Mandarin Oranges


I spent more time working on digital art than photography this week. But I finally got a background board I had ordered last month for doing food photography. Had to try it out and love the distressed white side. Shot this with my Lensbaby Velvet85. Processed it using one texture and a slight vignette.

Day 83 – Feather



Remember the 1340s? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called “Find the Cow.”
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.


Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent, a badly broken code.


The 1790s will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.


I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.


Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.
As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.


-Bill Collins



Well, the sun is trying to come out but not having much success. Last I looked the temperature was still in the 30s. So, I finally decided to see what I could come up with in the studio. All summer, on my walks I was picking up feathers. I have quite a collection so tried out one with an old book. Then did some magic in the computer. I googled nostalgia poems and came up with this one which gave me a chuckle and decided to use it even though it is a little longer than I generally prefer.


Day 75 – Owl


The Owl

When cats run home and light is come,
  And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
  And the whirring sail goes round,
  And the whirring sail goes round,
    Alone and warming his five wits,
    The white owl in the belfry sits.

When merry milkmaids click the latch,
  And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch
  Twice or thrice his roundelay,
  Twice or thrice his roundelay;
    Alone and warming his five wits,
    The white owl in the belfry sits.

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

Another rainy day and another of my knick knacks. I think this one also came from Indian Market in Santa Fe. Owl poems for some reason seem to be terribly long. But I finally found one that I like that wasn’t too long and by someone I had actually heard of before.

Day 71 – Spirit Bear


Untitled Shaman Song

The great sea
frees me, moves me,
as a strong river carries a weed.
Earth and her strong winds
move me, take me away,
and my soul is swept up in joy.

-Uvavnuk (Iglulik Eskimo, 19th century) [translated by Jane Hirshfield]

I was going to go out for a camera walk but it was so windy I thought I would never get a good photograph because nothing would hold still. So I started looking around the house and decided to photograph some of my knick-knacks. I think I came by this Spirit Bear at Indian Market in Santa Fe one year but he has been with me long enough, I don’t really remember. I wanted to give him a more ethereal quality so added some textures and gave him a Georgia O’Keefe treatment in Topaz Impression (how appropriate!) Then I started looking for a poem. Not many poems about spirit bears and surprisingly few about bears, spirit animals, etc. I finally turned to gratitude in homage to Thanksgiving and nothing tripped my trigger there either. I finally found an anthology of Spiritual Poetry on the Poetry Foundation website and while Eskimos and spirit bears may not be a good fit, the Native American connection with nature and spirituality worked for me.

Day 65 – Flower


Flowers in a Vase

A bunch of flowers
Sat in a vase
Colourful and lonely
A mind looks at them
What is it they have to say
Are they a thank you
Or a gift of love
Are they an apology
Or given in remorse
Perhaps they are for nothing
Given to bring a smile
The mind looks on
Wondering for a while
The flowers sit in their vase
Unmoved by thought
Or the reason given to them
A little water at their base
To keep them fresh for a while
They are the end of the day
Just flowers in a vase 

-Matthew Holloway

Another busy rainy day. So I took the flowers I bought yesterday into the studio and played for awhile this morning. Then took the results into photoshop and added some textures and french ledger script for visual interest. All in all I think it worked out pretty well. And though it is only one flower in a bottle I thought searching for flowers in a vase might be more productive, and so it was.

Day 62 – Buttons


The Button Tin

Memories of the cracker tin

My Mother kept her buttons in

Such treasures beautiful and bright

That brought my childish heart delight


I don’t know where the time has gone

My Mother’s race is nearly run

The buttons now seem so passe

Who’d want to use them anyway?


Red buttons, blue and green and white

Are seldom ever brought to light.

But I can still remember when

I loved my Mother’s button tin.


-Jeanne Hoadley

I borrowed my Mother’s button tin some time ago with the intent of photographing it’s contents. She never asked for it back so I thought I might just keep it since she doesn’t sew anymore. The weather finally drove me to find something inside to photograph so I finally opened the button tin and found the buttons not nearly as intriguing as I remembered them. But I went ahead and photographed them and then I spent quite a bit of time working it into an art piece. Then I went looking for a poem and could find nothing suitable. I couldn’t quite fit what I had to say into a Haiku so I had to write a full blown poem. Not that great I know and how gauche to actually rhyme the lines. But I like it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Day 57 – Utensils


My Wooden Spoon

When your soup comes to a boil
and starts frothing,
You should place a wooden spoon
atop the pot
to keep the contents
from spilling over.

Alas, i must leave you here,
as i’m going to the kitchen
to clean the stove.


Yep, I was getting desperate for something to photograph and for a poem to go with it. It wasn’t fit for woman or beast outside today so I decided to find something in the house to photograph. This jar of wooden spoons caught my eye but by the time I got around to photographing it I wasn’t really in the mood. But with a little help from my creative software I came up with something. The poem on the other had didn’t do too much for me until I thought it through and then it made me laugh so it got the nod even if the author apparently didn’t want to claim it.


Day 53 – Calico Corn



-Ronald Johnson

Flint corn, Calico corn, decorative corn, fall corn, there are lots of politically correct names for what we used to call Indian Corn. This poem was published in 1963 so let’s just give him a break. I wonder if the reason the only version I could find was an image from its original publication has anything to do with the title or the subject? Or maybe it is just too old and its author too obscure. In my experience European Americans are more offended by the word Indian than Native Americans. In New Mexico where I lived for eight years the aboriginals seemed to embrace the word Indian as an important part of their identity. Call it what you will, this corn is still beautiful and symbolic of fall in North America.


Day 32 – Still Life with Pears


Eating Alone

I’ve pulled the last of the year’s young onions.
The garden is bare now. The ground is cold,
brown and old. What is left of the day flames
in the maples at the corner of my
eye. I turn, a cardinal vanishes.
By the cellar door, I wash the onions,
then drink from the icy metal spigot.

Once, years back, I walked beside my father
among the windfall pears. I can’t recall
our words. We may have strolled in silence. But
I still see him bend that way-left hand braced
on knee, creaky-to lift and hold to my
eye a rotten pear. In it, a hornet
spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice.

It was my father I saw this morning
waving to me from the trees. I almost
called to him, until I came close enough
to see the shovel, leaning where I had
left it, in the flickering, deep green shade.

White rice steaming, almost done. Sweet green peas
fried in onions. Shrimp braised in sesame
oil and garlic. And my own loneliness.
What more could I, a young man, want.

-Li-Young Lee

I had these pears in a bowl on my counter and thought they looked very photogenic. So I took them up to the tiny studio and made a few images. Then into the computer for some lighting effects and textures.