Monday, November 29, 2010

A few from Florida

Misty morning our first day on Sanibel Island -- just gorgeous. And then snowy egrets wade in the surf while pelicans roost in the trees, catching the morning sun. The trees were FULL of pelicans! Sometimes as many as 24 in one tree. Cabby, was thinking of you while seeing all this. More to follow -- Internet access has been spotty and my photo processing extremely rudimentary. Have experienced no-see-ums for the first time. Ha! Having a swell time. Wish you were here. --Carol Leigh

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you all health, wealth, peace, and love this special day. And Judy R., wishing you a speedy recovery from your recent horse-capade! ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

32 degrees and snow

Right now Chris and are in a hotel in Portland, heading off to Sanibel Island, Florida tomorrow morning (very early). (Abby's taking care of the house while we're gone. Undoubtedly we're going to find her toys all over the place when we return, ashtrays full of cigarette butts, catnip everywhere, kitty porn under the sofa cushions, etc. But I digress...) 

En route, we passed over the Coast Range and marveled at all the snow that's still on the trees. Here are two examples of what I saw. Note: These may look terrible! Until I get back home to a "real" computer and "real" Photoshop, this is the best I can do.

Have a happy Thanksgiving. We plan to be basking in 80-degree weather, on white sands, with blue water, and lots of cool shells to photograph tomorrow. A margarita or two might be in order, as well. ©Carol Leigh

Variations on a theme

Hydrangea blossoms can look pretty tattered this time of year, but if you look more closely, you'll see that the flowers veins stand out more clearly, almost like an insect's wing. And the flower's blue colors begin to fade into brown (or pink/purple into brown, depending on the plant). Here you see how one of the flowers looks from the side; the second photo is a close-up of the blue-into-brown color shift; and the third is just a goofy shot where I copied and flipped and combined the same photo to make a relatively symmetrical "hybrid." Got hydrangea plants at your house? Take a closer look. You might be pleasantly surprised. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow on the coast!

We've had some nasty weather move through, but "nasty" always has a dramatic side, and that's what I saw at 4 this morning — a couple of inches of snow all over everything. Beautiful. I even took Abby out to see it/walk on it, much to her dismay! Here you see our shed and deck, a nearby birdhouse (next to a fuchsia bush that the deer keep pruned), some trees up the street, and then snow on a neighbor's red truck. Quite an exciting morning! ©Carol Leigh


When I saw it at the flea market, I was drawn to it like a zombie to whatever zombies are drawn to. I saw nothing else. It was a worn, weathered wooden box with all sorts of torn labels on it. Small, but it weighed a ton. Four metal rods with bolts held the whole thing together at the corners.

It didn't matter what was in it. It looked amazing and it felt most impressive.

As a little girl, I was attracted to pirate chests, boxes, the mysteries of what might be inside. Jewels? Gold? Maps to buried treasure? Childhood memories welled up as I gazed at this incredible box.

Chris (luckily — or not — a fellow boxophile) and I fumbled at the bolts, quickly unscrewing them to lift the lid and see the contents.

It was a box of glass slides. Glass lantern slides. An educational travelogue from the 1920s or 1930s, designed to be shipped to educators here and there, to show students photos of other countries. Included in the box was a typewritten script, on onionskin paper, for the lecturer to follow as the photographs appeared on the screen.

The glass slides depict scenes in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Naturally, I would have preferred a set of slides depicting America's national parks, but frankly, the slides were a bonus! It was the BOX that was magical.

Yesterday I began photographing the outside of the box. Oh, man! Peeling paper. Crackled paint. Numbers. Letters. Torn postage stamps. Grunge.

As an aside: When I begin a photomontage, sometimes I purposely start with a square format. In this case, I began with a rectangular format. When I do this, however, I always look to see if the piece would be more effective as a square. Sometimes it is, sometimes not. In this case, I just don't know. I like the horizontal sweep of the rectangular format, but also like the impact of the square. What do you think?

It's something for you to consider with your own work. Just for the heck of it, try squarifying some of your photos to see what happens. Using the crop tool, create a second — square — composition just to see what happens. You might be amazed.

But not as amazed as I am right now with this funky old wooden box, I'll wager! Treasure without. Treasure within. And more to come. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Back to the pot yard ...

To give you an idea of where I've been shooting the past week, here's an overview of the pot yard in Newport. There were fewer crab pots there today because a lot are now being loaded onto the boats. The games begin the day after Thanksgiving, when they head out to "soak" the pots. Wish I was going to be here to photograph as they head out to sea, but nope, will be on the road by then.

Look at the paintbrushes I found by the crab pots belonging to the F/V Wide West! Hoo ha! Great colors.

And then you see Randy Ripka, whose father owns the F/V Western Breeze, painted in colors of "Ripka Blue" and "Sunfire Yellow." That's the Ripka boat in the last photo, the boat with the lights illuminated on the mast.

Should we ever leave the Oregon coast, all of this is what I'm really going to miss. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crab pots! Buoys! Color! Hoo ha!

 As I wandered around the pot yard in Newport, it began raining harder and harder and so we left to go to the library. Then, during a brief break in the weather, we headed back again so I could shoot some more. Chris had plenty to read, and I had plenty to shoot — perfect combo. (And it doesn't hurt that Chris has plenty of patience!) The skies were fairly dark and the buoys just gleamed.

This time of year, as everyone's gearing up for crab season, is one of my favorites. I'm a sucker for color and repeating patterns, and there's no end to them here. I could visit every day for two weeks, finding something new each time.

And the final photo shows the F/V Timmy Boy, loaded up with pots (at least 300 of them), leaving the loading dock to go back and wait until it's time to set the pots. May it be a successful season for these hard-working folks. ©Carol Leigh

Dramatic weather

A brief window in the weather opened up and we headed north to run some errands. We stopped at Seal Rock, however, because the sky was turning BLACK! I scrambled up a little hill to take some shots and was almost blown over by strong winds, but oooh, a rainbow! Along the historic bayfront in Newport there were crab pots stacked up against a Moby Dick mural, so naturally had to shoot that. And then on to the pot yard, where I've never seen so many crab pots and piles of buoys -- everything ready for crab season that begins next week. Photos of the pot yard to follow. ©Carol Leigh

Just playing around ...

As Chris will attest, I often buy things just to photograph them. They sit around for awhile, I eventually shoot them, and then what? They get stashed in the studio until spring cleaning comes around. This little clay bird's been sitting on a bookcase shelf for probably two years.  I'm using him as an example in my upcoming Advanced Photomontage class, and so you see him here. He has officially migrated south and now resides on a shelf in the studio, next to a sea urchin shell, an old spoon, and a jar of marbles ... ©Carol Leigh

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sneak peek . . .

I'm working on a new series of images that I'm calling "Urban Abstracts." Here's a more fanciful one. Love the Miami-esque colors! ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, November 14, 2010

You'd think gulls would have better depth perception

Long story ... Many, many years ago I was photographing in Pacific Grove, California. In a parking lot there were ground squirrels among the rocks that caught my eye, and, of course, the ubiquitous gulls. I had some bread in the trunk of my car and began tossing bits up into the air so that the gulls would soar up, hover, and I could photograph them against the sky.

It wasn't easy. I'd toss, lift camera, manually focus, click, then toss again. People began watching, gathering about. So I started showing off, holding a piece of bread in my hand, having the gulls swoop down and snatch it away. A near-sighted gull missed the bread and bit my thumb. Blood ensued. The crowd, knowing the show was over, moved on, leaving me alone in the parking lot wrapping Kleenex around my thumb. The scar remains, a reminder of younger, more foolish days, and of my timidity in not asking someone else to toss the bread for me.

In Yachats the other day, a car drove into the parking lot and two men got out, clutching bags of bread. The gulls immediately began gathering. The men tossed most of the bread onto the asphalt, but now and then would throw bits up into the air. Aha! I'm being given a second chance! I start shooting and then asked if they'd toss the bread up into a certain spot for me and could they get the bird(s) to hover a bit. Well, sure! And then one of them began holding the bread up and having the gulls snatch it from his hand. And wouldn't you know? I hear "ouch!" and the guy's shaking his hand.

Concerned citizen that I am, I immediately went over, asked if he was okay, did he need a Kleenex, and then showed him my scar. There we were, two kindred spirits, two fools in a parking lot. And my photos? Well, they're not so great, but I do like this one. Which was the last one before the guy got bitten. ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It ain't your dad's Brownie . . .

Chris and I ended our day yesterday at Yachats, watching the waves pound the coast. We were about to leave when this couple sat down on a bench. I photographed him through the windshield as he shot the surf with his cellphone. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, November 12, 2010

Roll Away the Stone

©Carol Leigh

Thursday, November 11, 2010


What's fun (for me) about making these photomontages is that I'm now taking previously-made montages and incorporating bits and pieces of them into new ones. Is there no end to this madness?! Ha! Apparently not. ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I think that I shall never see . . .

While driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, these trees appeared ahead of me. Manohmanohmanohman! I pulled onto a little side road and walked back to photograph them. I mean, who wouldn't?! ©Carol Leigh

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tough getting back in the groove

Since I've been back home I've found it difficult to get back into the photography groove. Sure, I'm taking and have taken a lot of photos in the past few weeks, but I feel like they're (a) not my best work and (b) that I've hit some sort of a block. Nothing to do but work through it, but it's kind of frustrating. I'm sure a lot of you know what I mean. So here's a shot of a tree on a hillside I photographed this afternoon along the Yachats River Road. Not so sure about it, but it's a start. ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Um, Carol? It's an aquarium . . .

 That's what Chris said to me. "Most people, when they go to an aquarium, photograph fish!" Well, what can I say? There were all these pumpkins set about and the light was so pretty, that I had to shoot fall color instead of fish.

This was our final rain-free morning -- it's going to be raining now every day through next Thursday, so we had to get out of the house while we could. I should have been home working, but I've got the rest of the week now to be shut in.

The last photo here is of a murre, just for Chris. It's not a fish, I know, but it's at least a SEAbird. Sheesh. ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ask an artist ...

Most artists have an answer when asked, “What are you working on now?” This could be your answer . . .

I follow many non-photographic art blogs and was intrigued by what a bunch of artists in Australia were doing: creating a series of artworks, one letter a week, for 26 weeks. Some worked in clay, some in metal, some were calligraphers, some were sculptors, etc. At the end of six months, each participant had, letter by letter, piece by piece, created an unusual whole. Well, if it's good enough for these artists in a variety of media, then what could we as photographers do?

So I've set up a photo project for next year called "Twenty-Six in Twenty-Six." We will all, week by week, concentrate on looking, seeing, creating one photograph a week of a different letter.

Maybe you'll find an "A" on the side of a train, a "B" that you've altered using your Photoshop post-processing skills, a "C" in the way a piece of metal curves on a gate, a "D" that you've made yourself out of rocks or feathers or have drawn in the sand. Your letters can come from all sorts of places. The key is to be out there looking, creating, photographing.

If you're looking for a non-stressful, interesting, continuing project to keep your focus on photography in 2011, this will do it for you. At the end of the project you'll have a comprehensive little body of work: an entire alphabet. I'll take the best of everybody's work and will put together a magazine depicting what we've done and will send a copy to each participant. You in?

Registration fee: $62. Begins January 1, 2011. Information and "the rules of the game" will be sent to you around the beginning of December. Fun stuff! Join us! Click my online store to register. ©Carol Leigh