civilized ku #3591-97 (1 picture window + 2 diptych) ~ there and back again

Otsego Lake / Cooperstown, NY ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Madonna / Dylan ~ Fenimore Art Museum - (embiggenable) • iPhone

McCartney / Armstrong ~ Fenimore Art Museum - (embiggenable) • iPhone

mymost colorful lunch ever ~ Cooperstown, NY - (embiggenable) • iPhone

A 3 day getaway to Cooperstown, NY has keep me away for my computer for a while. Next up this weekend is a trip to Middlebury, VT. for a college graduation event. Followed by a 4 day wedding event trip the next weekend to north Jersey. All of these trips are on-demand trips, aka: your presence is requested kinds things.

Cooperstown-the birthplace of baseball-was a "working" trip for the wife to attend a County Attorney Continuing Ed. conference. There was plenty of time for us to enjoy the sights together.

One unexpected pleasure was had at the Fenimore Art Museum where the first ever currated exhibit of Herb Ritts photographs was on view. While I entered the exhibition, Herb Ritts / THE ROCK PORTRAITS, with a bit of skepticism-I was never a serious Ritts fan-the exhibit was a masterly currated collection of drop-dead gorgeous BW portraits of rock music artists. Impressive on many levels, to say the least.

The exhibition is on view until Sept. 2nd. Since there is a exceptionally nice golf course, Leatherstocking Golf Course, on the shore of Otsego Lake-I played it while in Cooperstowwn-adjacent to the Fenimore Art Museum, I have 2 reasons for a return visit to Cooperstown.

Leatherstocking Golf Course ~ Cooperstown, NY- (embiggenable) • iPhone

civilized ku # 3590(still life)-92(sports) ~ sorta chained to my desktop

(embiggenable) • iPhone

(embiggenable) • µ4/3 / 100-400mm equivalent lens

(embiggenable) • µ4/3 / 100-400mm equivalent lens

The first photo book, NEW ORLEANS, of my 3 book train trip trilogy is being printed. Working on book 2, Chicago.

Getting this all together has been a time-consuming challenge. My first edit resulted in 238 "keepers" divided into 3 folders - New Orlean, Chicage and Racine. Next step was to process/convert all of them into snapshot quality pictures. Then came the sequencing edit for the New Orleans photo book followed by adding the snapshot border to each picture. Finally, The book was put together and ordered.

Now it's on to the Chicago book followed by the Racine book. And then, finish the prep work for my July solo exhibition at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.

In between all the train trip work, I have been able to get out and do a bit of sports / action picture making at the behest of my grandson Hugo, the lacrosse goalie. As a high school freshman, he was a 2nd line forward on the varsity hockey team and is currently the starting goalie on the varsity lacrosse team.

civilized # 3589 ~ what complexity?

George Washington bridge ~ NYC, NY (embiggenable)• iPhone

There has been a fair amount of angst being aired on TOP, re: complexity of digital cameras. Nothing new, the complaint has been around for quite some time and, whenever it rears its head, my response is wonder what the fuss is.

While it is certainly true that digital cameras have become ever so menu items rich, they are, iMo, complex to operate only if the user makes them so. The same could be said of Photoshop. However, since my first venture into the digital picture making world, I have been keeping things simple. Not by deliberate intention but rather by the manner in which I use a camera.

I have always, analog or digital, wanted my camera to be set-it-and-forget-it in order to be able to concentrate on the the aesthetics side of picture making. In the analog world, that meant setting the aperture and shutter, focus and get on with it. In the digital domain, I follow essentially the same routine.

I am able to keep it simple because I have set image capture parameters when I first acquire a camera ....Manual Mode, auto WB, neutral color, AF+M focus, RAW files .... and that's the way it remains. I occasionally adjust the ISO and that's about it. In some situations, I make a small +or- shutter speed or aperture adjustment relative to what the auto exposure indicates in order to protect highlights or shadows.

My intention with this M.O. is to get a good RAW file which can be processed using Photoshop-after conversion using Iridient Devloper-to achieve my desired result. My processing technique uses the same few tools for nearly every file.

So, for me, from start to finish, it's simple is as simple does.

civilized ku # 3585-88 ~ wall-worthy?

all pictures ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

When making pictures on vacation / a trip, it's easy to make a lot of pictures of the I-was-here variety. It's also possible that some of those pictures will look and feel like "serious" pictures. That is, pictures which are wall-worthy, independent of their on-vacation origins.

As I work through the editing of my recent train trip pictures, I am consciously looking for wall-worthy pictures which are "serious" in look and feel. Which is not to write that some of the I-was-here pictures won't end up on the wall. Some will. And, in all probablity, those pictures will be more "liked"-not a criticism, just an observation-than the "serious" pictures from the trip.

Without a doubt both types of pictures will incite a question or two. For the I-was-here pictures, the question will be, "Where was this picture taken?" For the "serious" pictures, the question will almost most always be, "Why did you take that picture?"

Both are good questions. One is much easier to answer than the other.

FYI, the egg shells and grizzle picture was a made arrangement. The woman will umbrella picture was made in New Orleans while the wife and I were sheltering from a downpour. The passersby picture was made while sitting in a bookstore window killing time before our classic Chicago steakhouse dinner. I made over 20 such pictures. The wife in a doorway picture was made in the Art Institute of Chicago. It just might be the best portrait I have made of her. I also feel that the picture transcends the typical portrait picture.

civilized ku # 3580-84 ~ pictures pictures everywhere

Lake Michigan ~ Racine, Wisconsin (embiggenable) • iPhone

the L train ~ Chicago, Illinois (embiggenable) • iPhone

Lafayette Cemetery ~ New Orleans, Louisiana (embiggenable) • iPhone

Wingspread ~ Racine, Wisconsin (embiggenable) • iPhone

Johnson Wax bldg ~ Racine, Wisconsin (embiggenable) * iPhone

Back home and trying to figure out how I am going to handle the approximately 700 pictures I made on our 3,000+ mile trip. I used the iPhone camera module for 99% of my picture making and, for 97% of that time, it performed quite admirably. For the othere 3% it performed adequately.

My challenge will be to edit down, from all of the pictures, to a reasonable number of pictures to make photo books. Books ... because, due the number of pictures, there will most likely be 3 books, one for each segment of the trip - New Orleans, Chicago and Racine.

On this trip, if I had not been trying to "be in the moment", as opposed to picturing the moment, there were opportunities to make enough pictures to make books of some of the individual places we experienced. One such place was Hobnob, a traditional / classic Wisconsin Supper Club in Racine, Wisconsin right on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Everything about it was straight out of the late 50s/early 60s (opened in 1954) - the atmosphere, the decor, the menu, the drink menu and the service (at a true supper club, 2-3 hours for the meal / experience is standard). If I hadn't been in the moment (thanks to the wife's "encouragement"), I could have easily made 20 pictures for a photo book. More's the pity, but the wife was happy so I was too.

civilized ku # 3573-79 ~ moving on up the line

all pictures ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

riding the City of New Orleans train / observation car to Chicago


Pulled in to Chicago yesterday morning in the pouring rain. Dropped luggage at AirB&B and went to the Art Institute of Chicago - some pictures tomorrow.

Friday and Saturday evenings in New Orleans were all about music, music and more music .... blues, brass, ragtime and Louisiana Swamp genres. It was a good opportunity to give the iPhone an after dark run though. With a little processig work, the results are quite satisfactory.

Tonight in Chicago, it's dinner at a classic Chicago steakhouse followed by Chicago blues music.

More pictures to come.

civilized ku # 3568-72 ~ the Big Easy

all pictures in the French Quarter / New Orleans ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Day 3 in The Big Easy and the living is indeed easy. Last 2 days spent exploring - riding trolleys, museums, shops, bars, architecture, restaurants (how much seafood can one eat?) and music - in the French Quarter. One highlight was the Drag Walk History Tour (see our tour guide above) during which we leaned all about the history of women, queers, drag, whores, madams, are: in the Storyville / French Quarter neighborhoods of New Orleans.

This morning we had an intensely creole breakfast. This afternoon it's a bike ride / meander through and around the Garden District. Followed by dinner (more seafood, no doubt) and then a French Quarter crawl for bars and music.

Plenty more pictures to come.

civilized ku # 5359 / the new snapshot (civilized ku # 5360-67) ~ moving on

Friday morning light ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

seen and pictured ~ Quebec City, Canada (embiggenable) • iPhone

seen and pictured ~ Quebec City, Canada (embiggenable) • iPhone

So, here I sit in a slightly perplexed state of mind, picture making wise. That mental state comes from realizing, after prepping 45 pictures-from my Quebec City trip-for a POD book, that if all of my "real" camera gear were to be instantly vaporized, I would be happy as a clam for the rest of my picture making life making pictures with my iPhone. Without a doubt, the iPhone camera module is an excellent picture making device for approximately 95.8% of my picture making endeavors.

That sentiment is made possible for a number of reasons:

1. for my personal "serious" picture making, I am essentially a 1 lens man. And, the "normal" lens-a moderate wide angle-on the iPhone suits my vision just fine. And, the ever so moderate tele lens is there when I want it.
2. the HDR function of the iphone camera "brain" does a great no-fuss/no muss job of creating full light range pictures (with an extra measure of highlight/shadow information that can be pulled out in processing)
3. And, add to # 1 and 2 the ease of use and convenience of the device making it one of the best don't-have-to-think-about-it (set and forget it) and just concentrate-on-"getting'-the-picture camera/device I have ever used.

Does 1-3 mean I am abandoning my "real" cameras? The answer is "No". However, in a weird twist of events, it does mean that, on my train travel around part of America trip (starting tomorrow), I will bring along my "real" cameras and 2 lenses-which mimic the iPhone's 2 focal lengths-as my backup cameras in case of any iPhone problems. They may also be put to use in very extremely low-light-the iPhone camera module does quite well in typical low-light situations-picture making situations.

To be certain, the "real" cameras are not being assigned to my already quite large dust bin of cameras past. They will be used for a handful of future projects for which they are ideally suited.