Monday, January 26, 2009

Just Some Photos: Kaw (Kansas) River

Here's some of the results from my darkroom work I journaled about. This is the Kansas River by Lawrence. We have a real hydro plant on the far side. I liked the icy flow over the dam, the sound of rushing water, the mist hanging in the air and the solitude in an urban setting (strange how cold temperatures keep people inside).

Photo: Old Farmstead

I found this old home remains only this summer while on my 2-night bicycle tour. I grew up around here. Driven by this home many many times and never knew it. It's only 25 feet off the road, but it dense cover on a steep gravel road hill that you're too worried about hitting an oncoming car over the blind hill. Had to come back later and photograph it.

Photo: Wakarusa River

I loved the transitions of texture and detail of this shot of the Wakarusa River. My son put in here with his kayak a few summers ago and paddled over 10 miles into Clinton Lake to visit some friends camping there. Crazy kid. I was jealous.

Photo: Downtown Alley

I've got a thing for old alleys. This is one in Topeka. It was a cold day. Left the car running as I hopped over to take some shots. I send kuddos to the City of Topeka Street Department. All the alleys I shot that day were very clean. Same can't be said for other cities I've shot.

Photo: Near Wakarusa River

This one is a feeder creek to the Wakarusa River, close to my home. Had to crawl down a steep bank and crouch down low to get this shot. That would have been easier in my younger years.

Photo: Shunganunga Creek

This one is from an urban creek in Topeka. I had to work for it, since there's usually always something in the creek to tip you off that it's urban (like a shopping cart or tire or other debris). I just smiled when the camera viewfinder showed me this.

Photography, Part 3

Well, this is the last of the photography journal trilogy. This is my little haven to make contact sheets and enlargements. Nothing fancy, yet it seems like magic what you can do. I only recently learned how to do all this, so maybe that's why I take nothing for granted and it all seems so wild. And I feel a kinship with all those that practiced this trade for decades before me. I know it sounds hokey. But I know Ansel Adams dealt with the same process, and legions of photojournalists and other artists. I'll never be in their league but I'll appreciate their work more. And the medical community better not find that these chemicals are carcinogenic.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Photography, Part 2

I made it out a few times to shoot some B&W film, and it's time to develop the negatives. This is the set-up I have. Since working with film is quickly disappearing with the advent of the digital age, this is a dying hobby. Should stay here for die-hards, though. I'm not really a die-hard, but I do like to dabble in it. I want to document the process in my journal so that in later years, when such things are long gone, I can look these pages over and have a flashback. Wish I could also capture the smells of the chemicals. It's an enjoyable process. I'm also working with my niece, who just finished a semester of photography in high school. She loves it all, both behind the camera and in the darkroom. I'm looking forward to sharing the hobby with her.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Shop Cup

I was viewing Winna's blog ( January 3 post "Sentimental Supply Cups" and it reminded me of this mug I have in my shop. Serves the same duty. Has more meaning than just a vessel. When it came time to draw it, I found out there's more stuff packed in here than I knew was there. Even took out some stuff just to make it sketchable. It was in my Dad's shop for many years and I wish I could say there was a long and mystical story behind it, but I can't. It's just a cup. But when we were going through Dad's stuff to divide or sell or pitch, this cup called out to me. It needed to have a spot in my shop, and so it does.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


My garage/shop is my castle. I figure it's much the same with a quilter or painter or any other artist that has a work area. It's their kingdom, and when it's clean and neat there is a feeling like no other. To the outsider who views it, it's just a work area. Not so for the owner. And so it is with a recent purchase . . . my first rolling tool box, bought at a heck of a sale at Sears. It has restored order to a shop that was getting out of hand.

(Note: I also have a drawing table work area for my drafting, calligraphy and sketching, etc. , so I guess I have two castles. That makes me sound like a pig, though. Maybe I am, but I'm not giving up either one.)

Oil Change

Well, in my younger adult years I've seen it in my co-workers. The empty-nester Dad that spent the weekend giving the college daughter's car an oil change and a good lookin' over. Seemed to me like the kid was old enough to take care of things herself and the Dad was just spoiling her. Guess what I did for the first time this weekend. Changed the oil and gave a good lookin' over to my college daughter's car. I now understand. It's not a chore. It's not a job. I want to do it, and I feel it keeps me connected with her ever-maturing and busy life. Maybe she does feel entitled to this service and maybe she is a little spoiled. I don't care. I'm still her head mechanic.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Old School Photography (Part 1)

We've had our digital camera for a year now, and I love it. But I'm reading the Owner's Manual for the third time now (it's an SLR) to understand it. In the pre-digital days I loved B&W film in my old SLR. Still needed color using the automatic modes for family duties, but for fun I'd play with B&W. I recently realized I missed it, so I dusted off my gear (literally), mixed up new chemicals and am back in the saddle for a little ride. I realize I love BOTH cameras. Yesterday I went to a neighboring town to walk around and shoot. Set the SLR on manual and used it's light metering only. Felt odd setting aperature and shutter speed for each shot after considering what results I wanted for each photo. Clumsy but it comes back. I'm the one in charge, not the camera's computer that's trying to second guess me. I think I'll give up my digital camera . . . . naa.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Bar

Ran into a new type of bar. A Cereal Bar. Never heard of it. I was out shooting some B&W film in my SLR camera (becoming a lost art) in cold weather and needed to warm up. I had already planned to stop at Java Break for a latta because it's my hippi coffee shop. It's in Lawrence (15 miles away), home of KU, in one of the few Democratic counties in Kansas. There are plenty of liberal types. I'm about as traditional as it gets, being a utility engineer and Republican. This joint is a 24-hour dive in the basement of an old building in the downtown area. Their patrons are of all walks of life and I like it. They just put in this Cereal Bar. My early-20s DD can live on cereal, and the barista said she thought cereal should be its own food group. I need to come back another day to try it.