Black and White

117prayer bellstump and posttree shadowsMy love of serious photography grew out my exposure to the work of Ansel Adams. Some 30 years ago I used a Canon AE1 and Ilford film to take pictures. I would make my own prints from a basement darkroom.

With the move to digital photography, it seems that there is less black-and-white photography. I believe that sometimes the story you are trying to tell with a picture can best be communicated in black and white.

The first picture is from my early days. It is from a scan of a black-and-white picture of my three boys. The oldest will turn 39 next year.

The second picture is from a recent trip to photograph downtown churches. I couldn’t decide between this picture and the next, so I included them both.

The last picture was from an early Spring trip. I love the sense of mystery and drama the crooked shadows bring to the picture. Black-and-white seemed to intensify the power of this picture.

Love to hear your thoughts.

Stained Glass

For our recent photo excursion Pat and I visited five historic, downtown Jackson Michigan churches. We took pics of the gardens, exteriors, doors, and spires but we also received permission from each church to enter the church and take pictures inside. I love stained glass windows and focused (sorry about the pun) on them

Colored or stained glass goes way back into ancient times, but it wasn’t until the late fourth century that some churches had a stained-glass type of window. The ornate stained glass windows we associate with churches first appeared in Britain in the 7th century. For more on stained glass see .
round windowBibleJesus contemporary The three samples I am sharing are from three different churches (Catholic, Baptist, and Lutheran). To me, each has a different kind of beauty. In taking the pictures I metered on the windows to accentuate the light coming through the windows. The pictures were taken without flash. As always I am interested in your thoughts and comments.


Barn woodfountainSpider Webdandelion

For me, texture is one of the harder things to portray in a picture. I know what I am experiencing, but how do I convey touch in an image? What I try to do is to intensify the image,  at least to some extent. Here are some ways I have recently tried to do that.

The barn wood shows the richness of age as well as a texture that dares you to touch it with the near guarantee of a splinter. By focusing on a small corner of the barn, I tried to make that sensation clearer. The older I get the more I enjoy the richness of aged things (especially wine!).

Does water have a texture? I think it does, especially when it is moving. In this fountain image, the focus is on the water (not the fountain so much) and the touch – and maybe even taste – the water may convey to us as we look at the image.

The spider web image may make you squirm. If you have ever walked through a spider web, by accident or intention, you know well the rather nasty feeling that comes from this most delicate part of nature. I searched for a good illustration of a spider web and found this mass of webs under my elevated deck.

To help restore a positive note on texture, the dandelion photo was shot in early morning light with a dark shadowy background to intensify the image. Maybe the image brings back memories of blowing the weed’s seeds gently into the wind. It might also evoke the more negative image of weeding your garden or lawn. I do hope it also brings back the gentleness and softness of texture.

As always I am interested in whatchathink.  🙂

Red Eye Special

The color red causes our hearts to race, especially when we see it flashing in our rearview mirror. The most emotionally tense color, red is often associated with passion, beauty, blood, anger, danger, and, in other cultures, happiness. In a photograph red can either be the focal point or a great accent. Either way, there is something about red that draws us into a longer look at an image.

As a primary color in traditional color theory and as an additive primary in modern RGB imaging technology, red often is often buried in combinations with other colors in a quiet supportive role. But red can also be the star.

These three pics were all taken on the same day. In the image of the front of a truck, shiny red is the star of the photo. In the old Mobil sign red is contrasted well with the black. I like the red fire hydrant in the stonewall photo because it brings a pop of color to the early morning, muted tones of the wall. I think it also adds interest with the juxtaposition of nature and a man-made element.

What do you feel or think when you see red?truckMobilfire hydrant

Weird Tickles of my Fancy

Moon and roofCarBroken glassMy friend Pat says I am weird. Although I prefer the term “unique”, she may be on to something. When we go on our photo morning trips together, we often seek out different perspectives or even different subjects. What makes art interesting is that it is a very subjective process, both in the viewing and the creating. We are all alike in one way: we are each different.

Here are three images from a recent photo outing. The car image was taken during a coffee break. The other two are from Ella Sharp Park in Jackson, MI.

Looking for art in unusual perspectives, subjects, or angles heightens our creative energy. Maybe these images wouldn’t have occurred to you. They occurred to me because Pat is probably right and I am of the opinion that normal is highly overrated. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether or not you agree with Pat. 🙂

The Eyes Have It

“The eyes are the window to the soul” is a quote often attributed to Shakespeare. The English proverb actually predates the bard and has much earlier similar ideas in both French and Latin literature. Regardless of the origin, we tend to accept this idea as a truism. For example we are not likely to buy a used car from a salesperson that won’t look us in the eye. And the classic oldie asks a lover’s question: “is it in her kiss or in her eyes?” We do see the eyes as speaking to us about the person behind the window of the eyes.

I do not pretend to know whether or not animal’s have souls; a question beyond my pay grade. I welcome your thoughts. That said, I do find the eyes of all living creatures to be very expressive. Here are some recent captures. Do the eyes convey anything to you about the subject? Whatchathink?

Sheba EyePeacockGiraffeBull's Eye

Two Birds and a Cat

Peacock3Bald EagleSnow LeopardFor a great photo safari, I visited Binder Park Zoo with my friend Pat on a cool but sunny day this week. It was a great trip even with the tsunamis of grade school field trips. These are my three favorite pictures of the day.

The peacock had a screeching cry that sounds like a high-pitched child calling out “help”. The sound could be heard all over the zoo. We encountered the roaming beauty (and his mate) quite a few times.

Both the snow leopard and the bald eagle were taken through glass. The telephoto zoom helped get past most of the glare and fingerprints.

After walking over three miles, we decided to take the tram back towards the zoo entrance only to find out that there would be at least a 30 minute delay due to “technical difficulties”. To pass the time (and because we wanted to do it) Pat and I had our faces painted. You can see my paint job on my Facebook page. On the way home, Pat would try to get the truckers we passed to look. Even though my joints and muscles are in open rebellion this morning, the trip still brings smiles to my face and to my heart.

Far Away and Close to Home

Bleeding HeartIris after rain

Sometimes we can be like the cow that is certain that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. I enjoy traveling with my friend Pat ( to capture road trip images. We try to go someplace once a week with our cameras. We have fun because we look at things differently (with very different photo captures) but have about the same energy threshold due to some physical problems.

I deeply enjoy these trips, but sometimes beauty is also as close as our front door. The fuchsia image was taken at the Hidden Lake Gardens Conservatory (in the conservatory with the camera by Mrs. Me – for you Clue fans). The Iris was taken after an early morning rain in the small planted area (8 square feet) between my driveway and my neighbor’s. I am happy with both images, but am moving away from flora for a time towards fauna . . . at least in terms of emphasis. I’ll always shoot what catches my quirky imagination’s eye whenever I can.

Jackson Train Station

The Jackson, Michigan train station is one of the oldest continually operating stations in the country. It opened in September 1873 and is listed in the National Register of Historic places. Presidents Taft, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Nixon all stopped here. The station has gone through a number of restorations to maintain its classic beauty.  The train station photo was shot in very early morning light with the lens at 300 mm and f/25. The ticket office window was shot at 72 mm and f/22. Traveling by train is a slow way to travel, but can allow more time to take in the passing countryside towns, and cities. Often I think the slower pace of yesteryear has a lot of advantages, but then I am rushed back to the frazzle of the day.


Train Station


Ticket Office

Loft Window

Loft Window

This sofa in a barn loft window caught my fancy when Pat and I stopped to capture some images from this old barn. Is the sofa a place for resting or watching the world go by from a private hideaway? Or is it just resting until it can be taken away? I like to think of this sofa as a window to the world; a place to get away, reflect, and quietly watch the world. What are your thoughts?

This image was taken with an ISO of 800 for the early morning light and at f20 with the lens at 180 mm for 1/250th of a second.

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