Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15th, Tax Day

Had a lot to do today. Learned last night that the post offices were not going to stay open till midnight so I had to get up early to fill out tax forms. Always such fun—locating the information, not filling out the forms. Went into panic mode when I couldn’t find the paperwork on my 401k—it was right where it was supposed to be. Took it to Alcy’s to print out and got into the mail by noon—twelve hours earlier than usual. I’ll miss being in line at the post office tonight.

Afterwards we picked up some new frames for Alcy’s apartment, mounted her photos for the competition at the camera club and then hit an antique store to look for her a dining table. In all it was a day of accomplishments and few photographs.

As I frequently mention I have two themes that I work on in antique stores, religious artifacts and toys. Yes, I do shoot other stuff but right now these two are what I am most interested in. I am especially excited presently on a subcatagory of the religious objects—shooting crucifix with price tags attached. I’ve written the artist statement, or at least drafted the artist statement. The theme has to do with the price of Christ but it will depend upon the photographs which direction it will take. And who can resist freaky toys. No wonder the world is messed up when you start studying the toys that kids are given to play with. Anyway, I can usually find something to photograph in an antique store. Most of the stuff I remember when it was new.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Oklahoma, Texas

Now this did come as a surprise to me--there is a town not far from where I live named Oklahoma. It is just a few miles south of Egypt, Texas. Even though they are less than fifty miles from where I have lived for the past forty years I had heard of neither nor been to either.

The story goes that a gentlemen packed up his belonging and informed his neighbors that he was moving to Oklahoma. This is where he settled and the area jokingly became known as Oklahoma. A town grew up and a cemetery was established.

Incidentally there is no such flower, to my knowledge anyway, as a Redbonnet. Although you will occasionally find a pinkish colored bluebonnet. I was playing with manipulation and somehow turned the bluebonnets red so it needed a story. True the photograph was taken in Oklahoma, but not the state, the town. I thought the comments about their Communist affiliation and the redbonnets indoctrinating the seedlings would hint there was some chicanery going on. Alcy says she will never again believe anything that I say--hey, I could have told her long ago that would be good advice.

I greatly enjoy photographing in cemeteries. I have written about it so frequently that I will not repeat myself. Nor will I make comments on the lunacy of revisionist history. Here are a few photographs from the cemetery in Oklahoma, Texas.


We stopped in Tomball to hit some of the antique shops. I'm on a new kick of photographing crucifix that have price tags attached. Only found one crucifix and it does not fit my project. I did find what I thought was an interesting combination of elements. Alcy can not pass up an agave. I generally let her have at it but I liked the lighting on these so I decided to give it a try.


Lest You Think I Jest


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Bluebonnet Ritual

As Ernest Thayer wrote, “…A pallor wreathed the features of the patrons of the game.” Only in Texas it is not about baseballs, but bluebonnets.

A Spring silliness settles over the State as thousands upon thousands of city folk scramble into the countryside searching out fields of the State Flower of Texas, the bluebonnet. They trample the roadsides, they violate personal property; they dress their children in white and plop them down among the bugs, the ants and the snakes. They spend hours on the Internet searching out and sharing the very best locations, discussing weather patterns of past years that produce the best crops. Debating whether or not the current weather will justify the expenditure this year. On their knees, they pray that it will not rain every weekend during the growing season. The lines of celestial communications are more congested during bluebonnet season than at Lent and Thanksgiving combined. Thousands if not millions of dollars in fuel costs are incurred trekking across the State to scout out that one pristine patch ahead of the tramplers. They swoon at a friends shot of a longhorn in a field of bluebonnets, the ultimate this is Texas shot. 

I must confess to being guilty—so overcome I could not resist tagging along with friends. Left on my own I limit my bluebonnet shooting to the median running through Memorial Park and am just as happy.

Fortunately I left the card from the Olympus at Alcy’s so all I have are a few from the Samsung to share. You should thank me for that. I did get a vaccination early in the year since I knew it was coming. The protection had obviously not fully kicked in but it did allow me to be slightly more anti-bluebonnet than most. 


 Addendum: Red Bonnets were outlawed in Texas many years ago. They have a much more dominate  gene and cross-pollination could likely devastate the production of the State Flower. In the more liberal horticultural circles it is highly suspected that the true reason for the ban is the redbonnet's assumed Communist affiliations. The Texas Teacher’s Association was concerned that the redbonnets might indoctrinate seedlings prior to total government control in public classrooms. It is astonishing how many people I had to gain permission from and even then was only allowed a single exposure. I am extremely proud to have accomplished that without the assistance of Ms.Beauregard who is gallivanting in Hawaii during the bluebonnet season--an action that is in itself heretical at best. [Just realized that Beauregard is from Oklahoma which is where I shot the redbonnets so now it all makes sense. We had planed to go to Oklahoma first but we missed our turn so we circled around through Egypt. I am pleased we backtracked and hit Oklahoma before returning to Houston.]
Silk flowers in cemeteries are more my cup of tea...


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Pleasant Surprise

Got a very pleasant surprise in my inbox yesterday afternoon--an email from David Kageler. David is a special person, a very special and highly respected friend, that I have not been in touch with for the last few years. He is taking a new job with Zeiss in their metrology division. I am pretty good with words even if I do go a little Archie Bunker at times I generally have a vague familiarity with the English language but I had to ask on that one. Turns out it is the science of measurements. You don't get much more precision than Zeiss so it sounds like a very interesting adventure. It does mean a lot of traveling and he wanted a chance to get together for lunch before he took it on. I contacted Carolyn Sloan and we quickly set up a lunch for today. Had a great catch up session--well David and Carolyn did. I post everything to this blog so I didn't have a lot new to add. LOL But I listen good. Would hope that it is not another three or four years before we have lunch again. Just want him to know that I wish him every possible success. No one I know deserves it more.

 Heard some stories about Fuji Photo that had got past me. My experience there was not bad other than the two to three years waiting for the shoe to fall on the closure of the Houston office that we all knew was coming. By the time it came I was pretty well prepared emotionally and besides Janet needed me at home all day so for me being laid off was good. David was one of the few they kept on after the closure. The day they let him go someone flew in on the pretense of assisting him with a call. Got off the plane handed David his severance papers and asked for his credit card, computer and car. Drove him home and drove off in the car. No forewarning at all. We all agreed that I got out of the workforce at the best time. As I have always said my life is blessed. Everything seems to happen at just the right time in the right place--of course there is that second shoe.

Other than that I saw a notice for a art studio for lease on Craig's List and couldn't resist an inquiry. I so desperately need to have a place where I have more control over the photographic process. Well that and I am on a print binge. Sent off another half dozen this evening. They are part of the series on Things That I Do to Drive My Psychiatrist Nuts. I mention in the artist statement that I don't actually have a psychiatrist but considering the images I might should consider it. 



Monday, March 24, 2014


 Sent ten or so photos to Mpix. Must have uploaded around noon and by six I received a notice that they had shipped. Now if I needed them in a hurry I don't suppose they would have got them out that soon. Playing this silly game because I want a studio and am having a difficult time convincing myself that it is feasible. Yeah, I already know it is not practical. Went to Ikea yesterday to see how much it would cost to furnish a sitting area. Need to get a partner.

Got a note from Paul wondering if I was okay since I haven't posted much lately. Haven't had much new to post.Thought I would pull these out. The day I shot the Luminarium I Metroed in. The bus line is several blocks to the west so I had an opportunity to do a few building shots on the way over.



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bedtime Stories

Went to bed a little early last night so I grabbed one of my new photography books to peruse. Bedtime stories last night was from Helmut Newton's, White Women, Sleepless Nights and Big Nudes. Now that my friend is a bedtime story! Of course, I only bought it for the articles.

About to head out for another photo art crawl and a meeting with the Houston Photography Meetup for an afternoon of photography discussions. I'm pretty sure I can talk for a full afternoon if someone is there that will shut me up when the time is up.

ADDENDUM: Never got to the art crawl. The meeting was interesting and lasted till well after five. Interesting group of new people.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Back to the MFA

I have noticed that the older I get the more I hang out in museums and cemeteries—don’t know whether or not I should read anything into that. Maybe it is where I am most comfortable or maybe it’s the only place where I can hang with contemporaries.

Made the Anne Wilkes-Tucker lecture at the MFA on Photos Made for Magazines. It was a good lecture followed by a docent tour of the exhibit (I skipped that part because I did it a few days ago and wanted to hit the bookstore). Of course I should always beware of things that are free—well the lecture wasn’t free but it wasn’t much (and worth the money). She spent a lot of time relating the era of magazines to the way that photography is disturbed by the Internet now. Picked up a good deal of information I didn’t know about some of the photographs.

The bad part, okay, it really wasn’t bad but maybe unexpected---I came home with five new books. Well one is not exactly a book since it’s not bound. Got one on August Saunder, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn and Walker Evans. The other is a slip case with about 200 loose copies on one of the larger photographic collections at the museum.

Debi and I are doing another FotoFest Art Crawl next weekend. Looking forward to that.

To busy to take photos but yesterday in between making show openings—one and a half (the half was because the show wasn’t hung yet but Deb seemed to know all the guys in the bar)—we checked out the egret rookery and a second park. Surprisingly found a small, alligator at a pond in a very high concentration of upscale homes. Was only about five and a half or six foot long but big enough to do damage to a small pet or child. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Web Site for GW-Images

I sent out emails to a few friends but I do not know that I have actually announced that I now have a web site in addition to the two blogs. I may not take photos but I sure have the facilities for talking about photos.

The site is not fancy or sophisticated. It is a freebie site supplied by one of the photo forums that I have been on for over ten years. I am using it mainly to separate out my ‘people’ photos because those are the most important photographs that I take. I am not sure at this point just how much capacity it has but it will probably never be a full fledged site, just an ego booster where I an aggrandize myself—I mean, what else do I do?

Would love to have everyone drop in. There is a contact page at the back where you can send feedback or just start an argument. LOL 

A new web site required a new 'business' card so I placed an order with Vistaprint this afternoon


I am beginning to appreciate the incongruities, the unexplainable mysteries of life and most of all the works of mysterious ways. But flat tires? Just sayin'. I may not be able to dismiss Marie as easily as I have in the past.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Debi Beauregard and Foto Fest

Debi has done a series of photographs of two dress forms that she had named Stella and Sophie. She was invited by the Contemporary Art Museum in Katy to have part of the series displayed as part of their biannual Foto Fest. She did ten 30x40 canvas prints which are hanging at the Sugar Land Regional Airport. Today was the opening ceremony.

A week or so ago driving home from Debi’s I hit something on the freeway and blew out a tire. I haven’t had a flat tire in a very, very long time. Our next time together, two days ago, Debi and I made an art crawl through some of the galleries in Houston that are participating in Foto Fest. The next morning I woke up to a flat tire from a strange object, about an two inch long piece of flat shinny metal with what appears to be a knurled grip on one end—no idea what it is. I am beginning to see a pattern here between Debi and flat tires. In spite of that I went to the opening—I had Alcy drive her vehicle. I am waiting for tomorrow morning to check my tires.

I left the photo taking to the other photographers. Should have shot the installation.

Side story: Went to get my tire repaired. I live in a predominately Hispanic area. Tejano music was paying, the employees were enjoying a lunch of tamales eaten off the tailgate of an older Ford pickup, the female pit bull came over to check me out, Spanish was being spoken I was the only white person within who knows how many blocks. I’ve been using the same place since Marie recommend it a few years ago—good service, polite service. However, I found it amusing when I walked inside to pay the bill—There was more St Patrick’s green decorations than I have seen anywhere---I kept looking around for the Irishman but came up short.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Foto Fest Art Crawl--although short one

Winter Street Studios


Spring Street Studios


Nance Street Studios 

After the crawl