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Photo of Elevator Opening on a Large Aircraft Across a Harbor to a Large City, with People in Silhouette.
Hanger Deck and Hong Kong

In Transit, 30 June 2023   An expensive week of home ownership in Gloucester, though Julee and I are very happy with the new door and the really effective tradespeople who put it in. Now it's coming up the 4th of July, the big, big, Summer holiday in America, in Washington DC, and at the Capital Yacht Club. So, as the Commodore I'm on the train from Boston to the Capital to support the activities of the Club and the staff and members who will be there over the weekend.

I was trolling through my pictures of Hong Kong at night and ran across this one from July 2012. Hong Kong is a liberty port for the U.S. Navy, and when I was the ACS (American Citizens Services) Chief at the Consulate General (not, in spite of all the Hong Kong based action movies you may have seen, the U.S. Embassy, which is in Beijing) there, the nuclear powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington would show up from time to time, sometimes with its screening cruisers. All kinds of interesting stories about those weeks, but the relevant one is that the Navy would always host a formal reception on the hanger deck (below the flight deck) and, because of my position, I always got an invitation. And I always went because it was so much fun, and hey, when in my life am I ever again going to get to hang out on one of the biggest machines mankind has ever built, walking around the supersonic aircraft eating the Navy's really excellent fried spicy cheese sticks?

The photo is a shot out of one of the elevator openings looking across the harbor to Kowloon and Hong Kong Central in the distance, my fellow guests in silhouette. An elevator in this case being a platform big enough to move aforementioned supersonic aircraft between decks. A two frame stitched panorama to get it all in. I'm a little sorry I didn't take my big camera for the best quality, but it's still a nice illustration of a very interesting moment.

Infrared Photo of Backlit Trees.
Shirlington Trees

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 23 June 2023   Another shot from the wonderful afternoon on Four Mile Run, this time a three shot vertical panorama. What's not to love about backlit infrared trees?

Infrared Photo of an Idylic Little Stream.
Four Mile Run

Washington DC, 16 June 2023   A bit of nature, occupying the space between suburbia and a little downtown area. My mechanic's shop is on Four Mile Run Drive in Green Valley, suburbia, although the street itself is very commercial. It parallels Four Mile Run , and on the other side of the run (which is the local term for a little stream) is Shirlington, very downtown, at least for the suburbs of Northern Virginia. Among many other charming things, Shirlington is home to the Signature Theater, one of the great small professional venues that help make life in the Washington Metro Area so interesting.

While I was getting the oil changed and the tires rotated last week I walked in to Shirlington for coffee while I waited, crossing Four Mile Run itself on a little pedestrian bridge. I took some photos from the bridge with my cell phone, but thought it was really a great infrared view. Sadly, I didn't have my camera bag with me, but the following day the sun was out so I went back and took a lot of photos. So far this is the winner. It's a fifteen frame infrared panorama, made up of three rows of photos. So it's very wide, and rather square...

P.S. The significant negotiations I mentioned last week? That turned our really well. I'm relieved and very happy.

Modernistic Photo of Brick Wall, Windows, and Sky.
Shirlington Wall

Washington DC, 9 June 2023   Once again the wrong hobby has taken over my life. This has been a hard week to be the Commodore (club president) of a medium/large yacht club. We're in the midst of fairly significant contract negotiations. It's a real club, not a business, and yet we have to do so much business to run it...

I am being a bit facetious in my use of the word "hobby". I think my internal word for my photography is "calling", and rnnning my club, hard as it is (and sometimes mundane!) would also be a calling. I do love this place!

But the most important calling doesn't quite dissappear. This week's photo was taken a couple of weeks ago in Shirlington, Virginia, while I was waiting for my repair shop to finish routine maintenance on the car. I took a single shot of this view with my phone. It's a bit bland in color, but rendered into black and white and slightly tweaked for aligned and perspective in Photophop I think it's rather striking.

Very Wide Panorama of Waterway, Pleasure Boat Docks, and Buildings.
The Wharf, Phase 2

Washington DC, 2 June 2023   This may be the last version of this particular photo, as the Wharf development on the Washington Channel where Julee and I live, is substantially complete. Not all the store spaces are finished out, but, as you can see, the buildings are complete and occupied, and the marina is filling up. I took this ten frame stitched panoramic infrared photo the day before yesterday, when the weather compelled me to jump in the dinghy and motor over to the other side of the channel to shoot a number of photos and panoramas in the clear afternoon light.

Color Panoramic Photo of River, Mostly Sky with Many Clouds.
Alexandria's Big Sky

Washington DC, 27 May 2023   Big skies aren't just out west, though you do need a fair bit of flat to give the sky a chance to be expansive. And what is flatter than a calm, broad river? I took this six frame panorama with my phone from the Water Taxi (the Potomac ferry system that serves the river between Georgetown and Smoot's Cove) on my way home from National Harbor three weeks ago, pulling out of Alexandria, Virginia, on the west bank of the Potomac.

It's still busy! Details on request.

Street Restaurant at Night in the Escalaters, Hong Kong.
Night Food, Hong Kong

Washington DC, 19 May 2023   It's been a busy week... Tomorrow's the Blessing of the Fleet, and I hope to get my boat out for the first time in the Boating Season for the parade. So, I've spent some time in boat inspection and prep, and experimental rolling (starting and running) of the engines. And some time running the Club. And, some time reworking the photo from last week, which, when I looked at it again had a horizon that was slightly, but visibly, out of level, and slightly bowed. Can't have that, so I'm rebuilding it from scratch.

So, once again, I go to the backlist for the week's photo. This is one of my favorite night shots of Hong Kong, taken in 2011, when Julee and I were out. This street restaurant is half a block off the escalators between Central and Mid-Levels on Hong Kong Island. You can see the escalator itself in the background. We ate here often, and ate and drank in this neighborhood oftener. I shot this with my Canon S95 pocket camera, a machine I respect more and more as I look over these night shots.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of Washington from the Washington Monument Towards the Capitol.
IR Mall

Washington DC, 12 May 2023   I skpped a week. Not at all intentionally, but my day hobby (running a yacht club!) overwhelmed me. We're in the midst of negotiating a new dock services contract, and since that is a big deal, and fraught, I got distracted. Then it was Wednesday, and I figured that I might as well wait until Friday for my next post. But, the next day I was able to put it all aside for a morning, work on my photos, and get this one ready for prime time.

This is one of the pictures I took from the top of the Washington Monument at the end of January. This one is a five frame infrared panorama looking east down the mall and it's double row of museums to the Capitol and beyond and out. The reason it wasn't ready for prime time earlier is that the Capitol and its dome were such a middle grey that they dissapeared into the background. Can't have that, especially as it's the center of this compositon. Solution? Well, it involved working with layers, which are stacked images within the Photoshop program. In this case starting with identical copies of the same panorama, and alternately linking them together (so they didn't get out of alignment) and delinking them so they could be edited separately, making one a bit lighter to make the city look sunnier, and making the other much lighter, then re-stacking them in the right order and erasing pixels on the darker one so the lighter pixels on the other showed through. Then collapsing the layers together for a fixed image and more compact image file. That way the dome and wings of the Capitol could be much whiter, and stand out, even in small versions of the picture. Some people are Photoshop naturals, but if all this sounds complex and anything but intuitive you and I are in the same camp! This morning's work was my sixth time trying to figure this out... Success, and some level of satisfaction for the learning and the accomplishment.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal Closeup

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 28 April 2023   I have to admit, at least to myself, (and why not to the whole world?) that it's been a hard, thin, few weeks photographically. Once again I'm highly distracted, first by major work on the boat, and now with major contract negotiations at the yacht club I head. Sigh! The boat work has been very good. We now have two working heads (bathrooms) and the aft two thirds of the boat are emptied of parts and storage and set up for gracious living. We have room, we can have guests! The club stuff? I'll leave that to that side...

So, I thought I'd reach back into the archives for this week's post. I made this very large stitched panorama of the Taj Mahal seven years ago during my first leave after taking over the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu. I'd been working for months running a large operation with no deputy, and when the calvary arrived I took two weeks off in India with Julee and spent most of them really ill as the stress relieved. Enjoyed myself and took good pictures though! And it was a great turning point because I'd just read the book Image Clarity, and was figuring out how to give these kind of shots the look I wanted.

This one hasn't been shown before because there was a missing corner that the many individual photos that make up the big image didn't cover. I'm a better at Photoshop than I was then and last night I spent a bit of time trying to patch it by cutting and pasting nearby sky, not at all successfully, and then just smearing the nearby sky into that corner using the smudge tool. All good! Though I still wish I were better at Photoshop!

Cherry Blossoms on Branches on Overcast Day at the Tidal Blossom.

Gloucester, MA, 22 April 2023   A very odd end to the week. Missed my Friday blog post deadline, and spent Saturday on highway I-95 to Gloucester.

The photo is classic Tidal Basin cherry blossoms, a few weeks ago, and a few blocks from the boat in Washington DC. Not terribly original of me, though I didn't go for the postcard sunny day, blue sky, or framing the Jefferson Memorial in blooms. Years ago I took a similar photo of the blossoms. It was a wetter, rainy-er day, and the image had an amazing energetic pathos. Absolutely gorgeous when seen in the slide viewer, but it was in the last days of Kodachrome when Kodak had real trouble with quality control. Scanned and bigger it was very disapointing... I should have abandoned Kodachrome long before I did, but it's all moot in this digital age.

Black and White Shadow of Bare Tree on Sidewalk.
Tree Shadow Snapshot

Washington DC, 14 April 2023   No one should be surprised that I love shadows, reflections, negative space, and all the real world manifestations of light (or lack of light) that real object make that are not themselve real objects. Have to be careful, since shadows and such are real too, though they're not themselves objects...

I've been taking a lot of these sidewalk (and other sorts of) of shadows recently with my phone, which probably puts them in the snapshot category, though it's perfectly possible to make gallery quality images with the current generation of smart phones. This one started in color and was converted to black and white.

Backlit Photo of Tropical Fronds.
Jamaican Fronds

Washington DC, 7 April 2023   My other shot of infrared backlit Jamaican tree folliage. This one is my current screensaver, so it's safe to say that I like it...

Backlit Infrared Photo of Tropical Tree Leaves.
Jamaican Leaves

Washington DC, 31 March 2023   Another shot from that lovely day on the north coast of Jamaica. Backlit infrared foliage is a bit of a trope for me, but the pictures present, so what can I do?

I had a busy week in the technology of photography. Cosina has recently come out with a modern 40mm lens in a Leica M mount, easily adapted to the Canon R bodies I'm using. They're physically tiny, so, lighter, easier to pack, and so on, and I really don't mind focussing by hand. In fact, I think that's kinda cool. So, I ordered one from B&H Photo in New York to try it out. Sadly, like the classic Leica 40mm Summicron I tried some years ago, not quite as sharp as the dirt cheap 40mm Canon lenses that I use daily. Sigh! One of the reasons for giving B&H my business is their unconditional return policy...

Extreme Infrared Panorama of Carribean Bay with Dock Reaching Out.
Wilks Bay, Jamaica

In Transit, 24 March 2023   Julee and I will be home in Washington late in the day. A business trip... Really! But Julee's business, not mine. The NGO she works has a project that's coming to an end after a good long run, and they had a closeout ceremony yesterday, with Julee attending as the Senior Person From Headquarters. Neither of us had ever been to Jamaica, so it made sense for me to tag along and for us to go early and do some straight tourism over the weekend before Julee went to work. She's splitting her time during the day going into the country office and working online from the hotel room, very much as she works online from the salon of our boat here in Washington. The photo is an infrared four frame panorama from the little family run resort where we spent the most delightful time between our arrival and Julee launching her work week. Many photos taken, and quite a few worth a second look!

Technically this picture continues to press me on the issues surrounding the new 16mm extreme wide angle that I acquired not so long ago. It's nothing like as straightforward as I originally thought...

Infrared Photo of Small Potted Succulent in Bloom.
Spiky Alien Plant Looks for Love

In Transit, 17 March 2023   So, the bloom on the little succulent bloomed and grew, and grew, until it became quite the erection. Sadly no other plants of the same species on the boat, and probably a great shortage of whatever small indigenous insect this kind of plant relies on to have sex and procreate. I'm suddenly very curious as to what kind of succulent this really is, and what part of the world it came from...

I once tried to ID the birds in the environment around the boat. I put some effort into it, consulting birding web sites and paying the best attention I could, but when I went to a real expert I'd gotten ten out of ten wrong. I'm not sure I could better with plants, so I'd want to go straight to a real expert. But where to find one? The National Arboretum?

The photo is infrared, slightly skewed in Photoshop to straighten it out. This may be my last portrait of this wonderful plant, but who knows?

P.S. (2023 03-21) So I dug, and I think I know what, if not who, the Spiky Alien Plant is. Haworthiopsis attenuata seems to fit the bill. It's native to the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Hawarthiopsis in honor of the British botanist and entomologist Adrian Hardy Haworth (1767–1833). He seems to have specialized in the study of moths and shrimp, so I've no idea why a whole genus of wonderful Spiky Alien Plants is named after him. Also don't know why this species is attenuated, as that really is the meaning of Latin "attenuata".

Night Photo of Hong Kong Street with Young Woman Walking Towwards the Camera.
Kowloon Night

Washington DC, 10 March 2023   From the same time period and the same neighborhood as last week's picture, below. I may be posting a lot of these Hong Kong night pictures over the next bit, as I'm trolling through my files and finding my old favorites. Once I'm done, the collection may well be worth a gallery of its own. Julee and I were simply out in Kowloon, and I had my pocket camera in my pocket. (These days I have a newish phone with good integrated cameras but I'm not sure they're as good as the Canon S95 I was using that night.) The wonderful woman in the center was a complete surprise. I was shooting the restaurant and street corner behind her, very aware of the lovely texture of the backlit paving stones and tiles, and concentrating very hard on holding the camera steady enough in the low light to get a sharp image with the long exposure necessary. I didn't even see her until I looked at the photos afterwards. I can't say very much about her. Her clothing indicates a religious avocation to me but I may be reading too much into it, being a foreigner both to South China and to East Asian religious traditions. Julee thinks she's simply a hippie.

Nighttime Photo Panoarama of Outdoor Restaurant in Hong Kong.
Seafood in Ya Ma Tei

Washingtion DC, 3 March 2023   A bit over ten years ago in Hong Kong, a city with the most vibrant street life and the most vibrant night life. Sometimes both at once! This is a wonderful corner in Kowloon three MTR stops from the Star Ferry terminal and the Peninsula Hotel. A four frame panorama of a corner restaurant that came together in spite of being full of life and movement. We ate here fairly often, and it was certainly a place we took our visitors.

Infrared Close Up of Small Succulent Plant Beginning to Bloom.
Spiky Alien Plant Seeks Same

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 24 February 2023   It's not the first time I've posted a picture of this particular plant. Julee bought it in Rockport, Massachusetts three or four years ago and it's been a part of our boat life since. It's been repotted twice, most recently because it seemed ill and unhappy. Julee took it to the experts running the Capital Yacht Club Garden Committee, who turned out to be truly expert, advising that the poor thing was being heavily overwatered. So, depotted, sad yellow leaves stripped off, left naked rooted for a week to dry out, and repotted in dried soil. Seems to have made the plant so happy that it's putting out a flowering organ, which makes it look even more alien than usual, hence the title.

"Seeks same" tracks with common language in personal and housing ads from my youth. The photo's infrared, taken with the little used, but essential, 50mm F2.5 macro lens, Canon's sharpest at any distance, and capable of focussing down to a fraction of an inch. Limited depth of field this close, but that just adds to the sense of mystery...

I posted earlier photos of this plant on 16 December 2022 (not so long ago) and 27 November 2020.

B&W Photo of Painted Brick Wall With Tree Shadow.
Tree Shadow

Washington DC, 17 February 2023   A souvenir of last week's trip to Jersey, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. It's the front of the domesticated little factory that is home to Aunt Linda and her peeps. Picture taken with the color camera about ten at night, the streetlight casting the shadows of the winter-bare tree limbs on the brick. Reduced to black and white by a more sophisticated technique than simply desaturating the raw file which has been my go-to method in both infrared and color up to the moment.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of City and River.

Brooklyn, 10 February 2023   It's striking, but I'm not sure it's really ready for prime time. It's another shot from the Washington Monument, an infrared, five shot, stitched panorama. This one is looking south from the Monument, so, shooting into the sun. I can probably fix the reflection from the glass of the window (which shows up here as an area of lower contrast) but I'm not sure there's any cure for the blown out clouds. Crop them out? Still, it's a striking image. Maybe with more work...

I'm in Brooklyn tonight, with Aunt Linda. I came for the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Whitney, but on the drive up from Washington scouted for pictures in New Jersey. I've long thought to do a homage to Andreas Feininger's extreme telephoto shots of Manhattan, most especially from behind the Jersey Palisades. I've found (I think!) one of his locations near the Teterboro Airport, but of course it's changed a lot in the last 75 years. Early days on this project, early days.

Infrared Photo of The Elipse, White House, and Washington DC.

Washington DC, 3 February 2023   Sometimes you don't have to travel that far... Last Friday Julee and I walked over to the Washington Monument. I'd been to the top before, maybe as a child, and definitely as a recent college graduate doing my "look for America" trip in a 1959 VW camper van that was old even then. But Julee had never been and it seemed time, especially as she was taking the morning off after a hectic week of Global Education Directing. These days you have to reserve a spot online to go to the top, but it's winter, so that is easy. Partially cloudy day, so also partially sunny. Of course I took my cameras.

One has to shoot through thick glass that has a certain ammount of bird poop on it, so not the easiest conditions for getting sharp images. This one of the Elipse, the White House, and points beyond is ready for prime time. The others still need some work. Shooting towards the river I picked up some reflection off the window glass that wrecked local contrast but can probably be fixed, and the Capitol in the shot down the mall needs to be brightened to make it stand out a bit. Just learned how to use layers and masks to do that in the online course mentioned below, but haven't put the time and experiment into it yet. Maybe that will be next week's image.

Infrared Photo of Spiky Cactus Bunch.
Cactus City

Washington DC, 27 January 2023   From the trip to Arizona in October. Julee, my sister, and I spent the day at the Desert Botanical Garden the the southeast of Phoenix and I took a lot of pictures of the plants, many intimate portraits like this one. Cacti look so good in infrared! I'm still processing photos from the trip and will eventually set up a gallery on this website just for it.

This week I've been studying Photoshop, the monster program used for editing images, especially photos. I started out editing in GIMP, an open source program (free!) that I found quite intuitive, but switched to Photoshop about ten years ago on the advice (strongly worded command) of master photo printer Danny Chau, who told me that all photographers and printers used Photoshop, and that I needed to be fully in that world. Danny's skills are so high, and he taught me so much I had to listen. But, it's been hard. Photoshop is huge, complex, and, for me, not intuitive at all. I've wanted to take classes for years, but the in person classes are very expensive and generally in other cities. So it never happened, and I stumbled along, Googling procedures and generally being very frustrated at the bland instructions to use a tool without telling which of the various menu trees a particular tool was buried in. Or which mode let one use a tool and which left one looking at a grayed out menu item that seemed permanently disabled. So, on the advice of photo web master Ken Rockwell I'm taking an online course from Phil Steele. It's helping! Actually helping a lot. Steele doesn't do the kind of photography I do, but the tools and methods are completely relevant.

Gritty Black and White Photograph of Bar Window With Neon Adverts, From Inside.
The Whaler, Davenport

Washington DC, 20 January 2023   I mentioned this picture in my 8 January post. It's the other strong photo that I took while sitting at the bar in Davenport, California, drinkng beer with my photography prof, Norman Locks. When he saw the display prints a couple of weeks later he said "You made that art while we were just sitting there?" I didn't respond very coherently, and he, being kind, made it clear that he was joshing me. I'm not sure that it's quite as strong as the picture of the table and chairs, but I still like it. Davenport's main feature at the time was the Lone Star Cement Plant (sitting on top of a lime quarry) and the tiny town had a definite working class vibe. The Whaler was a delightfully gritty dive. The plant shut down in 2010 and these days the Davenport's vibe is very New Age. The last time I visited, the site of the bar was a nice sandwich shop.

Looking closely at the scan of the negative brings up a lot of technical questions for me. It's a very high resolution scan, so the grain of the film is clearly visible on enlargement. Nothing wrong with that! Those of us shooting high speed film (and Tri-X at ASA 400 definitely counted) accepted grain as a feature, not a bug. (Or went to slower film or bigger negatives, or both...) More compelling is the issue of spotting. One always had little white spots on the print, dust that settled on the negative during printing. One minimized them by keeping a clean darkroom and carefully dusting the negative in the carrier before printing, but there was always some visible in the finished print. So, one took one's set of Marshall's Photo Oils, mixed up a little batch to match the color of the silver in the print, and painted out the white spots by hand with a very fine 000 Kolinsky sable brush. It was fiddly work, and a large print could take a while, but, like grain, it was accepted as part of the process. It made the print look a lot better because the eye didn't catch on those white spots that weren't part of the image. There's an equivalent tool in Photoshop called the Spot Healing Brush Tool. The icon is a little bandaid! It's still fiddly work, though not nearly as fiddly. Done for this picture.

On the emotional side, I had an epiphany a couple of days ago. To quote from my journal: "I need to get to the point where running CYC (The Capital Yacht Club) is a 20 hour/week job. Not including meetings and emergencies... Even so, that would do a lot to ease my life. Five days a week, four hours a day in the afternoon so that I'm not tempted to just keep working on Club stuff after lunch. Do boat stuff, photo stuff, lounge around, in the morning. This thought gives me some peace!" And it's working out. As you'll note I'm not late with my post this week.

Very Wide Infrared Photo of Pleasure Boat Dock.

Washington DC, 15 January 2023   Once again I'm having trouble keeping up with my blog! I'm not all over the place the way I was last week, but life continues to be crazy busy and pulling me in a lot of directions.

This week's photo isn't terribly serious, which is why it's untitled. It's a test shot for a new lens. I wouldn't normally talk a lot about the equipment, since the equipment isn't the art, but it is what we use to make the art. It's not determinative, but it does matter, just as the quality and qualities of paint matter to that kind of artist. In the last six months the contents of my daily camera bag have changed considerably. Towards the end of last year I sent my Canon R to Lifepixel for conversion, retiring the Canon 5D Mark III I hade been using for infrared. Then, I bought the top of the line current generation camera, a Canon R5, for my color work. So now I have two cameras in my daily use bag of the same generation, and can think in terms of using the R lenes that will fit both my cameras, instead of the last generation EF lenses without adapters on the 5D and with adaptors on the R. I'll continue to use the 40mm EF pancake lenses, each with its own adaptor on the two cameras, because they're really good lenses, and because I like the slightly shorter than "normal" focal length. There isn't (yet?) an equivalent in the R lineup.

But for other lenses I could update. It wouldn't be worthwhile for longer telephoto lenses. I have a 100mm in the daily use bag, but I rarely use it, and it's fine for when I do. I have a monstrous 100mm to 400mm zoom in the big camera bag that I haven't used for years, but it stays because I have used it, and will probably use it this summer for a specific project. Nothing else will do for some kinds of photos. But on the short, wide angled, side I do make use of the other lens I have in the bag. Some years ago I gave up the wide angle Canon 20mm lens, becase it was soft in the corners and replaced it with a 25mm Zeiss lens which was sharp all the way across. But, the 25mm vs 20mm was a compromise for me and the lens is quite big and heavy. Also that lens is pure manual focus. Not a big issue, but an issue nonetheless.

In the last couple of years Canon has been introducing new lenses for the R lineup, and one of them is a 16mm ultra-wide rectilinear (that is, straight lines in reality remain straight in the photo) lens. It's tiny, inexpensive, and well reviewed. So when Julee gave me an equipment gift cert for Christmas I bought one. And of course, tested it so I could send it back to BH Photo within the 30 day trial window should it be wanting. But, as you can see, it's not wanting, either in color, or here, in infrared. All very interesting! Camera optics is very mature tech, but we're in the middle of a quiet revolution. I'm not expert, but I think there are three things going on.

One, super computers are getting more and more super, so the calculations needed to design lenses can be more and more complex and sophisticated.

Two, aspheric lens elements became affordable. Traditionally, the surfaces of a lens element (the individual lenses that are combined to make the camera lens, or things like telescopes and microscopes) had to have surfaces that were spherical, because that manufacturing process was what was affordable. In the nineties, camera lenses with aspherical lenses started to become available, but they were special things for special situations and very expensive. This lens was formulated and marketed to journalists shooting film at night who couldn't, as we do now, simply dial up the sensitivity and accept the extra electronic noise. Over ten thousand dollars, even now, and only good on short flanged cameras, which didn't include any of the single lens reflexes a journalist might use in their daily work any time between the '60s and very recently. I suspect that, aside from the world of wealthy collectors, these lenses were sold to large news organizations like AP or Reuters, who mated them to the appropriate Leica camera and checked them out to their photographers for specific assignments when nothing else would get the picture. In the digital age there are easier ways to work in the dark. Then, in the early teens, more normal and more reasonably priced camera lenses with aspheric lens elements started to become available. The ones that interested me were the small (weirdly tiny!) reasonably priced and very sharp 40mm full frame lenses, first from Cosina, then from Canon, which I use for my every day lenses.

The third item in this evolution is the advent of full frame mirrorless cameras. Full frame because the image sensor is a big 24x36mm in area, the same size as the normal 35mm film frame. Mirrorless because they handle like SLRs (single lens reflexes) but they don't have or need the equipment for direct viewing through the takeing lens. No mirrors in the camera bodies nor pentaprisms on top, so they're a lot smaller. All of the big camera companies are making and marketing them, and they seem to be the wave of the future. I'm sold! What's relevant to this increasing long blog post is that, like the rangefinder Leicas, the distance between the lens flange and the image sensor is very short, shorter, actually than the old Leicas. For some arcane (beyond me!) reason it's easier to design a good lens if the distance from the rear element of the lens to the image plane is smaller.

So, with all three of those running at the same time, we have a generation of new lenses coming to market that are really sharp, very small and usable, and very, very affordable. In contrast, Nikon had an extreme wide angle lens in its catalogue in the '70s, 80's and '90s, a 13mm, F5.6, compared to my new 16mm F2.8. So my new lens is not quite as wide, but is much faster. Note that the Nikon lens was known as Holy Grail because no one had ever seen one. They existed, but were as big as a grapefruit and comfortably more expensive than the average new car at the time. Only about 300 of them were made and sold over the course of three decades. They occsionally come on to the second hand market, in good condition, because even if they did get used when new, they didn't get used very much, and then gently and carefully. Even used they still cost more than the average new car. Very much the thing for wealthy collectors! I very sincerly wish them the joy of 'em. The little Canon 16mm lens gives me 95% of the functionality of that lens, and cost just about $300, brand new, sales tax included. It's a different world.

Black and White Photo of Table in Bar in Strong Diagonal Light.
Bar Table, Davenport

Washington DC, 8 January 2023   Well, I'm at least a day late with my Friday blog post, and I've got at least six major threads of thought going througn my mind which is making it hard for me to relax and sleep. Two or three to do with the Capital Yacht Club, two or three to do with other things, and a couple to do with photography. Hard to keep one's mind functioning when it's bopping around like that!

The photo dates from 1980 and is classic Canon F, Kodak Tri-X work. My photo class at the University of California at Santa Cruz took an excursion to Davenport, twelve miles up the coast, where the Santa Cruz mountains and the ocean begin to pinch the flat land to almost nothing. It's very cliff-y, with a vulnerable road to San Francisco that was built mostly to provide employment during the depression. I was sitting at the bar drinking beer with the prof, and turned around and took this picture and another of the neon beer ad in the window, both of which I'm still very happy with forty years later. Scanned from the negative.

Sunday now, and the mind is much calmer, though all the open questions are still open...

Abstract But Completely Straight Color Photograph.

Washington DC, 30 December 2022   Just got to the boat after a very 2022 Christmas. The day before we drove up to our Massachusetts home to stage for the trip to New Hampshire for the family Christmas Julee went to a small get-together, and drove a fellow partier home. She spent half an hour in a smallish metal box with wheels with them... A couple of days later they called Julee sick and positive for Covid. We weren't going to take that risk into the home of a pair of frail people in their late '70s, so we had a quiet Christmas all by ourselves in our own home. Negative on day five and day six, so we did get a little visit in just before driving back down.

The photo is a pretty straightforward portrait of the frost on the Gloucester house window during the very cold temperatures we had just before Christmas. I like pictures like this that are abstract, but not...

Photo of Window with Warm Toned Backlit Rain Droplets.
Winter Window

Gloucester, MA, 23 December 2022   A somewhat Christmas-y photo for this Christmas Eve Eve. I took it with my phone when Julee and I were at dinner at the home of our friends Tom and Mindy near Dupont Circle. We're on our way to the Norman Rockwell holiday with Julee's parents and sister. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Infrared Photo of Plants on a Desk.

Washington DC, 16 December 2022   I thought I should get a little cozier for this week's post and take a bit of a break from the Big Landscapes Out West. This is Julee's desk on the boat, about two weeks ago just after I got the converted-for-infrared Canon R back from Lifepixel. Succulent plants are really good in infrared, whether in the wild in Arizona or on the tabletop at home.


Washington DC, 9 December 2022   It's very abstract, isn't it? But this is exactly the way the way the rock in Mystery Valley looked, except for the fact that I made the photo with my infrared camera. The color version is rather flat...

On the purely technical side, I'm still very happy with the converted-to-infrared Canon R, and I went into my savings (my savings specifically to buy the next camera) and bought the Canon R5 for color work. It's top of the line for a full frame camera (that is, the sensor is the same size as a frame of 35mm film, conventually 24 by 36mm), with many pixels, which is not as important as it might seem, and can be misleading. More importantly, great dynamic range. One couldn't do better unless one went for one of the "medium format" cameras with larger sensors from Hassleblad, Leica, or Fuji. I don't think that's necessary, and those cameras, and the lens suites that go with them, are very expensive.

I now have two cameras that are smaller and lighter than the last generation, and are very similar in size and layout, making switching between them easy. I'm very happy with my kit right now.

Panoramic Infrared Photo of Phoenix, Arizona.
Phoenix Morning

Washington DC, 3 December 2022   Anothere infrared panorama from the trip to Arizona. This was taken from the deck in front of the AirBnB suite that we stayed in during the first part of the trip when we were visiting family in Phoenix proper. The Salt River Valley is very flat but has a number of these rocky hills poking up in the middle of the plain. You can see a couple of them, dark, in the photo. Our place was just high enough on the shoulder of the Saddle Rock Hills to have this wonderful oblique view. I took a lot of versions of this picture during the three days we were there as the clouds and the light changed.

Dramatic Infrared Photo of a Butte in a Western U.S. Landscape.
Monument Valley Butte

Swanzey, New Hampshire, 25 November 2022   Another shot from the magical day in Monument and Mystery Valleys just about a month ago now. Infrared. Need I say more?

Strong B&W Infrared Photo of Tree Trunk in Desert Landscape.
Mystery Valley Juniper

Washington DC, 18 November 2022   Another shot from the wonderful trip to Arizona, this time a three frame infrared vertical panorama. The fact that it's a stitched panorama isn't terribly important, it was just easier that switching lenses on the camera, even though I had the 25mm wide angle in the small camera bag. And safer, in that sandy, dusty desert environment. One doesn't want the risk of dust motes or worse getting into the camera while the lens is off... More to come from this trip.

The back display of the Canon D5 Mark 3 that I've been using for infrared went wonky at the beginning of or just before this trip. On that kind of camera the only way of setting exposure in infrared is through test shots, and if the screen isn't displaying properly that's much harder. So, it solidified my thinking on the next generation of cameras, and when I got back I pulled the 5D SR out of the bottom of the camera bag for visible light color work, and sent the then current color camera, a Canon R, to LifePixel for conversion to infrared. I got it back on Monday, and it's pretty slick. Here's a chatty video on the differences between the traditional Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera, and the current mirrorless models, like the R, albeit using the examples of cameras from a different manufacturer, Sony. The thing with mirrorless (which just means it's an interchangeable lens digital camera without the big moving mirror of a DSLR) is that viewing, focus, exposure settings, and the exposure itself all work off the same sensor in real time, so there are no twiddly calibarations to make all those systems play well together. With an infrared conversion of a mirrorless camera the automatic exposure system in the camera still works, focus is fundamentally synch'd, and one can see the infrared scene as one composes through the eyepiece or on the back of the camera. As I said, slick! Also, without the big mirror box, the camera can be smaller and lighter...

And, since the flange to sensor distance is so small, one can hang almost any lens ever made on a mirrorless camera. That's been much less important than I first thought, since it turns out that (except for some specific examples) the current Canon lenses are better than any ever made. I'm very happy with the 40mm Canan F2.8 pancake lenses I use for 98% of my work. They have an aspheric element (which would have been extremely exotic as recently as the '90s) and are cheap and very light and compact. What's not to love?

What's next? I'm not fully decided between keeping on with 5D SR or going with the R5. The SR is a fabulous camera, but big and heavy, and the new R5 has slightly better specs, while being as small and light as the R. Mind, I had to do very a deep dive of research before getting to the real numbers, and they're not that different. I doubt the difference would matter to most photographers. But, I do work on the edge, both in marginal light and extreme contrasts, and in making museum quality, museum sized, enlargements, so the small difference may well be visible, at least to me. Work in Progress! I'm certainly okay for the moment, as the 5D SR is fabulous, and the R5 is very expensive.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of Military Cemetary.
American Cemetery

Washington DC, 11 November 2022   It's Memorial Day, so it seemed fitting that I should post this photo I took of the American Cemetery above the Normandy beaches of D-Day. This was the location for the framing device in Saving Private Ryan and it's a large installation. The Battle of Normandy went on for weeks and months after the invasion, and was very hard fought with many casualties among all of the six armies that engaged there.

I took this photo, a two frame infrared panorama, a bit over five years ago when I was visiting the beaches and battlefields with Julee and her parents. My father-in-law is a veteran of a later war, a keen student of military history and very much wanted to make the pilgrimage. It was special and very moving to stand where such a decisive defeat of the forces of fascism took place. My thoughts for everyone who fought that good fight, whether they fell or survived.

Very Dramatic Infrared Panorama of Extreme Western U.S. Landscape.
Monument Valley Floor

Washington, DC, 4 November 2022   This may be the apex photo of the flying trip out West. It's a four frame infrared panorama, taked from deep in the valley floor in the late afternoon. I think I have a really good stack of infrared photos from the trip (and at least one color panorama, taken with my phone) but this one stands out for me. I had a very busy morning (I'm writing this on Wednesday before posting on Friday) doing yacht club business, but gave the afternoon (mostly!) over to photography, process the infrared photos, and stitching the panoramas up. I think they're good but I really like this one the best. I will post some of the others over the next weeks.

Infrared Photo of Prickly Barrel Cacti.
Barrel Cacti

In Transit, Arizona, 28 October 2022   Travel does help! Here's an infrared portrait of some cacti from Desert Botanical Garden at the edge of Phoenix, where Julee and I spent a happy afternoon with my sister and her granddaughter. I've taken a lot of photos of cacti, desert landscape, and desert cityscape over the last seven days. I feel like it's plumped up my soul, which was beginning to feel a little parched artistically. I think I'll have posts for this blog for some weeks.

I'm feeling a little embarassed that I had to do serious tourism, er, travel, to get fresh photos, but that's something of a tradition among artists of all kinds, photographers, painters, writers and poets alike. I can live with that...

Autumn Sidewalk DC

In Transit, 21 October 2022   It's Fall in DC, an odd season this year, with early chill days, followed by spiky days of what might have been called Indian Summer were they not so short and uncertain feeling, then cold again, then warm again. It feels odd, and the trees seem as confused as I, as you can see from this mix of dull colors. Off to Arizona, and perhaps some more spectalar scenery to photograph.

Featureless Blue Field, Lighter on the Right.
Untitled Test Shot

Washington DC, 15 October 2022   We're travelling next week, triggered by the fact that I haven't seen my sister in forever. I think I had a general plan to see her in the summer of 2020, but Covid 19 was gathering speed in March, and none of us were vaccinated until well into 2021. And, sensible precautions like distancing and vaccines were thin on the ground in Arizona, and my sister waved us away that following year. So now it's lated 2022, and the two years, which was already too long, has stretched to over four.

So, family visit and then tourism. We'll go to Monument Valley and The Grand Canyon. I've been to Monunment Valley but not the Grand Canyon, and Julee hasn't been to either one. So, landscape to photograph! My one trip to Monument Valley (with my sister when I was last in Arizona) turned out very well and I have hopes for this trip, from the valley floor, at the Grand Canyon, and all of northern Arizona and Route 66.

I did think it wise check the cameras out. Yesterday was absolutely blue and sunny until late afternoon (by today it's turned gloppy and wet) so I set the two cameras to infinity and shot straight into the clear sky. The image above is the color version. I was looking for dust of course, the scourge of digital photography. If there's dust on the sensor it just sits there, showing up as a dark spot in picture after picture. There is a little vibratory motor in these cameras that one can use to try and shake the dust off, but it's unclear to me how well that works, and in any case it's disabled in the infrared camera, part of the conversion surgery. The only certain solution is physical cleaning which involves special tools and fluids. Easier to do at home before setting out, therefore the testing yesterday. As you can see, no dust, so no worries!

Photo of Feet Through Frosted Glass Canopy.
Window Washer

Washington DC, 7 October 2022   Not a terribly serious photograph, perhaps, but fun. The feet belong to a professional window cleaner who is walking on the frosted glass canopy in front of my Club on the Washington Waterfront.

I don't do a lot of street photography anymore. The ethos has changed, and it's harder for me to feel good about sharing photos of recognizeable people I don't know. The real pros at that spend a lot of their contact time with their subjects doing non-photographic things, getting names and history. I read one account by a National Geographic photographer who said that his best training was doing souvenir photos at a boardwalk at an eastern U.S. beach resort because he learned to talk to his subjects. I tried once to get such a job at a beach resort on the West Coast, but was turned away because the owners judged me too shy. They cared much less about how well I took pictures.

And, of course you don't have to get a model release from an abstract light and shadow pattern on a door, or for unidentifiable feet.

Infrared Panoramic Photo Overlooking Trees and Esplanade at Yacht Docks and Beyond.
Untitled (Work in Progress)

Washington DC, 30 September 2022   As promised a couple of weeks ago (see 16 September, below) I got to the Vio (a tall building of condos here at the Wharf) to see if the vantage point would be better. A friend of mine who has an apartment in the building let me in when the weather and the light was good yesterday morning. Their apartment is at the back of Sutton Square, so no joy there (though it is a very nice apartment) but he took me to the pool deck which is at the front of the building and has a good view. This infrared panorama, and the equivalent color version - not yet processed - are the results.

Hm! It is a striking image, but its value as a document is limited because the trees and the clubhouse itself block much of the views of the Capital Yacht Club docks. I'm gunning for a useful document of the time and place and Great Art. (I'm a bit tongue in cheek about the Great Art, but not completely! Working on it, working on it...) What I really need is a vantage point that's about two floors higher, and about fifteen feet in front of the extension on the building. In other words, a place that it really impossible, given my lack of a super drone that could carry and pan my big cameras, or a massive crane. Hm! Watch this space, though it might be a while.

Infrared Panorama of Wetland and Sky.
Anisquam River Wetland

In Transit, 23 September 2022   I'm feeling very peripatetic right now, even if I'm just bopping between the two ends of the Northeast Corridor (Washington DC to just north of Boston). Both ends are home, and I should be home in Washington by this evening. Here's a little infrared panorama I captured in Gloucester a couple of days ago, wading through the underbrush next to highway 128 after it reaches the island of Cape Ann. And then waiting for gaps in clouds for the sunshine to light up my landscape.

Infrared Photo, Extreme panorama of Washington Waterfront with Docks, Boats, View.

New York City, 16 September 2022   This last Wednesday I finally got to the top of the Intercontinental Hotel with my cameras to make panaramas looking west and south over the Washington Waterfront, rather than the many than I've made from Potomac Park looking east and north of the face of the Wharf development. I took a number of sets of photos with my infrared and visible light cameras, but so far this is the only one I have stitched up, and it's a first draft.

Hm... I was thinking of this in terms of my Kathmandu Durbar Square photo, but while that was also a horizon to horizon panorama, it was from a much lower vantage point. I could (with some work) squeeze it into a rectangular photo frame. The geometry of this one doesn't seem to allow that, and the best I've been able to do thus far is this odd, irregular, lens shaped photo. It's still pretty cool, but I'm not sure it will be prime time material. I've thought about for a couple of days, and am beginning to wonder if I could do better from one of the lower apartment windows of the Vio apartment building across the square. That could be problematic. Could I talk my way into someone's apartment? Their windows on the front may not open. Wait! Checking older photos... They have balconies. Watch this space...

Infrared Photo of Rocks, Seaweed, Pepples, and Beach at Low Tide.
Stacey Boulevard Rocks

Washington DC, 9 September 2022    Another infrared photo from The Good Photo Day (30 August) in Gloucester, this one taken from the monumental (on a delightful small town New England scale) esplanade along the south side of the Outer Harbor. I've posted photos of this shore before, but when the light is this strong it's impossible to resist.

Infrared Photo of Disordered Sea Grasses at Low Tide.

Washington DC, 2 September 2022   Following last weeks angst-y post with a happier one. I continued to go out with my cameras, and it got better. Here's an infrared portrait of the sea grasses by the side of the Blynman Cut, the short, narrow, but navigable, ditch that makes Cape Ann an island rather than a nearly detached peninsula. When the tide is high the water moves the weeds around, and when the tide drops - sometimes, in some places - the marvelous disorderly patterns remain. I have two or three score frames to play with from that walk, but this one was the one most immediately available for prime time.

Infrared Photo of New England Wetland.
Dry Wetland

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 26 August 2022   Even if the Holy Fire doesn't always burn, sometimes the intellect can carry the day. I came up to Massachusetts a day ahead of Julee's flying in from Nepal. That way I could open the house up, fire up the car, and drive down to Logan Airport in Boston and meet her at the curb. When I come to Gloucester I'm generally on foot, but whether I take the bus, the train, or the airplane, the last stage north of Boston is almost always via the MBTA Commuter Rail, Rockport Line. And, I see things from the trains that I wouldn't see any other way. It's not magic, just that the tracks run through places roads don't run through, and one is a little higher in the seat of a railway coach, so the view is better. I first saw the First Parish Cemetery from the windows of the train, even though it's a very short walk from my front door. But, the entrance from Centenial Avenue is not that obvious, while the view from the tracks is.

Coming up this time what I saw on the inland side of the tracks between Manchester and Gloucester were a series of the marshy wetlands so typical of the Northeast Coast of the U.S. Possibly photogenic. I noted, and yesterday my brain overrode my artistic sloth, and I took the car and went looking. Mind, it isn't easy to identify or get to some of these places. The Lily Pond (yes, it's called the Lily Pond, you can look it up) is right off of a little country residential loop, and there's a little bridge giving a good view. But for other spots? I had real trouble getting close. I parked by the tracks in a remote cul de sac in Manchester, and hiked about a mile down the MBTA right of way (which I'm sure is a misdemeanor, or at least frowned upon) and got a series of nice infrared frames and panoramas of the dry wetlands to either side of the track. Are they the ones I was looking for? I'm not sure. The view is different from the ground. But I'm happy with the morning's work. The photo above is a three frame infrared stitched panorama.

It is dry. We had some good rain a couple of days ago, but that was the first this summner. New England is having a severe drought, which this California boy didn't even think was possible.

Washington DC, 13 August 2022   No picture this week, just a place holder paragraph... I have been working on the sidewalk photos, but the press of other business and the complexity of Photoshop continue to bedevil me.

Computer Workspace, Big Monitor, Photoshop with Two Images on Screen.
Work in Progress

Washington DC, 6 August 2022   This new project of working with my old negatives is going a bit slowly. In small part because I'm in Washington and my negatives and transparency scanner are in Gloucester, but mostly because the rest of my life is so busy. Running the yacht club, which should be a light, gentlemanly job, is a full time slog. No details to be given, because that would get into personalities, but oi!

But I brought my two scans with me, and have been working on them periodically. I've always thought of these photos as a pair, in good part because I've never been able to decide which one I like better. So, I thought it best to process these two as a pair, so they'd match if they were hung together. Straightforward, eh? After all they were taken within seconds of each other, same exposure, similar composition, so the tonal range of the pictures should match...

Well, first, I had to make the pictures the same size. Exactly the same size, pixel by pixel. When I scanned them I worked hard to align them in the scanner so than I wouldn't have to rotate them in software to straighten them out. I did a pretty good (though not perfect) job. The crop of a few pixels doesn't really signify, though it did mean that that I needed to crop a tiny bit closer. More of an issue is the fact that the corners of the photos are not square, because the corners of the film gate in the camera are not square. I don't know if this is an artifact of manufacturing or a design feature to keep the metal from cracking from a truly sharp corner, like the windows on an airplane. In any case, I lose a few more pixels cropping to within those radiused corners. And then, making the two pictures exactly the same size, 6772  X 4455 pixels, achieved by much twiddly work moving the edge around by hand to where I got as much of the photos in the frames as possible while equalizing their footprints. Is there an easier way to do it? Photoshop is a hugely complex program and baroque in it's approach, but I'm frankly embarrassed by how basic my skills still are.

And... I didn't notice this until I looked at my scan of the proof sheet I made in 1980, but the picture I posted last week is flipped, the mirror image of the original. Obvious, but not, as there's no writing in the photo and the composition is very close to abstract. But there's no doubt now that I've come to notice. How could that be? It took me a bit of puzzled thought. In chemical photography the camera turns the image upside down and backwards, a function of the lens projecting the image onto the film. Same in digital photography, except there's a sensor instead of film. But, in chemical photography there's a second flip when you enlarge the photo, the enlarger being a kind of inside-out camera, also with a lens. But scanners, at least the kind of flatbed scanner I'm using, don't have those sorts of lenses and they don't do the second flip, back to right way around. One has to do it in software, which I've done.

More processing next week, and I'll post the results!

Strongly Backlit Black and White Photo of Concrete Sidewalk With Shadow of Walking Person.

In Transit, 29 July 2022   I took this picture in 1980 when I was 23. Classic camera work of the day, shooting in the streets of San Francisco with a 35mm Canon F-1, the workhourse journalist and sports camera of the day. As solid as a brick and a completely flexible system camera, so also a good camera for an artist. Then there was the film, Kodak Tri-X, one of the best emulsions ever made. I printed on Agfa Brovira photo paper, almost always on grade 3 (a little more than normally contrasty, but good for my work). Very strong tools, and a moment of peak in the history of photography.

This photo was shot in San Francisco on one of my visits from Santa Cruz, 70 miles to the south, a fast drive in my twelve year old MGB, a British sports car that was as decrepit and fragile as my camera was new and strong. I'd bought the camera with my parent's wedding gift to me earlier in the year. No way that I could have afforded it on my own! This is one of two good pictures from that roll of 35 frames. (I shot short rolls by a frame or two so that I could do a contact proof sheet on a single sheet of 8X10 photo paper.) That was a good return for any photographer and remains pretty good today, though I no longer count my photos in rolls of film to a pre-determined number of frames.

Showing this now, because I'm beginning to scan my old film, and this photo and the companion good frame from that roll, very similar to this one, is where I started. My scanner is old, the driver software provided by Epson, the manufacturer, won't work with my upgraded Mac operating system, so I've had to beat a generic program into working, which I finally did last week. Then, it seemed the scans were a bit out of focus, but switching to an aftermarket film holder appears to have fixed that. Scan to .tif files, then the new issue of processing such files, removing any color from the scanning process (Tri-X is black and white film!) and bumping up brightness and contrast. Is it as good as my prints at the time? I'm not sure... Probably not, but this is a first effort. Do I need a better scanner, better software, better skills for this? Maybe!

Panoramic Photo of the Capital Yacht Club, Washinton DC.

Washington DC, 15 July 2022   Not a very original photo, but what I'm working on at the moment. It's a color version of one of the panoramas from the end of May I posted a few weeks ago. A portrait of the Capital Yacht Club with Intercon hotel and the Vio apartments behind the clubhouse. Called "Home" because this scene in Young Frankenstein really wormed its way into my brain way back then and remains there.

I need to take this kind of picture from the other side, from the top of one of those buildings looking down on the docks. And for that I need to talk to building managers and convince 'em that I'm a Real Live Photographer and that they should give me access to their roofs so that I can ply my art from up there... So, I started working my way through this kind of photo on my computer, working from the most recent and going back, completing and formating a variety of these kinds of photos for the iPad. My ancient iPad 4 has a resoluton of 2046 X 1436. Which is, interestingly, quite a bit better than the resolution of my ancient MacBook Pro. I'm resizing the pictures to match that screen. And processing pics I hadn't yet processed... I spent a happy hour or two working on 'em. Felt the reconnection with my art, which was very sweet, even if the photos aren't terribly original.

Marina with a Row of Ducks.

Washington DC, 9 July 2022   Well, I felt like I had them in a row. I took this serendipidous photo of the local ducks about four months ago. It's a color photo from my phone, rendered to black and white.

Felt Tip Drawing of a Small Raptor.
Hawk, by Richard Kent Jones

Washington DC, 1 July 2022   Not one of my photographs, but it is art. In this case a doodle by my father from the early 70's. He was a fine painter and draftsman, but, like most artists, had a day job. In his case he was an international civil servant working for UNESCO, one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations. He doodled during meetings, and, being an artist, the doodles could be quite special. On occasion, fellow attendees asked if they could have the results. In most cases the doodles were abstract, but sometimes, like this one, figurative. The medium is marker on office paper, not at all intended to be archival. He mounted it on a piece of artist's board for me, and I recently ran across it while looking for something else in my papers. I think I'll frame it and hang it next to my desk in Gloucester.

Original photography is going quite slow for me right now. A lot of my brain is taken up by the troubles of being the leader of a fractious little club, and while I have some big photos shoots planned they're time and weather dependant. But, I have a huge back catalogue to play with, both the last twenty years of digital and the thousands of film negatives and slides from before that, so I'm not distressed by the pause in creative energy right now. I've been trying to scan a couple of my favorites black and white shots from the '80s, but find my old scanneer is not up to talking with my updated computer operating system. So, time for a new scanner... But how high end do I need to go? One could spend quite a lot!

Infrared Photo of Water, Lighthouse and Sky.
Edgarton Harbor Light

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 24 June 2022   Up north again! We've been visiting dear friends in Falmouth, and taking a little side trip to Martha's Vinyard. Julee and I had never been before, and we hung the day of tourism on the locations used for the movie Jaws, which was shot on the island in 1974. We watched the film, which definitely holds up, and then went to some of the locations on our day trip. This photo is not one of those places, at least not conciously one of those places. It's just a shot of a picturesque lighthouse in a picturesque location, handled in a picturesque way.

It's infrared, of course, a straight photo otherwise, a little vignette corrected (which I learned how to do in Photoshop Camera Raw for this) picture), a little straighted, and little cropped. Interestingly, I didn't need to do the tone corrections (often the large tone corrections) that are frequently required in infrared.

Diagonal Shadows and a Leaf on Concrete Sidewalk.
Crescent Place Sidewalk

Washington DC, 17 June 2022   Washington has some surprising corners. Crescent Place off of 16th Street NW (North West) is one of them, a little neighborhood of circular streets in Kalorama following the conture of a hill rather than the grid and diagonal pattern of the rest of the city. I took this infrared shot three weeks ago when Julee and I were picking up a friend of a friend for a retirement get together. I like moody diagonals!

Infrared Panorama of Washington Waterfront.
Opposite the Capital Yacht Club

Washington DC, 10 June 2022   A companion piece to last week's photo, taken on the same day from a different vantage point, just opposite the yacht club where Julee and I live. Our boat is just visible in this shot at this resolution but I'm not going to point it out.

This is a seven frame panorama stitched up from infrared originals.

Large Infred Panoramic Phote of the Washington Waterfront.
The Wharf, Phase 1.9

Washington DC, 3 June 2022   We had a bright day with clear clouds, so I've taken another series of panoramas of my home Waterfront from the across the Washington Channel. It's not terribly original, but I make the plea that I'm also documenting the final stage of construction of the Wharf development. The buildings in this shot are substantially further along than they were since the last time I posted a version of this shot. By the end of summer the development will be done and our little neighborhood will be complete. It's been quite the ride... In a couple of months or so I'll be back across the Channel making the final record of the finished construction. The part still under construction is the Wharf's "Phase Two" hence the title hinting at ongoing work.

The photo is stitched up out of nine individual infrared images. It went together remarkably easily, given how much movement there is in the view. I had to mask out one of the two versions of the white motorboat to the left to avoid (fairly subtle) ghosting, that is to say, duplicated or incomplete objects, very much the bane of this kind of photography. I do like the fact that I've captured all kinds of water traffic, including the paddle boarders and the electric shuttle approaching the dock I'm standing on.

Color Photo Showing Golden Evening Light and Full Arc Rainbow over Boats.
Wharf Rainbow

Washington DC, 29 May 2022   A day late on my post again, but things remain pretty busy in the little yacht club I'm running. But, I do think -- and hope -- things are getting better... At the moment the emergencies are dealt with, and while there is an amazing ammount of stuff to do, it can be planned for.

The photo is a full rainbow I shot from the dock a couple of weeks ago. I panned with my iPhone, stitched the frames up (which fixed the distortion of the very short lens I was using) then cropped it down to focus on the rainbow. It was a beautiful evening!

Color Photograph of Bedroom with Cityscape Projected On It.
Morell's Bedroom

Washington DC, 20 May 2022   A photograph from Hong Kong, eight years ago. It's a picture made from inside a large camera with a small camera. No, really! I turned our bedroom into a camera obscura by completely covering the windows with blackout plastic and making a small hole in the plastic to project the outside scene onto the walls of the room and then taking a photo of that with my regular color camera on a tripod. Cameras actually predate photography by a couple of thousand years and they outdate the invention of ground glass lenses by a thousand years or so.

I was reminded of this photo by an interaction with my dear friend Sarah Stone who posted a piece on some egregious plagiarism on the part of the beloved Western U.S. author Wallace Stegner. It got me thinking about the use of other people's work and techniques. The idea, the technique, isn't mine. I copied it from the wonderful photographer Abelardo Morell who has published whole books of this kind of photography. Hence, "Morell's Bedroom" though it's really Julee's and my bedroom. But I wanted to be upfront about the inspiration, and from where I copied the technique. I don't think he'd mind (I've never met him, though he is, interestingly, only one degree of separation from me) as he's actually posted precise instructions on how to do this. We all learn from our predecessors, play with their techniques, emulate them, build on their work. But of course the honest acknowledge the debt, as I acknowledge Morell and other greats like Berenice Abbott and Minor White, just to name two from the bookshelves of photographers who have inspired and taught me. The greats don't mind sharing their skills. Both Abbott and White wrote and published on how to do photography in their way. I think that being upfront about the sharing and then doing more than slavishly copying the masters is what makes it interesting and ethical.

P.S. (Written on 2 June...) A couple of things have come up for me in my thinking on this. First, a week or so ago I listened to The Sistine Chapel episode of the BBC Podcast In Our Time by Melvyn Bragg. It turns out that Michelangelo and Raffael weren't good friends and peaceful rivals. They were both working in different parts of the Vatican at the same time, and Michelangelo accused Raffael of copying his work and technique. Well, artists do copy their predecessors, but in this case some of the copying appears to have happened before Michelangelo painted his version, which means that Raffael must have - fair means or foul - gotten a look at Michelangelo's studies and sketches, perhaps even his cartoons (the full sized drawings that artists used as the final models for frescos and tapestries) which does seem a bit thick. Second, the New Yorker just ran a short, thoughtful piece on Wallace Stegner and Angle of Repose by Roxana Robinson, outlining the issues in the Sands Hall article that started this all off, and adding her own thoughts on using existing material in a novel, fictional, semi- or otherwise.

Infrared Photo of a Headstone.

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 13 May 2022   Another walk around the cemetery... Last day that Julee's parents were with us, and a little walk around the local green space seemed just the thing in the lovely sunny, clear, late afternoon. Of course I lag, because I'm taking pictures. This one is from the infrared camera.

It does seem a bit apropos this week. A dear old friend of mine died last weekend, somebody I'd been close neighbors with when I had my boat on the old D Dock of the old Capital Yacht Club. She and her husband were raising their son on the water. He was young then, and now twenty five, so it was a while ago. We were beginning to reconnect. I hate to let go...

Photograph of an Old Door and Knob with Strong Diagonal Morning Light.
Glosta Morning

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 6 May 2022   So, here I am at the north end of my commute. I missed last week's blog post because things got so busy (and a bit fraught) at the Capital Yacht Club. Sunday was the first Sunday in May, when the Club has a ceremonial Flag Raising to mark the beginning of our official yachting season. A big deal! The day after, Julee and I escaped to New England.

I took the photo the day before yesterday, in the very few minutes the sun had risen above the house next door and was laying this dramatic diagonal across the door. A few minutes later the sun was on the floor, and today it's overcast. Gotta seize the moment, even if it's not decisive! I straightened the photo a little and burned in (darkened) the shadowy, but slightly distracting, bookshelf behind and to the right of the door.

Infrared Photo of Dry Weeds in Wetland.

Washington DC, 22 April 2022   Last Sunday Julee and I went to the Aquatic Gardens in Kenilworth Park up in the Northeast quadrant of Washington. It's a little early in the year for this venue, but there can still be photo opportunities. This is one... It's infrared (of course!) and a two frame stitched panorama, but that doesn't signify, as for me it's just easier doing a stitch than to carry a wide angle lens and swap it out as I work.

It's a simple post. I'd thought of something from my photographic history that addressed the philosphy of artistic originality, but that post will require a certain amount of research, some serious writing, and learning something new in coding a website if I realize my vision for it. Perhaps next week! I am happy that even with all the time and energy required to being the elected head of my yacht club I'm still able to post original work on a regular basis.

City Square Redolent With Live Oak and Spanish Moss.
Madison Square

Washington DC, 15 Apri 2022   More Savannah, this time a five frame stitched infrared panorama (a double techical photograph!) of the first square we usually came to when we walked from our rooms on East Jones Lane.

Infrared Photo of Square with Live Oaks, Spanish Moss and Statue in Deep Relief.

Washington DC, 8 April 2022   Savannah was laid out on these parklike squares. This is Chippewa Square, and the swashbuckling gentleman in dark relief is James Oglethorpe the founder of Georgia and of Savannah itself. Interesting gentleman... I had not read anything about his story or the founding of the colony since my autodidactic survey of American history in preparation for my O Levels in my little British high school in Mexico City. I'd quite forgotten that Georgia was a utopian experiment and not originally slave territory. Here's an article about the monument itself. It's the first picture I processed from the trip, because I sent it to Julee's parents, who are graduates of Oglethorpe University just outside of Atlanta.

Backlit Infrared Photo of Street With Live Oaks and Spanish Moss.
East Jones Street

Washington DC, 1 April 2022   Back to Savannah for this week's blog post and photo. This is a pretty straight infrared picture of East Jones Street. I pushed the shadows a little towards the lighter end to make the photo a bit more readable, and that's about it. We stayed in an AirBnB space on East Jones Lane, the alley behind this broad street. This was taken exactly a month ago. It seems like a very long time has passed...

Infrared Photo of the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin.
During Cherry Blossom Time

Washington DC, 25 March 2022   Well, 'tis the season, so Julee and I have more than once walked down to the Tidal Basin (only about fifteen minutes walk from the boat) to view the Cherry Blossoms. Of course I take my cameras... It's a little perverse shooting the cherry trees in bloom in infrared, since in infrared the foliage and the blossoms are the same white. But, I do think these photos are a little more original, more mine than anything I could shoot in color of this much photographed environment.

Wide Photo Panorama of Washington DC at Sunset.
Penn Av, SE, at Sunset

Washington DC, 18 March 2022   I thought I was going to continue posting with Savannah pictures, or, perhaps, a commentary about travel, tourism, and crowding. But I took the pictures that make up the photo above (a five frame stitched panorama) yesterday evening, and it seemed the right photo for today.

It's very Washington DC, the view down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol, but from the SouthEast quadrant rather than NorthEast. That is, opposite the White House. A vibrant neighborhood, but much more Washington's Main Street rather than "America's Main Street" as the other side is sometimes called. I was on the terrace roof of a corner building after the rain, so it was a little damp, but not wet. I took the photos with my phone, so they're a bit noisy. Not the sharpest photos I've taken, but far from the fuzziest. A good shot of the moment, and it will do...

Infrared Photo of Tree Branch and Shadow on Stone Building.
Branch Shadow, Savannah

Washington DC, 11 March 2022   Not, perhaps, as typically Savannah as most of my photos from that four day visit, but I like it and it's processed and ready to go. I have a lot of processing to do on the pictures I took, cleaning up the infrared RAW files into clean display photos and stitching together panorama sets. All good! I think I will end up with enough good photos to compose a new gallery for this web site. It's been a long time since I've done a new gallery, and I'm looking forward to it. But, it will be some weeks work to get through all the images...

Mercer Plot, Bonaventure

Savannah, 4 March 2022   Savannah does not disappoint... This is an infrared three frame vertical panoramic photo of the iconic American lyricist and songwriter Johnny Mercer's grave in the Bonaventure Cemetery here in Savannah. He was born and raised in this Small Southern City before heading to the Big City where he found (probably more accurately hunted down) the most amazing success and helping to define American music in the Twentieth Century.

Bonaventure is not what I expected. It's as amazing as my expectation, as photogenic, but not the way I expected. That expectation came straight out of John Barendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which is an amazing and wonderful book. But... It's not as completely non-fictional a true crime account it purports to be. In Savannah it's described as a novel. Much of it is true, I am quite sure. Historic (central, just inland from the riverfront downtown) Savannah really is the most amazing, well preserved, antebellum, town, redolent with stunning old homes and gnarly live oaks dripping with spanish moss. And, at least at the time of the writing of Barendt's book, home to wonderful excentricity. Jim Williams really did shoot and kill Danny Hansford in his Monterey Square home, The Lady Chablis really was a successful and amazing transexual vamp and performer. Joe Odom really was a beloved musical scamp... But, Odom had a darker side. And, he was gay, dying young of AIDS before the book was published. The character "Mandy", presented as Odam's lover and fianceé, was modeled on, but was not, Joe's real non-romantic companion and partner Nancy Hillis, who wrote a book of her own which I am now reading. The telling of Midnight was much skewed to hide how much of the background of the tale was the gay community, tolerated in the Savannah of the early '90s, but not so much in the broader America of the time.

As concerns Bonaventure Cemetery, I expected a grassier, more open place, particularly at the grave of Conrad Aiken, which is a long grace note in the book. The gravesite is alledged to have a view of the Wilmington River. Well, you can see the water, but only in patches as you look through the scrubby mossy oaks. The cemetery isn't so much grassy as sandy, and it has a cluttered, gothic feel to it. Absolutely okay with me, but still very different from what I was expecting. And I wasn't really expecting how much a few minutes communion with Johnny Mercer would affect me. I'm still humming Skylark... All in all, it's been an wonderful visit, and I'm a bit in love with the real Savannah, cleaned up and tourist-friendly as it is. I've taken a lot of pictures, all in infrared, concentrating on the spanish moss-y live oaks that are everywhere, lining every street and filling every square in this city of squares. I expect I'll be posting a number of those pictures over the weeks to come.

Infrared Photograph of Raised Cemetary in New Orleans.
Woods, Lafayette Cemetary

Washington DC, 25 February 2022   We're off to Savannah, where I'm hoping to take some wonderful pictures of Bonaventure Cemetary, among many other things and places in that picturesque city. Of course, I've no assurance I can take a better photo than the one on the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, where I first learned of Bonaventure, but hey, I have hopes, and (as I've said before) just 'cuz Caravaggio painted still lifes doesn't mean that Cezanne can't paint them too! There is literally no place left on the surface of this planet that some other photographer, some other good photographer, hasn't gotten to first.

The photo above is a shot of another famous Southern cemetary I took several years ago when I visited New Orleans. It's not in my gallery on the trip, but I processed it for today's post.

Infrared HDR Photograph of Weeds, Water, and Ice.

Washington DC, 17 February 2022   Progress made, though not the way I expected. My first run was to layer a couple of the HDR images in Photoshop (there are three, one two stops over the normal exposure, one at, and one 2 stops under the normal exposure) and erase the image of the central plant in one of them, letting only the image of the plant in the other one remain, adjusting the exposure of that layer to match, flatten the layers into one image, and then to use that image as one of the trio in the final HDR sandwich.

Didn't work.

I still had the shadow of the moved leaves. How can that be? But it was... So, I loaded the darkest (the most "underexposed") of the camera raw images into the Aurora HDR program, and let it run HDR off of that, which one can do if starting with the raw image. Then found that one can do a lot of adjustment within Aurora, so I did some, and the result is visible above.

Does any of this make sense? Probably not unless you're pretty conversant with the structure and processing of digital images! Otherwise, take my word for it, it's pretty cool, and I've learned something in working with this picture... I do think it's a better, more interesting photo, though it's a little less abstract than last week's version. A bit beyond "Work in Progress", though I might still see how much further I can take it.

Infrared HDR Photograph of Weeds, Water, and Ice.
Work in Progress

Washington DC, 11 January 2022   Another photo from the walk in the woods in North Carolina. I have high hopes for this one. It's infrared HDR (High Dynamic Range) so double technical. The HDR aspect gives it a lot of textiure in places like the ice in the lower half, and gives the whole photo an abstract quality. My hostess said it reminded her of a Jackson Pollock, which I took as a high complement. Pollock's drip paintings inspired a lot of amusement in the middle of the 20th century but his painting was controlled and I think the results could be mesmerizing.

But, "Work in Progress"? Well, there is a rising white plant that is the focal point, and it's blurred, because it moved during sequence of three photos that make up the final combined HDR image. Fixable? Surely, but I think it's going to involve Photoshop work with layers and local adjustments in combining the high and low exposure images with the "correctly" exposed image. It's the kind of Photoshop work where I'm weakest, so I'll be learning (or relearning) as I go.

Infred Photo of Wild Standing Water With Reflection of Woods.
Winter Reflection

Washington DC, 4 February 2022   As you can see from last week's byline I was in North Carolina, somewhat to the south of Washington. I was visiting some dear old friends and catching up, which was really sweet. South it may have been, but it was still winter and the second morning there I woke up to see the pond behind their home frozen over.

They're hikers, so of course they took me for a walk in the woods behind the campus of Duke University, and of course I took my cameras. It was wonderful to be in new landscape far away from the intensity of yacht club administration and politics and be able to listen to the photographic muse, who sang sweetly that morning. I think I did well on that walk. This photo is one of the products, another infrared exploration of the woods, water, and reflection.

Back in the glory days of black and white film photography (some indeterminate number of decades on either side of 1940) there was a definite artistic distinction between photographs that were described as "high key", predominately lighter and whiter in tone, and those that were "low key", like this one, predominately darker and blacker in tone. It's not a distinction I've heard made for decades, and it was probably obselete when I first heard it in the Seventies. But I was learning photography from my mother, and she learned photography in the Forties when the terms were very current. I never paid it much mind in terms of intent but I do note that my photos tended very dark all during black and white film days of my Well Spent Youth. This photo is definitely low key... It does give me an interesting techical problem. It looks great on my graphic arts monitor, dark, but you can see into the darkness of the water. On the actual laptop screen it's too dark, unless you look at it from an angle, a bug, not a feature, of the old twisted nematic display.

Black and White of Shadowy Hands Through Translucent Plastic.
Shrink Wrap

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 28 January 2022   A winter photo from three years ago, when we were staying on Thom Hartmann's boat while shopping for our own boat. The boat was covered with winter shrink wrap, taut translucent white plastic to keep out the wet and weather. We paid the shrink wrapper to put in a window in it to make it less claustrophobic. Here I am on the inside taking pictures of him on the outside preparing to cut a square of the white shrink wrap out and fill the hole with transparent shrink wrap.

A color photograph, rendered to black and white in the Photoshop post process.

Black and White Photo of Abstract Patterns on Open River Ice.

Washington DC, 23 January 2022   Two days late on my post... Apologies! It's getting colder still (well below freezing) and the ice between our docks and the seawall is thicker than skim ice. I liked the patterns and captured the shot with my cell phone. Rendered to black and white and much post processed in Photoshop to improve contrast.

Things continue to be the wrong kind of busy at the Capital Yacht Club. A couple of days ago we had real trouble ensuring that water was drained from a from the potable water systems of a couple of our docks (something we have to do in advance of any hard freeze) and had to go through the whole process twice. Yesterday the main water valve on the other side of the marina blew up, so no water there until after the industrial plumbers do their magic, hopefully first thing Monday morning!

Color Photo of Dockline Reflected in Skim Ice.
Skim Ice

Washington DC, 14 January 2022   Winter continues as the temperature continues to drop... The night before last was cold, and very still, and when that happens the cold air will freeze the very surface of the water in a very thin layer, even when the water itself is well above freezing (39° the morning I took this photo). This is the slip next to ours at the Capital Yacht Club.

Meanwhile, winter has our attention.

Christmas Decoration

Washington DC, 7 January 2022   We do, after all, have a winter. Eight inches of snow fell on Washington between the dark hours of the morning on the third and two o'clock that afternoon. This is the view out the front window of our boat with the snow piled on it on top of our Christmas lights, that now will have to wait until the snow is completely melted to come down. Maybe this weekend, or Monday, given that it's snowed again, and it's cold.

Black and White Photo of Reflection of a Sailboat in the Water with Raindrop Circles.
Marina Raindrops

Washington DC, 1 January 2022   Well, Happy New Year! It's raining in Washington, but a beautiful, warm, soft, cozy, rain, and there is the most picturesaque radiation fog on the Washington Channel in front of the yacht club that is Julee's and my home in DC. I think I have some nice very wide panoramas out of the morning, but they'll need some work, and that kind of wide is hard to show well on a computer screen (and harder on a phone!) so I've posted one of the photos I took while I was walking back to our boat after having gathered the component images for the panoramas from the dock T-heads. Originally color, though not very colorful, I desaturated it and messed with the exposure and contrast to make it more readable and (maybe) better.

And next year is now this year. There is a lot going on. As before, I'm taking over as Commodore of the Capital Yacht in a about a week and a half. That will be a lot of work, and I was actually worried that it would push photography quite out of my mind (and soul!) for a while. One reason that coming home with some good pictures this morning meant so much to me. I must make the Club (yes, I've always capitalized it) the top priority because some hundreds of members of the Club and the community are relying on me, and because the instituion means a lot to many, including me. But I do want to keep working in photography, capturing images, processing them into the most beautiful pictures possible, and getting them in front of people eyes.

I'd like to have a major show in the next year or so, but that's a lot of work, and not worth doing unless I feel I can make major splash with it. My audience is getting bigger. Around sixty visitors to this site last month, versus about thirty not so long ago. Not a big number in either case, but a doubling... If I could manage that on a regular basis it wouldn't be that many years before everyone on the planet was following me. Okay, get real, Laurence, but I do want more eyeballs on my work. Marketing must also be a push for me.

And, of course, taking care of Julee, taking care of the boat and house, taking care of myself. All in The Time of Covid, which is dragging on and on. I'd also like to be travelling a little further than up and down the Northeast Corridor again. Bit by bit...

Life is so full.

Infrared Photograph of Dark Pine Surrounded by Other Trees.

In Transit, 24 December 2021   Well, Merry Christmas! The image is an infrared photo I took seven years ago in Colorado on a late summer day in the high Rockies. My sister still lived in Glenwood Springs and we were noodling around in the clouds uphill.

What an odd holiday... We were coming out of the pandemic, and then we weren't... And last night I got the news that a childhood friend, with whom I've stayed very close, has leukemia... As I've said twice in emails over the last twenty four hours, "Whoa!" I don't know what their real prognosis is, but I hope for them, and will, of course, love and support them as best I can. Meanwhile, Christmas with the family (an unalloyed Good Thing) and, in background, reading in preparation to taking the top spot of the yacht club, something I have to take very seriously for the sake of my fellow club members. It's very busy and I'm all over the place...

Black and White Portrait of Young Boy in Yachting Cap.
Young (Non) Boater, by Frances Jones

In Transit, 18 December 2021   Late on this week's blog post... My excuse is that it's been a busy, eventful week. On Tuesday I was elected Commodore (that is, club president) of the Capital Yacht Club. I'll take over in mid January, but there is a lot of forward loaded prep to engage me. The Club is big enough that running it is complex, but not so big that it has a huge staff to deal with it all. Much work now, more when I'm actually sworn in.

I wasn't really born to it, in spite of the photo of my young self! My mother took the little portrait above with her Rolleiflex when I was five years old or so when we were living in East Africa. We weren't a family of boaters, but my father bought me the little yachting cap and I wore it all the time, probably until I outgrew it. Yachting caps were a real thing then, readily available in sizes and all four colors (white or light blue for summer, black or dark blue for winter). Today they are a bad novelty item, adjustable, or available only from a few obscure specialty suppliers. A yacht club officer has to have one or two, of course, since yacht club officers have uniforms for formal occasions.

My mother was a fine photographer and a fine portrait photographer, which is a branch of the art I'm not particularly good at. Her weapon of choice was the 4X5 Graflex, a monster single lens reflex as big as a couple of lunch boxes. She modernized to the Rolleiflex, a much smaller and more modern camera, in the very early fifties. I still own it. It's a beautiful machine, and still capable of the finest work if one is working in film.

Infrared Photograph of Massed Tulips.
Infrared Tulips

Washington DC, 9 December 2021   I'm beginning to build quite the portfolio of infrared small landscapes from the oceanside in Gloucester. This one was captured between Stacy Boulvard and the harbor walk near the famous Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial statue. The last couple of years the volunteer group Generous Gardeners has planted amazing beds of flowers in this area. These are red tulips, but dead white in infrared like most flowers.

I am intrigued by ultra violet photography, but can't justify to cost of the quartz lens (unlike infrared where normal glass lenses work). I understand that white flowers often have ultra violet markings to guide the insects who can see in those wavelengths.

Tidal Rocks

Washington DC, 3 December 2021   Another photo from the 23 November photo session at Good Harbor Beach. A good day! Like the last photo, this one started life in color and was rendered to black and white and went through a bit of further post production.

I have something going on in the way of historical photographs. There is an amazing photo of my father, Lt. Richard K.(ent) Jones, feeding a couple of children during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. It's very findable online but only watermarked by one or another of the big photo services, who will sell it to you at a ruinous price. It's Army Signal Corps photo (my dad was a combat photographer, and the photo was taken by one of the sergeants in his tiny photo unit, a gentleman named Rosenthal) so I thought it had to be in the public domain, and it is. I went looking for it in the Library of Congress, where the kind librarian told me that Signal Corps photos went to the National Archives. Last week I emailed the Images section of the Archives, and overnight got a pretty good high definition jpeg scan of an old print, with a separate scan of the available metadata. I could work with that, but emailed yesterday to ask if there were a higher quality tiff scan available, and this morning got a really beautiful clean scan of the original negative. Perfection will require very minor spotting of the dust on the original. Both of those scans were done in the '80s, when I suspect the Archives launched its first push to digitalize and post its holdings. I'm impressed with the forward leaning work done then, and I'm totally impressed with the service these wonderful public servants gave me over the last couple of weeks.

B&W Photo of Dissarayed Salt Weeds.
Salt Weeds

Swanzey, New Hampshire, 26 Novemberr 2021   From the most recent trip to Gloucester. Taken just a few days ago at Good Harbor Beach, a place we try to go every time we're there. It's both easier and harder in the winter. Easier because winter parking is unrestricted and harder because it can be windy and very cold. There is a little stream flowing out of a large weedy wetland through the beach to the sea, and these weeds are found along the banks, sometimes flooded by the high tide, and sometimes exposed. Another intertidal photo! This one was shot with my color camera and rendered into black and white in post production with the contrast bumped up a bit to increase the graphic quality of the picture. There is a color version. I like that one too, but for the moment I prefer the black and white one.

Winter has come! Even in Washington DC we're getting frost at night, and here in eastern New Hampshire, not far from the upper Connecticutt River, it's been a substantial number of degrees below freezing even during the day. Julee and I are here at her parent's house for Thanksgiving. A much happier gathering than last year, when we were masked, or outdoors, and ate our turkey feast in the carport. This year it was a really nice family get together in comfortable surroundings.

Infrared Photo of Rocks at Low Tide With Seaweed.
New England Intertidal

Washington DC, 19 November 2021   Taken from the sea wall on Stacy Boulevard in Gloucester when the tide was out and the rocks, pebbles, and beach were exposed. Infrared, so the dark green seaweed registers as white.

Winter is coming. The signs are clear. The ice skating rink at the Wharf here in Washington has been set up and Boatwright Tony is rushing around the marina shrink wrapping boats, including ours. (We don't completely cover our boat but do have the top and aft decks covered.) Oh, and the trees have turned and it's getting cold. The freezing line has shown up on the ten day tempurature graph on wunderground.com, where I get my weather predictions. Cold days, but really clear. Good for photography, if I can get out. I've done this neighborhood. Maybe sneak away to New Jersey? That's a thought...

Colorpanoramic Photo of Beach, Harbor, and Sunset.
Provincetown Sunset

Washington DC, 13 November 2021   A day late on my blog post. My apologies to my legions of fans! I'm getting completely wrapped up in my day activity. I can't call it a day job because I don't get paid... I'm becoming thoroughly involved with my boat club, working on three committees and running for office. The election is next month and I'm running pretty hard because I think it matters to my community.

I took the photo a little less than a month ago, in Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It's a sweet landscape, but I have respect for those, done well. It's a double row (I love big skies) eleven frame panorama captured with my cell phone from a pier extended from a bar on the waterfront. The tide is out. When the tide is in, the beach is completely underwater.

Photographic Copy Stand in Use.

Washington DC, 5 November 2021   I always wanted a copy stand, so, when it came time to copy a bunch of matted and framed art at my boat club, I bought one. (It's really nice to be rich and famous!) Aside from the stand itself it surprised me how well prepared I was. I already owned the super sharp macro lens, the remote relaese, and the Canon R pictured is a really good camera for this kind of work. After I'd taken this photo of the setup I remembered I could move the bigger screen on the back of the camera around to face me as I worked and life got even easier. This kind of thing does take some knowledge and work. Manual exposure for consistency from photo to photo, manual white balance for the same reason, and HDR triples so that if really good reproductions might be wanted one can pick up the lightest and darkest details later on. I admit that future generations are not likely to need that kind of quality, and that the quality of some of these original photos of past club officers is not that high anyway. But, digital photographs are really cheap, so why stint on the data?

Hardly Great Art, but it's fun and useful, and it's good to be able to do something for the club. And I always wanted a copy stand...

Infrared Panoramic Photograph of Beach and Docks.

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 29 October 2021   Another photo from the trip to Cape Cod, a little less abstract than the one I posted a week ago. This is from downtown Provincetown looking out through the beach side doors of one of the cute little shopping arcades towards the north end of town. It's a stitched panorama, constructed from five infrared frames.

Abstract Ripples in Sand.

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 22 October 2021   A photographic abstract... But also a completely representational photograph of the ripples on the back side of a sand dune on Cape Cod. It's good to travel! Freshens the eye, even if this could be sand dune in any part of the world, though probably not in Washington DC or Gloucester, Massachusetts.

While the photo is completely straight in terms of composition, I did some fairly serious work on it in post-process. First, I rendered the color image into black and white (unlike most of my black and white images, this didn't come from the infrared part of the spectrum) then I boosted the contrast, then further boosted the highlights and shadows to increase the graphic quality of the photo. I like it! And it's got grain, not the grain of film, but the inherent grains of sand that make up the photo.

Panoramic Photo of Spectacular Sky Over River.
National Airport

Washington DC, 15 October 2021   A lot of boating these days, with photography happening along the way. I captured this two frame panorama while I was crewing on a maintenance trip helping to take a friend's boat to another nearby marina where the large diesel engine was pulled for rebuilding. A very effective bit of improvisation the pull was... We travelled under tow both ways.

Went down under leaden gray skies, but on the way back the skies began to clear, and we had this. A bit magical after several days of dull overcast. The place is the mouth of the Anacostia River and the Washington Channel where they open into the Potomac, looking west across the river to Virginia and National Airport. There is an airport in all that shadow. You can see the control tower right in the middle of the frame.

Interior Panorama of the Pilot House of a Professional Aluminum Fishing Boat.
Lower Potomac

Washington DC, 8 October 2021   As always, completely distracted by life, or at least non-photography life. On Tuesday I was paid crew for my friend, delivery captain Scott Berg, as he took a boat from Washington down to the mouth of the Potomac River and up the Chesapeake Bay to Herring Bay, Maryland. Interesting boat, an aluminum professional fishing boat from the Northwest. The fishing boats out of Washington state and Oregon have to deal with any weather the Pacific can throw at them, as they have little in the way of safe harborage to run to. Very strong, very stable, very fast... (And very expensive...) A one day trip in this boat, though we got pounded very hard by choppy weather later on when we were out in the Bay.

This is a three frame stitched panorama from individual shots taken with my phone. There's a small stiching error in the ceiling, and a bigger one above that I've cropped out. I'll fix the visible error if and when the picture gets wider distribution.

The Wharf, Phase 1.6

Washington DC, 1 October 2021   Last Monday I took the little red dinghy with its little antique two stroke outboard across the Washington Channel to the landing in Potomac Park to take more panoramas (panoramae? My Latin is a little weak) of the Wharf development. The weather moved me, and I'm pleased with the effort. I have taken this picture before (see my blog entries for 12 September and 12 February) but I'm also documenting my neighborhood as it's being built, and construction is much further along than it was in February.

This is a color version of the scene, stitched from six images made with the wonderful 25mm Zeiss lens. I have an infrared version, and (potentially) both color and infrared versions made with long lenses, which consist of many more individual frames and will show a great deal more detail. But, those big stitches choke my go-to stitching program, PTGui, so I have to use the orphaned Autopano Giga for them and set aside a couple of hours (at least) for that work. I'm sure Autopano Giga will work with those set of images but it's a different process. This format shows more of the sky and water, which is an interesting look too.

Full Arc Rainbow in Early Morning Light Over a Marina.

Washington, 24 September 2021   Another Photo of Opportunity, really another Artsy Snapshot (see last week!) from a couple of days ago when we awoke to an early morning with the creamiest blue light and this amazing full rainbow, with a faint double above it. A three panel stitched panorama to get it all in, even shooting with the wide 25mm Zeiss lens. I'm not sure it's Great Art, but it was a very happy moment, and the photo reminds me.

It's definately fall, with a huge break in the weather, bright, but cool, especially in comparison with the very hot summer. I'm crazy busy these days, what with the boat, boat club politics, and, of course, the overhead of life itself. Then there's photography...

Floating Log with Weeds Growing and Cload Refections in the Water.
Floating Log

Washington DC, 17 September 2021   Another busy week, though not in photography. In terms of capturing images it's been hazy, or raining, so I haven't ventured out with the big cameras. However, I do shoot images of opportunity with my phone, and the image above is one of those, from yesterday morning. Kind of an artsy snapshot... We get a lot of debris in the river, and some of it, like this log, can be pretty big. Fortunately not big enough to be a serious hazard to navigation! Last winter we had a complete twenty five foot tree floating in the fairway between a couple of our docks.

Three Panoramic Photos Laid Out on Tables in a Commercial Dining Room.
Untitled Washington DC, 12 September 2021   We've migrated... We'll be travelling back and forth between DC and Gloucester, as always, but we're anchored here for the season. The preparations we starting making a few days before to pack and prepare for the trip reminded me of Ursula K. Le Guin's wonderful story The Seasons of the Ansarac where she describes the imperatives of an annual migration on a sentient and civilized people.

One of the things waiting for me in Washington was a large package from Danny Chau in Hong Kong containing three big prints of this Washington Waterfront, two from early on in the construction of the Wharf development and the much more recent one which I posted earlier in the year in my blog post of 12 February 2021. Even at twelve inches high instead of my normal twenty four inches this image is ten feet long. As I said earlier it would need a big wall to hang! But it looks beautiful, and I'm very happy with it.

Physical Desktop with Computer Screens and Virtual Desktops.

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 3 September 2021   It's not about the technology, but the technology matters and cannot be denied, because, after all, it's what we use to make our art. Just as paint artists cared deaply about their recipes for paint, and the chemical photographer cared deeply about (say) their Tri-X film and D-76 developer, digital photographers care about their computers and monitors. I've been in a period of transition... Not extreme, and not necessarily obvious, but real and with some pitfalls, hopefully avoided!

First, earlier in the summer I found a replacement for the 24 inch NEC monitor I've been using in Gloucester. My 27 inch NEC monitor on the boat is crisp and clean, with neutral color and open shadows. Not this one! So, when I've been in Gloucester's wonderful computer resource, MacDaddy Computers I've been looking for a monitor in their used corner. What I came up with was the ancient Apple Cinema Display pictured above. The transparent stand harks back to a different era, the screen is a little smaller than the 27 inch NEC, and the power supply is big and clunky enough to bean an intruder. But, the price was right, and it's crisp and clean, with neutral color and open shadows. It's made working in Gloucester much easier.

Meanwhile the beloved FrankenMac was reaching it's limits. I'd filled up the second internal disk drive with photos, and while there was room on on the first drive, the first drive portable backup would need to be replaced. Easy enough, but since the last major round of upgrades eight terrabyte solid state drives have come on the market. Not cheap, but the price spread between one and a new four terrabyte drive, which I would haved needed to continue to use the machine in it's then present configuration, wasn't that large. So... Onward! But, installing the new 8TB drive and reinstalling an optical drive stressed the poor old FrankenMac beyond its limit. It worked, but not as well as it should. It had acquired some odd color glitches...

But, this is America! "When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping." A bit over $200 on eBay got me a replacement computer, the same exact (or nearly the same exact) model as the one I had, the same age, at ten years (which is like a century in computer years) old, but much more lightly used. I will admit I beat my cameras and computers up pretty badly. Some days of electronic surgery and nervy reverse backup have got me the computer I want. And, as a bonus, the screen is better than the old one, crisp and clean, with neutral color. Probably not open shadows, which is a bit much to ask of a twisted nematic screen, but it looks a lot better. The FrankenMac is dead! (Well, retired...) Long live the FrankenMac!

Cartoon Panel From Another Website. The World is Getting Redder, by Katy Doughty on The Nib

Gloucester, MA, 27 August 2021   So, red... The image is from and a link to a page on The Nib, an online comics site and (more or less) quarterly magazine I subscribe to. I recomend clicking through and reading it, as it gives a sense of the multifaceted things that light and color are. I talk a bit about the physics on my page on infrared, but this goes into the historical, social and economic aspects of it, and hints at thoughts about the meaning of the color red.

Red is the closest visible light to infrared on the spectrum, and the very last color available to photography. Early film was sensitive only to blue light, and it wasn't until forty years into the history of the medium that the German chemist Hermann Wilhelm Vogel discovered that by adding dyes to photographic emulsions one could extend the sensitivity of film to green, then red, and even the near infrared I use so much. It changed photography. On the good side, better color rendition to black and white, and, in the goodness of time and the efforts of generations of chemists and engineers, color film. On the bad side... Well, I'm not sure I'd call this bad, exactly, but it made designing and building first rate lenses much harder. Relatively easy to design a lens that will give sharp focus in a single color. Making one that will bring all three primary colors into focus at the same point is more difficult and the early successes are part of the epic of photographic progress.

So, red... A great color. One of the things in the comic is a discussion of the language of color, from the point of view of an English speaker. A grace note is that early English didn't distinguish between blue and green. Interesting, as I once spoke a language (when I left Saigon after two years in 1999 I was moderately fluent in Vietnamese) that still doesn't make that distinction. If you wanted to be that specific you had to say "blue/green like the sky" or "blue/green like the grass". So much of this is weirdly social...

Infrared Photo of Headland, Sea, and Sky.
Rockport Seascape

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 20 August 2021   It was meant to be part of a very wide stitched panorama, but that panorama didn't stitch very well, so I'll move on and use the image on it's own.

It's been a pretty choppy week. We've had guests, one tropical storm blew by, and another's on the way. The FrankenMac went in for upgrade, and it didn't go well... I have it back, and it's working but I have some big decisions to make since the disk with my photo history on it is now out of the computer. Miles to go, and a short post this time around.

Infrared Panorama of Large Construction Site on a Waterfront.
Untitled (Waterfront Construction)

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 13 August 2021   I doubled back to Washingtion this week for the monthly General Membership Meeting of my boat club, only the second in-person meeting since the beginning of the Pandemic last year. I spent a good chunk of my time on the long train ride south (Monday) and the long train ride north (Wednesday) going through the pictures of the Washington Waterfront, the Wharf construction, and my boat club from 2014/2015, cataloguing, finding and building photos, and generally being confused in spite of keeping track of the photos with a spreadsheet. Here's something I found, another version of the photo below that has cause me so much grief. It was taken about two months earlier, so the hole isn't as deep, and the big "Wharf" sign is not yet up, but I think it's also a good photo that well documents the place and time.

The image above is the panorama as stitched together at the time, using the .jpgs as the source files and Hugin to assemble the image. At the time I'd not yet figured out how to process infrared images from the RAW (straight from the camera sensor) files, destaturating them and bumping up contrast to improve the look of the photo. I was also cropping the photos in Photoshop when all else was done. I don't remember if on can crop the output from within Hugin, but one can in the PTGui software I use now. This image has the rounded edges that are an artifact of the stitching process.

I'll have to redo this image from scratch, using what I've learned in the last six years and the better tools I've not got. No worries! I've had a lot of practice, and it generally goes pretty quickly.

Still Water with Plants, and Trees Reflected in the Surface.
Back to the Emerald Wetland

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 6 August 2021   I do go back to the same places to take photos, in part because the light and conditions change, in part because I think I might be able to do better... Maybe not as much better as I thought when I first looked at this version, but I do think it's better than the one I posted a month ago, a little more readable, a little more delicate, and definitely sharper and crisper, which will make a difference should I make a big enlargement of it.

But I do think I've done the Emerald Forest and its miniature wetland, at least for a while. I started working there last summer, so I've seen it through the seasons. If I'm in Gloucester in the fall I'll go back and see what I can make of that time of year, but I need to start going further afield again.

Color Panorama of Construction Site on Waterfront.
Untitled (Waterfront Construction)

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 30 July 2021   This is the color version of the infrared panorama I posted last week. No gaps... Well, the panorama parts here were shot with a 20mm wide angle lens, so there are only three frames, well overlapped, and it was a very easy stitch. I cropped this version down a bit to emphasize the construction site. The infrared version was made with a 100mm lens, and there are are something like twenty frames to deal with. The long lens makes for a final product with loads and loads of delicious detail, but also a complex photo to shoot and to stitch.

Honestly, I started working on the color image above when it occured to me that I might use a sliver of this image to patch the infrared version. Not a given... The frames were shot at the same time, from the same spot, exactly. But theres a big difference in the resolution between the images from the 100mm lens and the 20mm lens. Five to one! But, I thought I could get away with that since the gap is such a small sliver... But also, how to match everything up? In the process I learned how to extract the red channel from the photo. Not that complex, but like everything Photoshop so non-intuitive that it took me a couple of days of research and twiddly experiment to make it work. Red channel, because red light in closest in the visible spectrum to infrared, so I thought it would easiest to match. Still working on how to insert this imagery into the larger picture. PTGui won't do it automatically, but I have some hope I'll work it through. More news next week.

It's been another busy week, what with still working on my taxes (ugh!) (and an irritating and bottomless time sink) and a houseful of guests. That's been wonderful, but does take up time...

Large Infrared Panorama Photo Proof of Waterfront and Construction Site.
Untitled (Waterfront Construction)

Somewhere in New England, 23 July 2021   Just to reflect and honor the news reports from the Second World War where dispatches were often labeled "Somewhere in" the theater of operations to deny the enemy close grained intelligence should they be listening to the radio news, which they did, or read and analyzed copies of newspapers delivered to their missions in neutral countries, which they also did. Seriously, though, I'm on the move today, visiting with family, so "Somewhere in New England" isn't a bad description of my location.

It's been a busy week, mostly dealing with issues to do with my 2018 taxes, the year before Julee and I moved back to the United States. Not to go into detail, the details have been legion and critical and so I've spent many exhausting hours on them. I had "PHOTO" in big block letters on my proprietary and magical Four Day To-Do list and yesterday put aside the afternoon to work on my photography. I spent an hours long block of time working on a single day's infrared photos, specifically 21 March 2015. Julee and I were passing through Washington and it was a beautiful, sunny, very clear late winter day. I had the time and walked the 14th Street Bridge to Potomac Park opposite the Waterfront and the early stages of excavation for what would become the Wharf development, taking hundreds of pictures with both the color and infrared cameras, mostly in panorama sets, along the way. Hundreds... And I'll have to do something similar with the color pictures as soon as I set aside the time. And it's just one day's work...

As I've said in earlier posts I'm trying to bring order to my portfolio of photos of the Waterfront, and this was part of that effort. I'd done some stitching at the time, and it didn't go that well. It was before I'd learned to properly process infrared photos from the camera raw files, and before I'd made the jump to the PTGui panorama app, and long before I'd learned to crop and force exposure corrections inside PTGui, and also long before I learned to do fixes and patches with Photoshop. So, the images I have are pretty rough, though I think they have potential. The picture above is an example, complete with banding in the sky, and a blank stripe in the sky where a couple of the frames don't overlap, another aspect of the process that I've gotten a lot better at over the years.

This is quite fixable, so I have work to do, and work that needs to be done from the beginning with the camera RAW files. But first, I need to get a little bit further ahead on the catalogue of photos... And get my taxes squared away. As always, onwards!

P.S. Do we always see what we want to see? I was on the move yesterday (I'm writing this on the 24th) and scrambling to get my Friday post up on Friday while in transit, but still... The blank bit of the photo in the sky, where the adjacent photos don't overlap isn't the only part of the picture that has that problem, and the other bit is unfixable, as it's fairly wide and full of unrecorded detail. I'm really sad about the picture, because it's both a strong image and a good document of a particular moment. But I'm also very distressed that I honestly did not see the fatal error until I started to re-process that panorama with better tools this afternoon. It's a strong lesson, almost as sharp as getting my chemicals out of order when processing film back in the day...

Infrared Photo of Rubber Plant Leaves Against a Window
Leaves, Old Brooklyn

Enroute, 16 July 2021   For the first time in well over a year I’m traveling up and down the East Coast myself and in public transport. I thought I be doing a lot of this during that time frame, but the pandemic….

During the last year Julee and I drove between DC and Gloucester a few times, sealed in our air conditioned metal box on wheels, carrying our own food, with furtive bathroom breaks, and one stop on New Jersey for fuel. This is quite different. I took the train to DC on Monday for boat work and the monthly General Membership Meeting of the boat club, then back through New York City for a visit with the Brooklyn family and some Museuming in Manhattan. It is different. Being in a long articulated tube with a whole community of strangers requires a mask regardless of vaccination status, and in stores or other venues I’m ready to whip mine on if the circumstances appear to warrant. New York City seems pretty quiet, and there is a lot of retail space for lease. I'm not at all sure there's a normal to get back to, at least not yet.

The photo is a new take on the wonderful front window in Brooklyn, taken during the day in infrared.

Wetland Water with Reflection of Surrounding Trees.
Emerald Mirror

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 9 July 2021   Another photo in my quest to do something special with water, transparency, and reflection. I took this one yesterday morning at the wetland side of the Emerald Forest around the corner from our house. I feel progress is being made... The photo is infrared, but this time I shot High Dynamic Range (HDR) triplets. That is, one shot two stops under exposed, one shot "correctly" exposed, one shot two stops over exposed. I've programmed my cameras to do this automatically when the mode dial is set to last position, so all I have to do is press the shutter button and the camera will take over. If one holds the camera steady enough (!) the images can be overlaid in software and will line up to make a single image with properly exposed and visible highlights and shadows and everything in between.

It's an occasional technique for me, and even more occasional with infrared since it's in the nature of infrared to compress the dynamic range so much that it has to be greatly expanded in Photoshop to make a crisp image, rather than compressed. There are exceptions though, and this is one. Here the HDR software (I currently use Aurora HDR) made it possible for me to bring out the reflections in the water without completely blowing out the infrared-whitened greenery.

Etching of a Pond, with Reflected Trees, Floating Leaves, and a Swimming Fish.
Three Worlds, by M.C. Escher from Wikipedia.   I've long (always?) been fascinated by the soft edges of reality, shadows, reflections, transparency, and outline. I think I picked up some of this tendency from Paul Klee and M.C. Escher. Klee, of course, was completely abstract, but he was working in the Germany that was putting together quantum mechanics, and I got the sense from his wonderful little canvases that he was showing us something real, but very, very small, and profound. The connection between my take on water and Escher's should be obvious from the picture here. I actually saw an original print of this image in the Vorpal Gallery in San Francisco in 1979. It's a great image reproduced at any scale, but Escher was also a master craftsman, and the lithograph itself is so clear and crisp it multiplies the effect. I think I stood in front of this one for a solid twenty minutes. It was only eight thousand dollars in that long ago time. The best investment one could have made, though it would have been hard to let go of. But of course eight grand was a lot more money then, and comfortably more than half of what I made that year. I haven't thought of this image in a while, but it's definitely been lurking in the depths of my mind.

Fallen Leaves

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 2 July 2021   Back in New England for a bit. Nothing out of the last couple of weeks that seemed worthy for this post, so I reached back to the last sojorn in Gloucester and worked up one of the photos I took during Julee's and my walk through the Ravenswood Park and, most particularly, through the Magnolia Swamp. I definitely think there's something to this picture, but I think I may be having trouble with the issue of scale. Some pictures look better small, and some look better big. It's a rare picture, like Fewa Lake that looks good at any size. I have a suspicion that this is a picture that will look better bigger. Though it's not bad screen size... There is a small mystery here, in that one is not looking at the leaves directly, but through very clear water. That's the hint in the title. So, they float, a bit under the surface. The fact that this photo is infrared might give it a little more of that mysterious quality. I do look forward to seeing it bigger, if only on the large graphic arts monitor I have on the boat.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of Washington Waterfront Showing Demolition
Untitled, (Washington Waterfront, 2014)

Washington DC, 25 June 2021   This is my 'hood, but the picture was taken nearly seven years ago, when the demolition of the old Waterfront had nearly reached the Capital Yacht Club. The old clubhouse is the wonderfully '70s mansard-roofed building close to the middle of the picture. A few days later on, we moved into out new docks further down the Washington Channel, and our temporary clubhouse in the bar of the old Channel Inn, a building that was preserved as swing space as Phase One of the Wharf Development was under construction, and demolished later.

The photo is an infrared panorama stitched together out of twenty individual photographs. I took and processed it when I knew a lot less about processing infrared photos than I do now. It was a couple of years later that I read the incomparable Image Clarity, which gave me the understanding needed to start with the raw image files and stretch the dynamic range out to make the photos cleaner, crisper, more full of light. I've not reprocesed this image in light of this knowledge, but I think it would look better if I did.

(By The Way, at $4.99 for an electronic Kindle copy, Image Clarity is a steal for any serious photographer.)

Why am I looking back at these old photos? Well, there is a business reason for me to have all the photos of my club, and the Waterfront/Wharf at my fingertips. I'm not the worst cataloguer, but hardly the best, so I'm having to go back to something like the beginning of the project and actually look through and list the photos on a spreadsheet, along with some analysis of what panoramas have already been assembled, what panoramas could be assembled, and how good the photos are, or might be with further work. I've often said I have the soul of a librarian, but dang! Doing this properly and thoroughly is a lot of work.

Sunset off the Back of a Boat, Framed by Flags.

Washington DC, 21 June 2021   Today's Facebook Post:

I missed my Friday blog post (on www.lkj.online) completely, because I was here, twenty miles down the Potomac River at anchor opposite Mount Vernon in our boat the Mad Hatteras. Beautiful weather, and a great day on the water for the run down to the anchorage, and a lovely afternoon and evening and overnight on the water. It feels like a watershed moment. This is the first time in two years of ownership of this boat that we've been out purely for pleasure, and the first time the boat has been anchored since we acquired it. Suddenly it feels like not just a home, but a vehicle, something that can take us places...

The photo's of the view off the aft deck, captured with my phone. There's a lot going on, between the sunset, Old Glory, the Pride Flag, and the Tibetan Prayer Flags!

Infrared Panorama of Pleasure Boat Docks and Construction.
Transitional Waterfront

Washington DC, 11 June 2021   I've taken a lot of photos of this Waterfront over time, and a lot of pictures of the construction that transformed the old Waterfront into the new Wharf development. This one was captured in September 2014, just as our yacht club was about to be moved from the old spot, where we'd been since the first half of the 20th Century, and the old clubhouse, which we'd occupied since the early '70s.

This picture was actually published at the time. In no big venue, mind, but in the club newsletter along with an opinion piece I wrote about the future of the club on the eve of our move. To the left, our old docks. In the middle ground, Gangplank Marina docks, partially dissassembled and close to being broken up and taken away. Beyond, our new docks and our new home, though it was three years before the construction on land of the first phase of the Wharf was completed.

I was still fairly new to infrared at the time, and hadn't yet learned to work with the raw files to extract as much dynamic range as possible from the photo. I constructed this two row, eighteen frame stitched panorama from the compressed jpeg files, and, according to my notes, "brightened" it, presumably to crisp up the whites. Seven years ago, and a different world, both on the ground and in my work.

WV Ferns

Washington DC, 4 June 2021   Last weekend we were in West Virginia, so of course there are now more pictures of nature in infrared...

IR Photo of Log in Shallow Swamp Water, Reflecting the Sky.
Magnolia Swamp Log

Washington DC, 28 May 2021   I'm a little late with the post today, though not as late as last week, when my Friday post went out on Saturday simply because I was travelling the day before. Today, it's a matter of equipment. I'm off the boat to clear the decks (as it were!) for a tradesperson who is working there this morning, and realizing that the processing of this photo really requires the use of the big monitor. The FrankenMac has a pre-retina twisted nematic screen which looks very good, but has issues for fine work. Notchy contrast, a very limited angle of best view, and a highly reflective surface. The last two tend to re-inforce each other, since when one has the screen adjusted to the most right angled viewing a good part of what one sees in most lights is one's own reflection. The big NEC monitor with it's matte surface, sweet contrast, and wonderful amenability to calibration is the way to go. Equipment does matter! It's not the only thing, or even the most important thing, but it matters.

In this case, the cloud at the bottom left hand corner was the brightest, whitest, part of the picture, though, interestingly, not over exposed. It drew the eye away from the center of the photo where I wanted the viewer's attention on the shallow depths of the clear swamp water and the infinite depths of the sky reflected in that water. Now, three hours or so after starting this entry, I'm back on the boat, in front of the big monitor, and have made the adjustments. Half a stop brighter exposure overall to make the picture lighter and more readable, then a small area of adjustment brush at two stops less exposure in the corner to darken those clouds to equivalent appearance to the other clouds in the photo, then, finally, two stops more exposure in a very small area at the edge of the corner to give some cohesive unity to that part of the picture. Once I could see the photo more clearly, it all went very fast, even though I had to look up the use (and even the name) of Photoshop's "adjustment brush". Googling "local contrast control photoshop raw" got me to the right page on the Adobe site! I've done this before, but not often enough to remember the specific drill.

Black and Whote Photo of Dandelion Heads in Grass.
Driveway Meadow

Washington DC, 22 May 2021   

A little something different, in technique, if not in style. Unlike most of my black and white photos, this one didn’t start out in the 800 nanometer-and-above range of my infrared camera, but in the more normal wavelengths of my big color camera. Either way there is a fair bit of post processing. This photo would have been impossible in infrared because there would have been no contrast between the dandelion head, white in both infrared and in visible light rendered to black and white, and the green grass which renders to white (no contrast) from infrared but a to good palate of grays from color.

And…. This week I’m taking the opportunity to repeat Thursday’s Facebook post about equipment:

Rollei 35 Film Camera   O Facebook Hivemind! I've almost done this once or twice in the past, and big things, like major earthquakes, have slowed me down. And, little things, like having plenty of storage space and much less in the way of time to organize and focus.

But, the hour has come... I have a lifetime's worth of fine film camera gear in my spare room that needs to move on. I'm as close as matters to being a completely digital photographer myself, and I know that most serious photographers today are in the same camp as I. But there are film nerds out there, and some of them are on a budget. If that's you, or someone you know, contacting me might prove profitable. This coming summer I will start batching this stuff and putting it on eBay. I've no illusion that this market will bring me a huge return, though some of my equipment is very good indeed. Meanwhile, some of it might be free to a good home. Send me a note with what is wanted, and I may well have it.

What do I have? In general terms, Canon rangefinders and SLRs for 35mm, such things as the Rollei 35 pictured, whole stables of medium format stuff with pretensions to being large format. Linhof 69s among other items, along with a complete miniature view camera set. All kinds of accessories and oddities. Ask! And, a darkroom, complete except for trays. (I think that would have to be picked up in Massachusetts, but the price would be right.)

Infrared Photo of Fiddlehead Ferns in a Wetland
Ravenswood Fiddleheads

Gloucester, Masschusetts, 14 May 2021   Ravenswood is a six hundred acre nature reserve and park a little way down Western Avenue/Route 127 on the way to Manchester, Salem, and points south, including Boston. Part of it is wetland with a waterlogged two plank path running through it, whence I took this infrared portraid of a clump of fiddlehead ferns. It was a good walk, lots of photos taken, and a great deal of post processing yet to come. I do find myself drawn to the damp places with a little standing water for the plants pushing through, the leaves and branches under the water, and the reflections, though those are hard to bring out in the finished photograph.

I'm sleepy this afternoon, feeling the back and forth of my own northeast shuttle between Gloucester and Washington DC. I've been up three times in the last six weeks, twice for my Covid vaccinations here while living there and now for bit of a stay with Julee. The last week has been all about U.S. and DC income taxes, alluded to below. Mailed off this morning. Next year should be a little simpler... Meanwhile, nap!

Two Pairs of Glasses on Desk With Reflected Ceiling Fans

Washington DC, 7 May 2021   It is that time of year, delayed by a month in this Time of Plague. So, most of my energy there has been there this week, rather than on photography. Our taxes get simpler over time (no more foreign earned income!) but they're still complex. The big photo monitor helps a lot, since I can have multiple documents up at a time... Two pair of task glasses, the ones in front for the distance to my laptop screen and the big black ones, with real glass lenses to eliminate chromatic aberration, for critical work at the slightly longer distance to the big monitor. Aging is problematic...

Abstracted Photgraphic Pattern
Oil and Water

Washingtion DC, 30 April 2021   It's a Change of Seasons in so many ways. Here in Washington we're into what I tend to call "High Spring", that late spring/early summer period when the trees and foliage have fully leafed out, are green, green, a kind of fresh deep green, that seems to me to show a kind of vegetable power, an advance through time, if not across space. They're lush and full, and obviously getting still more lush and full, and it's now definitely warm, with days in the seventies and no further need for the electric heaters that have taken the edge off the cold during the last months. They'll be gathered up and taken to storage. Today I'm likely to blow out the pump that supplies cool river water to the air conditioning units, and test them for the need in the not too distant future.

And, boating season officially opens on Sunday. An arbitrary date, but a milestone that our club will mark with appropriate Fancy Yacht Club ceremony, summer uniforms for the officers and past officers of the club (this includes me!) and white trowsers and blazers for the yachters who attend. A bit on the theatrical side, but if one is going to have a yacht club, one should go all out for the traditional get-ups once or twice a year.

And... I got my second dose of Covid vaccine a week ago last Wednesday, meaning I'm very close to being as protected as possible from this modern plague, and, finally! I'm one of many. We're hardly out of the woods yet, and there are places -- big places -- on the planet where the news is still very bad indeed. But here we've administered scores of millions of vaccines, case loads are going down in much of the U.S., and very noticeably in Washington DC. Unlike some jurisdictions we've been cautious, but even here restrictions are begining to ease, and we're able to be more social (not just outdoors on the docks) with our friends.

So, A New Season on many levels. I'm beginning to think of taking to the field with my cameras again, and, perhaps more important, seeing what I can do to get the work out there. The commercial world of art has gone in some crazy directions in the last bit. Where the devil does a deeply traditional person like me, who wants to see his physical art (in the form of beautiful prints) fly off of his, or a gallery's, walls, and onto the walls of a buyer make of the increasingly virtual world of Non-Fungible Tokens, and things like that? How should I plot the next year as things start to open up?

Of course, this week's photo has nothing to do with any of that! It is, literally, oil on water, captured yesterday with my phone when I was walking along the dock to the gate of the Capital Yacht Club. It's not as bad as it looks... When oil or fuel spreads on water it spreads out, and out, until the sheen is only a couple of molecules thick, And, then odd refractions happen, which is what makes the colors and patterns so interesting. This sheen of oil, or possibly diesel, covered a couple of hundred square feet of water, but I doubt it was more than a tablespoon or two of spill. Also, since it's an abstracted photo anyway, I didn't feel any compunction about tweaking the heck out of it, bumping up the the contrast to make the pattern much more vivid. I didn't have to do anything to the colors! Those are real.

Infrared Urban Forest with Small Wetland in Foreground
Yellow Flag Irises, Emerald Forest Wetland

In Transit, 23 April 2021   I feel I should walk back my statement from last week. But, while it's been very cold (and colder still in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where I spent a good chunk of the week) it's still spring. This week's photo, an infrared panorama taken in the Emerald Forest, that little patch of urban wild near the homestead in Gloucester, shows the shoots of flowering plants poking through the water of the damp part. My neighbor tells me they're Yellow Flag Irises. With a bit of disapproval, since they're an invasive species. Maybe the next time I get there with my cameras there will the proof of flowers.

What was I doing making a lightning trip to Gloucester for the second time in two weeks during a pandemic? Well, that's actually relevant. I went up for my vaccinations, since got an early offer for shots up there. I'm now through with the series, and waiting for my immune system to finish beefing up and the soreness in my arm to subside. I'm looking forward to travelling more for my photography.

Skeletal Building, Deale

Washington DC, 16 April 2021   Spring is definitely with us, with the green, green foliage showing as white in my infrared photos. I took this picture in Deale, Maryland last Wednesday, when I was out that way visiting the big boatyard across Tracys and Rockhold Creeks from where this picture was taken. I've now had my first dose of vaccine, and for the first time in a year or so I am not just carrying my cameras but agressively prepared and planning to stop for photo sessions along the way on my perambulations for ordinary business. I took the long way from Tracy's Landing, and stopped at some open woods to see if I could get a sense of the Mid-Atlantic forest into my camera. I'm still working on those, and may post one next week. This (former?) building was across the road, and I took a number of frames and panoramas (as almost always to make up for not carrying or switching to a wider lens) of it. So far this is my favorite, in spite of the boatyard visible to the right. I kind of wish I'd been able to throw a tarp with an image of infrared trees and sky over the whole thing. Many things might be possible. Ansel Adams is rumored to have painted all the rocks in Yosemite Valley Zone V middle gray...

Infrared Photo of Clump of Cherry Trees in Full Bloom
Cherry Trees, Potomac Park

Washington DC, 9 April 2021   A little bit past peak bloom, just exactly a week ago, and almost directly across the Washington Channel from where our boat is moored. A pretty place to live! It's a three frame panorama, to the get the whole group of trees into the picture. I went over in my dinghy to take advantage of of the bright clear day and re-do the Wharf panorama of 12 February at a slightly moved advanced stage of construction, and using a wider lens for more sky and more foreground water. This photo was a welcome target of opportunity.

The work is beginning to pick up again. I've just had a period when I wasn't shooting much, and was posting older photos here to make up for the lack. This feels good! And, on Wednesday, I had a really good shot out in Deale, Maryland, which I will probably post next week.

Semi-abstract Photo of Cherry Blossom Petals Floating in Front of Baot Bow
Floating Petals

Washington DC, 2 April 2021    It's Washington's Cherry Blossum Season again... It's oddly emotional. This time last year that I'd just gotten off the boat I'd helped deliver up the Intra-Coastal Waterway from Jacksonville, the petals were beginning to drop and the Pandemic had really taken hold of our national conciousness. It's been a wild year...

This photo is from last year, a shot grabbed on the go in our marina with my phone, and cropped down to concentrate on the graphic qualities of the boat hull and the petals floating in the shadow of boat. Today as well we're a past peak bloom, and the cherry trees are beginning to leaf out.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of Small New England Wetland
Urban Wetland

Wshington DC, 26 March 2021   So, I found myself having to make a lightning trip to Gloucester the first days of this week. I had to ferry stuff there, I had to ferry stuff back and along the way north I dropped the boxes of prints (see below!) off in New Jersey to be frozen. -18°F for two to three weeks should give even the hardiest silverfish some pause. Drove up on Monday, and returned on Wednesday, simply because two eight hour days on Interstate 95 by myself and back to back was a bit much.

On Tuesday I puttered around the house, and did things like paying off the fine from a speed trap in Silver Spring, Maryland. Also, my favorite ice cream parlor had just mixed up a batch of my favorite flavor (Holy Cow, and Millionaire Shortbread, for the curious) so I took an afternoon walk to mail the check and pick up dinner. Once out the front door I noted the graphic quality of the stone wall at the cemetery across the street, and hurried back to grab my big cameras. The cemetery pics were okay, but walking back I skirted the edge of the Emerald Forest, on the other side, abutting Maplewood Avenue. There is a little wetland in there, completely hidden in the other three seasons by leafy underbrush. Of course I did the right thing and waded into the brown wintry tangle of dormant plants and took pictures. I'm very happy with a couple of them. This one, of course, a three frame infrared panorama of the pool itself, and a vertical panorama showing the pool in context that I'm posting to my Facebook page. I'm amazed and delighted that there is so much wild variation in this miniature forest that occupies the space of a small block in the middle of a city.

High Contrast Infrared Photo of Ripples in Wet Beach Sand.
Low Tide Beach Sand

Washington DC, 21 March 2021   A photo from the magic day on Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester last October. The light was amazing and the tide low, low. This is the inrared version of this shot. I have a very similar photo in color and I played with it for a bit some weeks ago to see if I could match the impact of this one. Rendered into black and white it was quite striking, but not quite as striking as the infrared version.

I'm a couple of days late with my Friday post this week... My life has gotten very busy and I'm beginning to feel my calendar is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. "Now, where is this task going to fit?" Photography is far from my least important activity, but this winter it's been less time sensitive than some other things. I am headed up to New Jersey tomorrow with my boxes of big prints -- wrapped in plastic to be completely sealed up -- where a dear person has lent me a corner of a commercial freezer, where they will sit for a bit, hopefully doing in any surviving silverfish. Then, the boxes, will have to come back, and be opened one by one, the photos unrolled and brushed clean, tissue paper discarded and replaced, the boxes themselves vacuumed out and corners lightly dusted with diatomaceous earth... And then re-rolled and repacked. Unpacking and repacking is a truly nervy process, because the print surfaces are so delicate. Nothing for it though. I'd love to keep them flat, but no one but a museum or a really big commercial gallery has the room for that. Or the budget for the huge print cabinets I'd need...

Wooded Area in New England Town, Bare and Brown in Winter
The Emerald Forest in Winter

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 12 March 2021   Tail end of winter now, and the Emerald Forest looks quite different than it did in the lush days of last summer, as documented in my blog post at the end of July. This photo is a lot wider than that photo, mostly to show how transparent the site is without the full foliage of the trees and underbrush, but I took it from close to the same vantage point, and you can see the same trees to the right of the frame. It's a 180° panorama stitched up from five frames taken with my cell phone. I don't have great pretensions for this photo, but I am interested in documenting the huge seasonal difference in this very small patch of land.

We're coming up on the end of winter here in Gloucester, north of Boston. Down in Washington DC I think the season may already be over, with temperatures this week above 70°F. I'm hoping for spring, in every sense, and soon!

Scanned Image of Insect Damaged Post-It Label.

Washington DC, 5 March 2021   It could be art, I suppose, but that wasn't the intention. It's as clear a scan as I could make of one of the Post-It labels I had on the back of one of the big prints, rolled up in the Hahnemühle paper boxes where they live between showings. It looked horrifyingly like insect damage to me, especially with some of the tissue paper used to protect the surfaces of the prints also showing holes. So far (and hoping!) I've seen no damage on the actual prints. I figured I might need some expert advice, so I scanned the label at as high a resolution as I could, against a black leatheret sheet to keep the image of the yellow paper as clear as possible, and sent the image off to a friend who works in conservation in one of the big New York museums. Some time later I got the diagnosis of silverfish . Hm... So, I'm in the middle of thinking this through, consulting with my printer, and plotting on what looks to be a very big conservation project. More on this going forward!

Infrared Photo of Child Running in WWII Concrete Gun Emplacement
Artillery Mandala

Washington DC, 26 February 2021   About timing! This is a photo I took on the coast of Normandy a little less than four years ago at the Pointe Du Hoc. This was a German artillery strong point, ideally situated... There is a lot of history to it so it's a big part of the tourist circuit of the Normandy battlefield. Also the views are really good, which is why the Germans were building gun emplacements there in the first place.

On the timing... I have a series of three photos. The first shows the child coming up the steps to this gun turntable. The second is this one, and by the third the child is out of frame. The timing trick is that I lowered the camera as the family approached, and as I did the child did something extraordinarily photogenic, running to the post in the middle of the mandala, leaping on it, balancing for a moment on one foot like a happy little bronze statue in the middle of the atrium of a Florentine palazzo. Only for a moment! In the second or so it took for me to get my camera back to my eye the child had lept off and was running to the left, as captured here. I still think it's a good, surreal, infrared photo, but mourn missing the more decisive moment.

Infrared Photo of Wetland and Spectacular Cloudy Sky
Wetland and Sky, Eastern Shore

Washington DC, 19 February 2021   I'm having a little trouble gathering the week together in my thoughts. Julee needed to get away (she's the managerial Queen of Zoom and works very hard) so we gratefully accepted the loan of a cottage on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake and took enough books, food, and food for thought to keep us going for a few days. Holidays during the pandemic are a different thing. No crowds, no bars, no restaurants, and minimal shopping... A change of scene, but as self contained as possible.

So, what did I do? I did a fair bit of photography. A change of scene is always good for that, and the scene on Hooper's Island and the surrounding area is pretty good! I'm beginning to get a bit of familiarity and a real affection for the wet Eastern lowlands of the United States. The photo above is a sort of day-for-night infrared shot I got on the way home on Wednesday. (We left a bit early to beat the winter storm to our boat here in DC.)

And I read, flipping between medieval history (history is my equivalent of a trashy novel) and a couple of books on photography. I admit I've given up on From Oz to Kansas. I've learned a lot from it, but it's really dense and obscure, and I'm not sure I really trust the author. Some of what I've learned comes from my saying "Is that really true?" and going out onto the internet and digging until I figure out that, no, at least not in the way implied. So, thanks the author, but perhaps time to move on. I found a book hiding on my iPad which is turning out to be really useful, Black and White Photography, The Timeless Art of Monochrome by Michael Freeman. Interesting that I had it, as it seems to be a fairly close reworking of his The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography, which I had on my bookshelf, and had read into a bit. I think the digital version is actually more useful, because, while it is also illustrated, there are fewer pictures and they're more focused on the lessons of the text. I'm finding it very helpful.

And, the last morning I was in the cottage I took a close look at my visible light camera, the Canon R, and its manual, which I also have on my iPad. This camera has been giving me fits, to be Victorian about it. I've now reminded myself how to lock the controls, so I don't reset things on the fly by brushing against the touch screen on the back of the camera. Then, the automatic focus, which was refusing to work some two thirds of the time. After some work, it became clear to me that it wasn't the camera, but the auto/manual focus button on the lens, quickly confirmed by beta swapping the lens with the (identical) lens on my infrared camera. These 40mm F2.8 lenses are very sharp, but not very expensive, so an order went out for a new one yesterday. It's not about the equipment, but the equipment matters, and if it's not working right it matters in the wrong way.

Extreme Infrared Panoramic Photo of Waterway, Marinas, Buildings, and Construction
The Wharf, Phase 1.5

Washington DC, 12 February 2021   I haven't studied photographic technique as much as I'd intended, but I have been out a bit and done photography. It wasn't quite so much that the spirit moved me as it laid some guilt on me. A week ago yesterday was a really beautiful day. Quite cold, but blue and clear. The inner voice niggled me about not wasting light like that, even if the I didn't feel strongly moved... I've let a number of moments like that pass over the last couple of months, but this time I took the complete photo kit and drove across the Washington Channel to East Potomac Park and captured the images for a series of of panoramas of the Waterfront and the Wharf Development as it existed that day. I think the image above is the highlight of the session, and I'm really happy that I listened to the cricket. This is my neighborhood! The Wharf development is two thirds built (Phase One) and the construction site front and center is the final third (Phase Two). You can actually see the boat that Julee and I live on, though I'm not going to point it out.

Technically a stretch though! The panorama is nineteen frames wide, and wraps around a bit over 180˚. My go-to panorama stitching program is PTGui, which generally works very well, and is very intuitive for me. This panorama blew up in that program, and got thoroughly scrambled. And, every time I ran it, it scrambled differently... So, I restarted the whole process with another program, Autopano, which has a reputation for dealing with big panoramas. To my surprise it stitched up well on the first run, though the resulting image was bowed. I find the Autopano interface difficult, and I couldn't figure out how to unbow the image in the program, a click and drag action in PTGui. I thought to find the program manual online, only to discover the software publisher closed their doors a couple of years ago, or, rather, had their doors closed for them by the parent company, apparently just after I bought my copy... So no support! I saved the image, then figured out how to unbow the image in Photoshop. Better, but a bit more work needed. I put aside yesterday afternoon for that work.

Detail of the Photo Above.
Detail   For the second go around I used a double row of images, as I'd shifted the pitch of the camera between the first set and the second because I thought I might be cutting off the top of the cranes. This way I could get more sky at the top, and more water at the bottom, and I thought that Gigapano would handle the double row, which it did without a hicup. In fact the stitching went really smoothly, and I figured out some of the obscurities of the interface along the way. No Photoshop needed except for cropping. Gigapano even smoothed out the exposure across the picture and corrected for vignetting, without being asked.

I post my photos at greatly (sometimes hugely) reduced resolution. A couple of reasons. First, the full resolution files are enormous, particularly for a large image like this one. The original TIFF file is two and a half gigabytes on disk... If I'd had storage like that on my first computer in 1985 I could have rented it out to a big data company with a mainframe. Really! Even today, if I posted images that size I'd being paying my web serving company a lot more than I'm paying them now for the priveledge of occupying so much more of their disk space, and this web site would choke the internet connection of most people looking at it. The other reason is that I don't watermark my images. My volume of sales isn't very big, but I do sell prints, and I don't want to be posting pictures sharp enough that they tempt someone to simply download them and take the files to the nearest print shop. This website and all of this content is copyright, of course, but I feel a little actual deterrence is also in order. But don't be fooled. The pictures are sharp, as you can see from the detail. Given how short and long the full panorama is... Well, if I printed it at my standard height of twenty four inches, the photo would be twenty feet long. And I think it would look very good. That's the natural habitat for a picture like this. It's hard to present on screen. Either it's very small (like here, and it will be minuscule on a smart phone screen) or you have to set it up so the viewer can scroll it. Neither is ideal or a complete view of the photo, though once I'd put it together I did look into what it would take to set it up as a scrolling image on this page. Not impossible, but more than I wanted to get into before this post!

Wintry Frozen Water, Drooping Cherry Tree Branches

Washington DC, 5 February 2021   Winter has come, though the weather remains very variable. I no longer have to go to previous years to post photos of wintry conditions as you can see from this photo I took at the Tidal Basin last Sunday after our day of snow on Saturday. A six frame panorama, in lieu of changing lenses, which in retrospect is rather odd, since I had the 25mm Zeiss wide angle in the bag over my shoulder, and I had to do quite of lot of masking in post production to get the branches to stitch together properly in the middle. Well, it was cold and I may have resisted juggling camera parts under those conditions. Or I may have just shot a bunch of overlapping photos as part of the picture capturing of the moment. That comes pretty naturally to me... It's bright and sunny today, and above freezing. Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog spokescreature, has predicted six more weeks of winter, which seems credible, though we're already in the race between getting colder and colder and the gradual addition of heat to the northen hemisphere as we travel away from the winter solstice.

I am still nibbling my way through From Oz to Kansas, below, though it gets very technical by page two or so. Versace started talking about something in Photoshop called "actions" which brought me up short, and lead me searching the web. They are recorded processes, that one can repeat. Don't we call them macros? Why does feel Adobe feel the need to confuse me by applying a new name to something that already exists as a fully understood and named concept in the IT world? I needed this knowledge, and it took me this long to get to because of the use of non-standard nomenclature. I also learned something fundamental about the Photoshop layers this last week. But enough of that! It's technical and quite wonky...

Cover of From Oz to Kansas
Photo Book

Washington DC, 29 January 2021   So! Starting out my study project, this week I'm reading From Oz to Kansas, which is about converting color images to black and white images. I do this all the time as I convert infrared photos (which have artifacts of visible light color in them) to black and white for consistency. But, I don't do any real processing, I just move the "saturation" slider all the way to the left when I'm processing the RAW files. I'm not unhappy with the results, although I wonder if I could do better.

Also, I do still have a crush on visible light black and white. Simple when I was shooting film, since the film itself was either fundamentally black and white (Tri-X) or color (Kodacolor or Kodachrome) while the vast perponderance of digital photo equipment is fundamentally color, and perhaps more to the point, the very file structure of a digital photo is color. One can convert, of course, and one does, and the premise of the book is that one can get superior results by working with the red, green, and blue color channels individually. Makes sense. In the film days one manipulated the colors reaching the film with filters, and the front end of making a photo. In digital, as in so much in contrast with film, there is an inversion, and one does the manipulation at the back end, in the complicated back alleys and cellers of Photoshop. More on this as I work through the book...

Boat Dinette with Computer, Large Monitor with Photo Dispayed and Photo Books.
Work in Progress Work Space

Washington DC, 21 January 2021   It's been quite a ride. I think the last few weeks have been hard for all Americans, and for our friends worldwide, but Julee and I live about six blocks from the National Mall here in DC. We've had a particularly close experience of all the bruhaha. Exhausting!

Serious photo creation is still very much in the background of my conciousness, and may stay there for a bit while the distractions recede, the emotions settle, I get a sense of when and how much I can travel, a sense of when photo venues might become open, and so on. Thinking about it yesterday evening, and reflecting on the physical boat work I've been doing (the floodgates of focus on that opened on the day of the inauguaration) I thought that maybe it was time to step back from the art and work a bit on the technology and craft of photography. That's where my mind seems to be right now, so it would make sense to embrace it. So, I went through the boat and gathered the technical books and manuals together.

There they are on the corner of my workspace at the dinette of our boat. (When we moved aboard I set up a desk space in the main salon that Julee and I were going to share, but she's working from home now, so, properly, in full possession of that.) I'll start with one of these books, and go through it with my pencil in hand to take notes, studying it as I would an engine manual, or (back when I was a liberal arts type at university) an original book on political theory. There is still so much to learn, and a better understanding of technique will make me a better photographer, and speed and ease my work with camera and computer.

Dawn Over Marina, With Construction to Left, and Radiation Fog Over Water in Background.
Washington Channel Dawn

Washington DC, 15 January 2021   Last June I started one of these posts with "It's hard to get away from the moment" and that's even more true now. Then, it was Covid and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Now, of course, we have Covid, and much worse than we had it in June. And, we have, ten times bigger than BLM, the insurection of 6 January. We didn't have a front row seat (prudence required that we kept our heads down!) but we live close enough to the Mall that we heard the amplified music played before the speeches and, of course, the sirens as belated re-inforcements began to come in. A terrible day, though the processes of elective democracy held in spite of the assault. That and the aftermath have sucked a great deal of the oxygen out of the room. I'm still functioning, but I find it more than usually easier to do the physical work of maintaining and upgrading the boat rather than the mind work of writing and photography. On top of the fact that the travel (even very local travel) that keeps me photographically fresh and engaged is more difficult and frought than ever.

We had a potential exposure to Covid on the 8th, so we were locked down even more than usual while awaiting our test results. I walked, but went to no stores, did not buy my hot chocolate at the Praline Bakery, didn't even visit the boat of a friend to return a couple of wrenches. We're negative, so that's over and we've returned to the level of masked caution we'd been observing before.

And yet I've continued to take photos and process them. The three frame panorama of the dawn and radiation fog on the Washington Channel was captured three days ago using my cellphone from the clubhouse. A target of opportunity. (The best camera is the one that's with you!) But also, yet another shot of the marina where we live. Here's to a better and broader 2021!

Wide Panoramic Photo of Beach and Islands.
Good Harbor Beach

Washington DC, 8 January 2021   The last two or three days in Washington have been pretty heart wrenching, so I'll put that aside in this blog, which is (mostly) dedicated to photography. I took the panorama above at the end of November, in Gloucester, at Good Harbor Beach, which is the go-to walking beach on Cape Ann. The photos that make up this three frame panorama were taken at the end of November, the last time we were in Gloucester, and perhaps the last time we'll be there for a while.

Sunlit Late Afternoon Panorama of Marina with Buildings, Washington Monument in Background.
CYC, December 2020

Washington DC, 1 January 2021   Happy New Year! The photo is a panorama of the marina where Julee and I live, stitched up out of four photos I took with my phone a couple of days ago, when we had wonderful afternoon light. At the end of December we're coming into the deepest part of Winter. Many of the boats are wrapped up, and we're all hunkered down, but so far it's been a mild winter. It's cold (and was actually colder when took the picture, in spite of the sunny skies) but not freezing, and we have no freezing in the ten day forcast.

So, the Best Wishes for all of us this year! Health, calm, and prosperity! I'll be working on my photography, getting my images to a wider audience, our boat, our house, and anything I can manage to make a better world. It's all a bit ambitious, but that seems to be called for these days...

Venetion Blind Shadows on Antique Door
Saxis Door

Washington DC, 26 December 2020   I'm a day late with the blog entry, but yesterday was Christmas and I was quite occupied with it, even if Julee and I were having a properly isolated Time of Plague celebration by ourselves. The boat is decorated, we had the traditional (in Julee's family) cheese and chocolate fondue on Christmas Eve, opened presents in our pajamas on Christmas morning, had a really lovely special meal in the afternoon, and spent a good deal of the day on the phone and on Zoom with family on both sides. This worked for me, and I think it worked for the family too, though I am looking forward to a more crowded celebration next year.

The photo is the third of my pictures from the recent, equally careful, trip to Saxis on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake. It's one of the interior doors of the cottage we stayed in, and old, picturesque, roughly hand built, little building from the 19th Century. Shadows of venetian blinds are nothing new in photography, but I find them appealing, and there is a lot of graphic interest in the sharpness of the wood and door knob, and the softness of the shadows themselves.

Late Afternoon Sky with Dead Trees in Foreground
Winter Sky, Assateague

Washington DC, 18 December 2020   We got away for a bit. Julee needed a break away from the busy office that is the salon of our boat. Now we can't do normal travel in these times, so she went online and booked a whole cottage AirBnB in Saxis, Virginia, on the Eastern Shore of the Cheasapeake. We took our own food, went to no restaurants nor any bars, and were altogether isolated and safe in this Time of Plague.

We were aiming for Chincoteague, the barrier island on the Atlantic, but the prices got considerably more reasonable with a bit of distance, and Saxis is a short drive to Chincoteague and interesting on its own. For me, the interest in Chincoteague came from reading Misty of Chincoteage as a child, and knowing a little about the herd of wild ponies that lived, and still live on Assateague, on the oceanside of Chincoteague, and thus, I suppose, a barrier island to a barrier island. I'm now rereading the book, and I'm picking up a lot that went quite over my head when I was seven. We did see the wild ponies, but at a distance, and it wasn't very spectacular. Horses grazing in a field... But Assateague is now a National Wildlife Reserve and saw wonderful birds, delicious wetlands, and amazing trees, alive and dead, like the ones above.

Infrared Photo of Coastal Wetland with Grasses and Surrounding Trees
Assateague Wetland   The banner photo above is a four frame panorama I took later in the afternoon near the pony pens. This photo is an infrared three frame vertical panorama so I could get the foreground water, the middleground weeds, and the background trees into the photo without changing lenses.

Home again, and refreshed for the season. As befits the Time of Plague, we'll celebrate Christmas alone. As I've said before, we have the Winter to get through, and we're not getting sick, or getting anybody else sick. Late on the post today, but I spent my morning shag running around town for parts for my boat projects...

Splotches of Pancake Ice on Water
Thawing Washington Channel

Washington DC, 11 December 2020   It's definitely Winter, but not like this. The photo was taken a couple of years ago, when the Channel did freeze, but not very hard, and not for very long. This three frame panorama was taken the day after the pancake ice formed, and it was already melting. Last year's Winter was milder still, and the weather people are thinking this year will continue the trend. They could be wrong, of course! It has gotten cold, and we had a few flakes of snow on Wednesday morning, and the forecast indicates a bit more next week, but it didn't, and won't, stick. We'll have to see what the next three months brings us.

I've been obsessing a bit about a lovely bit of photographic music. Si La Photo est Bonne (If the Photo is Good), by the French chanteuse, Barbara. (Like a lot of French vocalists of the mid sixties, she went by a single name. I was at the end of grade school and living in Paris at the time and the whole seminal and vibrant French pop culture of the time passed right over my head. I was introduced to it years later by a flame of my middle age.) I speak a fair French, but I don't follow lyrics easily (even in English) so I didn't pay it much attention except that I liked that it was about photography. Except it isn't... It's about the attraction to bad boys: If the newspaper photo of the young perp is good... Oh well! Given that the great Johnny Hallyday had a big hit riffing on on Tennessee Williams, starting with a spoken intro that was the last lines from the French version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, anything was possible.

Chopper, Washington Channel

Washington DC, 5 December 2020   It is getting Wintry-er on the Washington Channel, with chilly rainy days interspersed with colder clear days, and wonderful golden red sunsets. There's no color in this infrared take on the sunset, but I do think it captures the cold, very-nearly-to-the-solsice feeling we have these days. The helicopter is another big aspect of life on this waterfront. The helicopter route for the District of Columbia goes almost right over our heads, with the choppers down on the deck to avoid the commercial airliners landing across the river at National Airport. Most of them follow the route to the White House heading right as you look north, or to the Pentagon, pealing off to the left, but some of them are on on the way through. We see Park Service machines, Coast Guard, and civilians that are obviously camera platforms. They don't fly through, but turn right and hover over the Mall during events. This one is in the colors of the HMX-1, the Marine helicopter unit that specializes in VIP transport. It's not the Prez, flying alone and not being one of the big Sea Kings.

Wintry Channel   Here's what the scene looked like in color. This is a three frame stitched panorama. I do take a lot of photos of this stretch of water...


Gloucester, Massachusetts, 27 November 2020   My show at the The Martha Spak Gallery is something of an infrared retrospective. It's nowhere near comprehensive, of course, but it starts almost at the beginning, with Reaching Tree taken in August 2013, and includes this photo, taken just under a couple of months ago. It's been a pretty good seven years! The show has one more weekend to run and will be open the coming Saturday and Sunday from noon to five. I want everyone to go, of course! But... It's Covid time and though the gallery is a safe, masked, retail environment, I have to admit that safety is relative and that I understand when people are careful about non-necessary shopping and cultural events.

So, I've put the show online here so you can see it if you can't, or feel you shouldn't, make it in person. Please take a look!

Panoramic Photo of Many Contrails Above a Marina
Contrails, Capital Yacht Club

Washington DC, 20 November 2020   It's been a rather boat-y (that is to say, non-photographic) week. Monday and Tuesday I was on the road up to New England and back, buying and hauling an anchor windlass, or winch, to replace the irreparable unit I have. A rather large hunk of metal to be transporting in the back of of a small/medium SUV! And, in the last week, winter has kicked in. I know, I know, it doesn't officially start until the Winter Solstice on 21 December, but I've never had much patience with tying the seasons to the astronomical equinoxes and solstices. When it gets warm I think of spring, and when it gets cold I think of winter. Besides, aren't the solstices for dancing naked in the woods? (Maybe the old religion is more appealing during the summer solstice...)

The photo's from February, when Covid-19 was on the move, but hadn't yet gripped everyone's attention. The sky was full of people going places, and our sky in particular was full of aircraft overflying Washington from the trans-Atlantic routes on their way to the interior of North America. The day was much like today, clear, and cool. We still see contrails, but in ones and twos. It's a different world, and while we will get through this and our horizons will open up, I don't think it will be the same.

My show is coming up to its third week. The Martha Spak Gallery is open weekends, noon to five through the end of the month.

180 Degree views of Marina with Blue Sky and Puffy Clouds Reflected in the Water.
CYC 180

Washington DC, 13 November2020   Friday the 13th... I'm not superstitious, but it's been a funny season... We're coming into the second weekend of my show at Martha Spak Gallery, but I'm taking a posting break from that and presenting a very wide panorama I took with my phone from the deck of my boat club early in the morning a couple of days ago. I've posted pictures from this vantage point before, but like all sensible people in this Time of Plague I'm staying pretty close to home. There is value in working with the variations in light and weather and point of view. We do travel between homes, but carefully (no overnights in New York, no gallerying there, no stops along the way except one careful, masked, pause in New Jersey for fuel) and I'm sincerely wondering if even that will be limited in the weeks to come. Fortunately, this is a good environment for Julee and me should we have to hunker down even more than we're hunkered down already.

So, today, working on the mailing list and getting Mailchimp set up. I've fond that absurdly opaque... Forward!

Martha Spak on Short Step Ladder Lettering over Two Large Photos in the Entrance to Her Gallery.

Washington DC, 6 November 2020   A shot of Martha Spak, of Martha Spak Gallery putting my name on my show in her space! It really looks good and I'm very happy to see the work up on the wall again.

Martha Spak Hanging Photos in a Gallery.
Untitled   Here's a shot of some of the smaller, framed, photos going up. I did hang some of the pictures too, but I have trouble being on both sides of the camera at once. It can be done, but requires some setup and I didn't have the bandwidth on a day we were busy hanging the show.

So it's up. The doors are open weekends from noon to five, and we can open the gallery other times on request. Contact me! I will eventually document this show on this web site, but for the moment, the only way to see it will be to pay it a non-virtual visit.

Photo Mat Being Measured and Cut in Boat Dinette.

Washington DC, 30 October 2020   So, Wednesday I spent the day assembling the small, framed prints for my show. The photo shows the setup on the boat's dinette table, diminishing pile of prints to the left, on top of the diminishing pile of mats, cut to size. I'm cutting the opeing on the table, fully marking the cut lines in pencil, then using the straight edge to guide the magic Logan mat cutter. It worked well, though I got tired towards the end, and didn't notice that the second to last photo had been straightened and slightly cropped, and so was slightly smaller along the long edge than the standard 2X3 ratio prints than preceeded and followed it. I had one mat to spare, and so was able to finish this part of the show.

I was going to stage the three big prints yesterday, but it rained all day, so I did inside work instead, starting on taking the web site to the next level, with pop-up signup forms for a newsletter on approprite pages and in my emails. I'm going to have to learn some more coding to get this right... A week or two of study and experiment if I'm lucky, a month or two if it turns out to be as diffucult for me, as, say, getting the text to scroll over the photo on my index page.

But, the sun just came out, and it's really pretty. Onward! There is a lot on my plate today.

Infrared Photo of Hard Beach Sand, Arc-ing to the Left.
Low Tide Arc

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 23 October 2020   I seem to be turning into a landscape photographer. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not the way I tended to think about myself in the art. I think I'll still resist a bit, just because I remain a photographer of opportunity, and there will always be cityscapes and seascapes, still lifes, (Of opportunity, not set up!) and pictures of people and happenings. But, in this time of Covid people and events are rare (though I did post such a photo on 15 June) and there are only so many ways of representing my corner of Washington DC, so the energy seems to be going into Gloucester, but since the Gloucester is relatively small I can claim a lot of its corners as mine.

This corner is Good Harbor Beach, something of a Gloucester institution. A walk or two is always part of our time here. This day Julee and I went at the lowest of low tides on the day after a goodly storm and the seeing was crisp and the light crystalline. Perfect F64 weather! I shot both color and infrared, but got pulled towards the infrared, as in this shot back along the sandy low tide causeway to Salt Island. I'd never before been to Salt Island before, because the tide was never low enough.

On the road to points south tomorrow. The small prints for my show should be waiting for me in the Captain's Room at the Capital Yacht Club in Washington. I'll plot and plan with Martha on Sunday, if she's in the Gallery, and in any case frame the small prints and stage the big prints over the next week.

Backlit Infrared Pine Tree.
Black Mountain, Vermont   

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 16 October 2020   The show is more and more set in stone. I've ordered small prints and frames, to be sold at very, almost dissappointingly, reasonable prices, coordinated publicity with my beloved gallerist (Martha Spak of the Martha Spak Gallery) and have identified the trio of big prints to set the tone. Black Mountain, above, is one, and it will hang beside Reaching Tree, below, in the entrance to (hopefully!) pull people in. I'm not going to go into great detail about the show here and now, though when it's been up two or three weeks I'll post a gallery on it. I will say that it's titled Invisible Light because it consists entirely of infrared photos, starting with these two, which are among the very first of my infrared photos to make my heart sing, with examples from all the years since, including a little still life I took a only couple of weeks ago.

Matted but not yet framed B&W photo on a table on the aft deck of a yacht.
Untitled   Here's an illustration I took with my cell phone while I was assembling the sample picture for Martha. As we're doing everything to cut costs, I told her I'd "cut my own mats, a skill I picked up a thousand years ago in college" which was a little disingenuous, since, while I can honestly say that I'd been taught the skill, it's a little less certain that I'd learned the skill. With the tools of the day it required real freehand precision, not my strong point. I'm happy to report that the last forty years have brought enormous progress in things like computers and cameras and hand mat cutters. The $23.85 Logan mat cutter is the most delightfully clever tool, making good results possible for the unskilled as long as they follow the process carefully. This was on the aft deck of the boat I live on, the best workbench available to me in good weather. If conditions are bad when I'm back in DC and have all the components I may have to sneak into the clubhouse to frame the rest of the show.

We'll hang the show on 4 November and it will come down on 30 November. In this Time of Plague the galley's open only on weekend afternoons, but I can open it by appointment other times for the interested. If you're in the Washington area please come by during the regular hours or contact me if you need a special viewing.

Backlit Infrared Flame Tree in the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.
Reaching Tree   

Washington DC, 9 October 2020   Well, yay! The show is on, at the Martha Spak Gallery at The Wharf in Washington DC, running from 4 November until the end of the month. With Covid, the gallery has regular hours only on weekends, but I'm hoping to get some time during the week when I can open it myself for the folks in the neighborhood. Details to be arranged over the next three weeks... The name of the show will be Invisible Light, like my first show in Kathmandu, but this time the photos will be all infrared shots. I'm really looking forward to seeing the work up again.

Reaching Tree, above, will be the keynote photo, along with Black Mountain, Vermont, both in the doorway. I'll hang a big Fewa Lake on the center island, and the rest of the show will small, framed photos. Small for me that is... The prints will be twelve by eighteen inches, framed eighteen by twenty four inches.

More as this rolls out! Once Gallerist Martha and I had agreed on presentation and pricing, I put in an order for frames, made a trip to Blick Art Materials for matts and bought them out of their entire stock of a particular weight and color of board. The frames arrived today... It should all come together in time, which is short...

Washington DC, 2 October 2020   No photo today, as I'm rather distracted. There is the bigger stuff, of course, but also I'm trying to put together a show proposal that will work for my prospective gallerist. It's an interesting balancing act between creating framed prints that are affordable, and putting up work that is technically good enough that I can be proud of it. And all dependant on materials I have to source, both from afar and from the local art store. Back to it, and more on this next week when this will have resolved one way or the other.

Moody Infrared Panorama of Cityscape at Dusk, with a Small Kite High Above.
Kathmandu Kite

Washington DC, 25 September 2020   There is a real chance that I might have a gallery show towards the end of the year. I'm cautiously very excited... To that end I put together a roster of images where I thought I had big, gallery-sized, prints for the gallerist, and then went to the storage cage below The Wharf buildings to take inventory and see what was truly available. I'd been sensible enough to label most of the boxes with their contents, but until then I had no separate written inventory I could refer to. In the process I got reacquainted with older favorites. This one hung in the Siddhartha Gallery in Katmandu just over a couple of years ago. I think it really captures the feel of a late afternoon in the fall in The Valley, as one calls the high alluvial bowl that contains greater Kathmandu.

Concerning the kite, I'll quote the caption from the entry in the show page on this site: "Kite flying is a seasonal thing in Nepal, something boys and men do in the fall, and so loosely associated with the festivals of Dasain and Tihar. As one looks over the cityscape of Kathmandu in the afternoon one can usually see a couple of dozen kites in the sky. There's only one here. These are South Asian fighting kites and the pilots compete to see who can cut the strings of their opponent's kites with the strings of their own kites. Perhaps this kite is the survivor of the afternoon's combat. The photo is a three frame stitched panorama." And infrared, of course! The hanging print is about six and a half feet long, and the string of the kite is clearly visible.

It's been an odd couple of weeks since the return to Washington. It's an unsettled season, between politics and Covid. Work on photography, work on boat, and look forward to more settled days!

Black and White Photo of Plants Through Window Screen.
Window Still Life

Washington DC, 18 September 2020    A window still life I took two and a half weeks ago in New England. Unlike most of my black and white images it isn't infrared, but a visible light color image rendered to black and white through the magic of Photoshop. There are black and white digital cameras, but they're rare and tend to the very expensive. So, I do what most photographers interested in monochrome these days do and start with the color image and process the color out. I do like black and white, which is a part of my pull to infrared. I'm also drawn to color that seems black and white, like the photo below, taken of a storm brought into New England on the periphey of a hurricane in late August. It's a completely natural color photo, straight from the camera.

Pre-Storm Clouds   

We did indeed leave the dock below behind us, finally, and have the boat and home back to Washington as documented on Facebook. It's good to be home. It is also really good to be back in front of the big, bright, sharp, and accurated MultiSynch PA272W monitor! It's a tool that makes the work so much easier.

High Contrast Infrared Photo of Weathered Boards
Dock Abstract

Tracy's Landing, Maryland, 11 September 2020   I had really been hoping to have left this picturesque dock behind me when this post went up, but, alas, the final, necessary, part for the boat did not arrive yesterday so the boat remains in Tracy's Landing. Here's hoping for today!

The photo is an infrared shot of the dock where the boat has been kept for the last week. I have nearly identical shots in color. Not much color, because the weathered wood is fundamentally dark gray. The color and infrared photos don't actually look that different, but I still think the infrared version is better.

I'm going to go to a weekly schedule for posting here, starting today. So, no Monday blog. I'm not actually having that much trouble keeping up, or even having something to say, photographically, but I'm taking baby steps towards a more agressive online presence, and a weekly post right before the weekend seems like the way to go. That way I can plan a bit more, say a bit more, and perhaps be a little longer and meatier in my opinions about photography and art.

Infrared Photo of Tall Wetlands Grasses with Saillboat Masts Behind
Wetland at Herrington

Tracy's Landing, Maryland, 7 September 2020   A bit before dawn, on our boat, in the water. (I've taken to waking up early in my impending early middle age.) We've cleaned and straightened up, and our home is once again feeling quite homey after the months away and the coming and going of the mechanics. The salon carpet is likely ruined, but we didn't like that carpet anyway... Tomorrow the head mechanic and the head joiner will be on for (hopefully!) last work and we'll be ready to go after that.

Took the photo above yesterday while strolling through the marina. Opted against posting general marina photos because I've done that before (see the 31 July post) and against the more abstract plant portraits I taken in the last couple of days because I wanted to post something that gave more of a sense of this place.

Paired Suspension Bridges from the Roadway with Big Sky.
Delaware Memorial Bridge

Annapolis, Maryland, 4 September 2020   Disaster... Great trip down, as you can see from my phone shot of the bridge as we crossed the Delaware from the Jersey Turnpike to I-95. But once we got to the boatyard we found the boat still on the hard (out of the water, on blocks) with multiple critical assemblies not yet re-installed. along with dire warnings about the condition of other critical assemblies. Oy! A phone call on Wednesday would have kept us in Gloucester, and saved us a small fortune in temporary accomodation. Picking up the pieces...

P.S. Friday evening: Boat's in the water and mostly reassembled... We'd planned on leaving today, but that's off, and there was still some work to be done when we left the boat, so a weekend departure is off too. So, reconvene with the mechanic Tuesday morning, and I'll have to gather a crew to bring her home later in the week. (Julee works, and can't take the time...) That'll be harder in the Time of Plague, and it's all very messy, but we're on track, and we're in our rented digs and confortable.

Infrared Panorama of Fishing Port Basin with Seated Womand to the Right.
Saint Peter's Landing

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 31 August 2020   Elegiastic photo of one of the basins of Gloucester's Inner Harbor, a pretty good mash-up of a working port and a great tourist draw. It's a two frame infrared panorama. I think the schooner Thomas E. Lannon, under power in the left side, is a nice note.

Elegiastic because we're about to travel. Thursday (if all goes to plan) we'll be on the road to meet up with our boat in Deale, Maryland, and Friday we hope to be on the water on the first day of our floating home's return to Washington DC. I don't think it likely that I'll be able to post that day. (You've been warned...) I think I'm becoming more and more a civilian. As a diplomat (and for some years following) I would never have broadcast my movements in advance this way.

I have decided not to think of myself as a "summer person" in New England, but as the latest of a series of artists, like Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper who came to Gloucester, worked here, and took inspiration from this very interesting and picturegenic place. I'm really happy with the last months' work here, a lot of solid with some real high points. Not the work I expected to be doing this year, which involved travel and exploration, but I'm still happy with it! For the next bit, we'll be settling in to once again having two homes and being able to move back and forth. We'll be back here at least a couple of times this fall while battening down the hatches for winter in Washington. On the photographic side, printer Danny Chau is stretching my knowledge of Photoshop with his treatment of the Big Picture I talked about a few weeks ago. One could spend a lifetime walking the streets and back alleys of Photoshop...

Infrared Photo of Sidewalk and Weeds
Decorative Margin

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 28 August 2020   Another infrared photo of the weeds encountered on the afternoon walks with Julee. I'm struggling with the word "weeds" because some of these photos show the very intentional decorative plants that people have around their homes. In my mind there isn't a very clear dividing line, and in this very crowded little city there is a lot of mixing anyway. Here I suspect the grass was intentional, and the other plants are sneaking in.

The last couple of days have been finally gearing up the next upgrades on the website. I'm delving into the mysteries of Mailchimp so that I can run a professional mailing list and have links embedded in my site and my emails to allow people to subscribe (and to unsubscribe!). That's probably it for this round, since that's actually a fairly large bite for this entirely-self-trained-and-without-inate-skills web master. I really want to see if I can at least partially wean myself from the social media sites. I have control of this, and no control over my presentation on them...

Infrared Panorama of New England Cemetary with Houses in Background.
High Street Cemetery

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 24 August 2020   The afternoon walks have brought me a sunnier, wider (four frames stitched together), version of the Prospect Street Cemetery I posted in the gallery I posted after a really good couple of walks in the middle of last year. This cemetery has two names, apparently because the name of the street changed over time.

The walks have given me a lot of good images, and I'm not caught up, which is a pretty good feeling. This week, I'm going to be concentrating on the technical side, first, better control over my EOS-R color camera, which has a mind of it's own and probably has enough moxie to go head to head with the Cray supercomputers of my youth. Second, I'm working with my printer, Danny Chau, on The Big Picture of Kathmandu Durbar Square, and expect to learn a lot about post production in the process.

Infrared Photo of Highlighted Grassy Shrub Heads

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 21 August 2020   The Pandemic continues to enforce a small world, so I continue to take most of my pictures within a short walk of the house in Gloucester, usually on the short walks that Julee and I take in the afternoons after she logs off after her day at work from home. I'll carry the infrared camera an groove on the weeds and the decorative plants in front of people's houses, and sometimes on the small cityscapes of Gloucester. This one is from the walk yesterday.

Infrared Panorama of Nordic Waterfront with Statue and New and Old Buildings
Peaceful Section, Helsinki Waterfront

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 17 August 2020   

Statue of Peace by Essi Renvall   I'm returning to May, 2018, when we were in Helsinki for Julee's work. I've restitched and reshaped the panorama, and done a little Photoshop patching in corner so that it fills out the rectangle. I still feel an amateur with this kind of work, but I'm getting it done. Both shots infrared, of course, and the panorama is stitched up from five individual photos. The view is of the city waterfront towards the inner harbour. Behind on this walk was a fancy neighborhood, with the U.S. and Russian Embassies, a mild pilgramage for me as they figured large in Foreign Service folklore when I joined in 1989 and the Cold War was still pretty hot.

I wasn't able to make any sense of the odd and wonderful bronze of the floating mid-20th Century woman in her house dress (but barefoot!). There's an inscription in three languages I can't read (Finnish, Swedish, and Russian) so no help there. My Finnish friends didn't seem to want to talk about it, though when I pressed they admitted it had something to do with the relationship with Russia. When I really dug into identifying it this week, it was fairly hard to find. There are a number of more classical statues of women on that waterfront that are much better known and beloved! Persistance pays off, though. It's the Statue of Peace erected to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the 1948 Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance between Finland and the Soviet Union which laid out the Cold War relationship between the two countries. Given the background I can see why it's a zone of quiet for the Finns... I'm a bit outside, so I can say that I really like the odd power of Essi Renvall's monumental image.

Infrared Photo of House Front and Peaked Roof.
On the Way to the Weeds

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 14 August 2020   Took this on while walking to railroad station to take the photos of the plants growing along the tracks, thus On the Way to the Weeds. It's the house on the corner of our street, very much in the style of most Gloucester houses. Little is new here, and nothing in our neighborhood, but all is loved and well used.

Strongly Backlit Infrared Photo of Weeds Growing Between Railroad Ties.

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 10 August 2020   So, Saturday, we had what we call "Adult Dinner", and we walked back through the Gloucester train station on the way back from the ice cream parlor. Back in the day, when Kipling wrote Captains Courageous and Harvey Cheyne met his parents in their private railway car here, this railroad fanned out into what must have been a warehouse district. Today it's a single line of commuter rail running through Gloucester from Boston on to Rockport. It's not seeing any traffic this year, as the drawbridge that carries the rail to the island of Cape Ann is undergoing months of repairs and maintenance, and nature is taking over, as nature does. The weeds were wonderfully backlit, but I didn't have my infrared camera. But, home is near at hand, and once there I grabbed the machine and staggered back in my drunken chocolate ice cream haze, Ready to Make Art.

On last week's issue, how critical is critical? I'm not sure the "small" big monitor I'm using here is up to snuff. Not only pale, but the right side of the screen is (if you're looking carefully) darker than than the left side. I'm not sure the 25 inch version of this product is nearly as good as the 27 inch version from the same manufacture that I have on the boat. Work and analysis in progress!

Photo of Desktop With Printed Photo and the Same Photo on the Big Monitor

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 7 August 2020   The next step in my exploration of photo processing for print and screen: A sudden test print ordered from a local lab, Adorama's Printique. (Hey, Brooklyn is local, even when you're a bit north of Boston, with quick turnaround in any case.) At Adorama/Printique when you order online you have the option of requesting "no adjustments". Normally a tech will look at your photo and make it better before sending it to the giant printing machine, but you can turn that off, although that will trigger a pop-up dialogue box where you have to swear you have a calibrated monitor and know what you're doing. Well, yes to the first, and a little necessary fudging on the second!

So, comparing the paper print on the actual wooden desktop with the image on the monitor... No real surprises. Hightlights are very similar, but the shadows on screen are fairly open on the monitor, and quite opaque on the print. (And, as before and what drove this whole exercise, open on my twenty-five inch NEC monitor, and opaque on the laptop screen...) Could the monitor be brought into confluence with the print? I suspect not, or at least not completely, though I also suspect that it could be bit closer. But, I may just need to keep records and adjust the shadows to where they look washed out on screen, knowing they'll print darker on paper. But I have to also consider that I need to have image files that look good on my website, on a fair array of computer, tablet, and phone screens. Oy! I've been a bit shielded from this by having a super master printer for my display prints, Danny Chau. He's been working at this continuously in a mindful way since he was a teenager, and it shows.

But I still really want to understand this, even if my prints are produced by someone who is already deeply knowledgeable and can just do it. It's an important part of the craft, especially for someone like me who is drawn to marginal light. And, of course, I love the details of the work, even while holding on to the fact that the display image is the real product.

Round Clock with Day of the Week Hand on Yellow Wall
Glosta Clock

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 3 August 2020   It's Monday... I know it's Monday because, as you can see, I have clock with a day-of-the-week hand.

For me it's been an odd start to the week. My FrankenMac crashed, and crashed completely, while I was reading the news at breakfast. Fortunately, it's Glosta, and I can make a desperate Monday morning phone call to The MacDaddy on Main Street, hand it over the curb at 11:00, and get it back complete with the intermediate repair at 3:30. Wow! I know they're busy, so I appreciate the close to instant turn around. Final repair later in the week when a pair of new 8gb memory modules arrive...

So, not the start to the week I was planning, with further work on The Big Picture and some Deep Thought on the issue of monitors, prints, color, tone, and calibration. Perhaps when the littlest hand points to "Tuesday"...

Infrared Panoramic Photograph of a River with Crowded Docks and Marinas on Each Side.
Tracys Creek Panorama

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 31 July 2020   Another version of the photo I posted on 17 July, which seems ages ago, and is not quite two weeks in the past. I prefered the earlier one because it showed the crowding a bit better, but Julee saw this one over my shoulder and reacted strongly, and the truth is, I really like it. So here it is... I've been a bit all over the place this week, with the house pulling me (but happy with the work accomplished) and other business distracting, along with my naturally low level of energy and tendency towards extended planning processes...

On the photo side I'm working on getting my colors and contrast right from the beginning, that is, first on screen, in a way I can actually predict what the prints will look like, because, in the end, I'm still thinking of the print as the final product. And it is! I want something that will look good on my wall, and on your wall. (Email for prices!) It's not simple, first in not being simple (this was true in the film and photo paper days too) and second because the baseline parameters for screen display and printing are very distinct. I've now got my displays toned down to emulate paper and they look very dull.

Finally, the technology behind the built in display on the FrankenMac is older and different and much more limited than that of the big external monitor, so it's hard to get them to match. The Mac screen uses a technology called Twisted Nematic, which sounds like it should be a heavy metal group... But I do much of my editing on the small screen, and it's more vibrant (less accurate?) than the big screen. This all came up big time with The Big Picture I posted on the 24th, so I'm in a zone of struggle as I continue to work on this.

Wide Infrared Photo of Forest Glade with Dappled Sunlight.
The Emerald Forest

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 27 July 2020   Just about a block from where we live here in Gloucester there is a patch of wild forest, unaccountably wedged between a residential street and a shopping complex. I've been mildly curious about it for a long time, but in the last couple of weeks it's really grabbed my attention. For one, it really is wild. It's not a park, it's not urban in any way, it's a little patch of wild forest. And, it began to look really photogenic to me.

So, this morning (Friday, 24 July) I took the infrared camera and went for A Walk on the Wild Side. (Cultural references: 1. and 2.) Once there, edged in a little bit across the soft accumulation of rotting leaves and twigs, edged out again, found an actual path, found the photo above (a three frame panorama, as often, a substitute for not carrying a wider lens) and explored right up to the path along the fence on the further edge, against the shopping complex. There, messy young people have found a private place to get drunk on beer, leaving the evidence behind, but aside from that the patch is remarkably clean. Retracing my steps back across I came out and was greeted by some neighbors washing their vehicle, so now I have a history and name.

The property was once a foundry making such things as anchors for the fishing fleet. I love foundries and hot metal work but they are environmently fraught. You can deal with it in ongoing operations, or clean up later. I suspect the business started before anyone thought of those issues, and when the foundry closed the site had to be razed to the ground and below, with everything, including a couple of feet of topsoil carried away. Then it was a brownfield and quite ugly, and then, with truly benign neglect, the forest grew up on it. Future use is still up in the air but my neighbor's household calls it The Emerald Forest, and I will too. They think of it as a real asset, which is absolutely correct, and organize cleanups. Next time I will join them!

I don't think you can argue that I was wrong about the forest being photogenic... I'm really pleased with this picture for a number of reasons, among them the fact I was able to pull it together so quickly and (dare I say?) with such assurance. I got home from an errand at 10:15am. Knowing I wanted bright morning sunlight I grabbed my camera and walked over. I took my pictures and conversed with my neighbors and was back in the house and had processed the raw image files and assembled the panorama in a bit over an hour. I had this photo ready to post at 11:28... Whao! I've learned a lot over the last ten years and I find myself very proud indeed. But still so much to learn... On the color side I truly wish I had Leah Gordon's post production skills, which awed me when I got her help with a difficult photo a couple of years ago in Haiti. They would truly help in balancing out the tones and colors in the picture below. Nothing for it but to study, to experiment, and learn.

Very Wide Panorama of Traditional Nepali City Center with Vibrant Daily Life and Earthquake Damage.
The Big Picture, Kathmandu Durbar Square, 17 December 2016  (work in progress!)

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 24 July 2020   Well! My first week "at work" has paid off. When I sat down at my desk at 8:00am on Monday, this is the photo I picked to work on. It's a complex panorama taken of Kathmandu Durbar Square a sunny afternoon not quite four years ago. The Historical Photography Laureate of Nepal , Kiran Chitrakar, invited me out in his neighborhood, and took me to one of his secret vantage points whence I took this photograph.

That afternoon was a bit over a couple of years after the April 2015 earthquake, and this city/kingdom central square was still pretty beat up. Of the three major durbar (palace) squares in the Kathmandu Valley this one took the most damage and was the last to rebuild. I love these squares because they're major World Heritage Site tourist draws, dripping with history, and also the vibrant centers of comtemporary neighborhoods full of ordinary people going about their business. I was really lucky to live a couple of blocks off of Patan Durbar Square to the south the last couple of years in Nepal. I walked across the square every day and had to explain myself every time. Being European in appearance the guards assumed I should be paying the admission charged to tourists. It was lucky I spoke a rough grade of Nepali and could talk my way through...

On the technical side, this is a twenty frame double row panorama, one row of overlapping pictures across the top, a second row across the bottom. It covers a full 180° from side to side, and, as you can see, is very large image containing a lot of detail. As I was working on it I felt like I got to know the people and bond with them. This young woman definitely has someplace to go! There is a boy on his bike, a man on his phone, and many, many, groups hanging out this weekend afternoon. This picture taught me a lot, most importantly to make every effort not to pan diagonally, that is to tilt up or down as one sweeps the camera from one side to the other. That makes creating a rectangular image so much more difficult, and, even if successful, leaves perspective artifacts. Also, this photo helped push me to commercial panorama software. The open source software Hugin is awsome, and I owe it a lot, but it has trouble with highlights, masking is very hard, and it takes all night to stitch a photo this big. €149 for PTGui, and well worth it!

I've talked about the issues of these big urban panoramas in this blog before, here, and here when I was working on the nearly as big and equally complex panorama of the Marché Croix des Bosales in Haiti. Many of the same issues, including connecting with the people in the crowd! I honestly don't think I could have brought this one together without the lessons and experience of that one. I'm going to ignore the three minor mistitches on the building fronts (don't look, you will never find them at this web resolution) and call the image done on that side. It still needs some work, but in the realm of balancing lights, darks, and colors for printing and different screens. Another issue for another day!

Infrared Photo of Curbside Plants with Field of Focus.

Gloucester, Massachussetts, 20 July 2020   A bit of an experiment, as I'm not sure how this photo will play on my site, displayed small enough to view on a computer screen or even smaller on a phone or tablet. Often one uses light and shadow to draw the viewer's eye into the image, generally to the center of the frame. Here, the focus is literally focus. The center is sharp, and the focus falls off towards the edges. Interesting... It's not the way I generally think of making photos, being an Group f/64 accolyte, but it's valid, especially if it works!

Infrared Photo of Brutally Textural Rocks at the Water's Edge.
Tidal Rocks   Three photos from another great afternoon walk in Glosta - sorry, Gloucester! This one is from Stacy Esplanade, looking down at the shoreline, rather than up at the outer harbor.

Stark Infrared Photo of Small Apartment Building with Balcony and Plants.
Myrtle Square Apartment   And this one is from the second to the last corner before we got home. I'd always thought this was Myrtle Street but I do fact check before I post, and it's Myrtle Square.

I've gone back to work. Not in the sense of getting a job, but the last months of weirdness and uncertainty have messed up my focus. I'm getting things done, but not necessarily the most important things in the right order, and it feels disordered. I think it's best if I set aside a period of the day to sit at my desk and do the most important things, which I define as photography and writing. This website and blog are both, of course. So, eight to noon, which leaves plenty of time for other important things, like working on the homes and shopping...

Infrared Photo of Small River with Many Pleasure Craft Docked on Either Side.
Tracys Creek, Maryland

In Transit, 17 July 2020   Well, it is obvious what they do around Tracys Creek... Made a lightning visit to the boat on the hard and talked to the various craftsmen who are or have been working to make her ready for prime time again, and now a hopeful date certain to have our Washington home back in the water and home in Washington at the end of August. I took panoramas from both sides of the bridge, and they're fine, but I think this single frame image actually captures the feel and interest of this boat commmunity better.

Currently on the long run up the Northeast Corridor... No trains or buses in this Time of Plague. Just me, my metal box on wheels, and highway I-95.

Street, Cars, and the Back of the Fisherman's Memorial, Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Smart Car

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 13 July 2020   An odd day. We're still in the midst of the pandemic but I've now had two or three good walks with the infrared camera, and feel like I'm returning to the photographic groove, though the non-photographic things are as distracting as ever!

One can't avoid the Fisherman's Memorial if you're photographing here. It's very much the iconic symbol of the City of Gloucester, installed on the waterfront in 1925 to commemorate the 400th aniversary of the first (unsuccessful!) settling of the area by Europeans. When Salem, a bit to the south, was settled three years after Gloucester the survivors immediately decamped to it. But the area was resettled by Europeans by the 1640s and Gloucester has been A Place ever since. Fishing remains a dangerous occupation, but when the memorial went up there was living memory of years when scores of fishermen had been lost at sea in a single season.

This is the view from the back of the statue, which faces out to sea, from the other side of Western Avenue and Stacy Boulevard. How could you not love a street that has one name westbound and another name eastbound? And how could you not love this delightful road and esplanade? The photo is a two frame vertical panorama in infrared. A panorama because I didn't have the wide angle lens, but I've now been shooting wide angle photos with this cheat so long that it's easier than carrying the extra lens, and much easier than swapping lenses mid-walk. See below! I waited for the motorcyclists to come into the picture...

Long Infrared Photo of Sea Grass with Groove.
Salt Wetland Grass

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 10 July 2020   We are (carefully, and with social distance) getting out. Earlier in the week I went to Gloucester Marina to explore the possibility of putting my little inflatable boat in the water. Saw the light on the surrounding wetland and made plans for return. The sun was out yesterday, so I grabbed the big cameras and made the trip. It was different... The tide was in, instead of out, and I really didn't expect much, but I'm very happy with this one (a three frame panorama, in lieu of wide angle lens, and infrared, of course) and a scattering of others I captured. Later that day I took the infrared camera with me when I went walking with Julee, and am very happy with some of those photos too. A good day!

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 6 July 2020   Busy today, though as I write this I haven't gotten out of bed. Will now, though!

Breakfasted and busy! Some photo, much other stuff. I'll check back in on Friday...

Dramatic Shadows, Lace Curtains, Window, and Edge of Armchair Back.
Glosta Gothic

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 3 July 2020   I've been mostly indoors, so my pictures continue to be mostly indoors too. Generally of windows, because that's where the light is. I'm still allowed... A very few, like this one, stand out a bit. Meanwhile, great progress is being made on such things as finalizing our income tax return (deadline delayed due to Covid) and writing out a fairly large check to the IRS. Unpacking and putting away is going great guns, along with consolidating those boxes and things not to be unpacked just yet. Rooms that were full of boxes and their exploded former contents are either back to normal or looking much emptier. Next week I think we'll be re-stabilized with one room for storage, and fully available guest rooms. But when will the pandemic allow us to have guests again?

Unlike the southern and western states, Massachesetts is doing pretty well with the Covid-19. But the numbers of new cases, although low, 53 yesterday , is not zero. That being the case I think Gloucester is pretty crowded this 4th of July weekend. By the standards of a normal year, not at all, of course! Most people seem to be pretty careful... But I do want to shout at a few "Wear your mask!" and at a larger number "Wear your mask properly!" The pandemic is the background to everything these days...

High Contrast Color Photo of Window, Curtins and Fan.
Box Fan

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 29 June 2020   So, I'm defaulting to photos of windows... Well, I declared myself allowed! It's a thoughtful moment as I write this, and I'm dealing with half or three-quarter formed ideas and the sense that I need to be a librarian for my thoughts, intentions, and time, as well as my physical things.

This is no longer a decision point, as my August show has been deferred to sometime next year. The Martha Spak gallery has actually had a new show hung in the last month, but remains closed for pandemic like so much of Washington DC retail. One can look at Carol Rubin's charming paintings, but only through the windows... We don't really know what the situation will be like in August, but I don't have any optimism for anything like normal. There are substantial costs to hanging a professional show and it seemed an uncertain time to making and accepting that kind of big investment, so when the deferral was offered I took it. Regroup for next year...

But, as I'm thinking this morning, it's past time to be more professional in another way, one that I can address from my own laptop. I've given myself a one month deadline to (finally) get my mailing list together, set myself up with Mailchimp, and develop a newsletter format to mirror or compliment these posts. The list is the most time consuming, as I have to draw from a lot of sources, and, for me, it's twiddly hand work. Time to focus.

Old House Window with Sheer Curtains in Window
Gloucester Curtains

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 26 June 2020   I have the soul of a librarian. This isn't news, I've been saying this for about twenty five years. I like things to come in matching sets, to be put away or displayed in a concious and orderly way. I can deal with chaos if it's imposed on me, but if I'm in control, I like things neat. And that's sometimes difficult, because the world isn't a neat place!

But, here we are at the other end of our current axis, in Gloucester and while Julee works the librarian has come forward. I've all the non-photo books out of the boxes and on the shelves in the office (I set the shelves up during my quick trip up in February, before the pandemic), many other boxes emptied and contents dispersed to proper places, boxes of photo books consolidated for the time we acquire the big, deep, shelves they require, and projects around the house started. Busy!

Hasn't left a lot of time for photography, but I did capture this view of the office window behind my desk yesterday. Well, the summer's long, and as the immediate environment gets more comfortable I'll be thinking about heading out to do some landscape work along the roads and tracks south.

Collage of Images Representing Western Art from 1300s to 1880s.
David Hockney's Wall, from his book Secret Knowledge

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 22 June 2020   When Hockney started the research that led to his book, he photocopied images from his art library and hung them on a wall in his Los Angeles home. European (Western) art from the 1300s to the the late 19th century, northern European works at the top, southern European works at the bottom. That's the image above, a double foldout in the book itself. In life this was 65 feet long... (Delightful to have a wall that long at one's home I'm sure!) Presented thus, he notes two seismic shifts in the tradition, clear demarcations with a before and after. One occurs about 1425, which he believes (and convinces me) is the result of painters learning to use optics to compose, making much more complex, precise, "natural" and light-aware/informed images possible, and, very quickly, standard issue for the top talent in western art. The second occurs in the second half of the 19th century, when western painting leaves that track and becomes decoupled from precise representation, leading, through Impressionism, to the many, many, schools of less realistic modern art, often to purely abstract art.

Both of these moments are plainly visible in the record, but Hockney's telling of the story gives a different "why" for the first deflection. The standard telling that I grew up with combines improved materials, the invention of a formal system of realistic perspective, and the close and unfettered observation of things and nature that came from the humanist project of the day. I think that's all true, but that the discovery of the optical image, either projected with a concave mirror, as Hockney believes, or projected with a fine hole or a lens in a camera obscura as I tend to think (but then I'm a photographer, and, like most photographers, obsessed with the equipment) was also a huge part in the change of vision. For centuries going forward, part of the skill of the artist was precise documentation. And then, it wasn't. Or rather it wasn't a necessary part of the skill. For me, the reason has never been less than clear. Precise documentation was becoming the realm of the photographer, and the questing painter or draftsperson starting looking for ways of working that weren't limited to the camera image.

Of course none of the these boundaries are as clear as we tend to want them to be! When I was a lad, speaking perfect English-accented English and studying for my O Levels (what most non-Commonwealth sorts will have first encountered transmogrified into the "Owl" exams at Hogwarts) in a tiny British school in Mexico City one of the essay questions on the biology exam was "Compare and Contrast the Eye and the Camera". I think I did okay with that... I was already an enthusiastic photographer in my first wind so I got the concepts the textbooks presented and actually a bit more. The big extra I added was the fact that while the camera projects the three dimensional image of the world onto a flat plane of film, the eye projects the image onto a deeply concave surface of recepters. I probably also wrote about the differences between the single, but complex, lens of the eye and the multi-element lens of the camera. But, I don't think that's the biggest or most important difference. While I was aware of it (it's well documented!) it wasn't until years later that the bigger implications began to seep into my concious thought.

We all have peripheral vision. I can see almost 180 degrees from side to side, which I understand is quite normal, but the truth is that sharp vision only covers the eighteen degrees in the center of our field of view. But our brains are processing wildly as our heads turn and our eyes dart about so that we have the illusion of a much bigger, more comprehensive, image. Our brains are also filling in as our focus jumps from the far to near and back again. A painting or photo is generally viewed within that central image area, so it's all available in one chunk, and, of course, fixed in time. It's a unitary thing, unlike our vision, which is feeding our memory but is otherwise a fleeting composite. There's a real power to the unitary thing.

Throughout the history of photography there has been a big back and forth between the folks that make images with chemistry and physics with the camera and the folks that make images by placing marks on a surface. From early on artists have used photos as sketches, even when photos were so new that making even one was an event. And there was a big chunk of time when photographers were assembling images from disparate images or drawing on their negatives, because that's what real artists did, and they aspired to the respect they saw accorded to the successful painters of their times. I think those boundaries were always somewhat artificial, but clearly artificial now. I'm a photographer, I work with a camera and Photoshop. Others are painters, and work with canvas and paint. We're both (if we're truly ambitious) trying to make images that really grab people.

18th Century Illustration of a Camera Obscura.
Camera Obscura by James Ayscough, 1755

Washington DC, 19 June 2020   I've just finished David Hockney's book, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, and I'm still digesting it. The central premise - that the old masters knew about, and used, cameras, even though they didn't have film - is not new to me. I'd read the long article on Hockney's research and ideas in the New Yorker, The Looking Glass by Lawrence Weschler, when it came out in 2000, and it really popped my eyes open. The pre-photographic use of the camera is also part of the history of photography. What's different is that the photographic historians present the camera as a kind of gimmick to help student artists learn to sketch, while Hockney believes that the camera image is central to a big chunk of the greatest European art. But, though the central idea is not new, there is a lot of new material in the book, plus a a great deal of profound thought on the grand sweep of the history of western art. It is fascinating reading art history written by a top artist rather than an academic... (No disrespect to the academic, but it is different!) More on this as I think it through.

Socially Distanced Crowd in Sunny Urban Open Area.

Washington DC, 15 June 2020   It's hard to get away from the moment. We've been driven by the Covid-19 pandemic since early in the year, I've more recently been driven by the need to to do heavy maintenance on my boat/home, and in the last weeks we've been driven by the most recent episode of the Black Lives Matter movement started by the death of George Floyd. It's a big moment, and very much overdue. In recent years I've had a couple of really unpleasant encounters with police in the National Capital Area, and come away thinking "OMG! I'm a middle aged white guy. What if I'd been a young black man?" I have enormous sympathy for police officers, who have a huge and dangerous task, but at the same time if I can't establish a human connection when I'm pulled over there is a real problem. I'll leave it at that on this blog which is by design about photography, but note the photo of the responsible demonstration I attended last Friday in our neighborhood in Southwest (SW) Washington DC. It's a six frame stitched panorama construct from photos I took with my phone.

Panorama of Heavy Rain in a Marina
Summer Storm, Washington Channel

Washington DC, 12 June 2020   It's not summer yet but we're getting summer storms. But honestly, I've long since felt that the formal designations of the seasons (at least in the United States) to be astronomically arbitrary. Spring starts with the equinox and summer with the solstice, but honestly, (again!) that doesn't work for me since I think of the seasons in terms of weather. By that measure we've arrived in summer some weeks ago. These big rain storms are just part of it. The trees are fully leafed out, the grasses are tall, and it's hot...

Yesterday was another day like this one a week ago, at least in the morning, so I took a break from the boat and stayed home from the boatyard in Deale. A good call! I feel much refreshed... The day before the heavy mechanic working on the prop shafts couldn't loosen a critical part, which then resisted leverage, then resisted a bigger lever, then resisted a hydraulic press, and may be resisting still. If so, than the stay in Deale may be much more expensive (bad) and longer (worse) than I had hoped. I'll learn more today...

Washington DC, 8 June 2020   Placeholding! Spent the weekend and the day working on the boat and involved in the issues of the day. Not really the subject of this blog... More anon!

Infrared Panorama of Apartment Building Balconies and Trees
7th Street Tree Tops

Washington DC, 5 June 2020   Courtesy of our Dear Friend sheltering Down South, we're living in, or at least at the tree tops. This apartment on the sixth floor is just about level with the tops of the trees on 7th Street. The other day, we were on the balcony having our evening drinks and eye to eye with a squirrel who was a long way from terra firma but apparently unconcerned with the fluid flexibility of the branches he or she was on. Last night was stormy, and the branches whipped around like the dramatic framing of a movie scene. I took the photo above (a five frame infrared panorama) three days ago in pleasanter weather!

Still, the major energy these weeks remains on the boat on The Hard in Deale. When I went yesterday afternoon, the bottom was black, as the paint crew (having sanded over the last couple of days) had gotten there in the morning with their masking tape, paint rollers, and gallons of paint. The electronics guys were still wrestling with the new chartplotter/sonar installation, and the prop and prop shaft guys hadn't yet shown up. There are still holes in the bottom where the sonar transducer needs to be, along with thru-hulls to be removed, and thru-hulls to be replaced. There's some exterior woodwork which is probably going to control the length of time the boat remains out, probably, sadly, another couple of weeks...

Decorative Pattern of Granite Gravel
The Hard

Washington DC, 1 June 2020   The boat and home remain on the hard and taking up most of my time and energy. So, here's a portrait of The Hard... Herrington has spread large fields of gravel to make a clean, predictable, place to park the boats. I thought of desaturating this photo to emphasize the shades of grey of the gravel, but it's pretty grey already... Another week (maybe) or two weeks (seems more likely) of this, while I and a passel of contractors do the needful.

Infrared Still Life of Plants in Strong Diagonal Light
Homage to Sudek

Washington DC, 29 May 2020   This isn't where I expected to be this Friday post. I was sure I was going to be posting landscape, not still life. I will admit that most of my energy the last week and a half has been with my and Julee's boat,
Photo of large motor yacht on blocks in a Boatyard.
now on the hard in Deale in the care of half a dozen skilled tradesmen doing big maintenance and some important upgrades. It's not impossible that they'll meet the target of splashing her a week from today, making it possible for Julee and I to bring our home back to Washington that weekend. It's not impossible..

The Western Shore of the Chesapeake is beautiful country, and it's vibratingly alive with green spring. I have done some landscape photography on the way home from my visits, nice, but nothing I feel compelled to share. I took the little still life that leads today's post in a friend's apartment yesterday afternoon in Washington DC. She's sheltering with family down south, and has graciously given us a place to stay while she's away. It reminds me of the lovely Eastern European take on modern art photography, particularly one of my very favorite photographers, the one armed magician of Prague, Josef Sudek. I love his work, partly (of course!) because he's so amazingly good, and partly because he was completely contempory with California's Group f/64, in my own tradition, knew about them, learned from them, but followed a very different Eastern European art tradition, a heady mixture of Romanticism and Avant Garde.

Meanwhile... Washington DC is beginning it's opening up from the Pandemic Shutdown today. Not at all sure how to feel about this. The crisis has been so completely politicised it's hard to feel confident about the available information or about government actions and policy. The DC announcement did hang the decision on real milestones concerning drops in new cases, and the ability to test and do contact tracing in a big way. So, the Pandemic Café has closed, the weeds have been weeded, the tables and chairs set up in a neat inviting pattern, and I'll never get the last set of photos I was planning on. Here's to good policy, public health, public safety, and the hope that, at least in the DC area, we're making the right calls.

Infrared Panorama of Inlet in Northern Virginia
Coan River, Virginia

Deale, Maryland, 25 May 2020   I missed Friday's post... I spent the day in final prep for taking the boat to Deale, and had one of my mercifully rare, and mercifully short, periods of complete dippyness in the middle of the day. At moments like that I leave important things behind, and sometimes recover them and sometimes don't. It's supremely embarassing and has potential for much worse. Supposing it was my phone or wallet? When I was in my twenties I twice left my address book in phone booths... (That statement dates a person! One of the reasons we always had change in our pockets was to make phone calls.) But, by afternoon, preparations for the Big Boat Trip were mostly done. Engines started at 6:15 on Saturday morning, and the Mad Hatteras began it's perilous journey downriver.

Perilous? I was deeply nervous. I've been boating since 1995, but not continuously, and this boat is a new combination of precious, big, and vulnerable, and I've just been through serveral years when I haven't been boating at all. Two days and 140 miles on, safely docked in Deale, I'm feeling much more confident, and this boat is feeling like a living vehicle, something much more than the comfortable home on the water that it's been for us over the last year.

Blue Clouds and Their Reflection in Water
Downriver, Washington Channel   I captured this three frame panorama with my phone just before we set out, and the morning just got more and more beautiful as we passed the War College and Alexandria on the way south. No pictures, as I felt I should be highly concentrated on driving the boat and left my cameras below. But it was a grand day on the water. The lead photo is a four frame infrared panorama from the end of the day, after we'd tied up in the Coan River Marina, a wonderful place run by friends of ours in Lottsburg, Virginia. Then, morning gossip, relatively late start, and then the nervy run out the impossibly narrow, twisty, and shallow channel out into the mouth of the Potomac and then a relatively fast and straight run up Chesapeake Bay and in to the merely improbably narrow, twisty, and shallow channel to Rodback Creek and this marina and boatyard. With luck, the boat will be lifted out of the water and set on supports on land (on the hard, as boaters say) tomorrow and the work will begin.

Washington DC, 18 May 2020   Nothing photographic today. I've been working on the boat, since the waterways of Maryland have opened up and she's going to Deale for out-of-water heavy maintenance next weekend. So, prepping for a two day trip down the Potomac and up the Chesapeake and then a minimum of two weeks of disarray in our lives as our home is elsewhere and inaccessible for living. But then, we should be set for a year or two, and confident in the vehicle so that it will get much more boating use going forward.

I've done another series on the Pandemic Café in color with the wide Zeiss lens, but haven't yet worked on them aside from filing. In a day or two...

Infrared Photo of Café Seats and Weeds
Pandemic Café 2

Washington DC, 15 May 2020   It's the Ides of May, and it's been a pretty quiet photographic week for me. I've gone back to the Pandemic Café, but this photo is from my visit just over a week ago. Now ready for prime time, since I've patched the lower left corner. In the process learned a new Photoshop trick. The patch should be invisible, at least at this resolution...

Extreme Panorama of Deserted Waterfront Walk.
Unawakened Waterfront

Washington DC, 11 May 2020   It's hard to be anything but topical at the moment. Here's a picture I took yesterday, right on the land side of the waterfront where I live. It's very similar to another panorama I took from the same vantage point on 24 January. Similarly deserted, but the earlier picture showed a cold, grey, weekday morning during the deadest retail period of the year, and this one was taken in the middle of very pleasant afternoon on a May Sunday. This fashionable, trendy waterfront development should be packed. Which would be a bad idea in the middle of the pandemic! But, half of the restaurants are closed, the other half are serving takeout only, and retail is limited to the essential, that is the drugstore with the pharmacy counter. And it's heavily patrolled to enforce social distancing. When I was finishing up with the Pandemic Café photo below I was asked to move along by a police officer. When I was taking the photos than make up today's extreme 180° panorama (fourteen frames!) the restauranteur from the hotel to the side of this terrace shooed me away. And rather sharply. And it really angered me.

So, I'm not immune to the growing cabin fever, though I had the sense to keep my temper and politely leave, especially since it was clear that the space was blocked off, though it wasn't actually posted for no tresspassing. One of my friends found this Australian article, We have begun the dreaded third quarter of isolation, about the effects of isolation on people's social connection, based to research into places like Antartica and outer space. It's a bit sobering. Doubly so, since the subjects knew, often to the minute, how long they were going to isolated. We've no idea how long this is going to last... Especially given the growing tendency to civil disobedience, which may very well push the line in the graph sharply upwards again. I had my worst time last week, and in spite of my sharp grumpiness yesterday, feel able to hunker down with Julee for a good while longer. This will be complicated by the boat work, but we'll work hard to keep ourselves safe and not be part of the problem.

Infrared Photo of Outdoor Restaurant Seating with Weeeds Growing Between Paving Blocks.
The Pandemic Café

Washington DC, 8 May 2020   It remains very quiet, as it should. Some things are opening up, boating in Maryland, for example, so two weeks from now we'll take the boat down the Potomac and up the Chesapeake to a boatyard for heavy, and rather overdue, maintenance. Up on the seawall here at the Washington Channel the drugstore is open, some restaurants are marginally open, only for take out, and the other businesses are closed. Security is out in force, and maintenance continues, but obviously not enough! Weeds are growng through the cracks in the paving blocks on the water side, most aggressively here in a roped off restaurant seating area.

Infrared Sky with Teams of High Performance Acrobatic Jets in Flight.

Washington DC, 4 May 2020   A quiet weekend for photography, but sometimes the pictures come to you. This is a shot of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Navy Blue Angels acrobatic teams from the top deck of our boat on Saturday. An odd event given the real needs of the moment, but beyond impressive.

Water and Trees in Infrared
Sunlit Washington Channel in Infrared

Washington DC, 1 May 2020   Like everyone, my horizon is currently very close to me, since I'm heeding the stay-at-home orders of the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia). At the beginning of the year I'd had every intention of taking my photographic project up and down the East Coast of the United States between Washington DC, New Jersey, New York City, and New England in the late winter and through spring and summer. Now, with the Covid-19, I am pretty much limited to where I can walk while maintaining appropriate distance from my fellow humans. I'm lucky that I live in sight of wonderful public spaces! The photo shows my view from the aft deck of the boat across the Washington Channel to East Potomac Park from the middle of last week. A two frame panorama in infrared.

I'm as weary of this situation as anyone, but also very cautious about it. I don't get the sense that this is at all well understood, and given the slaughter we've already gone through in the last month I'm not chomping at the bit to push my horizon further out. I would like to be travelling more, even around the city and to the suburbs, but there is, fortunately, plenty for me here inside the circle of my present horizon, and thanks to modern telecomms I'm not feeling disconnected to my friends and family across the globe.

Backlit Infrared Pine Tree
Black Mountain, Vermont

Washington DC, 27 April 2020   I'd promised more recent photos, but they will wait, as it's not everyday that I post a new gallery on this website, in this case my Infrared Trees page. It's been hanging fire for a while, but finally up... I feel it includes some of my strongest work. Please take a look!

Panoramic View of Kathmandu Neighborhood with Large Stupa at Sunset.
Bouddha Neighborhood Panorama, Detail

Washington DC, 24 April 2020   I was looking for a date, in this case my arrival in Nepal. For me, the easiest way to find a date of that sort is to go trolling through my photos, since I file them by date and location. I took this one from the hotel room at sunset of my first day in Kathmandu, 29 July 2015. It's the Tibetan quarter of the city, grown up around the white dome to the left, the Bouddhanath, which I visited and photographed many times in the next three and a half years, even when I lived all the way across town to the south. My first day, but I still think I caught something of the spirit of the place. I was was more than delighted to be there, and not disappointed as that chapter rolled out!

So I thought I'd take a break today from the mostly black and white infrared photos I've been taking within walking distance of the boat here in Washington and post something historical and more colorful. I'll come back to more recent photos next week.

Outdoor Infrared Portrait of Woman in Protective Facemask.
Pandemic Julee

Washington DC, 20 April 2020   Julee and I are very lucky that we're sheltering from the Covid-19 pandemic in a place that's pretty, and where it's possible and reasonable to take a walk. One can't go anywhere since some areas were closed to limit crowds. Some remain closed, like the recreation piers, or have tightly controlled access, like the Fish Market. And, our Wharf is patrolled by police to make sure people don't congregate, even in small numbers at safe distances. I get it, since poeple can be really mindless even in situations like this, and we're again lucky that we have the docks of the club to congregate on. At safe distances!

Backlit Infrared Photo of Tree
Tree, Potomac Park   

This is series of photos from the walk Julee and I took to and through Potomac Park on the 6th. A great afternoon for infrared, brightly sunny and completely clear. The top photo is Julee in her odd, but very effective Kathmandu mask. We both had real N-95 masks before any of this began, not for germs, but for the smog of the Kathmandu Valley when we lived there. Mine is cloth, but very fitted, with a pocket for the serious filter. The next photo above is a classic Laurence shot of a backlit tree, in this case a three frame vertical sitched panorama, to cover the lack of a wide angle lens.

Infrared Portrait of Masked Woman With Her Bicycle.
Pandemic Seung   And we met our friend Seung, who was out on her wheeled constitutional! Not a complete surprise, as she has wheels and spends a lot of time in Potomac Park. She stopped and talked to us, maintaining (of course!) appropriate social distance and protection. So two odd, masked, infrared portraits in one day!

Washington Channel No. 3, 6 April 2020   We walked to Potomac Park via the Tidal Basin, and back via the 14th Street Bridge. I took a series of panoramas as we crossed, with the Fish Market and the Wharf to the left, and East Potomac Park to the right. Beyond the existing buildings you can see the cranes of the construction site where the last third of the Wharf Development is being built.

Vertical Infrared Shot of Modern Waterfront Development
Wharf Waterfront in Infrared   And here's the shot from the bridge as we approached the mainland, looking from the Fish Market in the foreground along the waterfront walk, nearly deserted in this time of pandemic. This is a three frame vertical panorama. I have a horizontal panorama which is quite striking, but the inky shadow areas rather overwhelm the picture. They can be lightened, but it takes some fiddly work on the raw images in conversion for the best results. And time...

Sunlit Infrared Vegetation and Concrete Pillar
Under the Bridge   I'll finish off with a simple portait of the weeds under the 14th Street Bridge from the bike and pedestrian ramp as we were approaching home. I'm often very happy with the simple photos!

We're six weeks in since the original social distancing recommendations, which were coming on as I left for Florida and got more and more draconian as government and people realized the need. Forty thousand Americans have died in the pandemic, and it surely would have been much, much worse if we'd tried carrying on as usual. It is beginning to chafe, but forty thousand is a big number already, and many of those people will be sorely missed by their associates. We'll have to dig in, be strong, and hold the line. Interesting that we go so easily to military language.

Infrared Panorama of Monet's Pond, Bridge, and Water Lily Pads.

Washington DC, 17 April 2020   It's been an odd week photographically and artistically. First, I was brought up rather brutally to the fact that one's skill can be immense, almost supernaturally so, and that doesn't mean that you're making meaningful art. I'd better be clear that this didn't come up in the context of my own work, which would, of course, have been devastating! But I had an echo of something that happened to me at university in one of my serious and intense photo classes. One of the other students was doing western landscapes with a 4X5 view camera and Ektachrome, very much in the great tradition of Adams, Bullock, and the Westons. Technically perfect... It wasn't until the night of the last class when a number of the students went out to drink and talk that I got drunk enough to say what I actually thought, which was "They're beautiful but they're boring!" The guy was quite right in looking at me and saying "It would have been useful if you'd said that in class!", but I'd had no idea how I might have said anything to really help him towards more interesting photographs. I could see there was something missing, but no clue what it was or how to get it. I still have no idea, at least not directly.

One has to work, keep the best, file away the rest, be open to the ineffable, be mindful, improve one's technique (it is really important, just not for and by itself) and feel as deeply as possible. The episode did get me thinking about beauty and truth in the context of 19th century art. After some noodling around I ended up reading John Ruskin on the Pre-Raphaelites, which threw some light in the corners. Brilliant thinker, but also a wildly neurotic Victorian crank! I'll keep following the precepts of the first sentence as best I can in my own pursuit of artistic truth, which may not be quite the same thing as logical or historical truth. Language can be a slippery thing...

And, I spent a good chunk of yesterday through my photos from 6 April, thinking they'd be the subject of today's post. The 6th was a good day and there are a lot of credible pictures, and a lot of processing, between the fact that they're infrared (all infrared photos have to be processed) and the fact that there were a whole series of panoramas taken from the Fourteenth Street Bridge, all of which had to be stitched before choosing the best. By mid-afternoon, I was going google-eyed, and the last panorama I stitched had a real problem with delicate separated highlights blowing out into featureless white. Not a new problem, and something I need to work on. (Technique does matter!) In any case, a good moment to take a break from the task at hand.

So, today's photo is something else, a part of an infrared panorama that I took of Monet's pond in Giverny, between Paris and Normandy, two and a half years ago. That was a real pilgrimage for me, since I'd grown up with one of his big glorious paintings of water lilies from this garden. It's in San Francisco's Legion of Honor, a big museum with an emphasis on the French. There is some really great art in San Francisco, but it's not the crazy thick on the ground that you get in New York or Chicago. So, the most sublime pieces stand out even more.

Infrared Panorama of Marina in Bright Sunlight

Washington DC, 14 April 2020   A bit of a between-the-regular-posts P.S. here, since things were approaching dire when I posted yesterday morning. It did rain, about six inches over the course of ten hours or so, but, while we got wind, it wasn't the kind of intense or gusty we'd be warned to expect. And no tornados! I took the picture a bit before noon, and we had bright sunlight. Mind, half an hour later we had tinkly hail... We had a very odd afternoon, as the patches of cloud raced overhead and sometimes rained on us (though not like early in the morning) led and followed by patches of clear sky and sun, often with strange light when it was dark and light both. All over by late afternoon when I went to bail out the dinghy, which is why I know there was at least six inches of precipitation.

People on Dock in Front of Boat Drinking and Watching.
Sunset Watching, Washington Channel

Panorama of Water, Shore, and Sunset.
Sunset, Washington Channel

Washington DC, 13 April 2020   These pictures were taken a week ago, on a wonderfully mild evening at the end of the dock where Julee and I keep our boat and live. One of the reasons we make our home here is this wonderful group of people, this community. I think boaters tend to coalesce, but liveaboard boaters in the same marina coalesce even more, and liveaboard boaters in a self organized, self governing community like the Capital Yacht Club coalesce even more than that. And it's a generally smart and sensible bunch! Someone came up with the term "6 at 6", that is to say gather on the dock in the evening with drinks to be together, but maintaining the safe six foot (two meter) distancing the Covid-19 plague requires. You'll note the maintenance in the top photo, except for the two on the right who form what the doctors and epidemiologists are calling a "pod", that is people who form a household and are socially close with each other, but socially distant from others. Like Julee and I... The second photo is, of course, the sunset we are all admiring. This is really a pretty special place.

Last night was like this as well, but we also spent time during the afternoon preparing for today's weather, which was forecast as winds up to fifty miles an hour (Oh my!) with a tornado watch (Oh my!). I feel like I'm living in John Fogerty Times as exemplified by the Creedence song Bad Moon Rising. The Plague is the background to everything right now, and it also "looks like we're in for nasty weather". We spent the afternoon clearing the decks (literally), getting the dinghy to a safer spot, and laying out extra lines in case of need when the boat gets blown about. I don't, however, "fear rivers over flowing" since I've experienced that many times already on this waterfront. So far it's been more Rhythm of the Falling Rain, but the rain is getting heavier, and the day is young.

I may get more photographically oriented in my next post. The 6th was a great day photographically. Julee and I walked to Hains Point again (via the Tidal Basin, deserted now that the cherry trees are green, so one can walk along the water). The light was great, and I fired the shutter on my infrared camera 108 times. A number of panorama parts, so it's not quite that many photographs... I've been processing images for days and I'm very happy with them. More on this anon!

Crow on a Pleasure Boat Radar Unit Against a Stormy Sky
Raytheon Crow

Washington DC, 10 April 2020   Very changeable spring weather on the Washington Channel. Here's a photo I took last weekend when it was stormy. The crow is very decorative on my neighbor's boat, don't you think? He'd been flitting back and forth between the back of our boat and this one, cawing insistently. We've been cycling between stormy and bright, hot and cool all week. Early yesterday morning it rained heavily, by ten it was beautiful, bright, blue, sunny, and still. It remained sunny but the wind picked up and blew fiercely and is still blowing fiercely, tossing our boat around to great creaking of docklines. Blustery...

By Tuesday our Wharf neighborhood was open again, but remained and remains very quiet. The Fish Market was still closed, but a regulated snake line between metal street barriers had been set up. Today, Friday, the Wharf has not recovered its former quietness. It's quieter than that, very deserted, though there are a thin handful of people out. Well, it's cold and windy today and the two recreation piers are closed so there's less to draw people in. The Fish Market is still closed and there are unfriendly police and DC national guardsment in front of it who really had nothing to say but "It's Closed!" in a tone that combined exasperated mother ("Because I said it's closed!") with something rather darker.

Deserted Metal Snake Line in Front of Deserted Market

I did the weekly shopping this morning and the grocery stores were quite civilized, little crowding and much courtesy, though I did at times feel like shouting "Wear your face mask properly! Or dont bother! It should cover the mouth and the nose!" We're set for necessities for a while, and everyone in our little marina is busy with their boat projects this chilly spring day.

Washington DC, 5 April 2020   

This is Monday's post, but I actually wrote it and posted it on Sunday.

Early in the morning: It's sunny, a few high clouds, very pretty, and dead quiet on the Washington Waterfront. Not surprising early Sunday morning, but I tend to think that it's going to be pretty close to dead quiet all through the morning, afternoon, and evening, and that is not normal for this neighborhood on a pleasant spring weekend day. This is a blog on a photo site, and I have some time ago settled on blogging only on photography but at this point the Covid-19 pandemic is so intrusive that it's gone beyond the more casual mentions I've made of it as background. It's now the background, middle ground, and foreground of everyone's life.

I'm both relatively exposed and relatively protected.

On the exposed side, I'm not over sixty-five, but I'm close, and consider myself in a high risk group for age. Worse, my lungs were wrecked by growing up in a family of heavy smokers, and a good part of that time in what was then the most polluted place on the planet, in Mexico City. And, later in life, I was grabbed by chronic allergies. Today, how could I tell if I had Covid-19? I'm always a little scratchy around the throat and drippy about the nasal passages. I could have a mild case of the novel coronavirus and never know. On the other hand the possibility that an infection would get completely out of hand seems very real to me, and even more real to my loving Julee.

On the protected side, I'm retired on a pension and don't need to go out to make money nor worry about the loss of income if I can't. Julee works at home for an international NGO. While the funding that pays her is always uncertain, for the moment she has work and an income. So, our daily routine hasn't changed all that much. I work on my photography, I work on this old boat... Julee works on early childhood development. That work has pivoted very much to the pandemic in the last weeks, but she's keeping the same hours.

What has changed is our interaction with the wide world. Things had gotten very quiet in Washington by the time I got back from the delivery trip, and they got quieter still last Wednesday when the local govenors (Maryland and Virginia) and the Mayor of Washington DC amped up their guidance to requirement and ordered the population to stay at home across the board. Along the DC Waterfront at the Wharf where we live there was a scattering of people out, acting very properly, maintaining distance and interacting only with those that appeared to be family. But there's always a subset that don't quite get the message... The historic Fish Market remained open. Hey, it sells food, which is and has to be allowed, and it was fine through the week... Then on Saturday word must have gotten out that this was a traditional public space and a traditional high point for Washingtonians that people could still go to. And they went. And, at the end of the day the DC Government shut the whole operation down.

And, for good measure, the entire Wharf development where we live... When I looked out this morning and started writing this blog entry it was completely deserted. I thought people had begun to figure it out, but it's enforcement. There's a line of police tape at Maine Avenue with actual police at the entrances to the Wharf and the Fish Market backing it up. Julee and I took one of our careful, socially distant, walks this morning and we got in and out on the simple explanation that we live here, but it was a little nerve wracking, and I expect that the non-residents were being politely turned away. The Wharf management has further blocked the two recreation piers. Damn!

And yes, I talked to Maryland's Natural Resources Police (they take care of the water, including the entire Potomac south of Washington) on Friday, after the last post, and was told that no boats should be on the water, with certain specific exceptions which didn't appear to obviously cover me. So no trip to Herrington Harbour for heavy maintenance this month. Herrington was very understanding, and will reschedule with me once the dust settles. Just as well as taking and keeping the boat there would have involved a fair bit of travel beyond the delivery itself, which is just what the governor of every state and jurisdiction on the east coast wants us to avoid.

So we're here, mostly within our own neighborhood, mostly within our home, until further notice, like much of the world. I called it right when thinking about it a month ago. I registered some uneasiness to the captain on the delivery trip and he first thought I was worried about the health risk, and was at pains to reassure me that three guys overwhelmingly isolated on a boat weren't in much danger, which I think was true. But that wasn't it. I was concerned that things would get out of hand very suddenly and all transportation would be shut down, trains and boats and planes, to quote the old song, and that I would be trapped somewhere in the waterways of the South away from Julee. Transportation in the U.S. hasn't, even now, shut down completely, but I don't think it was a silly fear. An American friend in Nepal emailed me asking for advice while I was on the trip. (My last job I was the U.S. Consul in Kathmandu.) I wrote back that evening saying that they needed to decide very quickly what part of the world they wanted to be in, and get there as fast as possible. It was already too late. Nepal shut down the borders and the airports that night. The Embassy has since arranged for a couple of charters and gotten about five hundred Americans at least as far as Dulles Airport in Virginia, but my friend considered the risks of nearly twenty hours in a metal tube with two hundred and fifty random compatriots and has stayed put. I think I would have moved a week or two earlier.

So here we are, all over the sensible world, sheltering in place. A lot of people are in much greater distress that we are, being actually sick (perhaps very sick), having lost livelihoods, been stranded far from home, or, in some cases, isolated with people they don't like. Julee and I are not dealing with any of that, which is a real blessing. I try to keep this site free of politics, but since I've already written a goodly essay that has nothing to do with photography, I have to say this: I really wish our political leaders had used the time when this was coming wisely, and hadn't denied and dithered until they had no choice but to act. This could have been so much easier if we'd geared up sooner, lives could have been saved, and the way forward as a nation and as humanity so much more clear. I think anger will be a useful emotion going forward.

Panoramic View of the Washington Channel
Parrish Sky, Washington Channel

Washington DC, 3 April 2020   Another example of my versions of Monet's haystacks. The weather and the light is always different, so even though I'm taking pictures of the same view, they're not completely repetitive... I'm honoring Maxfield Parrish in the title of this seven frame-180 degree panorama of the Washington Channel taken from the end of my dock because of the clouds, particularly the pink mountainous ones at the left. Parrish painted in what we photographers call super saturated colors, but sometimes those really are the colors of nature. There is no manipulation in the colors of this photo. Straight from the camera!

I took this photo five days ago. Washington was already very quiet as people hunkered down and stayed home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and spaced themselves out when they were in public. It seems a long time ago. In the last forty-eight hours all three of the local jurisdictions (the District of Columbia (DC), Virginia, and Maryland) have amped up their restrictions on going out. We weren't going out much but were going to take the boat to long planned and long delayed heavy maintenance down river and up the Chesapeake. But the govenor of Maryland has banned boating... Maintenance may be further delayed. I do have months of projects on the boat that I can do here with the boat in the water...

Also doing some catchup maintenance on this site. Everything prior to 1 January on this blog page has been archived to the blog archive page. (Where else?) I've also cleaned up some of the formatting on my page on infrared photography. I'm always impressed at how many times I can proof read a piece and still have errors left over for future proofings...

Infrared Photo of Cherry Trees in Bloom Behind Police Tape
Tidal Basin Police Tape

Washington DC, 30 March 2020   What an odd homecoming! We're living in the age of Covid-19 and it's hard for people to take it as seriously as they should. These are the iconic cherry trees at the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial a bit less than a week after the peak of their bloom, usually a time of festival, celebration, and large crowds of locals and tourists viewing the blossoms. This year crowds were sparse, then people starting coming in numbers in spite of the risk. It began to get out of hand, to the point where the city government closed streets and then walled off the tidal basin itself. I went prepared to turn around and leave if there were numbers of people out, but there weren't. The police were out in force, being very specific about where one was allowed to walk. Not along the edge of the Tidal Basin, as you can see! So Julee and I skirted the area and walked out through East Potomac Park towards Hains Point, where I took the photo below. As you can see, many petals had already fallen, but the blooms were still full and beautiful.

Infrared Photo of Road with Blooming Cherry Trees and the Washington Monument in the Distance.
Potomac Park Cherry Blossoms   

Infrared Panoramic Photograph of Watery Channel Through Forest with Motor Yacht with Wake.
Elizabeth River Wake   

Infrared Panorama of Motor Yacht and Wake Passing Through Steel Lift Bridge.
Elizabeth River Lift Bridge, Norfolk

Washington DC, 27 March 2020   Not quite the end of journey, but close, close. Both these infrared panoramas were taken as we were closing in on our transit of Norfolk, Virginia, and I find it interesting that there's only about fifteen miles between them, from a canal through a forest to a path across a harbor that is a major base for the U.S. Navy and a serious hub of the heaviest industry. They build nuclear aircraft carriers only a little way off of the path we took through Norfolk to Hampton where we spent the last night of the journey. Then a passage up the Chesapeake to Solomon's Island, very fast at first, and then a bit more cautiously as the open water got bouncier. That night I was home on my own boat in Washington DC.

I'm a bit behind on the posts, and a little uncertain as to whether to continue to lag or catch up expeditiously. Washington is very quiet under the Covid-19 public health interdict, but I've been out photographing the waning cherry blossoms in this time of plague.

Infrared Panorama of Bulk Carrying Ships at Wharf with Dramatic Sky
Large Utilitarian Objects, Moorehead City

Hampton, Virginia, 23 March 2020   Grabbed this three frame infrared panorama in Moorehead City last Friday as we were, for the fourth time, waiting for a bridge to open in front of us. The last three delays weren't at all bad, once a bridge that opened only on the hour, once a bridge that opened only on the half hour, and, this time, a working railway bridge serving the port where the railway operations took precedence over the small boat maritime operations. This bridge is actually normally open, but down in front of us while a locomotive was shuttled across it by another locomotive.

The first bridge to delay us was the real kicker. It wasn't just the day and a half we spent behind it, but the fact that that day and a half has delayed this part of the trip and we're in weather that would have otherwise have been behind us.

It's a bit like the movies... We're travelling over the map, quite literally, as we're using a variety of navigation aids that use moving maps. Unfortunately, unlike the movies, this isn't a device to make the travel happen more quickly. Fortunately, this is pretty amazing travel and worth the time. Here's a little picture of them all in use while we're driving the video game, as Captain Scott puts it. The first screen is my iPad, the second one on the wheel is Scott's much newer iPad, and then the little Garmin unit on top and the much larger Garmin unit in the panel. We use them all, and constantly check against reality, because after all the actual current location of the channel markers and the actual current depth of the water is what matters, isn't it?

We're laid over today because it's blown up a storm and this isn't a boat to be out on that kind of weather. Then... Either a day to the Washburn's Boat Yard on the Chesapeake, or two days to Washington, depending on how Maryland handles Covid-19 over the next forty eight hours. If Washburn's closes there will be no point in taking the boat there for shakedown maintenance, and the boat will go to it's home port and return to Washburn's later when the pandemic allows.

Foggy Coastline with Wrecked Fishing Boat
Wreck, ICW

Swansboro, North Carolina, 20 March 2020   I'm still headed up the East Coast of the United States on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in a small motor yacht with my friends Scott (the delivery captain) and Mike. There are wrecked boats all along this route. This is hurricane country... Usually the wrecks are little pleasure boats. One imagines that they were kept at a non-commercial dock avoiding the requirement for insurance, and that the owner who couldn't afford insurance also wouldn't be able to afford salvage when the big winds blew their boat ashore. I'm not sure what the think of a commercial boat like this one, which had to have insurance, but this kind of wreck is less common. This shot is a two frame horizonatal panorama.

Swing truss bridge over a small body of water.
We spent the day before yesterday in trapped behind this bridge in North Myrtle Beach. It was broken and wouldn't swing open... Lost a day and a bit more while we waited for the repairs to be made and slipped by the first thing in the morning after the mechanics were through. We understand it broke again after we were past...

I started this blog entry in the morning before we set off on the day's run, but at the very moment of this writing we're en route through Moorehead City, North Carolina. I'm not at all sure I'm going to be able to post to my Friday schedule since I don't know what kind of internet access I'll have this evening. We stayed at the city dock in Swansboro, and they didn't even pretend. The marina we were at the night before pretended, but weak signals and glitchyness overwlemend any possibility of actually logging in. And I don't pay AT&T enough to use my phone as a hot spot...

Unlike foggy yesterday this morning dawned clear and blue, with just enough cloud to make the sky interesting. Relatively open waters too, so we're getting opportunities to run fast and make better time.

Bridge, River with Dramatic Sky and Dramatic Reflection of Sky
Bridge at Beaufort

Charleston, South Carolina, 16 March 2020   This was the night before last, as were continued northwards. It's another shot of a waterway and a bridge, but waterways and bridges are fairly common and typical sights in the Lowcountry and I think it's one of the better shots from this stretch of the voyage on the MV Argentum. It's a four frame panorama assembled from photos I took with my phone. I've a lot of infrared shots from the days on the water, but they're not coming out quite as well as I'd hoped...

Infrared Panorama of Boat at Dock, Navigational Channel, and Bridge.
At Jeckyll Island

At Sea, MV Argentum, 13 March 2020   As of this morning, I'm two days up the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) from Jacksonville, departing from Savannah, Georgia this morning. It's not exactly being "At Sea", but "On Twisty Little Inland Waterways" doesn't have quite the same ring in a header. This picture shows our little boat the Argentum (to be renamed when the owner can get a paint specialist to polish the current name off the stern) at dock at the Jeckyll Island Marina early yesterday morning. It's Infrared, of course, and a nine frame horizontal panorama.

Infrared Head On Photo of Sailboat in Channel with Clouds.
Sailboat, ICW   Yesterday was an interesting day as we wended our way through the Georgia Lowcountry. This really is low, fractal land. You can see boats far away apparently ghosting along on the ground but really in a small channel between the marsh grasses. This photo is less mysterious, a boat we met along the way, sky and clouds above, water and refections below.

It will take me several days to work through all of today's photos and which ones are really ready for prime time, but of course I'm still in motion and will be taking another set of photos tomorrow, and the next, and the next... So it will be a while before I work through them all! I am glad I'm crew rather than running my own boat. This way I've the time to think and take photos along the way.

Dunkin' Donuts Stand at Modern Airport
Sunday Morning Coffee, National Airport

In Transit, 9 March 2020   I've not cancelled my trip in the face of Covid-19, mostly because I have friends counting on me. But, captain and crew of the boat under delivery will be keeping a close eye on the news as we come up the The Ditch, as the Intra-Coastal Waterway is sometimes known. I have decided it would be wise to travel a little lighter, so I've left the camera bag and tripod behind, and am travelling with my minimum photo kit. A Canon EOS 5D Mark III, modified for infrared, Canon EOS R for color, both with the odd-but-very-sharp Canon F2.8 40mm pancake lens, a Zeiss 25mm for wider framing, if and when I take the time to change lenses instead of shooting a panorama (though I do sometimes shoot panoramas with with the 25mm), and a bag of batteries with their charger. It's not really light, but it's a lot lighter than the bag, which is home to three camera bodies and about ten lenses, including the massive 100-400mm zoom that looks like Rey could use it to shoot down a tie fighter. I don't use that one very often, but when one needs a fast long lens, nothing else will do! The corners contain all kinds of smaller accessories and add ons which add bulk and weight.

The truth is, the bag is a bit of a tool to limit the kit. With very few exceptions, if it doesn't fit in the bag, it's not part of my photographic life. This makes it possible to put everything I need in one place, and I can just grab the bag, with the tripod as needed, with the flash bag as needed, and go. Most of the time I need a lot less, and here I am on an adventure with that a lot less. And I'm glad the cameras are getting smaller!

Infrared Photo of Cobbled Street with Wintry Shadow of Bare Limbed Tree.
Wintry Snapshot

Washington DC, 6 March 2020   It really is a wintry snapshot, grabbed on the fly a couple of days ago. The day before that Julee had badly pulled a muscle in her leg at gym and we'd wedged open an appointment that morning with our orthopedic surgeon, just in case it was one of those injuries that turns out to require immediate attention. Fortunately no, this one will heal on it's own, given due respect, and is amenable to mild exercise like hobbling carefully down the seawall to the falafel joint for lunch.

It's getting non-photographically busy. Monday I'll fly down to Jacksonville, Florida and join a boat on a delivery trip up the Intracoastal Waterway towards Washington. This is the protected inland passage that runs inside the barrier islands of the east coast of the U.S., taking advantage of every twisty river and and watery straight, linked as necessary by cuts and dredged channels. I've never done this and am really looking forward to it! I am taking the full photo kit, including tripod, and we'll see what comes of that.

Sadly, I'll miss my French class next week...

Théodore Rousseau in the National Gallery of Art

Washington DC, 2 March 2020   I'm studying French... It's been a while, and Julee and I wanted to brush up, so we went to the Alliance Française above Dupont Circle and tested. I did pretty well and got tracked into the level 4 classes, which are serious lecture courses, but in French. So I'm studying French painting, specifically, <Le réalisme and le naturalisme>, Nineteenth Century art movements, in opposition to Romanticism and before Impressionism. (Note we anglophones capitalize our movements!) I'm not quite sure what to make of these labels, especially after my Sunday visit to the National Art Gallery here in Washington where I made a focussed run past paintings from the Barbizon school. From 2020 the divide between the romantics and the naturalists doesn"t seem so very sharp. And, interestingly, the English Wikipedia article on realism addresses realistic figurative painting from all epochs, while the French Wikipedia article on réalisme is about the France-focused mid Nineteenth century movement that is the subject of my class...

Panoramic Landscape near the River Moselle by Théodore Rousseau (from the web)   Here is Rousseau's big little panorama itself. I saw it first online, and thought it was going to be bigger than it is. Of course, it was painted on location, so limited in size to what Rousseau could carry, especially what he could carry in terms of a fresh wet painting when he was finished. And I don't know how much paint and canvas he could afford! It's currently part of a temporary exhibit called True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870, three rooms full of small easel paintings done on location, many of which are quite stunning, full of sunlight and warmth.

Today I'm feeling pretty clear about what I saw and felt yesterday in the museum, but I left deeply discombobulated. First, I had one of those artistic panics. "What does this all mean? What makes a piece of art good? How does that apply to me?..." The truth is I don't know, and I'm not sure it's safe for me to enquire too closely! Second, the art history divide I feel isn't between the French realists and what came before, it's between them and what came after, specifically impressionism, modern art, abstract art. It's clear to me that I belong to and am a part of that world, even if the vast majority of my work is as figurative as Rousseau's painting of the Moselle Valley. The painting that really grabbed me yesterday was Paul Cézanne's portrait of his father, which I rushed past while looking for older paintings. It's totally figurative (I'm sure you'd immediately recognize the man if you met him) and full of light, but the brush strokes are completely original, non-"realistic", and the setting is abstracted. The perspective of the armchair is really off, which can't have been an accident given Cézanne's training and skill. And, interestingly in opposition to the Rousseau piece, it's a lot bigger than one expects, over six feet tall. Among other things the subject of the portrait owned a bank and Cézanne never had to worry about the cost of materials.

In the end, I'm not sure it pays to think too much about schools and styles. I study the photographers and artists of the past and present, sometimes quite closely, but in the end I'm going to go where the muse takes me, inside or outside of a particular school or style. What else can you do if you want to feel the holy fire?

Cityscape From Hong Kong Island Mid Levels, North Across Harbor
Hong Kong From MacDonnel Road, HDR

Washington DC, 28 February 2020   So, this is the rebuilt version of the Hong Kong cityscape I posted last Friday. I assembled it with updated and commercial versions of both the High Dynamic Range (HDR) and the panoramic stitching software. It's a very different beast! On the unequivocally plus side, the stitching (via the PTGui program) is seamless and completely clean. (I had one small bit of ghosting in the sky, but that was an artifact of the HDR process, and very easily fixed in Photoshop.) On the other hand the HDR combination (using Aurora HDR) went a very different direction, and I've been spending the last couple of days thinking about that. The previous version was moody and blue. This version is relentlessly bright and sunny. But, it was a bright and sunny day! Perhaps not relentlessly so, but you can see the very sharp shadow on the red building.

I'd had the image of the blue dark version in my mind for a number of years, so this bright pinker version actually took me aback, and I had to think about it. It's growing on me! It's really crisp, and in truth Hong Kong is a city with a lot of pink in it, so it's actually more realistic, although it has that pop-y HDR look. I'm happy, though I reserve the right to continue working on the image!

Panorama of Tidal Basin From the Jefferson Memorial with Washington Monument in Background.
Tidal Basin, Pre-Spring Day

Washington DC, 24 February 2020   Yesterday was warm, over sixty degrees Fahrenheit by my measure. (I keep a swimming pool thermometer tied to the rail of the boat to check air and water temperatures.) Unseasonably warm, but I think you could say that of our entire winter. Julee and I left the Wharf and walked around the Tidal Basin, and I took this photo from the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. The trees of all kinds are beginning to bud out this last week of February.

Cityscape From Hong Kong Island Mid Levels, North Across Harbor
Hong Kong From MacDonnel Road, HDR

Washington DC, 21 February 2020   This is the last of the three High Dynamic Range (HDR) images I'm happy with. Though, I'm not as happy with this one. I think it's a really striking image, and I like it, although I'm not usually in the typical HDR photographic world of exagerated colors. On that scale it's modest, but it's still on that scale. The problem is that it's also a stitched panorama (double technical!) and it contains a pretty bad mis-stitch on the round building with the pie section missing. It doesn't look round here, does it? And there are breaks in the lines of the brickwork. At the time I took and assembled it (2012) I was still fairly new with panoramas and didn't know how to fix it. It's still complex, since I should really recreate the HDR and the panorama in my newer, commercial, versions of the two applications, and see where it goes from there. One can often improve on even strong photos over time as one's skills improve, but I still think the last couple of photos are ready for prime time, while this one isn't.

The picture was taken from the roof of our apartment building on MacDonnell Road. I took a lot of pictures, in all seasons, all weathers, and all times of day from this spot.

HDR False Color Image of a Large Vase with Dried Flowers in a Window
Linda's Flowers

Washington DC, 17 February 2020   Following on from last Friday's post, this is the other HDR image from Linda's that makes me happy. Now that I've pulled it and posted it I note the it was actually taken the same day as the window pictured below. A Good Day, photographically!

Flame Colored Trees Framed in Brooklyn Factory Window and Houseplants
Linda's Window

Washington DC, 14 February 2020   The furnace fan is repaired, and I've wended my way back down south. I broke up my trip with an overnight stay at my Aunt Linda's. She has a place in Brooklyn that is one of those amazing artist's spaces, built sometime long ago as a small factory and now reconfigured to house several families of varying degrees of intimacy. Some are tenants, in completely separate apartments, living separate lives, and some are actual family (though that can be complex!) living around the large space that was the old factory floor. It is small for a factory (tiny, actually, but a century ago a tiny factory in a U.S. city was a very viable economic unit) but it's huge for a living room, though, like all American homes, most of the family life takes place in the kitchen. I'm very lucky indeed to be welcome there.

I was lying in the sofa bed at one end of the living room, which is my spot there, and looking up at the street windows and I was reminded of the photo above, which I took of those very windows on another visit eight years ago. I was experimenting with High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography at the time, looking for a way to deal with very contrasty photos, the shadowy abyss of a Hong Kong street between tall buildings, with bright blue sky visible above, for example. Here I was just playing/experimenting, but I like the results a lot. It's not "realistic" photography, but not all photography needs to be realistic, even for this disciple of Group F64. What really mattered to them (and to me) is that the processes used be inherently photographic, rather than painterly. And, as always with me, this image is straight from the camera, even if highly manipulated in terms of tones and colors. This picture was taken after midnight with a tripod for long exposures. The light comes from entirely from the street lights.

I just started to go off on an explanation of the process, but it gets highly technical rather quickly! At some point I'll write an HDR technical page to go along with my technical IR page and my prospective page on panoramas for anyone genuinely interested.

Danny Chau of Chau Digital in Hong Kong taught me the real solution to the shadows and bright light problem in digital (really counterintuitive to those of us brought up on film photography) so I didn't pursue HDR very long, but it has its own interesting aesthetic. And I find it interesting that two of the three HDR photos I'm really happy with were taken in this house, within a couple of days of each other. I think I'll post the other one on Monday...

Nearly Monochrome Photograph of Disordered Grass With Dried Leaves
Cemetary Grass, Gloucester

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 10 February 2020    So here I am, TCB. (Taking Care of Business, as Elvis used to say.) It turns out the house needs some immediate attention, not as an emergency, but to forestall the emergency. So, I'm making calls to local contractors today instead of waking up in Brooklyn as planned. It's winter, and has been dry, though it's raining today. Not hard. We had a few lonely flakes of snow yesterday afternoon. Yesterday morning was sunny, so I went out with my camera. I think this picture was the best from that stroll. It's simple, tending towards the abstract, but I think it works, at least to a degree... And, I like it because it's almost black and white, though it's absolutely a natural color photo, just as it came from the camera. And, I think it's an interesting companion piece to my other disordered grass photo, taken a couple of months ago on the other coast of the U.S.

Moody, Cloudy, Panorama of Hong Kong Harbor
Moody Kowloon

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 7 February 2020    A bit of a break from what I'm doing right at the moment. I found this picture while scrolling through the images searching for something else, and I think it's worth another look. I took it from Kellet Island in Hong Kong Harbour seven years back.

What I'm doing right now is Taking Care of Business in Gloucester. Came up yesterday by bus, scouting along the way for places along the tracks to return to for photographic safaris later on. Maybe not so later on. The trees in the roadside forest were bare and stark, and really beautiful in a dark and moody way on that dark and moody, wet and foggy, ride. I need to get out there fairly soon and be seriously landscapsical.

View From Inside a Modern Art Gallery

Washington DC, 3 February 2020   My view for much of the weekend, from behind the counter in the Martha Spak Gallery. At five o'clock I was a bit put out because no one had come to visit me, but a bit after five my friend Seung dropped in and we had a nice chat about the art. Seung has a good eye and a wonderful collection but she's filled her walls up and is very picky about any additions. It was in general a very quiet late winter day at The Wharf and quieter towards Close-Of-Business on Sunday, presumably because people were beginning to congregate at their Super Bowl party locations.

Storefront Art Gallery at The Wharf in Washington DC

Washington DC, 1 February 2020   My schedule required me to post yesterday (Friday) but yesterday I was driving a big loop through Baltimore and Annapolis hunting for boat parts. (Successful trip!) This weekend I'll be babysitting the Martha Spak Gallery here at The Wharf while Martha is on travel. I'll open the doors at noon Saturday and Sunday, close between six and seven and would be delighted for visiters. As you can see it's tucked in between a wonderful bookstore and a spa on District Square.


Stitched Panorama of the Washington Waterfront Deserted in Winter

Washington DC, 27 January 2020   While the Wharf Development is anything but shut down over the winter, it is very quiet in comparison to summer. The retailers tell me that January is a dead time of year for them, which makes sense as everyone is shopped out after the holidays. The restaurants are dealing with the double hit of less flush customers and the fact that much of their business is geared towards alfresco dining and drinking, and it's chilly. The Water Taxi (what the big shuttles plying the river between nearby points in the District, Virginia, and Maryland call themselves) is shut down for the season. So here we are, on a weekday morning with a single person walking down the seawall in front of the docks where I live. You'll note also that a good half of the boats have been cocooned in shrink wrap for the season. In heavy winter weather that covering makes taking care of the boat so much easier, but we've had hardly any heavy weather this season. There's still time of course... This shot is a nine frame stitched panorama embracing the wrap-around perspective such a shot will deliver.

Semi-Abstract Color Photo of Slightly Frozen Water in a Marina Boat Slip
Thin Ice, Capital Yacht Club   The river has frozen this season, but, as you can see, not very much. A thin, thin, layer in the still protected head of my slip on an especially (but not very) cold night, and even this had melted away by noon. Our measure of freezing is when we see the ducks walking around on top of the water. I don't think this ice would have supported the weight of any bird bigger than a wren. We continue to watch the weather (forecasting has gotten so much better!) and note the incoming nights when the air temperature will get below freezing. I monitor the temperature of the water with a spa themometer. It's 41 degrees F this morning, at the end of January.

Wealthy 1930s Couple in Their Fancy French Race Car
Ivanos and Bugatti by Edward Weston (from the Web)

Washington DC, 24 January 2020   A picture chosen for my day at the Washington Auto Show with my friend Scott. I find this a very odd photo. Not because it's not wonderful. It's beautiful, and a bit funny, all at once. It's odd because Weston was a great portraitist, but wasn't really in the habit of taking pictures of the wealthy and their possessions. The Bugatti was a millionaire's car and the driver is definitely showing off his very pricy Leica camera. I've done a little digging on the internet, and found a little more about this. The driver is Paul Ivano, a Hollywood cinematographer, and the passenger is the actress Claudette Colbert. This doesn't make the photograph any less odd! I haven't found more of the story yet. Is it in the Daybooks of Edward Weston? I don't remember, and will have to check when I get the library unpacked.

The car is a Bugatti Type 35, a twitchy supercar that people raced in Formula 1 and which won the world championship in 1926, back in the day when the gulf between a serious race car and a reasonable street car wasn't so wide as to be absolute. A different world... I found the car show underwhelming. Lots of really good cars, all looking very much alike, and frankly boring. If I had the budget to buy one this year I would, and would be happy with it, but it wouldn't excite me. Perhaps I'm older, and have other things going on in my life (photography, boating!) but I think we're also at the tail end of the glory days of the automobile.

Very Colorful Haitian Bus on Grand Rue in Port-au-Prince
Le Bon Combat   

Washington DC, 20 January 2020   I have a show in August! On Friday I signed an agreement with Martha Spak of the Martha Spak Gallery here at The Wharf to show my Haitian photos alongside the work of a Haitian painter. It will be interesting to curate such an installation, since the works will need to complement and strengthen each other, and contribure to a shared visual narrative. Early days yet on planning and plotting... As we get into it I'll post more. Meanwhile, a photo from my "Haiti Streets" gallery in way of introduction. (And there are more, and more recent, Haiti photos in "Port-au-Prince, December 2017". )

Interior Panorama of Philidelphia Food Hall.
Reading Terminal Market

Washington DC, 17 January 2020    An interior panorama from last week's visit to Philadelphia. It's an iconic spot that has great memories for me, since it's across the street from the downtown convention center. I first went there years ago when I attended the annual WorldCon science fiction convention when it was held in Philadelphia. This photo is emblematic of many issues... It should have been underexposed a stop to reduce blown pixels at the bright lights everywhere. Not too much one can do to fix that. Even after masking and restitching numerous times there's still one area of mistitching, though that can probably be fixed by hand in Photoshop. Mainly, it could be a little wider top and bottom, and there's a slope down to the right, which both make it hard to make the best crop to a clean rectangle for display. Sigh! It's hard to pan across the scene in a level line. Easier outdoors, where I've learned to follow the horizon with the gridlines in my viewfinder. But indoors there is no horizon to follow and I was holding the camera above my head and composing in the hinged and swivelled outside finder. I should be taking pictures like this from a ladder, but that would require premeditation. This photograph may not progress beyond this intermediate stage of processing, and I may go back with a ladder and some extra equipment.

It does bring me to the next technical "About" page I want to write, on panoramic photography. That may take me a bit, because there is a lot of history there that I want to illustrate. Panoramic photography pre-dates digital photography by a century or so...

Buildings and Trees Silohuetted Against Blue Sky and Puffs of Cloud
Rittenhouse Square, Winter

Washington DC, 13 January 2020   Well! I obviously don't have enough critical and difficult readers following this blog since I posted three blog enties in 2020 without updating the year from 2019 to no negative feedback whatsoever... Now fixed, along with the copyright date on the landing page. Happy New Year once again!

The photos above and below were taken in Philadelphia on Friday, while doing tourism after the last post. The top picture is a three frame vertical panorama, wrapping up to the branches directly above me as I stood in Rittenhouse Square. Unlike many pans of this sort I've tried, this one works with only a little tweaking of the projection. The one below is a photo of oportunity from the platform of the Philadelphia subway system.

Passengers Waiting for the Train, Philadelphia Subway.
SEPTA, Philadelphia   

This site is now secure! It wasn't quite as easy as paying the domain service an extra ten dollars... To reliably and consistently pop up with a secured version of the site some work is required on the host server, and, like so many things in the web world, the process is not obvious, at least not to me. It turns out that it is as simple (on my service!) as flipping a virtual switch, but that virtual switch is buried in the menus of cPanel and you have to know it's there. On to figuring out enough of PHP to make that work for me!

Philadelphia, 10 January 2020   Came up yesterday for the reception for InLiquid's show of its new artists, which included a piece by my friend and fellow artist Maureen Drdak. It's a very strong piece indeed, the fourth in her Inner Perceiver series. Now, the morning after, we're in our AirBnB basement apartment while Julee works on a grant proposal for her organization and I think about next professional steps. So, no photo, since that isn't what is front and center on my mind this week. A little later in the day we'll venture forth and do art and tourism.

So, I'm building my mailing list, and dealing with just how disorganized my addresses are. (I've never really recovered from the breakdown of MSDos program porting to the Apple ecosystem years ago...) Thinking about the next upgrades to this website, and thus having to learn new things. Time to encrypt and add the "s" to "https"? Probably, since I want, at some distant time, to be able to take payments through the site, and, most immediately, add an interactive sign up process for a mailing list. That seems like it may be as simple as paying my hosting service an extra ten dollars a year. Doing the pop-up for the sign-up looks rather more complex, involving learning how to use a whole new programming language, PHP. And, figuring out how to access the PHP interpreter on my hosting service and activating it on my local system (that is, on my own computer at home). It does appear that PHP is included in the Mac package, but that configuration files need to be edited by hand to activate it. Always a little dangerous... Especially for the semi-technical like me. When I say I'm learning something like PHP I don't mean I'm becoming a real expert. I'll learn enough to serve my narrow need on my own web site, and move on! I'm not enough of a coder, nor have the memory, nor the time, to do more. But, part of Busy 2020!

Layer of Fog on a Wintry Body of Water, With Dock to Left and Trees Across.
Radiation Fog, Washington Channel

Washington DC, 6 January 2020    So, here we are, further into the New Year, and a bit further into this so far chill but not dreadfully cold winter. I took this three frame panorama from the end of my dock a couple of days ago, a pure target of opportunity. But, one of the things about living in a photogenic place is that there are targets of opportunity, and the wise photographer (or landscape artist or poet) takes advantage. That's why we always carry our cameras... The changing weather means that there are always new pictures, even in the same place.

Gulf of Gonâve   Here's an example from twelve years ago, taken from the balcony of Julee's and my apartment in the New T'Adesky building in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Third (and top) floor apartment facing west and overlooking the City and the Gulf. The closest I've ever come to living in a penthouse, and we understood at the time that we'd never have better views. We faced the sunset, always different and often glorious, to the degree that we'd look out and say to each other "Ho Hum! Another beautiful sunset." and I'd run for my camera. I took a lot, and a wide variety, of photos from that small balcony.

Photo of Footstep Paths in Snow
Snow Path

Washington DC, 3 Jan 2020   It's a bit obvious, maybe even a bit trite, but here's my picture for the path ahead in 2020. I walked up to the Homestead Graveyard in West Swanzey on Christmas Eve to take pictures of the old New England gravestones. None of them are worth a second look, but I did capture this one across the street on the way back. I'll put it in the categories of "not bad" and "useful for a metaphor"!

I think this a year to be more agressive in getting my photos out there. So, I will be starting a email list for a biweekly note, and cross posting in on both my Facebook pages and on Instragram and Flickr. As now, I'll be trying to pull people into this website. It's mine, and I'm not fighting with Mark Zuckerburg about how to compose or present my work or thoughts, nor worry about politics, advertising or pet photos. In non-virtual world I'm going to see if I can pull off a real gallery show or two in the course of the next twelve months. I do have a couple of leads there...

Infrared Panorama of Spiky Beach in Northern California, with Three Elephant Seals
Elephant Seals, Año Nuevo

Washington DC, 30 December 2019   They're there, really, three of them, lying sluglike/rocklike to the left, almost dead center, and a bit to the right. It is early in the season, two hundred males and three females, and one just newborn pup. In the coming weeks the beach will cover with big males beefing for prime territory. Safe beach plots for birth and nursing being what the females want, the males fight for that and so for the females who occupy them. It's amazing (I've been here before during the high season) but it's not... the picture of enlightened family life by my standards. But, unlike humans I think the seals are truly hardwired for that kind of violent competition. This photo is an infrared panorama stitched up from three individual photos.

Infrared Image of Coastal Heath with a View of the Coast Range of Hills in the Background.
Inland from Año Nuevo   

Infrared Image of Wild and Windblown Grasses on the California Coast.
Wild Grasses, Año Nuevo   

I took these two pictures while walking in and out of the sanctuary. The top one is a two frame vertical stitch to pull in the immediate foreground and the hill of the Coast Range in the background. The second is an intimate portrait of the coarse grass in affect of the wind and weather that comes in, sometimes with some violence, from the Pacific.

I think this wraps up my first take on the photos from this trip. I'm very happy with them, even the ones that need more work, and am thinking there might be enough photos to set up a gallery of them. And I note that once again my favorite photos tend towards the infrared. Well, at the end, I'll follow what is working for me regardless of what style or technique it is.

This also wraps up my posts from 2019. I've archived my blog from October and earlier (you can see it all to the beginning on my blog archive of course) and I've added to the site. The "About" page now branches, to "About Myself" (the previous "About" page) and "About Infrared" which is a layman-to-layman explanation on just what the devil infrared is, and something about my engagement with it. In the next little bit (which I define as "before summer") I'll compose and post another "About" page on panoramic photography and my engagement with that which is, obviously, also very important to me. It's turned out to be a good year photographically, albeit with ups and downs. A month or so ago I was quite depressed, as the pictures weren't turning out the way I wanted them, and I don't think I got what I was hoping for when I was trekking in Nepal in April. But some months, and some days have been really special. I'm coiled up like a spring, ready for next year, but I'll talk about that next year.

It was an odd Christmas, but my beloved older relative came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve, in better shape that we could have hoped for a couple days earlier. A long recuperation ahead, but now it seems possible... Happy New Year, and my Very Best to All!

Infrared Photo of Small Sand Dune with Vegetation on Top and Bench in Front

Swanzey, New Hampshire, 27 December 2019   Another photo from the recent trip the Aulde Country (California). I may use it in my next Facebook post, since my wife Julee has already used it there (with full attribution) after asking me for it as a desktop image for her laptop computer. This is in Año Nuevo State Park, a haulout beach for elephant seals, first for births, later for courtship, which is a fraught affair for elephant seals. We were early in the season, so we saw only a scattering of seals, mostly boys waiting for the arrival of the girls. But, a beautiful day, a great drive up the coast from Santa Cruz, wonderful scenery at Año Nuevo itself, and a bonus in the chance to commune with a lakeful of pelicans. This photo was another bonus, captured as I was turning away for the seals themselves. It's infrared, and a three frame horizontally stitched panorama. As with many other smaller panoramas I've made, less because the image was so wide but because it's gotten to the point where it's just easier to stitch than to dig out the 25mm wide angle lens and swap it with the "normal" 40mm prime lens on the camera. Also... I can't prove this, at least not yet, but I feel the stitch gives a more normal looking picture than a wide wide angle lens.

Infrared Vertical Panorama of Cathedral-Column-Like Redwoods in Dark Forest
Felton Redwoods

Washington DC, 23 December 2019   Probably the second to last photo to be posted to this run of the blog from the trip to California. The first half of the trip was spent with dear old friends from Julee's history, in Sonoma County, and the second half with dear old friends from my history in Santa Cruz County. A great trip! I am, always, a bit surprised by which photos really work, and which don't, but also really happy when any of them do. This shot came from a big loop walk we took with a friend through the Fall Creek Unit of the Henry Cowell State Park outside of Felton.

Early in the trip, in another grove of redwoods I picked up a copy of Richard Preston's book The Wild Trees in the park gift store. It's the wonderful story about a group of misfits and scientists (sometimes the misfits and scientists are the same people) who are obsessed with the oldest and grandest of the Redwoods, each a large and complex ecosystem in itself, and survivors, for the most part, due to their growth in inaccessible places where no logging company could approach with heavy equipment. It's a great read, and has been a good companion as I walked among these smaller and younger (but still very impressive) trees and worked through the images I'd gathered along the way.

Coming up Christmas and travelling to be with family. It'll be a different holiday because some of my older relatives are in real medical distress. But, all the more reason to be with them. Season's Greetings to all!

Almost Abstract Infrared and Black and White Photo of Reflection of Trees in Water
Work in Progress

Washington DC, 20 December2019   Hm! As it happens, I did take my infrared camera with me when I took the picture from my last post below, and grabbed a quick series of shots with it just 'cuz. I took a look just before I left California and flew home, did a little tweaking in Photoshop, and have come up with what may be my best shot of the scene. IR after all... It's very abstract, but if you look closely you can see what it is, trees reflected in ripply water, and I think that will be clearer if it's bigger, on a wall. It needs more work of course, to control the lights and darks so the image is drawn to the image of the redwood crowns in the middle, and both of these pictures will get my attention over the next bit. I think this one might be a good one to learn luminosity masking on...

Refection of Redwoods in Mountain Creek
Work in Progress

Santa Cruz, California, 16 December 2019   I've been working on this picture for years. Anyone who looks at my body of work will note that I have a draw to the philosophical equivalent of negative space, which is what drafting artists call the parts of the picture between the objects drawn or painted. The blank paper surrounding and between the branches and leaves of a tree in a pen and ink drawing for example. For me as a photographer it manifests as an interest in the images of shadows, reflections, unseen light like infrared, and, sometimes, actual negative space in the traditional sense.

I saw this reflection of a small stand of young redwoods in the creek water looking down off the bridge in Boulder Creek that carries Highway 9 further up into the Santa Cruz Mountains some years back and I thought it was a great way to look at the trees. And I thought it was perfect for infrared, which can sometimes work really well with reflections and sky.

The picture was disappointing... But, I really thought there was something there, and a couple of years ago when I came back to this neighborhood I took the infrared camera back and carefully shot it again. And the result was still disappointing... Maybe it isn't an infrared photo after all... So, when I came back this time I was thinking that I'd shoot it in color, and reduce it to black and white. So, on Friday as the weather was clearing I went back, and again on Saturday when the weather was totally cleared. The picture above was taken on Saturday, and it's a six frame stitched panorama, to get the whole scene in. I can always crop it down later!

I think it has potential, but it's not there yet. The bright spot in the very left bottom corner draws the eye, but doesn't add anything to the picture, so it needs to darkened. But it's so light the pixels are actually blown and it darkens grey instead of brown. I'll have to add the brown first... I think the left bank will have to be darkened a lot, and the right bank a little, to focus the eye on the creek and the reflection of the trees which is the point of the photo. Fussy work, and we'll have to see if it does the trick. I'll give it my best, but it is possible that this one won't gel to the degree hoped for.

Vertical Infrared Photo of Redwoods Reaching Into Foggy SKy
Coast Redwoods

Santa Cruz, California, 13 December 2019   From last Monday in Sonoma County, when we went to the Redwoods and then to the mouth of the Russian River. The one usuable picture from that day of wonder, which ended up at the mouth of the river watching a grey whale hanging out and feeding not a hundred feet off.

We're traveling this week, and this is a people-oriented trip planned and executed around visits to dear people, so tourism and photography tends to the incidental. But, of course, one way a host or hostess visits with out of towners is to take them to the special places and I keep the big cameras close.

Panorama of Marina and Buildings in Gold and Red Sunset Light.DC Waterfront, Evening Light

In Transit, 9 December 2019   Sometimes the light pulls you. I looked out the aft windows of the boat the other evening and saw the scene above and grabbed my camera and ran. (New policy: The big color camera is always in my bag, and set up.) I got to the end of our finger pier beside the boat and captured the frames that make up this panorama. I shot a lot more, but the light changed right after this series, and, while still good, was not as good. But, at the end of the session I got the panorama I posted on Facebook

Panorama of Boat at Dock and Water at Sunset.Washington Channel, Dusk

which I also like, but which has a very different feeling to it.

I shoot a lot of pictures here on and around the docks of The Wharf in Washington DC, because it's home, and I'm there. No longer original, but the changing weather and light mean the scene is always a little different. Laurence's version of Monet's haystacks? I don't give myself those kind of airs. (Once upon a time I sat surrounded by Monet's haystacks. There is a whole room full of them in the Chicago Art Institute. They were so beautiful, and the impact of a number of them in one place so strong that I literally wept.) But, the local scene does sometimes give images I'm happy with, and I am learning a lot from my technical noodling here at home. The next clear day in January I'll paste a big sheet of white printer paper on the side of the clubhouse where the sun falls directly on it, and run another set of experiements to get more of a handle on how much of an issue I really have with vignetting and uneven illumation with my favorite prime lenses, the super sharp Canon 40mm F2.8 pancakes.

Somewhere over Missouri, perhaps. I’m on my way to California with Julee, in the window seat with only my phone. I’d like to work on my photography, but my computer is in my overstuffed briefcase in the overhead, and the gentleman in the aisle row is asleep and I don’t want to wake him. I will, when the phone runs short of juice or I need to use the bathroom, but until then I’ll continue reading and writing on my phone. The plane is packed. Aren’t they always these days? The downside of cheap travel, and this travel is the cheapest, as I’ve been able to cash in my miles for the first time for something substantial. Obviously, the gentleman woke up (Julee had to use the loo) and I recovered my bag and am now even more cramped than before, working away with my computer in may lap.

Over the last week I've done more work on blending in Photoshop and have a better grasp of it, although not yet clearly getting to what I want. "Clearly" is the operative word, here. The adjustments I want to make are pretty subtle, and the limits of my aging eyes got in my way, even on the big Epson monitor. Hm... Next time I work on that on that setup I won't be too lazy to head to the after cabin and get my big Clark Kent task glasses, ground specifically for work on that screen, and made of glass so as not to introduce chromatic abberation to my vision as I work. This is not work for a trip without the big monitor and when I want to be spending my time being social with my special friends in California. But, I did bring my cameras, and will hope for good weather in California. Good weather for a photographer is defined as interesting light and interesting skies. Not necessarily bright and sunny...

Infrared Panorama of Sunlit Marina in Washington DC.Untitled Test Shot, DC Waterfront

Washington DC, 6 December 2019   Here's the first big answer to my technical questions. I first posted a version of this on the 16th September last, where it had a subtle but very definite blotchy paralellogram of darker in the middle of the sky. That led me on a long journey through Photoshop, but it turns out that the solution was in PTGui, the software I use for almost all of my stitched panorama creation. PTGui is very modern software in that it has no manual, not even an online version. You have to figure it out yourself, admittedly with help from the in-program help windows. I always checked the "Exposure compensation" box in the appropriate control panel, blishfully unaware that it wasn't an automatic process and the you then had to click on the "Optimize now!" (emphasis in the original) button in the bottom half of the panel. There's also a dialogue box that allows controls the degree of correction (maximum!). The result is this very clean, even, two frame stitched panorama of gallery quality. Wheh! I will still pursue my study of blending and masking in Photoshop, since those are skills that will come in useful in other contexts.

Bare  Infrared Winter Trees Against Dramatic Sky.

Swanzey, New Hampshire, 2 December 2019   I took this picture on the way to the Allen family's traditional harvesting of Christmas trees. A cold, clear day, with enough clouds for interest. It's infrared, and a vertical panorama to eliminate the need to change to a wider lens. Interestingly, this is one of the few infrared images I've taken where I actually had to compress the dynamic range (reduce the contrast) rather than extend it.

It's been a couple of weeks of frenzied contemplation on "Whither Laurence's Photography?", obvious to anybody who might have been following this blog. On the one hand I'll be thinking ahead to up and down the East Coast and where I want to be hunting for photos, but for the moment that will be on the back burner. On the other, I've given myself permission to concentrate on the technical questions for the next few weeks, and dig into the issues of exposure and the ins and outs of Photoshop and the other photographic programs I use, along with learning how to get more out of my graphics tablet and the big monitor, which I've just duplicated via eBay so that Julee and I can work with the needed tools at the same time. More on this at the end of the week and as it rolls out.

Swanzey, New Hampshire, 29 November 2019   Quiet, post-Thanksgiving Day in the bosom of the Allen family. We don't do Black Friday (retail workers should have holidays off, after all) so it's a quiet day at home. I'm still working on my technical problem. My Googling lead me to a technique called luminosity masking, but a day's study revealed that it's a solution for a very different problem. So, I'm back to working on figuring out how to make blending work properly, and especially, how to bend it to my will... Looking at my screen this is what I'm seeing. Not a lot of tangible progress yet, but I do feel I have a better grasp on this than I did last Monday. I will continue noodling!

Screen Shot of LKJ Work in Progress.

Featureless Grey Photo.
Postive and Negative Leaf Shadow Combined...      

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 25 November 2019   Well, here it is: The two photgraphs from last Monday (18 November) combined by overlayering the positive image with the negative image in Photoshop, then dialing the opacity of the negative image down to 50%. A featureless gray rectangle! I've spent all day trying this and that, going to the nine hundred and sixty page pdf of the Adobe Reference for Photoshop (not terribly helpful) and Googling my questions... Success.

Applied to a real picture, this is what I've got:

Grey Photo of Washington DC Marina.

Kinda ugly, isn't it? The dynamic range is compressed into an overall greyness, but the sky is illuminated evenly across the top of the frame... I thought I'd be able to tweak the tones of the photo back into shape in Photoshop, but so far I've not been able to get to the vibrancy of the original. Work in progress, work in progress...

So, paraphrasing The Bard, 'Now is the winter of my discontent.' I'm mudding towards the glorious summer, but the slog has been pretty hard recently. The technical side of the problem is deepened by the fact that I learn differently. Concepts come easily, but the step by step execution is hard. This is starkest in math and is the reason I'm neither an engineer nor an economist. People who are drawn to the fields, including the teachers, find the steps easy and have trouble teaching people who don't. I'd love to take a deep formal course in Photoshop, but fear if I did I'd be wasting my time and money with the teacher skipping through the menus, completely oblivious to need to highlight the details (like rasterizing layers) that spell the difference between being able to complete a task successfully and looking at a menu of greyed out commands. For the time being I slog along on my own, knowing I will make progress eventually if I keep at it, trying different things and picking up hints from the online research.

I think I might leave the existential stuff for later, although there are hints in earlier entries...

In Transit, 23 November 2019    Currently in The Bronx, and rolling north with Amtrak on the way to Gloucester. I don't have much to say about photography today. In my defence, this is yesterday's to-do list:

✓ PU Car --
✓ Cash Check
✓ Sea Cocks Closed !!!
   ✓ or Antifreezed
✓ Parasol
    Radar Arch (if dry)
     ✓ Bolt cut
✓ Note to Horacio
✓ Note to Delyn
✓ Pay David Dodge
✓ Pay Club Dues
✓ Port Bilge !!!
✓ Haircut 11:15 --
✓ Pack
✓ Laundry
✓ Water Boat
✓ Physical Therapy 2pm --
    50A Cable
✓ Straighten Up Aft Deck
✓ Seung!

A long list, mixing the mundane with the coincidental and necessary, and with what really had to happen for safety before we left the boat unattended for an extended time during the winter when freezing temperatures are expected. I got almost all of them checked, off, which made for a busy day, especially since I'd had a wee hours migraine bad enough to require the whole range of triptans, boosters, and serious pain killers, which meant I started the day with some hours of woozy and dippy! On to the opening of the holiday season... More on photography later.

Positive and Negative (Inverted) Image of Decomposed Leaf on Concrete Sidewalk.
Postive and Negative Leaf Shadow      

Washington DC, 18 November 2019
    Yesterday was photo day, and I spent part of it working on the business of blending in Photoshop. I learned how to make the process run, which is not at all obvious process, or, as they say in the computer biz, intuitive. You have to rasterize images that are, at least to my an previous knowledge, already raster images. No doubt I'll figure this out someday! But, though I can get the process to run, I've no idea which of the thirty plus versions of blending will get me the result I need, which is a change in the luminance of a photo on a pixel by pixel basis in relation to the luminance of a second image. Still with me? The pair of photos above are for the next step in the experiments. The first is a ghost leaf left by the decompositon of a real leaf on a sidewalk, in monochrome. (What we used to call black and white...) The second is the inverted version of the same photo. (What we used to call a negative...) In theory if I used these two images in my blending experiments, when I get it right the end result would be a featureless fifty percent grey image as the dark and light cancel each other out. I'll report in later! If anyone has advice please email me!

Noisy (Grainy) Picture of Nightime Clouds Reflected in Yacht Marine Fairway.

Washington DC, 16 November 2019
   This is the picture that convinced me I needed to start carrying the big camera more consistently, and, as a corollary, I needed to be readier to run for my tripod. Caught on the fly as I walked between docks towards my boat the other night. Beautiful moment, with the patchy clouds, which were darkly and mysteriously reflected in the water. I took an up and a down photo with the phone in my pocket, and combined them as a vertical panorama. I like it, but it's so rough, even at screen resolution. The phone assumed (correctly, and as phones always do) that you're hand holding for the shot and boosted the sensitively of the sensor to give an acceptably short exposure speed. But, with the tiny sensor (probably less that a square millimeter) that introduced so much electronic noise that the final product came out looking very noisy/grainy. And, the dark but distinct pattern of the clouds reflected in the water is nearly invisible. The big camera has to deal with noise too, but its sensor is on the order of a thousand times larger so the noise gets subsumed in the signal. And, I had the time to go to the boat, get the tripod and set up, and set the camera for low senstivity/longer exposure. Lesson learned... I probably won't get a second chance on this image. When am I going encounted that dark and those clouds again? But for the future, I'll take on the weight of the big camera, and probably the wide lens, in my briefcase. But I do note it's the marginal conditions that require the big, only-a-camera, professional camera, especially marginal or less than marginal light. The last two blog posts are phone shots, but in great light, so clean photos.

Artsy Head-On Photo of Replica Santa Maria Sailing Ship.
Replica Santa Maria      

Washington DC, 11 November 2019
   One of the wonderful things about living at the new Wharf development on the DC Waterfront is that special things just show up... This is a Spanish replica of Christopher Columbus' flagship the Santa Maria. Here it is in context:

Photo of Replica Santa Maria Sailing Ship Visiting the Washington DC Waterfront with Modern Buildings in Background.
Replica Santa Maria in Washington

I think calling it a replica is actually pretty strong, since we really don't know that much about the original except for it's general size! Even the type of sailing ship is uncertain... So, the various "replicas" built since the 400th anniversary of the European discovery of America all look different. This one is very round... Very much like a medieval roundship in a medieval manuscipt. I like it for that. I think it's probably better built and certainly better finished - not to mention in better condition - than the original, which was a random freighter found in Palos, Spain and requisitioned/leased for the voyage of discovery.

Both photos taken with my iPhone. The bottom one is a three frame panorama, stitched together on the FrankenMac with PTGui panorama software.

Black and White Closeup Image of an Autumn Leaf on Sidewalk.

Color Closeup Image of an Autumn Leaf on Sidewalk.
Leaf on Sidewalk      

Washington DC, 9 November 2019
   Which one is better? There's no absolute, of course, and I think this picture is pretty strong either way. On the ones below I think the black and white versions are in fact better, especially after I boosted the highlights (a little) and the darks (much more!) in Photoshop. Interestingly, the picture above took no adjustment at all when rendered to black and white.

Black and White Closeup Shadow Image of a Decomposed Autumn Leaf on Sidewalk.
Leaf Shadow

Black and White Closeup Image of an Autumn Leaf on Sidewalk.
Sidewalk Leaf Shadows

All taken with my iPhone while out running errands in the neighborhood yesterday. I'm still very much in the playing around mode so I processed these entirely from the jpegs while standing behind the counter as I manned the Martha Spak Gallery at the Wharf in Washington DC. I wonder if I should channel my inner Ralph Gibson and darken the dark areas even more? It would certainly be dramatic, and I may well do it after I've let the thought sit for a bit. There is an interesting issue with doing most of my work on the Ancient FrankenMac. The contrast on screen drops noticeably if not viewed at exactly ninety degrees. Now that I've internalized that I'm careful to do those kinds of tweaks while looking straight, straight at the screen.

Black and White Photo of Wet Autumn Leaves on Wet Pavement.

Washington DC, 4 November 2019    Running late on posts again. I think, technically, this would be last Friday's post, but I we'll let that deadline slip into oblivion, along with many others in my life. It's not laziness, though laziness and procrastination are intertwined into my soul, albeit in a complex and indescribable pattern. It's not even being distracted by the boat work, though there's a fair bit of that, along with the progress that belies any accusation of sloth on my part. I think it has something to do with where my work is, and the fact that the next steps aren't particularly linear. One, I'm trying to get the work out into the world, with everything that implies in terms of exposure and sales. This website is part of that effort, of course, but I've also over the last year put some effort into insinuating myself into the DC art scene and connecting with exhibition space. That's not quick work, and requires some zen, both in terms of mindfulness and patience, not to mention lack of attachment!

On the work itself, I'm still in the midst of trying to figure out how to smooth out the skies in infrared. I did another series on Maine Avenue last Friday, and came home with completely unusable images not because the skies were uneven, but because of the extreme split in exposure and contrast between the sky and the shadows along the street. This will have to be revisited another sunny day. Meanwhile, my thoughts have been running to black and white, my first love in serious photography. I don't have to shoot in infrared to get black and white images... Even in digital photography, which is pretty fundamentally a color process. I have two friends, Kevin Brubiski and Perry Bennett who do a lot of black and white, even though they're using the same color digital equipment we all use.

So, today, insteading of messing with infrared images of Maine Avenue (or infrared images of anything else) I've been messing with black and white conversion of some fall images I took with my phone Friday afternoon, after the cold front blew away the blue sky of the early morning and brought rain to the District of Columbia. One example above, another on Facebook with my redirecting posts, and the third here:

Black and White Photo of Autumn Leaves Floating in Water.

These are leaves and bit of other detritis floating in the water next to the dock where we live. I used my cataloguing program, ACDSee, to do the conversions, and Photoshop for tweaks in lighting and composition. So, this is one moment of non-linearity for me. I'll be following along this path, for at least a bit, and seeing where it might take me. It is the season for change... It's suddenly chill in DC, time to start prepping the boat for winter and switch wardrobes!

Panorama Red Sunset behind moored boats at yacht basin.

Washington DC, 28 October 2019   O!MG. (This is the correct punctuation, based on the True History of the phrase.) This is worse than I had thought. First, I'm a day late with my post. (I'm trying to put something up every Monday and Friday). Second, I'd started with the most recent iteration of the infrared Maine Avenue shot, which is a mess, and unpostable unless people are really interested in long disquistions of technical problems. I downloaded a bunch of photos from my phone yestereday afternoon, including the three images that make up the panorama above, which I think is quite striking, and rather evocotive of the actual boat club I live in.

But it's brought up so much! First, how interesting is it, really? I never asked that question when I was living in a medieval Newari neighborhood around the corner from Patan Durbar square. But, it's arguable that this neighborhood is every bit as exotic in its own contemporary Washington DC way... Then I struggled with the panoramic software, PTGui, because there was a mis-stitch on the water, a first for me, then I struggled with Photoshop, patching a corner where the stitched photo didn't quite cover the rectangle. Regular ripples are one thing, but after all this time I feel I shouldn't be struggling to do things I've done before in Photoshop. I'm still very much on the steep slope of that learning curve. And then, it's a derivative photo. I know, because I posted something very much like it only a few weeks ago! (I'm not going to link to it, you can scroll down to it...) I've even recycled my bit about O!MG.

Originality is a problem, and possibly a myth. A lot of people were thinking about electric light, and specifically light bulbs, in the day, and graphically controlled computers, in that day, which puts Edison and Steve Jobs in some perspective. But, they both took what they knew, massaged the ideas that were floating around and made something great and theirs from them. I don't think I can possibly be ambitious to do more. I'm going to declare this blog a safe space for repetition, experiment, and improvement, and go on. When I started this entry I was feeling a bit sorrier for myself, and thinking that the reader wouldn't want to hear me winge about my problems with the work, but then remembered that Catcher in the Rye has hundreds of millions of fans, so whining can't be completely toxic!

Washington DC, 25 October 2019   Not quite eight in the morning, and the sun is not quite up on the Washington Waterfront. When I first looked east the sky had scattered high cirrus clouds, but I think they've solidified into a high overcast now, so it won't be the morning to walk to the 14th Street bridge with the infrared camera and reshoot the morning light down Maine Avenue. The weather forecast indicates a gathering storm until Sunday, then clear again on Monday, so that will be my next target date for that shoot.

I've been working on my "behind the scenes" web page on the Siddhartha Gallery show last year. It's going to be a chatty thing... I should have it up by the end of the coming week. Then, of course, I have a whole list of pages to build. My non-photographic life is quite busy too... Onward!

Front Door of Art Gallery and Home Goods Shop in Converted Nepali Palace Complex.

Brooklyn, 21 October 2019   Today I am announcing the posting of a new gallery on this web site! After a long gestation, the gallery covering the imagery of my show at the Siddhartha Gallery last year in Kathmandu has been added to my "Shows" section at the bottom of my Galleries page. Please check it out! Over the next week or so I'm going to add a companion page on the pitch, setup, run, and teardown of the show for anyone who might be interested in the "behind the scenes" version. I'll also add links to such things as the show's artist statement.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of a New England Cemetary Behing a Stone Wall.
Oak Hill Cemetary   

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 18 October 2019   I honestly thought I'd be posting about the continued progress on my Siddhartha Art Gallery show page, but something more recent came up. One of the items in my Amazing Day gallery is a photo of the Prospect Street Cemetery. Julee had run across a post by the Cape Ann Museum of an Edward Hopper sketch of a Gloucester Cemetary and wondered if it was the same one.

Edward Hopper Sketch in Conte Crayon of a New England Cemetary Behing a Stone Wall.
Cemetary in Gloucester, by Edward Hopper   

A comment on the museum post said it was actually the Oak Hill Cemetary on Poplar Street. And so it is! Monday dawn blue and beautiful, and in the afternoon I walked over to Poplar Street with my cameras, and the infrared two frame panorama is on of the products. Definitely the same spot. The houses match. The trees, including the one at the cemetary wall have grown up a bit in the last ninety years... The wall's not quite the same, nor the grave stones, but either might have changed over time. And, of course, Hopper didn't necessarily sketch exactly as he saw it.

Arid and Eroded Cliff Face in Northern Nepal.
Cliffs at Chhuksang   

Gloucester, Massachussets, 14 October 2019   Most of today is going to be given over to sanding the floor of the study in the house in Gloucester. Silly me for having two fixer uppers. But then, two, or possibly even one, property in perfect shape would have been beyond my means... But, last night I finally, finally, started work on a web page to represent my show at the Siddartha Gallery in Kathmandu in February last year. I did a page for the follow-on show at Kathmandu Art Gallery early on, because it was a much smaller show with only five big prints and it was fairly easy to bang out a simple page to show them off. This was a bit different, a big show with eighteen large prints in the top gallery in Nepal, a couple of national press reviews, a TV show, opening remarks by the U.S. Chargé d'Affaires, all of which deserve links or comment. And I would like to do a little sub-page on the history and setup... So far I have all the exhibit photos tipped into the page, in the right order, along with captions, and text for the five that were also in the Kathmandu Art Gallery page which will have to be edited, but not much. By Friday I may be able to announce the page going live if I can keeped focussed.

Since I'm copying some material from another page I have a chance to see how my coding style has changed. Anything that works, but consistent style, even if the end result would be identical, is good coding practice, as it makes the code easier to read and maintain. I do wish I could take lessons or glom onto a mentor! I'm sure I'm missing some tricks.

Forest Trees and Canopy in Infrared.
Dogtown Trees, Gloucester, Massachusetts   

Gloucester, Massachussets, 11 October 2019   Interesting week, as usual split between boat work and photo work. One of my friends told me that there was nothing wrong with a retired person having two hobbies, but it's not as simple as that. I enjoy the boat work, but a big part of what pushes me there is that it's my abode in Washington, and it needs work. I'm homesteading! And the photography? I like to think that's more than a hobby, an avocation at least.

On the picture: Two or three weeks ago I was wondering around the back alleys of my hard drives and ran across a dramatic tree picture I'd took in Colorado the summer of 2014. I wondered how I missed it, and thought I'd go back and properly process it, and add it to my page of tree pictures.
Infrared Photograph of Dark Pine Surrounded by Other Trees.
But, when I went back to it, I found I had fully processed it. And, looking at it, it didn't seem as good as I'd first thought. I kept looking at it, and thinking it was good, but not that good... I finally showed it to Julee, and asked her what she thought. She looked at it steadily for some time, and her silence told me what I needed to know, not that good. Pictures might grow on you, but I find the best leap at you, throw their arms around you, or perhaps slip into your arms and hold you tight. Either way you don't forget the embrace. If the picture had been first rate Julee would have said something very positive immediately. So, good, but I won't be adding it to any of my galleries.

I followed up by going through the pictures from that period of travel. It's obvious that I've been through that trip before, and I remember feeling the holy fire as I took pictures, but sometimes the results don't reflect the certainty of the moment. I think Dogtown Trees above, from the end of that period works, though maybe not as punchy as my favorites. It's a two frame stitched panorama, again, not because it's extremely wide, but because I didn't have the 20mm lens with me.

Infrared view down Maine Avenue, showing the Wharf Development from the 14th Street Bridge in Washington DC.
Work in Progress   

Washington DC, 7 October 2019   Today came in overcast and unphotogenic (at least in my styles of photography) but pushing up to ten the cloud cover broke up, and I thought the sun might still be on the face of the Wharf buildings opposite the water. So, I grabbed my big cameras and hurried to the ramp to the 14th Street Bridge hoping for a good shot down Maine Avenue. The light was on the buildings, but only just, and the view was a bit dark, even in infrared. In visible light the pictures would be worse. Still, here's the work in progress. I'll go back much earlier in the morning the next time the light is good and the sky clear, with or without scattered clouds to give interest. These picures are meant as the "after" to the picures I took four years back, when the building footprint was a very large hole in the ground.

I actually spent most of the day working up and polishing an exhibit proposal for a wonderful local venue, Culture House DC. I have no idea where this might go, but I'm hopeful! I think the work stands up, and I am local, not just to DC, but to Southwest DC. More on this as it unrolls...

View of the Washington Channel and the Wharf Development from the 14th Street Bridge in Washington DC.
Washington Channel   

Washington DC, 4 October 2019   It's fall, and the light is changing although it's still very warm considering we're into October. With a nice clear day it seemed time to head back to the 14th Street Bridge and take some new pictures of my 'hood. As Marty Feldman said in Young Frankenstein, "Houumme!" (The relevant line is at 3:30 into the video.) This neighborhood is getting even more trendy as it's now a stop over for megayachts on their annual migration from the moneyed Northeast to the balmy shores of Florida and thence to the tax havens of the Caribbean. You can see a couple of them clearly in this two frame infrared stitched panorama, and there are a couple more, smaller, but still mega, yachts hiding in the middle ground among the other boats, not to mention the fifth that headed downriver this morning before I was out with my cameras.

I'll have to repeat the pilgramage to the bridge early tomorrow morning (or more likely Sunday morning or whenever I get the next weather window, given that I'm on the road early to the boat show in Annapolis) and shoot down Maine Avenue. By the time I took these shots the other side of the buildings were in shadow, and not photogenic. And then to stitch up the big panoramas and work on the illumination problem.

Calvin and Hobbes Sunday Strip, poking fun at menu driven computers.
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson.   Found on the Web.

Washington DC, 30 September 2019   In the day we got less usuable photos because the cameras didn't think for themselves. The photographer themself had to get the settings right. On the plus side, there were really only three controls... Aperture, which controlled how much light streamed through the lens, shutter speed, which controlled how long the light streamed through the lens, and focus, which controlled what was sharp in the photo. There was more to it than that, of course. Composition above all, which is still true, but those three were what you needed to control for your pictures to come out. Now that I'm fully digital, I have cameras that have menus after menus, menus within menus, and in some cases, menus within the menus that are within the menus. It all controls the three fundamental controls plus light sensitivity, which can be changed on the fly in the digital world, and so much more. Do you want your camera focussing on the center of the scene, or on the edge? You can adjust for that, as one example.

The thing I'm dealing with is that it's absurdly easy to adjust for such a thing without being aware that one is doing so. Expecially true with my iPhone (which is a serious camera, especially if shot with third party software) and with my latest, greatest big camera, the Canon R, which can be controlled with a touch sensitive screen. I don't actually suspect my cameras of evil whimsicality... It's harder to be sure with the phone, which seems more proactive. I'll click for the main screen, squeeze the "OFF" button on the side, and five minutes later my phone will be loudly playing Try to Remember from The Fantasticks from my pocket, with no imput from me whatsoever. Worse for me is that the iPhone camera software I'm using will reset itself in random ways, including labeling all the menus in Korean. The camera does similar silly things. For a while it was firing in burst mode, which wasn't, it turns out, a menu item from the main screen, but from a separate menu system on the top of the camera. A far cry from my Aulde 1980 Canon F1, which had a shutter speed dial on the body of the camera and aperture and focus rings on the lens, all linked in the view finder.

It's not just me. Menus are a problem all around. No one's going to die because my focus is off, but in other fields this sort of thing can be really dangerous. The U.S. Navy is reconfiguring the controls of its ships because the officers and helmsmen want more intuitive controls and the lack of them has led directly to serious accidents. And I know of at least three air disasters where controls buried in the menu tree have been part of the mix. But I'm not going back, much as I loved the F1. Every one of my big digital cameras has been a step up and a step forward in terms of control and quality. I am going to have to figure out how to lock down my preferances after they're set so I really know what to expect when I put the camera to my eye and press the buttom.

Big Newari Bronze Bell, Cradled by a Man's Hands.

In Transit, MARC train to/from Baltimore from DC, 26 September 2019   Not a new picture, but one of my favorites from Nepal, captured in Nuwakot on the way to Langtang Village on the year's anniversary of the 2015 Earthquake. Nuwakot was a little Newari Kingdom further up the Himalaya from the Kathmandu, captured by the Gorkha king Narayan Prithvi Shah before he took Kathmandu Valley itself and established what became Nepal. The hands belong to a Nepali Police Officer who accompanied us on the trek up the Langtang Valley and took special care of me, a weak, but determined, trekker. You can see the photo on the wall behind me in last Friday's post.

Another week that has been mostly about the boat... Good progress there, but details interesting only to boaters and plumbers!

Washington DC, 23 September 2019   The last week has been very much about the boat in the Washington Channel Julee and I live on. I've put a timer on the main battery charger, (this involved rewiring a 220 volt double hot circuit) and chased down a lot of the wiring issues. We purchased a new not-painfully-squishy mattress for the master cabin, which arrived today. We also went shopping at a chi-chi blind store for shades for the salon, but the price there was more or less what I'd pay for a new Canon EOS R set up for infrared, which I also can't afford right now, so the mattress will be the last expensive boat item for a while. Now on to the things that require labor rather than money, like wiring and sewage... It's time.

On the photo side, I got good clear sky photos with the infrared 5D Mk3, so I can start working on building a Photoshop mask to even out exposure across the frame. Problem there is that I have no idea how to convert my understanding of the theoretical necessity to a tool that will actually do the work. Should be possible. Photoshop is an incredibly broad and powerful tool. Onward!

Julee Allen's Photo of Laurence Kent Jones in his Office in Kathmandu.
LKJ in His Office, 2017 (by JEA)  

Washington DC, 20 September 2019   Being a recovering diplomat and consular officer, I no longer have big office to hang my big photos in. This is a picture that Julee recovered from a Facebook post about three years ago in Kathmandu when I was running the U.S. Consular Section there. Now I'm free of the office and living on a boat and have no place of my own to hang very large pictures. But I was able to put up a little pop-up show at my club last month. My friend, fellow live-aboard and Wharf Wrat extraordinaire, Alan Etter seized the moment and shot a little documentary/interview of me while the show was up, and has just posted it on YouTube. Check it out! It runs about five minutes, edited down, because when was I ever shy about talking about my photos? I wish I'd spent a little more time in hair and makeup, but Alan didn't just seize the moment, he seized me right off the dock where I'd been doing sweaty boat things. I kinda wish I'd spent a moment on my hair in the Kathmandu picture too, but few of us are really happy with pictures of ourselves...

CYC Slips and Clubhouse at the Wharf in Washington DC.
Unititled Test Shot, DC Waterfront

Washington DC, 16 September 2019   Another in-progress technical post. I worry about obsessing about equipment, but cameras, lenses, and sensors are the tools we use to make images, and if there are issues with them they carry over into the images. Deep blue sky on the Washington Waterfront yesterday, so time to do another series of test shots. The panorama above nicely illustrates the problem that bedevils me right now. It's a simple two frame panorama and it went together very quickly. But... The shy is uneven, and the actual sky was not. There is a visible darkening in the middle where the two frames that make up the final image overlap.
Infrared Test Image for Even Illumination.
And here's the issue. This is a shot of the most evenly illuminated clear blue sky with my standard very sharp Canon 40mm lens. Note the image is darker in the corners, but especially the top right corner. Vignetting (darker corners) is a classic lens issue but assymetric vignetting? Of course it's not extreme. I might never have noticed, or perhaps would have shrugged, except that it messes up my panoramas. It's not the sensor. The bottom image was taken during the same period with the same lens on my color camera. So what's up. More exploration, for sure, and perhaps, if I can get through, a conversation with technical expert at Canon. I may have to build an adjustment layer for photoshop, but won't be able to use yesterday's images because the infrared sky shots have subtle but definite flare and will have to be shot over with better lens shading. Infrared is more prone to flare, simply because the engineers didn't design the lens barrels with those wavelengths in mind. This is all my own fault for going all in for a form of photography (infrared panorama) that is a double kludge.

Visible Test Image for Even Illumination.

Robert Frank's Photo of the Lonely-Looking Elevator Operator.
Elevator, Miami Beach by Robert Frank.  From the web.

Washington DC, 13 September 2019   Robert Frank died last Monday. More than a bit of shock! It's hard to justify my sorrow as I never met him and he lived 94 consequential years and he had an impact on his fields that would deeply satisfy any artist. I don't know him as a film maker (my images don't move) but before he shot motion pictures he was on of the shapers of 20th Century photography with the publication of a single book, The Americans, in 1958.

In one sense, it's simple stuff. He shot with a Leica III, which was a fine and expensive camera, but was also very much the camera stripped to its essentials, a black box with a photosensitive surface at one end and a lens at the other. And small, which was critical to at least some of his work. The small took him to the very edges (and perhaps a bit beyond!) of acceptable technical quality given the state of chemistry at the time.

But, these pictures are not small at all, and they're beautiful, complex and multilayered. The Americans presents the pictures with no verbal framing aside from titles and a short forward by Jack Kerouac. It was received at the time as a bitter critique of Swiss immigrant Frank's adopted country. I didn't take it that broadly, but I do think it's a critique - without words! - of the then heavily marketed image of America as a society made up exclusively of happy, satisfied, middle class and upwardly mobile, people in perfect suburban marriages.

And the pictures are beautiful. The small grainy prints made from small grainy negatives are full of light and shadow, which are the tools of, and an ineffable part of the meaning of, photography. And the people in them, no matter how marginal or unhappy, are complete persons worthy of our respect and empathy. One feels the glimpse of their souls and that their souls are worth seeing.

It's hard to express how much his photos meant to me, and harder to say how much and how they affected my work since the other influences in big, sharp, less documentary, photography mattered too, not to mention the progress made in the chemistry between 1955 and 1975. My film was better than his! But the influence was very deep, and this week of his death I think of him and honor him.

New England Federal House Interior Door with Splach of Window Light.
Door in Shadow

Washington DC, 9 September 2019   In the last few months I've done a number of simple photographs that I've been really pleased with. This is an example from the inside of the house in New England. Simple, of course, is a relative term! Simple in concept, perhaps? This was part of an experiment on advice given to me years ago by my printer, Danny Chau, early in our acquaintance, when I noted the limited dynamic range of digital photography. Like the Late Lamented Kodachrome reversal film, only more so. I knew, because I'd just done some Zone System testing on the Canon EOS 5D MKIII. He quietly told me no, there was huge dynamic range possible. One shoots RAW files and bring the shadows back in post processing. And so it is. The camera original for this picture is exposed for the bright areas, and the dark areas were black. Amazing what a little bit of work in Photoshop will do! And the quality has held.

It also had to be tweaked back into architectual perspective. As it came out of the camera the rectangles were all twisted trapezoids. Fortunately also fixable in Photoshop, though I find it a twitchy process that (for me) doesn't give the best results the first time around, requiring repetition until it looks right. So simple image, but nonetheless the result of a lot of complicated work!

Red Sunset Over  Line of Boats in their Slips at the Wharf in Washington DC.
Red Sunset, DC Waterfront

Washington DC, 6 September 2019    Home from Home, at The Wharf in Washington. We got off the train from Boston about seven pm and were greeted by this scene as we were walking to the boat. I took three frames with my phone, and combined them in PTGui last night, and lightened the boats and clubhouse a little to make the final product a bit more readable on the computer screen. Shadows are tricky. They were tricky in the chemical photography days, when they were the key to good exposure and tricky in a different way now when they have to display on many different computer screens. Have you had your monitor calibrated? I'm having a certain amount of trouble with mine in spite of much effort because the built in screen of my FrankenMac displays a little blue-er and a little darker than the gorgeous big NEC monitor I use for critical work. No solution yet...

Infrared Panoramic Photo of Sailboots in Gloucester Harbor During the Schooner Festival, 2019.
SchoonerFest, Gloucester 2019

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 2 September 2019   For the second year in a row we're in town for the annual Schooner Festival and this year I brought the camera bag with the big gun telephoto lens in it. The event is a commemoration of a couple of interlinked bits of local history. First, that well into the Twentieth Century, the cod fishery was built on big schooners that sailed out to the banks with a hold full of salt, a deck full of dories, and a crew that hand lined for cod from the little boats during the day and salted them in the evening, coming home with their catch when they ran out of salt. Second, a series of races in the 1930s between big cod schooners from Gloucester and those from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, which has a similar fishing history.

Infrared Photo of Spectators and Participants of the Gloucester Schooner Parade.
Pinkie Schooner on Parade, Gloucester

It's an American Labor Day event at the beginning of September every year, a long weekend when the weather is likely to be good. The boats gather in Gloucester on Friday, show themselves at the docks and prep on Saturday, and on Sunday there's a race, and leading up to the race outside the breakwater there's a parade in the outer harbor.And everybody comes out to watch. Both on land and on the water. As you can see here, and in the leading panorama, every serious sailor in the neighborhood seems to be out on the water to honor and ogle the bigger schooners as they go out to race. And a goodly population of motor boaters, oarsmen and women, kayakers, and the occasional lobster boat and commercial fishing boat.

Infrared Photo of Small Boat in Front of Schooner in Gloucester Outer Harbor.
Big and Small Sailboats, Gloucester

Infrared Photo of Two Schooners Heading on Opposite Courses in Gloucester's Harbour
At the Turn, Scooner Parade, Gloucester

There are a number of classic books about and set in Gloucester. Two that are very relevant to this post are Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling, a novel set in the schooner based cod fishery at the turn of the last century, and A Race for Real Sailors by Keith McLaren, about the races in the thirties, which resulted in the Lunenburg schooner Bluenose ending up on Canadian money!

The photos are infrared, and the first one is a three frame panorama that was then cropped down for better composition. All taken with the massive Canon 100-400mm zoom lens.

Infrred Photo of Small Boat Speeing Out of Canal, Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Wake, Blynman Cut

Washington DC, 30 August 2019   We're coming up to the American Labor Day weekend, which is the American end of Summer. Not officially... The official date is 23 September, the autumnal equinox, when the day and night are each twelve hours long. But here school traditionally starts the first day after the Labor Day weekend and we've all lived by that schedule early in our lives. And, if we're educators or have children we still live by it, so it colors everything. And, this year anyway, it's noticeably cooler this week, so it feels like a transition to me too, especially as a boater. I took the infrared photo about last weekend, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It's a two frame panorama, my usual crutch when I don't have a wide lens on the camera (or on my person) when it seems the scene should be a little bit wider. It was a busy weekend of leisure for many, what with school still being out, really nice weather, and the large regional Riverfest music festival.

Panoramic View of an Outdoor Music Festival in Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Riverfest, Gloucester, 2019

Julee and I walked! From necessity (no car) but also happy to not be dealing with parking. I gather that pretty much every parking option in town was overflowing. The crowd was estimated at eleven thousand. Not quite Woodstock numbers, but pretty good for a regional event celebrating a listener supported alternate music radio station, WXRV, The River. This image is stitched from nine separate photos, and it went together pretty quickly. The infrared version is much more problematic.

Big technical issues brought up: The skies in these stitched panoramas are uneven, and the effect is worst on the infrared side. I'm trying to figure this out. All lenses have vignetting issues, hopefully well corrected for the color light of normal photography, but maybe not so much for infrared which is outside of the parameters given to the physicists and engineer who design these things. I have to deal with far more flare in IR than in visible light, for example. Perhaps in the stitching process? Blotches do seem to follow the edges of the individual frames. Combination of both? Working on this and looking for mitigation as early in the pricess as possible.

Washington DC, 26 August 2019   No picture today. I am, knock wood, into the regular swing of blogging, having posted Monday and Friday for two weeks running, and starting thinking of my next post the moment I got the last one up on Friday morning. In the course of updating this Blog page, I made some adds and fixes on the blog Archive page, and updated the formatting of the Infrared Trees page in my gallery to reflect the new friendlier-to-both-phones-and-laptops ethos of this site. After that I thought it time to take down the "Under Construction" disclaimer on the index page. The site isn't finished, of course, not for years, if ever. But I feel that it's getting closer to being ready for prime time and that I'm ready to completely own it. Over the next bit I'll be bringing the whole site into the orbit of the new style sheets, which will be easy for the later pages which I deliberately kept simple, and harder on earlier ones where I was experimenting with fancier layouts. But, honestly, I'm tearing through a page pretty quickly now that I have a good sense of what formatting options I've set up for myself.

I'm going through my development space on my own computer and cataloguing the complete and posted pages, the half finished ones, the barely started ones, and the abandoned or superseded ones, and see about bringing some more order to the enterprise. Then, I'll be seeing what it will take to encrypt it, adding the S to the HTTP. Perhaps not such a big thing now, but I'm enventually want to handle sales through the site, and for that it must be as secure as possible. Meanwhile working on the photos themselves as in my last post, and working at getting the work out into the physical world. Many, many happy hours of work over the next months and years...

Infrared Panoramic Photograph of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade With People Enjoying the Space and View.
Manhattan and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Massachusetts, 23 August 2019   I like it, but it has has big stitching error in it. It's one of my digital panoramas, created from four photos taken from more or less the same position and combined seamlessly in the computer. Except there are seams and sometimes they show! I won't say where, but examination will find it. Not at the points in the photo the eye naturally goes, but it's there. This day in March is very frustrating. Great sky, great light, sharp Zeiss and Canon lenses... But the pictures are not coming together easily. Not the first time I've complained about this! Some pictures may eventually make it out of the blog page to prime time, manipulated in PTGui, my current stitching program of choice, or re-stitched in Autopano Giga, which I've used but don't understand very well. And then there's always hand patching in Photoshop... Some, I may have to accept as imperfectable, and either leave behind or wait for another good day when I'm in New York and have the time to return to the scene for another go. Meanwhile, a small victory in my assault on html coding. In the process of putting together this post I learned how to link to a particular place on a web page. Not as hard as some of the things I've had to learn but I'm still proud of my progress.

Infrared Photograph of Small Group Walking Down the Platform in Helsinki Train Station.
Trackside, Helsinki

Massachusetts, 18 August 2019   By now I've been through the folders of photgraphs of the recent trip to Finland via Iceland, processed the infrared photos and the panoramas, and picked out my favorites, including the two I've posted previously. This is a group of infrared photos from the last leg of our trip to central Finland, a lake district surprisingly reminiscent of New Hampshire, but with bigger scenery and more lakes. Started off, above, with the trip from downtown Helsinki to Tampere by train, thence a drive to the big birthday party at the Hotelli Kunikaandartano, and afterwards to the post-party at the family cottage in Kyrösjärvi before our return home.

Infrared Photograph of Meadow, Trees, and Forest in Central Finland.
Kyrösjärvi Stroll #1

Julee and I took an afternoon walk, and when we got a little short of this point when I turned us around so I could get my camera. Lovely high summer day among the birch trees.

Infrared Photograph of House Signs at a Junction in Finnish Birch Forest

As we walked we were a little nervous because we weren't at all sure of the ownership of the gravel country road we were walking on. Public? Private? Were we getting a little too close to the private space of someone's beloved summer cottage? Of course it's hard to imagine a Finnish homeowner being anything but sweet about an inadveratent trespass, but my slightly odd brain started take the thought to it's logical conclusion. Maybe the Finns are so fierce about private property that "Private Property, No Tresspassing, Deadly Force Authorized" is actually a single sylable word in Finnish. And then we came to this fork in the road marked by garden gnomes, Disney dwarves and signs to family cottages, there it was, in front: "Lutz"

Needless to say, we walked on. Apologies to my Finnish friends, but how could this punster resist? The following photos from the rest of the walk:

Infrared Panorama of Meadow, Gravel Road and Birch Forest, Central Finland.
Kyrösjärvi Stroll #2

Infrared Panorama of Birch Forest, Central Finland.
Kyrösjärvi Stroll #3

Infrared Photograph of Large Pleasure Schooner at the Washington (DC) Marina.
Schooner Portrait

Massachusetts, 16 August 2019    (From my Facebook Post.) Gallerists and publishers are often interested in the local angle, and a conversation with a gallerist last week led me back to the many photos I took five years ago as the Southwest DC Waterfront was being demolished to make way for what has become the Wharf. I made many trips to the 14th Street bridges and the walkway of East Potomac Park across the Washington Channel from the action to take photos. I was trying for the W. Eugene Smith combo, a document of the time and place that is also a good photograph. Looking back from this point in time the results are mixed. More work required, although I think there is some good stuff in the multitude of exposures... I'm quite happy with this one, which is really more the portrait of a large sailboat belonging to fellow members of the Capital Yacht Club and less a record of the neighborhood moment. But, the old club is in the background, seconds ticking down until we moved out and down the Channel ahead of the demolition. Wide angle, infrared.

Larger Prints by LKJ displayed in the Clubroom of the Capital Yacht Club, Washington DC, August 2019.
Pop-Up Show, Capital Yacht Club

Massachusetts, 16 August 2019   So, last weekend I had a very informal little pop-up show at my club in Washington DC. Partly I wanted to show my friends some of my recent work, partly I wanted to see it up myself, and partly I was hoping to increase my viewership. The last turned out to be hard, as it is, after all, a private club, not to mention a non-profit of the most intensely non-profitable sort. Management was nervous, so I didn't broadcast this show ahead of time, even to the Wharf community, and made no mention of sales or prices even to the people I invited individually. It may have helped make a connection or two.

Entry to LKJ's Pop-Up Shaw at the Capital Yacht Club Showing the Artist's Statement and Informal Catalogue.
A pop-up is a sudden, short term, inexpensively mounted, art show, often in places that are not usually used as gallery space. No new prints in this show! All five were already printed. All told I spent about ninety U.S. dollars on lumber and fasteners for this show, finished off a couple of cans of paint I had in stock and used construction line and whipping twine from my boat's cordage box to hang it all up. No reception, so no wine and nibbles bill... As you can see, I used black painted wooden battens and binder clips to frame and hang the works themselves. The binder clips then hung by paperclips to a series of battens bolted together to form a long rail and that in turn is hung from line strung through the false ceiling. Except for the first picture I had to hang the works away from the wall because there isn't actually a wall but a line of built in cabinets that the club staff needed to be able to get into. A bit fragile, but perfectly adequate for a four and a half day event.

Large Photo Prints Unrolled from Storage and Flattening on Tables Under Bowls and Tissue Paper.

Amy Weiss, a good friend and the chair of the House Committee at the Capital Yacht Club helped me hang the show Thursday morning before the show officially popped up. Here you see the works unboxed and unrolled. The very heavy and porous Hahnemühle paper from Germany takes a wicked curl when it's stored rolled up, so we weighted the works down with soup bowls from the club galley and went to lunch to give the pictures time to straighten out. As you can see the longest print is a good eight feet long. Unrolling these picutures, expensively printed by Danny Chau of Chau Digital in Hong Kong, is a nervy process, as is rolling them up to return them to storage since the surfaces are very delicate. I'd love to have them framed under museum glass, but that would cost several thousand dollars per print if done right, and then I'd have real trouble with the volume of storage space needed. I've collected a lot of these big prints since I first met Danny several years ago. So, I just have to take the care and take the risks.

A small pop-up, but it still took a fair ammount of time to organize, set up and hang, then to un-hang! At least a work week, spread out over a couple of months, and maybe more if you count the time I spent lobbying my club to let me use their space. It all takes time! (It's taken about three hours to organize and compose this blog post, which might be long winded but isn't all that complex...) Worth it though. It was great to see the work up.

Great Looking Sunlit Meal on Finnish VR Train, Meatballs and Lingonberry Jam and Cider.
VR Meal

Connecticut, 14 August 2019    Two things come up as I start this. First, I'm really reluctant to broadcast where I'm going. Years in fairly high profile U.S. Government service overseas. I was never so high profile as to be at particular risk, but it was drilled into us that we were also targets of opportunity, especially when targets of greater value were well protected (Once upon a time the U.S. Defense Attaché in Athens escaped a group of Greek extremists because he was a serious photographer. Really! He carried a camera everywhere and his movements were completely erratic to the observer because he was always going out of his way looking for an interesting composition and the best light, even on his walk to work. The assasins killed his very predictable deputy instead.) So, even in retirement, my mind resists telling the world where I'm going, or where I've just arrived on social media or such platforms as this blog. I write on the train from Washington to Boston, and thence to Gloucester, but I'll probably post after I lock the door behind me when I get there.

It's a great ride. Not particularly short at eight hours, but Amtrak is a lot more comfortable than a plane, the stations are easy access downtown, and one only has to stand in line once. I could wish for better food! The picture above shows my meal on the recent run from Helsinki to Tampere in central Finland. It's as good as it looks, and while one had to order at the counter, the attendant served to one's seat, at least if one were sitting in the double decked dining car. I love Amtrak, but the slick, clean, on time to the minute, with really good food and drink, Finnish VR railway system leaves me feeling a little envious. One real plus for me on this side of the pond is that this train follows very close to the water at various points, including the run though Connecticut and Rhode Island, so I get to ogle many little port districts full of interesting ships and boats.

The other thing I notice is that I'm not completely consistent about the way I tag places. Generally local place name only in the U.S., local name and country overseas. I do come at it from a U.S. prospective, but I think it's mostly a desire to be clear and transparent. I'd expect my Finnish friends to know that "Boston" is the city in the U.S., not the town in England, but I think it's kind to my other friends to say Kyrösjärvi, Finland. "Helsinki" wouldn't require the extra precision for most and I wouldn't add the country in that case. So, denying any nativist intent, I'll carry on.

Moody Icelandic Photograph Showing a Diagonal Surf Line Center with Ocean to the Left and Black Sand Beach to the Right.
Black Sand Beach, Iceland

Kyrösjärvi, Finland, 2 August 2019   Julee and I have been on the road since last Friday, the trip being hung on a logical-family event in Finland, the 60th birthday party for a pair of very dear friends. The Mid-Atlantic part of the trip grew out of Icelandair's very clever marketing of a "free" stopover in Reykjavic on the way to Helsinki. We spent four days in Iceland and a considerable sum on tourism, in spite of doing it on the cheap by camping. We travelled from campground to campground in a miniature camper van, which turns out to be A Very Big Thing in Iceland. One of these days I will have to write a little essay about the tides of tourism washing over the world and my experiences in them. Meanwhile, Iceland... What an amazing and photogenic place!

Cloudy Day Photo of Jagged Lava Field in Iceland Covered with Thick Softening Moss.
Moss Heath, Iceland

The top image was taken from the top of a sudden rising hill right on the southern coast, capped with a classic lighthouse. The second comes from later in the day, and a bit to the west in the middle of the Eldhraun Lava Field, an Icelandic national park devoted to the recent lava flow and its amazing softening cover of moss. I didn't know what to call this landscape, so my file names use my own term "moss meadow". It turns out that the proper term is "moss heath". I like "meadow" better, for the softness of the surface, but Julee disagrees because of the underlying jaggedness of the landscape. I'll concede and go with "heath". Moss Heath is a three frame stitched panorama, but otherwise these photos are not manipulated at all. These are the colors of the landscape, high afternoon in the first, and overcast evening in the second. Driving through this landscape that evening, and then the following morning on the way to Keflavik Airport I thought I could make a large project of it if I lived in Iceland, searching for the most interesting vistas of the moss heaths, and watching the weather for the most interesting light. Care is required. One mustn't walk on the moss because it's actually very delicate, and one can leave long term if not permanent tracks on the landscape. We took a secondary dirt road off the main track and drove a hundred meters into the lava field, parked and walked further to view the heath, but didn't step off of the road at all.

Alexandria, Virginia to Washington DC, 21 July 2019   This will be my last technical post for a while. I've spent the last couple of weeks learning how to control the appearance of my web site depending on the size of the screen it's on, and the last two days re-configuring my blog archive page accordingly. I had started, of course, with test pages, then prototyped on my blog page. I had to go next to the blog archive page as I wanted to archive the infrared Potomac River pictures to it and couldn't until the two pages were identically configured. And, the archive page is my longest page, and so the most work to reconfigure. Good to get it done! I'm still a bit at sea on the interaction between the meta viewport command and the references to screen size that call different stylesheets depending on how wide the display is. No matter, or at least no urgency... I think the pages look good on laptop/desktop screens, smart phone screens, and the tablets in between. My design of the pages has been deliberately simple for some time to allow for scaling to different devices. I may do some tweaking in the weeks to come, but for the moment I'm satisfied and will work on getting a new page up and reconfiguring the existing pages for the new stylesheets. I might soon feel ready to take the "Under Construction" label off of my splash page...

North Shore, Massachusetts, 16 July 2019    It's been a hard couple of weeks on the coding front. I've been working on the techniques of responsive web page design and dealing with the fact that they are so badly documented on the web. There is, of course, more than one way of writing the code, but even so, none of the sources, including the web consortium's site, seem to give complete and workable instructions for any of them. I've been down more than one rabbit hole trying to follow a published technique until research showed that the published technique applied to third party software that compiled to .html or .css code, not to the code itself. Oy! Finally managed to cross reference a number of bits of information and build a test environment that loads a different format of page for phone screens, medium screens (for tablets), and larger screens (for landscape computer screens). Now for some tweaking to set a overall format for my pages that will allow for quick assembly, and then a new page or two that will show off the new work.

Gordon Parks Classic Photo of Perspiting Muhammad Ali after a Training Session.
Muhammad Ali, Miami, Florida, 1966 by Gordon Parks   From the web. On my way home from Boston, Cambridge, and Hahvahd, where the The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art has an exhibit of Gordon Parks photos in it's last days. Parks was one of the absolute greats of photography. His book, Poet and His Camera was everywhere when I was in my second photographic wind in my twenties, but the real gem is a volume called Moments Without Proper Names. It was rare and costly then. I would visit the copy in the Santa Cruz Public Library from time to time. His work holds! The big print of the picture of Muhammad Ali, above, is beautiful and mesmorizing, technically perfect while giving the viewer a window into the soul of the young man who was making to transition from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, long before the tragedy of the boxer who fought too long.

Screen shot showing LKJ's first small step of adaptive HTML coding, same site on side-by-side Macbook and iPhone.
Baby Step

Washington DC, 3 July 2019    Am I allowed to think out loud? Well, it is my own blog, but I also wonder if one can think "out loud" when one is writing quietly... Nonetheless. I've known since December the year before last that I need to optimize this web site for smaller devices, smart phones in short, or Google will ignore me. The first, easy, steps came some months ago. I stopped doing fancy text wraps around images, and now my pages are vertically and linearly organized. That looked okay on the big laptop screen, but didn't wear as well as the screen got smaller as I was still having trouble with the fact that the text was really teeny tiny on the phone screen making the pages unreadable. Then, I found the viewport command: meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" Now isn't that intuitive! But it does change the text size depending on the size of the device screen, bigger type on smaller screens, which makes a huge difference.

But, I need to do more. First, I'm giving preference to the look of the site on phones, which detracts from the look of the site on laptops. Most of the images need to be full width on the tiny screen, but then the non-panoramic photos look a bit weak and more than a bit awkward on the big screen. I need to adjust depending on the size of the device for the best look.

The hint came (as documented in and earlier post) in Las Vegas a few months back. I spent the first couple of days of this week studying the fabled 'media' query, coding it into a couple of test pages, getting nowhere the first day and achieving success the second as shown in the picture above. It's the same page, but white on the computer and light blue on the phone. Victory! And now for some serious design decisions. Trolling the web for information and technique I'm led rather quickly back to the other issue... SEO. "Search Engine Optimization" in this context, which is mostly about Google being quite explicit about favoring sites optimized for phones. My question is, how do they know? My site is already optimized for phones, as above, but I suspect that the search algorithm hunts for explicit breakpoints for screen width in the associated style sheet rather than parsing out the fundamental design of the web site. Well, the breakpoints have to be there anyway for the best looking pages, so onwards!

So, I'm delaying the building of the next gallery page on my web site while I figure this out. Then I'll use the new technique in building it, then retrofit it to my existing pages, and then, hopefully, be ready to start doing a buncha new pages and flesh out the site to the point where I'm willing to start advertizing it widely and agressively. It's been labeled "under construction" (but with content!) for a long time...

Washington DC, 1 July 2019   Happy Canada Day! Sunny day here on the Washington Channel in Washington.

I'm being pulled in a lot of directions right now. Julee's work is in flux with the end of her association with Save the Children, and we have a couple of fixer upper homes, the permanent one in Massachusetts and the one acquired to support her work in Washington DC. I like fixing up, but there's a lot of it in my life right now, and I have to deal with some personal issues concerning follow through, most especially the one about purchasing. Buying parts is satisfying and fun, but it's often, or, perhaps, usually, the smallest part of the project in terms of the time, emotional energy, and shear drudgery involved. If not careful the parts pile up and the work doesn't get done.

But, while I can't put that aside, I want to put my photography first. So, it's Monday, the first of the month, and coming into high summer in Washington and Massachusetts both. A good day to start "going" to work... I'll work on the boat in the afternoon. I started the day by coming up to the clubhouse and measuring the second box of big prints I have with me in Washington. (I did the first box last night, but couldn't finsih for social distractions.) I'm plotting and planning a little pop-up show here at the Capital Yacht Club later in the month, and need precise sizes so that I can lay out the exhibit. As that gels I'll anounce. It's going to be low key to get back into the habit of exhibiting and give me a chance to see some of the big stuff up. Viewing mostly by appointment, since this is a private club, and I can't just open the doors. (Nor would I expect much foot traffic in this location.)

Julee and I were in Gloucester last week and I had a magic day with the infrared camera, with a truly unusual percentage of frames worth a second and then a third look. There are enough images I'm really happy with to make up a gallery on this site, rather than an extended blog entry like the one below. To that work!

Infrared View towards Washington DC from the Anacostia River including the War Callege and the Washington Monument
The War College   A day on the Potomac, crewing for a friend who was delivering a boat to Colton's Point boatyard for some serious maintenance. My first pictures after a fallow period... This is the War College at Fort McNair, at the confluence of the Potomac Channel and the Anacostia River. Years ago a dear friend, Sarah Stone asked me "What do they study at the War College? And don't say "war"! She knows me too well... It's a public policy school geared towards military officers on the cusp of flag rank, and graduates a class of Masters of Arts every year. It's the War College, because it belonged to the War Department back before the War (Army) and Navy Departments were mreged into the Defense Department in the aftermath of the outlawing of war, back in the day. I always felt that classes should sing Down by the Riverside at their graduation ceremony...

Infrared View of Fort Washingon on the Potomac River.
Fort Washinton   Riverine defense for the city of Washington, built after the city was captured and burned by what we would now call a combined services operation during the War of 1812. And never since used, though I suppose it possible that the guns and ramparts might have been needed during the Civil War. The pictures in this little post are in chronological order, and this view is a bit over ten miles south of the city as you go downstream on the Potomac. It's a two frame stitched panorama.

Infrared View of Mount Vernon, Virginia, from the Potomac River.
Mount Vernon   Almost directly across the river from the fort. I've always liked George Washington's farmhouse, because, while it's a farmhouse on a big scale as befitted a successful agro-businessman, it is still a farmhouse, quite a different flavor from the palladian palace at Montecello.

Infrared photo of a navigational buoy on the Potomac River, topped by a pair of nesting osprey.
55    Every big navigational buoy on the river has a pair of fish eagles, or ospreys, nesting on it. These two look pretty frazzled, but I'd expect that of a couple of young parents trying to keep the young ones in fish and no doubt wondering if they're in a good school district.

Infrared photo of power poles in the Potomac River at Quantico, with flying osprey and fish.
Fishing   There is a big power plant at Possum Point in Virginia, with big power lines crossing the river. There's an osprey nest on the base of the closest pylon, but it doesn't look finished or occupied. But the bird in the middle of the picture on their way to Maryland has their fish...

Panoramic infrared view of the Potomac River near Cobb Island looking north.
The Lower Potomac   The Potomac is tidal all the way to Washington, ninety miles from the mouth of the river between Point Lookout and Smith Point. An ocean going ship can go the whole distance, which is why there's a city where it is. As you approach the bay, the river widens and deepens, and the scale gets bigger and bigger, and you begin to get a sense of the Potomac as the old highway to the world for Tide Water Virginia and Southern Maryland. The is a stitched panorama made up of three individual photographs. The uneven horizon isn't bad stitching, but the distant shores of the river and its inlets. Looking dead upriver across the wake of our boat.

Infrared Panorama of Park Benches and View of Lower Manhattan
Manhattan From the Brooklyn Promenade

Washington DC, 22 March 2019   I went to New York last week to see Donna Gottschalk's Photographic Show Brave Beautiful Outlaws and to do a little shopping. The show was wonderful on a number of levels. Partly because some of the portraits are really strong, partly because I remembered some of the pictures from the time in spite of Gottschalk's disclaimer that they weren't widely distrubuted, and partly because I was on the edge of that community at the time and had dear friends in it. I was actually on the edge of at least three of the communities depicted, lesbians, political activists, and back yard aircooled Volkswagen mechanics!

I also went to check out wide angle lenses to replace my current 20mm lens, which is a little soft in the corners. There aren't that many candidates! Canon has a number of zooms as well as the prime lens I have now, but the reviews indicate I wouldn't get an improvement with them, so I was pushed to expensive third party lenses with Canon mounts. I rented the 25mm Zeiss Distagon from the Adorama rental base in Brooklyn and shot with it in both color and black and white in the evening and then the next morning as I walked around Cobble Hill and across the Brooklyn Bridge (a first for me!) on my way to the Adorama retail store in Manhattan to return it. I'm very pleased with it, and I have one winging to me second hand from Japan. I was planning on posting a little gallery of the day's shots here, but there's still some work to do.

The photo above is the second iteration of a two frame inrared panorama that I made with it. My first successful attempt to manipulate local contrast in Photoshop, local in the sense of contrast within part of the range between darkest and lightest rather than the entire range as a unit. It needs another round of work to take out the visible break in contrast between the sitting man and the sitting woman. I'm not sure where that came from, but I think it's an artifact of the boundry between the first and second frame that make up the stitch. Regardless, I'll have to darken that stripe so the eye doesn't hang on it. The visual center of the photo should be a bit to the right where the perspective bends. And, meanwhile, bring up the rest of the pictures from a very good photographic morning.

Night Time Photograph of the Flamingo Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas

Washington DC, 20 March 2019   I mentioned Las Vegas in my last post, so I wanted to show that I did in fact spend the weekend in Marie Osmand's hair. As far as I can tell, Julee's and my hotel room was really right there behind her big '70s do. Beloved cousins Joy and Lex were getting married so we stayed at The Flamingo with the rest of the wedding party. It's an old, and surprisingly spare, hotel, in spite of being completely rebuilt to replace the original Flamingo, which opened in 1946 and launched the Las Vegas Strip. I don't know how many construction workers (or any?) died in the project, but one gangster, Bugsy Siegal, famously did, reputedly because the casino hotel didn't bring in the money big enough and fast enough for his crime world partners.

Infrared Photo of Sharp Afternoon Light in Highrise Hotel Room
Las Vegas Room 1   So, here's the afternoon view from the big hair. The moiré pattern on the window is an artifact of the appliqué that makes up the banner on the front of the hotel.

Vertical Infrared Panorama of the Flamingo Hotel with Palms and Flamingos
The Flamingo's Flamingos   It couldn't be the Flamingo Hotel without flamingos, could it? This shot is a three frame vertical panorama to get the flamingos, the palms, and The Flamingo all in one picture.

Abstract Image of River with Odd Patterns of Freezing and Melting.
Ice, Washington Channel

Las Vegas, 9 March 2019   A recent image, just to give the blog post a bit of interest. I took this picture at the beginning of February during next to last cold spell, the last one long enough to bring real snow and ice, although it wasn't as real as all that, and melted quickly. Today, I'm looking at a definite warming trend in the ten day forcast for Washington D.C. Not that it couldn't get cold again, but we are well into March, and the Park Service is predicting the peak of the cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin at the beginning of April, right on time, and just before I head back to Nepal to trek to Gyoko Lakes.

And, I'm gathering myself up to make the next big leap in the design of this website, learning what the industry calls responsive web design, which is a big deal if you're trying to reach an audience that might be using a computer, or a big tablet, a smaller tablet, or a cell phone to read your website. What's perfect for one can be really off for others. One thing, of course, is to simplify the design so that everything's in line for the small device users. So, little to no wrapping text, nor images justified (floated, in the specialist jargon) left or right. There is a simple addition that greatly improves the relationship between image size and text size on the page depending on the device, and I've added that to many of my gallery pages and will add it to every page of this site once I'm back in my high bandwith home. But, I think I can also tweak the size of the images on the page, but will have to learn some more coding for that. More anon! (Later...)

Washington DC, 20 February 2019   My last post took my just short of two and a half hours to put together. Even simple things take time, and of course there is a lot of hidden complication. First, the photos weren't ready for prime time. A couple needed no real work, but still had to be reduced in size for the web, others needed tweaking, others needed a fair bit of tweaking, and one needed to be assembled as a vertical panorama from three feeder photos (Feeder fotos? Pheeder photos?). All interleaved, of course, with the process of deciding which pictures to use. Then, composing, framing text, and laying the photos out on this page. Not a complex process, especially as the design of the page has been simplified so that it can be made to present reasonably well on a cell phone. But, there's spacing to get right, which involves (for me) adding and subtracting line breaks by hand and checking to see how the latest version looks, and making sure that I have all the paragraph markers properly paired. Missing one can do odd things to one's chosen typefaces. Then there's proofing, which I do multiple times, first in the web editor, then in the local web environment on my own computer, and finally, after it's posted. And I still miss things... What I discovered I'd missed when I looked at this blog page today was uploading the photo that illustrated my 9 February thoughts. Fixed now, but that confirms me as the world's worst proofreader!

Today it's seriously snowing in DC and everything is closed, and Julee is working from home, busy taking meetings on Skype. (But where does she take them to?) I'm on the second day of being a serious artist, in the sense that I promised myself that I would set aside a block of time ever morning to do my photo work, and do that first, before I took care of other business. Because, even retired, I have fairly urgent other business to take care of. DC and Federal Taxes, for example! It's entirely too easy to get wrapped up in that sort of thing, and important, but later, later. I'm inspired by the writer W. Somerset Maugham who wrote and edited without fail between 9am and noon. Not full time work, but if you do it every day it adds up... This morning I worked on a panorama of my own DC Waterfront captured just after our last snowstorm which is turning out to be a real problem picture due to the exposure differences between frames, greatly compounded be the stark backlighting of the photo. More on that later!

Reflected Trees in Winter Puddle.
Boston Puddle Portfolio #1   

Washington DC, 19 February 2019   I'm just back from a week in Massachusetts, mostly dealing with the issues of a dear two hundred year old house on Cape Ann. But I slipped down to Boston one afternoon to catch the Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibit "Ansel Adams in Our Time". It was still afternoon when I got out, but late afternoon, and a dense, overcast, dark, Winter afternoon at that. There was dirty snow piled here and there, and it was cold enough to be raw, but not cold enough to freeze the puddles in the uneven sidewake, wherein the bare trees were reflected. There's no way I can resist this kind of reality once removed, so I shot a series of photos between the museum and my next destination on Boylston Street. Since I got a number of pictures I'm happy with, I've decided this will be my Puddle Portfolio.

Reflected Trees in Winter Puddle.
Boston Puddle Portfolio #2   

Reflected Trees in Winter Puddle.
Boston Puddle Portfolio #3   

Reflected Trees in Winter Puddle.
Boston Puddle Portfolio #4   

Reflected Trees in Winter Puddle with passing pedestrian feet.
Boston Puddle Portfolio #5   

Reflected Trees in Winter Puddle.
Boston Puddle Portfolio #6   

Reflected Streetlight in Winter Puddle.
Boston Puddle Portfolio #7   

The exhibit itself was very intesting, and contained some of my (and everyone's) favorite photographs. The Museum's Lane Collection of photographs is very wide and the exhibit had multiple prints of some of Adams' iconic photos made at different times and in different sizes. Adams, of course, wrote the book on photographic printing, which remains relevant today in the digital age. It was the bible in the analogue/chemical age of photography, even for those of us who didn't use sheet film and the zone system. It was fascinating seeing how much a better printer he became between 1925 and 1935, and to note that he continued to get better, although (necessarily!) in smaller increments throughout his photographic life. Of course, I also have to believe the chemistry and photo paper improved over the fifty plus years he was active.

Washington DC, 9 February 2019    Things are beginning to settle down and we're beginning to settle in, in spite of the fact that we're still in transient quarters and likely to be in them until mid-March. But when we do get our own place we won't be moving very far, so we can start our routines and they won't need to be created again when we make our final move. It's as exotic in it's way as Nepal, though not as colorful as Patan, and it doesn't seem as exotic to us, because it's home, what the the Nepalis call the mother-home, the place you're from and rooted in. And, of course, because we're here indefinitly. I haven't been any place indefinitely since I joined the Foreign Service at thrity three, and it's an odd feeling! We're living on a boat in the Potomac River, in the midst of a redevelopment and extremely gentrified waterfront neighborhood. Gentrified... Hell, this once charmingly seedy well worn down at the heels corner of Washington DC has been aristocrified. If we weren't grandfathered in to this spot by my very long term attachment to the Capital Yacht Club I don't think we could afford to live here.

Vertical Panorama, Washington Waterfront Wharf in winter.
Winter Wharf, Washington DC   

Washington DC, 31 January 2019    It’s been nearly two months since my last update to blog or website.  The month of December Julee and I were — rather sooner than expected — pulling up stakes in Patan and Nepal, packing up and shipping the contents of our little apartment, and flying out just after the New Year. Since then we’ve been busy pounding the stakes back in here in North America – in Gloucester and in Washington DC, where Julee is a new Senior Director at one of the big International NGOs.

It’s been pretty busy and full of event, and I was frankly surprised when I checked my blog and saw it had been only seven weeks since my last short entry. Though I have to admit updates were pretty thin in the month of November too.

This week I’m posting a new galley of infrared pictures I took in New Orleans four years ago.  Infrared photography is a total kludge, a kludge being a computer nerd's term for a improvisational process patched together any which way. The cameras are not made for these wavelengths, nor the lenses, and while it can be made to work — sometimes with spectacular results — it is a lot of work, and a lot of knowledge about technique is required. I've been picking that up bit by bit over the last five years and I feel I still have a long way to go.  At the time I took the pictures in New Orleans I had figured out the importance of in-camera white balance and how to adjust it to get reasonably neutrally colored .jpg images from infrared images, but it was a year short of the time that I read the wonderfully and highly technical book Image Clarity. (As of October 2018, back in print! Out of print and used it was very expensive, typical of relatively obscure technical books with important messages.) That gave me new tools, without which the New Orleans pictures hung in the “Not quite there yet” category in my files. I'm really happy to get them posted.

I'm going to trying to start running this web site to a schedule, and post a new gallery twice every three weeks, Monday to Wednesday week for one gallery, and Wednesday to Monday week for the next. I certainly have enough material to keep that up for a while, though it's all jumbled in my head. I should be able to manage that schedule except when I'm doing extreme travel, for example my homecoming trek in high Nepal in April. We'll call this post the start, and I'll get on a gallery of infrared tree photos for the Monday after next.

Old and New Apartment Buildings in the New Territories, Hong Kong.
Shep Kip Mei, Hong Kong

Kathmandu Valley, 3 December 2018    A new month, and, since I'm starting a new entry I'm going to be archiving my last month's posts and moving on. I've just spent a bit over a week in Hong Kong, first for a dear friend's wedding, and then to rennect with other dear friends, and then to dig into the gallery scene, which I'll admit is as much a mystery as ever. I don't know if galleristas struggle as much as artists, but I suspect the running is closer than most believe.

And, progress has pulled me along. The photo above is one of the first of my images from my new camera. I've said for years that if Canon brought out a full frame non-SLR, with a body shallow enough to take a variety of vintage rangefinder lenses, I would buy it. So what could I do? Well, it wasn't a completely automatic decision, although I have been saving since the product announcement of the new EOS-R. Canon, Inc. has a comprehensive showroom in the iSquare building, across Nathan Road from my temporary digs in Chungking Mansion, so I trotted across the street with my big cameras and their lenses to check it out. It only took a few seconds... It really is a big step forward for the serious photographer. The R isn't tiny, but it's noticeably smaller and lighter than the 5D, and it solves my current problems with precise focus, and does so without any fuss whatsoever. And, there was a small savings to buying it in Hong Kong on the assumption of a small risk in having a primary camera with a China only warranty... I slept on it, and slept on it again, and then trotted back across the street with my credit card. No regrets!

Kathmandu Valley, 14 November 2018   Working on my page of infrared photos taken in Haiti last December, and realizing that it will be towards the end of the week before I have the text written and pounded into shape. Last night I had the fond hope that it could be posted to this web site today, but the writing takes time. My boss is Haiti years ago was a bit irritable at how long it took me to compose. He was, in the best tradition of Foreign Service political officers, very fast himself. But his edges were rougher, and I couldn't bring myself to throw together a narrative where the seams showed. I really wanted and want to tell a story that flows... Besides, I'm terrible in detail and spelling, so there's a lot of proofing involved. And I still miss stuff! One of the things that works for me in the online world is that I can notice an error in something I posted a week or a month ago, and fix it.

(In all honesty, even allowing for the difference in styles, my boss was still faster than me. I shrug expressively!) (I actually had the page up the next day, though it took a real chunk of time and effort.)

Nepali Storefront at Night.
Shoe Store, Mangal Bazar, Patan, Nepal   (12 November 2018) This is one of a number of pictures I took just about a week ago on the walk to and from dinner at the fancy mall. The fancy mall is just within the grass covered stupa that marks one of the cardinal compass points of Old Patan, so if you walk one way from it you're in the world of worldly and cosmopolitan wealth, and if you walk the other direction you're in the medievel city, affected by, but not overwhelmed by, the influx of tourists of authenticity and slightly grundgier resident foreign people like yours truly. This is a shoe store on the street I call Mangal Bazar (which might be the name of the street, or might be the name of the neighborhood to one side of street) that leads to Patan's Palace Square. It gets cold in the winter in the Kathmandu Valley (Nepalis are already putting on their puffy jackets, although it's still a bit in the future that I'll be wearing my battered old ski jacket on the street) but not freezing, so these kind of open shops are the the thing.

Nepali Storefront,  Patan, Nepal.
Pharmacy, Mangal Bazar, Patan, Nepal   This is a pharmacy, just down the street from the shoe store above. I love Nepali pharmacies! Most everything is available, over the counter, and really cheap, literally so cheap that I don't bother claiming against my U.S. medical insurance. Some of the drugs are made in Nepal, some in India. The stores ofter don't have doors or windows, but they can be closed by rolling down the metal shatters. Simple for the pharmacy, since the stock is safe behind the counter, but the shoe store will have to be set up at opening, and the outside displays brought inside at closing.

Nepali Storefront,  Patan, Nepal.
Pimbahal Fresh Potato Chips Corner, Patan, Nepal   This is one of Julee's favorite spots, but I have to admit that Unique Fashion is the store that's actually on the corner. But Unique Fashion doesn't sell wonderful fresh small batch handmade salty potato chips. Once again I'm totally charmed by this medieval city that is such a well deserved draw for tourists, but is also a modern, dense, neighborhood, serving the resident community, some of whom count hundreds of years of residence.

I will also admit that this is a composite photograph, assembled with my panorama software from a couple of frames taken within short seconds of each other. This was to improve the composition... I've recently discovered that Reuters photographers are forbidden almost all post production manipulation of their pictures, even such things as exposure corrections, as Reuters wants to avoid any accusations of journalistic malfeasance. It's a reasonable take in the digital age, but I'm interested, given that W. Eugene Smith -- possibly the greatest photo-journalist of them all -- was renowned as a brilliant hands on printer. He didn't change any compositional elements, but he darkened and lightened areas of his prints, going beyond burning and dodging to the use of ferricyanide bleach on the paper print to highlight areas.

There's a lot of philosophy here. Fortunately I'm not a journalist... And, I acknowledge my manipulations of my photos. I'm also aware that full objectivity is almost impossible, although, like a limit in calculus, a journalist should strive to approach it as closely as possible. Errol Morris digs into this quite deeply in his book Believing is Seeing, which is a very interesting read, but also rather disturbing for this artist. At what point does a closer and closer examination of a piece of art deprive it of meaning? Journalistic or otherwise? I'll leave it there.

Kathmandu Valley, 11 November 2018   It's Armistace Day. A hundred years to the day since the end of the fighting on the Western Front. I don't hold with the mid-20th Century renaming of the holiday as Veterans or Remembrance Day, although I'm absolutely onboard with honoring the service of soldiers of subsequent wars. It's a normal Sunday in Nepal, no official holiday, but Nepal fought with the allies in both World Wars, both as country, with Royal Nepal Army units joining the fray, and through the large numbers of Nepali volunteers who joined the Gurkha regiments of the Indian Army. The round number snuck up on me. It's been quite a century...

Fishtail Valley, Nepal, 9 November 2018   It's been a quiet month in terms of current photography as I struggle with the technical challenges of old pictures. The color version of my Marché Croix des Bossales panorama went together very quickly in the early stages, and then foundered in weird color artifacts around the masks I used to fix the stitching errors around the power lines. Discouraging. And a lot harder to fix in Photoshop than the original breaks in the powerlines. But I'll get back to it in a day or two, after I'm back in Kathmandu and have the big monitor to help with clearly seeing detail and the big picture, all at once.

Koi in Infrared, Hotel Fountain in Patan, Nepal.
Koi, Patan   Meanwhile... (7 November 2018) Julee and I have a visitor, the delightful Laurie Blackstock from Canada. This is the week of Tihar, the second of the big autumn holidays of Nepal. The last three days of the week are national holidays, hence our jet (turbo prop?) setting escape to Pokhara, and this valley to the west of Pokhara at the foot of the Annapurna Massif. But, Julee went to the office on Monday and Tuesday, so I was Laurie's guide. And what better place to do tourism than the medieval center of the city of Patan? Carried my big infrared camera, of course! The picture above shows the koi in the fountain in the courtyard of the Timila Hotel where we started our day. The picture below shows one of the wonderful Newari towers rising from the palace of the Newari kings, where we ended our day.

Superstructure of a Newari Palace Complex, from an Interior Courtyard.

From Sundari Chowk, Patan Palace

Large Open Market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.Kathmandu Valley, 24 October 2018 (P.S.)   The Marché Croix des Bossales panorama is done! I ended up using the warp function in transform mode to cover the two corners, and here it is. It's a huge photo with enormous detail. It will print large very well. I'm very happy tonight.

Screenshot of Large Panorama From Haiti in Process with Photoshop.Kathmandu Valley, 24 October 2018   I've spent a good part of this day in determined processing of this panorama in Photoshop. I've learned a lot, and can now reliably skew a chosen part of an image, making it possible for me to splice together the power lines and other cables that didn't quite meet in midair, as below. And, I can now reliably select, copy, and paste little bits of the image to patch the artifacts that the skewing creates. Man, it's twiddly work though! It's very small, repetitive actions that require fine motor control, a high level of attention, and then constant checking to afirm that you did it correctly in the sense of really achieving the invisible patch needed. I am reminded of a talk on Tanka painting I went to a couple of weeks ago. These are Buddhist religious paintings that often contain dizzyng pattern and incredibly fine detail. The masters, who have been through a decade or more of instruction and practice, paint with gold and precious minerals with brushes they make themselves that at their finest consist of single cat hairs.

I don't claim that level of spiritual mindfulness, nor that kind of steadyness, and I have the enormous advantage of being able to chose "Undo" from the Edit menu when it hasn't gone right. But like the men and women with their single strand brushes, I was manipulating realy tiny blocks of pixels, down to two, in making my patches. That stage is done. Now: The blue lines top and bottom are the guide lines I've dropped in to show me where the image has to be cropped to, top and bottom. I need to do a prospective action on the bottom right corner, to straighten out the building and to pull the image down into the corner so I don't have to severely crop the bottom of the photo, which has some nice action in it. Need a bit of that in the upper left corner too, but it's a smaller area, and should be easier. And, I can crop the sky more aggressively if needed. It won't hurt the image as much as cropping the bottom. But, I don't know how to do a prospective action on just part of the image. My lesson for tomorrow..

Break in Power Lines, Larger Stitched Panorama Detail
Detail From the Marché Croix des Bossales Panorama

Kathmandu Valley, 23 October 2018
   Yesterday afternoon (after posting the Greater Angkor page on my web site) I did some list making. There are three big panoramas I need to finish. It may be that I've gotten enough better at Photoshop to pull them off. The first of my list is the big panorama of the Marché des Bossales I took in December in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A big panorama like that containing a lot of action and stitched from eight individual photos isn't going to go together without a certain amount of encouragement. There were a lot of ghosts, that is to partial or doubled people who had moved between frames. I thought I'd gotten rid of them all, but a couple of weeks ago I went over the whole panarama very carefully, and found three that I had completely missed before, and so reopened the stitching software and spent a grumpy hour carefully masking duplicate people out, restitching, and then really carefully examining the result to be sure I had 'em all. Now the remaining issues revolve first around the power lines, and then the corners. You can see the issue with the power lines in the detail to the left. I'm not at all sure how this comes about but it seems to be a fundamental issue with horizontal lines in every stitching software package I've tried. It has to be fixed by hand Photoshop. The morning's work cut out for me!

Kathmandu Valley, 22 October 2018    Well, the photographic page on the Bayon is posted in my galleries. Take a look... I may still have more to say on all the related issues, but in good time, in good time...

Kathmandu Valley, 21 October 2018   I'm having some real issues with putting together a page on the recent trip to the Bayon in Angkor Thom, one of the iconic temples in the area of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I've a lot to say about Angkor Thom, first visually, then as a hook for thoughts on modern tourism, then a bit about the historical record, and then about the conciousness of history (as apposed to the History of Conciousness which is an actual degree program at my alma mater, and not so silly as it sounds) and then about lost cities, of which the Angkor complex is a prime example, and finally a little something on pre-modern economy of provisioning a large urban area. That's a lot to try to put into a web page on a site that is, after all, supposed to be about photography! I think I'll leave most of it out, perhaps circling back around to it on this blog.

Floatng village on the Tonle Sap, from the Monestery.Tonle Sap, Cambodia, 16 October 2018   I've been a liveaboard during three different periods in Washington DC, but this seems to me to be the way to do it... Of course, in a waterlogged neighborhood like Southeast Asia, living on the water is easier and more normal than it is in North America. I get the sense that a lot of our neighbors in Washington DC feel that we're getting away with something, rather than giving some life and stability to the Waterfront.

Neighbors on Front Porch of floating home, Tonle Sap Village.

Floatng village on the Tonle Sap, from the Visitor Center.

Here, well, these are just folks, whose people have been living on, and making a living from, the water for a long time. Thousands of years? I'd find it easy to believe. There are two pieces of dry land in this floating village, the cremation platform, which we passed on the way in, and the Buddhist monestey, whence the heading picture was taken. The rest of it floats. Homes, stores, the school, the communal hall where tourists like us are welcomed... It's small town Cambodia, complete with front porches, and young people (check my last post!) driving too fast. The heading picture is a five shot panorama, and the closing shot a three shot panorama of one of the three channels from the other end.

Detail of Fast Long Tailed Boat, Tonle Sap, Cambodia.

Couple in Long Tailed Boat, Tonle Sap, Cambodia.

Wild Children in Long Tailed Boat, Tonle Sap, Cambodia.

Long Tailed Boats, Cambodia, 16 October 2018   

(Adapted from my Facebook Post!) I'm a boater, and I DO have a thing for Southeast Asia long tailed boats, and I'm in Cambodia where such things are normal. Starting with the arty shot, in infrared. Below there's one with a couple going about their business and another with a couple of kids on their way to waking the whole floating village on the edge of the Tonle Sap. Those kids... They can't be more than... ten? I guess you get into fast boating early in this environment! When I first ran across long tailed boats in Vietnam they had a definite hand made and improvisational quality to them. Not any more. Most of these, at least the small ones, are fiberglass, and the swivels, the engines, and the long propeller shaft all looked intentional, slick, and manufactured. I want one!

Tipsy in Siem Riep, Cambodia, 14 October 2018  Just tipsy... I've only been seriously drunk twice in my life, once in college, and once in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 Earthquake when I was nursing a strangely coincidental broken leg. But the pineapple old fashioneds at the Aviary Hotel are delicious and go down easily.

Siem Riep is the gateway to Angkor Wat, one of the architectual treasures of the world, but I don't think I'm going to take photography very seriously there. Great photographers have been there before me, including the wonderful John McDermott who built up an amazing body of work shooting Angkor Wat in infrared. His big prints are appropriately pricey, but I bought his book the last time I came to this neighborhood during the end of year holidays in December 2011.

I've been sitting up in bed going over the pictures I took on that visit. Wah! I've learned a lot since then. I already had the first big infrared camera, and surely had it with me, but didn't shoot a single frame with it. It predated my figuring out how to set the white balance to get readable .JPGs by some months and my figuring out how to expand the dynamic range of the fundamentally short ranged infrared photo in Photoshop by some years. I'm not sure I took any pictures in Siem Riep or Angkor Wat that trip that are better than good vacation snapshots. I'll carry my cameras this time (always do!) but without strong expectations that I'll be shooting anything memorable, at least not in the temple complex itself. We are going boating on the Tonle Sap on Tuesday... That's the big seasonal lake just to the south that moderates the flow of the Mekong River. It's soon after the rains of monsoon season, so the lake covers it's greatest extent, and we'll see what presents itself that might be visually interesting.

Kathmandu Valley, 11 October 2018  Julee is away for a couple of days on a business trip inside Nepal, and I've spent the day building a new page for my web site using Infrared Panoramas taken in North America. It started yesterday... I had been thinking of some pictures I'd taken a couple of summers ago on a family trip to Maine, and yesterday I spent some time revisting and rebuilding them. Happy with the work and they're the first entries in a new page called "American Infrared 'Scapes" I trolled through other folders of older American work, and ended up rebuilding pictures I'd given up on at the time. Then, my skills and tools weren't quite up to finishing them to my satisfaction. I've learned a lot in the last three years, which is great, but I can easily look on the flip side and shudder at how much I still need to learn about digital photography.

Seascape of Massachusetts Bay, Boston to Cape Ann.
Off Cape Ann   

For example, three years ago I could not get this picture to stitch up properly. No matter what I did the land showed obvious breaks. This morning (11 October 2018) the picture just came together. I'm using a different application for this work, but I also suspect that the code crunchers writing and maintaining these stitching programs have made improvements over the last three years. I'm very pleased with the product. But there is still some work I want to do, in improving the smoothness of the sky. The variation in color in the water is clearly due to the reflection of the clouds, and is fine. It's harder to tell what is going on above, and whether it's an artifact of the various component frames or of the stitching process. More later... I wouldn't normally post a picture that I didn't considered really finished, but I really wanted to get this one up, and it's part of the page.

So, this Thursday morning when no one was coming to the apartment and I had no need to go anywhere, I spent the day moving between my second favorite workspace, the desk with the absurdly large and sharp NEC monitor, and my top favorite workspace, the bed. Bit by bit I assembled photos into the page, finding and recreating old images, updating other pages that have to link to the new one and testing them, along with the links on the new page that have to work for the page to be right. My pages aren't complex, but I code by hand, and html code is very sensitive to small errors. (One of reasons I code by hand is that it's so much easier to find errors in code one has written oneself.) I felt it was all going pretty well and that I was closing in posting my new page.

But... Looking over the whole website I found I wasn't happy with the overlap between the last posted gallery of infrared pictures from Arizona. So, I pulled the cream of that page into the new one, and I'm going to retire the Arizona page. I'll delete the link, so you won't be able to say it's broken! Composing something like this site is interesting, since I'm trying to keep it clear, interesting, and cohesive at all of levels, from the individual sentence to the whole site. And, it's always going to be a work in progress, so it will change and morph as we go forward.

Patan Durbar Square Temples, Full 180 degree Panorama.

Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu Valley, 7 October 2018  As promised below I went back this morning. It was Sunday, which is the first day of the work week in Nepal, so the equivalent of Monday, but it was very quiet, though there were the expected students on the way to school scattered throughout the foreground. It wasn't until later in the morning that the coin dropped for me. We're coming up on the autumn holiday season in Nepal, with Dasain, the first big multi-day holiday starting a week from Tuesday. A lot of people are already wrapping up their emotional year and are on the move, either towards their villages of origin in the hills or vacations hung on the long string of leave days. For the westerners, it's beginning to feel a bit like the week between Christmas and New Year's. That's fine. I like quiet as long as I can buy groceries, and we'll be on the move the week of Dasain too.

This picture takes in a full 180 degress and a bit, assembled from seven frames created with the 20mm Canon on my full frame color camera. I could have done it with six, but I had to add a seventh from another series to patch the lower right hand corner. It stitched up quickly and cleanly. I suspect it's still a work in progress. I put some real thought into the exposure, both while capturing the images and during the initial post processing, but I'm wondering if I can do more to hold the sky and the temples where they are (this is actually an accurate rendition of what it looked like) while opening up (lightening) the forground shadows a little to make that part of the picture a little easier to read.

If you walk down to the end of this picture to the right, then turn right, two to three hundred meter's walk would bring you to our front door. The square is obviously a big part of my life, because it's special in a big way, and because it's a part of the life of the neighborhood. Like almost everybody you see, I walk through on a daily basis simply because it's on the way. And, during business hours, I have to explain myself in Nepali to the guardians of the site to avoid paying the fee levied on tourists. Occasionally I have to show my bona fides in the form of my Nepali driver's license.

I was newly arrived in Kathmandu and still quite fresh at the U.S. Embassy in September of 2015 when embassy management was briefed by the producers and fixers for the film Dr. Strange in advance of descent of cast and crew on Kathmandu. It was fairly shortly after the 2015 Earthquake and during the fuel crisis caused by the closing of the border with India. The producers really wanted to film outdoor scenes in Kathmandu, in part, I'm sure, because it is so picturesque and cinematic, but they stuck to it in the face of the real difficulties of the period because they felt that a big project like that with real money to spend at a time when tourism was truly thin would be a welcome boost. And of course it was. I've no idea how the got the fuel they needed for vehicles and gensets, but to quote Kipling, "ask no questions and you'll be told no lies." They talked at length about filming in Patan Durbar Square, because they felt that it was the most cinematic of the three big centers of that kind in the valley, and said that they'd mask the earthquake damage with CGI -- and use CGI to move the High Himalaya closer to the city. I took them completely at their word, to the point that it wasn't until I'd seen the film the third time that I really wrapped my mind around the fact that, after all, the square got only about three seconds of screen time, in one fairly closely cropped long shot, with no mountains!

Still from the Paramount/Marvel Film Dr. Strange, found on the net.

Still, I think they did a really nice montage of Benedict Cumberbatch searching Kathmandu for mystical and hidden Kamar-Taj, including shots at Bouddhanath and Swayambunath temples, and great typical crowded streets and squares filled with great typical Nepali crowds. It was an event, with people swapping stories of Cumberbatch sightings and their days of boredom as extras. I never saw the stars and never tried to because I think that even those who make their lives and living through fame deserve some space and respect. But, I did meet technical crew members by chance at the Hyatt where production was based.

And, the one thing in the film that challenged my suspension of disbelief? I'm okay with multi-dimensional magic! But a violent gang mugging on the streets of Thamel? One can get into trouble a lot of other ways in Nepal (never trek alone!) but that could never happen in today's Kathmandu...

Patan Durbar Square Temples, From a Door in the Palace.

Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu Valley, 4 October 2018  A couple of days ago I was headed home after my early morning Nepali lesson, and I said to myself "The light's good, I wish I had come prepared" and myself answered rather sharply "Laurence, you always carry a camera. Don't you have the big color camera in your briefcase?" "Well, (sheepishly) yes..." So I detoured through Patan Durbar (Palace)Square on my way home and took the images for a couple of panoramas. I would have like a wider angle lens, but the best camera is the one with you (and I actually doubt there is a better general purpose camera than the Canon EOS 5Ds r) and the best lens would have to be the one attached to the camera that's with you, in this case a 40mm manual focus Cosina Voightlander. This image is the result. I'm standing on the public platform next to one of the middle palace doors, panning around from almost 180 degrees left to a full 180 degrees right. It's too early for the tourists, so all in sight are neighborhood people going through the square on their daily business.

I do think I'm going to go back, and retake the component pictures with my wide 20mm Canon lens to get a bit more in while paying more attention to the edges and forground of the picture. I may have to go back more than once to get the right light.

Home made concrete pour, Patan, Nepal

Kathmandu Valley, 29 September 2018  Home, after over two months on the road. And, it's been nearly two months since my last blog post. Patan Continues to Build...   Julee and I got off the plane from Istanbul at 6:30 in the morning last Saturday, took the cab home to our apartment behind Patan Durbar Square, showered, slipped out for breakfast at the neighboring Swotha Cafe (highly recommended!) and, nearing home again, heard the unmistakable sound of a concrete vibrator. The building project in front of our apartment building has gotten to the fourth floor (fifth floor for you Yankees) and by sheer coincidence, that morning was the pour. As you can see in the picture it's remarkably close by. We're cosy with our neighbors here in Old Patan! The pour has just started, beginning at the corner away from the stairs. The three people in the background with baskets on their shoulders are carrying the wet concrete to the workface from the mixing area on a floor below. Hard work! This picture was taken on the fly, composited from an adjacent pair of photos because I didn't feel I had the time to change lenses to something wider angled. I also didn't reset the ISO from my previous night shots, so this picture has a lot of noise, giving it a gritty, grainy, journalistic look that I rather like.

The Bouddhanath Stupa, Evening, July 2018

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 3 August 2018 Three years ago I took a picture of the Boudha Stupa I'm very pleased with. But, it was moment in time. Specifically it was the moment when the Tibetan Buddhists of Boudhanath where tearing down the harmika for rebuilding. For you westerners, that's the cuppola or spire-like structure on the dome. This one had been damaged in the big earthquake earlier in the year. I rather liked the image of the scaffolding against the clouded sky, but that was only one opinion! When I had a big print of the picture up during my Kathmandu Art Gallery show earlier this year a Tibetan gentleman admired it but told me rather sharply and pointedly that he would buy the print with the fully restored dome and harmika. I just looked at him. “You know that picture is highly weather dependent?” The clouds made it! And the clouds are only that shape and color in the right season. Perhaps only that very evening. That moment might never come again, or if something like it came, I could be somewhere else. I had actually been back several times and shot panoramas in color and infrared without coming home with anything I was happy with. But, it shaped into a challenge for me to go back, with an eye on the sky when I could expect monsoon or post-monsoon skies. The result, above, from mid-July this year. Taken from the other side of Boudha as the earlier picture, and with a wide 20mm lens, six frames stitched together, then heavily cropped from the bottom to preserve the sense of scale. It took a number of runs over the course of the last weeks to get a final picture I was happy with, and I actually bought a third panorama stitching program for it! So, courtesy of Autopana Giga, a fine program assembled by nerdly French programmers, whose thought processes seem even more convoluted and... different than those of the average nerdly programmer!

So it's not just my neighborhood of Patan that is a-building, but all of Kathmandu, which is comprised of three big metropolitan units, Patan - also known as Lalitpur - to the south, Kathmandu proper to the north, and Bhaktapur to the east. The first two are one, every way but administratively, while the third is a little distant and separate. Boudhanath is in the northeast of Kathmandu proper. I'll go back, later this year when I return to Nepal, in the hopes that the monsoon clouds stick around a bit, and next year, when the skys get interesting again with the rains.

Kathmandu Valley, 2 July 2018  It seems a little self-indulgent to lead this month off without a picture. And it's definitely self-indulgent to talk about my home decorating plans... Well, life is hard, and a little self indulgence sometimes takes the edge off of it. Aside from one of my old San Francisco street photos I haven't hung anything in our Patan apartment since we moved. That one was from my 35mm Kodak Tri-X film days and was already framed. It ended up on the landing outside our door. So, when I made my last order with Hong Kong's Danny Chau I included a medium sized print to be framed. The framers called me yesterday to let me know it was ready. All day Patan has had rain, and I'm sure that if I went out it would rain on me (I take these things personally) so I've stayed indoors and found and separated the two big prints I want to hang. When I was in my twenties and printing the Tri-X negatives on Agfa Brovira glossy photo paper I generally didn't print bigger than 11 X 14 inches. The paper was very expensive for a young waiter in less than fancy restaurants, but, also, making good bigger prints was really hard because of the inprecision of even good enlargers. You could spend an hour or so tweaking an enlarger into corner to corner alignment before you opened the box of paper. And then the next time you'd have to do it all over again, because someone knocked up against the enlarger table or (insidiously) the ambient temperature changed. Two things now make a difference for big prints. One, I have a bit more money, but number two is the big one. The inkjet printers used in the digital photographic world are so precise, and by nature so precise... You can really count on the outcomes. Different world! But, the issues around big prints don't completely go away. Here's a set I took out of their box and unrolled to remove the prints I'm going to hang:

LKJ's Large Infrared Prints Unrolled From Storage

So there's a picture after all! As you can see these prints are enormous. The big one on the bottom, "Dendi Expounds" is nine feet or three meters long. And while I'm more flush than I used to be, each print still represents a big investment, proportional to size, so I store and treat them very carefully indeed. They're always separated with good tissue paper, rolled up and unrolled with great care, and while I don't do the most right thing and wear specialist white gloves, I do wash my hands more or less every couple of minutes when I'm doing this. I should have them up tomorrow, at which point I'll have more to say.

Mason and Supervisors Bricking in a Set of Doors, Old Patan, Nepal.

Kathmandu Valley, 29 June 2018. Patan Builds!    (Copied from my Facebook post.) This is a follow-up to my post a couple of days ago and my blog post at www.lkj.online. As you can see, the door frame that was laid out in the street being measured for the squaring batten is now in place, and the masons are bricking it in along with its earlier placed twin. I have all kinds of engineering questions about how they're doing this, and no engineer to ask. I may have to try and make friends with someone in NSET, Nepal's earthquake prep agency. I think it will be a good looking traditionally styled building, in spite of being modern reinforced concrete at it's core. Good thing, given its location at the same intersection as a small, but very active community temple, complete with traditional band that plays on festival nights.

Panoramic photo of Patan Durbar Square, Nepal, showing the reconstructin of the temples.

Kathmandu Valley, 27 June 2018. The Building of Patan:

Trouble, trouble, toil and rubble
Patan build and Patan crumble

To paraphrase Shakespeare, though it's not so much that Patan crumbles, though it did some of that on the day of the earthquake three years ago. But, for every building that fell, there are dozens, perhaps scores, perhaps hundreds, of active building sites in traditional Patan. The neighborhood is full of old buildings that are picturesque, but small, cramped, and patently fragile, being built before the modern Nepali era of rebar and concrete. Some are very visibly earthquake damaged and are being demolished, and some less so and are being demolished, always to be replaced by a new and more modern building unless the old building was truly special and really deserves preservation. The temples on Durbar (Palace) Square fall into that category. Whether crumbled all at once, or compromised by earthquake damage, they will be restored to their original appearance and original function. For the most part they are every bit as much working houses of worship as Chartres or the Sagrada Familia, although like them also monuments of sublime architecture for people of all points of view. In the picture of Patan Durbar Square above you'll see some of it.

I'd usually work left to right, but this time starting at the right, the Krishna Temple. Throughout most of the last year this stone building has been covered in metal scaffolding. And, all through that, it has remained and fully active and very busy temple. Krishna devotees sing and play music, and most weekend evenings found a large group on the well lit second floor making holy noise. Really quite wonderful! The scaffolding came off some day in the last weeks when I wasn't looking. The girl immediately in front of the temple is a tourist having her guide take her picture. That was a long, drawn out affair! I've never been inside the fence. I'm not deep enough into Nepali culture to be sure of how to comport myself in a temple, so tend to hold back if I don't have a guide or an invitation. To the left the Jagannarayan Temple, still under reconstruction, but recently out of its scaffolding, and further to the left, the Vishnu Temple with its step-y tower. (I've often wondered if the step-y style of Art Deco was stolen from South Asian temple architecture.) Then, the brass image of King Yogendra Malla on his column, the first thing put right after it fell during the earthquake. You can't, obviously, get close to it, but it is, by itself, one of the great works of art. Further down, the Harishanker, still in scaffolding, then the Telaju Bell (more on this another time perhaps) and, at the very end, the other Krishna Temple, also known as the Chyasim Deval. It's an amazing octagonal stone building. The scaffolding came off a long time ago, leaving a couple of welded stainless steel bands holding the building together between the first and second level should it get shaken up again.

Photo of the Chyasim Deval and the Telaju Bell, Patan Durbar Square, Nepal
You can see them in this infrared picture from last year if you look closely. It is less of a temple and more of a monument, not to mention a sitting out area (as they say in Hong Kong) for the neighborhood.

Photo, assembling doorframes for a new building, Old Patan, Nepal.
On the secular side, this scene two half blocks from my front door.  I’ve no idea what was here before, since this building project has been part of this street since this street has been part of my life.  Floor by floor it has risen!  Unlike the project in my own goli (alley) where the brick walls have been built with the completion of each floor this building’s whole structure has gone up first and the finish items are just being started.  In this case, the framing lumber for the street level doors.  The ones for this side of the building have been placed, ready for the brick masonry to be laid around them, and the crew is assembling the frames for the doors on the other face, around the corner.  Just like the old worksites I remember from California there seems to be one guy doing the work and four supervisors.  Five if you count me...  But, on reflection, three of us are really just random lookers on, although in the California building trades anybody looking on was considered a useless “supervisor”!

Photo, assembling doorframes for a new building, Old Patan, Nepal.

Photo of Ombahal Chowk and surrounding Old Patan neighborhood from a neighboring roof.

Kathmandu, 17 June 2018   Following on to my Facebook post of a couple of days ago, here's another shot of my neighborhood, an extreme panorama that I captured almost exactly a month ago, and stitched together yesterday. It's a view to the west from the roof of the apartment building I live in. Like most modern Nepali buildings, the roof is part of the living space. The deep chowk or courtyard in the foreground is the Ombahal, the center of a little community, with a temple on the right side as seen in the picture. Following on to comment the other day about construction, there are actually two construction sites on the chowk. In the far right corner there's a narrow building that has been gutted and refurbished. In the far left corner there's a new building going up on the site of a recent demolition. When the rightside building was a worksite the corner of the chowk was filled with building materials, and cement was being mixed in front. Happily that's all been nicely cleaned up, especially as the other easy entrance to the chowk and our home is at that corner. It would have been a bit grim if both ways to our front door had been compromised at the same time. I have huge sympathy for my neighbors whose front doors are right in front of the construction site in the goli/alley in front of our building. Yesterday a crew filled in the trench down our goli and laid out brick on top of it in the typical herring bone pattern of pavement in this neighborhood. Everything is still a bit muddy (it rained monsoon rain yesterday), and a bit sandy, but it's definitely progress!

This panorama was shot with a very wide 20mm lens, and consists of eight overlapping images, sitched together using PTGui. When I processed the raw images I bumped up the color saturation and vibrance a bit to properly reflect the warm afternoon light and the clarity of the view. The full sized image has a lot of detail and would print very big.

Photo of a narrow alley undergoing construction in Patan, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.
Kathmandu, 16 June 2018   I feel I should write a longish piece about the Building of Patan. There is SO MUCH demolition and construction going in this neighborhood behind Durbar (Palace) Square. I captured this a couple of days ago. It's our goli (alley) looking out from the little Ombahal Chowk. (A chowk in this case is a communal courtyard.) Our doorway is right beyond the framing doors, which are never closed, since a whole little community lives behind them. We've been coming in through the other goli into and through the chowk because the more direct route is marginally passable on good days, what with being dug up for new sewer lines and so far only partially filled in. And the building under construction I posted on a few days ago is right where the group of neighbors and construction foreman have congregated. I'm not walking past that on the day of the next big pour!

This picture is also interesting since it's my first go at making High Dynamic Range, or HDR, images in photoshop, which is why you can see the sunlit people and the shadowy graffiti all in one go.

Kathmandu, 13 June 2018 Monday I was home alone (Julee has a day job, after all) and about nine thirty I heard a very loud, insistant buzzing. I know that sound. It's a concrete vibrator, a rather heavy duty specialized tool for getting the air pockets out of wet concrete. A look out from the front balcony gave me this view:

Photo of a manual concrete pour for a floor of an new builidng old Lalitpur, Nepal.
It's a major pour, the entire first floor of the building that's going up in the goli (alley) leading to our apartment building. The side side goli was filled with a sheet of wet concrete about six inches thick. I'm very curious as to how that happened. Since the construction crew has been staging sand, gravel, and presumably sacks of cement in the goli for the last couple of weeks I have to suppose they mixed it right there, on the ground. I would have liked to have seen that, since it must have been a wild dance right before the beginning of the pour.

Every gram of wet concrete was carried up the ladder by a crew of five of what British-acculturated would call hod carriers, but they used typical Nepali conical baskets with forehead lines instead of hods, and carrying lot more weight than a hod carrier could. In the picture you can see a pair of men with an assisted shovel (one guy has the shovel in his hands, and the other has a T handled rope tied to the neck of the shovel, and adds his muscle to the shovel, which must make a real difference, given how much a shovelfull of concrete wieghs and how many shovelfulls they have to move and how quickly. You can't see the basket on the ground on its side because the guy with the white cap is in front of it. When it's full a couple of others will help get the basket to the carrying position, and the carrier will climb the ladder with it and dump in on the face of the work. You can see one carrier with a full basket going, and three with empty baskets headed back for their next load. There are half a dozen at the workface. Some are shovelling the wet concrete into shape and one has a big wooden float trowel and makes the final surface flat and smooth. The vibrator is the long hose-y thing in the middle of the top of the picture.

It all has to happen very quickly, because the concrete has to be wet enough to flow and be worked, and it has to set all in one piece or its strength will be fundamentally compromised. In fact, the job was completely finished about two hours after I took this picture. A call out to Sunny Skys who taught me a lot about concrete when I worked on his crew in my not-quite-muscular-enough twenties!

Detail of LKJ's panorama of the Marché des Bossale, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Kathmandu, 6 June 2018
   "I'm all, This is hard!" to quote Jennifer Elise Cox playing Nurse Trainee Pittman on the old Will and Grace. In my case I've just returned to my big infrared panorama of the Marché des Bossales in Haiti. It's not that far off of being ready for prime time, with all the ghosts exorcised. In the stitched panorama world a "ghost" is a person (or object) who is not completely rendered because they moved between frames, leading to halved, or doubled, people.

Exorcism involves careful masking of one or more frames. Masking can help mis-stitches too, but there is an insiduous issue involving horizontal lines, often towards the top of the frame. The lines don't line up, leading to a gap... Power lines are a big issue! There are people online who say it's because the wind blows the power lines around. I'm not so sure, since it happens on other kinds of lines, say, ceiling tiles on indoors shots. But the prescription is to fix the mis-matches by hand with Photoshop, so it's a learning opportunity... Over the last couple of days I've brought the big Wacom tablet out and am figuring out how to actually use it. It's a precision tool, in the sense that a good paintbrush for oils is a precision tool. In the hands of a practiced expert amazing things are possible. Shall I admit I'm not a practiced expert yet? It's still much easier for me to get the results needed using the tablet than by using the trackpad or a mouse. In parallel, I'm having to learn the Photoshop techniques of marking and skewing, then patching the holes I make when I do that. After the first, botched attempt, I realize that I need to embrace layers, so that when I skew the wires on the top layer, the process will reveal the untouched base layer rather that leaving a transparent tear in the picture.

Kathmandu, 4 June 2018 Did a fair bit on the website over the weekend. The gallery pages aren't completely consistent, but they're close. You'd have to look pretty closely, so maybe good enough to go forward without redoing past work. I have a new small gallery on Bhutan up, and am running through the photos of the Nordic Outing. Also completed the recovery of the photos mentioned on the 1st, which have come through unscathed. A friend is having his own troubles with careless deletion, and is not having as much luck in his recovery. Mac vs. Windows? He doesn't have access to the program I'm using because of his operating system.

Kathmandu, 2 June 2018 Composing my third web page gallery, and looking back at the first two to match their style. Subtle though they may be, there are inconsistencies between them... This will have to be fixed, and I may have to make up a style sheet so I have an explicit reference in the future. This is a professional product after all, or at least one with pretensions! I was tempted to start doing fancier things with page design, floating pictures to one side or the other, wrapping text and so on, but at some point I'm going to be reconfiguring the site so it so that there will be a version that will look good on smart phone screens. With an eye to the future, I'm keeping the design very simple.

Kathmandu, 1 June 2018 Fuzzy Friday! Got back from the Nordic Outing yesterday about 10am, courtesy of the redeye from Doha. Bathed, unpacked, napped, three loads of laundry, and otherwise recovered from the trip. Locked my computer (Figuratively!) to the desk to back it up and to recover pictures from one of the pre-trip camera memory cards where I got the sequence of copying and deletion wrong. That had been one of those moments, like the moment many years ago when I poured the fixer into the film processing tank before the developer, one of those mistakes one only makes once. It's going to be a little easier making this mistake twice, but I hope I'm fully sensitized to it now! But, recovery in the digital age is possible and seems to have gone well. Breakfast at Patan's new Of Silk and Salt café, rush back to fold the laundry that dried overnight, vacate apartment in favor of service (it's a serviced apartment and Friday is when the cleaner shows up) and then out again to catch up on the errands. I have a fairly substantial check for sales from the Kathamdu Art Gallery show in March (yay!) but have no Nepali bank at which to cash it. Time to open an account? Maybe... And I have to visit the cleaners, the cellphone store, pay my bill at the American Club, check on a small furniture job at Metalwood, and otherwise catch up on normal life, such as it is in the Kathmandu Valley. Particularly, reconnecting with this website and catching up with recent photographic stuff...

I had thought that when I started this month and archived May I would split the blog into a photo section and a personal section, but now I'm here and I'm going to be holding off and leaving it linear. At the moment I've no idea how big my audience might be... So, for the moment I'm going to leave the blog linear and meander off into whatever corner takes my fancy, whenever I have the time and energy to write it up.

(I'm reminded of the great Max Headroom! YouTube has a version of the pilot. The relevant scene starts at 41:50. The Max Headroom construct is activated and asks “You wanna check these ratings? I seem to have an audience of two.” The kicker is when Max says “It's Big Time Television: The station where two is company and three's an audience!” It was a wonderful show, horrifyingly prescient, and worth watching some cosy night.)

(Archived 1 June 2018) INTRODUCTION: This site's been up for over a month now. I've been crossposting here and on Facebook and figuring out how to get my photographs to display more or less where I want them on the page. So, it is richer and more complex, as promised in my original introduction. Getting closer to being ready for prime time, though. I need more good galleries and a great splash page. Works in progress!

Kathmandu, 16 May 2018 I'm perfectly well aware that this blog should be about photography, but, at the moment, most of my energy and thought is going into the construction of this web site and the tools needed to do that. Big steps recently, as I've signed up for Google Analytics, and learned a lot about global formatting commands. Who knew that a short line of code in the page header would allow (force?) a web browser to use the entire unicode set, giving me access to the full range of typographic codes? So, now I can put things in “quotes”, not just "quotes". Don't see the difference? Go back and look closely... "Quotes" are fine, but they don't look as finished and professional as “quotes”! And, now I can compose in my Open Office word processor without having to go through the text in my html editor and replace every character that falls outside the ASCII character set with one that falls within. Thanks to Mark Myers who wrote a little Kindle book called A Smarter Way to Learn HTML & CSS, which solidly covers a lot of ground that I've unsteadily taught myself, and a lot of new stuff like the item above. It has the clarity and completeness of John Muir's old Idiot Book for Volkswagen owners doing their own maintenance and repairs. Most documentation assumes you already know most of it, or that you have a teacher or mentor to provide clarification. It makes it hard for the isolated to learn.

Should I now go back and replace all the ASCII characters? It would show a mindful attention to detail which is a part of the presentation of a serious artist, so I will on every corner of the website except the blog pages. Let them be a testament to the process!

Kathmandu, 13 May 2018 One of the wonderful things about building this web site is I can use modern, trendy, terms like "I'm creating content"! ("I'm being productive on my computer. Really!") I've spent the last three or four days building a new gallery page (Haiti Streets) showcasing one aspect of my photographic work when I lived in Haiti from 2007 to 2011. It is (at least in intent) classic street photography in the tradition of people like Garry Winogrand, although my sensibility is very different from his. I don't see anything odd or undignified about the people living their often very difficult lives in the cities of Haiti, and I hope that comes through in my pictures of them.

It's Sunday afternoon and we're getting what feels like the first real rain of monsoon, long, steady, and reasonably heavy. We've just had to shut the windows on the south side of the apartment to keep the rain from blowing in.

Kathmandu, 6 May 2018 I get sidetracked easily, but sometimes those little meandering trails in the brush can be interesting. I'm developing my web site, and making progress, but still very short of where I want to be. Yesterday I got the overlay text to scroll over a photograph on one of my prototype index pages, which is a big victory. Now... I have to figure out how to get the first line of the text to float at the bottom left edge of window, allowing most of the photo to be visible in all it's glory until the visitor scrolls the text up revealing my intro and the links to the rest of the page. Simple eh? But what if the bottom window edge overlaps the bottom edge of the photograph? I don't even have one technique for text placement down, and I'm going to have to figure out overlapping rules...

I'm reminded of John Horton Conway's Game of Life. It was the first of the cellular automata, and it's well worth a look even today. Check it out on Wikipedia! I first ran across it in Martin Gardner's Scientific American Column when it first came out in 1970. (Yes, I was a total child nerd. If only I'd been technically competent!) I was interested again in the early eighties when there were a number of computerized versions running on MS-DOS machines. I was writing simple programs in Visual Basic, and thought it might be a good exercise to create my own version. It was shockingly hard going. I mean, the rules of the game are so simple, only four short sentences...

I'd overlooked the complexity that underlies human language. I had the sense to give up when I read a piece that pointed out that if those four rules were re-worked as rigorous, unique, mathematically sound, instructions, you ended with something like ninety-two lines of meta-code, which you then had to program. Web design is rather like that. "I want the text there!" "But when the window resizes there is no longer there, is it?" What if the viewer resizes a window really short and wide? Or really tall and narrow? The language masks a lot of unspoken detail, which I believe is one of the functions of human language. Otherwise it would take forever to say anything!

Kathmandu, 2 May 2018 Back in Nepal after six days in Hong Kong and dealing with pretty much all the aspects of what makes Nepal difficult. Rumor has it that a major public utility transformer was destroyed by fire yesterday afternoon. It's surely true, as the power was out when we got in at 11pm, and stayed out overnight, running out the charge in the massive batteries in the apartment building's backup inverter power system. That cut out about eight this morning. Without power, no water gets to the feed tanks on the roof, and the taps run dry... Hopefully this will get resolved before shower time tonight! Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the Save the Children expediter at the very crowded Immigration Office with my passport, hoping that, finally, this time, it will all get sorted. This is the fifth or sixth time I've been here since September, each visit being a combination of grungy, terribly uncertain, and intensely boring. And weirdly cosmopolitan. At the moment the gentleman in the next seat is a Tibetan monk. I don't know if he's actually Tibetan, or simply following that tradition. Or just rocking the outfit? A few minutes ago the neighbors were a trio of Vietnamese women in their early thirties. Running one of the Vietnamese restaurants in Kathmandu and renewing their business visas? There's a balding Frenchman with his Nepali wife and three children who are amazingly free spirits, completely free of any shy whatsoever. One of them, not quite two, climbed on to my chair, gently pushed me aside, and started banging on the window of the office behind me. Downstairs there was the usual mix of seeking Westerners of every age and Chinese and Indians who seem to all business. There was also a clutch of religious looking Middle Eastern men and a separate, though no doubt related, clutch of completely covered people in absolute burqas. I assume they are women. And up here a tall American talking stereotypically loudly for all the waiting room to hear about bee keeping. Hm...

It's great gig, though, and the charm is woven into the difficulties. When we got to our chowk (which is Nepali for intersection, square, and interior courtyard) last night the cab dumped us and our pile of bags out. Julee stayed with the pile and I ferried bags into foyer of our little apartment building, down the alley and then down the even narrower side alley to our front door. When I got back to her after the first run the temple dogs were all lying around her and the bags, completely chill in the dark as if she were their beloved and long lost Alpha. This morning on the way to breakfast we had a band of rhesus monkeys slipping across the alley ahead of us. And it was cool, unlike the muggy damp heat already afflicting Hong Kong.

As of my return home at 4:45, everything is up again. Power, internet (wheh!) and even water. When the landlord thought they might be running overnight with no power they brought in a gas generator just for the water pump, so there's something to shower in!

Kathmandu, 25 April 2018 As I'm writing, it's the 3rd anniversary of what the U.S. Government called "The Ghorka Earthquake", mostly, I think, to give the event a unique label that could be used to instantly identify the event in the context of immediate emergency operations and, later, recovery programs. Invasion stripes in the context of humanitarian assistance to Nepal? The quake was centered in the countryside (yes, near Ghorka) and that's where most damage occurred, but the damage in the Kathmandu Valley was quite visible too, especially when the building that took damage or came down was an iconic centuries old temple or palace. Rebuilding is on, and I'm very heartened by the progress in my own neighborhood, Patan Durbar Square. It looks so much better than it did last year, but there is still a year, or perhaps many years, of work to go. I'm hoping I get to see at least most of the buildings there standing straight and whole and clear of scaffolding before I leave Nepal. Yesterday photographic icon Kiran Chitrakar took me to Bhaktapur. He's documenting the three big city centers of the valley on the anniversary of the quake. It would be hard to do all three on the same day, so he went to the furthest the day before. Bhaktapur Durbar Square took the least damage, and so looks more complete than the ones in Patan or Kathmandu, but they still had buildings damaged or gone down, and they too are rebuilding.

Two blocks from the north end of Patan Durbar Square, rebuilding goes on in our own neighborhood. When we moved here there was a building to the left of the narrow alley leading to our front door that was being propped up by a set of diagonal timbers, like the museum in Bhaktapur pictured above. It was severely and obviously earthquake damaged, vacant, and it was a little nerve racking walking past it on the way in or out. It was torn down around the turn of the year, and for a while the neighbors and us enjoyed the vacant lot. Now, building materials are being staged, and deep foundations being dug for a new building. On the other side of the apartment an old, fragile, building, built of pure brick and timber before reinforced concrete became a thing in Nepal, is being torn down. Demolition and building is going on all through the neighborhood. At least some of the new buildings are purpose-built guesthouses. This has been a boom year for tourism in Nepal... I worry about gentrification, in spite of the deadly irony of being the gentry in this context!

Meanwhile, over the last eighteen months the whole of greater Kathmandu has been dug up for the massive Malamchi water project. All of this has thrown massive amounts of dust up, and the quality of the air has gone to hell, even from the previously low level. Julee and I are exploring the installation of air conditioning in our little apartment so we'll be able to keep the windows closed, and filter out the dust inside with our govt. surplus air filters. Hm... This is affecting my photography.

So there's a certain richness and complexity to the moment. We're past mourning for the victims of the quake, rebuilding in some combination of planned and haphazard, building in some combination of planned and haphazard, and the politics of the moment are beyond interesting. I wish everyone involved the very best.

Clear air isn't just good for the lungs! I was disappointed with recent infra-red photos I've taken, and spent some serious time last night checking through pictures taken at different times with my first and current infra-red cameras. Yesterday's pictures in Bhaktapur with Kiran Chitrakar were fine, but a little fuzzy. I was worried about focus. That's an issue with infra-red, as the lenses aren't corrected for those wavelengths of light. It took the best part of a century for the optical scientists to figure out how to substantially correct a lens for the visible spectrum of blue, yellow, and red, so it's a bit much to ask for simultaneous correction in another whole range of wavelengths. So, the infra-red modified autofocus camera has to be tweaked for accurate focus. This is critical, since you can't focus by the eye that doesn't see infra-red, and lenses no longer have the extra mark for infra-red they did in the film days. I'm a bit sensitive to this subject, since the lab that did the conversion on my second infra-red camera got it wrong and really had trouble believing that I fully understood the issue and had correctly diagnosed the problem. Oh those sweet fuzzy artistic types! What would they know about technology? Warranty repairs are a great thing. So, same camera, same lens: The pictures taken of Patan Gate, taken on a sunny day right after a rain (and of a middle distance object) are as sharp as I could want, and the pictures taken in Bhaktapur yesterday on a hazy day with light overcast are a bit soft when you look closely. Not too bad... Just enough that I don't think I could market them as the very big prints I composed them to be.

It's not a new issue. When I was eighteen, in the first flush of my photographic life and living in San Luis Obispo, California, there was a little town about thirty miles down the coast called Oceano, backed by a whole landscape of sea dunes. Very photogenic! I wasn't the first to notice. After my second trip I went "Wait! These are the same "Dunes, Oceano" that Edward Weston shot in the early thirties?!?!?" So why were his pictures so much better than mine? I was willing to concede that I was a teenager with my mother's Rolleiflex and that when he worked in Oceano he was already in the running for the greatest photographer in history. But, there was also the issue of pure quality. His pictures were sharp, mine were a bit muddy. Looking closely, comparing honestly, he had better air than I did. Better weather, and that was probably not luck. He shot the dunes over a period of months, and probably watched the weather and waited for crystal clear days. They might have been a bit more common in those days, but we still get them, and if we get out and shoot on them we'll get better photographs. Here in Kathmandu I'm waiting for the monsoon and just after, but shooting anyway, because the scenes present. But not every one is going to end up as a candidate for the portfolio.

Kathmandu, 23 April 2018
Big religious festival ongoing in my Patan Durbar Square neighborhood. I wrote about this a few days ago on my Facebook page (@lkjatlarge). Saturday, the giant stylized cart containing the image of the god, Rato Machindra Nath, came to Patan Durbar Square, accompanied and followed by the smaller, but still massive, cart called the Minnath, representing another god. By the way, the carts are actually referred to as chariots, because you can't ask a god to ride in a cart, now can you? Besides, there is religious significance to the term "chariot".

Julee and I went to the square with friends, including a knowledgeable local historian, and hung out in the square waiting for the movement of the two chariots. We ducked in to the museum complex to kill time, having the great good luck to meet up with the army honor guard, dressed and armed as they would have been in the first half of the 19th century. The percussion cap muskets aren't just for show, as they were fired in salute as the Rato Machindra Nath rumbled off while pulled by hundreds of strong men. Julee got some great video of the pulling of the Minnath, which is done by pre-adolescent boys.

It's wildly exotic for me and I think even for the Newari people in the neighborhood it's a pretty special time, even if they have been doing this for a thousand years. The rain god is important, as I can attest since the apartment went on rationing today because of the difficulty in getting water to fill the cistern. This should resolve pretty quickly when the monsoon arrives and fills up rivers, lakes, and aquifers, but that's still some weeks off. Let us hope (and pray if you come from an appropriate religious tradition) that the rains arrive on schedule.

Kathmandu, 17 April 2018   It's been over a week since I've made an entry. During that time I've closed the show at Kathmandu Art Gallery, possibly sold another big color print of Patan Durbar Square, and have made some progress on this site. My task this morning is to figure out how to make some pictures on a web page one size, and others another size. Straightforward, right? Or maybe not so much! In the course of searching the net for answers I ran across a web page which will be very useful later (maybe much later) when I'm optimizing for different devices, on a site called "Interneting is Hard". Indeed... My next and parallel task is to get my web site home page properly set up, looking good enough to really draw people in. And then there's work on the big Marche des Bossales picture from last December's trip to Haiti. And then there's cleaning, shopping, and cooking... and socializing, which is a good thing!

Kathmandu, 9 April 2018   I woke up with a headache, thinking that I really hadn't drunk that much at my solitary sundowner last night, then realized that I hadn't had my second afternoon/evening cup of coffee yesterday. So, another slow morning, albeit one with baby-steps productivity. I figured out how to link a HTML web page with a CSS style sheet. This is actually a big thing, since modern web site appearance and function (as opposed to modern web site content) is properly controlled by external style sheet files. I kinda want to talk about this, but I have to consider my audience! As before: Tech friends: "So?" Non-tech friends: "What?"

Kathmandu, 2 April 2018   Interesting that I'm retired, and I'm still doing bureaucratic triage. Y'know, making decisions about what has to be done NOW, what can wait because it's less critical, and what can wait because it's not particularly time sensitive? (Of course the third category will sneak into the first, given time...) I spent Easter and April Fool's Day working on Beloved Spousal Unit Julee's Massachusetts income taxes. Unlike the Feds, the Commonwealth has no exclusion for overseas income, and no filing extension for overseas filers, so it needed to be done in time. So, no work on the web site, no work on photography, and it was only in the evening that I had time to email my beloved printer Danny Chau for printing prices on a possible sale. It turns out that he's travelling, so I had to send the client an interim reply and will calculate a tentative price for them in the meantime.

INTRODUCTION:   I don't think my web site is having a soft opening. I think you'd have to describe this opening as positively squishy.

That has to be expected for a beginner like me. On the one hand, tech stuff comes slowly to me, and there are FAR too many variables! On the other, working with a professional web designer has been hard, because it can be difficult to communicate one's vision to another, particularly when they aren't themselves artists. So, I've circled back, and even a bit further, since I couldn't get Wordpress or Blue Griffon to work for me, so I'm now learning the fundamentals of HTML coding and I'm building my website line by line, by hand. It would be silly for someone else, but I've always done better if I was down in the weeds and really understood what that particular dandelion was doing there.

But it's up, in a very simple, prototypical, way, using code that is probably not that far beyond what Sir Tim Berners-Lee was writing when he invented the web back in 1990. But it will get richer, more graphical, and, hopefully, more interesting, over time.

Kathmandu, 31 March 2018   It's Saturday morning and we're on our way to the farmer's market at Le Sherpa, Julee to do the week's shopping, me to open the Kathmandu Art Gallery. It's been a fairly choppy ride up to Kathmandu from Patan. Little traffic jams in our own neighborhood, but they're little streets, so a little traffic jam can keep you locked in place for a while. Just north of the Bagmati River we had to wait for a couple of thousand tee shirted walkathoners to pass in front of us.

9:30 and I'm in the gallery, keeping an eagle eye out for anyone who might show some interest in my work. It doesn't take much, a moment's hesitation at my placard, or perhaps even a flicker of the eye, and I'm at the door dragging, no, gently inviting, people into the gallery. And it seems to work! I've just got a strong nibble for a couple of custom prints, and when I get the prices to the potential buyer on Monday I may have a sale.

I wasn't always a high pressure salesman! When I was young I turned down a number of jobs because they involved salesmanship and I was pretty sure I'd suffer a lot of distress for little payback, and an employer I was courting very hard pushed me (firmly, but gently and honestly) away because they judged with some accuracy that I didn't have the aggression needed. Why is it different now? Maybe a bit that I'm selling my own work, and I really want to get it out in the world. More, I suspect, that at sixty odd years I really don't feel a lot of tender shyness. I was going to I say I don't care, but that's not really it. I do care, but I'm less concerned about making a bad impression by being socially aggressive, and I'm confident that I do it with enough menschly good humor that people can't be too offended. And, if they are, most encounters are just that. Encounters. The stakes are low on the down side and high on the up side. It's worth taking risks.

Kathmandu, 30 March 2018   Tomorrow is the last day of the month, so I get paid! Always a happy moment, and happier this month since I'll get a catch-up payment. Even for a Recovering Bureaucrat this stuff can be hard, and I missed the filing of an important document the first weeks of January, so the first couple of pension payments for the year were a little short... All sorted now.

I'm not at all sure what to blog about. These days tend to have a lot of technical setup in them, as I'm building this website and trying to get my lkj@lkj.online email working. It blew up overnight, and I may have to stay up tonight and call Denver to get that sorted. (Loving the South Asian English construction "sorted"!) Meanwhile I've expanded the website and reloaded the whole thing on to the domain server. And it all works! I don't really know if I should write about that publicly. I can see the non-technical saying "What is he talking about???" and the technical saying "What a clueless newby dweeb!" But hell, it's my blog, and I can write about what I like, right? I'm engrossed in several things. The issues of creating and setting up a website and web identity to support my photography, the issues of technical photography, particularly right now night photography with digital equipment, the issues of promoting my work, and the issues of the esthetics of photography, though I'm very reluctant to approach that too vigorously. As an article in Scientific American put it years ago, science can explain good wines, but not great ones. Then, there are the issues of living in Nepal as a non-official expat.

That's fun and easy, actually. Well, easy to write about anyway, But, while this isn't as easy as living in Massachusetts, or within the official bubble, it's hard for me to say it's hard. Right now, the hardest part of living in Kathmandu is the air quality. But, there's been a little rain over the last couple of days, so the air is a little cleaner, and the streets a little less dusty than usual. Monsoon's due in a couple of months, and that will help a lot, both for traditional smog and the dust. I'm out and about, orbiting Patan Durbar Square while the serviced apartment is being cleaned. It's fresh and cool out, cycling between threatening a bit of rain (and I did have some drops fall on me later) and short periods of medium sunshine. Pleasant. I had lunch at a place on the west side of Patan Durbar Square called The Third World. They've had busier days, perhaps? They had some old photos up of a couple of western sportsmen, on the field, and at the restaurant. On the edge of that group was my friend the Nepali photographer Kiran Chitrakar, who was for many years the chief of photography at Nepal Television, and close to the court. Excellent momos (Nepali dumplings) though, and during a very slow lunch I updated the web site page by page and uploaded it via their wifi. Then, across the square to Himalayan Java for my latte and walnut brownie. Then a walk to Patan Dhoka and a cab to downtown Kathmandu to pick up my photographer business cards. They might end up being the first actual pictures posted on this site... All in all a good day's run.

(At bedtime.) The phone calls to Denver went well. Email to and from lkj@lkj.online now works seamlessly.

Kathmandu, 27 March 2018   A rather busy morning. My show at Katmandu Art Gallery at the Le Sherpa complex has another three weeks or so to run. It went up VERY quickly last week, so there wasn't any time to give the show a name or do an artist's statement -- or even put up a sign. So, yesterday Beloved Spousal Unit (BSU) Julee used some existing text and a picture she took of me in Paris last year and built a statement for me. I edited it a bit this morning and took it to the local photo mavens, Foto Hollywood, and had them print up a placard we can put by the door of the gallery. With luck it will be ready for the Wednesday afternoon farmer's market, but it will definitely be up for the big market on Saturday. And, I've been retired for six months, so civilian business cards are in order, aren't they? So, a visit to a more traditional kind of print shop, and they'll be ready on Friday. To the gallery next, and this evening to the Hyatt where firetruck herder Michael Kobold is showing a select audience his very rough cut of a film for the Nepal Tourism Board.