photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “fine art

The Looking Glass

It’s 2:50 a.m.
Chance is going nuts, ripping and running around the living room. I just gave him a bath. Brian Bob is chilling in his room- Brianna- the same. I should be sleeping, or doing homework, but I’ve just downloaded Tex Murphey: Overseer. Gaming is one of my coping mechanisms, much like millions of other people. Until my heart heals, I’ll trudge along the motions of my life- school, cleaning, cooking, sleeping, etc. and slip away into my game as often as possible. I just can’t process any more raw emotion at this time. Tex Murphy is a welcome escape.

I’m torn between another pistachio and almond ice cream cone and Guinness Extra Stout. I have a 6 pack in the fridge and it whispers to me. I keep forgetting to drink one. I  decide on lemon and ginger tea with honey instead. I’ve had a migraine for two days now. (Imagine that.) I can’t do this again tomorrow. After two days, my mind starts fracturing into tiny bits of livewire pain- sizzling every nerve until it’s raw and jittery. It does little good to complain other than to serve as a reminder that I’m still suffering. It too is a welcome escape from the pain in my heart.

There’s nothing one can do but ride the wave of heartache after a breakup. One of my x’s is all over me like white on rice- I’m disgusted. He thinks it might be a good time to squeeze back in. I think it’s highly disrespectful and pretty insulting to me. I know people do that- the rebound thing- but if you’re crawling away from the battlefield of one relationship, why would you hop into the trenches of another? That doesn’t make any sense to me, and it’s the furthest thing from my mind. (And heart.) I think I’ll be alone for a very long time. I’m a one man woman, and I think it’s necessary to experience the pain after a breakup. It tells me that the love I knew was real and that’s why it hurts so much. My friends don’t know what to say to comfort me, and that’s ok. There’s only so much another human being can offer in the way of companionship and support. If it weren’t for my love, relationship, and friendship with Jesus- I would absolutely crumble and die. I have no doubt. I’m not enough to keep myself going- I think of Sylvia Plath- and can understand how a broken heart could make her stick her head in an oven and forget to live. She couldn’t bear to lose her man to another woman. But Sylvia Plath said when she was just a child, “I’ll never talk to God again.” And I suppose she didn’t. So, she killed herself. I think she should have talked to God.

That’s where she and I differ. I love life, and as painful as it is to feel your heart being ripped from your chest, I do have a very close relationship with Jesus. We talk, commune, and just have a good time together. When I think about His love, and how He’s able to reach into every tiny place in my heart- I can’t be angry or sad for long. I smile, and know I’m loved. He washes away every awful feeling, and the bitter tears become bittersweet. They eventually become joyful, and I become like a child again, marveling at the beauty of God’s creation: I rise above the pain.

I’ve gone and talked myself right out of my misery again, and feel a half-smile creeping across my face.

Oh heart, you’re going to make it…

Image50 MM/manual/ISO 3200/natural lighting/Squire Boone Caverns/3.28.13


The Peek

Thepeek50 MM/manual/shot in monochrome/natural lighting

A man told me today that my goat belongs in a magazine.
I’ll take that as a compliment. :0)

Trying to focus manually while your target is moving constantly isn’t an easy task. But I love the way manual shooting paints dreamy bohek (heavy blurring) into the frame, such as the fence seen in the foreground. All-manual focussing and exposure (shutter speed/aperture/ISO/WB, etc.) has a certain quality and look to it that’s not easily replicated. I mean, it can be, but then it has the shopped look to it. (Photoshopped.) I’m hopelessly in love still with monochromatic images and especially with shooting IN monochrome.

Colour’s alright too. But nothing makes me as happy as shooting in black and white- all manual- using only natural lighting. My itch has been scratched.

Back to schoolwork…

 

 

Squire Boone Caverns
3.28.13


Adrift

Adrift Image
My neice, camouflaged against the background/study in mood.

Squire Boone Caverns
50 MM/manual/shot in monochrome
3.28.13


Matrimony

She said, “Yes.”

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Based on a true story.
(Somewhere.)

 

Van Gogh inspired.

Fettered and Tied

Neverending love.Image


Affinity: It’s Alright to Shine

 

A  F  F  I  N  I  T  Y 

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Limited edition print. Signed. Available in dye-infused magnachrome metallic print only with wire hanger/white gloss finish. 20×52 $2,000 [contact for more info.] Serious inquiries only.


Charity x 3

Today has been a pretty wild day. I’m still perturbed that Allstate wanted to give me a measly $2,100 for pretty much wrecking my life- temporarily. My conversation with the rep went something like this,

“Mrs. Lindsey, we’re able to offer you $1,700,” said the rep.

“Did you say one, or ten?”

[Rep snickers lightly]

“ONE.”

“Are you serious? Considering that I had to drop two of my classes last semester- with a doctor’s note excusing me from those two classes, had to repair my GPA-”

“Well Mrs. Lindsey, you didn’t actually have something from your doctor saying that the car accident caused you to have to drop out of school,” he said.

“Um, [rep’s name omitted for confidentiality’s sake], the doctor wrote the statement on a prescription pad. It clearly said MVA (motor vehicle accident) along with the names of the two classes right on there. Any lawyer or jury would absolutely agree that that’s legit.”

“Yeah but, we feel that it wasn’t actually the accident that made you have to quit school,” he said.

“Ok,” said I. “First of all, I didn’t ‘quit school’. I simply dropped out of my two most demanding classes due to the pain and stress caused by your client splitting my bumper. Secondly, I haven’t had to drop a class in years. Not even when my house was flooded and cracked in half a year and a half ago and my kids and I were put up in a hotel by the Red Cross. We had nowhere to go, and I had to ask my art friends in Australia for help. They pulled together $650 in an hour and a half, and we were in an apartment days later- and [rep’s name]…I was carrying four classes during that time and STILL didn’t drop any classes.” [And for the record, made all A’s and B’s.]

“Well…Mrs. Lindsey….” [insert more BS here]

I was able to talk him up to $2,100, and what a disgrace. As mentioned before, and somewhere else- you are NOT in good hands with ALLSTATE. No siree….

To the rep’s credit, he expedited things to the best of his ability and Fed Exed the check. I thought long and hard about settling for pennies practically, but, I was able to give my friend Jean (the homeless woman currently residing in an abandoned train car) $100 cash todayand a new cell phone with 750 minutes + text and internet. That in itself made it worth it to me.

I wanted to get my guitar out of the pawn shop and when I got there, I was told that I was a few days too late. The (very cool) guy behind the counter saw my disappointment and told me that he would see what he could do for me. He certainly did. He clicked around on the computer and said that it was still in the backroom, but he wasn’t able to return it. Nevertheless, he checked with his supervisor and was able, by the skin of his teeth, to pull some strings for me. (Um, no pun intended.)

A few minutes later, he came out with my beautiful, green Oscar Schmidt- acoustic electric:

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I twisted up a $20 and handed it to the (cool) counter guy.

“Man, you didn’t have to do that. Here,” I said.

“I can’t take that,” he said, making funny faces in the direction of his boss.

I shoved it under the massive day planner on the counter and said, “The world would be a better place if there were more people like you. Here. Take it.”

And smiled and walked out.
I wasted no time in giving the guitar to Josh as a gift. ♥

I also gave each of my kids $50 for some spending money. We were in a grocery store parking lot and saw a man asking for change. Naturally, he hit me up.

“Hey, weren’t you at the Haven house?” I asked, shaking his hand.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, returning the smile.

I dug through my purse and gave him the equivalency of $3.00. I can’t help thinking that he was going to go straight to the liquor store and I really didn’t care. It’s a tough world out there.

“I think I’m gonna call that guy Liquor Store Lawrence,” my son said. I have a lively bunch. 🙂 It was several hours later when we were in Louisville, Ky. (minutes from the Kentucky Derby), and we saw a man on the street who was muttering to himself. He was fairly young with tattered clothes and a shabby toboggan. My daughter saw him looking through garbage cans. It made us all very sad.

“I think I’m going to give that guy some money,” Brianna said.

And moments later, while sitting at a red light in a congested intersection, she bolted from the back seat and sprinted across the street, shoving her $50 into his hand.

“Did you give him your $20?” I asked.

“No, I gave him 50,” she said softly.

“Are you serious, Sissy?!” I asked, not so softly.

“Dude, that’s probably the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen you do,” my son said to her.

I was completely stunned. She became my hero, immediately. To top things off, she was wearing this:

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A beautiful kimono looking lingerie gown, with sneakers. 🙂

Not that we were out looking for homeless people today, but homelessness is rampant in this area. I ponder on this Scripture: Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. (Proverbs 3:27)

We popped into the Greyhound bus station so I could use the ladies room. I couldn’t resist the lighting:

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SP/ 50 MM 1.8 II/manual exposure/manual focus

I also couldn’t resist snapping these guys on the way out:

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50 MM/manual focus/manual exposure

You have to be sneaky to snap pics of people without them knowing it (all while focusing the lens- I can’t stand autofocus and consider it taboo). Something tells me the guy on the right knew I was taking his pic…

It just kept getting weirder as the day drew on. The wind blew fiercely and we found ourselves facing this:

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We took a detour and ended up here:

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Not only can pigs fly, but pigs fly high. Literally. Look at its bloodshot eyes…

I was able to shoot a rare pic of my son outside of a music store. He dyed his hair blue today, although you can’t see it here:

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I never in a million years thought I would be cool with my kid dying his hair blue. I guess I’m mellowing out as I’m growing older.

That’s not altogether a bad thing…


Drug Prevention- Executive Summary

If somebody were to have told me (twenty years ago) that I would be writing reports on drug prevention on a hot Friday night, I would have belted out a hearty laugh, followed by a shot of straight Tequila.

My typical Friday nights were spent in one of two ways:

a.) I was in church with my friends and family
b.) I was out running the streets, higher than a kite and no doubt on my way to becoming quite smashed.

Sometimes in that order.

If I didn’t puke, I generally wasn’t having a good time. This went on for a good twenty years. I suppose that my extensive experience on the subject fuels my passion for it. I know many people who think you can’t touch a drop to drink (or you’re a raging alkie) or that if you smoke a joint, you’re on your way to harder drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, seeing how pot is considered a “gateway drug”.

But I don’t think this is so. Many things change the brain’s chemistry and can cause addiction- not just drugs. I’ve had many Twinkie battles (when I had a chronic case of the munchies) and I was certain the Twinkie would win, but again, not so. Will power and a solid education go a long way. “Just Say No” simply doesn’t work, and the DARE program was an epic failure.

So what’s the answer?

I ponder these things. Drugs and alcohol littered my youth- they were my second skin.

Now, I haven’t smoked a joint in six years, and haven’t had hard liquor in six as well. I don’t care much for the taste of alcohol these days- that’s not to say I can’t have a beer or two, or a glass of wine with a salad. I just fell out of love with it, that’s all.

Photography has taken the place of drugs I believe. My art is satisfying enough for me.

When I’m excited- I take pics.
When I’m sad- I take pics.
When I’m stressed- I take pics.
When I’m angry- I take pics.

By doing so, I alleviate much of the stress associated with these intense emotions. I can add descriptions to my work so that the viewer can perhaps step into my shoes. It’s absolutely therapeutic. I remember the day I quit smoking cigarettes (six years ago also). I was wondering what in the world I would do when I was stressed. No weed- no whiskey- no smokes! Where’s the fun?!

Then I picked up a camera. 🙂

Maybe someday I’ll design a program for kids and teens, that incorporates “phototherapy” into their lives. It’s not too expensive- everybody has a camera these days, and they can express their pent up emotions through their art.

Good grief, am I really rambling on about drug prevention on a Friday night?!

Yes. I’m afraid I am…

And here’s the Executive Summary I turned in today:

 

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(Copying, “borrowing”, or outright stealing this work for the use of plagiarism is absolutely prohibited and any breach of this written warning could result in prosecution.)

Executive Summary

In 1983, Daryl F. Gates founded the Drug Abuse Resistance Program, or DARE. The program offered a ten week, in-school, interactive learning module taught by local law enforcement officers and others. Authorized workers and guest speakers were to undergo 80 hours of training in the areas of childhood development, communication skills, and other interpersonal tools. Funding for the organization was based on certain criteria being met: The information was to be research-based, and effective. In 1998, funding for the program was cut as a result of failing to meet the required regulations. The Department of Education (DOE) has withdrawn from the program completely and refuses to give DARE any future funding. Recent scientific studies have proven DARE to not only be ineffective, but counterproductive as well. It is difficult to say whether the law enforcement officers’ lack of therapeutic qualifications played a part in the failure of DARE’s program. Perhaps it was a combination of factors that simply weren’t cohesive. Some of the teenagers in the program may have viewed the police officers as a threat. It is a fair assessment to say that minorities and inner-city kids may have been preconditioned to fear police officers, especially if they might have been told the same division put a parent or family member behind bars. Perhaps too, the overexposure to a variety of drugs gave the young DARE members more temptations than they might have had without the program.

Attempts at primary prevention education have been challenging over the years as well. Targeting grade-schoolers, many programs have used catchy slogans, such as, “Just Say No,” without reaping necessary and expected benefits. A major problem with this technique that must be taken into consideration is the exposure to a host of new drugs that many children are not aware of beforehand. By announcing the dangers of these items, children are being tantalized and seduced by an idea, “the forbidden fruit”.

Scare tactics is another method that has been ineffective. When presenting exaggerated effects of drugs to children and teens, but especially teens, they will often discredit the material altogether. When teenagers are shown dramatic images of horrific drug-related events, the emotional connection and fear are more temporal than long lasting. Children lack the foresight to understand what 20 years of hard drinking may do to the body, even knowing, he or she may not care. Connecting with these kids on his or her level is crucial. Targeting a demographic is necessary, but so is having the precision and ability to actually reach these children.

Another aspect to consider when using scare tactics is the often romantic appeal of a thing when it is presented as “off limits”. That is not to say legalization of drugs or underage drinking should be an option, but perhaps emphasizing nausea as an effect, rather than euphoria, may tarnish its overall attraction. The effects of drug and alcohol use are tempting to children and teens because they like to feel good. Toddlers spin in circles to mimic euphoria, even before they are old enough to form sentences, much less understand the concept of drugs and alcohol and their effects on the body. No matter how well packaged or distributed antidrug campaigns may be, unless the parents or caregivers of the child are reinforcing, in the home, what he or she is learning in school, the whole of it will be counterproductive.

Programs like the Child Development Project (CDP) have been shown to significantly reduce drinking and drug use among adolescents and teens between the ages of 5-12. The CDP strives to promote closer bonds between students and their peers, teachers and students, and students and parents. Another useful prevention program is Class Action, which is a universal school-based alcohol-related learning module. Class Action targets children between the ages of 9-12. This program in particular has proven to reduce the onset of drinking among school kids, and has reduced binge drinking among high school students.

One reason for the success of Class Action is the interactive peer-led relationships between the students and their mentors, or speakers. The representatives focus on turning negative peer pressure into positive peer pressure; thereby changing the messages of alcohol uses and abuse altogether. Students who heed the warnings will perceive drinking as something that might be shunned by their peers, in turn, molding their choices into healthier actions. Unlike DARE, which is a tertiary prevention program, the CPD and Class Action are primary and secondary prevention programs.

Recommended Changes:

Avoid using scare tactics in secondary and tertiary prevention programs. The fear-related material can be effective in creating a necessary protective boundary in grade-schoolers. The same fear may compound stress in teenagers, causing them to actually want to try drugs or alcohol, and the same could be said in tertiary programs. Scare tactics are best used during primary prevention, when children are most impressionable.

Avoid using law enforcement officers in secondary and tertiary prevention programs. They may induce rebellion in teens, and resentment among addicts. Again, law enforcement officers are presented and often perceived as “the good guys” to grade-schoolers. A two step interactive transitional program is recommended that would bridge the gap from grade-school over to middle school, and then middle school to high school, promoting the positive images of law enforcement officers. Telling children to “stay away from bad things” simply does not work. Law enforcement officers would be encouraged to engage in activities that children and teens participate in most: gaming, texting, and hanging out at their favorite hot spots.

Abstinence rewards in school is another recommendation.
Reward middle and high school students who abstain from alcohol and drugs.

Implementation:

Develop a program specifically for middle and high school students offering monthly voluntary drug testing. Rather than spend money on building more incarceration facilities, increase funding for voluntary drug testing in schools. Rewards include: Ipods, clothing cards from their local malls, and ITunes cards that allow unlimited downloading of songs. By associating positive material gain (rewards) with abstinence, the fear and anxiety associated with drug testing would be diminished, if not altogether diffused, and kids and teens would develop an appreciation for drug testing that could possibly carry over into adulthood. Just as word-of-mouth among peer groups is drugs and alcohol’s number one promoter, so too, the Abstinence Reward Program (ARP) could be widely spread and promoted by peers among peers.

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Catwalk/My daughter, Heidi./Lensbaby Composer pro-Double Glass Ops./Manual ex./RAW/GIMP

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Photo Therapy

So my assignments are stacking up already.

College Algebra
Fill out proctor forms/fax back to instructors
Read 28 pages in Nutrition/take first quiz
Finish up reading in Alcohol and Other Drug Problems- type out 2 page report as a treatment center assistant, specializing in prevention
Prepare for my first speech

They’re not due until next Monday, so…there’s time.

I’m tempted to go play hookie. Down at the river. With my camera. Maybe- maybe I could do research of some kind. For school. Or something.
With my camera.

Josh is frustrated. He’s on his laptop rambling on about his inconsiderate teacher.
I really didn’t hear a word he said.

“Is that your Spanish class?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said, seemingly appeased.

I passed.

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Heidi/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops./RAW/Manual [Rebel xti]


I’m Not Above It

Oh…my goodness. Where to start.

I posted an ad on Craig’s List to pick up some extra cash. I am not above scrubbing toilets.
Josh and I got to Kate’s house a few minutes early. [Name has been changed for confidentiality purposes.] We peeked through the windows.

Kate had already told me on the phone, that she was a heart patient.
What she failed to disclose, is that she is also a semi-hoarder.
And…her house hasn’t had a good cleaning in years.

We knocked on the door a few minutes early- no answer.
I caught the look in Josh’s eye and it was obvious that he was thinking the same thing.
We made our way quickly back to the car.

“Look. Let’s just call her. Tell her that it’s going to take longer than we thought. We can come back again,” Josh said.

“If we leave now, we’ll never be back,” I said. “It’s just how things go.”

So we started rationalizing.

“What if it was our Aunt Ida or something? Or a family member…”
“Why did we come here? To leave?”
“What is so important that we have to do besides help this woman?”

And so on.

And so between us both, we decided that we had no choice but to return to Nan’s house, and do the best we could for her.

I knew she was a fiercely intelligent woman; I could tell within seconds of meeting her. Her eyes beemed with an intense light. Her skin was amazing!
Nan was probably going on 60 or so, and I liked her right away. A very earthy, down-to-earth woman. My kind of person. No BS, no fronts.  Just herself.

“Kate, you look like a psychologist,” I said to her.

“I am,” said Kate.

And so we stayed for five and a half hours and cleaned our butts off. We put in a few extra laps for her, and it was our pleasure.
I’m used to making $20 per hour by myself when I clean, given my 25+ years experience and proficiency in the area, but Josh and I are both doing the school thing, and we’d rather clean houses privately, and on our own time, than to work a public job and so on. Also, we get to meet many interesting people this way.

Kate cut us a check for $125. We kissed her dog Daisy goodbye, and locked up behind us.

I can barely believe we did what we did there in only five and a half hours. Unbelievable.

Grocery shopping. (Beer, watermelon, rasberries, vanilla ice cream, sodas, smoked mussels, etc.)
Dishes. Bubblebath. Cleaning my own house. A bit of reading in my schoolbook, “Alcoholism and Other Drug Problems”. And finally…

…to bed.


Recent Work

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Public of your Past/Canon G3/self portrait

 

G3/self

 

G3/self

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Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops.
Falls of the Ohio/Water

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The Hiding Place/My daughterBrianna-reworked(added film filter + mastered levels and hues)
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass

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Thirty one Hours/ My daughter, Heidi,Reworked
Lensbaby Composer Pro/ Double Glass/Canon Rebel Xti

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Times Square/New York, New York
Multiple Exposure/Sigma 17-70

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Warhol/ Warhol exhibition (Campbell’s soup cans)
Museum of Modern Art- New York, New York

Multiple Exposure

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Warsaw/ Abandoned Government Facility
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops.

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My daughter, Heidi/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass

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He’s Leaving Again/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass

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Interrogation/ My kitchen chair in natural window lighting (my favourite lighting)
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass

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Self Portrait/Long exposure experiment/Canon G3/manual (8 secs.)

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Shadows and Leaves/Harvest Homecoming/Canon G3/Manual


Last Day of Freedom

I can’t believe school starts tomorrow. My summer vacation is officially over.

Heidi emailed me and asked if she might come to live with us until February. I’m ecstatic! We’ll be moving into a new house before September 10th. The $5,280 in school grants and loans will be a big help. Josh will be going full-time this semester as well. He’ll be receiving less than $4,000, but between the both of us, we’ll pay for five months of rent up front, which will take some of the pressure off. Because Heidi will be with us, we’ll probably go with a four bedroom house. When she’s back in Bloomington (here and there), we’ll use the room as an office.

I’m a bit weirded out by my Speech class. I’ve put that class off for two years. (Sigh.) I’ll also be going into my fourth semester of college math. I was going to break up my classes and only go part-time, but decided to bite the bullet and face all of my fears at once and simply get it over with. I’m saddened that I will have to put my photography on the back burner once again, but excited by the fact that I’ll be simultaneously working on my online gallery.

I was also just juried in to Sojie 18:

Birgitta, hi, your image below was nominated for SoJie 18 –
Solo’s Juried Invitational Exhibition on “Abstracts”

It’s time to post!

  1. deadline is this Friday, August 24, 2012, 8AM New York time!
  2. judging starts immediately after the deadline
  3. show opens Monday, August 27th!

SoJie 18 – exhibition space and instructions
Use the special “Easy Button” linked in the intro to get image code to copy/paste into a comment.
There is the link, and an illustration in the intro on how to use the Easy Button, 1-2-3.

Congratulations!
Frannie

p.s. Below is your nominated image. You will see your nomination sticker in the comments. Click it, or the above link for instructions.


Men Walking
by Birgitta

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I took the shot with a Lensbaby Composer Pro (Double Glass)- slow shutter sp./ Night shot (about 8 seconds or so).
RAW/manual/Canon Rebel Xti

I love to bend the light. This image is almost SOOTC/straight out of the camera.
I did a slight level adjustment, but apart from that- it is.

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It’s a prestigious nomination. I’m pleased. 🙂


Wretched Mess

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Today has been one of the most wretched days of my life. I’ve had the worst migraine that I’ve ever had, and it has been a doosy. I started my day with a strong dose of cayenne and ginger (as usual) , followed by a small  cup of medicinal tea. I was grossly nauseous, and so went back to bed. I tried to read some of my Bette Davis/Joan Crawford dual biography, but was too sick. The pain was mostly in the back of my head, exactly where my cyst is, and it was swelling- massive pressure was building up and as usual, it felt as if I’d been shot in the back of the head- but this is actually worse. When a person is shot in the head, more times than not, they die. If they don’t die, they’re rushed to the hospital and given large doses of morphine, stadol, demerol, or something of that nature so they’re not suffering. In my case, I have to sit it out. Minutes feel like hours. Words are too simple to describe this kind of ongoing pain.

I haven’t taken a phenergan in over a month, but I tried to take one half and be very still. Eventually though, my stomach revolted. My son asked, “Do you want me to bring you the trash can, mom?”

“No, I don’t want to throw up in front of everybody,” I said.

Two minutes later I ran to the bathroom and “worshipped the porcelain god” as the saying goes. Now if you’ve never thrown up a fairly large amount of cayenne pepper, you haven’t really lived yet. My whole head was on fire! My nasal passages felt as if somebody’d sprayed acid into them and I was crying tears that actually burned. (Not boo-hoo crying, but phsyiologically.) Also, the pain was exacerbated by the fact that I had a new surge of fiery adrenaline coursing through my body, particularly in my head.

I made it back to my bed and by God’s good mercy, was able to sleep. I woke up feeling like raw heck, drank a bit more of my medicinal tea (poppy seed tea, which actually works to kill the pain, if you can keep it down), and after five more hours of intense agony- ordered Chinese. (Might I recommend the moo shu beef? General Tso’s chicken is also a tasty dish, and crab rangoons make a great appeteizer. This is what I ordered, along with a coke and a few Pepsi’s.)

It is now 12:45 a.m. and the pain is still pretty intense (it’s moved around to my front right eye socket). Ibuprofin is a joke, but I took two anyway. It’s been three weeks since I’ve stopped taking my Lortab and Ambien. My liver was beginning to tell me that I couldn’t keep taking pills and remain “healthy”. Granted, I never exceeded 10 mg. at one time, which is the equivalent of 1 blue Lortab, (but seldom took even that much). This is part of the reason why I decided to become certified in Substance Abuse- I know far too many people who have been reduced to a mere statistic, having lost everything (including themselves) to drugs.

I’ve become passionate in my search for a homeopathic solution: pain management without having to take pharmaceutical chemicals. Poppy seed tea can be taken at small doses to combat severe pain, such as the pain from my arachnoid cyst, while still allowing me to function. Naturally, if you take a larger amount, you can get higher than a kite, but if I wanted to get high, I’d just smoke a joint. I like to be in control of my faculties though. This is part of the reason why I quit drinking liquor over five years ago. If I chose to not take anything at all, I’d be limited to “getting out of bed to pee” and that’s about it. I can’t live that way. So after much consideration and trial and error, I’m sticking with my cayenne, ginger, and med. tea, when necessary.

I do get more migraines this way (not taking pharmaceutical drugs) and some days it’s sheer agony, like today, but my liver feels 80% better.

Through it all, I’m able to say, “Thank you God for this pain. I still choose to praise you, and lift up Your Name.”

When I compare my pain, to the pain that Jesus had to endure, I shudder to think that I could even complain. I still have two eyes that see, and a heart that loves- two working hands, a family that I love and that loves me. I have much to be thankful for.

Much to be thankful for. 🙂


Pain in Rainbows pt. # 2

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I decided to convert my collage (Pain in Rainbows) over into a digitally rendered fauvist styled painting on stone. I rather liked the way it came out. While I wasn’t planning on sharing my arachnoid cyst situation with all of Australia, I wanted to include my Aussie friends (all of whom are artists: sculptors, writers, and painters) as we’ve all been close for about six years now.

I feel pretty fortunate to have such a great group of friends. Many have solo exhibitions and are quite successful in the art world. And, a finer bunch of people I’ve never known.

The site I’m referring to is Redbubble. I’ve been there six years. Hmm…maybe seven.

 


Pain in Rainbows

I really don’t like pop art. Never cared for the Marylin coloured collage or the tomato soup cans (though I admit that I was thoroughly infatuated with the life of Warhol and have much respect for his talent). I decided to mingle the style of pop art with my love of B&W to examine and interpret my migraine pain. I suppose it could convey most any pain. After all, we all live with pain- whether emotional or physical- but none escape it. Like art, music, laughter, joy, and death- pain is a language that needs no interpreter.

I have recently found my Canon G3 battery charger. The camera is absolutely obslete on todays market, but I know that camera better than my own skin. I cut my teeth on that camera (manual exposure, shooting in monochrome, manipulating the lighting and shadows, and so on).

I think the problems many artists and photographers face today are due to the fact that the modern digital cameras are so “capable” that the user need only click one main button, “auto”, and the camera “does it all”. While it can mimic the accuracy to a degree, it cannot automatically shape and mold the light on a level that one can attain if he or she manually adjusts the settings. It’s like comparing a bologna sandwhich to foie gras. Or, Vienna Sausages to caviar. If a person doesn’t know how to shoot in manual, he or she may still be able to create an effective image, especially in Lightroom, GIMP (which is what I use), or Photoshop, but then it falls into digital artistry and not so much “photography”.

If you are curious to know what kind of a photographer you are, throw your DSLR (or P&S) in MANUAL, as well as MONOCHROME, and go out during the golden hour as well as high noon- then look at the stills. When you can take a batch of photos that aren’t blown out, hot- and bleeding here or there- you’re ready to move on to a more advanced camera.

There’s really no point in getting a fancy camera if you don’t know how to shoot in all manual! I can’t say this enough. And the truth is, about 80% of all of us photogs that have high end cameras are LAZY. (Notice I said “us”.) Very few actually shoot in manual mode, much less understand how to.

If I had a big rig, I’d be the laziest photog in the world.
Thank God for innovation and ghetto-rigging.

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The Marriage of Black and White

 

I’m realizing only today why I’m so creative. Because I’ve had to improvize my whole life. Having next to nothing to work with, forces you to try harder. You have no choice but to experiment because you really don’t know what else to do. Over time, your style becomes defined, refined, and unmistakable.

Having to sell my rig, more than once, I was left with only my Canon G3. It’s a 4 MP dinosaur. Because I had nothing else, I decided to not only learn how to shoot in B&W + manual, but revel in it.

That was about two years ago. I’ve been shooting for about 7, but B&W rules me. I’m completely infatuated with the marriage between light and shadows. To me, black and white is already a story. The images within an image become the actors on the stage, or props, I suppose, but even if you have only one blank wall, and a cheap camera set up to photograph that wall, with a bit of natural window lighting hitting it (through parted curtains, say), then the clouds passing over the sun become the filters. The passing clouds increase and decrease the gamma and contrast naturally.

The story of B&W is one of masculinity and femininity. Life and death. Hot and cold. Love and hate. When stripped down to their very elements, they are in their most powerful state. I have little interest at the moment in HDR, filters of this or that kind- and while they’re great (and I have experience in those as well) I can’t escape the beauty of being stripped down to almost nothing, and simply working with what ya got.

That’s not to say I photograph things in the nude.

I’m experimenting with a new webcam I got. It’s a cheapie $18.00 Logitech. But it’s capable of shooting in B&W (Heaven……….!) and so I’ve been sitting here in my computer chair, painting shadow swans on my wall with my hands. When I move my hands back and forth to and away from my chest, the shadows become elongated horizontally. Such a simple action. But it changes the dynamics of everything.

And here are some snappies:

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This is generally how I feel several times a week.
“Ahhh…..close the curtains!”

(Migraines make the light absolutely unbearable.) Oh, and I wasn’t faking it. I did indeed wake up with a migraine.
I intentionally bleached the lighting, and jacked up the gamma so the blacks would be double heavy.

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Choppy, grainy, bleeding contrast, toasted exposure- what’s not to love?

(Yes, yes, I’m kidding.) But the shadows on my neck from my fingers are intentional.

It’s a fair statement to say that I am obsessed with shadows.

Perhaps I’ll post a video today.

Perhaps not. 

 

 

 


And then the Doctor Said…

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[pics of my kids]  Lensbaby Composer Pro + Double Glass optics/4 & 2.8

“Well where is your pain?”

“In the back of my head, this time. At the top of my neck and the base of my head,” said I.
I suppose I could have just as easily said where my cerebellum and brain stem are.

“Well, that’s exactly where your cyst is,” said he.

“Cyst. Hmm. So…right. You know, I’m not a lightweight. Do I need surgery? Just…tell me what’s up with it.”

And so on and stuff.

So I’ve discovered the culprit of my raging three day migraines. And sometimes four. This arachnoid cyst. Hmm. Not a pretty sounding fella. Arachnoid means spider-like. Who knows what the heck I’m toting around up there. I do know one thing for certain: I refuse to go down without a fight.

Also, I’m not prepared to put my life in the hands of a man I don’t know. Degree notwithstanding. I’ve decided that I’ll take matters into my own hands and request an MRI every six months, measure it myself, and take the direction I think best. I’m going to call the shots.

I’ll continue my homeopathic regimen- ground cayenne and ginger, lots of water, tea, and exercise. Now I know this might seem strange because I’ve researched arachnoid cysts and many others who have them are quite inactive. If you’ve had monster migraines, you learn to not disturb the beast. But I want to unlearn this behavior. It can be a real challenge to simply “live” sometimes, without triggering a migraine. When it hits, it feels like my whole head is exploding, and somebody is stabbing me through my right eye socket with an ice pick.

I’ve had worse pain.
Ok, that’s a complete lie. I haven’t.
It makes childbirth seem like a walk in the park.
And let it be known that I have an insanely high tolerance for pain.
I have a brand on my right arm from a coat hanger- fresh off the fire.
Gangrene set in and I had to cut it out with a knife.
Yup. Ohhhhh it’s a really good thing that I quit drinking whiskey five years ago.

Anyway, back to my tragedy.

In spite of all of this cyst stuff, I’ve decided to work on some of my music over the summer. Along with compiling a few photoshop tutorials for friends, and working on a song for a young girl named Kira. She’s the daughter of a friend (photographer, naturally), and she’s in her third week of radiation treatment. That little girl is one tough cookie. I found out her favourite colour, her favourite food, and have decided that I’ll write, record and produce a track for her as a token of friendship, and as an inspiration for her to keep on fighting.

I realize that God has given me a lot of talents. A lot of them.

Singing
Songwriting
Musician (piano/guitar)
photography and various mediums of art in general
Psychotherapy- yes. Psychotherapy. And I don’t even charge people.

Let’s see…there’s cooking and wait- I’ve published a children’s book too, called: “Peanut Butter Soup”.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/peanut-butter-soup-birgitta-lindsey/1006855000?ean=9781418482831

It’s a collection of witty, thought-provoking, inspirational, and motivating poems for children. I included some of my chicken-scratch drawings with them- nothing so complicated that a child can’t mimic them. But they’re loaded with messages that raise awareness for the obese, the aging, metally challenged (hey- and mentally too!), and so on, so that kids will learn how to not bully others. Yes. I was a bedwetter until I was fourteen. (Sigh.) I’m afraid this batch of blog-tags are going to be the freakiest collection of words that might ever be listed together yet.

Perhaps I’ll actually get around to promoting that book one day, but for now, I’ll sign personal copies and ship them to friends. Like Kira. 🙂

In time, I’ll post videos. And actually sing. And play. (And stuff.)

For now, I’m soooooooo enjoying my summer break- good grief I thought this past semester was going to kill me. Seventeen credit hours (5 classes) and twenty one credit hours last semester. Not an easy thing to accomplish with blistering migraines, I will tell you. It was nothing short of miraculous that I came through so strongly, and, made mostly A’s and B’s.

Six classes to go and I’ll have my degree in Behavioral Sciences and certification in Substance Abuse.

Go me.

p.s. Mr. Chris Alia, I’ve added you to my tags, so if you ever go ego-surfing, you can find me.

xo


Ringing in the New Year

I wandered around the streets of my hometown on New Year’s Eve in search of “subjects”. I wanted to shoot people but the place was like a ghost town! I’m so drawn to shadows and still life, I’m wondering how I will ever break out of this pattern if I want to venture into street photography. I don’t want to be a simple point-snd-shooter. Composition means everything to me, as do strong lines. I drove to Times Square once, in New York City, and shot street photography at night. My bags had been packed and waiting by the door to go to Texas (from Indiana). my Aunt had been sick and my daughter and I were on our way to see them. They cancelled at the last minute, and so we found ourselves with packed bags, $1,000 and no where to go. I told my daughter to pick a place, anywhere in the U.S. and that’s where we would go. She said, “What about New York?” And so, the next day, we found ourselves driving straight into the belly of the beast: Times Square.  Here are some of my photos from that trip: (All photos are shot in manual + natural lighting/no flash.)

                                                                                                                                                 Times Square at night, New York, New york
                                                                                                                                                                  Canon Rebel XSI Sigma 17-70

Modern Day Vintage w/ film grain- Canon Rebel XSI + Sigma 17-70
A mass of people simming in the city sea. W. 45th St.

Near Park Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Canon Rebel XSI Sigma 17-70
I had crawled up to this pigeon in the rain.
The guy was eating. I was watching him. The pigeon was watching me.
Then I was watching the pigeon.

Then the guy was watching me. Then he jumped out of the frame.
I smiled politely. Then I snapped away.

Hurley’s. Manhattan, New York and a little bit of GIMP.
Canon Rebel XSI/Sigma 17-70

   
Muesum of modern Art
New York, New York
A small crowd gathers to study Monet’s Water Lilies.
Canon Rebel XSI- Sigma 17-70
GIMP

Overlooking Broadway from the Crowne Plaza Times Square hotel. Nice place! Even if the eggs are $9.00.

Coffee for breakfast.


Hanging out on Broadway at Times Square. Everything sizzled with energy. The smell of hotdogs permeated everything and there really was steam coming out of the sewers. Just like in the movies. Horns honked. taxis were a streak of canary yellow and the rain drizzled lightly. It was another world. Swarms of people hustled about- headphones attached, eyes making no contact- disappearing into the night.

The beauty of motion blur/long exposure. One of my many passions in photography.

Broadway in classic “Old Hollywood” black and white.

I was almost laying in the street for this one. I like wide angle shots, and prefer verticals over horizontals. I’ve been shooting verticals for years- and my eye is trained for this type of composition. I feel so vulnerable regarding horizontal composition, in comparison. I’m hoping to practice up in that area over the next year.

 

As seen from my hotel window at night, overlooking Broadway. I was sitting on the executive office desk Indian style, lens pressed to the glass- full panoramic view. I could see the people in the buildings across from me working out at their office gyms, after hours. I wonder if they could see me.

I was fascinated that behind all of the glitz and glamour of Broadway, this is what it boils down to. The viewers arrived (on Broadway) around the corner in limousines, draped in diamonds, but the stars came in through this humble stage door, accompanied by the grimiest dumpster I had ever seen.

 

Museum of Modern Art
New York, New York
When I walked into the room, it was as if this guy had been waiting for me.
I immediately sunk to my knees and hunkered down to the floor as low as I could go, loweing the exposure so I could get a good silhouette.
I thought it called for a vintage texture (it’s actually about 7 textures combined) and lots and lots of GIMP. I titled the print “Therapy” and sold a matted canvas to a mystery buyer at Redbubble.com for $175.00.

That put a smile on my face.

 Museum of Modern Art. I was in the hallway and saw this guy walking up the stairs. It called for a diagonal composition. (Makes me think of Escher, one of my favourite artsits, second to Van Gogh only.)

New York just wouldn’t be the same without its generous splash of fire escapes throughout the city.

But I digress. 

Here are a few shots from my walk-around on New Years Eve. The shadows told me it was the right time to go out and shoot.

                                                                                                                         
Film noir/B&W-shadows- it’s where I live.
The streets were completely abandoned on New Year’s Eve. I loved it.

My mother and I rung in the New Year alone in her apartment. She was tucked into her comfy chair and I read to her for an hour out of my book: Anthology of American Poets. (Poe, Dickenson, Longfellow, Frost, and about twelve others.)  It was so old fashioned and simple. I took this shot of her two cats in the early afternoon on New Year’s Day. Both cats are black and white. So, this is a black and white shot in black and white of two black and white cats:

    

My mother’s lamp.
There’s almost nothing more beautiful to me than film grain with a dash of gaussian blur.
In black and white, of course. Heavy on the black.
Canon G3/natural lighting/manual exposure

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Call a Fork a Fork

Most of my friends are artists, painters, and photographers who have solo exhibitions. Sometimes my artographer acquaintances will title their images with a super-long, melodramatic sequence of events (that should be written in volumes), such as:

Although the Winds Beckon Me to Run High Upon the Mountaintop Nevertheless I Will Walk Along this Broken Trail
(Yes, I just made that up.)

I say, call a fork a fork.

Natural window lighting/RAW/handheld/film grain/GIMP/Canon G3/study in lighting and shadows

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Shooting in Black and White

I took this shot of my son earlier this evening. This is the look I want to achieve with my digital phtography: low-light film.
Exposure: 1/3 of a sec./ISO 100/F. 2.07/handheld/manual/RAW/Canon G3  (I snuck up on him while at the computer.) 
When I walked by him, I saw the glow of light on his face (my mind saw it in black and white) and I knew I had to get it. 

This was shot in black and white. I find that after shooting in black and white for a while, my eye becomes trained on shapes and lines, and where the light falls off and where it is introduced. I’m forced to see the many shades of blacks, whites, grays, and all of the beautiful tones within. The beauty of shooting in RAW is having it automatically converted into colour once it’s loaded in my editor. (I use GIMP.) So, I shoot in black and white, and the results are colour- but with far better lighting than if I had shot it in colour.  

You can find GIMP here.
Gimp is 100% free, and it enables RAW editing with UFRAW.
If you want to install an EXIF reader (and I strongly recommend it), you can do so by going here

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2011: Rocking the Point and Shoot

This past year has been a hectic one. I sold my Canon Rebel XSI + Sigma 17-70 + 50 MM 1.8 + Canon EF 75-300 + Canon EF 18-55 for rent $ and bills when the recession hit. I was left only with my 4 MP Canon G3. I’ve been shooting with that thing for nine months straight now. (Yes, I have cried tears!) This forced me to become a more creative photographer and artist. I chose to shoot in only manual (RAW), adjusting my aperture and shutter speed (and ISO). Naturally, this is more work, but it bonds me to the creative process. We labour together, the camera and I. I want dynamic lighting and shadows and I want film grain. I want motion blur. I want to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. I have no resolutions for 2012. I only have the desire to be a good mother, an inspiration to others where my work is concerned, and the courage to continue shooting in manual when my new camera arrives in a few weeks. (I have chosen the Canon Rebel Xti. I really don’t need more than 10 MP for my particular style.)  Oh. And did I mention that I want to get into street photography? (I believe I’m tapped out in the “apartment photography” genre.)

 

I took these out in the field the other day. I found that black works well with long exposure photographs.  3 sec. exp’s./ISO100/ F.8

 

Chai  (and my love of film grain)

 

 My kitchen chair- 8 second exposure/handheld/Canon G3/abstract

A splash of colour: previous work

 

And some tree shots

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