Archive for July, 2009

Rainy day…Dream away

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Rainy day, rain all day
Aint no use in gettin uptight
Just let it groove its own way
Let it drain your worries away yeah
Lay back and groove on a rainy day hey
Lay back and dream on a rainy day

–Jimi Hendrix

Rainy day - dream away - 53/365 - 30 July 2009

We’re finally getting some rain.  I’m not sure for how long, but whatever we get, we can sure use it.

The Dharma Bum – ridin’ the rails

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

As I was driving around in rural Texas a few days ago, I saw a gorgeous brown field with newly made round bales of hay scattered in it.  I quickly pulled the car off the road, grabbed the camera and made my way across traffic, through the scrub and up onto some railroad tracks to snap what I thought was going to be a few great pictures.  These shots were, to say the least, a disappointment.  As I stood there, lamenting the heat, the poor shots and the trek through the brush to get them, I glanced up and down the railroad tracks and was immediately reminded of the beginning of  ‘The Dharma Bums” where Ray Smith rides the rails, hobo style, all along the west coast, from Mexico to San Francisco.

I love Jack Kerouac book ‘The Dharma Bums‘!  The Dharma Bums stands as one of Kerouac’s most powerful, influential, and bestselling novels. The story focuses on two untrammeled young Americans—mountaineer, poet, and Zen Buddhist Japhy Ryder and Ray Smith, a zestful, innocent writer—whose quest for Truth leads them on a heroic odyssey, from hobo train rides up and down the West coast, marathon parties and poetry jam sessions in San Francisco’s Bohemia to solitude and mountain climbing in the High Sierras to Ray’s sixty-day vigil by himself atop Desolation Peak in Washington State.  I’ve read this book several times throughout my life and, while I question Kerouac’s understanding of Buddhism, at least as he portrayed it in the book, I have come to love the story.

So I became fascinated with trying to capture that feeling in some pictures of the tracks.

Ridin the rails

The path of a Dharma bum - 49/365 - 26 July 2009

Keep on trackin

I think maybe I am a pictorialist, not a photographer…or maybe not…

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

I found this great thought over on, a wonderful sight I just discovered and am beginning to explore:

Photographers are like dogs – they come in many breeds, some are purebred, others are mongrels. Is there a right or best way to be a photographer? I think not. I am a pictorialist – a photographer who creates images rather than takes them. I’ve learned to shape light and do so freely whenever I need to. I won’t hesitate to change or fix something in Photoshop if need be (although I much prefer to get it right at the time of capture). Other shooters are documentarians. They strive to capture images with minimal influence on the event being photographed and process them in a way that does not alter the file. When I create photographs solely as a personal expression, I am working as an artist. When I create photographs to meet the needs of others, I am a businessman. Some photographers shoot only food or fashion or sports. Other photographers shoot anything they can. None of these is right or wrong, better or worse.

This was part of a series of posts called “Lessons I didn’t learn in photo school.”  Had you asked me a couple of days ago how I viewed myself:  pictorialist or photographer, I probably would have said “amateur hack”.  But if you tried to pin me down, I would have said a pictorialist because I tend to think I look at things from a more artistic point of view as opposed to a documentary point of view.  Or so I thought.  I found myself in the unique position of arguing with myself the other night about post work from this picture I took during the Scott Kelby Photo Walk.

Yellow roses in Texas - 42/365 -18 July 2009

It’s quite obvious I used Lightroom to bring out the yellow roses and subdue the background.  No biggee.  But what I found myself debating over was some of the spots on the wall in the background.  The artist side of my brain said, “Get rid of the spots.  They’re ugly!”  Then from nowhere, the documentarian in by brain popped out from around a corner and said, “But the spots WERE THERE.  You should leave them.  That was the reality of what you shot.”  This of course caused the artist side of my brain to say “WTF?  Who is this guy, where did he come from and who told him he could speak?”  At which point the art side of my brain donned a beret, turned his nose in the air and looked the other way, thinking that “If I don’t see him he really isn’t there.”

At any rate, the art side won in the end and I removed the spots in the final picture.  But I had no idea that that little realist part of my brain (I’ve named him Hector, for now.) even really existed.  In the end, I think I am, in fact, more of a pictorialist, but I guess the fact that there even is a Hector in my head, at least means that I am progressing enough as an artist to question why I am doing something.

Cooper relaxin’ on the couch

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

I snapped this one for Project 365.  It’s Cooper in split tone crashed out on the couch.

Cooper in duotone - 43/365 - 19 July 2009

Storm Cloud Photos

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

We had what looked like an approaching storm last night so I grabbed the camera for some Project 365 action.  As it turns out, we didn’t get a drop of rain.  It was pointed out to me that maybe the storms are shy and they run and hide when I try to photograph them.  Guess I’ll have to remember that next time.  For now, here are pictures of a scared storm, with special guest star, the power pole.

Orange Crush - 44/365 - 20 July 2009



Irked by a twitter ‘service’

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

This twitter post popped up in my feed this morning:

monkeybutler02: @sarahjohn64 I’ve been told by @followermonitor that @wvclassical @CanadianOpera @Enlighten_Up @naiveclassicsuk stopped following you

Since I haven’t stopped following anyone in quite awhile, I was quite irritated.  I really don’t have a problem if someone knows I unfollowed them, but I don’t like people thinking I somehow dissed them when I didn’t.  I have double checked and not only did I NOT unfollow anyone, I am STILL following @sarajohn64.

I’m just sayin’, I wouldn’t trust @followmonitor.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled social media programming.  That is all.

Scott Kelby International Photowalk 2009

Monday, July 20th, 2009

It was a busy day on Saturday and it all started with the second annual Scott Kelby International Photowalk. The San Antonio crew met in the King William district with our fearless leader Robert Kenney and set out. Here are a few of the shots I got.

Little Bird Feeder

Nutcraker In July

The Gingerbread House

I'm driftin' and driftin'

The old ball and chain - sans chain


Floating down a slow river

Hiding House

Mayan Grafitti

Blue skies at the Blue Star Brewery

Cool reflections

Reflections in the waves spark my memories

Up a tree

Building graffiti

Puppy Prison

Colorful Rooster


The Matrix

Canary BMW

A touch of red

Antebellum Cool


Yellow roses in Texas - 42/365 -18 July 2009 Next, I’ll talk a bit about Tweetcamp and the famous after party at Alan Weinkrantz’s

My dad, the candle and a stormy sky.

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Just a few more photos from  Project 365.  The first is my dad.  Well, not really.  It’s a carving of my dad.  Well, not really.  It’s a carving that my dad had found that looked remarkably like him. My dad was an Episcopal priest and when he found this little carving, he couldn’t resist. I mean, who could resist a carving that looks just like you?

Dad - 35/365 - 9 Jul 09

Next is my favorite candle. It has the Heart Sutra etched in Japanese around it. I’ve never lit it. Heart Sutra Candle - 34/365 - 8 Jul 09

And last, we finally got a speck of rain, not really enough to matter, but enough to get my hopes up. I happened to catch the front rolling in.

Approaching storm - 33-365 - 7 Jul 09

Dharma the llama’s day in the sun

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Dharma the llama has her own way of dealing with the heat we’ve been having around here.  (15 days of temperatures over 100 degrees.  She has her own little tub that she likes to lounge in.  You can find her in her little jacuzzi every day of the week.

Llama in a bath tub - 30/365 - 4 July 2009

I’ve been wanting to take a picture of her in there for about a month now, but every time she see’s me coming, she hops up to see if I have any food.

Llama exiting bathtub

But she did let me get pretty close for a picture (she’s not fond of the camera). Here she is looking the lens right in the eye.
In your eye

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