Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Carbon Leaf Rocks My World

Last weekend, we were in Balston Spa for the Irish 2000 festival. (Yeah, I know, it isn't the year 2000, but I didn't name the festival.) Our main reason for going was to see three of the twenty or so bands that played. Our hearts were set on seeing Carbon Leaf, Gaelic Storm and Enter the Haggis. All three bands played sets on Friday night. 

As it is now suddenly Fall, the weather was cool and crisp. Not quite a true Autumn chill, but with temperatures hovering just above 40⁰F, it was most certainly not a Summer show. By the time Carbon Leaf took the stage as the light began to wane, we were ready to dance! Keeping warm was secondary to having fun! These are just a few of my favorite shots from the show.

Trying to explain Carbon Leaf is tough. They show up on folkie's favorite lists while also being a very electrified band. They have a distinct "Celtic" following, but are most definitely from Virginia. Rather than try to explain their sound, as with most music, the best way to know it is to hear it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_Leaf   http://carbonleaf.com/main.php 

Saying that Terry rocks would be a massive understatement. What he can do to a guitar is flat-out phenomenal.

Late night munchies with Carter and Terry

Carter's mandolin playing (along with all sorts of other instruments!) was uniformly mind-blowing! His interaction with the crowd was so incredibly cool. 

It's kind of hard to explain how amazingly down-to-earth these guys are. Sure, they are rock stars... but they are such REAL people.  Very human, humble and kind. They signed cds and dvds for over an hour after the show. No one was rushed. Everyone got to talk to them. They posed for pictures left and right. No doubt about it, they love playing music and sharing it with everyone. It shows! Of all the bands I have introduced folks to, Carbon Leaf stands out as the band that everyone hears and immediately asks: Who is that? Yeah. They rock!

After the show, our friend Kate told us we needed to stop at the merch table and visit with the guys. After signing their latest release (Live, Acoustic and in Cinemascope), they offered to pose with Nancy and Aurora. On our way out later in the evening, we said a quick good-nite to Carter and Terry as they were picking out some late night munchies. I couldn't have asked for a better time!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Looking Back in Time

Two years ago, on the day school began for Aurora, I went into the hospital here in Ithaca for an elective surgery to remove a small chunk of my colon which had become weakened due to repeated attacks of diverticulitis. I woke up a little over a month later, on Nancy's birthday, October 11th... and looked into her eyes, wide with fright... wondering where on earth I was and what was going on. Completely unable to speak, I could only communicate with my eyes. I have never felt hotter tears stream out of my eyes.

When I look back at my blog posting from two years ago, on the night before surgery, I was thinking about life post-surgery... knowing full-well that I wouldn't be able to make pots right away. I was under the assumption that like most of my surgeries, this would go smoothly and I would be back to work in no time.

I find it fascinating to see how my interest in strobe lighting had just begun... I had two speedlights, a new (used) lens, a tripod, a lightstand and a shoot-thru umbrella. All new tools and stuff I was so anxious to play with and to learn with.....

When I look at the stuff I use to bend light now, it is still a paltry sum, but there is so much more stuff to work with. There are modifiers, filters, patch cords, sync cords, extension cords, strobes here and there, soft boxes of a couple different designs, never enough lightstands, backdrops and paper sweeps. All sorts of stuff... and in the end, that's all it really is... just stuff.

As I stare at this image, the last shot I would take before surgery, I am struck by how much it presaged the coming years. There wasn't any mention of temporarily closing down the studio, though I had mentioned that in other posts earlier that week. I guess what strikes me is that I wasn't mentioning how terrified I was of the surgery or the outcome. I think I confided in very few people about my feelings around that.

That said, here are my thoughts from the night before surgery. If you're new to this blog and want to read the full story of the debacle, start to finish, click on the link below and read from Sept 9 till Jan 2010. That should fill you in on the gory details (and then some!).


A week ago, I bought my first Nikon Speedlite SB-600, and life has not been the same since. Today I found another one via Craigslist. Here are the rest of my treasures from this past week. We found a killer Manfroto tripod with a sweet ballhead. My lightstand and shoot-thru umbrella arrived. Together, all of this fun stuff, combined with a 85mm f1.8, and a TTL patchcord... all of this has made my week a TON of fun. Like a kid in a candy shop, I have spent the better part of the week trying new ideas with flash every chance I could! Next up: during my recuperation, I aim to study up on the "Strobist" method of lighting so I can push my lighting skills to the next level. Should be fun.
                                                                                                                     -A.Solla, Sept 9, 2009

Monday, September 5, 2011

Working on More Puppy Portraits

Without a doubt, there is precious little in the world cuter than a ten week old puppy. To catch Madison, in all of her insanely cute glory, you have to catch Demetra and Eddie Molina at The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor in Ithaca. From the sound of things, Madison is making frequent visits! 

As we head into the more civilized weather that Fall promises, we are scheduling portrait sessions in fun outdoor settings. We have openings for high school seniors (and juniors too!), families, couples wanting engagement pics... you get the picture. If you've wanted a memorable portrait of your furry family members, NOW is the time. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Another Look at Images from the State Fair

Whenever I go out with my camera, I look everywhere for some sign of patter or texture or color. Places like the State Fair make it almost too easy to find fun subject matter. There is COLOR everywhere. There are cool patterns, interesting textual interjections, great juxtapositions of people and moving objects. There are people of all ages, doing all sorts of crazy things. Through it all, I love being one step outside the maelstrom. The hardest part is maintaining the high level of energy necessary to keep my focus and to keep looking for more shooting opportunities. 

As I was walking around with Aurora and her friend, seeing signs like this just made me laugh. I mean, how many different things in the universe can one throw into the deep-fat fryer and make something (almost) edible for $5? I mean, I don't think that NYS invented the deep fat fryer ... but at the State Fair, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone to put faith in that assessment. 

Looking up into the underside of the rollercoaster was a fascinating juxtaposition of a tiny car, moving at high speed over rails suspended on scaffolding that at best looked like it might hold a carpenter or two. The color... oh, the COLOR... just grabbed me. The contrast against the bright blue sky was enthralling!

I think a fantastic idea for next year's photowalk here in Central NY (Fingerlakes) would be to get together at the State Fair, shoot all morning or into the early evening. Anyone want to join in?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Get Your Awesome Sausage Right Here!

I had to put up a few more images from our time at the NYS Fair. I winnowed down through close to 1000 images... edited the few that were standouts...and now, here are a few more of my faves.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fun Times at the Fair

Earlier this week, I joined Aurora and her friend as they went to the State Fair. Having never been to the New York State Fair, during the fair... I was unsure what to expect. I had been there numerous times for things like the Ski Swap or for a holiday craft show that was pretty heinous.

Everyone talks about the State Fair with a certain level of awe, so I was curious to see what the hype was. Suffice it to say, it was a hoot! From the giant albino dog turds masquerading as soft-serv ice cream vendors, to the fried-food-only booths... it was a blast. We saw smoked turkey legs, cannoli in every sport imaginable, deep fried Oreos, and the best... Creamy Lobster Mac and Cheese. Ewwww. The only truly regrettable food I saw being served was Shark-on-a-stick. I draw the line there. Sharks are a top predator... not some farmed food like chicken. Just seems wrong to eat sharks.

This was a new ride that I've never seen before. Not quite as insane as true hang-gliding, but from the response I got from the girls, it was a rush! They had to go on it a few times.

Of course, we had to visit the Dairy Hall... and it was impressive. An 800# butter sculpture of people cooking with butter. Seemed wild. Then we found the cheese carving. The sculptor was working a 20-30# block of cheddar with clay tools. Aurora and I were talking about what it would be like to trim a 30# block of cheddar into a nice bowl.... FUN! The last thing we had to try while we were in the Dairy Hall was the gelato. Wonderful stuff. Took the edge off the midday heat. All in all, a day spent at the Fair is certainly worth the price of admission.