Dry Wetland, Roosevelt Island

Washington DC, 10 May 2024   I do believe I'm going to have to start educating myself about the botonical envirionment on the East Coast of the United States! I'm taking a lot of landscapes and closer up photos of nature and I don't know the names of any of the plants and trees I'm memorializing. And "Dry Wetland"? Is that even a thing? This is a fairly common sort of landscape here, where it seems it must have been wet, or is wet at certain times of year, but isn't wet while I'm looking at it. The bare standing trunks of trees in the middle of a very flat field of grassy weedy stuff are things I have often seen as I travel up and down the coast. Very photogenic, but how should I label and describe them?

So, a week ago, on a sunny morning I went to Theodore Roosevelt Island, a bit of nature in the Potomac River between Rosslyn, Virginia, and the Watergate Complex on the District of Columbia side. It's hard to access, as you can only drive to it northbound on the George Washington Parkway, and the little exit is easy to miss. One can also walk from Rosslyn, though I've no idea how. So, it's this little island (actually an island!) of tidal wild in the middle of urban Washington and one of its closest suburbs. I'd been meaning to go with my cameras for some months, and it did not disappoint. What a great walk, and a great photographic day! Eighteen photos I'm pleased with, perhaps this one most of all. It's a six frame infrared panorama.

Small Installation of Large Infrared Photos.
LKJ's Walls at Artomatic 2024

Washington DC, 3 May 2024   This year's Artomatic has run it's course and closed at the end of the day last Sunday. This indoor panorama documents my two thirds of a room right before I took the installation down and packed it up to come home.

A good experience! It was sweet to be able to hang the bigger prints and I got a lot of affirmation from the experience. I sold a couple of the smaller prints in the Marketplace, met many fellow artists, and got a sense of the wild world of art we have in Washington. Too much competition, but so much good work!

Infrared Panoramic Photo of Late Snow and Post Winter Trees and Desicated Plants.
Stick Season 2

Washington DC, 27 2024   I will admit I'm coasting on out trip to Vermont, But, it was a good time photographically!

This is a four frame infrared panorama. There's a part at the top that was really hard to get to stitch properly...

Photo of Late Spring Snow with Stick-y Plants Poking Through.
Stick Season

Washington DC, 19 April 2024   A week ago last Monday in Elmore, Vermont, very nearly to the border of Canada, there was still snow on the ground. The New England term for this time of year is "Stick Season", what with all the dry vegetation visible through the snow or gracing the ground where the snow has just melted. Down South here in Washington we're in the middle of high green Spring.

A completely straight, unmanipulated color photograph. I'd love to blow it up really big, as the individual crystals of ice are clearly visible at camera definition.

Vertical Infrared Photo Panorama of a Clump of Bare Winter Trees in the Snow.
Elmore Copse

West Swanzey, New Hampshire, 12 April 2024   Like many others, Julee, her parents, and I went to The Great American Eclipse of 2024 last Monday. It's been in the plans for about four years, ever since we realized that the Path of Totality passed over a corner of Vermont only about two and a half hours drive from the family homestead here in Swanzey. Last year the calendar reminder popped up and we got serious. Julee found an AirBnB in an open area, surrounded by fields, for a good view, and all on one level on the ground for the not completely abled of our party. We built the time and place into our plans. No control over the weather, of course, and that was a nail biter. It was overcast, but the best sort for the circumstances, a thin, even, high overcast than didn't cover the whole sky (so there was plenty of pretty blue sky) and didn't obscure the sun in a way that that made it hard for us amateurs to see and enjoy the show. And it was a great show! To quote from an email to relatives:

As the occlusion started, I joined the family in the plastic Adirondack chairs in front of our rental. A couple of months ago I’d bought a half dozen good (not cardboard!) eclipse glasses, so we were able to comfortably watch the occultation of the sun’s disk. What was unexpected for me was the slowness of the whole event. The edge of the moon started covering the sun’s disk forty minutes or so before totality. Mind, at first, you could only tell by watching the sun through the glasses, as it wasn't until a good part of the sun was covered that it became noticeably dark. Not dark like night, a different, more luminous (yes, a weird adjective for the circumstances, but it seems most apt to me) dark. And then, totality, with the disk of the moon completely covering the disk of the sun, and we could take off our glasses and look directly at it. Totally cool! I do believe I could see a couple of solar flares at the rim of the sun’s disk. It was very dark, but not nighttime-needing-a-flashlight dark. A very strange and unique atmosphere. We had about two and a half minutes of totality, and then the sun started out from behind the other side of the moon, and over time the world returned to normal. I didn’t have any sense of any of this being wrong or dreadful, but then it was an expected and fully understood event for me.

Well worth the trip!

My second eclipse. I'd experienced one as a teenager in Mexico City, but wasn't then anywhere near the Path of Totality. It got a bit darker, and I saw the bite taken out of the Sun using an open pinhole device I made (eclipse glasses for amateurs weren't a thing then) but it wasn't the kind of awesome we experienced this week in the center of the event.

Did I take picture of the eclipse? No way! That is specialist work, and, honest eclipse photos tend to all look alike... I could have brought the full camera bag (which has the long zoom telephoto in it) and a tripod, and perhaps bought a couple of telephoto extenders, and, of course the camera filter equivalent to eclipse glasses. But I wanted to experience the moment rather than fussing with the setup to get pictures that other, specialist, photographers could do, probably better. And of course the high thin overcast didn't affect our enjoyment of the moment, but would have smoodged a photograph from the desired sharpness.

So this week's photo was taken the day before the eclipse of the little stand of trees next to our lodgings. It's infrared, and a two frame vertical panorama in lieue of changing lenses, as is my custom. A photo of opportunity, like most of my images.

Black and White Photo of Gutted Building Floor with Interesting Radial Shadows.
Artsy Artomatic Corner

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 5 April 2024   In the late afternoon on the 8th floor of the vacated building that houses this year's Artomatic exhibit. Same view, but further back from the window, as the photo from last week's blog post. The sunlight refected off of the windows of the building across the street throws these abstract rays across the raw concrete floors.

Techically, a three frame vertical panorama, captured with my cell phone in color, then rendered to black and white in post.

Conference Room

Washington DC, 29 March 2024   The view (or one of the many views) from the 8th Floor of Artomatic, where I did my second to last volunteer shift today. It’s downtown Washington DC, so of course it’s offices, and in the wake of Covid, no surprise that the offices are under-occupied. The most recent rumor here at Artomatic is that this eight story office building will not be renovated into apartments (A very reasonable use, given the current shape of economy, but challenging from an engineering point of view.) but instead completely demolished in favor of a new twenty five story edifice built from the parking garage up as an apartment building. (Also a very reasonable use, but a bit fraught given the energy and material that went into this building. I’m not against either path, given the crying need for more housing in American cities.)

A target of opportunity photo, shot with my cell phone. I’ve always been a target of opportunity photographer, but recently I’ve been doing more with my cell phone. Not as glorious a camera as my Canon R5, but quite good, and always in my pocket!

Artomatic Marketplace

Washington DC, 22 March 2024   The Artomatic Marketplace (read below for background!) last Sunday, when a bunch of artists were selling their wares in one of the not-just-abandoned-but-gutted floors of the big building on 21st Street. I was there, my table is the one with the black tablecloth right behind the gentleman in blue walking to the left on the left side of the photo. A happy, low key, afternoon. And I sold two prints! O frabjous day!

The photo is a slightly more than 180° panorama stitched up from four frames from my cell phone. As always the best camera is the one with you. And, honestly, modern cell phones have pretty good cameras...

Duck Pond Tree

Washington DC, 15 March 2024   A recent photo of a minor SW Washington DC landmark, the Duck Pond at 4th Street, though I'm doing what I can to mess with reality in more than one way. It's a color photo, rendered to black and white and the contrast bumpfed up. No different than what I used to do with my Tri-X negatives when I printed them on #3 Brovira paper at higher contrast than the #2 product.

Artomatic is having it's moments... It was shut down for a couple of days for bureaucratic reasons. Opened on a Certificate of Occupancy, but to stay open it needed a Building Certificate... Which they got this morning, so I was there this afternoon doing one of my volunteer shifts. I'll have a table at the Marketplace, ready to sell prints tomorrow and the day after. More as this rolls out!

Anachronistic Contrail

Washington DC, 8 March 2024   Artomatic opens today at noon. 2100 M Street, with the front door around the corner on 21st Street NW in this fair city. My photos are up in room 4081 on the 4th floor. Do come and check them out! Here are the dates and times.

I should put up a little interior panorama of the room which I'm sharing with Roshani, but while the pictures are hung, along with the little shelf for my guest book, I don't have all the plackards and labels up. So the room is not quite ready to be presented in prime time. Next week!

I took dusk photo of a nice sharp contrail in Brooklyn a few weeks ago. I thought I'd put that up, but it wasn't quite up to standard. But, it reminded me of this infrared photo that I took six years ago, in Normandy. I like the juxtoposition of monuments from different agos.

Artomatic Venue

Arlington, Texas, 1 March 2024   It is a large building, isn't it? I speculated last week about how it came to be vacant and available for a large art festival and I really don't have anything (yet!) to add to that. This is the front entrance on 21st Street, even though the official address is 2100 M Street, around the corner. The photo is a five frame panorama, stitched up from pictures I took with my cell phone.

My part of this big event has been hung. I have two thirds of an office, good sized, but not big, in the former offices of The Urban Institute, a think tank that is now located in L'Enfant Plaza, not far from where Julee and I live on The Waterfront. I have a fair bit of wall space, but my big prints take up a lot of territory, so it's a very tightly curated small number of photos. The event opens on 8 March and runs through 28 April, and I certainly invite everyone to come! There's going to be a lot of art on display, seven to eight hundred artists by one speculation, but come to my room on the fourth floor, 4081, first.

Today we're in Texas, visiting relatives before heading down to Austin where Julee is attending SXSW EDU, an educational conference on the margins of the big South by Southwest media festival. I don't know what photographic opportunities this might bring, but of course I always travel with my cameras.

Artomatic Announcement

Washington DC, 23 February 2023   I'm going to take part in a big art event! Artomatic is a bit of a Washington DC tradition, originally organized in 1999 and held annually until Covid overtook all sorts of public happeings. It's up a running again this year, and I grabbed the opportunity to hang some of my bigger photos where I and others can see them on the wall. One will be Reaching Tree, above, in the flyer. I'll have three others, including one of the very big prints, nearly five feet wide, that I no longer have room to hang myself no longer having diplomatic housing nor an embassy section chief's office.

Artomatic takes over unused spaces for its events. In this case, it's an unoccupied seven story office building on the corner of M Street and 21st Street Northwest, a very central and fancy location in the Nation's Capital. I'm not sure of the exact history of why this very nice building is empty and partially gutted, but internal evidence indicates to me that it was the result of those two years of working from home during the Pandemic. Beloved Spousal Unit Julee's organization actually sold a large building in a equally cool location and is now running their Washington operations from a much smaller footprint of swing space nearby. In all events it's a lot of space, but I think they're going to fill it up.

It's a non-juried event, which is to say the organizers don't act as gatekeepers to keep out the artists who don't rise to the level of their taste. Anyone can reserve a part of a room and curate their own show, so being part of it isn't by itself an arrival for an artist. That said, when I was there a couple of days ago, a lot of what I saw going up was very good indeed. Artomatic will run for seven weeks, and I think an afternoon or an evening there would be a great use of time.

And while there, check up my work on the 4th floor...

The Seen Unseen

Washington DC, 16 February 2024   So... I had a pocket camera converted to infrared. That is still a work in progress, but I did manage to do a little testing with it a couple of weeks ago, and while I was walking along this Washington Waterfront looking at the screen on the camera I saw these splashes of light on the paving blocks, splashes of light reflected off of the glass of a nearby building that I could not see with my eyes. Infrared can be trippy! Though admittedly this sort of thing doesn't happen that often. But, many years ago, when I was first starting in infrared I very inadvertantly caught the image of an invisible infrared rainbow. Also trippy!

Infrared Photo of Stark Iron Fence and Shadows.

Brooklyn, 9 February 2023   I haven't titled it yet because I think I may wait for another very sunny day, and go back a little later in the afternoon and see if I can capture an image without the bulbous shadow of the street light. That might make it better — or might not, but in any case the winner will get the title. I also have some color images from this little shoot, and I suspect (and will confirm!) that it may look very much like this infrared version, because there is very little color in the picture. A little bit of red/brown in the leaves stuck along the edge of the fence. If color gives the best image I'll still desaturate it for the biggest graphical punch.

There's a little story behind this one. When I was in Italy with Julee last October I found myself wishing I didn't feel the compulsion to carry the big heavy cameras when we went out into the rain. I don't do a lot of photography in gloppy conditions since my style works best in sharp sunlight, especially when shooting infrared, but in passing through a location I won't revisit soon, or perhaps ever again, I can't bring myself to foreclose the possibility that there might be something not to be missed. My iPhone makes a fine color backup, but something else is needed for infrared. So I bought a Canon S100 on eBay, a fine pocketable point and shoot camera ten or twelve years old, and a close match for the twelve or fouteen year old S95s I already own, and sent it off to LifePixel for conversion. It took a call to the LifePixel tech to figure out the custom white balance needed for infrared, but the day before yesterday I took it on my afternoon constitutional, and it failed on me. The final press of the button to take the picture won't work. The world wide web hive mind tells me that this is a known problem with this model. The fix involves some special solvent oil marketed to sound engineers for use on mixing boards. Some disassembly required! When my can of oil arrives and I have a couple of hours for some nervy and precise work I will give the repair a try. This was one of the pictures I missed because of the failure, and I went back the next day in simularly bright late afternoon sunlight with the big cameras and brought the sucker home.

Infrared Photo of Milan's Piazza del Duomo (Cathedreal Square) with the Wedding Cake Cathedral in the Background.
Peak Milan Tourism

Washington DC, 2 February 2024   Reaching back a bit for today's photo. This was taken back in October, when Julee and I were in Italy, when we were flocking to the Piazza Del Duomo, or Catherdral Square, in Milan like thousands of other tourists. I don't know what you'd have to do to get an uncluttered photo of this iconic space in this day and age. October shouldn't be high season, but there wasn't a time of day or night when the square wasn't crowded. Fortunately, the tourists add their own interest to the scene. I find it charming that tourists come from everywhere now, and I do like the couple on the left with their selfie stick!

Infrared, and an eight frame stitched panorama... You can tell it's a wide panorama because the straight lines of the paving blocks are curved.

Winter Infrared Panorama of New England Sky Framed by Black Trees.
Ground Fog

Washington DC, 24 January 2024   A six frame infrared panorama cpatured on the drive home to Gloucester from the beloved inlaws' home in New Hampshire on the day after Christmas last year. Western Massachusetts...

It took a while to post this picture, because I was trying to make it better. The thought was that it would be improved if the foreground was a little lighter, a little more readable. But a lighter foreground reduces the snap of the contrasty sky. If I make a physical print of this I'll consult with my master printer in Hong Kong and see if there is any there there, but for the moment I'll be content with this pixels versions.

Infrared Photo of Standing Water with Tree Reflections.
Parkway Puddle Panorama

Goucester, Massachusetts, 19 January 2024   There's been a lot going on, so I missed my blog post last week, and I really don't want to miss another, though there is still a lot going on! Major kitchen renovation, and that corner of the building is gutted to and beyond the studs, with implications throughout the house. Chaos! Well not really, but it does seems very disordered, and it's been a huge amount of work, even for those of us who haven't been actively demolishing and rebuilding.

The photo is something I captured in Connecticutt by a rest stop on the Merritt Parkway when we were driving up a week ago. It's infrared, a five frame stitched panorama. Needed wide, and didn't bring the wide lens with my on this trip, but probably wouldn't have used it anyway, since stitching is so easy and normal for me.

Semi-Abstract Blackand White Photo of Water with Sticks, Leaves, and Reflections of Bare Winter Trees.
Ravenswood Reflecting Swamp

Washington DC, 5 January 2024   Another in a series... Water, with the water itself and imbedded elements, overlaid by the reflections of the surrounding landscape. Taken just over a week ago in Gloucester's Ravenswood Park nature reserve. Ravenswood contains a delightfully swampy little tract, whence this photo. Technically it's very similar to last week's photo, taken just over a month previously. Both captured with my iPhone, and rendered to black and white. This one is amazingly crisp. The image looks very sharp, even full size on the giant graphic arts monitor. The tech gets better and better... Of course, this image is much reduced in definition, for ease of posting on the web and to deter pirate printing of my images.

I was going to post a brooding panoramic image of winter skies, but that image still needs some work. Twiddly selective lightening of raw images prior to converting them to tifs, and then stitching them up into the wide image. Maybe next week?

Black and White Photo of Trees Reflected in Water.
Swanzey Puddle

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 29 December 2023   Another, more modest, study in the depths and reflections of water, taken a few steps from the driveway of Julee's parents' house at Thanksgiving last month. This one is a black and white image developed (which has a different meaning for me now that I'm a digital photographer) from the color image taken with my iPhone. It's a relatively simple and low key photograph, but I really like it.

Infrared Photo of Trees Reflected in Stream.
Inverse Redwoods

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 22 December 2023   Not quite a week in Santa Cruz, and I didn't do a lot of photography, but I did do some. I've been working on this image, taken from the bridge over the actual Boulder Creek at the north end of downtown Boulder Creek for a very long time. I first saw and photographed the redwood trees reflacted in the water of the creek some years ago. The first attempt was interesting, but hardly definitive, and I've back every time I visit trying to fully realize my vision. This may be it, but I may go back again next time!

It's straight infrared. There's no sense of the depth or light in the visible light versions I've made this time or times before. I may have to think about that... I'm also wondering if the first look on this latent image was the trigger for my fascination with the depth and reflections in water.

I worked in Boulder Creek for a few months in the late '80s, and I'd always thought the was a little bigger, the anchor metropolis at the top of the San Lorenze Valley, but it's really quite small. I walked up one side of the main street and down the other in less than ten minutes. Of course, like all the towns in the San Lorenzo Valley it bleeds into a much larger area of houses tucked into the redwoods covering the higher areas off Highway 9, but these towns are still very small.

Infrared Photo of Walkway, Fence, Ocean, and Sky.
West Cliff Drive

Santa Cruz, California, 15 December 2023   This is Santa Cruz today, or, actually, yesterday. I'm visiting on a sort of unofficial Home Leave, even though this is no longer my home, visiting with my dear friends, and checking out the familiar landmarks, noting what remains, what is gone, what has changed, so that I'm not dealing with the deep sense of dislocation I would get if I spent many years away and had to deal with the changes of decades all at once. It's still very much the town I left to join the Foreign Service in 1989, but of course not absolutely that long ago place. But I'm really here for my friends, who are lovely, and, like me, 34 years older than they were 34 years ago.

This is an infrared photo of the clifftop drive on the west side of town, looking past the edge of the cliff over Monterey Bay to the Monterey Penisula on the south side of the bay.

Black and White Traditional Photo of Evocotive Urban Street and Evening Sky.
Moody Santa Cruz Evening

Washington DC, 8 December 2023   Another traditional photo from my twenties, in this case a little evening cityscape shot from the Soquel Avenue Bridge looking towards Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz' main street. This neighborhood is much changed, partly because it was badly damaged by the Loma Prieta Earthquake a few years later in 1989, and partly because urban style has changed. Still love Santa Cruz, and will be visiting next week to see my friends from this part of my life.

This print is cropped to the 4 to 5 aspect ratio of 8x10 photo paper. I don't remember why I did that. In those days I generally stuck pretty closely to the thought that one composed in the camera, and cropped rarely, if at all. Some photographers filed out their negative carriers so that the black margin of the negative image showed on the print, proving (or "proving" as it could be faked) that they were printing the full image from the camera. By this part of my photographic career the enlarger companies made 35mm negative cariers that showed the full image, no filing needed, and I had one, but I printed right to the edge of the image on the negative, not past it. My normal paper easels (the devices that held photo paper flat under the enlarger head) were the same shape as the full 35mm frame, with an aspect ratio of 2 to 3 and a wider margin top and bottom, like the photo below. But, I would crop if the composition called for it, and perhaps that's what happened here.

Black & White Film Photo of Sprawling Young Man Sharing a Cigarette.

In Transit, 1 December 2023   I keep my negatives and vintage prints in Gloucester. It's a large body of work, and there's much in it that I'm very proud of. (And of course, much that is trite or no more than personal documents, but that's true of most any body of work!) This photo comes from my second wind as a photographer. My first wind was the work I did as a teenager, mostly using a motley, but very good, stable of borrowed cameras. That never really tailed off, but was supercharged the second or third year I was a student at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Looking back, I'm not even sure how or why.

I fell in with the photographic subset of the aristic sorts at UCSC. I think it was through a housemate of mine, who got interested, took a course with the wonderful Norman Locks, and introduced me to the group. I used the cash wedding present from my parents to choose and buy the first camera I chose for myself, rather than one that was borrowed or given to me, and allied myself with one of the esthetics of the time, images captured on the fly, 35mm Tri-X black and white film from Kodak, Brovira cold toned photo paper from Agfa, sometimes warmed a bit with selenium toner. And there I stayed for a happy decade or so, organizing my life around the art. (My third wind came much later, in Vietnam, but that's another story for another post.)

These two are part of the in photo group. I had great respect for their work and learned all I could from them. I felt myself their peer (or at least catching up quickly) in the art of photography but was a bit intimidated by them as people. They were so tough and self assured! The further one, seated on the arm of the chair, had hopped freights and ridden the rails all the way across the country, like a Depression era hobo. Whoa! I wasn't that tough, nor that imaginative. (I'm much tougher now, and more imaginative, even in my later sixties, but also much wiser!)

I definitely see the roots of my present photography in many of the photos I took then, but this one is a little different. I don't take nearly as many serious photos of people as I used to. Partly I've a lifetime of my family making excuses for me ("Oh, don't mind Laurence, he's always taking pictures of everyone!"...) but mostly the ethics of using people's images have changed. We didn't ask, unless we were working indoors (legally one is fair game if one is in public) and we never asked each other because we were all always taking pictures of each other or using each other as models. That may have been assumed to be okay in the '80s, but it's definitely problematic today. With the exception of the nudes I'm not going to bury my photos of the time, but I don't now work with quite that abandon.

This image is scanned from the large (8X10 inch) proof print I made at the time. I'd been thinking of it recently, and ran across it while looking for something else, and was happy I could throw it on the flatbed scanner and get it digitalized. Might there be some more detail in the shadows? Maybe... At some point I'll track down the negative, make the best scan I can off of that with the film scanner, and see how much better I might be able to make it. But it's not at all bad as is, and it's a pretty good representation of a lovely moment of intimacy between a couple of close friends.

Infrared Photo of Hawartheopsis Succulent From Above.
Spiky Alien Plant Portrait

West Swanzey, New Hampshire, 26 November 2023   This little plant has been very good to me. How many times have I posted pictures of it on this blog? (Five, including this time.) In infrared and bright sunlight and shadow it's very photogenic, isn't it?

Fittingly for Thanksgiving week in America, I'm with family, Julee's parents and sister, and her sister's husband.

Infrared Phot0 of Cacti.

Washington DC, 17 November 2023   An Arizono photo from my trip last year. Unlike the most recent trip I took a lot of serious pictures. This is an infrared portrait of a delightful clump of cacti in the Desert Botoanical Garden.

Heroic Tourism

Washington DC, 10 November 2023   A random visitor to the Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace in Florence last month. I don't know the model, but I couldn't resist... Infrared, but otherwise a very straight photo!

We're back from Arizona. I feel like we've buried my sister. Not literally... For one thing, my family cremates. But, emotionally, that's how it feels to me. The initial round of business has been done, and we've had a very nice, albeit very small, event for the immediate family. There's a lot still to do, of course, but that would be true even if we'd had a trip to a cemetery. It's a very strange time for me. There's a lot of grief, of course, but also big periods when I just feel extremely odd, and as if there is something big is missing, which is appropriate, because something (someone!) is missing, and will always be missing going forward. I'll adjust, but haven't yet.

This was the first time I've been to Arizona, and didn't need my big cameras to do serious photography. I took them, but used them very little, mostly for record shots.

Infrared Photo of Glasses, Hand, Bowl, and Cellphone.
Morning Reading

Phoenix, Arizona, 3 November 2023   Reaching back a bit today, to Julee's and my last day in Canada in July just before we drove out of New Brunswick and into Maine.

We're in Phoenix today because my sister had a respiratory crisis a couple of days ago and died in the ICU on Wednesday afternoon. Her son and I have a lot to do, and everyone is in mourning.

Panoramic Photo of the Arno in Florence with Bridges, Buildings, and Beautiful Sky and Water.
The Arno From the Ponte Vecchio

In Transit, 27 October 2023   I'm being a little cadgey about where I actually am when I'm travelling, a habit from many years in the world of diplomats, spies, and potential malefactors... But, we're no longer in Italy and Julee and I have had a truly wonderful visit, spent really quality time with dear friends from my last years in the State Department and from my high school years in Mexico City so long ago. And quality time with the magnificent art and architecture of the Renaissance, and a lot of delicious food... And of course many, many photos. I'm okay if some or many are souvenirs and post card shots, but I try to make every one as good as possible. The shot above is a three frame stitched panorama. This was a lucky day for weather and the sky. A couple of days later it rained deluges on us and we got quite wet, in spite of buying an umbrella from a sudden hawker for five Euro. One takes advantage of the light and the sky when they're good!

Infrared Photo of Tourists in Front of Milan's Duomo.
At Milan's Duomo

Milan, Italy, 20 October 2023   On the road again, and not, this time, for a family emergency. Julee and I have planned this trip forever, very specifically because we have dear friends in Milan, and they have been so kind as to put us up in their downtown apartment. I've captured hundreds of frames in both color and infrared, and three of the infrared frames make up this vertical stitched panorama. (As always, easier for me to stitch than to carry and swap out a wide lens on the fly.) This is the wild gothic-but-not-gothic pastry of Milan Cathedral, or Duomo, in Italian. Lots of tourism, lots of photography, some time for post processing, only a little time to write it all up, though I have a lot to say. Maybe by next week...

Photo of Red Sunset Behnd Power Lines.
Urban Sunset

Washington DC, 13 October 2023   The Phoenix that overlays The Great Sonoran Desert. A different kind of place. Big skies, even in the city! I took this with my cell phone. It's a three frame panorama of the sunset looking along Dunlap Street in the Sunnyside neighborhood, close to where my family lives.

My sister had her shoulder replacement surgery on Wednesday, and it seems to have gone well...

Scorpion by Kallan Kent Morrow

Phoenix, Arizona, 6 October 2023   My nephew and his family live in the Sonoran Desert. Mind, their corner of the Sonoran Desert is thoroughly overlaid by the American city of Phoenix, but it's the Sonoran Desert for all that, and one of the things that comes with the Sonoran Desert is scorpions. Since Kallan has children and pets he goes out into his back yard at night on a regular basis and hunts scorpions, for safety. It's surprisingly easy, because, it turns out, scorpions are extremely fluorescent, so easily findable with an ultraviolet flashlight. Yes, such things exist and are amazingly cheap. He shot this picture of a doomed arachnid with his cell phone when he was out on a hunt a few evenings ago.

I'm happy to report that my sister is better. Shoulder surgery schedule for next week...

Infrared Photographic Panorama of Backlit Desert Hill and Suburban Street.
Phoenix Sunrise

Phoenix, Arizona, 29 September 2023   Change of scenery: I'm still in Phoenix while the medical issues resolve. Fortunately, there are photos to be had, even if the moments have to be stolen from the back and forth of caring for my sister and supporting her family. Here's a five frame infrared panorama of the pending sunrise over the Phoenix Mountain Reserve from the street in front of the family home where I'm staying, taken the day before yesterday, pre-dawn as I was getting ready to find breakfast and visit my sister.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of Pleasure Boat Anchorage.
Lobster Cove

Phoenix, Arizona, 22 September 2023   The third of the panoramas from the wonderful day of photography on 2 September. This is from the deck of the wonderful Talise Restaurant on Lobster Cove, looking towards the mouth of the Annisquam River between the Island of Cape Ann and Wingaersheek Beach on the mainland. It's a seven frame infrared panorama.

Sudden trip to the Southwest to help take care of my big sister, who's had a fall. I'm not sure I'll be doing any photography on this trip, though (of course!) I brought my cameras.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of a River Bend, with Boats in the Water and Marinas to Left and Right.
Essex River

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 15 September 2023   It was a great day for photography! In the morning, breakfast at Talise in Annisquam and a panorama of the anchoring field in Lobster Cove. Then, in the middle of the day at the Methodist summer camp, which gave me another set of panoramas, including the one I posted lasted week. And, in the evening, we went to Woodman's in Essex. (It was my father-in-law's birthday so there was a lot of eating out!) Woodman's always has line for dinner during the season, and while we were waiting I slipped across Main Street and captured this image. Happy time!

There's still a bit of big wooden boat building in Essex. The pinkie schooner Ardelle was built within sight of where I was standing when taking the seven frames that make up this infrared panorama. I had somehow gotten the idea that the USS Essex, one of the first six frigates of the U.S. Navy was built in Essex, and was intemperate enough to say that to a local a few weeks ago. But I was wrong. The Essex was built in Salem, not far away, but not here. Mind, Essex County incudes the whole northeast corner of Massachusetts, including Salem, Gloucester, and the Town of Essex, and it turns out the ship was named for the larger unit, being built with money raised by subscription in Salem and Essex County.

Infrared Panorama of Small Rustic Houses and Streets in a Forest.

Washington DC, 8 September 2023   A quiet afternoon at a Methodist summer camp in the North Shore of Massachusetts, taken just over a week ago. Julee's family has been associated with this place for four generations, and it's special to her, and, quite frankly, it's just plain special, even if one is not Methodist. All the people who were here as adults when she was little are her aunts and uncles, regardless of the lack of blood ties. While the people in her generation don't refer to each other as cousins that's their emotional meaning to each other.

An infrared panorama, stitched from six individual photos from my converted Canon R.

Very Wide Infrared Panorama of Beach, Outer Habor, and Breakwater.
Low Tide at Stacy Boulevard

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1 September 2023   Sudden Art! This morning Julee invited me on a morning walk before she started work, so I grabbed my camera bag and we droved down to Stacy Boulevard on the waterfront of Gloucester's Outer Harbor. Here's one result of the stroll! I'm feeling a bit professional, in that I captured these images at 7:00am and here at 10:00am they've been downloaded, processed, stitched, and I'm in the middle of posting the resulting image. Fast work, that would beat the deadline for a newspaper. This one is singular because the tide is so low. The effects of Hurricane Idalia? I have seen such before, twenty five years ago when a hurricane swept twenty feet of water out of the Potomac.

Infrared, of course, and a five frame stitched panorama. Given my recent picture of Yarmouth Sound (below!) I have to admit I seem to be building a portfolio of infrared panoramas of harbor approaches with single boats in the middle...

Striking Wrap Around Teeth X-Ray.
Portrait of Laurence Kent Jones by Anonymous

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 25 August 2023   It's a pretty striking image, isn't it? Found Art, for sure, as it's a diagnostic X-ray of my mouth taken as part of a routine periodic dental exam. But I find interesting because it is striking and beautiful, albeit in a rather disturbing way. (Hey, not all art is easy!) I also found it interesting because it's an inside out panorama, taken with a specialised low dose x-ray device. You can see my spine twice, at each edge of the picture, from different sides! As anyone can tell from this site I'm very big on panoramic photography, and find this use of it and the inversion fascinating.

X-rays as Art have a long, but thin, history. I have a wonderful book, Dr. Dain L. Tasker that collects a whole series of beautiful x-ray images of flowers and plants taken by a pioneer radiologist. You can see some of his work here. It's really lovely. Two notes: First, he didn't have to worry about overdosing his subject with radiation. Second, interestingly, he disavowed extreme skill with the x-rays, saying that what was required for making such images was abiding patience and a knowledge of flowers and their habits. I've worked in stereo (3D) photography at different times, and I have for years been fascinated with the possibility of a stereo x-ray portrait of a person, which I mentioned to my dentist as I was talking about this image. I'm not sure he was all that taken with the concept, but he was polite... This morning I got curious and asked Larry and Sergey (founders of Google) about it. Turns out it is a thing, though not a big thing, both because it's hard to do (x-ray imaging doesn't involve cameras, so you can't make the stereo pairs by moving or doubling up on the camera setup), and, secondly, it's problematic dosing someone with radiation for art. Or even Art... It is done using weird and arcane techniques, for diagnostic purposes. I'm glad I'm not the only person to have thought of it.

I offered the dental paramedic photo credit for this post, but they refused it, partly, perhaps, because they had trouble thinking of the image as art, and partly, perhaps, because they didn't want to go public even in this low key way. But they did give me permission to publish!

Infrared B&W Photo of Rock Sunk in Sandy Beach.
Point Forchu Beach and Rock

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 18 August 2023   I had a good afternoon on Cape Forchu between the views of the Sound, the tidal pools, and the beaches. This one is one of the beach shots.

I really like working with sand. It's so granular... The photo is infrared and I bumped up the contrast a lot to give it graphic interest.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of Narrow Harbor Channel.
Yarmouth Sound

Swanzey, New Hampshire, 11 August 2023   A panorama from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, taken on our recent trip to the province. I really like the little fishing boat coming out of the fog bank. We'd landed from the car ferry from Bar Harbor, Maine, the day before, ghosting through this very channel, the Yarmouth Sound, on our way to the harbor. It had been foggy then too. (Yarmouthians we talked to said it's recently been much foggier than usual, with the fog lasting all day.) I took this four frame infrared panorama with my back to the Cape Forchu lighthouse.

Photo of Newari Buildings, Flock of Flying Pigeons.
Patan Durbar Square, Last Day

Photo of a Narrow, Brick Lined Street, with Striding Man.
Washington DC, 4 August 2023   Recently, for random reasons, I needed to know when I moved to Washington DC. Five years ago? Four? (It turns out to be right about in the middle.) I name and file my photos by date, so when I need a date it's generally easiest to scroll through the pictures and pick it up that way. The arrival in DC is, of course, very shortly after the departure from Kathmandu. These photos were taken on a short walk from our apartment near Patan Durbar square as we were in the final moments before the cab arrived to take us to the airport. The big temple to the right of center is the Vishwanath, sacred to Shiva. The building to the left of center isn't a temple at all, but a part of the public space. It's a raised and covered platform where people can sit. I never sat there because I'm a stiff westerner who has trouble sitting on the floor, but I really appreciate the spirit of it! We lived only a couple of blocks from this point, and I took the photo to the left walking back to our apartment at Ombahal Chowk. Not a bad closing image to an important part of our life.

Photo of Curtains and Shadows .
Curtains, St John

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 30 July 2023   Just back from a long swing around the southern half of Nova Scotia, starting from a drive off the Bar Harbor Maine ferry in Yarmouth, driving up to Halifax, then across to the neck that attaches almost-an-island Nova Scotia to the mainland, and down along the coast of the Province of New Brunsick and State of Maine. A charming road trip, hung on research into my mother's history. She was born in Halifax in 1917, departed for the U.S. under what have turned out to be unclear circumstances a little less than a year later. She left a raft of related and unrelated mysteries behind her when she died at 78 (young, but she smoked like a chimney) in 1996. I now have a much clearer image of her family history, but the mysteries themselves remain firmly in place.

The photo is the window of our lodging in St John, New Brunswick, our last overnight in Canada on our way south. I've made a lot of images of windows and light and shadow over the years, but I like windows and light and shadow and can also credibly claim that no two windows are exactly alike, and that even the same window changes with the light and the lack thereof.

Infrared Panoramic Photo of Seamarsh and Higher Ground.
Rust Island Wetland

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 21 July 2023   A shot of one of the marshy branchs of the Annisquam River, a four frame infrared panorama, taken from a favorite place on the Gloucester mainland.

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

In Transit, 14 July 2023   My apologies for running the picture from 12 May again. But it's not really the same picture... When I had the earlier version displayed on the big graphics art monitor some time ago I noticed the horizon wasn't level. Off by very little, maybe half a dozen pixels or a bit more, but enough to notice at big sizes. This is a print that I want to print large and have a product that I could conceivably sell, and such a thing needs to be as perfect as possible. I figured the best quality would come from starting over, restitching the 5 frames and adjusting the horizon to straight and level at that stage. But then I have the very fiddly and unfamiliar work of lightening the Capital to stand out from the background all over again. Sigh! I wasn't sure that I remembered much of the technique, and certainly remembered how hard it had been to figure it out and get it to work properly. So I dithered, easy to do as I had a lot else on my mind. Last night I pointedly ignored all that, and set to work. I did have to relearn but it was a lot easier the second time around, and I did half the work last night and rest this morning, and it wasn't even that stressful. I just looked into ordering a proof print from Printique...

Late Afternoon Sky over a New England Bay.
Glosta Squall

Washington DC, 7 July 2023   A postcard shot, but I respect postcard photography. Photographic postcards predated the wide use of color film, but when I think of postcards I think of the racks of bright, happy, Kodachrome or Ektachrome images for sale in stores all over America and much of the world mid 20th Century. This one is a little muted, but captures the moment a couple of weeks ago for me. It's the outer harbor in Gloucester looking south over Massachussets Bay. Downtown Boston is behind the little squall in the middle. On a clear day one could (just) see the tall buildings on the horizon.