Thursday, May 31, 2012


Spring in Cambridge looks remarkably similar to spring in Oregon: soft light, brilliant greens, and lovely clematis. ©Carol Leigh, celebrating spring here and there

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Architectural detail

Everywhere you turn in Cambridge there's architectural detail to be photographed. If I were a black & white photographer, I'd be in heaven. If I weren't a black & white photographer, and I lived in Cambridge, I would BECOME a black & white photographer. Even something as humble as a downspout becomes a work of art as it undulates down the side of a building.

There's an entire portfolio of work to be done in just this one city. And one would need more than a year (or a lifetime) to accomplish it. ©Carol Leigh, longing for another lifetime

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Church interior detail

Part of a weathered wall inside a church in England. And yes, it's been manipulated and is a photomontage. ©Carol Leigh, hopefully UNmanipulated ...

Minimalist attire

Getting ready for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Huzzah! ©Carol Leigh

Monday, May 28, 2012


Doorways in Cambridge, England, day 1. Clematis and wisteria were in full bloom, light was overcast, colors glowed. No jet lag at all and I was out at 5 a.m. seeing what I could see. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, May 25, 2012

Signage on Route 66

Rummaging around in old files and I found these two, photographed on Route 66 in Arizona. I love the key sign — clever, rustic, weathered. And the complementary colors of blue and rusty orange work particularly well in the "Santa Fe" image. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Texture Tuesday

The patina of age depicted in this photo of a mailbox found in the Palouse and on the top of a soft drink cooler found on Route 66 in Arizona. ©Carol Leigh

Monday, May 21, 2012

Peeps on the beach

Kind of gimmicky, but I like it! ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Sorry for the lack of paragraph breaks. Blogger is driving me crazy... Currently in England, staying with Chris's family. Am on visual overload! Bikes, boats and buildings. Bemused, amused, bothered and bewildered. I am constantly being cautioned against rising bollards, warned to look left, and made wary of humps for the next 200 yards. My only computers are my iPad and my phone, so no photo processing until I get home. Aaaarrrgghhh! I am shooting lots of photomontage fodder as well as trying to take more "normal" shots. Am using the Lumix as well as the Canon 5D. Preferring the 5D until I run out of memory cards. Only brought two lenses for the Canon -- the 50mm f/1.8 and a 24-85mm. Haven't walked this much in a long time, but am seeing a lot and loving it all. Every morning I've gotten up at 5:15 to get out and shoot by myself while the city is empty, quiet, and serene. Had no jet lag, which is great. No rain, either, just a lovely overcast. I prepped the previous posts before I left, and can't remember if I did any more, but will see you later. Cheers, and God save the Queen! Carol Leigh, rapidly acquiring a British accent...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Venice in San Diego

Mural on a wall in San Diego. I like the monochromatic, spare backdrop that makes the mural really pop. I also like all the strong, hard, straight lines in the back that contrast with the more rounded lines in the painting. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gouges in metal

Are the colors just more outrageous in Florida? I saw the gouges in this bit of metal and loved the color combination. The bit, too, that looks like a setting sun is an especially nice touch. And the movement in the blue gouges leads your eye gently down the frame. Lovely. ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Migratory Bird Day

The second Saturday in May is International Migratory Bird Day. I like what the Fish & Wildlife Society says on their page: "Any day can be a day of celebration.  Celebrate whenever migratory bird arrival happens in your own community or whenever you feel like celebrating birds!"

I photographed this Harris hawk in Sacramento (on film) in the mid-1990s. Beautiful bird. Beautiful light. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Boatyard Art

Here in Oregon we've got a lot of boats, and they weather quite beautifully, enabling me to take interesting abstract photographs. Here are two I photographed recently. I've also posted six more at my Flickr site here.

This first one gives me a feeling of a person flying kites. But then I also see ships, birds, celestial objects, and perhaps even a cat there in the sky.

And this next one? Looks sort of like an underwater scene to me. Fun stuff!

©Carol Leigh, who flunks every Rorschach test she takes...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lapin du Jour

©Carol Leigh

Monday, May 7, 2012

Super Moon

I didn't photograph the big full moon this weekend, but created a little postcard-size collage instead. I cut bits off one of my photographs, cut the moon, put everything onto dark blue paper, added dots for stars and that's it. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Newest photomontage: "Paper Sail"

I saw this bit of torn paper and thought it looked a lot like a sail, so I photographed it, some masking tape, some torn paper, a metal tag, pages from an antique Japanese book, scrapes on the side of a fishing boat, and more to create this little scene. Love the subtle red of the sun. ©Carol Leigh, who is offering this image for sale here

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How do you know when to stop?

Sam Hipkins asked a good question regarding yesterday's blog post. He wrote, "It is said that an artist knows when to stop. So Carol how do you know when to stop, when the picture is done? Is it training, is it intuition, is it some internal messaging, is it a visceral reaction to the work? Or is it a combination of all those things? I ask this question often of people whose work I admire."

It's a good question and it's not easily answered, is it? The beauty of creating photomontages, unlike painting, is that if you don't like the last step(s) you've taken, you can CTL-Z undo them. Or you can try something, keep it on its own layer, and then, 15 layers later, you can decide that nope, that didn't work, that this works better, and you can delete the not-so-right layer and continue on. Happens all the time.

What about traditional photography? If you work in the darkroom, you can experiment with various techniques such as dodging, burning, making paper negatives, etc. In this case, training and continued experimentation come into play. To me, this is a more technical process that requires training as well as intuition. It's not easily self-taught, although today, with so much information available online, perhaps it is. But I remember taking classes to learn about the enlarger, the various tools, the chemicals, etc. That was training.

Training hasn't been a part of my digital experience. I'm (woefully) self-taught, so I spend my time experimenting. And I also spend my time looking at other art, not so much photographic art, but rather paintings, sculpture, book art, collage, ceramics, assemblage, weaving, etc. I notice how a piece is composed, how it moves my eye around, what direction the artist encourages me to take during my visit.

Every artist chooses his or her own way. Some are quite specific about what they're doing in that they may begin with a concept ("I wish to depict world peace") and then they decide precisely how to go about creating their work. Others simply begin and let the piece dictate what it wants to say, what the message is. I'm not that deep. I love the design, the colors, the movement. I have nothing pithy to convey, just my joy in moving elements around, the lines, the design, the serendipitous things that pop up, the things that work, the things that don't.

When working with a physical collage, I like the look and feel of the paper, the organizing and arranging of elements on the substrate. It's more difficult for me because I've not been creating collages very long, but it's a similar process to creating my photomontages. (I'm taking a collage workshop with Jonathan Talbot at the end of this month, my first experience with artistic "training" of any sort. I'm confident about my eye, but less so about the technique.)

But when is a piece "done?" For me it's a visceral feeling. An intuition. I look at it for awhile (maybe 10 minutes, maybe 10 months, maybe two years), and if this solid little confident "yes" settles into my mind, I'm done. You know me, Sam. I'm not a methodical, left-brained sort. So for me, it has to be intuition combined with a lot of experimentation.

And when is this response to your question "done?" Now would be a good time. Thanks!

©Carol Leigh, untrained but tenacious