Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Abby: Ever Vigilant

If I'm looking out the bedroom window, then Abby has to look out the window, too. No bird goes unnoticed. And no birds were harmed in the making of this picture. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Abby (the psycho cat from hell) looks pretty good back-lit. ©Carol Leigh

Monday, June 28, 2010

One beach, one lens

In my quest to (1) get more exercise, (2) stretch my photography a bit, and (3) singlehandedly clean up the beaches of Oregon (!), I set out at a minus tide with my camera and just a 10-17mm fisheye lens.

Well, I got a lot of exercise, picked up a lot of trash, and came to the conclusion that a 10-17mm fisheye lens isn't the most versatile lens for this terrain/subject matter. I stopped first at an overlook just south of "my" beach to photograph the rocks below and a sign that is looking a bit rusty and weathered these days. I find the headine, "Welcome to Our Home," quite sad, given the amount of garbage I found on the beach.

By pointing the camera downward I can really exaggerate the curvature of the lens, which is actually kind of cool. In moderation. Here my back is to the ocean and I'm looking across a large tidepool toward the bluffs in the distance.

And then finally you see part of what I picked up on my walk. I put whatever I could find into my plastic bag until my back gave out. During my two-mile walk I picked up trash along just a half-mile of it. What I'm finding is PLASTIC. Lots and lots of plastic. Water bottles, lids, caps, scraps, and parts of white fish containers (like the containers in my previous eel photographs). I'm finding soda straws, styrofoam, baggies, bits of fishing nets, and flip-flops. I left behind a very large bleach container, a plastic shoe (Croc), and a baggie full of dog poop. One can do only so much.

P.S. Happy birthday to you-know-who and also to friend-of-you-know-who. Love, Carol, Chris, and, of course, Abby! ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Collection Collection: Sea Urchins

My studio remains a mess, but I'm liking the results! More from "The Collection Collection." ©Carol Leigh

Friday, June 25, 2010

Not for the squeamish

While running errands in Newport, we noticed something being offloaded from a fishing boat, so we went to check it out. Hmmmm ... lots of slime oozing out from the net, must be slime eels! We moved in for a closer look.

A crane lowers the net into the hold of the fishing boat and brings up anywhere from 200 to 400 pounds of eels each time. White crates filled with seawater are lined up, ready to accept the catch.

One guy helps read the scale, then guides the bag o' eels over to the appropriate container. And then ... and then ... he SCOOPS the slime out of the container, puts it in a slime bucket, to be returned to the sea. Ick. Ick. Ick.

As yucky as this may seem, it was really interesting to watch. One guy asked if we wanted to take an eel home. "They make great pets!"

Each container of eels was loaded into a truck to be driven up to SeaTac airport in Washington and from there they fly to Korea, where they're quite a delicacy. "Slime eels" isn't the most beautiful of names. But then neither is their "real" name: hagfish! These aren't eels at all, scientifically speaking, but they sure looked eely to me.

I must say the globs of slime got to me. They didn't smell bad, but just the thought ... ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Postcards from the Past

"Having a swell time. Wish you were here!" ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


This piece went through so many transformations, permutations, transmogrifications before it ended up as this. It's a mashup of my photos of torn paper, cement, asphalt, paint, and a weathered poster on a door in Mexico. The result reminds me of Greek and Roman ruins with just a hint of Rhyolite ghost town! ©Carol Leigh

Red C

I'm not progressing very quickly in my quest to photograph every letter that's in my big bag o' letters. This "C" and the previous "E" are what I've done so far, with a "G" and a "K" waiting in the wings.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Collection Collection: Chilis

I have a chili ristra hanging in my kitchen (sure, like every Oregonian, right?) and I love the worn and weathered look of the individual chilis. What were originally colors of red, yellow, orange, and green are now more muted. The ristra has gone from a festive "hey! look at me!" to  a more subtle, "been there, done that, now just hangin' around watchin' the ocean." In my past I've worn false eyelashes, a fluorescent pink bikini, and drove a red Mustang convertible. Now? I'm just hangin' around watchin' the ocean . . . ©Carol Leigh

Monday, June 21, 2010

End of the day

Sunset and gull. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trash on the tides

I follow the high tide line to see what's washed up onshore and it's disgusting. I'm finding all sorts of little plastic bits, like confetti, and plastic bottles, metal spray cans, plastic lids, plastic baggies, bits of styrofoam, flip-flops, laundry baskets, and other trash that's been tossed overboard and has drifted to shore. The plastic confetti-like stuff I'm sure looks appealing to fish and I hate to think how much of this crap is being swallowed out there.

What I saw this morning made me cry. So from now on, when I go to the beach to shoot, I'm taking a big bag with me and am going to begin removing this garbage as I go. I won't be making a huge impact, but every little bit helps. ©Carol Leigh

Fishing in the surf

I thought the classic car show was being held again today, but there was no sign of it, so I went instead to a local beach where there were more people out fishing in the surf than I'd ever seen.

I am trying to take photos that are "different" for me. Yesterday's car show abstracts were different from my "usual" car show abstracts, and today? Well, I rarely photograph people. So, ta da! ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cars, chrome, and color!

The first photo essay I ever sold (back in the mid-'80s) was all about antique cars -- not entire cars, just their "parts." My love for photographing at antique car shows hasn't diminished over the years, and when I heard that there was a show today in Waldport, a mile down the road, I was there.

The challenge was dealing with the sunlight (!), but the reflections were good. I especially was drawn to the yellow Pontiac, where a big planting of California poppies reflects in the car's chrome bumper.

When photographing abstract images such as these, you get used to people watching you, looking at what you're shooting, looking back at you, shaking their heads and walking away. I can see them reflected in my viewfinder -- they don't know that I'M watching THEM!

Off-topic: I often will use the viewfinder as a sort of mirror when photographing alone, sort of a "watch my back" tool that keeps me very aware of my surroundings.

No need to watch my back this morning, with the '60s music blaring from speakers, hamburgers and hotdogs on the barbecues, families milling about, and lots of proud old codgers telling me about their prized possessions. "Yup, I got this El Camino about 30 years ago. Paid $25 for that door. Chromed that little piece out. Some folks like it, some folks don't."

And my abstract shots here? Some folks like 'em, some folks don't. ©Carol Leigh

Autumn Ahead

Most of my images tend to be a bit dark, so the lightness of this one is a nice change. Some string, some cherry leaves, and I'm good to go, looking forward to fall. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Collection Collection: Limpets and Rocks

My studio doesn't seem to be getting any tidier, but I'm having fun photographing what I'm uncovering. (And I haven't even gotten to that box yet that contains the half-pheasant, miscellaneous feathers, more shells, etc.) Add to that about 50 old keys, miscellaneous round things that I think are to hold clock faces, that bag o' letters I was telling you about earlier, a jar of metal numbers, and oh, so much more. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Drive-by Fly-by

There's a tree on a particular bend on the Coast Highway that I try to photograph every time we drive past. Most of the time the results are awful -- I'm shooting from the passenger side, past Chris, through his window, to the tree. I think I've been successful maybe three times, and this was one of them. ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Collection Collection: Iris Pods and Bird "Nests"

I'm still trying to clean up my studio, but I keep finding interesting things to photograph, such as these dried wild iris pods I got near Bishop, California about EIGHT YEARS AGO! They have aged well and I can't bring myself to toss them out. And then there are these pseudo bird nests that I just quickly made out of twine to each hold an individual egg. My goal is to make a series of these photos (as I clean my studio) -- photos of all my little collections -- called "The Collection Collection." To be continued... ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Terrible Two

So many things went into this piece -- rivets, a cheese grater, some handmade paper, and I don't remember now where I photographed the "2." Madness reigns. ©Carol Leigh

Nesting Instinct

My own squiggles and splots combined with various overlays and photos to create texture resulted in this, a weird waffle/iPhone/bird nest sort of melange. ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Glad It's Spring

I'm teaching a photomontage class right now and so my brain is fixated on these things more than ever. I'm trying to come up with new ideas to show my students in the next photomontage class, and this is an example. Don't know what the heck I'm doing yet, but that's not stopped me so far ... ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Winter Tree

©Carol Leigh

Celestial Shadows

©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Storm Drain 3

Almost every piece of this montage was photographed on the docks in Newport except for the "3." That's from an old cheese grater. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, June 6, 2010

And the sea turned silver . . .

When I put together this montage I was struck by how I could "squarify" it into two separate pictures. And I'll bet that if you take a look at some of your own work, you may discover the same thing.

In addition to the squared stand-alone effect, what I like about this montage is the semi-monochromatic, metallic, silvery, mystical feeling it has.

At the risk of sounding pompous, when I create something like this, I am stunned. That's the reward, isn't it? The way we can surprise, delight, and amaze ourselves. To be able to share it with others is the icing on the cake. ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, June 5, 2010

No rain = quick trip up to the fishing boats

I went up to Newport this afternoon to check out a display of Oregon coast fishing history. But before I went inside to see the display, I did a quick walkabout over at the fishing boats -- what few were actually in port. The weather's good and there are shrimp to be caught right now.

I created a photomontage of the Golden Dolphin to give the photo an aged and weathered look. Below, a sea lion sits on an empty dock as a little boat called the Sea Star comes into port. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, June 4, 2010

Three hours of no rain

We had a brief dry window yesterday between 9 and noon to run some errands so, as usual, I made a quick stop to photograph buoys and fishing paraphernalia in Newport. When the lighting is luscious like this, the colors really pop. I invariably get weird looks, but who cares? "If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong." —John Gierach  ©Carol Leigh