Karen have taken in a three-legged cat named Tripod that Anabelle does not get along with. He now uses his normal voice and calls her “Crazy Ass Psycho Bitch”. I still like her.


"Velcro sticks with you"

“Velcro sticks with you”

Velcro is a rescue, I wrote her story here – she’s a mystery. I have had her for about 8 years and I am guessing she’s close to 14 years old. I brought her home from an adoption fair at the mall. She was scheduled to be euthanized at the pound the following Tuesday. I named her Velcro because she sticks with you – always sitting as close as possible to you. She has gone grey, she is my best pal.

Velcro loves:

Cameras – she loves the attention of being photographed

Wasps – she eats ’em!

Hunting – she is a master hunter – she has killed rabbits, squirrels, possums, pack rats, field mice, snakes, and moles.

Velcro is a champion napper. She could sleep for 20 hours straight. Maybe it’s because she works so hard hunting those pesky rodents and reptiles. Maybe it’s because she’s old. No matter, she deserves a rest.

She’s the best thing I ever brought home from the mall.

iPhoned this one it.

The Faces of Veterans Day

Yesterday was a glorious sunny day. Earlier in the week I saw a friend post on Facebook that she was in urgent need for a convertible for the annual Veteran’s Parade. I have a Jeep with a soft top so I responded, asking if that would help. She enthusiastically said “Yes!” So I set about getting a year’s worth of dirt of my Jeep. I view dirt as a protective coating, so this was no small run through the car wash, it was a scrub down, actually it was three, but that’s not the real topic for this post.

I grew up with a Pop who served in the Marines, uncles who served in Vietnam, and great uncles who served in WWII. I saw with great regularity the cost of that service. I also saw silent pride for having made the choice to serve. Washing a Jeep to do something small for men and women like this is simply inconsequential. I was honored to do it. I drove a man who was was a couple years younger than my Pop would have been. He served in the Marines Vietnam in the mid 60s. As we drove through the streets people shouted “Thank You!” – something this man should have heard when he came home. He waved and took it all in as his friends an neighbors cheered for him.

What follows is my exploration of the men and women in the parade, some vets, some family members, some cloning out to march to honor loved ones or even just an era. It was different for me shooting from inside the parade. I didn’t get to see much of it, just the 40 or 50 feet where I was placed.

This is Sue. The parade exists today because 4 years ago Sue asked why there was no Veterans parade in this small hamlet that has a parade for almost any reason. Her late husband was a Vietnam vet who died too soon. This parade is a labor of love that honors her Gary.

Actually, it’s not just a parade. Sue finds new ways to honor vets each year. This year there were restaurants cooking for Vets, discounts all around town, a 21 gun salute, and even an art show. Gary is smiling on you, Sue.


Thank you, sirs.

This bloodhound howled in time with the bagpipes at the front of the parade.


Thank you, Sirs.

Marching in honor of the Vietnam era.


Sparky marches in honor of his Grandpa

USMC Bulldog – he wanted to take on that bloodhound

Red white and blue.

Semper Fi

In honor of WWI


Thank you, Sirs.

Poppy Guy

Thank you, Sir.

Margo forgoes the clown makeup of this parade.

Thank you!


Welcome home.

As the parade ended someone sang the national anthem. Everything stopped. I confess I think of that anthem in terms of baseball games. These men see it as something much more profound.

To all vets – I sincerely want to say, I thank you for your service.



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?


































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.