Saturday, May 27, 2017

We are new "parents"

I didn't see him/her at first. I had pulled a couple of weeds and then tossed them over onto a weed pile when I saw a little face.

Eyes wide open, perfectly hunkered down, this guy was frozen in place. At first I thought he was dead. (Given my luck with the abandoned eggs in the junco nest and the baby robin I found last week, I feared the worst.)

But no, this little guy, smaller than a baked potato, was alive and well and doing what he should be doing when a large predator (me) arrives on the scene: He was pretending to be a baked potato.

But wait! There's another one a yard or so away. And then a third a few yards off to the right. And finally a fourth, beside a rhododendron bush. No potato impersonations for #4 -- he darted off deeper into the brush.

I ran into the house to grab my iPhone, ran out, and all three were still there. Still motionless. Still incredibly cute.

We'll see how cute they are in a month, when all my hosta plants have disappeared!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.





Friday, May 26, 2017

It's been a tough week . . .

I have a 4-bay Drobo, which is where I store everything. All my photos, all my photomontages, blog materials, everything.

Yes, I have backups of a lot of this stuff elsewhere, but the Drobo is pretty much my life.

Each bay contains a 2TB drive. The beauty of the Drobo system is that if one drive goes bad, there's still enough space on the remaining three drives to hold all the data.

Earlier this week the first drive went bad. I purchased a new one and installed it. That was Wednesday around 3 p.m. Lights began flashing, it was making noise, things were apparently moving around. No worries.

The following morning, I checked the Drobo. Lights were still flashing, appropriate noises were heard.

This morning I checked again. Same scenario. One of my colleagues said the same thing happened to her and it took three days for it to return to normal.

But deep down inside, I'm freaking! (She said she did, too.) I'm very calm on the outside, but not so much internally.

I discovered, however, that I can still access my data on the Drobo, even though it's working its butt off (at least I HOPE that's what it's doing!). So to be on the safe side, I've been slowly copying some of the more important files over to another external drive.

What does this all have to do with a blue bowl of Cheerios? Not a darn thing. Other than I've not been posting much here of late, so here's what I had for breakfast this morning. Shot with an iPhone, tweaked in an app called Brushstroke, then e-mailed to myself so I could post SOMETHING here today without annoying the Drobo. Which one never wants to do.

Have a great weekend, all!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Calligraphic weed

Yesterday I spent a few hours just photographing textures. And then I saw the weed. I liked the way the leaves splayed out, looking almost like a Japanese Kanji character. And it looked especially nice against this textured wall.

The photo was taken in color, but I felt that the color took away from what caught my eye to begin with: shape and form.

I turned the photo into a black and white image, but it felt cold. I toned it brown, then dialed back the toning to give it this warm black and white look.

What you do not see is my frustration at leaving my tripod's quick release at home, so my shooting was hand-held. The weed was in a photographically inaccessible place. So I picked it and then looked for a good spot on a wall where it could stand out.

I had one lens with me -- 18mm-55mm. So in this shot I'm holding the weed against the wall with my left hand while (having set the lens at 18mm to get the entire weed), composing and focusing and clicking the shutter with my right hand.

It wasn't easy. But if it were, everyone would be doing it, right?

Answer: No, Carol. Everyone else would have remembered the damned quick release so they could do it properly with a tripod, cable release, and maybe even a reflector. Duh.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Caution: dead baby bird, but not gruesome at all

(I've put three photos at the very end of this post, so if you don't want to see them, they won't be in your face right away. But there's nothing gruesome or disgusting about them -- no bugs, no injuries, nothing icky.)

This morning I was outside playing with an old Lensbaby lens (Lensbaby 2.0). I haven't used it in years, so I put it on the camera and went out for a walk around the yard to see what I could find.

I photographed flowers, hostas, the driveway -- fairly banal stuff. But then remembered some flowers I'd found the other day, so was heading directly over to find them. I looked down and saw a baby bird that had apparently fallen out of a nest. Looking up into the trees, I saw no nest.

Was the bird still alive? He looked so fresh and new. I reached down. He was cold, but not stiff. I turned him over. There was a puncture wound of sorts and some liquid was coming out. No sign of life. I picked him up.

So tiny. So cute with a little tuft of fuzziness at the top of his head. My only camera was the DSLR with the Lensbaby on it, and a macro filter on top of that. So I held the bird in my left hand while shooting with the right.

A Lensbaby, especially the older version, is tough enough to manipulate with two hands; one-handed is a real challenge.

I took a few shots and then, bird in hand, went into the house to get my iPhone. Back outside to take a few more images. I set him back down in the leaves and the flowers, sorry to see what had happened to him, yet marveling at this little guy, looking very much like a plucked chicken, just a few days (I'm guessing) out of the egg.

We have lots of robins right now on the property, zooming all over the place. I'm thinking this was a robin and that some other bird, perhaps a Cooper's hawk, maybe an owl, got hold of this guy but had a tenuous grip and dropped him. Very, very recently.

I understand if many of you think these are disgusting photos. To me, they are astonishing, sad, yet miraculous. I feel privileged to have held him for a few minutes, so soon after he had moved on.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.




Slogging along . . .


The "art" thing has been a bit off of late. It happens. It's disconcerting. But I know it won't last. I just keep slogging along and eventually something will click.

And that's what happened here. A slog. But no click (alas).

From the mid-80s, when I became involved in photography, I worked full-time at a variety of jobs. Jobs specifically selected so that I could leave the work at the office and come home to do what I really loved.

So I would get up early, work on photography/writing, go to my job, come home and work some more on photography.

The up-early habit has stuck. I've made it my time to experiment, to work on photos, and just see what happens.

This is what happened this morning and it has potential, but the heron just isn't sharp enough. Even when giving it a sort of painterly look, it's not cutting it. There's an annoying shadow across his tail. And he doesn't really fill the frame.

I photographed him in Florida, many years ago, and so I like the colors in the top image, which give it a subtle Florida vibe. But then I also like the subdued browns, beiges, and greys in the second version.

The picture looks okay seen small like this, but when I blow it up to 100%, nope, the lack of sharpness ruins everything.

This is what I mean about "slogging along." It's fun, I'm learning things, but there's no click here. Not yet.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.



Friday, May 12, 2017

Rust ...

"Rust is my happy color." --Carol Leigh, Artist

I published this picture and this quote on my Facebook and Instagram sites today.

Because it made me happy to write it. Happy to say it.

And because when I visit boatyards, explore the industrial parts of cities, or head to the docks, I'm giddy with excitement.

Yup, a few rusty screws and a camera and I'm a happy camper!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Green!

View from the kitchen window. Green, green, green and the rhodies are beginning to bloom. Ah, spring!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Another way of seeing one's work



A buyer from Vancouver, Washington purchased these three images as cellphone covers. Her comment was "love these beautiful cases." Very nice to hear.

But what startled me was (a) seeing my artwork cropped to fit into a different format and (b) seeing how they looked as cellphone cases.

I liked them when I created them. Never thought they'd be sold as phone cases. But yeah, they look pretty damned good!

Who knew?

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Latest work: "Red Seven and Stripes"


A few weeks ago I made this photomontage called “Red Seven and Stripes.” Today I noticed how much it resembles a piece I made three years ago called “Five for the Books.” I like to think that I’ve been evolving in my artwork, but obviously I’m fooling myself!

Here’s how I described “Red Seven” when I uploaded it to Fine Art America:

I make a lot of hand-painted papers for collage work and love putting them together just to see what happens. In this case, I used a paper full of stripes, a paper with solid colors, another with textures, and topped it off with a big red 7. Throughout my photographic career I’ve always been drawn to letters and numbers, so this one was fun to make and to add to my “Numbers” gallery.

And here’s how I described “Five for the Books” when I uploaded it three years ago:

Lots of texture and a big red 5 show up here in this photomontage. I combined photos of my hand-painted papers, added some paint splotches, some stained papers, and much more. I like the warm red and blue color combination and how the elements on the left, if you don't look too closely, appear to be books. 

It's a certain kind of person who enjoy images involving numbers and letters. Alas, that group is relatively small! So I'm always surprised when one of mine sells. Surprised and grateful that there are others out there of like mind!

A very long time ago, when I was just beginning in photography, I was showing some photos I'd taken to a photographer friend I respected. One of them was of some old wooden steps leading up to an old wooden doorway. To the right of the doorway was what remained of the address, a single "0" still clinging to the dark grey weathered wood. He paused. "What?" I said. "I'm just wondering why you took this." He obviously didn't like it, didn't understand it.

Luckily, I didn't take it to heart. (Except, obviously, I did, because notice how I've remembered the incident so clearly?) Numbers and letters have been a photographic passion for me lo these many years.

What's my point? Don't let someone throw shade on your artistic predilections. I hang around boat yards, dumps, back alleys, side streets, old fishing boats, fishnet storage facilities, bunker sites, etc. because those places feed my artistic soul. Others go to Yosemite, to wildflower-covered hills, to the coast at sunset for very good reasons -- sheer beauty. I prefer finding the beauty in decay, age, rust, peeling paint, weathered papers, and simple line and design.

Hey, it's a tough job. But somebody has to do it!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Work in progress

A little under the weather, but the past few days I've been working on creating images for my handmade Kyoto book. It hasn't helped that my printer appears to be dying rather quickly and a new one may be in the offing.

The book will consist of a lot of antique Japanese papers as well as papers I've created -- stained, painted, folded, spindled, mutilated. Each page will be a collage of sorts, incorporating a photograph that I've stained with tea, coffee, ink, paint, etc.

This is an example of what I have in mind, sort of, for the photographs. But until I can print out the pictures, I'm kind of at a standstill.

The pages will be horizontal, about 6" high, 15" wide, made of a variety of paper types, bound together on the left. One side (the front) of each page will be a collage with photo; the reverse side also a collage, but a very simple one.

For this digital photomontage, I used a photo I took of a maiko (geisha) in Kyoto, heavily stained rice papers, ledger papers, etc. When I print the final version, onto rice paper, I will print it much lighter and then will hand-stain it with a sepia-toned ink.

My goal is a book that looks very old, very soft, weathered, stained and mysterious. As with most of the things I've been making lately, it's designed to be held, touched, very tactile in nature. Although this is a book, it's not meant to be a pristine portfolio of images, rather the photos will simply become a small part of the whole.

If I can just get the damned printer to work!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.