Wednesday, April 30, 2008
With a heavy heart I approached the security checkpoint at Sarasota airport and as I rooted around in my bags for my boarding pass I saw all the Andys to my left. They were the first thing I saw when I landed and I thought they would make an interesting photo then. I managed to take one photo before I had to go through the security drill. Sarasota has a very active arts community and this installation at the airport reflects that. The installation is just a lot of fun and though I hated to leave at least the multiple Andys made me smile.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I always seem to find myself in a corner. When I shoot photos, invariably I find myself in a corner trying to fit one more element into the shot. I even bought a house on a corner lot. But the corner table here at my aunt and uncle's condo on Lido Key is my favorite corner of all. For the past seventeen years it is at this table by the pool (the table with the open umbrella) where we have shared countless hours together and from which I have priceless memories. We have seen the dolphins perform in the Gulf, seen the pelicans catch their dinner and reminisced about times spent together in New York. Right next to the table is a big white life preserver. On every visit I recall how my Uncle bought me a Mickey Mouse life preserver on a family vacation to the Jersey shore. I was about three and he was worried because I couldn't swim. He made sure I learned how to swim, not only in the water but in life. I am leaving Sarasota tomorrow, but they are always with me.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Life is good when the toughest decision to be made is whether to swim in the Gulf or drift in the pool. The pool won today. In this photo I love the shadow cast by Sonia on the bottom of the pool. No big plans for tomorrow and that's what makes vacation wonderful. No plans, just whatever the day delivers.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This is what vacation looks like. When I shot this photo I just liked the simplicity of it and the strong geometry of it, even if the life preserver belonged to a noisy little toddler who disturbed an otherwise wonderful afternoon in paradise. As I looked at this photo I liked it on many levels, especially the metaphor it represents. A vacation is like a life preserver. The ability to get away and kick back, to put your feet up and let go of your troubles for even a few days, can save your life. It renews and restores you and enables you to jump back into the deep end of the real world.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
This was the view from 35,000 feet up as we were winging our way to Florida. I loved the way the wing of the plane separated from the sea of blue sky, and especially the natural frame created by the window. Sunny skies and warm weather greeted us as we landed.
Friday, April 25, 2008
I told myself I wouldn't leave packing for the last possible mooment, but of course I did. As I raced around trying to figure out what to take to Sarasota, I looked to see just how much room was left in my suitcase. Guess I'll be taking a lot less. Oh yeah, I did tell Slugger to leave his fur coat at home.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Seafood kebabs (salmon and tuna) on the grill with a buttery chardonnay. I will always favor red wine, but tonight for the first time in probably ten months I reached for a white wine. A sure sign that warmer weather and summer is approaching!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
This is what I love about late afternoon light... long shadows and warm, rich light. Late in the afternoon as I sit at the kitchen peninsula, editing pictures and reflecting on things that should have been done but weren't, I look at the warm tones in my kitchen cabinets and am reminded of a day well spent.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
It never ceases to amaze me how Slugger (like most cats) always manages to find a spot in the sun. He moves from room to room following the spots of sun that come in through the windows, much like the hand of a compass always pointing north. He remains curled up in the warm patches of sunshine catching a cat nap, perfectly content. He teaches me to look for and appreciate the simple things. If only it were that easy.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I'm learning things about myself as I shoot pictures for this blog. I felt very uninspired today and flirted with the idea of abandoning this effort. Too much like work I told myself. No one even looks at it... what's the object of this exercise? The tulips on my coffee table caught my eye and I started shooting some pictures. I couldn't get close enough and resorted to the macro lens. I kept getting closer, trying to abstract the image into geometric shapes of primary colors. I remembered my senior year of college studying Picasso and his cubist period where he started to deconstruct images in his paintings. I couldn't warm up to his work then, but as I shot the tulips I thought I should revisit Picasso and his cubism. Undoubtedly my art history classes influenced me, but until today I didn't realize they influenced how I shoot. And why do I do this? I think it allows me to explore different ways of seeing and in this space I can take risks. It's a process. I love the primary colors of these tulips and I especially like the intersection of the leaf as a green triangle. But I think I should have gotten even closer to the tulips!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Often after a particularly tough day at work I retreat to the garden when I come home. It helps me to clear my head. I get lost in the successes and failures of things I have planted and marvel at nature's mysteries. From the time I bought my house I always had a cluster of grape hyacinth that I could see from my kitchen window. This year I can find only two or three of them. I have no idea what happened to them and have resorted to blaming it on last year's landscaper who didn't know the difference between a weed and a flower. He's gone (fired him last fall) and apparently the grape hyacinth are too. Curiously, grape hyacinth are actually not Hyacinths at all. They are members of the Lily family. Yet another mystery!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
In this photo Pistachio looks like a fierce hunter. In reality, he is a mush... an outdoor cat, born feral but completely socialized now. I've always been partial to tabby cats, but Pistachio is so full of personality that he has helped me to expand my feliine horizons. The backyard is his kingdom. I wish he could come inside, but Slugger will have no part of it and P would miss exploring the yard. I set up a have-a-heart trap to catch the raccoon who tried to come inside last night. So far, Pistachio thinks it is a toy and has learned how to spring it without going in it! Watching Pistachio who jumps in my lap when I sit outside, yet is equally at ease sharing his food with his feral friends has taught me a lot. He's pretty special. I sure hope he isn't in the raccoon trap in the morning.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Late this afternoon as I surveyed my garden thinking about all the work that had to be done I saw the way the light caught the Hostas shoots poking their heads up through the earth. The strong light and shadow creates a sense of geometry that is enhanced by the veins in the hostas' leaves. As I took these pictures I remembered in the dog days of August last year, my black cat Pistachio loved to sit under the canopy created by this plant to cool off. I used to see him curled up under the leaves and loved how bucolic it all seemed. Tonight as I got ready to post I heard a racket outside the upstairs window and Slugger went flying down the stairs. I went to investigate and saw a raccoon pressing his snout through a softball sized hole he had made in the screen. I slammed the window shut. The raccoon waddled down the roof and back into the yard. I got to thinking that the garden becomes a different place at night. I wonder what other creatures make their home in my yard. The personality of the garden changes with the time of day. Not unlike some people I know.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
This may be what ninety looks like, but my Mom certainly doesn't act her age. Her spirit is so much younger. She is still active and interested in the world around her. In fact in this photo she is reading a blog about the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle which is one of her passions. An avid puzzler, the Sunday Times puzzle is her raison d'etre...well at least one of them. My Mom (when she sees this photo) will hate it. The wrinkles which I see as the roadmap of her life, her badge of courage, she despises. This photo, like her life would be far less interesting without them.
Monday, April 14, 2008
I was taking gear out of my trunk tonight when I looked up at the sky and saw those subtle pink hues that appear in the sky after the sun has set and dusk is settling in. I loved the way the trees separated from the sky and their feathery silhouettes. For a moment life in suburbia seemed limitless, the world felt big and it seemed that Montana didn't have the only claim to "Big Sky Country".
Sunday, April 13, 2008
And at the end of the day it was a glass of pinot noir that made it all okay. Several things about this photo intrigued me: the smooth fragile glass cradled by a hand that has rough skin. The intricate design in the glass and the way the fingers seem like an extension of it. And I love the way the burgundy of the wine is reflected on the fingers supporting the glass. Needless to say I love this wine!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
In an earlier post I recall wondering what Slugger can possibly be looking at when he stares out the window for so long. I was testing a new lens and just shot this photo without giving it much thought. The more I looked at it though, the more I got to thinking about how the camera is always looking in on things....on events, into other people's lives and how it is always the tool of an observer. I thought about how I am always trying to capture a moment, a slice of life, if you will. This picture was shot looking out at the street I call home. All was quiet in my little town. I still don't know what mesmerizes Slugger when he looks out the window all day! If only he could operate a camera.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Manhattan is one of the few places that I find myself always looking up. For the past two days the sun has been making art as shadows dance on the facades of buildings. I am always fascinated by the geometry of the shadows cast by fire escapes. I don't know why but as I shot this today I remembered a photo I took as a college student. It was a vertical picture that I printed on high contrast black and white paper to eliminate all the gray tones. I remember when I made that print I thought of the hackneyed aphorism "not everything is black and white". And today I thought about my habit of looking up in Manhattan. I decided that I should look up more often... not just for photos either! The parallels that can be found in photography and life are endless.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
It was that kind of day. I even managed to burn the microwave popcorn I made when I finally got home from work. I raced around opening windows to keep the smoke alarm from going off. I burst out laughing when I saw Slugger in this very unflattering pose, looking out the bathroom window. "Don't jump" I instructed him... well, at least not before I do!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
I've probably driven by this tree thousands of times and I've probably stopped hundreds of times to photograph it. I never tire of it, perhaps because it looks different at different times of the day or in different seasons. Perhaps it is because of the variety of activities that happen around it. Or maybe it is because this tree has become so familiar to me. The twists and turns of its trunk and limbs make it very photogenic. Today as I passed by I saw this almost monochromatic moment and yet again I stopped.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
My grandmother loved pansies. I remember in early Spring my grandmother, my Mom and I would go to the nursery to buy pansies and then plant them on the family cemetery plot. My mother and grandmother would pick out the plants with great care, comparing them and talking about their faces. My Mom explained to me that like people, each pansy has a unique face. Of course my seven year old imagination was fascinated by this concept. Every Spring I still think about it. My trip to the nursery to pick out pansies is an annual rite of passage. Carefully I scrutinize their faces and think about the two generations before me that did this same thing. I think about family and tradition and the faces of the pansies seem to smile at me.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Slugger's a classic... classic tabby cat that is. Of course when I saw the Talbot's ribbon, the "Talbot's It's a classic" ad campaign came to mind so I thought I would use their green ribbon and make it into a bow for Slugger. He hated it, ducked his head and gave me this pained look. I loved the light and shadow that danced across his coat and the way it caught his eyes. As for the bow, it lasted less than five minutes!
Friday, April 4, 2008
When I moved into my house almost eight years ago the garden was overgrown and the landscaping, like the house was neglected and in need of attention. The house got my attention first and the garden is still a work in progress. I never really liked the andromeda shrub that is planted near some rhododendron in the front of the house. The bees seem to love it and I always give it a wide berth when I pass. Several years in a row I have pruned it so severely that it looks like nothing more than a stump. Will it come back in the Spring, I wonder. Each year it does. This year a landscaper looking at the property told me that the andromeda was quite old. He estimated it could have been planted more than fifty years ago. Immediately I felt guilty about those extreme pruning jobs. I'm thinking of a facelift, for the garden that is. The andromeda will be here next Spring too.
As I raced through my morning routine yesterday, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw how the light caught the petals of this lily. The blooms looked translucent and were full of grace and form. I loved the way they separated from the background. Immediately I grabbed my camera. Maybe that's why I love the still image so much. It has the power to make you stop, to make you be still if only for a second as you observe what is before you. A still moment in this frenetic, fast paced world....there's something to be said for that. The rest of my day was just that. At day's end I had forgotten my still moment and I forgot to post. A day later the still moment is still worth sharing.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
When I saw this sign it just begged to be photographed. Maybe it was the brilliant color saturation and clean lines. Perhaps it reminded me of those vintage postcards from my youth, the ones my mother always wrote to family and friends from wherever we vacationed. Or could it be that it reminded me of a time when things were simpler? I'm not sure why I felt so compelled to shoot this photo, but I liked it even more after I took it. I'm sure glad I turned the car around to do it.