Thursday, December 27, 2012

Double Exposure

I've always been fascinated by double exposures... I usually get them as happy little accidents as opposed to well-planned, intentional images. It's kind of a relief from trying to control everything in a picture.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Analogue for a Wednesday

If it hasn't become obvious yet, I am smitten with low-fi cameras. And it's inspiring me... Playing with my Holga and BelAir has gotten me seeing the way I used to see when I only had a film camera. I'm more purposeful... really thinking through the shot before I even look through the viewfinder... being equally conservative and gutsy. I'm getting back to my street-shooting self. Even when I'm out in a field.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve Y'all!

I'm just finishing up some experimenting with some new-to-me cameras before I take some time to play with family... I am getting some interesting results with the Bel-Air X 6X12. I have a feeling there's a lot of operator error going on, but I kind of like the results. I used my stand-by film, Ilford Delta 100, shot one roll with the wide angle lens in 6X6 format and shot the other roll with the normal 90mm lens in 6X9 format.

I got quite a bit of unintended (but welcome) double exposure action going on. I'll keep testing it... probably to the annoyance of my family members. So far, I'm loving the surprise results.

Whatever you celebrate, I wish you all good cheer and peace...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Playing with New Cameras

Like a lot of my photographer friends, I'm on the email list for quite a few photography stores. I normally glance at the message and then delete as quickly as possible so I won't be tempted by something that won't really serve me.

But there was one email I received right before my birthday from the folks over at Lomography. They were announcing the launch of the new Bel-Air X 6X12 medium format camera. Actually, it was more of a tease than an announcement, what with the bellows, the retro styling and the two interchangeable lenses... and the pre-order discount. Yes, they got me. They got me good.

It took about a month for me to receive the camera, but it was worth the wait.

The appeal of the Bel-Air X 6X12 lies in it's ability to shoot in three different formats: normal 6X6 medium format shots as well as 6X9 and panoramic 6X12.
I shot the first roll in the 6X12 panoramic format. I had wanted to use my favorite film --- Ilford Delta 100 --- but when I went to look for a roll, I couldn't find any. (It was hiding in my still unpacked luggage from a Thanksgiving trip...) So I went with a roll of expired Fugi and totally ignored with fact that it was E-6 process film --- slide film.
I went to my favorite tree across the street from the entrance to my neighborhood. In six quick exposures, I was done. As I was driving to the lab, I "saw" the E-6 label in my mind and cursed. It was not a problem... I just made sure they did not cut or mount the film after processing.

The images I got are not Pulitzer Prize winners by any stretch of the imagination. But I have a good idea of what I will get when I pull the Bel-Air out of my bag. I found my rolls of Ilford and am waiting for them to get back after a trip to the garden.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hi-Ho Hi-Ho...

... it's off to work (in earnest) I go. Rebuilding. Reorganizing. Or maybe it's just a different form of procrastination.

It's easy for me to get waylaid while I do the office tasks of reviewing images and deciding how they need to be cataloged. Getting lost in the image is part of what I attempt when I click the shutter... But let's face it --- it's supposed to be my audience that gets drawn into the story, not me. I've been there, shot that.

So no more wallowing for me. But that doesn't mean you don't get to look...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Vote!

Yes, it's the obligatory "I Voted" sticker on the finger election day picture. So what? It's important to have your say and not complain after the fact.

I like to think that my female ancestors would be proud of me for getting out there. (Actually, I think they'd be quite miffed if I had not gotten out to vote! That's the kind of women they were!)

It's not just the big race this year... It's all those smaller, local races that I think, ultimately, have a more immediate impact on our lives. I'm proud of the fact that I knew who I would vote for as Commissioner of Agriculture before walking up to the booth.

If you haven't done so and you are legally allowed, go have your say at the polls. Thanks to all the early voting here in NC, there are no lines...

Monday, November 5, 2012

But What I Really Want Is ...

I'd rather be taking pictures right now... Or eating bacon. But the adult side of me knows that it is much easier on the senses (and pocketbook) to continue rebuilding my image database.

Wow. "Image Database." How incredibly unromantic.

That's okay. As I regroup and re-organize, I find images like the one above that I shot of my brother and sister-in-law's dog during a post-funeral breakfast. Here in the South, everything important is accompanied by food... preferably breakfast-type food.

I think I might just go have some breakfast for lunch while I make copies...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Photo... and Re-Emerging

My external hard drive crashed in late August, taking with it all my digital images. I put a lot of energy into not freaking out about the situation. One of the ways I coped was by breaking out my film cameras and going back to my slow and more expensive analog roots.

This is one of the images from that period. The end of Summer...
It was an emotional time of upheaval that seemed to culminate in the death of my bonus-brother.
I've been licking wounds and being tender with myself since then.

But things seem to be recovering. My hard drive is recovered! I rediscovered my love of using film and have even come up with a couple of new projects. It appears as though that rough period of my life is finally behind me... And not a moment too soon.

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hair Today, Gone This Morning...

I have not had a haircut in at least two years... At least not until this morning.

My hair was reaching to my waist. I had to braid it Ma Ingalls style when I slept so that it wouldn't a) wrap around my neck and choke me or b) get caught in my armpit as I turned over in bed.

Below is a picture of my braided bun. That's all my hair. No extensions or additions or stunt hair.

I called it "Recession Hair."

Today my hairdresser, Tonya Reid, the owner of T. Reid & Co. on East Blvd here in Charlotte cut off 10 inches. I'm still a little weirded out. I'm sure I'll get used to it...

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Little bit of Fall

I walked outside this morning and saw this leaf that had wedged itself into the railing on my porch. I couldn't help but admire the stubbornness it took to remain there on this blustery day.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Looking Up

As I navigate through my day, I try to remember to force myself to look up... or down. The different perspective usually yields some special little visual gift.

This particular view is from the Atrium in Spirit Square just after one of my Intro to DSLR classes I teach at the Light Factory.

I love it when Utility and Art fall in love and have a baby.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Obligatory Pumpkin

I'm on the move today... Out and about... So I thought I'd stop by my friendly neighborhood pumpkin patch and post the obligatory autumnal image.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Dog and His Goats

For some inexplicable reason I am fascinated by goats. Specifically, I am in awe of the current use of goats in kudzu eradication.

The invasive plant was introduced to North Carolina long ago and has taken to choking indigenous life out of vast areas for about the same amount of time. Every summer, the interstates sprout their leafy corridors. When I was a child, we just accepted that it was poor planning on someone's part and we were resigned to live with the ramifications.

No more. Now enterprising farmers actually rent their goats out. Every herd has their own guard dog to protect them from predators. The dogs are apparently raised with goats and accept them as their pack.

I can't help it... I'm just enthralled.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Good Advice

Still letting myself work back into what I like to think is "my norm"...

I was blessed last year with a part-time gig that has provided a restored faith in humanity. For too-short a time, I had a boss who was a wonderful example of a mentor as well as just a really cool human being. Due to restructuring, he's not my boss anymore... but I took some of his advice ("Ask for help.") and put it to use this week.

As a result, I'm slowly moving forward again. But it feels like I'm picking up steam. I hope it's not an illusion and that I can handle the velocity.

P.S. Thank you Dr. Neale...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Easing Back In

It was a long, sad, difficult summer and I'm feeling like I'm just now getting my footing again. I'm trying to purge the bad stuff and just let the good back in. It's a process. Licking ones wounds sometimes takes time, especially when you can't quite reach all of them. But I'm getting there... I believe for real this time.

Autumn always feels good to me.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What I Did This Summer...

Sometimes you just hit a creative rut. I think that's what happened to me earlier this summer. I was not really "feeling" creative. I would go through the motions but everything I did left me feeling like a fraud. I hated it all.

Then an opportunity presented itself to me --- I signed up for a graphic design course at Queens University in Charlotte, NC. It presented the chance for me to try my hand at something other than photography.

So every Tuesday evening for the past couple of months had me heading home energized with new thoughts and ideas and methods. I love pictograms and even have some that i created on I got to tinker with Adobe Illustrator. And I discovered a few things about how I look at the world. Some of it surprised me. Some of it confounded me. But it all helped clear my cloudy vision.

Hopefully within the next year I'll be able to weave more of the design principals into my other work... Until then, I'm just waiting to find out what grade I earned.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Little Bit of Random

I didn't mean to let myself get out of the habit of posting... It just kind of happened. Life just kind of... happened.

I think for me, it's easiest to get hampered by the heat of summer. It just makes me a little less tolerant of living. What can I say? I just don't like to sweat.... It makes me feel less womanly. I know, I know... That's silly (in a bad sense of the word).

I could use the excuse that I've been taking a graphic design class this summer and that's why I haven't been keeping up with writing.... But that would be laying blame where it didn't belong. I'm just going to get back to it.

So to dip my toes in the lake, I'm rambling and posting a random picture.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Up and At Em

My mother always warns me of drinking... er, imbibing in... too much coffee. I can't help it! Okay, I don't want to "help" it.

After the storms and power outages yesterday, this cup is quite welcome to the taste buds. I was so exhausted yesterday I went to bed before 10:00. As a reward (and I mean this in all seriousness) I woke up around 5:30am, wrote my brain dump, did some stretching with Miranda Esmonde-White (on TV... Classical Stretch). I feel great. My taste buds are happy. And I feel a full, productive day coming on...

Andiamo Baby!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Today's Photo-of-the-Day word... Monochrome. Otherwise known as Black & White.

I shoot quite a bit in black and white... Color tends to distract me. I like the absolute of a black and white photograph. I'm not so much into grays... I'm getting just enough of those in my hair to be annoying as opposed to being striking.

That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate color photography or imagery that runs the gamut of gray. I love finding myself in awe of other people's work.

But when I'm showing the world what I see, it's usually in black and white. Hopefully in the next few months I'll begin to understand why... Here's to some self-discovery!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


If you type the word "askew" into a Google search, your computer screen goes a little wonky. It's amusing.

When you turn your camera askew, you get a slightly different perspective on your view of the world. It can be more than amusing... It can turn into an exercise on tuning in to how you see that world of yours...

I always try to encourage my students to keep shooting after they think they've got the shot. You see, when you get the shot you've pictured in your head, you have accomplished your goal. You can relax. Now you get to play!... And magic happens during playtime...

So shoot outside your vision... Shoot askance and askew... You might just discover you see a little deeper.

Friday, June 22, 2012


I just got off the phone with my brother and he (very diplomatically) reminded me that I have been falling down on my blogging duties. So this post is for him.... and anyone else who needs it.

It's been a tough week. I've been teaching a weeklong Intro to DSLR bootcamp at the Light Factory in Uptown Charlotte plus getting my schedule back to normal after the onslaught of dance recitals at Queens University plus the air conditioner in my house conked out plus... Yes, it's a horrible run-on sentence but it's been a run-on kind of week.

Sometimes I let myself get so caught up in the act of making sure I get it all done that I forget what it truly takes to accomplish that --- Recharging. Sometimes you have to just say no. No foot planting necessary as that act can require an expenditure of energy that you're lacking. You just make a choice and accept it.

Yes, I've had several people in my life remind me of that this week. So to my mother, my best friend Sara and my brother... Thank you. I am recharging myself for the rest of the weekend.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Today's word image is blur... Photographically, it's something that most people try to avoid.

Not me. I love the abstract patterns I get when I purposefully slow down the shutter or spin the camera as I hit the shutter release. Of course that's kind of how I like looking at life...
From a technical aspect, though, sometimes a blurred image tells the story better than a tack sharp image... Sometimes you just can't convey how frenetic a situation is unless you show it to your audience through purposeful motion.

Sometimes life is just moving faster than you are...

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Today's Photo/Word of the Day is Strong... As in coffee... The kind of coffee you make when you are legally too sleepy to be making coffee.

If it looks like I lost count of the number of scoops I added to the pot this morning... it's because that's exactly what happened.

Oh well... This is one way to get the creative "juices" flowing... See you at 3am...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Today's image-word is Double... meaning two-fold or paired.

There are other interpretations of the word --- my favorite being "deceitful" which is where I guess you get the term "double-agent"... My parents raised me on James Bond movies so I tend to go right for the spy references.

DoubleMint gum was my favorite growing up... I'm just slightly too tall for a double bed (my toes hang off when I lie on my stomach)... But I digress.

I see these two doors often. They are quite similar but ever so slightly individual. I believe they actually lead into the same space with no barrier once you're inside. Kind of peculiar, but I've found there are usually at least two ways to get where you're going...

Kind of like life...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Entering the Danger Zone on a Tuesday

A friend of mine recently asked on Facebook "What do you do to keep yourself going in the pursuit of your dreams when it feels like they will never happen?"...

That's always one of those tough questions for me. On the surface I say "Just keep doing what you're doing..." but that is tough. And that is enough for Self-Doubt to rear its ugly head. I keep plugging along and all of a sudden I look up and realize I'm not where I want to be... I'm usually where someone else wants me to be and that sucks... Because no one else (save for my mother) really has my best interests at heart.

That's when I look over to another Post-It note on the windowsill --- "When you tell yourself you're not talented, just know there's a moron with self-esteem making tons of money doing something you're better at!"

I guess I should put some time into working on my self-esteem each week...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Things to Do Over a 3-Day Weekend

I worked for so long in TV news (13 years, 9 months to be exact... if you're into that), that I have a difficult time remembering that it's "normal" to not work on holidays. I'm always caught a little off guard. I usually have to be reminded that I don't actually need to be in a work situation.

It's not that I ignore holidays --- I don't. I've just developed a private manner of observing them.
Like this particular holiday --- Memorial Day.

Both of my fathers (my biological "blood" dad from whom I got my nose and other more mysterious inheritances and my "bonus" dad who accepted me as his own when my mom married him) served in the military. I can't really bring myself to wish anyone a "Happy" Memorial Day because, well... I miss both of these men. Remembering is necessary but sometimes I wish I could call them up.

So when I start wallowing (which I know neither of them would be impressed with that behavior), I do what I always do to lift my spirits --- I pull out a camera and take pictures. I set about visually documenting things... Little, seemingly inconsequential things to which I can attach memories that mean the world to me.

Take care and remember on this Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Back to shooting on a theme... Today's theme is Golden... because at this time of year, that's what sunset is all about.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Case of the Mondays

I really don't have anything against any day of the week... Time is, after all, a man-made construct. But Mondays usually bring out a level of nasty/mean/crazy in people that just doesn't make any sense.

In an attempt to circumvent a case of the Mondays, I'm just going to post something sparkly and pretty and get on with it...

Happy Monday.

Friday, May 18, 2012


We all have them. Some of us can conquer them --- I successfully quit smoking cold turkey in 1989. Some of us struggle --- I could, to this day, pick up right where I left off with the 2 to 3 pack a day habit.

And then some of us just find a different vice to court... When I worked in TV news, I drank way too much Mountain Dew. I gave that up. And now I get my caffeine from coffee... I guess it's the same vice but a different delivery system. But there's more with coffee.

Part of the attraction is being able to walk into my local Starbucks and not even have to order... I can say "Hi, how are you?" and they know exactly what I drink. It's that five minutes of being treated as someone who is welcome and wanted...
I guess that means I've traded caffeine and cigarettes for coffee and comfort... I think I can live with that.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Just Different

I took what I thought was a daring plunge several years ago... at least it was daring for a visual artist. I had my eyes "fixed" with PRK surgery. It's similar to LASIK but they deal with your cornea differently (I won't gross you out...).

I had a fantastic doctor and the surgery was a success! I went from having to always wear glasses to 20/15 vision. It was marvelous! I ignored the doctor's comments of "Now you'll probably still need reading glasses in a few years..." I thought "No way! My eyes have been fixed!"

It's been a few years. I have to wear reading glasses, just like he said. It's a bummer. I've become one of hose people who stashes reading glasses around the house like a squirrel stashes nuts.

I am that stereotype.

It's changed my perception of things... Not just visually, but philosophically. I don't really feel old, but my 20-year-old self would think of me as old. I am progressing as others before me have progressed. I am starting to mourn little things that I cannot do or have anymore.

Am I sounding morose? I'm not really feeling that way. I just wish I could look at things close up still...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Redefining Perfect

When I'm teaching, students usually express a desire to learn how to shoot a "perfect" shot... "What's the exposure I should always go for?"

My answer, I think, frustrates them. The exposure you use depends on what you're trying to capture and convey to your audience. If you're trying to freeze your kid making a game-winning goal, you're going to use different settings than if you are trying to shoot the inside of a flower... and if you're shooting said flower, you have to decide if you want to show it as a scientific specimen or if you want to call on your inner Georgia O'Keeffe and portray the seductive beauty of the plant.

It all starts with what you see in your own mind.

Our equipment is only a means by which we communicate our creative intent to others. Cameras are marvelous tools of creativity, but they do not possess the creative spark without human input and direction.You have to know what you're trying to communicate before you reach into you camera-bag-of-tricks... or you can just pull your camera out and figure it out as you go along if you're open to working through the process.

Start with what you're seeing in your mind... That will tell you how to get your "perfect" shot...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fruits of the Creative Afternoon

This past weekend I made a rather daring decision to shoot for myself... something that I had not allowed myself to do for a long time due to other obligations.

I'm glad I did it. I just got the film back and I'm in love all over again with my Olympus OM-1 and my Holga (first time shooting with the Holga...)

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Process

It's been way too long since I've shot purely for my own pleasure.

Don't get me wrong... I love making images for other people! But sometimes you have to feed your own creative beast. And that's what I got to do on Sunday...

I took three cameras --- the Holga, my Olympus OM-1, and my micro 4/3s camera --- and hit one of the greenways here in Charlotte. It was incredibly hot and the bugs were out in force, but I had a great time.

I finished up a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 film in my OM-1. I loaded and shot two expired rolls of Kodak Portra 160 in the Holga. I only pulled out the digital when I was out of film.

I found two other mystery rolls of film at home. All five rolls will be going to Biggs Camera today.
Now it's kind of like waiting on Christmas.... I have an idea of what I might get, but the element of surprise is there. I could get back a big mess or, even worse, find out I loaded the cameras wrong. Or I could get back little frames of magic. I won't know for maybe a week... and that's one of the coolest parts of this whole creative process.

When you set out to make something, if you are 100% positive of what the outcome will be, then you are in production mode. But when you let yourself explore, then you get to create something...

I'll let you see what I managed to create once the film comes back.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Photo of the Day

The subject today is... An Accidental Sculpture.

I was leaving Spirit Square after teaching the last class in this session of Intro to DSLR at the Light Factory today. I happened upon dozens of red folding chairs stacked in a rolling cart.

When they're being used as intended, they're utilitarian... efficient... often uncomfortable and unsteady... just a means to keep butts off floors.

But when I encountered them today, in all their condensed glory, they were something cooler --- they collectively became sculpture.

Maybe I was just tired and hungry, but I like stumbling upon unintended beauty.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Today's photo: a Treat.

This could be represented by many things. But since it's the first day of May and it is already quite hot, I decided to go with my gut.