Sunday, November 29, 2020

Art Photography

Good photography is deceptively difficult. When it succeeds, its brilliance seems natural. But getting to that point is a long artistic journey. 

Here is a famous photograph, taken by legendary Garry Winogrand (1928–1984). Winogrand took tens of thousands of pictures during his life. Literally. And if he hadn't put in that effort, he never could have created an image as captivating as this one.

What do you think when you look at this picture? Really, what's going through your head?

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Joys Of Art Photography

My adventures in photography have taught me things. Valuable things. Joyful things.

One is that "taking a picture" is misunderstood. You don't simply snap a shot with your phone and move along. Rather, you plan excursions to visually-interesting places; you wander new, strange locations; you open yourself up to serendipity with meditative calm; you conceive and execute artistic decisions; and, best of all, you bring home mementos of your experience. It's a full adventure.

You can't predict what scenes will appear before you and those surprises are often delightful. That's just the beginning because you're not recording images, you're creating them. The difference is called "art." Using primitive equipment (like my Holga film-camera) makes the process an even greater challenge and from that crucible comes hand-crafted expression.

Bikers say it's not the destination, it's the journey. And that's what art photography offers us.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Hot Peppers

Have you ever done something you suspected was a mistake but did it anyway? I just did -- and regretted it with tears.

I was watching a Netflix show tonight about a chili-pepper eating competition. Crazy people with tattoos ate ridiculously hot peppers trying to beat each other. Halfway through the show I remembered I have fresh habanero peppers in the fridge.

There are also jalapeno peppers there but, hey, jalapenos are no problem. At 25,000 units on the Scoville scale, jalapenos are easy to eat. Cooked, I gobble 'em down with no discomfort; raw, I'll consume one with tolerable pain. Discomfort eating hot peppers comes from capsaicin, a chemical irritant. Capsaicin is the ingredient in pepper spray used for riot-control.

Habanero peppers are serious. They're ten times hotter than jalapenos and rate 250,000 units on the Scoville scale. I know from experience that one habanero will heat up a large pot of food to my maximum tolerance; two make it inedible. I've never eaten a raw habanero pepper, believing that to be foolish. Now I know it is.

Watching lunatics on TV eat hot peppers got the better of me. I was curious how bad eating a fresh habanero would be. So I pulled one out, washed it off and popped it in my mouth.

Holy crap!!! Intense pain lights up your mouth and is unbearable. Nothing can soothe it -- and I tried everything. I learned a lesson tonight -- I'll eat habaneros cooked but never raw.

There are hotter peppers than the habanero but, honestly, I don't want to hear about them. Just pass the milk...

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Carrying The Past Forward

I hope you're having a happy Thanksgiving holiday.

I took a photograph of Robin with a camera as old as we are -- a 1963 Brownie Starmite II. There's a secret code stamped inside the camera which states it was manufactured July 1963. John F. Kennedy was President back then. The camera cost $12 new and was very popular.

These photos were taken with this vintage camera, using 127-roll film. The camera's design is extremely simple, stripped down to essential basics for capturing images. There's no focusing, no light-metering and no control of anything. Compared to equipment made later, it's amazing this camera even works. Its primitive design poses major difficulties in creating artistic photographs. I embrace that challenge.

Here are my efforts.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A Day Off


I hope you are all well as we head into the turkey holiday. Whatcha doin' Thursday? We're staying home to be safe. I'll cook; no surprise there.

This past weekend I had to work both Saturday and Sunday. Honestly, I'm burnt to a crisp from that. The job ended yesterday with a court video-conference so now I can relax. I took today off, grabbed my Holga film-camera and hit the road on the S1000R.

First stop -- lunch at Smok-Haus, a terrific BBQ place. Their grilled Shishito peppers are to die for. Bursting with flavor and seasoned with lemon juice and salt. I never imagined a dish like this would become my favorite but it is. Truly.

I'm the only soul eating outdoors in the restaurant's tent, probably because of the 40-degree cold. The waitress, wearing a heavy Winter coat, says they're tearing the tent down tomorrow because nobody is choosing to eat outdoors any more. Guess they need more tough bikers to patronize the place.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Baby Apples!

I like exotic foods, like purple potatoes and heirloom tomatoes. The fact that they look weird is half the fun. ("Heirloom" means the plant was grown by humans in the past but is not currently cultivated by modern industrial agriculture. Heirloom foods are healthier, tastier and more diverse than conventional produce which is bred for long-distance trucking and storage, features that benefit sellers but not us consumers.)

Shopping at an East End farm yesterday, I found tiny apples. Full-grown they are tiny. In case you can't tell from the first photo, the second shows their scale -- they are no bigger than a silver dollar coin.

Their technical name is Lady Apples, but I prefer to call them baby apples. Their flavor is full-bodied and often compared to wine; it's complex and pleasing. Plus, you can't eat just one.  :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Keeping Track

Do you record anything in your life? 

I've found that our memories are fallible. Very fallible. My recollections of the past are wildly inaccurate. For that reason, every New Year's Day I write the mileage of my vehicles on a big poster in my den. It allows me to keep track of how many miles I drove/rode the previous year on my cars and motorcycles. Reviewing the data shows patterns in my behavior that are often different from my perception of my road-activity. 

I find value in this. Do you do anything similar?

Monday, November 2, 2020

Birthday Week

I had a nice weekend in Hudson, NY. How 'bout you? What'd you do this weekend?

After a week of steady rain, there was a full day of sunshine Saturday which was perfect for walking up and down Warren Street. That long main street is a shopper's paradise. Clothing boutiques, antique stores, fun cafes and tony restaurants. I savored the day there.

Many of the chic stores in Hudson describe their vintage wares as "mid-century," meaning dating back to the 1950s-60s. Henceforth instead of calling myself old I'll refer to myself as "mid-century." Technically that's correct since I was born in 1957.

The last time I had my hair cut was before the virus arrived. As it grows longer, I believe it looks better and better. I plan to let it continue to grow until some reason arises to change that decision. What's your hair-situation now?