Archive for July 2007

Those of you who’ve been following this blog know that I spent the past week photographing first in Ohio and then in southern California. I finally got home yesterday – and my flight was only 16 and ½ hours late! Here’s the deal:

I had a hell of a time getting home Sunday. In fact, as I said, I never did get home! Things started promisingly Sunday morning as I drove my rental car back to the airport, LAX. The infamously legendary Los Angeles traffic jams were nowhere to be seen. I even had a celebrity encounter: on the rent-a-car shuttle bus, I met and got to speak with Scott Hamilton, the 1984 Gold Medal winner for men’s figure skating at the Winter Olympics and currently a TV commentator for figure skating. I actually recognized him by his voice from TV and he was quite personable, talking with me and the two others on the bus about figure skating, air travel and where he now lives.

Anyway, back to my tale. My flight left LAX on time bound for Dallas-Fort Worth. That’s when the trouble began. I had to change planes in Dallas, but bad weather there closed the airport and forced us to land in Oklahoma City to refuel. We sat there for three hours on the tarmac (see first photo) without A/C on a hot day, and when we finally did get to Dallas, my flight to New York had already left. So, I had to go and stand on the line to rebook at the ticket counter - for one hour and 55 minutes! (Yes, that’s right – for 115 minutes.) I was then booked on a flight to LaGuardia airport that night (even though my bags were going to JFK airport), but I had waited on line for so long that when I got to the gate I found out that I had missed that flight, too – even though the agent at the ticket counter said I had plenty of time!

At this point I was really starting to boil, but I tried to keep cool as much as I could with no alternative but to stay in Dallas overnight. The question was: where??? It was a choice of sleeping on a cot in the airport or springing for a hotel room on my own dime. (The airlines say that they’re not responsible for weather related delays.) So, with all of my camera and film stuff to look after, I chose a hotel. What a way to spend my first night in the state of Texas!

The hotel was actually very nice and the room rather luxurious (second photo), and as a stranded passenger I got a discount rate. (Too bad I didn’t have a model with me to photograph.) One of the staff at the desk even allowed me to make a free long distance call to my mom as my cell phone battery was totally depleted, and I got a further $20 reduction for not receiving my requested wake-up call. The folks in Texas were being pretty nice to me.

The next morning (yesterday) I made it back to the airport. Breakfast was a couple of Egg McMuffins (minus the meat) at the McDonald’s, which seems to have it’s own Tex-Mex cuisine as the photo shows. (Of course, there was a Texas shop, too.) Things actually took a turn for the better before eating breakfast. I had been booked on another LaGuardia flight but when I got to the airport I saw that a flight for JFK would be leaving just ten minutes earlier. Amazingly, I went over to that flight’s gate and was able to switch from the LaGuardia flight to the JFK flight - so I did get my luggage, after all!

The flight to New York was thankfully uneventful and home I returned after what I have to say was probably the worst day of air travel that I have ever experienced.

So, having said all that, I’m finishing off with a photo that’s a preview of things to come. Stay tuned.

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This will be a short entry from me. I'm in southern California now and spent the morning out photographing on a beach with my friend Alex, an excellent photographer from Scotland, and Maria Ericcson, a very lovely model from England.

Here are a couple of photos of Maria among the rocks made on the beach this morning. We're hoping to go out this afternoon to do some more work.

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I'm sitting here in Ohio in front of my good friend Dave Levingston's computer. Dave has been a very gracious host during my visit here and he has logged many hours and hundreds of miles behind the wheel of his truck to take me around to various places.

I last wrote about Saturday's trip to Detroit and my photo session with Iris Dassault. As it turns out, I needed to contact Iris again on Sunday to ask for help. I was scheduled to photograph a couple of models on a farm owned by a woman I know (a friend of a friend of my mom's) and one of the models needed to cancel due to personal reasons. I didn't find this out until that very morning, so Dave L and I were wondering if we could find a substitute on such short notice.

I thought of Vassanta, a beautiful model based in Ohio with whom I'd had a short correspondence. Iris also seemed to know her pretty well, so I called Iris on the way out to the farm to ask for Vassanta's number. I left a message but Iris did call back with the number. I called Vassanta and as luck would have it she was available that afternoon, so after dropping me off at the farm, Dave L went back to collect her and bring her on over.

The other model who was able to be with us most of the day was the ever beautiful Sarah Ellis.
After wanting to work with her for some time, I was finally able to do so in late April when I made my first visit of the year to Ohio and Dave L. It was great to work with Sarah then and of course I could not wait to do so again, so I'm happy that she was available this time, too.

Sarah is definitely an above average person. She possesses great beauty but speaks with a delightful little girl's voice and has a wonderful persona (and is a fan of "Doctor Who," as well!). As it happens, she also has a first rate intellect and is something of a genius. (I need to ask her if she belongs to Mensa, the genius organization.) Still, she can be goofy like everybody else, as seen in the photo at the top with Vassanta sitting on the left. However, I'm also posting another photo of her to show how beautiful she really is.
Next is a photo of the lovely Vassanta, who is an active participant in the creative process with definite ideas of her own. I look forward to working with her again, too.

As I am the visitor and Dave L has photographed at this farm numerous times, he allowed me to do most of the photography, but he did get in some photo time of his own. Here's a photo of him setting up a shot with Vassanta on the left and Sarah Ellis on the right.
Monday was an off day from photographing, but photography was discussed when Dave L took me to a local gallery owner who is interested in showing my work. I'd met him on my last visit here when Dave L took me over to meet him and to see some of his own photos on display, so we'll see what happnens with it. We spent most of the day, though, over at the Air Force Museum in Dayton with it's fantastic collection of military airplanes. Here's a photo of a World War II era B-17 bomber, though over favorites were the B-36 bomber with its six propellers and four jet engines, plus the very sci-fi looking Stealth Bomber.
Today was a day back to photographing beauty. The beauty of the day was Jacqueline Chantelle, who I had also photographed on my last trip here in April. Jackie was a lot of fun to work with then and she was again today, but that fun was tempered for all of us by other factors. Dave L drove us all out to the Hocking Hills region of Ohio, and while we visited some extremely beautiful spots, there were just too many other people around to do much nude photography. Most of the time was spent standing around waiting for other people to leave and move on - like waiting for 20 minutes to get in one minute of picture taking! Of course, that's when we were able to get in a minute. At a number of spots
we couldn't do anything at all.
Dave L and Jackie's boyfriend Michael acted as lookouts for other people who would have us in their sights, with Dave L calling out "Blue Heron" if other people were coming by to give us a cue to cover Jackie up. Unfortunately, as I've said, that happened much too often. Even people who were far away had Jackie in their lines of site, thus preventing her from taking off her duds and doing modeling for me most of the time.
The girl with the goofy looking face seen here is Jackie, but she does usually look normal and is quite beautiful at that, as seen in the two other photos of her.
Anyway, tomorrow I head off to California for a few days, so my time in Ohio is coming to an end. My thanks again go out to Dave L and his wife Emily for their hospitality. (Now if only the two cats that they have wouldn't cause me to keep on sneezing..........)

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I'm writing now from the home of my good friend Dave Levingston in Ohio. I arrived here by plane last night and naturally, the flight was late. The departure time was pushed back by about 45 minutes from the original time, and once we left the gate, we had to wait in line on the tarmac for about an hour before we finally took off. (They let us use electronic devices during the wait so I listened to Frank Sinatra on my new MP3 player and new noise-cancelling headphones.) At least we made it eventually.

Today I accompanied Dave L on a trip up to Detroit. He needed to drop off some photos at a gallery there for an upcoming show, so I went along for the ride. In the photo at the top here you can see Dave in the gallery, Severance, along with the gallery's owner Matthew and Josephine. You can see that Josephine was rather taken with Dave rather ample whiskers and just couldn't resist asking for a feel. (Okay, okay. So I asked her to do it for the photo - but she does seem to enjoy doing it and Dave doesn't seem to mind, either!)

Afterwards we went and paid a visit to model Iris Dassault on the way back. I've had a very nice correspondence with Iris on Model Mayhem and have wanted to work with her for some time but we were never able to set anything up until now. Iris is a very intelligent and interesting woman as well as a very beautiful one so it was wonderful to work with her. I shot three rolls of BW film as well as some digital snapshot images, including the two seen here. The film images should be much better, so hopefully I'll be able to start develooping film again before long and get to them.

I'll be here in Ohio for three more days, including two with photo sessions planned. Stay tuned.

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I’ve been pretty busy lately trying to do various things and so haven’t posted anything for almost a week. I don’t want anybody to think that I’ve fallen by the wayside, so here is another photo for your viewing pleasure.

This is an image from my 1998 New Mexico Nude series. The location is a place with volcanic rock formations called Tent Rocks, which is about an hour’s drive (as I recall) southwest of Santa Fe. I had been to the location the previous year with a group from the Santa Fe Workshops and decided to go back on my own. The model in the photo is Kate, a girl who had modeled for the Joyce Tenneson workshop I attended in ’98. I decided to stay a few days extra to get in some work on my own and Kate had agreed to work with me.

The day we chose to go out to Tent Rocks felt like it was a hot as hell. This made it rather difficult, but the upside of this was that we only saw two other people for the several hours that we were there. Kate and I followed the trail which winds through high canyon walls to the top, where one can see (as you can in the photo here) the rock formations that Tent Rocks was named for.

I asked Kate to sit on a particular rock and lean back so as to have her figure mimic the shape of the formations in the background. I never force a model to do any pose which is too difficult or uncomfortable, but nonetheless Kate removed the wet bandana that was around her neck and placed it on the rock where she’d be sitting down.

I knew that the rock was hot, so I shot off a number of frames in quick order so Kate could get up off the rock. She did everything I asked for in fine form. After it was all done, I went over to the rock and actually placed my hand on it. That rock was sizzling!!! Had I known that it was that hot I may not have asked her to sit on it, but in the end I guess I’m glad I did as I rather like this image. Thanks, Kate!

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I spent my working time this week taking a class. Although much of the material does not really deal with what I do on the job, I still need to pass the test given earlier today to keep my job that I’ve had for twenty years. (And today is Friday the 13th, no less!) Anyway, I think I did pretty well on it, so hopefully I’ll remain employed and earning money that I can use to buy film, go on trips to interesting places and, of course, hire beautiful models to get naked for me (or, at the very least, for my camera).

I’ve got some trips coming up, so besides studying to keep my job I’ve had other things to take care of. I still haven’t had time to read through the manual for the new Canon A570IS compact digital camera that I just bought, but maybe I’ll take the camera out for a spin this weekend.

I’m also still unable to develop the film that I shot of half a dozen models in Ohio back in April, so when I return from my upcoming trips I will have a tremendous amount of film to have to deal with. Oh, well.

As I’ve gotten a new compact digital camera, here are some photos I made with my first digital camera – an Olympus D550. That camera used four AA batteries and worked with Smart Media cards. The ones that I used had a capacity of 128 Mb. (I just bought a couple of 4 Gb cards for the new Canon, which uses two AA’s.) The two photos show a total of four Rhowena’s. Each one is a composite of two photos that I made with the intention of stitching together to test out some stitching software. (Now if only I had the twin to photograph now that the original has retired from modeling………..) Both of these photos were made in the Nevada desert south of Las Vegas late one afternoon in the spring of 2003. I actually made an in-camera double exposure of Rhowena earlier that year in upstate New York (see my last posting) with my big Pentax film camera that I’ve printed as an 11 x 14. I’ll try to post it here some time.

Have a good weekend, all.

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Well, today’s Monday for a little more than an hour, and since I missed making my regular Sunday blog posting yesterday, I figure that I ought to get it done now before today becomes tomorrow.

I spent yesterday doing…. well, what did I do? Oh, yeah. I was copying music to load into an MP3 player that I bought recently, and I was starting to use the new Canon compact digital camera that I bought Friday to replace my little Pentax. One of the reasons I got the Canon is that Canon seems to be one of the few manufacturers who still make their compacts with an optical viewfinder, a feature which I think is very important to have. Anyway, I’m planning to do some photo making during the upcoming months and I want to get some decent digital photos along with the film stuff, especially as I still don’t know when I’ll be able to develop film again.

Today was a hot day here in New York, so here are some photos of Rhowena during somewhat cooler days back in the winter of 2003. She wasn’t outside for the first one, though, but was standing inside next to a large window (more easily seen in the next image). As I’ve written here before, too bad that she retired from modeling.

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Well, today is the fourth day of the month of July, meaning that it’s Independence Day here in the United States. (Yes, that’s the name of the holiday. The fourth of July is just the date. I wonder how many Americans actually know what this day commemorates – and how often have you heard Christmas referred to as the “25th of December”?)

So, in keeping with the spirit of the day, here’s a photo I took seven years ago. It was July 4, 2000, and two examples of the Stars and Stripes were hanging proudly from the balconies of this building that I passed. If you think the photo may have been made in the French Quarter of New Orleans by the look of the building, you’d be wrong – but you’d be close. I made this photo in the beautiful town of Aix-en-Provence in the south of France.

I think the ground floor held a book store – perhaps an English language book store as I recall – but I remember thinking how great I felt to be away from home on Independence Day and still able to see somebody putting out Old Glory for all to see. I guess it’s appropriate to post a photo of the American flag in France, as the French did help us to win the war against the British (the army museum in Paris has a section devoted to Lafayette and the Revolutionary War) and they did give us the Statue of Liberty.

Of course, a lot of people here in the U.S. view France very negatively due to its political positions in recent years. Well, I don’t necessarily agree with those positions, either. Some Americans say that we should boycott visiting France, but the fact is that if I chose to boycott every country whose government I disagree with, I would be unable to visit (or even live in) these very United States!

This blog is meant to be about my photography. I’ve tried to keep my political views out of it, but as Independence Day is very much a political holiday (the Declaration of Independence being about as political as a document can be), I’ll go ahead this time.

As I said, I didn’t agree with the views of the French government regarding Iraq, but they did what they did out of their own political interests just as the Bush administration did what it did out of its own interests. Unfortunately, those interests were not the best interests of the American people but rather those of the Bush administration and its cronies – and it has only continued.

The current U.S. regime has got to be one of the most corrupt, self-serving and morally bankrupt (not to mention inept and incompetent!) in American political history. Let’s see - Paris Hilton went to jail for driving with a suspended license (or some such thing), but Scooter Libby lies to a federal investigation to cover up the dirty deeds of the Bush administration and he goes free. Yes, drunk driving is a serious offense that can cause death and injury and it should be punished accordingly – but Libby lied to cover up the deceptive practices of this administration that have lead to the death of thousands. Letting him go is outrageous. I say, “Let him rot.”

And then there's Dick Cheney, who's trying to avoid accountability to the American people by claiming that the vice president is not part of the executive branch of government. Unbelievable! (Well, it should be unbelievable, but with this administration such nonsense is unfortunately all too believable.)

I’d like to think that the founding fathers of this country did what they did in the hope of bringing justice to this land of ours, but of course the Bush administration is not interested in justice or doing what’s right for all Americans. As long as they please their backers in the political and religious right, everything’s just fine as far as they're concerned.

The photo above shows a couple of American flags. That flag is a powerful symbol – but it is still just a symbol. Some people think that being patriotic means waving that flag and giving unconditional support to the president. To me, patriotism means more than waving a flag and blindly following whatever moron happens to be living in the White House. Patriotism is about supporting those things that make the United States of America a special place to live – things like justice, government accountability, freedom of expression and freedom to dissent without persecution. Unfortunately, these are things that the Bush administration has shown that it’s not interested in supporting, so the next presidential election can’t come soon enough for me.

In the meantime, enjoys your barbecues or whatever holiday meals you may be having today.

And remember to pass the Freedom fries.

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I spent some time this weekend scanning more negatives of Rachel on Canada’s Prince Edward Island last summer , including those seen here of her on the rocky coastline. Unlike the double exposure photos that I posted last time, the ones I scanned this time were made with my Holga. This is a fun little piece of plastic junk, and since I knew I would never get perfect pictures with it, I never tried to get anything perfect. I was just looking to have a little fun and maybe come up with something different that would look cool or interesting in its own oddball way.

The three photos I’m posting here fall into that category, or at least I seem to think so. Nothing to win me a Pulitzer, but I kind of like them. The one that I scanned which at first I was not planning to scan at all is the one on top here. For some reason, this one just keeps growing on me the more that I look at it. I think it’s because the way the line of subjects seems to lead the eye along. First, there’s my shadow down in the lower right corner. Then there’s Rachel, and behind her is another photographer. Finally, in the distance, there’s yet another figure. It almost feels like you could string a line between all four points. (It would probably have made a great 3D image, too!)

The other photos just show Rachel on the rocks, but I think there’s something about the roughness of the surroundings that goes well with the rough image quality of the Holga.

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