Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Cee’s is a blog I stealth-follow.  I look at the pictures, I ooooooh, and ahhhhhh…and see her weekly challenges.  Most of the time I just view, as chainmaille has dominated the creative soup and the cameras sit (patiently) in their cases.

This will be the first time I’ve contributed to her photo-challenge.

Better late than never, eh?

This week, her challenge is glasses, cups and saucers.  Well…the T&T has LOADS of these things..so thanks a ton, Cee – for the opportunity to toss out a blog post featuring some of my favorite shots.

Octopot – by far the quirkiest teapot I’ve ever seen!

A Octopot

 

My chalice – brewing up some potent water under the full moon’s face.

A Chalice forground Moon behind copy

 

Dare you try the wicked brew?  The martini glass here, with the glass etched in my own hand, now exists only in photographs.  It was a victim of fur-covered curiosity combined with gravity.

aIMG_3563 center frame

 

This teacup will also be greatly missed – gravity and concrete took this darling from me.  I still occasionally shed a tear over his grave.

Tempest teacup crop

Tempest…meet Teapot

Camera Destroyer copy

A long time ago, in a undisclosed location not-so-far-away…

Can you hear the Star Wars music?

I had a camera. (said in dramatic, deep, movie-trailer voice)

 

I think I might have mentioned I do photo work.  Ok…I may have said I’ve done a LOT of photo work…and that said photo-work was the key to the name of my blog.

I may have even alluded to my current photographic hobby being an on-again/off-again borderline addiction.

In this case, recovery is unwanted and over-rated. 

Depending on the time of year, season, or my personal level of boredom, photography is either a passion or a curse (sometimes a bit of both).  There are days I can’t wait to pull the thing out and aim it at EVERYTHING – and there are days I don’t want to be bothered to haul around the poundage associated with the body, the lenses, spare gear, tripods, yadda yadda yadda…

The camera really DOES add 10 pounds…of accessories

And then there are days where the muse smacks me upside the head with a fantastic idea – and I’m compelled to create something awesome.

Awesome moment story/tie in with ‘How’d you name the blog, Peg’ in 3…2…1

 

Remember wavy

The ‘Memory Shimmer’

Because I have the courage to date a musician who’s got ‘starving artist’ down to a ‘T’ and I’m one of the ‘official’ photographers of his band, when he decides he wants new publicity shots for the boys of The Beltempest – camera, gear, and I get enlisted into service.

 

Spring before last – the SQO and I took a critical look at the promotional photos on the band’s Facebook page.  They were all old.  Dated.  Comprised of guys who had walked out of the band due to family commitments, relocation, or just plain pissiness.

We needed fresh images.

Keep in mind that when I say ‘fresh,’ I mean photos and image ideas that hadn’t been done to death in promoting small, unknown, progressive/apocalyptic art-rock bands.

No guys lined up against a brick wall.  No guys in stage lighting pounding on the instrument of their choosing.  No guys in leather and sunglasses and black hats looking all tough and beefy and rebellious.

We floated ideas back and forth for imagery that was odd and eye-catching – a lot that got tossed for budgetary, time, silliness or travel reasons.

The idea that stuck?  A day at the beach.

Now, keep in mind that we’re talking about April in Wisconsin.  The beach is NOT the place to be in this particular timeframe, because when the weather man says ‘Cooler by the Lake,’ he REALLY means it.  Now, it wasn’t January cold (where it actually hurts to breathe) but it was chilly enough to break out the sweaters and semi-winter jackets.

If you haven’t already guessed, in Wisconsin, we have ‘levels’ of winter wear, ranging from “It’s finally starting to get cold,” through “it’s not that bad if you keep moving” and finishing with “I think my feet just froze to the sidewalk.”

Oddly enough, we weren’t the only ones on the beach, proving that we’re not the only crazy people in the state, but are amongst a select minority.

707361

Now…here’s my little positive thought for the day:  at least the cooler temperatures meant our fellow slightly-crazy beach goers were warmly clad, and we weren’t assaulted by the random mankini or naturalist taking the ‘all-over tan’ to the extreme.

 

The photo shoot went well, as the water was energetic enough to get some good wave movement, and we could still move in the temperature without freezing to the sand. The boys were keyed up, too, with the excitement of a day at the beach, as we tend to take our little pleasures wherever we can get them!

The sky, however, didn’t cooperate, being bright, clean, and sunny, without so much as a whisper of cloud in it. Really! Nothing visually exciting above the horizon at all!

Good thing I’m a ‘shop addict…

So where does the teapot come in?

Mr. Teapot was pure serendipity – the momentary ‘smack upside the head by the muse’ I referred to earlier which was brought on by a chance encounter with a piece of pottery.

The SQO lives with his Aunt and helps her take care of her home. Once the snows start to melt, stuff starts to get donated as she gets caught in the throes of that yearly purge affectionately called Spring Cleaning.

I, too, experience a quasi-religious ecstasy at the thought of clearing clutter…

One of the things she had set aside to donate to Goodwill was my little white ceramic teapot.

He sat there, on the table, all white and shining and perky amongst the other stuff destined for a quick trip to the resale shop  There may have been an errant sunbeam illuminating his belly to wink at me as the wild idea leapt from…wherever it is that wild ideas leap from…to slap me between the eyeballs.

The Tempest:

The word is contained within the name of the band.  A tempest can also be an agitated body of water, a violent uprising, a strong wind storm, etc.  Well…we were going to the Lakeshore on a semi-windy day – so the odds were good that the water would be agitating nicely.

 ………………………………………………………… And the Teapot:

Right there in all it’s tea-steeping white-glazed glory not 5 feet from me…close enough to the teacup in the popular phrase to be a recognizable play on it.

So I saved the teapot from resale uncertainty and took him for a day at the beach.

If any of the boys thought I had a screw loose as I carefully positioned the teapot on the piled stones and started clicking away, they hid it well…professional courtesy, and all that…

And, while I wasn’t happy with the original background – a brief session with ‘Shop later put a wonderful wave-action shot in its place to tie the two concepts into the perfect photographic representation which became the header of the Tempest & the Teapot.

And the band shot?  One of my favorites:

Tempest Coming copy

Words are becoming easier…

toys at the bar

A Smurf & a Wookie walk into a bar…

I’m looking over my drafts folder – and am a bit shocked at the number of posts I’ve got the writing done for, but have no muse-pushing (or will to create) photos to go with them.  It’s ironic if you’ve read the T&T over on the Google site.

One of the early posts I put out was ‘Pictures are easy, Words are Hard.”  At the time of that posting, I had images pouring out of my mind, while the words were more illusive.

And now – less than a year later?  Complete reversal.  I’ve got fiction pouring out, a lot of typing going on – but no push for photography or visual arts of any kind.

It’s been at least 2 weeks since I opened the ‘shop application on my computer. 😮

My DSLR case is gathering a fine coating of shed cat hair.  😮

I don’t know how much battery life is left on the little point & shoot that still resides in my purse for photographic emergencies.  😮

There have BEEN no photographic emergencies…

But the words?  Sheesh – they’re EVERYWHERE.  You can tell on this blog, if nowhere else.  Flash fiction is running me these days – along with the numerous voices all clamoring in my subconscious demanding I write THEIR story next.

My muse resembles Rich Little –

1001 voices all directing my fingers at the keyboard.

Yea…I know what this means.  I’ve spent the last 29+… (none of your business how many pluses…) years evaluating my subconscious against my creative impulses.  I know my cycles, and when I move back toward the written word, it means turbulence is brewing – either personally or professionally.  It also means that I’m once again trying to bull my way through things in a mad attempt to think my way out of whatever niggling issue with as little collateral damage as possible.

At this point, any damage is contained within.

The breaking point is usually involves crafting REALLY bad poetry – so I’m not there yet.

Drunk yodaSome people drink to alleviate the pain caused by life…some people garden.  Still others indulge in research chemicals, insane physical challenges, or crazy spending-sprees.  I indulge in words, fiction, and chutzpah.

I do have an inkling of what the hind-brain is saying, but I’m not quite ready to admit to myself or the blog-o-sphere what that is yet.

Morning Cup of coffee copy

But don’t worry – It’s rare to have a full implosion…as long as there’s coffee.

Chicago has a New Problem

chicago-sears-tower-night-sauronI.  Hate.  Driving.  In.  Chicago.

Just needed to put that up front.  Because I’m just north of the Windy City – everyone I know occasionally goes down to Chicago for a weekend of partying, fine dining, touring, shows, etc.  It’s common knowledge ’round these parts that Chicago is quick to get to, and offers a lot more diversity and entertainment than Milwaukee.

We just don’t like to admit it…

Driving in Chicago, unfortunately, is neither diverse nor entertaining.  It’s closer to running the bulls in Spain – blindfolded, naked, and with both your kneecaps shot out.  I could write an entire post of things better than driving in Chicago, but it would take me the better part of a year…so I’ll behave myself.

You’re welcome…

The last time I girded my loins for the battle that is traffic on the Kennedy – I prepared myself with a quick run to Best Buy for a GPS.  I firmly believe he’s the only reason I managed to see Chicago from my rear-view mirror on my way to Ohio for a weekend of Wisconsin solidarity with a long-time friend.

My little plastic savior!  Long may you tell me where to go!

Naturally, the kids were up for a long road trip, so I didn’t have to do all that driving alone.  When we were coming back home after this weekend of alcohol and hugs and alcohol and tears and alcohol and music and, did I mention alcohol?  – we once again found ourselves in enemy territory with Chicago surrounding us on all sides.   From the backseat came the most delicious suggestion from my oldest son:

“Wouldn’t it be funny if someone ‘shopped Sauron’s eye in between the uprights on the Sears Tower?”

He may not have meant it as a command – but how could I resist?

What in the Ach, Eee, Double-Hockey-Sticks is THAT?

Alpha Pattern comic

Go ahead – stare.  I won’t mind.  In fact, I appreciate that this little piece of artwork demands a good, hard, long look.

Innuendo intentional… 😛

This is a bizarre piece fresh off the ‘shop edit board.  I’m rather happy with the way this one turned out, as there’s a lot of smaller, random images contained within the bigger, more structured pattern.  Feel free to start picking your own, smaller images out of the carefully controlled chaos.  Go back to being a kid, seeing dinosaurs or dragons or puppies in those big, puffy clouds in the sky…but this time, with more colors.

It started as a rather simple pattern that I had buzzing around in my head…Alpha Single

Yup…I will most certainly admit to finding this pattern in a season of Dexter, which we are streaming through Netflix, as the kids haven’t seen it before.  In the show, it’s put on a much more gruesome canvas than my electrons crossing the ‘net.  Mine?  Less menace, and much prettier!

Improving the quality of our television is just one more service I offer 😀

 

Alpha Pattern color

Soooo…I took this simple A-within-a-3/4-circle, and stuck three of them together at the top.  These new clusters then got aligned in an interlocking grid.  Toss some colors in there for visual interest, and voila! – the finished, colorized pattern before I distorted it.

If you have ‘shop, go play with the distortion filters.  They are all kinds of awesome.

 

In my files, the final image is called ‘Alpha Pattern Comic,’ as I can see  – slightly right of center (not intentionally – if it were intentional, it would have been left) – a blot of different colors that reminds me of Iron Man.  I can see twisted fish-like creatures in it, a couple of floral forms, and the head of a St. Bernard dog, too.  If you’re in the mood to, share with me in the comments what you can pick out of the pattern…

I started tessellation art a couple of months ago after reading someone’s blog post about Zentangles (see Oh, what a Tangled Web we Weave on the T&T Google) on a lark…which lead to some research on fractals, steadily moving to some interesting (and frustrating) work in ‘shop, viewing wallpaper patterns and study of the recurring patterns in fabrics.  I finally landed here, with this distorted tessellation.

Arriving at Destination:  Happy Place…thank you for veering Left of Reality.

Art is putting your own stamp on the world around you.

The Curse of the Blank Page

Hey…look at this.  This page is blank.  It is white, and black, but not read all over…because there’s nothing on it.

page left blankNow wait just a hair-picking minute.  Who put words on this blank page????

Does anyone else see the humor in things like these…or is it just me?

So, this week’s photo prompt for the Daily Post is Twinkle…and, as they are having trouble with pingbacks, the link may or may not work – but I’ll make the attempt nonetheless.

christmas bulb

I have lots of twinkly shots, because seeing what light can actually DO when collected by the camera’s lens is one of the reasons I started developing my photographic eye.  This one, I snagged at a Christmas party last year.  Granted, I really should have been paying attention to the hosts, the other guests, or the meaningless small talk … but we’ll go over my strange actions in strained social settings another time.

 

 

 

Sparkles on the globe

 

This gem is part of a series taken when I realized that the candle I was burning on the bookcase did wonderful things to both the glass paperweight and the glass dragon sharing the space.  Makes visions of the Death Star dance in my head.  The sparkly ball of color in the foreground is a bowling ball with glass chips glued all over it – it’s supposed to be an outdoor gazing ball – but it’s too pretty for outside.

 

 

These next two were captured on an excursion to Madison’s State Street last fall – my Son and DIL(2B) insisted on dragging me along to their favorite stomping ground.  In fact, these 2 shots featured in another blog post of mine… Death by Bouncy Ball   over on Google.

IMG_1394IMG_1396

 

IMG_0137Which brings me to the last photo I’m going to show you today – there were all kinds of twinkly lights inside this dome.  Every winter, the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee has an event they call Music Under Glass. 

If you’ve never been to the Domes, and aspire to visit my fair State – pencil in a stop.  The three domes house some very lovingly tended, carefully maintained biospheres – one tropical, one arid, and their floral show-dome (which changes a few times a year).

And if the dry write-up isn’t enough to sway you to go take a stroll in a desert or the tropics in the middle of the biggest city in Wisconsin…just remember…I am a houseplant killer (when I can be bothered to buy one) and I like the domes 😀

 

Scorched Earth

Image

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

One thing I can say about cameras – I’m rarely without one.  Another thing I can say about cameras…I’m always pointing them at the strangest things.  This little shot tonight started its digital life as the remains of a cheese soup boil-over burned to a crisp onto the stove-top.

Yup…you heard that right – I took a picture of a common household complaint – the burned on mess of a pot of food that escaped the cooking vessel only to sizzle to its doom on the hot surface below.

Stove cleaned after the photo shoot was done…priorities, dontchaknow…

Photoshop is a wonderful tool – it turned me into a right-handed artist…which is saying something, seeing though I’m rather unapologetically left handed in most everything else.  Put a plain, ordinary pencil in my right hand, and I’m about as gifted as bozo, the wonder bra…but a mouse?  Hello, imagery!

I learned to use a mouse (the computer kind, not the squeaky kind) with my right hand.

Why?

Because that’s where the right-handers in my family put the darn thing.  It never occurred to me to move it to the dominant hand.  By the time I got all growed up and started working with computers for a living, instead of out on a shop floor moving product from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’, using the mouse with my right hand was well-ingrained, and a bit of a bonus – I could take notes with my left hand while manipulating the mouse with my right.  So…when I started working in ‘shop – the right hand FINALLY got to be the artistic one.

I think it’s happy that way, and the left hasn’t gotten jealous, so I’m good with it.