November 25, 2014


just some serendipity this morn between
tree photos from the editing lightbox
and penetrating verse found in the inbox ...

chess anyone?

I'm imagining someone bent over a fresh board, poised for footsteps.  Despite
an early winter draft snaking upstairs, despite the almost-dinner hour and the too-small
likelihood of a passerby plucky enough to take the plunge, they are listening and patient,
ready for any stranger who might sit down.  Such sturdy optimism.  The invitation of it all.

I wonder if, at the heart of it, we forget to say exactly what we're looking for, anxious
that the details will cloister and confine, keep us from the thing we want.  The sign I read, 
narrowed as it was, stood beside an open door, and no matter what was next, there was,
at least, the certain knowledge it would include the pieces for a game to be played.

What little flag could I hold out?  What batch of words would say it best?
What would I ask if asking were the only branch I'd need to build my nest?

~ Maya Stein

: : :

"10-Line Tuesday" poetry
by Maya Stein ... a backlog can be viewed   here

November 12, 2014

Marking time

There's more than one way to keep a diary
and it seems I've inadvertently been keeping one
through bundle photographs.
Call me crazy
but I love the look of them.
Obviously I must, because I can't seem to stop.

Beyond the anticipation of scrumptious prints [hopefully] waiting be revealed, 
there's a metaphor about this process I strongly relate to --
the metaphor of time ...
mainly, the importance of  giving  time.

Now I can say
I've learned great patience when it comes to unwrapping my bundles.
Oh, it was   SO HARD  in the beginning, I'll grant you that,
but it didn't take long to discover the wait was worth it.
Such marks from dry-down !
So, I'm not troubled by that discipline any longer.

And it seems when I have gotten antsy
I've helped to pass the time by taking a lot of "portraits."
Otherwise my files would not be so close to bursting with the sheer quantity.
oh dear.

Collating parts of my picture library this week was a long overdue task.  Since I've
gone off the deep end you might say, with effects editing, the multiplicity factor
was slightly out of hand [putting it mildly] and if there was going to be
any hope of finding particulars, some organization was in order
or I was doomed.

When the  Ecoprints  album was finally assembled, I reviewed the group
with a scrutinizing eye
noticing immediately the inordinate quantity of bundle shots.
Ever do a thing repeatedly - unconsciously - only to become aware of your
at a much later date?
Good then.  I'm not alone.
Laid out in chronological order I saw the entire past year [almost]
illustrated by the progression of foraging, wrapping and dyeing ... 
with special emphasis on

the bundles themselves.

It was grand to have them all in one place !

There was a "walking down memory lane" aspect to this endeavor
and I kept getting sidetracked by delightful memories of dye days past ... like the
great can experiment with my Lopez group - how we juggled for space in the cauldrons
but folks using blackberries bled all over their neighbors anyway.
Still, with such pretty results nary a complaint was heard.

And then there was the afternoon I became my grandmother in the kitchen
[preserving cloth, not green beans] and learned to  stuff, steep + store
for India's pantry shelf out in the interpixies ....

Mainly, I've dyed alone [cue Country Western music ?]
conducting all manner of experiments.  Different themes on different days,
playing around, plodding through,
definitely having a grand ole time.

I've put a few leaves through their paces

but then later, trying to ecoprint on paper put me through mine.

 do not wrap your paper bundle with rubber bands
you've put something sturdy inside to hold the bands in place.

Imagine unfolding mush [see collapsed bundle above]
... yessiree, not pretty.

When I couldn't make bundles, I sometimes dreamt them up instead ...
messing about with the entirely wonderful DianaPhoto app
one can conjure up all manner of imaginary landscapes
and so I did.

Halfway through the year a very particular dream did come true
and I wandered off to one of the more gentler landscapes I've ever encountered
where I bundled my heart out next to a great wide river
and drank   far too much   far too little fine, single malt Scotch Whisky.
This one was especially yummy.

but I'm digressing from the true direction of this story ...

which is to share my year of time-marking
through some portraiture of
the humble bundle
[no, I have not been drinking whisky this evening].

All those glorious bundles !
They've been rough and ragged ...
they've been tidy, clean & slick

but they've been mostly everything in between.

A motley crew of unrelated objects served as bases:
hauled from the shore
mailed from the desert
and yes, even stolen ...
[innocent indiscretion at the shipyard, really]

but in all cases,
the tighter the wrap, the surer the outcome.

Here's a couple of favorites.
On the left, silk wrapped around three copper pipes; on the right, silk filled with seaweed.

Their diary entry might have read something like this:

Dear diary, had the most marvelous morning beach combing at the cove. What a 
stash of interesting seaweed! (time of year?)  Must try some in bundles - 
wonder if they'll give prints?  So nice of P to give me the copper.  Perfect temperature this aft, 
no wind - I'll wrap on the porch.  Still good color in the madrone bath, I think.
Dog's curious bout the unusual smells - funny to watch her nose twitch 
while she investigates. HA! a sneeze.
Can't wait to try my new string.

But instead ... 


and there was my story.

October 17, 2014

this moment :: the rain cometh

{  this moment  }
A single photo
~ no words ~
capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
~ SouleMama


inspired by the Friday reflections at Amanda's

October 7, 2014

Hanging out with squares

You could say I've been making the [re]acquaintance of squares ...
as silly as it sounds, Instagram might be to blame.  Which won't make much sense to
non-users so to clarify:  Instagram, the online mobile photo-sharing & networking service,
has the distinctive feature of confining photos to a square format.
If you want to post there your image must fit into a square
so if you didn't shoot it that way to begin with, it's resized to fit.
Remember the Polaroids of old?

Framing within the rectangular 4:3 aspect ratio almost exclusively for most of my life
left me, at first, fighting for elbow room within this equal-sided confined space.

But before too long, I wondered what was so bad about a little size challenge anyway? 
Surely this leap wasn't going to be as great as dumping my film cameras
in trade for digital?
That was enormously difficult.

Fast forward a year or so ...

Forward through a whole lot of practice/editing time
while commuting on the ferries,

forward through lots of "window seat" opportunities to try this, try that, ask what if ...
Alternative worlds were tried on - my app-aholic time, I called it.
It took a while to sort of tweak my viewpoint
but making the subject matter fit into a




finally became not such a conscious struggle.

So what's come from all this?
A hefty file of ferry photos for one ...
During all weathers, ranges of light, in transit & not;
daytime, mid-darkness to ethereal at midnight; 
looking up, behind, out, across the rails or beyond -
laden with tourists in the high season,  deliciously empty & silent in the off ...

and at times, strangely decorated ...
My island wandercloth became a textile installation afloat
near Waldron Island
[yup, there's an app for that].

Somewhere along this mobile photography journey I began to follow an info-packed blog
called, "Art of Mob" compiled by Geri Centonze.  Wowza.  App reviews, tutorials,
fab interviews ... chock full.  I noticed Geri ran the occasional *challenge* on Instagram.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles  [any mode of rapid transit] was the chosen subject recently
so I thought, what the heck, I've got ferries ...
Twas the rope composition which floated me onto the  showcase
but I want to mention that I couldn't have done it without 
Distressed FX texture app ...
*  thank you  *

Now it seems the whole square option is sneaking its way into other aspects
of my once rectangular life.
'splash' went decidedly that direction without hesitation ...

and today's gathering of leaves got into the act ...
during the lineup for the seasonal portrait
they arranged themselves
just so.

October 1, 2014

National Black Dog Day

October 1st is  National Black Dog Day.
It's a special day devoted to highlighting the plight
of black dogs in shelters around the country.

Around our place, EVERY day is black dog day
but to put a special note on it since
black dogs are notoriously difficult to re-home,
a warm hearted backward glance might be in order ...
an ode to some lovely mugs & the humans they owned.

~ archive photo, photographer unknown ~

~ Mary Miles Minter, 1917 ~

~ from George Eastman House ~

~ Queen Victoria, by W. and D. Downey, Getty Images ~

~ cabinet card from Germany, c. 1915 ~

~ Jet ~
[ 7/21/42 - 10/18/49 ]

Jet was an Alsatian who assisted in the rescue of 150 people
trapped under blitzed buildings.  Born in Liverpool, he served with the
Civil Defence Services of London and was awarded the Dickin Medal
and the RSPCA's Medallion of Valor for his rescue efforts.
He trained at the War Dogs School in Gloucester at 9 months in anti-sabotage
work and relocated to London.  Cpl. Wardle and Jet were the first handler and dog
to be used in an official capacity in Civil Defence rescue duties.

~ archive photo, Harris-Ewing ~

~ vintage photo, photographer unknown ~

~ Duchess of Fife with daughters, c. 1908 ~

~ Edwardian lady with her dog, French postcard ~

~ girl & her dog, Stockholm, Sweden, by Wilhelm Lundberg, c. 1865 ~

~ Helen Keller, archive photo ~

Whenever it is possible, my dog accompanies me on a walk or ride or sail.
I have had many dog friends - huge mastiffs, soft-eyed spaniels, 
wood-wise setters, and honest, homely bull terriers.
At present the lord of my affections is one of these bull terriers.  He has
a long pedigree, a crooked tail and the drollest "phiz" in dogdom.
My dog friends seem to understand my limitations, and always
keep close beside me when I am alone.  I love their affectionate ways
and the eloquent wag of their tails.
~ Helen Keller

~ Malvina Longfellow by Bassano, 1918


~ our black dog, Quinn ~

... grateful you came home with us, girlie.
You may be a handful 
and a training challenge, to say the least,
but you're all heart and smart as a whip.
It's only your fears holding you back ...
same as with the rest of us.


Can't adopt a black dog today?
That's ok ... it can be a big decision.
Here's something easy:

September 24, 2014

To consider ancient traditions

While I expected to see many horticultural wonders during my visit to
what took me by complete surprise was a photographic exhibition on display
in the main entrance lobby.  The images were so compelling I used a great portion
of my garden-viewing time to read the entire story
behind each powerful photograph.

With kind permission from the desk staff, I used my phone camera as best I could
to make record of several I thought were particularly potent in their imagery & description;
those that were especially moving and/or important to me.
In light of recent Peace Day 2014 this seemed like an appropriate time to share them.

The original photographs have been slightly cropped to fit
the format of this blog post.  Reflections on framing glass couldn't be avoided
nor some odd angle and color distortions.
The descriptions were copied verbatim from the exhibit walls. 
Photographer's names are clickable to their websites.
Visit them.  They are all amazing.


no strangers  poses a fundamental question: What does it mean
to be human and alive?  When the people of the world answer this question, they do so
in 7,000 unique voices.  Tragically, half of these may be silenced within a generation or two.
At risk is our human legacy, a vast achieve of knowledge and expertise.
Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of culture is a
crucial challenge that should be faced.

            LHASA, TIBET
            A young Tibetan woman poses next to a Chinese fighter jet on display in front of the
            Portola Palace, the ancient home of the Dalai Lamas, the spiritual rulers of Tibet.  Such
            symbolic gestures of intimidation are encountered throughout Lhasa, which has become
            largely an outpost of the Chinese government and a symbol of their conquest of the 
            Tibetan nation.

            © Randy Olson

            OFU ISLAND, SAMOA, 2000
            The training of the Polynesian way finder, or navigator, begins in infancy as he is placed
            in tidal pools for hours at a time so he might feel and absorb the rhythms of the sea.  If,
            on his first deep ocean voyage, he becomes sick from the swells, his teacher will tie him
            to a rope and pull him behind the canoe until the nausea passes.  It was by such devotion
            and rigor that the Polynesian ancestors settled the Pacific.

            KENYA, 2006
            A Swahili woman from Kenya decorates her hands and feet with designs made from henna,
            a dye derived from a powdered leaf mixed with water and the juice of unripe lemons.  The
            designs are drawn with a fine twig; five to six applications are required to ensure that the
            henna doesn't fade too soon, a process that takes up to 12 hours.  In modern times, a black
            synthetic dye is used to enhance the elaborate designs.  A Swahili woman who appears in
            public must remain concealed in black veils and long robes.  Her hands and feet are the only
            parts of her body that may be seen.

            © Brent Stirton

            TIMBUKTU, MALI, 2009
            In 1914, when the French took control of Timbuktu, they confiscated the ancient manuscripts,
            threatened the scholars with jail and taught the children that their ancestors were not Arab
            or Berber, Tamashek or Tuareg, but Gaul.  The library pictured here is one of the oldest in the
            world.  It is filled with ancient manuscripts that have survived throughout the centuries.

            © Wade Davis

            For over 55,000 years, the Aboriginal peoples of Australia thrived as hunters and gatherers,
            and guardians of their world.  In all that time the desire to improve upon the natural world had
            never touched them.  They accepted life as it was, a cosmological whole, the unchanging
            creation of the first dawn, when earth and sky separated and the original Ancestor, the
            Rainbow Serpent, brought into being all the primordial ancestors who through their thoughts,
            dreams and journeys sang the world into existence.  This woman stands in a sacred site of
            the Rainbow Serpent.

            © Aaron Huey

            OGLALA, SOUTH DAKOTA, 2011
            Stanley Good Voice Elk is a Heyoka (clown dancer) and a dreamer of the Thunder People.
            His Heyoka name is Wakinyan Hoksila (Wakeeya Hokshila) which means Thunder Boy, or
            or Iktomni Hoksila, Spider Boy.  He burns sage, prays and prepares for a coming kettle
            dance to thank the thunder beings (thunderstorms) as they leave for the summer.

            © Steve McCurry

            HENAN PROVINCE, CHINA, 2004
            Young monks train at the Shaolin Monastery in Henan Province, China.  The physical
            strength and dexterity displayed by the monks is remarkable, as is their serenity.  At its
            core Buddhism is simply a wisdom philosophy, a set of contemplative practices, a spiritual
            path informed by 2,500 years of empirical observation and deduction that, if followed, offers
            the certain promise of a transformation of the human heart.

            © David Hiser

            SARAWAK, MALAYSIA, 2012
            A Penan family from the Ubong River in Sarawak with a feast of wild foods - sago, wild
            boar, fruits and seeds - all gathered or hunted in the forest.  A Canadian or American grows
            up believing that poverty for some is a regrettable but inevitable feature of life.  The Penan
            live by the adage that a poor man shames us all.  The greatest transgression in their culture
            is "sihun," a concept that essentially means a failure to share.

: : :

Traditional societies are not failed attempts to be modern, let alone
failed attempts to be like us.  Every culture is a unique expression of the
human imagination and heart.
When asked what it means to be human and alive, the peoples of the world
respond in 7,000 different voices, 7,000 languages that together
express the full wisdom and knowledge of our species,
insights that no doubt will prove invaluable to future generations,
even as we continue this never ending journey.

~ Introduction, copied from the entrance wall ~