It’s Been Awhile

I’ve been somewhat dormant publishing new posts since I’ve abandoned my twice a month deadlines. The gallery showing of Portraiture of Cuba, a non-photo focused trip visiting my daughter in Israel & the fact I’m not a fan of winter photography are my best excuses for not doing much new with my camera.

Also taking up significant time has been learning the visual differences between digital platforms, software, screens & projectors. Maintaining consistent quality in the digital world is frustrating! File that under “I hate digital”. I’ll let that go for now. 

The past months have been a time to continue crawling up the Photoshop mountain. Without a doubt I’ve abandoned earlier inhibitions about “altering the reality” of my images. In fact, some of my favorite images over the winter have been oldies that I now can do post-production work I’ve learned in the past few years. File that under “I LOVE digital”.

It’s not like I haven’t pressed the shutter recently. The unpredictable snapshots I got visiting Tel Aviv & Jordon were good exercise for my eyes & my mind. I never thought I’d get a surfing picture or see a couple on a date using a fast electric scooter. The light, the colors & the textures in the Jordon Desert were completely unexpected with a Deja vu of Star Wars.

I have a new camera with astounding low light capabilities. The advantages of higher resolution/full frame are great. I’m getting used to the electronic viewfinder associated with mirror-less but I’m still a fan of optical thru the lens. As with most things in life not all change is an improvement. The EOS-R will be getting a workout in the months ahead.

I have a few photo sojourns planned for the upcoming months including a road trip west visiting family & reconnecting with valued friends. It’s nice to be able to blend a photo topic that has baffled me for many decades with renewing personal connections.

I have an east bound trip where I’ll visit a respected friend before continuing the elusive challenge of chasing sailboats. The 12 Meter Championships is an opportunity I’m excited about. It’s part of a workshop with sailboat photographer Onne van der Wal. The logistics & variables involved with this passion of mine is something I’ve come to accept. Last May, going after the Volvo boats was disappointing because of the weather. Yet, sails continue to dominate my mind’s eye.

Later in the summer, the Tall Ships in Erie PA will provide another opportunity for capturing a chapter of my photo dreams.  In doing my planning, I’ve discovered another avenue I may someday pursue to put myself in position to capture the beauty & power of these boats. For now, I’m just hopeful that I have no need for a rain-cover for my camera in either Newport or Erie.

Closer to Pittsburgh, the opportunity for a multi-layered collaboration involving a mixed media diptych is in the works. It will be a collaborative effort where “the light” was an inspiration to both. This will be another chance to explore creative motivation. The back-story is one of the more interesting/serendipitous preludes to a project that can best be described as a ‘burgh thing. It may be a 2 part blog posting. (When was the last time you read diptych & serendipitous in the same paragraph?)

If all goes well, this fall I will finally spend a few days in what some have called The Most Beautiful City in Europe. Prague has been on my list of places I’ve wanted to visit with my camera. The lure involves history, architecture, classical music & at least geographically, the home of Bohemian lifestyle. Capturing the appeal with still images will be a challenge. A big work in progress.

A subject I enjoy almost everywhere I go requiring no planning is people. Sometimes they just add a human perspective to the frame. Other times their expressions preface an interesting story. In the case of still images of musicians I’m convinced a 2 shot tells a deeper story.

I often see what appears to be a boring sight & realize I have an unorthodox perspective. For example, parked cars seems bland at best. However, when I considered the skill needed to parallel park in tight urban areas, 5 cars caught my eye. Maybe it was a parade at rest?

If nothing else, this blog gives me a better understanding of why I pick up my camera. I enjoy putting myself in situations where I need to visually explore the environment to find a frame that inspires my mind’s eye. Frequently patience is a needed tool. However, per-visualization of subjects & the planning involved with chasing those moments is another layer of my photography motivation.

Wood Shop vs Photoshop

If I had not had a career in Video/TV Production I would like to have been a carpenter. Retirement offers wood shop time, learning new skills & exploring a different type of creativity. I use re-purposed wood & enjoy the imperfections while incorporating flaws into the design. None of these pieces came from a pattern. I began with an idea & made it up as I went along.


The top of this table is made from 100+ year-old beams from the original cottage on our property. This was my 1st project. The rustic style farm table fit well with my nascent abilities. I have interest & respect for history that dovetails nicely with photography & woodworking. I’m also motivated to learn new techniques in each skill.


Function & form are an important part of pre-pro in woodworking & pre-visualization of photography. This simple form provides 3 separate functions; a holder for the garden hose, an attachment for the clothesline & a perch to hang a flower basket.


Strictly function on this project. The original ramp was rotting. Old sections of dock worked perfectly as planks. I purchased wood for joists & used plenty of stone as foundation. Often while wandering with my camera I will shoot a sign purely as a landmark or reference. Pure function with no creativity serves a purpose.


Strictly form here. I had these 7X7 beams for a long time trying to figure out what to do with them. An earlier bench was a failure but a learning process. When I realized 3 would make a perfect homage to a tripod I knew I was onto something. This is still a work in progress. In photography something may catch my eye but I’m not sure how best to capture it. I examine angles, light, foreground, background & as many perspectives as possible. Inspiration sometimes needs time to germinate.


I can’t provide a 1 to 1 correlation, but the work/thought-flow of both photography & woodworking feed each other. I believe perspective & detailed observation as well as compromise have something to do with it. Along the way you can be surprised. After building this bench/shoe rack I found something good for my bad knees. Getting up from a bench 20 inches off the ground is much easier than the normal chair height of 17 inches.


An advantage to DIY building is you can customize to fit your need. I usually start my day with coffee reading the news on my kindle. I needed a small low table that would fit between the 2 chairs.  A somewhat larger/higher cousin is in the works. My photography subjects satisfy my interests & woodworking to meet my needs.


This was my most ambitious project to date & also the heaviest. We wanted an island in the kitchen. Drawers were not a project I felt I was ready for since they have little room for error.   My wife suggested getting a used cabinet w/drawers at Construction Junction then cover the other 3 sides. Brilliant! The 3 sides are tongue & grove from the original cottage. The oak top & trim is from my grandparents dinning room table.


I liked the idea of a parquet end table but wasn’t sure how to begin. There was a lot of making it up as you go along on this project. It came together nicely as I had hoped. And, I still have 10 fingers! Wood isn’t perfect & neither am I.  Between Wood-shop & Photoshop I am exploring new paths for taking ideas from my head & making them real. A lot of creativity just comes from doing it. Connecting mind, eye & fingers.