Thursday, March 31, 2011


It's been a tough couple of days dealing with family issues, especially being 3,000 miles away. I turn to a photo of a quiet morning in North Carolina at Gisela's house last fall. Ahhhhh! Almost as good as a bubble bath! ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Just a clean, simple "M." As in, MMMMAYBE it will stop raining here sometime soon! It has rained every day but one this month. Every freakin' day. But I'm not cranky...nope, not mmmmmmeeeeeee. ©Carol Leigh

Monday, March 28, 2011


An osprey in Florida sits on a branch, talons curling under, the shape of the beak echoing the curl of the talons. Beautiful bird, quiet morning. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thinking of you, Sam ...

This is a shot I took in Winnemucca, Nevada in March of 2003. Taken with my first digital camera (a Canon D60), and I wasn't doing too well with it. The background was all washed out, but I just loved the burro, so I altered the shot somewhat, making it look like a picture in an old photo album. But I never think of Winnemucca without thinking of you! ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, March 26, 2011

'Ello ...

A macro shot of an "L" from a 1935 issue of Boy Life newspaper combines with metal and a sign to create a new life for itself. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, March 25, 2011

Eucalyptus leaves

The other day while cleaning out the studio I opened a book and a shower of leaves ensued. The last time I was in San Diego I had collected a bunch of eucalyptus leaves to photograph when I got back home, pressed them in a book, and then forgot about them. What better excuse to stop cleaning and photograph instead?! I overexposed them to create a high-key-ish look and then added my Chinese signature to the bottom since the whole piece had a sort of Asian feel to it.

Although I'm really trying to whittle away at my collections of things to photograph, for every four things I get rid of, four more appear. Such as yesterday, when I came home with two bird nests and two wooden printer blocks and two old books. I'm going in the wrong direction! ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, March 24, 2011


A sculpture by Milton Hebald, which was installed in downtown Los Angeles in 1986. I've taken numerous photos of this over the years, this one being the most recent and the one I like the best. The form of the human body against the linear grid of windows in the background building is, to me, a wonderful contrast. What look like reflections of clouds creates a sort of "transition zone" between building and the body. And look! The sculpture forms the letter "Y." ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Baja Moonlight

When the world seems to be going insane, I tend to retreat and find a modicum of sanity in creating more minimalistic works, such as this piece. I love the golden brown and blue colors, the contrast of light and dark, the way the ocean way in the back seems silvered by moonlight. All's right in this little world. Assuming, of course, you don't impale yourself on a spiky plant! ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vernal Equinox: Window on the World

Have been in a sort of slump for the past week to ten days. No more! Happy spring, everyone! ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Poppy pods

I grow these flowers every year primarily for their pods (although I must say that the flowers are pretty exquisite). I painted these white and then photographed them. Chris gave me a "chop" at Christmas with my name in Chinese, so I used it here. Love it! ©Carol Leigh

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Cleaning" the studio

I collect leaves. And as I was straightening things up, putting various leaves into a cigar box, I began looking at them and then, of course, wanted to photograph them. I moved in close with a macro lens to create these shots.

The final photo shows you the cigar box. Also in the picture is the cover of what looks like a fourth-grader's report on leaves, created by a boy named Peter Barton. Inside the booklet are pages with dried leaves on them, as well as information about what kind of leaf each page features and where the boy found each leaf (Alamo, California).

I purchased the report in an antique store on the Oregon coast for a few dollars simply because I found it charming and thought I'd photograph it some day. Well, I looked up Peter Barton on Google and discovered that he now lives in Ione, California. I was hoping to find an e-mail address for him, thinking he'd be interested in where his childhood project ended up, but haven't been able to do so.

And I wonder where my time goes ... ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Beginning photomontage online class begins 3/21

My beginning photomontage online class starts on March 21 and I'd love to have you as part of the mix. Registration fee for the two-month class is $180. Throughout I'll show you, step by step, how I put together my photomontages. Lessons in the form of PDF files as well as more than 40 short videos show you exactly what I do and how you can begin creating your own works of art using your photographs.

Have you already taken this class? If so, you're welcome to audit it, run through the lessons again to keep your skills honed, and to remind you how the montages are made. The auditing fee, for previous students only, is $49.

To register, visit my online store at Looking forward to working with you, whether for the first time or yet again! ©Carol Leigh

Southwestern pears watching the sun set

What a terrific combination of colors and forms and a feeling of three friends watching the sun set over a southwestern landscape. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Life has been crazy noisy with wind, rain, water, and earthquakes. A little pocket of quietness, simplicity, and order seems appropriate, especially for the people of Japan. ©Carol Leigh

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another drive-by photo

Another taken through the car window while driving through snow on our way home. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, March 11, 2011

The final leg home

Coming over the last passes in Oregon we hit snow, a lot of snow. It was kind of scary, but the trees were beautiful. I photographed these through the window as we drove past. They were a sort of dull blue color, which didn't reflect my impression of the scene at all, so I desaturated and overexposed the images, creating a black and white high-key effect, more in line with my memories of the snowy beauty outside the car (as opposed to the tension and terror inside my head!). ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pear Orchard

It's good to be back home, working on a "real" computer rather than a laptop, enjoying the speed, and being able to use a Wacom tablet rather than a mouse. So, naturally, I'm back to the pears! Pages from an old Japanese book, walls of an agricultural building, trees, and more went into this one. ©Carol Leigh

A bit of Route 66

Route 66 is my kind of place — lots of color, texture, grunge, weird stuff, old stuff. I can see that Chris and I are going to have to return, and not in a cross-country mad dash kind of way. Here you see various signs, murals, and billboards I found here and there. It's kitsch. It's retro. It's fun. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Home again ...

Three thousand four hundred and five miles later, we have finally brought this baby home! It was a long haul, with heavy winds, tornado warnings, mechanical adventures, dust storms, rain, rainbows, snow, 78-degree temperatures and below-freezing temps. We saw mesas, mesitas, canyons, arroyos, gulches, prairies (no prairie dogs), grasslands, mountains, molehills, tumbleweeds, red rocks, gorges, rivers, streams, ponds, pondlets, and lakes.

We passed all sorts of cool auto salvage yards that I could have spent weeks photographing. No worries though -- I marked them on our maps!

In Kingston Springs, Tennessee, an alarm sounded, yelling "earthquake! earthquake! earthquake" I learned that kudzu is apparently deciduous. I saw that Tennessee has the most beautifully shaped bare trees I've ever seen.

We saw brown and dry desert vistas in Texas and lush green desert vistas in southern California. There were snow-covered peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona, and the best hamburger I've had in years outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Chris and I were most impressed with the Firestone folks at the Memphis/Bartlett city line, who were caring and competent. If we had to run into mechanical problems, this was the very best place for them to have happened. Thank-you Jeff and Trey. And thank-you to the local Best Western people, who, knowing of our predicament, gave us a discount on our motel room for the three nights we were there.

We enjoyed seeing signs for Peckerwood Lake, Toad Suck Park (Arkansas) and Bucksnort, North Carolina. Roman Nose State Park was another colorful name in Oklahoma. In Tennessee we heard shopping carts referred to as "buggies." "This yer buggy?"

We noticed that in Tennessee and Arkansas people don't tend to use their turn signals much. We were thankful for all the truckers who drove so courteously, who moved aside so that they wouldn't buffet us much as they passed. We were dismayed at the lack of courtesy of California drivers, their impatience, stupidity, and recklessness. We saw people texting, using their phones, reading books and magazines as they drove, oblivious to the fact that in a heartbeat something can happen and someone's life may end because of a moment's inattention.

Wish I'd gotten the name of the wonderfully friendly guy in Seagrove, North Carolina who owns five different pottery stores. He was intrigued with our Roadtrek and had to come outside and take a look inside. I swear, North Carolinians are the nicest, friendliest, most gracious people I've ever met. Thank you to Jill Margeson and her dad Chris Christiansen who made this Roadtrek purchase possible. Thank you to June White, who give us great snacks to take on our travels. And thank you to Gisela Danielson, who let us stay at her lovely home even though she wasn't there.

We're amazed that there are any skunks left in this world based on the number we saw flattened on the road. But the pronghorn antelopes we saw in Texas were alive and kicking and beautiful. And did you know that the Holiday Inn Express in Barstow is right next to one of the largest train facilities in the world? Believe it! The front desk provided ear plugs free of charge.

When we started out, we paid $3.19 per gallon of gas. It went as high as $3.99, with some stations charging $4.39 per gallon.

Time was of the essence on this trip, trying to get home as quickly as possible. Tension was high, learning to drive the vehicle, dealing with strange roads, strange weather, sharing the road with huge trucks, and living in such close quarters for two weeks. We both were exhausted and sometimes snippy with one another, but luckily the snippiness didn't last long. Our GPS navigator, Brenda the Bitch, whose exasperated "reCALculating" comments, with a barely repressed heavy sigh, kind of got on our nerves.

What's next? Acclimating Abby the Psycho Cat from Hell to the Roadtrek. Now THAT will be a story!

©Carol Leigh

Truck stop photography

The almond orchards along I-99 and I-5 in California's central valley are in bloom, and, though past their prime, they still look great. At a truck stop in Bakersfield I took a couple of photographs, one from the parking lot and the other from the edge of the orchard. "No Trespassing" signs required me to keep my distance, but with a longer lens I was able to make it look as though I was right in among the trees. And the scent? Subtle and sweet. ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Route 66

This cross-country trip is a non-photographing trip, which is just killing me. But in Tucumcari, New Mexico the other day (was it yesterday? the day before? it's becoming a blur) I had to shoot this old motel sign. We're currently in Barstow, California, having left Gallup, New Mexico just this morning. The Roadtrek is running great. Looking forward to getting home, getting caught up with my business and with my life. P.S. Elena, I waved as we passed through the top part (the narrow) part of Texas, but you probably were too busy on your computer to see me. Wish we'd been able to go through Dallas so I could meet you! ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The goal is to get home ASAP

If our vehicle had to break down, it couldn't have done so at a better place and time. The tow truck didn't have far to tow it; the guys fixing it were competent; a motel was a block away; we were within walking distance of stores and restaurants; and we each had Kindles full of books to read. But it was three extra days added to our trip and now we are zooming home as quickly as possible with hardly any time available for photography. And New Mexico is coming up next! Heavy sigh. ©Carol Leigh
Stuck between Little Rock and a hard place. Rest area photography. ©Carol Leigh
I liked the red/white/blue combo at the base of a bunch of silos in El Reno, Texas. ©Carol Leigh
A quick stop at a grain silo in El Reno, Texas. ©Carol Leigh
One of my last photos of the day today as the setting sun created long shadows of trees on an old building in Vega, Texas. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rest area photography ...

Stuck outside of Memphis right now waiting for vehicle repairs to be made. But before our vehicle broke down, we stopped at a rest area alongside the freeway where I worked on tree "sweeps." Love the muted winter brown colors. ©Carol Leigh