Wednesday, April 30, 2008


(Part Two of my "Favorites" series )

I'm not a big amusement park person. I'm not enough of an adrenaline junkie for the rides, in fact, I'm a downright wimp. I'm no good at the games, and don't really want a cheap stuffed animal anyways. And you can only eat so much junk food off paper plates.

But I love the spectacle. The lights, the crowds, the tents, the rides, so much to watch. (so much to photograph)

This particular photograph, of the twirling tea-cups ride is from the Barnstable County Fair. Barnstable County is Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where I grew up. And every summer, sometime in late July or August, there's a great big carnival.

The fair's a mix of elements. This, obviously, is from the Midway: bright lights, rigged games and fast rides, families with kids during the sunny afternoons, crowds of teens and young adults at night. But, off to the side, not nearly as crowded are still big barn-like buildings with 4H club displays, and quilt competitions and vegetable competitions.

I don't live there any more, and have missed some recently, but growing up we went for an afternoon every year to wander around, have an Italian Sausage (my personal favorite fair-food) and enjoy the show -- primary colors, bright lights and madly spinning teacups.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Well, still deciding what to make of my inconclusive poll, but I have decided it at least gives me an agenda for my next couple of blog postings.

I already told you about the first one, Footprints a few days ago, so tonight, the reflections series.

I went to Mt. Holyoke College, in western Massachusetts. It's a beautiful campus full of old brick buildings with ivy on the walls, green lawns with old trees and Adirondack chairs, all arranged around a pair of small "lakes". All three of these images were taken there.

I still live in the area, and it's equally beautiful. It's a river valley (The Connecticut) full of low hills. The communities up and down the river are a mix of small de-industrialized communities trying to figure out a new plan, charming bohemian college towns and still-rural areas with small farms and orchards. I love the mix.

abstract orange blue fall leaves water reflectionReflection 2

I'm a native New Englander, and even though I question my sanity sometime around February when it's been cold and snowing for months, it's home. And, Fall is worth it. If you're bracing for a New England winter, going out with a blaze of beautiful color seems like a good way to do it. There's something wonderfully defiant about it.

I'm fascinated by light and reflections on water. But I love this series because of the way they capture the colors of fall, bright orange against blue sky, the first yellows and golds blending with summer greens.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The results are in...

For the past week, I've been asking Etsians which of my photographs they like best. I closed the voting late last night and tallied the results this morning.

((Drumroll please..............)

1st Footprints


2nd Place Reflections Series



Reflection 3


3rd Place: Twirling


4th Place Tulips


Tied for 5th Place


One of the reasons I did this was to get a sense of what type of photograph people on Etsy liked. Color or black and white? Macro or wide angle? Traditional or modern? Representational or Abstract?

The answer I got? Yes.

Apparently Etsy likes a little of everything, we have a black and white coastal landscape (and a color coastal landscape) an abstract series, a geometric primary colored composition, a floral & a macro shot of a vintage camera with a vaguely steam-punk feel.

I'm still trying to figure out what I learned from this, I was hoping for guidance in what to focus my promotion on.

My 'take-away', I suppose is that on etsy, I can try just about anything.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Many thanks to DZ Fantasy for graciously hosting my EtsyMini on her blog:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sometimes it's the journey...

With the return of spring, I'm re-learning to love my commute, which is down back roads along and over the Connecticut River.

I stopped after work, at a conservation area along the river, the high river bank topped with a narrow worn path. It's quickly becoming a favorite spot.

Former girl scout, I was prepared with my camera in my tote bag.

Last time I stopped, a week or two ago, the river looked almost stately. Pewter grey, broad, flooded with melting winter snow, with surprising little whirlpools dimpling the edges.

Today, a hazy Friday at the end of a week of coming-summer weather that's been tempting students at the college where I work onto every spare spot of lawn, it's languid. Sliding lazily along the channel. All of the colors of the river and surrounding mountains, hazy, but the trees are starting to turn leafy green.

Despite the threat of grass stains on my just-pulled-out-of-winter-storage-new skirt, it's still worth it to sit watch the river, and listen to the birds and buzzing insects.

I spent an hour or so, happily walking, taking pictures, sitting and enjoying the afternoon. As a photographer, I'm fascinated by the play of light on water. It was a lovely way to start the weekend.

But, observant reader, you might have noticed a distinct lack of pictures in this post, about stopping to take pictures, on a blog with "photography" in the url.

I was going to show you, I really was. I had the post all planned out in my head as I drove home.

But, I got back to my computer and uploaded my pictures (almost burning dinner in the process) and found...


No, the camera hadn't malfunctioned. The pictures just weren't any good. Sometimes, a beautiful thing, and a beautiful photograph aren't the same thing.

I'm disappointed. But philosophical, at least I had a beautiful afternoon.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What do you think?

I've been asking folks in Etsy... now I'll ask anyone here:

Post a comment, send me an etsy convo, or email me your favorite photograph from my etsy shop. ( )

I'll save your name and next Saturday, I'll pull a name and post a reserved listing in my shop for the lucky person for a FREE 5x7 print (with free shipping) of their favorite image. (If you don't already have an etsy account, you'll have to set one up, but it's free and easy)

Why? I know what I like, now I want to know what you like. That's it, no catch, no strings.

In the lead...

1st Place: Footprint

black white beach pacific coast, california

2nd Place: Twirling

twirling tea cups amusement park ride

3rd Place: Misty Morning

misty morning new england beach coast massachusetts

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gold Stars

I’ve recently started selling prints of my photographs on (If you don’t know etsy, check it out, amazing marketplace of handmade items)

This is the first time I’ve sold my photographs, and it’s hard work, and very up and down emotionally.

Up, when I sell something, Up even more when customers tell my how they connect to my photograph. Up when I get compliments in the forums (I’m a sucker for it…)

Down when its days or weeks between sales, down when you put your treasured work out and no one seems interested, down when I feel like I’m talking and talking and no one’s listening.

No sales this weekend (**sigh**) but some recognition, and I’m grateful and excited.

First, kankalinhats, put one of my personal favorites in this black, white and yellow treasury

Treasuries are collections of favorites put together by other etsians (members of the etsy community). There's a limit on the number of spots, so when they're coming up, it's a bit of a free-for-all trying to snag one.

And if you're in one, there's a little gold star by the treasury listing. It's an awful lot like being back in elementary school, getting a sticker for doing good work. A little thrill. (Little voice in my head: 'you like me, you really like me...')

The photo is “Old School”, one of the vintage camera images I blogged about in my first post.

And then last night, BonghiNatura, put one of my featured images in this bright colorful treasury

Let me say, I have no interest in cars. I drive a 10 yr old, beige, slightly beat-up Mazda Protégé that’s so non-descript I periodically walk to the wrong car in the mall parking lot.

But, I love the care and quality design that went into vintage machines of all types. This particular image is a vintage fire engine from a local parade: it was a great firey red with lovely lines.


I didn't snag a treasury (ok, I didn't try this time, I was too busy setting up a blog, updating flickr, adding new photographs, haunting the forums ... and oh, yeah, taking some time for life outside of etsy)

But, I get so excited by those little gold stars, I wanted to share the love:

Here's one of my own favorites from kankalinhats shop

This shop is full of beautiful, whimsical hats. This one is called shy violet, and I love the swirling shapes and the translucent colors


Some wonderful looking soap from Bonghi Natura’s Shop

It's cappucino - and I love coffees! And it looks beautiful, and sounds amazing with espresso beans and brown sugar and a layer of vanilla!

Monday, April 21, 2008


Autonomous Artisan is having a "Smile Challenge"

twirling tea cup amusement park rideTwirling

These twirling tea-cups make me smile: Primary colors, fun shapes and a kids ride. Really, what's not to love?

One Million Blogs?

I just added myself, #823, they've got a ways to go!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring has finally, emphatically come to Massachusetts, and I have a three day weekend (Monday is Patriot's Day here. In theory a commemoration of the battles of Lexington and Concord which marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In reality, I had to look that up on wikipedia. But everyone in the Boston area knows it's Marathon Monday. )

So, I spent a sunny afternoon hiking in the woods and hills with my camera: my first hike of the season. At first the woods seemed discordant: the oaks still winter-bare, hardly in bud, and the usually cool, shady forest was hot and sunny. I usually find the forest at once soothing and inspiring -- but I just wasn't feeling it.

But, tucked under the edge of a fallen tree, right at my feet were tiny little flowers. Mayflowers, delicate little stars, white with the tiniest hint of pink., set off against generic little apple-green leaves. Soothing and inspiring, my hike redeemed.
(Too bad the pictures just didn't come out)
macro vibrant green leaf

Further down the path, a little stream. We're not far from the Connecticut River, which is at spring flood right now. But this stream was full, but cheerful not rushing. There are smooth pools behind fallen trees, and gurgling ruffles over stones. The edges were lined with brilliant green plants, surprisingly lush. The leaves brilliant green and folded slightly, adding lines of sun and shadow.

Someone had built a sturdy, simple bridge with concrete pilings over the stream: but what's the fun in that? Its predecessor, a pair of wobbly, warped pressure-treated boards placed directly on the muddy banks, was just a few feet further down. Much more picturesque. I wobbled myself, crouching down, to dip my hands in the cool water, sun touched where it ruffled over the rocky bed.

If you've looked through myabstract photo sun light on water photography, you might have guessed: I'm fascinated by the reflections and patterns in water. There were no other hikers around, so I could sit to my hearts content, watching the stream ripple and reflect, trying to get in 'on film'. (Note to self: find a technologically appropriate phrase, 'on memory card' just doesn't work)

I ended up hiking for hours (my muscles remind me now) up the rocky hills and along the stream bank. The trails are not terribly well maintained, and on my way back, I found I'd meandered off my path. I've got a GPS unit in my backpack, a cell phone, it's daylight, I'm standing right next to a river I can follow if I really needed too, in a pretty tame patch of woods, with major roads on all the borders and I'm perhaps 50 feet from the path. No reason to be worried, unless you're the sinking feeling in my gut.

I got back to path no problem, and on my way, almost as compensation, found a beautiful patch of flowers I've never seen pink wild flower trilliumbefore. (If you can identify them, I'd love to know). Almost like compensation for that bit of worry ... or a lesson in getting off the beaten path. In any case, I'm grateful for one last, wonderful surprise.

And a surprisingly wonderful shot.

This is one of those gifts from the photography gods when holding the camera out, blind, underneath a flower and madly pushing the shutter actually works. The only retouching: boosting the contrast back to something like the flowers' natural tone. (I didn't even crop, and I crop everything!)

And with that, Happy Patriots' Day everyone!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How it all began...

vintage camera lens macro

I started with photography because of my dad, and he started because of me.

I'm the first grandchild on one side of the family; so when I was an infant, my grandfather gave my father a 35 mm camera with instruction to take lots of pictures of me. He did, and in the process, found that he liked taking pictures of more than his daughter.

He experimented with landscape and still life, simple manipulation, even developing black and whites in a little darkroom in our basement, and of course, family pictures of myself and my brother, birthday parties and family vacations.

black white vintage retro camera kodak brownie

Somewhere along the line, I got involved. I was probably still in elementary school when he and my mom gave me my first 35 mm camera. It was a little plastic thing, nothing fancy, the F-stops (light adjustments) were little neon icons of a sun and a cloud, but it got me started. I went through a couple of those cameras, before I upgraded (One I shattered by dropping it from the top of the bleachers at the local school)

At the same time, my dad was finding vintage cameras that no-one cared about any more at yard sales. He took them home and cleaned them up, a few he experimented with, most are still sitting in a closet in my parents home. They're not practical any more, most you couldn't find film for if you wanted to, but they're wonderful mechanical objects. I work with digital now, but the experience of taking a photograph with a well-designed mechanical film camera is somehow more grounding than pushing a little button.

macro vintage antique camera black

Eventually, I moved up from the little plastic cameras, to a good 35 mm SLR and then to digital, finding my own aesthetic sensibility(mostly through trial and lots of error) and my passion as I went.

And so, the pictures you're looking at in this post. My digital images of my dad's vintage cameras. They're part of a series I took as a Father's Day present for him, closing the circle, and returning the gift.