About this blog title

I cannot tell you how many times I have shown up at events with a couple of cameras around my neck, a gadget bag full of odds & ends and a lighting kit and have been asked that question. If it happened once every few years, that would be one thing. But it happens a LOT. It's like getting pulled over by the police and he's standing there with uniform, gun, flashing lights and asking him "Are you a cop?" I would love to come back with a witty reply, such as "No, I am Jesus. Don't you recognize my beard?" However, I cannot be that rude.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Day Fiftynine: Some Days Are Better Than Others

It has been overcast most of the morning here in Chaumont, NY. It was about 45 degrees when I got up.

This photo is of a window in my garage, taken at sunset yesterday. In general I am an upbeat person, but sometimes you cannot avoid having a down day. Today, I am out of sorts with myself. Things are moving too slowly. I need action, jobs, work, gigs! I am going to Cazenovia, NY, later today to photograph people and scenes for a magazine. That will be good. But in the mean time, my headset is less than desirable. The cure? Getting outdoors and mowing the lawn, working with the wood pile. In short, getting physical, active. Once I get doing physical labor, the mind clears, and things find their proper perspective.

View of my backyard, Chaumont, NY.

"To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself." Sun Tzu, The Art Of War, around 500BC.
photos and text copyright Gary Walts 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day Fiftyeight: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

I can only photograph that which I see.

"There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu, The Art Of War, around 500BC.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day Fiftysix / Fiftyseven: Chaumont Snow

Well, It had to happen sooner or later. I never got to the blog yesterday. Anyhow, it was snow in Chamount (Chamount is pronounced sha-mow, and rhymes with snow)for a good part of the day, mixed with rain off & on. This morning it was 38 degrees when I got up, and sunshine. All in all, one cannot complain about this years March & April weather.

Now let me tell you a little bit about photographing snow. Unless it is a really heavy snow, wide angle lenses often will not convey how the scene tryuly looked to you who was there. If the snow is falling lightly, as was the case yesterday, two things help to accentuate it. A dark background and a long lens. In the case of the photos presnted here, I shot them yesterday from my back steps. The dark backround is my garage. The lens was a 200mm. The long lens tends to compress and accentuate the falling snow, making it more noticeable. The third thing to consider is your lens opening, or aperture. In the top photo I used the lenses maximum aperture of f2.8. This accounts for it's particular look. In the lower photo I used an aperture of f8. This smaller lens opening makes more of the snow flakes sharper over a deeper range from the camera lens to the subject in focus. Why the streaks in the lower photo? Because the smaller aperture requires a correspondingly slower shutter speed to maintain a correct exposure. Hence, the snow moves during the slower exposure, resulting in the streaks. Also known as motion blur. Is that helpfull?
Regards, Gary.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day Fiftyfive: Driving Home

So we have been visiting Ohio. Today we are driving back to Chaumont, NY. Looks like we will be driving through rain the entire way. We are driving on intertstae Route 90, known as the throughway which runs East-West. Bad enough it's raining, but, being the throughway it is mostly visually boring. The photos presented here were taken through the car's rainy streaked windows. I am not driving. That makes it even more boring. So, what is one to do. Well, in this wonderful day & age we are living in, I am creating this blog entry. Grabbing photos thorugh rainy windows from a moving vehicle is really an amusement at best. The fireworks sign was the first colorful view we encountered. Then I spotted the cows grazing. Well, I only had a 17-55mm zoom lens & the cows were far way. No time to switch lenses. This image is cropped out of the full frame.

What this all leads up to is how one can amuse one's self with photography. These photos will never "go" anywhere, but what the heck! They gave me something to do.

At 3:00pm, about an hours drive West of Syracuse, NY, still on RT90, a break in the rain and we encounter a school bus towing a car. Somebody likes the color yellow.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day Fiftyfour: Time Out Grill, Chardon, Ohio

So we are visiting Ohio, Painseville to be exact, about 20/25 miles East of Cleveland. Sometimes I just take quick snapshots of places I have been just as a diary, or notebook type of reminder of where I have been, what I have done. That's the case with these photos taken at the Time Out Grill in Chardon, Ohio. Stopped in there and had a Burning River pale ale beer created by the Great Lakes Brewing Co. of Cleveland. A darn good beer. While there I snapped a shot of the inside of the joint. Just set the camera on the table and snapped the photo without looking through the viewfinder. I didn't want to draw attention to myself because that would lead into conversatiuon & more. With todays digital cameras such pix are easy to get and have comme out technically good. The light was dim inside, my shutter speed was about a 1/15th of a sec. Setting the camera on the table and carefully depressing the shutter is like haveing the camera on a tripod. Anyhow, there was nothing artsy or profound involved here. I was just documenting a stop for a beer in my travels.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day Fiftythree: Composition

A few posts back I mentioned how I see a scene through the camera as a collection of shapes. I present the photo above to illustrate this concept. I look through the viewfinder and begin adjusting the camera position and focal length of the lens (if using a zoom), and pay attention to the various lines in the scene. In this case the phone poles, utility lines, road all divide the scene up into various shapes. I use those shapes & lines to draw the eye to the subject, in this case the car. There is nothing accidental in this composition. However, I did have to work quickly because of the car moving rapidly away from me. The photo below shows how the scene is composed of lines and shapes.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day Fiftytwo: Salad Scraps

Forty degrees in Chaumont NY at 6:00AM. Nice & sunny too. The better half and I are driving to Painesville, OH to visit her family. We are just now approaching Brewerton, NY. Still sunny. However, we hear of rain in Ohio. Rats.
So last night my good friend Dave whipped up a tomato cucumber salad. He just zipped right along cleaning, trimming. slicing & dicing the vegatables, tossing the scraps into the sink bowl to feed the garbage disposal. I was taking photos of the finished product, (see the photo below) when my eye caught the scraps in the sink. Bear in mind, he was tossing them into the sink willy nilly, and the photo above is exdactly how they appeared. I didn't adjust or move anything. It was just another spontaneously created still life. Unreal! Thanks for the great feedbag Dave.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day Fiftyone:

40 degrees in Chaumont NY this morning. Some Sun. It appears it will be another fine day for April.
So it's been 51 days since I began this blog. I'm discovering that it takes up more of my time than I thoght it would. Now about the photo from day 50: Clergy For Choice. At least once every year there is a Catholic lead vigil outside of an abortion clinic on James St. in Syracuse, NY. A group walks several blocks anti-abortion signs, hang out in front of the clinic to draw attention to their cause. What really blew my mind, however, was this group of clergy across the street from the Catholics. I have a real tough time coming to terms with this. I cannot fathom why a group of clergy would take a public, pro-abortion stand opposite the Catholic group. Am I all wet? Does this seem strange to anyone else out there? Anyhow, it's one of those things that I would have really kicked myself for if I did not have a camera with me when I encountered this scene.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day Fifty: Clergy For Choice?

This really bugs me. More later. Been a long busy day.

OK, it's a day later and I am adding to this post. Just didn't have it in me yesterday. See day 51 for more regarding this photo. I want to mention here that I feel the democrats & republicans use abortion as what I call a "smoke screen issue" to create the illusion that there is a difference between the two parties. It's an issue they use to keep voters distracted while they hold hands and enrich themselves.
Other smoke screen issues include gun control, health care, climate change. Subjects such as those keep the populace divided and distracted. Meanwhile both parties take care of "business" in more ways than one.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day Fortynine: Portrait Of A Banana Peel

It's best for me to create a blog entry in the morning as opposed to now, almost 9:00 in the evening. But somedays one has no choice. The day began at about 40 degrees in Chaumont, NY this morning. Then we had a great, Sunny day, ending with a nice sunset.
What does the world's smartest man eat for breakfast? Well, this morning I had some yogurt, a small sandwich of pastrami on rye, a piece of carrot cake and..... A BANANA! That's where today's photo came from. It may seem odd to take a photo of a banana peel, but it seemed to present itself to me so I took it. Now let me tell you something about being a professional photographer. It's one thing to take pictures for yourself or for family and friends. Some things, like weddings, tend to be straight forward. But when it comes to shooting for newspapers, magazines, the Associated Press, advertisers, and other, you just never know what you will be asked to photograph. You just might get asked to photograph a banana peel. How would you do it? Well, buy some bananas and start peeling them and arranging the peels in a visually pleasing fashion, add some kind of light, and shoot away. Easier said than done. It can turn into real work. Shooting, reshooting, and trying to come upon the "just right" combination of elements. If I had been hired to make a banana peel photo I probably would never have come up with the likes of today's photo. This morning I simply ate a banana and placed the peel on the dish. I just laid it there. Then I noticed it's shape. I was struck by how perfect a banana peel it appeared to me. If I were hired to make this photo I would have eaten the banana with a preconcieved notion of how the peel should look afterwards. Then I would have had to move the thing into a million positions just to get it to look "right". One more thing. I really did eat all that stuff for breakfast but it wasn't as much as it sounds like. The pastrami on rye was SMALLand so was the carrot cake. Basically It was handy food hanging around the house, so I got rid of it.
Regards, Gary.

The Art Of War...

"...is governed by five constant factors... These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline." Sun Tzu, born 544 BC.
Isn't all ART governed by these five factors?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day Fortyeight: Another Street Photo

Well, this is what I saw while out for a walk yesterday evening. The Sun had all ready gone down so the light was quite muted and soft. It works for me, I cannot say why. Otherwise, it was another great day for April.

Here is a quote from The Art Of War by Sun Tzu:

"The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It's a matter of life and death, a road to safety or ruin. Thus, it is a subject which cannot be neglected."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day Fortyseven: Bit of A Blank Slate

A say a bit of a blank slate because at the moment I haven't a whole lot on my mind. And, as usual, I'm feeling a bit pressed for time. Anyhow, I did snap the above photo today. I am probably going to lose some of you on this one. I have to say that I am unsure if I got a photo of this scene that "works". For some reason I needed to snap it. That's all I did. If nothing else it allows me to make a presence here today. Keep your eyes open and your camera loaded with pixels. Gary.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day Fortysix: Another Still Life

Well, it was rainy & cool in Chaumont, NY this morning, and likewise throughout my travels. But who can complain? How about the volcano eruption going on in Iceland? That's really something. If I had the enrgy to go into it all I would talk about how volcanic activity has been melting glaciers. Science has always been one of my great interests since I was a child. Sooner or later I'll talk some science.
The above photo is another still life captured at my friend Greg Lago's shop, Winged Bull Studio in Clayton. The pens were just sitting on his work bench, waiting to be photographed. There are usually still life photographs sitting right in front of us amid the clutter of everyday living. Nothing posed or set up. You just have to see them, or find them, sort of like looking for Waldo.

A Reminder of how good my life is.

So once again I have had a full and interesting day. It started a week or so ago when I ran into a friend who has a granddaughter with a rare kidney problem. She went through some serious operations at a hospital in Boston that have cost the family a lot of money. He said the Masons Lodge here in Chaumont were hosting an Italian dinner event to raise money for the family. I told my friend that if I were home in time I would go to the dinner and play some guitar. So, here is how my day went: I put in some guitar practice in the morning with my coffee. No better way for me to start the day. It was cool outdoors, so I got the wood stove burning. I then drove off to photographan Earth Day event in Southern Oswego County. Some kids from the Central Square chapter of the Good Ole Boys Junior Bass Masters were picking up litter near the Erie Canal i n that region. From there I drove to Syracuse and photographed a babies birthday party at St. Joseph's Hospital. I got all that wrapped up and made it back to Chaumont in time for the Italian dinner. So I took my guitar over there and played, unamplified, for about an hour and a half. Everyone seemed to enjoy it a lot. Some folks went out of their way to let me know how much they liked the music. This was an unadvertised bonus for those who attended the event. The photography went well, the guitar playing went well, now I relate it all here. It has been a very satisfying day. Suddenly, as I finish this I realize once again how rich and wonderful my life is. How is it I can be so blessed? Believe me, I do not ask that question lightly. Sometimes, like now, I truly wonder that.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day Fortyfive: TEA Party People

Taxed Enough Allready

These are some of the photos I made at a TEA Party gathering in Watertown, NY. This was yesterday, April 15th.

Need a photographer? Please visit my web site at: www.garywalts.com
All photos and text contained in this blog are copyright Gary Walts 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day Fortyfour: Seeing Pictures

This is a photo of me taken last Summer by a friend while I was visiting them at their cottage on Pillar Point, Lake Ontario. It was sunset and you can see how the color of the light played upon my complexion, shirt, and hair color. Notice the glass of wine in front of me? Well, the photo below shows what that glass of wine looked like from where I was sitting. As I snapped the photo my friends didn't think much of it, in fact, looked at me sort of oddly. Then I showed them the photo. They were impressed. I just sit around wherever I am and view the world around me as if I am looking through a camera. I am mentally framing the scene and the various elements of the scene in front me, imaginging how it will look photographed. The bottom photo is a view of the porch after the Sun had set.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day Fortythree: Funny How Things Work Out

For all of it's ups and downs, my life is blessed. That's the only conclusion I can come to. Here is what I mean. A few days ago in one of these blog posts I was writing about trying to land a guitar gig. I am a classical guitarist and what I do is great for dinner music or lazy cafes. Two of the places I called I knew for sure use live entertainment. One owner was polite, took some info from me. The other gave me a cool response. Being an unknown entity to these folks I offered to audition that afternoon with no committments nor strings attached. They brushed me off. What could I do? I cannot force them to listen to me play so, I ended the week with no auditions.
Enter serendipity ( or God, or Angels, or whatever). Less than a week after talking with the owners of those venues, I auditioned for them against their free will! Here is what happened. My friend "Shotgun" Billy Read from Nashville, TN was in town for his father in law's funeral. Billy asked me to play at a memorial service & reception. I would play while guests arrived, and play some more after the actual service had concluded. Terrific. So I played, including a nice piece of music by Fernando Sor accompanying one of the speakers reading aloud a letter from the deceased. It was a nice touch to the whole affair. Unbeknownst to me however, was the fact that both of the people I had contacted less than a week earlier for auditions were at this service. They heard me play and from what I am told, were quite taken from what I had to offer. Somehow in the big scheme of things we were all brought under the same roof and shared an experience whereby I auditioned for them by default. It remains to be seen what will become of it. My friend "Shotgun" Billy Read wanted to pay me for my contribution, but I could not & would not accept payment. I was there for my love of him and his family. I truly loved being a part of it and helping to make it special for all involved. Anyway, this is why I say I am blessed. I wanted to auditon for the two aformentioned people. I couldn't make it happen. I played for love for my friend and it turned into the audition I couldn't
create. It's crazy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day Fortytwo: Tom Jefferson's Birthday

It was 34 degrees at sunrise in Chaumont, NY this morning. Should shape up to be a lovely day.

Happy Birthday Thomas Jefferson.

In my family we like to celebrate Tom Jefferson's birhday. Today, April 13th, 2010, is his 267th. The cupcakes in photo above were made by my mother. I was visiting her house and she adorned a couple of them with candles and a photo op was born. The Jefferson engraving is courtesy the US mint by way of the $2.00 bill.

Here are some Jefferson quotes:

"I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."
"Be polite to all, but intimate with few."

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day Fortyone: Grilling Those Hoffmans

A lovely day to be a photographer and drive over 250 miles. My travels took me from Sackets Harbor to Cortland. In Sackets area I checked out a farm scene where a silo exploded and killed the Sackets Harbor assistant fire chief. He was 26 year old Garrett Loomis. What a shame. Then I went to a press conference at SUNY Cortland. NY Governor Paterson and NY Jets football team owner Woody Johnson were there making an announcement about the Jets Summer training camp at the college.

Now about those Hoffmans. They are darn good hot dogs, but you need to grill them properly. In the region I travel and work in these dogs are popular and vendors tout them prominently. However, most of these vendors do not grill them to their best advantage. Don't get me wrong, they are still good as hot dogs go, but grilled the way we do them, they are outstanding. Look at the photo. That's how you want them to look. The skin is dark, blackened in spots, but they do not taste burnt. To start, get the dogs out of the fridge and let them reach room temperature before placing on the grill. Or, microwave the chill out of them before grilling. Grill them over charcoal, not gas. There is a difference. Lay the dogs over the colas and keep them moving, turn them over, keep rotating their position on the grill. Let them reach a state where they begin to blister, crack, turn a bit black. Sometimes you will hear a faint whistling sound as steam escapes the dogs. When they have swollen and cracked they are perfect. Have your favorite bread and condiments handy and eat them immediately after taking them off the grill. When they are ready to eat, keep the extras hot & perfect by scraping all of your coals to one side of the grill and piling your dogs on the other side. Put your lid back on the grill. Now you and your guests can march over to the grill and grab a hot dog as needed. Do not remove them from the grill and pile them on a platter. As they cool they shrink and are still really good, but not as PERFECT as keeping them warm under the lid.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day Forty: Hofmann Hotdogs

It was a nice day in Chaumont NY today. Among other things I photographed these Hoffman hot dogs on the grill. They are made in Syracuse, NY, and are truly the best hot dog I have ever eaten. Tomorrow I am out at 5:30 AM, a full day lined up for the Post-Standard, starting with an early morning weather photo. It's a lot different when you MUST go find a photo and have it delivered by a certain time, than going about your business and just seeing one appear in front of you.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day Thirtynine: Queen Anne's Lace

Sunrise last Summer driving in Sandy Creek area. Sometimes you need to zero in on details as opposed to the wide scene in front of you. Ever since I was a child I have liked these wild flowers, and especially their name: Queene Anne's Lace.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day Thirtyeight: Wellsley Island Porcupine

You get up in the morning and you never know what is in store for you. Yesterday I started out with a mission to find a guitar playing gig. It ended with this photo of a porcupine! I've never seen one live before, just dead ones on the road.
Did I find a gig? Yes I did. But still not what I am looking for. I'm guessing I spent a total of two hours on the phone. But they were productive. The end result is that I am probably going to play guitar for at three different functions for the Jefferson County Historical Society. The events are not firmed up yet, but I anticipate they will be. I have one date set up for the farmers market in Watertown, June 30th. I got hold of the restaurant manager at Bonnie Castle Resort in Alexandria Bay. I had a positive chat with her, but nothing solid yet. I called a few other places with similar results, or left messages for the key people. I need to call two of them back this morning. In the end I probably made eight calls.

I also was called by two other people unrelated to my mission. One was my brother, another was a friend from the past who seemed to be in need of conversation. I can't go into all of that-not enough time. Those calls however, tended to prolong my mission. All in all, I'd say I made some progress trying to promote the music side of my life.

Now, back to the porcupine. As I mentioned, my brother called. He wanted to take a drive to Wellsley Island to check out some land for sale. It was a pretty nice day so we set it up for when I got done with my mission. We looked at the land and discovered that it was owned by a man whom we grew up with as kids. Small world. Now, one cannot go to Wellsley Island without driving around and checking out the scenery, the architecture and the like. Thus it was, while cruising, we spotted this porcupine in a tree. Couldn't pass up a photo of that.
I should point out that there are many reasons why I photograph things. Not all of them provide great, artsy photos, or spectacular nature photos. This porcupine photo is rather mundane as nature photos go. The light was terrible, the creature is dark, shooting him overhead against the sky, through tree branches, couldn't be a worse scenario. (Because of that I used a flash on the camera.) Being that I have never seen a live porcupine before I wanted to take it's picture just to be able to show it to family and friends. That's the reason for taking many photos. To document and share your experiences. How would it be if I didn't have a camera with me? I would tell people about seeing it. I would also have been standing there looking at it sayin, "My God, I wish I had a camera!" I have heard that story hundreds of times. "I wish I had a camera with me." My big fear in life is that I'll absent mindedly leave the house with out a camera and run into Elvis pushing John Kennedy in a wheel chair toward a waiting flying saucer! Without a camera, you could tell everyone what you witnessed and they would never believe you. Another thing, if you ever did get photos of Elvis, Kennedy and a UFO you could sell them for a lot of money to the National Enquirer!

Need a photographer? Please visit my web site at: www.garywalts.com
All photos and text contained in this blog are copyright Gary Walts 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day Thirtyseven: Today's Mission: Find A Gig

A lot of nights as I lay in bed the idea machine begins to turn in my brain. At some point before nodding off I make a commitment to act on one of those ideas when I awake in the morning. Last night I committed myself to a mission: Contact ten restaurants and/or cafes to try and land a guitar playing gig. Well, I have been up since 6:00AM and so far have called one place, Bonnie Castle Resort in Alexandria Bay. The manager was not in yet. It's 11:30AM. "Well what have you been doing all this time?" I can hear my better half asking. Well, I placed new ads on the Syracuse and Watertown craigslists for wedding photography. Those ads don't create themselves. I put in three, count 'em, three hours on guitar. Checked out facebook. Now I write this. Ok then, It's back to the phone calls.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day Thirtysix: Chaumont Sunrise

It was 52 degrees in Chaumont, NY this morning. I looked out and saw some fog. At 7:00am I took the household trash out to the curb and noticed the Sun rising between my neighbors houses. I photographed it. These photos were made with a Nikon D2H camera. The noise in the shadows with this camera are horrible. This is not one of my favorite cameras. Anyhow, I opened them in Photoshop. The colors were all over the place. I fooled around awhile and tried to get them to look like what I saw. In the upper photo I added some saturation which seemed to bring the sky around to something acceptable. On the lower photo I played around with the color balance, taking out some green by adding magenta, and adding some extra red & yellow. When I tried auto color or auto levels the sky went really blue. A strange, unnatural blue. I mention it because it's difficult to make a good sunrise or sunset because of the intensity of the Sun against the rest of the scene. Thus I shoot numerous exposures to try and strike a balance between the Sun and the rest of the scene. Then, when the photo is made smaller and saved as a GIF for the web, the color pallette becomes reduced and more compromises enter into the equation. I'm not sure how well any of this translates in this final blog posting. I'm not sure it even matters.

On another note, notice the power lines. Do they bother you at all? Years ago some of my photographer friends and I used to lament the existence of power lines and how they screw up an otherwise nice scenic. However, I have come to accept them as a part of the sceneery in which we live, and it simply doesn't bother me anymore. If the lines are there I just accept the idea that they are a part of the subject matter. Don't let a few wires stop you from making a photograph.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day Thirtyfive: Altered Routine

It's been pretty close to 60 degrees or so all day in Chaumont NY. I decided to alter my Tuesday routine today which is why I am writing this at 7:00PM. I did the usual two hours or so of guitar, but, at 9:00am I decided to take care of some banking. I usually do errands of that nature in the afternoon. After I have taken care of other business such as this blog. Anyhow, I went to the Clayton branch of my bank which is fourteen miles away. While in Clayton I stopped in at Winged Bull Studio. Todays photos come from that visit. Greg Lago has several projects in the works. Among them is this carving he is chipping out of a piece of cherry wood. The piece and his tools were lying amid a pile of wood chips, creating a natural still life. You can see from the wide photo how I decided to close in on that scene for the tighter photo. There is a good chance that had I showed up later in the day he would have had the wood chips cleaned up and the photo would have been different, or not taken at all.

All photos and text contained in this blog are copyright Gary Walts 2010
Also, please visit my web site at: www.garywalts.com

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day Thirtyfour: Hallway

It was pretty much 50 degrees in Chaumont, NY, this morning. I would have to say that march came in and went out like a lamb. What will April bring? Showers? If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?

Mayflowers bring pilgrims.

How does one go about making a photograph of something? When something catches my eye the first thing I do is determine just what is it that I'm noticing. Then I try to figure out how to photograph it. In the photo above it was the light falling on the wall. I started shooting that. First just the pattern of light. But something didn't seem to be clicking. I began moving around in the hallway, looking through the viewfinder. I shot a variety angles with various exposures and focal lenghs of the zoom lens. Ultimately I liked this one the best. Notice how I carefully utilized the lines that exist in the scene. The lines that make up the door, the hallway, the receding lines created by the boards in the flooring. This is not accidental. I keep adjusting the camera position, paying attention to the lines as I shoot. These lines make up various shapes. Those shapes are the real core of what I see, and how I go about composing an image. Almost all of my photos I see as a colection of shapes. What makes one photo different from the other is what those shapes are filled with.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day Thirtythree: Happy Easter

If nothing else, I want to wish everyone a happy Easter. Let's not forget that hiding behind the Easter bunny, Easter eggs, and jelly beans is an important message. Should be the other way around. Anyhow, This may be all I am able to give to the blog today. It's 1:00pm. I'll try to add more later.
9:30pm I added this photo. These women dressed up for a special Sunday service celebrating the re-opening of their church after it had been closed for a year for repairs.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day Thirtytwo: Speaking of Churches...

It's another great day in Chaumont, NY. Two hours of guitar this morning. Then some yard work befor y Better Half goes to work later this afternoon.

I don't seem to have a killer photo that I have taken in the last day or two, but, speaking of churches yesterday, I found this photo of a church in Pompey, NY as I was looking for another church photo. I made this image after my photo shoot and Sunday service was over. I was leaving and looked up at the sky and just took the photo.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day Thirtyone: Good Friday

At 6:00AM this morning it was 48 degrees in Chaumont, NY. High's will approach 80. WOW! You would have to live here to appreciate it.

This photo I took at a Russian Orthodox church. Commentary to follow later today.

The Catholic church has gotten a lot of bad press in recent times. That's unfortunate and my opinions about that are a subject for another day. But, Let me start today with the fact that I was raised a Catholic. You won't be surprised then when I tell you I grew up in a family of ten kids. My mother saw to it that we were raised as good Catholics. We went to a small church in Evans Mills, NY. I went through first communion, confirmation and the like. I attended a couple of weeks of church school in the Summer. As a young adult I drifted away from the church, mostly because I didn't fully understand Catholocism. The church wasn't a big part of my life. Now, as a photographer I have photographed many weddings for over twenty years in many churches of many denominations. Because most weddings take place on Saturdays, I have worked Sundays for the Post-Standard for about twentyfive years. Those Sundays have taken me into a great many, diverse churches. I have been in every kind of church you can imagine, for all kinds of reasons and holidays. These include Russian Orthodox from where I made the above photo, to lots of small mom & pop churches and mega churches headed by wealthy evangelistic type preachers. I found some of those churches and their leaders to be somewhat disconcerting. There were a great many Catholic churches I have attended all these years also. The bottom line for me is this: If it were not for the fact that I worked Sundays and were paid to be at all of these Sunday services, I would never have been in church period. (Other than for Saturday weddings). It is difficult to ignore God and Christianity and your own spiritual beliefs when you go to church almost every Sunday, even if you are being paid to be there. Attending and comparing all those different churches and religions has lead me back to the Catholic Church. I have learned the Catholic Church to be solid and unwavering, with a consistent message. The church, like any church, gets blemished by some of the people within it. I reiterate, the problem is not Catholocism, it is certain people within it that have faults and weaknesses.