The Dirty Dozen

Tempest teacup crop

2014 to 2014. RIP little buddy…

Have I mentioned lately that I was infected with the photography bug a few years ago – and that as a result, I suffer from an obsessive desire to point various lenses at strange, twisted, ordinary or really beautiful things?  That this illness additionally manifests as an almost manic need to show these images to everyone who can stand a chance-encounter with my blog or my Facebook page?

There.  Photography is a disease.  Does that make my camera a drug?

Last year, after the frenzy of Christmas had died away to the cold doldrums of January in Wisconsin, I started browsing the web to alleviate the boredom.  The trouble started when I found my browser looking at cameras.

When all else fails…blame the computer!

Big cameras…complete with big price tags.  Cameras with them scary interchangeable lens systems and multiple menus and complex books for how to operate them.  In February, I dragged my credit card out of my wallet, and made it (well, the company who issued it, really) rather happy by using it to adopt a Canon Rebel.  Since then, I’ve had a lot of fun pointing it at the aforementioned strange things.

Now…here comes the hard part.  Going back through the files in my computer, I’ve chosen the “Dirty Dozen” – my 12 favorites, shot with the new camera.  These are the ones that I Ooooooh’d and Ahhhhh’d over when I saw what I’d captured in the small view screen, and continued to get all Oooey-gooey over when they came out of the camera and onto my computer screen…

Of all these shots – only one was manipulated beyond simple straightening or cropping in ‘shop…and even that one was merely a simple change of background.  No colors, pixels, or lighting adjustments were made to any of the Dirty Dozen.

Do you know how HARD it was to pick only 12????

The first one is obvious – I see it every time I take a look at the T&T.  This is the shot that started the blog…got me back into writing…and eventuA Tempest and a Teapot copyally, introduced me to all of you.  This is the only picture in the group where I did major adjustments in ‘shop – I took the teapot on the rocks, clipped it from its original background, and dropped it in front of the waves.  Both teapot and wave images were by my hand, taken on the same day, at the same location – which is why they fit well together – I didn’t have to balance lighting values.

AIMG_0633This next one was the inaugural launch of the Canon – the SQO and band-mates had a show in Mid-March – their first live event in over a year.  the Canon was primed and ready to catch fantastic images!

This is actually a shot taken when the headliner band was on stage – a group called the Black Moods based in Tempe, AZ.  They actually toured all the way up here – in the uncertainty of Spring in Wisconsin (yea, I was impressed) to introduce themselves to the world.  This is actually a shot of the lead singer’s hair, as he flipped it around behind the mic.

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Let’s go a bit further in the year – June.  June 13th, to be exact.  Friday, June 13th.  We had a full moon due to come up that night, and those who follow the heavenly bodies declared that this would be a yellow, honey-colored globe rising.  Thus…the Honey Moon.
I celebrated this celestial event by heading to the same beach where the T&T shot was taken – this time at night.  While I was waiting for the moon to make her appearance, I squeezed off this fantastic reflective shot of the Electric Company plant.

A Dave holding the moonAnd when the moon finally rose?  I had the SQO capture the whole thing in his hand.

Sadly, this was the end of the little teacup featured quite heavily in the early days of the T&T on Google –  Friday the 13th reared its ugly head, and caused the teacup to shatter on the cement walkway.

A bird Feeder Close

Skipping forward another month – we have a family thing every year in July up at my Dad’s place on Lake Reinhart.  I did get coerced into taking some of the stilted, stiff, wooden family groupings (which weren’t even considered for the Dirty Dozen) I detest, but then I got to aim the lens at nature and the landscaping.  Three of this day’s shooting made the list.  This one is a favorite bokeh shot.

A pump and Drops FramedDad built his own ornamental pond in his yard, and decked it out with a small bridge, fountains, and ancient, rusty outdoorsy things.  I’ve always had an obsession with water and reflective surfaces, but in this shot, I didn’t focus on the water in the pool, instead concentrating on the spray of fluid jetting up from the fountain.

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The last shot from the reunion at the lake was my oldest son.  He used to skateboard until an unfortunate spill from his board resulted in breaking his ankle in 3 places.  While I had hoped he would find a nice, safe hobby to replace throwing himself high in the air, allowing gravity to drag him back -hard- to the ground, he took up spinning bundles of Kevlar, soaked in kerosene and set on fire, around his body as he danced.  Seeing though this wasn’t enough to give me a mild heart attack, he attempted again to halt my bodily functions by actually spitting flames.

At one point in the day, he discussed how his hobby was not as hazardous as skating.  The reply?  “Dude…you’re breathing fire!”

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And speaking of fire – in September, the kid’s fire tribe held their last meet of the year.  Because I had shared the fire shot from the lake widely on Facebook, I was invited to point the camera at their group as they played with flame.  Out of that series, this one, and the one below, made the ‘Dozen.’

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After this shoot, I realized one major thing.  The shots taken earlier in the evening were great – as the night wore on, shots were less likely to be sharp – the reason?  Fatigue.  The arms start to get tired holding the camera up, and start to shake.  When taking shots in a dark location – any shaking is transmitted to the image.  Off I went to the ‘net in search of a new rig – the shoulder harness.  I can’t wait until the spinners do their thing again, as I’ll be ready to be steady throughout the night.

IMG_3287October rolled around, fading the greens of summer to the autumn palette of tans, reds, browns, and yellows.  I took one final stroll down the Waukesha Riverwalk and up Main Street to catch the Autumn feeling.

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And, finally, November.  The Feastaval.  I have to include this one in the ‘Dozen,’ because I absolutely love the shadow which appeared in the light of the staff…it’s sharp and crisp and painfully in focus.  The staff’s path created whirlpools of vibrant color.  a IMG_3442 crop

**Whew**

I’m spent.  Reviewing all the shots I’ve taken over the last year, even narrowing it down to ONLY the Canon shots, and then having to pick the best of the best…let’s just say I won’t be volunteering for any judging anytime soon.

Cleaning off the Memory Card

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Spinning LED Bo-Staff

The Squidnificant Other (SQO for short) …

I’ll fill you in on that story later – it’s long, involved, and defiles 😮 an undisclosed, sandy location.

… got some shirts for Christmas.  Not jtardis shirtust any shirts, mind you.  These were soft cotton blend T-shirts.  What was on those shirts made them special – priceless, even.  Printed on these amazing cotton chest-coverers were a screen print of a Dalak on one and the T.A.R.D.I.S. on the other (Doctor Who fans in the reading audience may begin drooling now…).  The REAL value of these shirts was the story behind them.

These weren’t some mass-produced, off-the-rack, let’s spend 5 minutes and find a gift apparel…these were made to order.  Dave’s friend found a local screen-print artist, floated the artwork ideas, and paid the artist to craft the screens then used to print the art onto the chest of the shirts.

THIS is what happens when one thinks outside the capitalism box and aims to support the local economy.  It was a wonderful present, and I’m happier indeed for knowing this gentleman is a friend of my SQO.

Soooo… we simply GOTTA show these wonderful creations off to the world…GO GRAB THE CAMERA!

And after a couple of quick clicks, the camera gets plugged into the computer, so he can share the T-Shirts with the world according to Facebook.

Holy crap.  I’ve got old stuff on here!

Anyone else have this happen?  You take a short series of shots because the muse points your vision at something you HAVE to take a picture of, you Oooooooh and Ahhhhh at the little view-screen on the back of the camera, and then tuck the camera away, completely forgetting the neat images you’ve caught?

Yea…me too.                                     All.  The.   Time.

I’ve got shots of the moon & cloud formations, taken in the fall, which didn’t turn out so well.  DELETE!

I’ve got shots of the candlelight shadows on the wall.  Looked good on the view-screen, not so much excitement on the computer screen.  DELETE!

I’ve got some random pictures of the cats being cats.  Cute, but I’ve got terabytes of the same.  DELETE!

I’ve got shots of me in my new over-the-shoulder camera rig.  GAWD!  There are 230(ish) reasons I stay BEHIND the camera.

DELETE!DELETE!DELETE!DELETE!DELETE!

a IMG_3447 cropI’ve got shots from the Feastival, which was the day after Thanksgiving…Ooooh.

This wasn’t a short, random shoot, and I remember several moments of pure delight as shots were captured – so I SHOULD have been excited to play with the SOOC images and tweak to perfection.  But the commute to and from was longish, late in the evening, and I had a wicked cold that weekend – so I’m gonna let that be my excuse for not immediately pulling the images from the camera.

That’s my story…and I’m sticking to it!

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Ever have so much fun you go up in a little ‘poof’ of light?

The Feastival is a yearly event hosted by a local band and spinning tribe at the Concord House in Concord, Wisconsin – a tiny little unincorporated town mid-way between Madison and Milwaukee.  The House itself had its humble beginnings as a pole building for turkey farming before being turned into this very rustic dance/reception hall…and the family who run the House have been in the hospitality business for generations – so they KNOW how to host a rocking-good party.

The kids are well-immersed in the spinning/fire tribe that have made this an annual event – and this year convinced me to tag along.  As the weather had gotten cold, and the heater in their car isn’t working too well, the invite was part entreaty (pleeeeeeeeease don’t make us go alone and freeze our butts off all the way to Concord) part bribery (there’s food, music, alcohol, and a chance to point your camera at new things!) and part meet-the-parents (I’d not been introduced to the DIL(2B)’s side of the family yet).

How could I say no?

It was a great time.  I got to meet-the-parents (chilling for parents as well as the younger couples!!!) – availed myself of the array of yumminess spread by all members of the tribe (the Feastival is also a potluck) – and enjoyed the simple community energy generated by this group.

Make no mistake, this is a very grounded group.  They celebrate coming together to come together – not to measure their portfolios or show off their new acquisitions or any of the other stuff that people enmeshed in the throws of capitalism meet for (translation:  no dick-status-measuring here!).  The festival is …folk… centered on people, family, and community.  There’s no better way to describe it.

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Otis Redding Tribute Band

Aside from the blues/R&B band – the floor show put on by the gatherers was spectacular.  This group create art with their bodies and props:  twirling hoops, poi and staff generate patterns in light vs. dark as they flow across the floor.

a IMG_3458 cropBecause this was an indoor event, and it was cold outside – they didn’t light their props on fire, but used much-less flammable LED lights embedded within their gear.

That I got to catch this amazing light-show was an honor.  One I hope to repeat as an annual thing.  Enjoy my shots!

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