Monthly Archives: November 2012

Cheeney Creek Nature Area

Today found me wandering about the Cheeney Creek Nature Area. This was at the recommendation of he-who-shall-be-pictured-later. He-who downplayed it enough that it was a surprisingly amusing visit. Hoo-Rah for expert expectation setting.

#1 This shot is only amusing if you think that 1950s movies with silly puns like “don’t! stop!” are amusing. Or, I suppose, if you have some bizarre form of synesthesia that causes you to smell mom’s apple pie whenever you see red and orange together.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#2 Note the ragged “For Rent” sign in the culvert. Real estate tycoons have to start somewhere I suppose. Anyone in the market for a 2-foot culvert, slightly damp? Easy access to the adjoining nature area.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#3 The view of the eventual water feature

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#4 Hereby hangs a tale. I had asked my cohort on this day to throw a rock into the water right at the leaf in the center of the shot. Shutter speed at 1/2000th of a second? Check. Focus set at the target location? Check. Camera set to take shots at high speed to catch the splash? Check. Having a cohort on hand who can hit a target in the water less than five feet away? Not so much. Still, it made for an interesting result that I could not have achieved singlehandedly even if it wasn’t QUITE what I was looking to get.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#5/#6 The highlight was this tiny railroad bridge. Seems a mighty amount of trouble to span three feet of ditch but nature and her drainage patterns will prevail, I suppose.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area
From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#7 He-who-was-to-be-pictured.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#8 Admittedly it was a wonderful day given that it was, after all, almost December in Indiana.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#9 We played “chase the ducks” briefly to little actual avail. It’s amusing to me that they even swim in a V pattern.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#10 We close with a crayfish, or as grandpa always used to call them, “crawdads”. It’s atrociously difficult to take a decent picture of a creature at the bottom of a murky pond but these arthropods deserve, I think, special attention. I recall as a young boy spending time at “The Lake” (as a child any lake, no matter where it is, is simply “the lake”) teasing these clever little gentry of the undermuck onto my line. While the adults were all consumed with catching some animal called a “fish” I was outwitting these devilish blighters. Almost makes me want to take up fishing just for the photo ops.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

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Of Lamps, Rocks and Random Bits of Nature

In retrospect, it cannot be denied that today’s photo jaunts were more random even than usual.

#1 I started the day trying to stage this lamp for a photo. See previous post on why this is important or even remotely interesting. My intent here was to be vastly anachronistic and when you have a lamp from the 60s and a Look magazine from 1938 just laying around this isn’t terribly difficult.

From 11-25-2012 The Lamp

#2/#3 After the lamp I wanted about in the local forest remnant a bit. It wouldn’t be a trip to the forest without fungus.

From 11-26-2012 Misc
From 11-26-2012 Misc

#4 Someday if I wander in the forest long enough I’ll find a mammal that’s not a squirrel. Some day but not today.

From 11-26-2012 Misc

#5 Abandoned homes awaiting the spring.

From 11-26-2012 Misc

#6 Ending the day with some macro shots of a few mineral samples I suddenly find myself with.

From 11-26-2012 Misc

#7 Pyrite and quartz

From 11-26-2012 Misc

And so ends another exceptionally random day. It occurs… not even a single human anywhere near any of these shots. Hrm.

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Of Coincidence and Stiffel Lamps

The Stiffel

The Stiffel

A few weeks ago I was sitting at home and realizing with some annoyance that I needed a lamp. I’d found myself in the habit of turning on every light in the apartment just to read at night so I took myself boldly unto the local furniture consignment shop to peruse their offerings. Because of the arrangement of my apartment at the time the added bit of furniture would have to be a floor lamp and sadly all the consignment store had on hand was an assortment of table lamps. I gave up the search and went home to my Cimmerian apartment but was nagged by the image of one lamp in particular. In a fit of energy that evening I rearranged the apartment to accommodate a table lamp and bounded hopefully back to the consignment store the next day.

I arrived at the store, held the door for a woman coming in behind me and found the lamp that had caught my eye yesterday, referred to hereafter as “the Stiffel”, still awaiting a buyer. Placing myself next to it in a clearly “this is my lamp now, back off” posture I looked around to catch the eye of the proprietor. As I looked up I found the woman who had come in just behind me looking at me with eyes the size of saucers. She approached gasping, “are you interested in that lamp? That’s my lamp!” Over the next several minutes she related the lamp’s history as it served happily in her mother’s house for many years. In her home it was always referred to simply as “The Stiffel” and so it shall be known in my home as well.

All this rather unlikely happenstance does put one of a mind of just how oddly the world operates at times. If I had stopped anywhere different for lunch that day or failed to drive that particular route or even left five minutes earlier I would never have had the story. One hesitates to assign such things to some intentional mechanism but it is certainly very welcome when things somehow turn out in such mysteriously perfect ways.

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Misc Photos for 11-18-2012

As of late I’ve found myself rather uninspired.  At least part of this is late-season ennui but I also have come to feel that my “art” is rather unfocused.  (No pun intended.)  While other photographers tend to specialize, I just photograph absolutely anything from random people to found objects.  My camera has been accumulating photos for the past couple weeks that I haven’t bothered to upload.  Today I have a bit to show for the time that’s passed.

#1: Someone can probably tell me what this odd-looking bird is.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#2: I like the colors and lines here. The bird itself is of no great note but it does leave a trail in its environment.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#3: I spent a fair amount of time the other day trying to get action shots of ducks on the water. My eventual assessment was that I needed a longer lens. At 270mm I can just barely squeeze out a reasonable level of detail.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#4: Some shots I just love the romantic aspects of a road vanishing into the distance.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#5: In the category of odd found-objects, I give you this child’s toy long trapped in a retention pond.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#6: Similar to #4, I like the irony of a No Trespassing sign overrun by nature.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#7: In the city where I live there’s a 106th street and there’s a forgotten “Old 106th” street. The homes on Old 106th street seem to have been trapped in a timewarp since the traffic on them has declined substantially. One features this ancient flag and gate.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#8: Not far from #7, it seems that a house has moved and birds now make their homes in this forgotten mailbox.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#9: Some photos you just take because they seem artsy.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#10: After the trip down Old 106th street I came home and played with some macro shots.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#11: And took apart an old computer. Here are the pins for an old Pentium processor.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#12: The heatsink on the processor on an older video card.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#13: The internals of some HP hardware. No comment on the countries of origin.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#14: I also took apart an old hard drive. A very chiaroscuro experience.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#15: Oops. Sure hope I didn’t void the warranty.

From Misc 11-18-2012

Anyway, such is the two weeks or so since the last post.

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Filed under abstract photography, Art photography, Landscape photography, nature Photography, Philosophy, Urban Photography

Misc Photos for 11-5-2012

A rather random assortment of shots from yesterday.

#1

Mostly just enjoy the contrast here. Harsh metal versus soft rustling leaves.

#2

The birds are busily cleaning up the fall… whatever those are.

#3

Wandering in the forest we came upon an orange construction barrel. Mother nature has gone a bureaucratic.

#4

One finds the oddest litter in the forest.

#5

The find of the day was this compost bin full of jack-o-lanterns.

#6

This whole situation strikes me as rather iconic of all holidays. We feast, we celebrate, then we discard.

#7

Later in the day back in the apartment I had some items to photograph so there was a brief spate of random puttering.

And that ends thus ends the day. Now if only I’d written proper descriptions for all the photos I took and tagged them with proper keywords. So many layers of work here. Any volunteers?

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Adventures in Shutterstock or “We’re sorry but your content was not accepted at this time”

Let’s begin with a bit of background. I’m a computer programmer by trade, Purdue Class of ’96 in Computer Science and I’m currently unemployed. Not the “OMG, if I don’t find a job soon I’m going to be homeless” sort of unemployed but more along the lines of, “I’m unemployed, maybe it’s time to reinvent myself and choose a whole new way of making a living” sort of unemployed. I realize that this is a massive luxury that most people don’t have so hold your boos of derision for the end. I get it that I’m among the 2% if not the 1%.

Since I was let go I’ve pondered rather fitfully the eternal question of “what to do next?” I’m endlessly amused by the written word so the idea of writing… something… occurs repeatedly but I’m absolutely clueless how to break into that vocation or anything related to it. I also tend to go out and photograph things (see, “things”… just the sort of wonderfully specific word that a writer would use. You can tell I’m the next Henry James can’t you?) and since photography is reasonably in demand I dipped my proverbial toe into the proverbial water of stock photography. The initial result of which is to verify that I don’t know a damn thing about stock photography.

I chose as my first point of submission Shutterstock which, after more careful perusal, appears to be a royal pain to get into. They require an initial portfolio of ten photos with detailed descriptions and to qualify you must have 7 of 10 photos “accepted” based on some rather nebulous set of criteria. Below find my ten submissions and Shutterstock’s response to them. As well as my own thoughts after having been rejected.

#1:

From 10-24-2012 West Lafayette, Indiana

This is the one photo they did find acceptable. It’s a fish-eye view of fall foliage from above and below in a Lafayette park. Personally I like it but it has a rather other-world quality that creeps me about a bit. I don’t consider it my best work but people seem to like it. I don’t claim to understand exactly why but it’s probably that lack of understanding that makes this at least a somewhat doomed prospect.

#2:

From Misc Weekend of 4/1/2012

This was rejected for “Poor framing, cropping, and/or overall image composition” just as all the images except for #10 were. Again, personally, I like this shot. It has an interesting perspective, the name tag is in the lower left but just as ghostly presence, lots of contrasting colors. The only thing that bugs me is the appearance of the trees on the right but they do offer an interesting counterpoint. Not quite seeing the argument against I suppose unless it’s just so damn cliche.

#3

From Random Trip around Purdue – 02-20-2012

Really this one is a demonstration of texture. Nothing magical really but the color here is just off the scale. I could be argued that this is junk but on the surface it seems a reasonable example.

#4

From 6-30-2012 Oregon Day 2 – Crater Lake

OK, I accept that this one is probably in the “holiday snaps” category. You had to be there. But Crater Lake is just so COOL! *shrug* I accept this rejection.

#5

From St Louis, Missouri

Alright, well I don’t care what anyone says, I like this picture, though maybe it’s one of those “you had to be there” shots too.

#6

From 03-19-2011

I could see plenty of arguments against this one too, I suppose…

#7

From Douglas Michigan, 7-23-2011 **

A bit cliche too perhaps. Basically just another #2 honestly.

#8

From 2012-01-08

I like this shot too but perhaps it’s too hard to tell what exactly is going on?

#9

From 6-2-2012 Kickapoo Nature Preserve

I can understand if this is rejected as it is just terribly depressing but it still manages to move me. Probably because it is just so idiotically depressing to think about it.

#10

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

And this last was rejected due to poor focus. I’m not sure I see that but I allow that it’s possible. The tree bits in the foreground aren’t happy, looking at it in retrospect.

So there you have it in a nutshell. At the least it’s clear that I have no idea how to chose what will sell in the realm of stock photos. It would seem this needs some detailed analysis that I just haven’t done yet. I’m trying to do something artistic while they just want… marketing. Ah well.

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