Friday, September 11, 2009


My family is visiting over the weekend. Yesterday we played a game called "Chat Pack" which consists only of small cards, each with a question written on it. It's less a game, more a way to induce discussion. We took turns asking a question and each of us offered our answer and, as families often do, expounded enthusiastically. One of the questions was:

If you could wake up every morning, open your bedroom blinds, and look out a huge glass window at the perfect view, what would that view be?

My bed faces our backyard. When my eyes open I see the riches of whatever the season has to offer. For the past few months, with morning haze in my eyes, it is an abstract painting perhaps entitled "Variations on Green." I savor this lush scene, knowing that when I move to New Mexico this is not going to be the case.

When summer dissolves into autumn, I often witness a display of falling carroty leaves taking serendipitous turns before gingerly settling onto the ground.

And winter, my favorite season of all, turns the scene into white upon white upon white.

Anyway, my answer to the question is this: I love seeing whatever there is to see. When I travel it is someone's garden, a body of water, a car parked in the street or even a stark brick wall. It doesn't matter what it is, I'm so grateful to be alive, to take in what I observe and appreciate what life offers every single day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hello, yellow!

When my shutter finger gets twitchy and I don't have anything in particular to shoot, it's productive to come up with a theme for myself. During the photo workshop that I taught in Tuscany in 2008, students found it helpful to have a theme to fall back on for their daily photo excursions. It helped them feel less overwhelmed and more focused, so to speak.

And honestly, it's just a whole lotta fun. Here are some ideas:

• Shoot one color or one shape
• Reflections
• Shadows
• Texture
• Grab three disparate things (piece of fruit, your toothbrush, a rusty nail?) and do a still life
• Think of a place that does not inspire you at all - a dying garden, the waiting room at your dentist's office, whatever - and go there to shoot a really beautiful abstract interpretation.
• Find one object and photograph it in a dozen different ways
• For a challenging ongoing project, shoot all the letters in the alphabet as long as it's not literally the letter. Some letters are much easier to find that others. (I personally have a plenty of the letter "M.") Reward yourself when you're done by publishing it with a book from

Here are some images from my "yellow" collection. Above, a scene in Acapulco.

This is a photo I like to call "Mona Saves" - to be found on the corner of Paseo de Peralto and Washington in Santa Fe:

Ubiquitous laundry, in Venice, Italy:

A little daisy pail in Madrid, New Mexico:

Rainbow near my house in Santa Fe:

Number 3, number 3, number 3...

Again I've broken the "don't shoot the mannequin" rule:

Escalator at Marshall Fields, Chicago (I refuse to call it Macy's):

Buddha statue in Myanmar:

Fireworks, Detroit:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Playing with Food

Saturday morning, and what better thing to do than visit the Farmer's Market?

Upon entering the market, I was tempted by pies with gooey fruit that spilled over the edges. Next table had walnut filled kolaches, bringing back memories of my Slovak grandmother. Peaches, corn, cucumbers, herbs, raspberries...and flowers, and soaps...even spring rolls, and shrimp. A man said to his wife "It's too early to eat spring rolls" just as I was thinking "too bad I just had breakfast. Spring rolls would be perfect!"

After all was said and done, I behaved very well. Passed up the sweets, bought some peaches, and then found myself looking not for something to eat, but something to photograph.
"Thank you kind sir" I said to the elderly gentleman who sold me okra.
"How can I not buy that?" I said to the man with the mutant eggplant.

So now the only question is....anyone want some okra...?

Above, the mutant eggplant. Quack quack.

Kissing peaches:

Okra antennae:

Okra sundae with cherry (tomato) on top: