Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Last of the Crocus

Tonight the rain came down in gigantic waves.
Like thunder buckets meant to wash winter off the roads.
Gauzy crepe paper petals didn't stand a chance.
Even the peepers are silent now.
Drowned out by the incessant thrumming rain.
Tomorrow the sun will come out
and with it, the first hungry mosquitoes of the season.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sharing in the Brightness of Spring

Spring is painfully brief in my neck of the woods. By the time it is warm enough for the blooms to pop, the weather plays hard to get; vascilating between snow and sun, rain and wind... and then, only then, do the lovely flowers of spring POP. All too often they are flattened by snow, pelted by ice, or eroded by rain. This year has been fair, if not kind. The past few days have been windy to the extreme which often presages a massive change in the weather. We have had snow, rain, sun and grey, sometimes all in the same day. 

I watch the daffodils for the sign that the weather has turned. When they stop swaying in the wind, and stand tall above all the other plants beginning to push up from the cold soil, that's when the warm southern winds blow mellow all through the night. Most northerners are thrilled when those warm humid winds come up from the south... but not me. I relish these last few fickle days of spring. I love the changeability of this time of year. I love being surprised when I go outside, thinking it might be 60 degrees, only to find it isn't even close to 40, but the sunshine screams SPRING! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mid-April Report on the When and If

The transom on the When and If is coming together, bit by bit. The inner layer of the outer planking on the hull has begun. You can see those planks underneath Cody's feet in the left side of the image above. If you look to the right side, you can see a head popping up through the opening where the next layer of planking will be going this coming week. Each of these planks are hand fitted, tapered and scarfed to fit exactly. And on this schooner, there are two layers of planking that overlap on the hull. More images of that to come soon!

This is what the deck looks like facing the bow from midship. The plywood covers over the gaps where there is nothing to walk on! As soon as the new teak is finished being milled down in PA, the re-decking will begin.

This is what supports the decking. Pretty wild to see the underside of it all. As the repairs continue, and these areas are covered again, it is incredible to think about what it looked like during the "excavation" process. Seeing the bare bones of this schooner laid open illustrates how many layers come together to integrate into this amazing sailing vessel. So complex and still so incredibly strong!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Kumite at Cayuga Lake Seido Karate

Last night I had the chance to photograph the Cayuga Lake Seido Karate dojo as they practiced kumite. Having never seen kumite before, I was incredibly excited.
From wikipedia: Kumite (組手) literally translated means "grappling hands" and is one of the three main sections of karate training, along with kata andkihon. Kumite is the part of karate in which a person trains against an adversary, using the techniques learned from the kihon and kata.
Kumite can be used to develop a particular technique or a skill (e.g. effectively judging and adjusting one's distance from one's opponent) or it can be done in competition.

Watching these students going through these sparring techniques was fantastic! Incredibly fast and grueling! The thing that really surprised me was how difficult it was to catch the action. They were moving faster than the hockey games I used to photograph way back when. Amazing!

Yup, that's my kiddo, getting tagged right smack in the middle of her chest. Bear in mind, that is not a full force kick from the black belt sempai, but rather a quick tap to her chest protector. She certainly felt it, but it wasn't enough of a kick to knock her end over end.

The simplest way I can understand kumite is to think of it like incredibly fast tag. You are trying to score points by just barely touching your opponent in key areas, while trying to block them from doing the same to you. It is so intense!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Not Always Smiling

I was watching a "headshots" tutorial on YouTube earlier this week. One of his big no-nos was the S-word. Apparently it is bad form to have your subjects smile into the camera. I guess I always assumed that it looked fake, but now I realize... there is a RULE. Makes me wanna go and break the rule.

In any event.... this video tutorial dealt with a style of lighting I tend to not use. I am not a huge fan of the blinding white backdrop, and the horizontal portrait format. Neither style really resonates with my personal aesthetic. Imagine my surprise when this image popped up in my viewfinder. I kinda liked it. A little color shift, some light toning in LR4, and I was pretty pleased. Mind you, I am not smiling... but that's okay. I have had a lot on my mind. Ask me what I've been thinking about.

Monday, April 8, 2013

New Website for Der Rosenmeister

My friend, Leon Ginenthal, and I just put the finishing touches on his new website. We decided on a wordpress themed site, as opposed to more of a web 1.0 style of website. Previously, Lee and I built a Flash based site (back in 2011). Over the past two years we have watched as Apple iOS products have made Flash a dead medium. As much as I loved playing with Flash (via WIX primarily), there is no point in creating a website if your target audience can't load it on their iPhone or iPad. Flash is dead. No question.

Back in the Fall, I decided to update my photography website. In the process, I explored the idea of using a WordPress theme as a way of avoiding some of the ugly coding, PHP, and other fun stuff surrounding content management. I figured if I didn't NEED to learn that stuff, then that would be just fine with me. I explored many hundreds of different themes, always finding ones where some aspect appealed, and then finding fatal flaws that made them unusable for my needs.

About the same time, Lee mentioned that he wanted to update his site and we talked about switching him over to a WordPress platform as a way of allowing him (or me) to modify the content at will, over the next few years (assuming a lifespan of this new website of 2-3 years).

Over the span of Spring Break, Lee and I tackled the functionality, appearance and content of his website. A few long days spent sitting in uncomfortable chairs,... some tough design talks, and a lot of tea.... and BOOM, it was done. As with our previous collaborations on photographing his roses, Lee's previous website and some of his print advertising,... my hope is that our synergy will create something unique and vibrant that we never would have expected. That challenge is what makes this process so incredibly fun!

 And for those who have been waiting for the Der Rosenmeister rose calendar and rose book... it has not been forgotten... just postponed until we had the website finished. Expect something after the height of rose season wraps up.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Peeling Through The Layers

Last weekend I had a chance to capture some wild interior textures of peeling wallpaper and cracked plaster. Usually, when I see this sort of thing in another photographer's image... it is some post-Soviet era abandoned hospital or somesuch. It always seems like the cool images happen a few plane tickets and months of travel away from here. This opportunity was just down the road from us. In a gorgeous home. On a beautiful spring day.

It made me very aware that most of the time we tend to see what we want to see, rather than actually seeing what is all around us. I feel mighty lucky for being in the right state of mind, camera in hand, on a good day.

And yes, there are other minor textures and slight color shifts added in Photoshop in post.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Awesome Trumansburg Home For Sale

For the past few weekends, our friends have been prepping their home to put it on the market. For twelve years, in the little town of Trumansburg, they called this home. Sixteen rooms, 2 dining rooms, more bathrooms than I could count... this is a huge house! While it certainly needs some TLC and renovation, it is very livable in its current state. This house would make a perfect B&B. There are plenty of guest rooms, lots of sitting rooms, and dining space... even a BIG kitchen. There's even an attached space (above) that would be perfect as an office for a home business. The ground floor rooms all have very high ceilings. The bedrooms upstairs sport rooms with a more modest ceiling height although still taller than your average home.  

Now they are putting this house on the market in hopes that someone can invest the time and resources into a home that is not only a historic marvel, but a home that they loved thoroughly.  Here are my favorite images from the shoot last weekend.

In my experience, most realtors shoot a handful of quick images, with a point and shoot camera, and then those images are all that exist to represent the home. About two years ago, David Hobby wrote about his experience selling his home, and the process he went through figuring out how to best show off his house via his images (and later a blog/real estate page as he sold his house).

Here, Celisa is pointing at one of the upstairs window panes, where the original owners inscribed the glass with the date of when the window was installed: 18-something. There is also a huge slab of stone steps into the front door, and one of them is inscribed 1851. Unfortunately, that inscription has seen a lot of weathering and abrasion (seeing as how it is part of the steps into the home). Hopefully I will be able to get a better image of the steps on a day when the sun isnt so high in the sky.

This is such an amazing house. It is big enough for a large family. It would make an ideal bed & breakfast. It is a one minute walk down the hill into Trumansburg (great schools, incredible food!), and only about 20 minutes from Ithaca.