Thursday, January 31, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 31, 2013

Imperial Sand Dunes, California by Crunchy Footsteps
Imperial Sand Dunes, California,
picassocam pinhole camera, paper negative, 8 sec exp, developed in Caffenol C, colorized in Photoshop.


The eastern border of California along Interstate 8 is the location of some really great, expansive sand dunes! My kids really wanted to visit, because the Tatoonie scenes of Star Wars were filmed here. I really wanted to try and capture the Dunes in pinhole, hoping the wide-angled nature of my cameras might capture it's utter vastness.

I am still trying to decide if that vastness was captured or not. It seems that the wide-angleness flattened out the inclines of the sand slopes, making the landscape seem more even elevation-wise than it actually was.

As far as the brightness of the scenes went, I was lucky that an approaching storm made the skies partly cloudy, so the bright sand under a semi-bright sky didn't make my exposures too squirrely. Still, exposure times were about 1/3 of what I am used to, so it was pretty bright!

There are many places to experience the Imperial Dunes. Some places are wilderness areas, so one can't walk out onto them, but simply enjoy their natural beauty.. Other places are recreational areas, and people in ATVs are riding all over them. Different strokes for different folks! (or different moods in the same person)

Since we were just passing through, we stopped at exit 156- Grant's Well Road, which is a recreation area. You have to buy a week-long permit to have full access to the dunes, but the very nice camp host let us walk on to the dunes without charge, as long as we didn't take our vehicle out onto them.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Project 365ish: January 29, 2013

paint can pinhole camera, paper negative, 4 min exposure, colorized in Photoshop

Living in the desert, I rarely get to pinhole, (or photograph at all) near the water.  What a nice change it was to pinhole at the beach!  This is La Jolla Beach in San Diego this past weekend, where we went tidepooling with good friends.  Daughter's gymnastics meet is what brought us to San Diego in the first place.

It rained the entire weekend, but was just misting while we were at La Jolla.  We saw tiny crabs, good-sized sea anemones, and one pool with several large starfish!



Monday, January 28, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 28, 2013


This is unbelievable.  We commonly see these vehicles on the weekends around our state.  These people come up over the border, pick up their items at garage sales, then take them across the border again, and resell them.  They generally use small pick-ups with some kind of rack rigged to them.  They are usually packed at least twice as tall as their vehicles, and sway dangerously down the freeway.  I laugh about the creative packing, but I wish more of them would be pulled over for having unsafe loads.

We saw this one yesterday, while traveling home from California.  The photo doesn't do it quite enough justice, and this truck was one of the most dangerously-loaded vehicles I've ever seen.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 24, 2013

Imperial San Dunes, California

We visited "Tatoonieland" today, (Where the Tatoonie scenes in Star Wars were filmed) while traveling through to the coast.  We all loved it!  Exit 156 off I-8 is one of the best-kept secrets to seeing the dunes up close and personal while passing through.

What an absolutely magical place.  I made some pinhole images too- the bright sand on the partly sunny sky made for fast shutter speeds, even for the super-tiny aperture and ISO of 6 for my paper negatives!  Were they exposed correctly?   We'll see when I develop them.

What a great day today!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 21, 2013

paintcan pinhole camera, paper negative, approx. 40-sec exposure
I panted the insides of my two favorite pinhole cameras with flat black paint yesterday, to minimize internal reflections.  I have really enjoyed these random, muse-like reflections on my images, but I am  about to go photograph a place that has a lot of white stuff, which is really hard to expose correctly, especially with a pinhole camera.

So the fam and I went to Bisbee yesterday afternoon, where I tested out the newly-painted cameras.  The light was low, as the sun had already dipped behind the Mule Mountains, so it wasn't a bright light test.

Here is an image from the Quality Hill Park. If you look close near the center of the photograph, you can see the Bisbee "B" at the top of the mountain peak in Old Bisbee.

We had a great time!  We ate Mexican food for dinner, while friends of ours strolled by our window-table.  We knocked on the window, and they came in and joined us for dinner.  We then took a stroll through a bit of Old Bisbee, enjoying the many murals and sculptures...




Sunday, January 20, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 20, 2013

paintcan pinhole camera, paper negative, about a minute exposure


Yesterday, the kids and I had a chocolate chip cookie break with our favorite tree, "Steve".   He resides at our local riparian area, and is approximately 130 years old.  He is a Fremont cottonwood tree, which is quite common here, near any source of reliable water. 

My kids have grown up playing around Steve, and climbing into his mighty branches with a few dear friends, who also appreciate Steve's gentle giant presence.  We gave him the name, "Steve", after reading this book together when they were young.  Like the story in the book, Steve is getting old; some of his huge branches have come crashing down over the years, and he doesn't look as grandiose as he did 10-15 years ago.

In the meantime, we appreciate Steve , and are thankful for his presence in our lives.



Friday, January 18, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 18, 2013


It's synchronicity.  Yesterday was Benjamin Franklin's birthday.  One of his many inventions was the bifocal lens.  Yesterday was also the day I received my first bifocal glasses!

I am getting used to them.  Everything so crisp in detail, both up close and far away.  It's almost too much.  My eyes are learning where to look in the lenses, so that sometimes I don't even see the line, let alone the blur of looking through the wrong part of the lens.  I may get the hang of them soon!

So thank you, Mr. Franklin!   I can only imagine how revolutionary (no pun intended) bifocals were in his day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 15, 2013


Happiness is....materials for creativity.  My brand-new box of photographic paper arrived the other day.  I use this light-sensitive paper as negatives for my pinhole cameras. 

I have not had the pleasure of time or inspiration to pinhole this past year or so- busy with other concerns, obligations, responsibilities, and busyness of my children's education.  You know- a full schedule- the bain of creativity!

But, we will be traveling soon- to places some of us have never been- and places I have never pinholed before.  Different landscapes await, so I will cut my paper to size, pack my camera bag, and anticipate some pinholing fun.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 14, 2013

Buddy and me, before bedtime last night

I've really needed to get a post in here about Buddy, before too long.

Buddy is our 18-year-old beagle.  We've had him since he was 4-months old.  He came before the kids did, so he has been a part of our lives and family for a very long time.  His health has been declining these past few months though, and we might not have him with us for much longer.

Buddy has been good for our family in many great ways.  As a high-need puppy, he was great at getting us to accept interrupted sleep at night, and endless, endless messes, and the ongoing care and joy and frustration having a pet brings.  Since he was my first dog, I had not experienced the care that is required in taking care of an animal.

Buddy's breaking us in to care for him was a great primer for parenting.  I do believe I had better perspective and endurance for the 24/7 care that a newborn requires, partly because of him. 

Buddy took the addition of people to our family quite well.  He sulked for a few days when Baby #1 came along, as he was no longer the center of attention.  However, he took the arrival of Baby #2 in stride, nearly 5 years later.

He was a very good companion to the kids.  He treated them gently, and played with them gently too, when they played tug-of-war with him, or picked up his balls and threw them for him, with two-year-old accuracy.  He hardly ever chewed on their toys; he seemed to know the difference between his own chew toys, and the kids' toys pretty well.  There were two exceptions: wood and wax.  Buddy couldn't resist these materials, so Thomas the Tank Engine acquired a few tooth marks, and  crayons left on the floor got chewed up, and brought as secret treasures to his kennel.

Buddy had his special tricks at different times of his life.  He used to bounce balloons off his nose into the air, and repeat this over and over.  That is, until a balloon popped one day.  He wouldn't do it again after that.

He invented a hide-and-seek game that he would play with me.  He would dart around furniture, or around the kitchen cabinets, and slowly peak his head around the corner, and see if I was still there.  Sometimes, I would peak around the corner, to see if he was still there.  Then the game would repeat over and over.

While young, he would chase birds, (never catching them), lizards, (he didn't have a chance with them, either) and bugs. (these he was good at catching, and rolling on)  He loved it when we rolled a grape or two towards, him, as he played with them like bugs, first tossing them in the air, then rolling on them.

Buddy, resting his spinning head on Son's knee last night


Over the most recent years, his eyesight has gone, and his bones have begun to creak.  In the past two months, he has developed a seizure condition.  He began a treatment regimen of phenobarbital this past week, in hopes to control the seizures.  It has made him extremely wobbly, and we know he is unhappy.  He is trying to adapt- he sticks his head into any corner he can find, and will just stand there for a few minutes, while the world spins around him, before moving on.  The dizziness is supposed to subside within a few weeks.  We hope so.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 11, 2013


I did something for myself yesterday that was long overdue- I got an eye exam!  My last exam was 10 year ago- when I was told I needed bifocals.  After spending a lifetime in glasses from a very young age, I was towards the end of a period that I didn't need them.  So after the bifocals news,  I just decided to suck it up, and stick to my readers.

I can't do that anymore, though.  Not only has my close vision deteriorated beyond the focal length of my arm, but my beloved distance vision is getting bad.  It's had me feeling crabby about it for a long time. 

I've always said that if I had to choose between having vision, and being able to hear, I'd choose loosing the vision.  Even as a photographer, I fear a world of silence more.  Not being able to hear the voices of loved ones or music is something I'd miss the most, I think.  However, when the optometrist showed me my corrected near and far vision during the exam, I grew so happy with the prospects of being able to see clearly again!  Now I can't wait to receive my bifocals!  I will have new vision in 5-7 working days!

After the exam, I treated the kids and myself to lunch at Schlotsky's.   A nice little bonus was a free sample offered to us...the center of a cinnamon roll.  I will never turn down the center of a cinnamon roll!




Thursday, January 10, 2013

Project 356-ish: January 10, 2013



It's the little surprises,  like coming across a friend on an ordinary day, that can really brighten me up.  (-:

We received a package yesterday from a dear longtime friend.  We met when our children were small.  We were co-leaders of our local La Leche League group.  We met with other dear friends for wine and good food for sisterly support.  Winter Solstice was an especially special day that we would meet.  We have physically gone in different directions now, and our children are no longer small, but she is a forever-friend.  Opening her solisticy-gift was like a hug from her.  And now, we'll think of them as we watch the birds enjoy their treat....


Waiting for the birds to discover them....



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 9, 2013


Did anybody else see the new moon early this morning?  I caught an unexpected glimpse of it between tree limbs, out my kitchen window.  It was stunning.  One of the best experience in life is catching an unexpected glimpse of the moon, I think.  My favorite glimpses are of the new moon like this, or as the full moon, rising big and white or orange, from the horizon.

I did this shot hand-held, with the 75-300 macro lens.  Not too bad, I'd say.  (-:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 6, 2013


This is how they play now.  5 kids, all sitting in front of a screen!  Actually, there are six kids here- one is playing an interactive game with 3 of the others via Skype, from a far-away location.  Amazing.

Yet, to listen to them, one finds it is a very interactive way to play.   Still, I may not ever get completely used to how many screens we humans use today, and the length of time we spend sitting in front of them.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 5, 2013


First meet of the season.  This past calender year in the sport has been challenging for her in many ways. (in good, but sometimes hard, growing-up ways)  I'm so glad to see her doing what she loves today.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Project 365-ish: January 4, 2013



Last night when Daughter and I returned from gym practice, we found orange roses on the table.  (-:  Husband and Son had been shopping.

Husband usually gives me flowers on the birthdays of our children.  (very sweet, yes??!!)  Son turns 17 tomorrow, and his favorite color has always been orange. 




I flipped my 18-55mm lens backwards for these images.




Happy Birthday to the Orange Boy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Project 356-ish: January 3, 2013


This is Bob.  He has been our house guest over the holidays.  He is a bearded dragon.  We are watching him for a friend of a friend.  Our friend who was originally Bob-sitting went on a trip of their own, so they asked us to finish out the Bob-sitting.  Now we are going on a trip of our own, (a gymnastics meet 2 big cities to the north) so we hope Bob's owner comes to claim him today.

We have enjoyed Bob very much!  He doesn't say anything, but his expressions and head-tilts are very endearing.  He eats meal worms and berries and romaine lettuce, and it's fun to watch him.  His tank is situated in our living room, and he is smart enough to know where to look for us in our comings and goings. 

Have a good life, Bob!  We've enjoyed you!

Project 365-ish: January 2, 2013



For the past several years, my family has spent the first morning of the new year  at a local wetlands area, watching the sandhill cranes come in.  (we were up far too late New Year's Eve to make it on January 1st this year, so we went on the 2nd, but I digress...)

The sandhill cranes stop over for a few months on their spring migration back to their summer home.  We live in a rural county, so they feast in the fields in the morning, and return to the wetlands area around 11:30 am to roost, fish, and socialize.  The water is usually frozen this time of year in the morning, so I feel for them.

They come flying in by the hundreds upon hundreds!  (perhaps thousands upon thousands?)  You see them at the horizon first, flying in tiny V-shapes.  They get closer and closer, now flying in family groups, till you see them land right before you.  Their calls can be very loud when there are very, very many of them.  They come in waves upon waves for about an hour.


It is really something to watch!



Happy New Year!!

Project 365-ish: January 1, 2013


This image is a happy accident.  This is a giant star structure, situated in the foothills of the mountains of our community.  It is lit every holiday season, and can be seen shining brightly for miles and miles- I have have seen it from 30 miles away.  From a clear line-of-sight, I'm sure you could see it from farther away.

Anyway, I just walked up to snap the photo, not remembering to change the settings from the sparkler "2013" photo from the day before.  So I clicked the shutter, and it stayed open, and it stayed open.....so after holding still a few more seconds, I started wiggling the camera, before the shutter closed.  I like the Star-Trekish Nexxus Ribbon- effect!  Now the star seems to have more energy than it knows what to do with!

Here's a realistic representation, from the back side of the star.  I'd take a photo of the family standing in front of the star, but it would be far too bright to even make them out against the contrast of the lamps.



I put the pinhole plate on the front of the camera body, and walked carefully down the hill aways, to get this image from the front.  The focal length of the camera sensor to the pinhole is a short distance, so the image is more telephoto than I would like.  But, I was able to get the whole star in the frame.

Happy Shiny New Year!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Project 365-ish: December 31, 2012


Daughter and I plunked down our 4 packages of sparklers to be totaled.   "We are low-key celebrators" I told the fireworks vendor.

Indeed, all we need are a few sparklers, some little pull-string party poppers, and some noise-makers.  Nothing gives me joy like going out every hour on New Year's Eve, popping off a popper, and making one long toot on a noisemaker. (the Midnight version may involve several poppers and several heartfelt toots)

This year, we did this time-lapse, low light, light-painting photograph with our sparklers on New Year's Eve.  I had the "3".  We had to paint backwards, so I just kept thinking, "draw and E, draw and E" to make sure I did it right!

This was made by putting the DSLR on a tripod, manual mode, f.20-ish, 13-second exposure.  We light-painted over and over, like crazy.  (-:

Happy New Year!

It's been too long...

...since I was making photography a regular part of my life.  As you know, life-seasons change, and my attention (and a very healthy amount of it!) is being poured into other things these days. 

But, I want to get my creative juices flowing more regularly this year, so I am contemplating doing a "project 365-ish" sort of ritual.  Perhaps photographing something- anything, with any camera, on a regular basis, will get me, keep me sustain and nurture the photographic muse within.

But to prevent this from becoming yet another "thing I have to do", it will definitely be "365-ish".  The whole point is to enjoy the process.

Here is an image to get things kicked off:


It rarely snows in our little corner of the world.  However, sometimes, we get a winter storm system that happens to drop down south enough for us to get some precipitation, and sometimes, that happens overnight, when the temperatures dip low enough.

We awoke New Year's Eve to the treat of 2 inches of snow on the ground!  We had snowball fights, made snow cream, and later in the day, visited a nearby canyon, where the snow was at least 4-6 inches deep.

It was a  winter wonderland!  A beautiful way to close out 2012!