Sunday, October 30

Okay, I think I'll try my hand at a few portraits. I've avoided photos of people probably because of shyness with the camera around them, and an aversion to photos of myself. I'm trying to get out of that feeling, and hopefully can produce some worthwhile photos. I'm not trying to make my portrait subjects "look good" .... I want to somehow capture their essence. I think this one is authentic Tracy-Essence. Tracy does woodworking for Tim. After working at the shop for 6 years, he has learned so much from Tim. He makes beautiful cabinets and furniture.

I was teasing him yesterday following him around with my camera. I took this one during their coffee break outside. It was cold and sunny. A perfect day for this kind of photography. It reminds me of a Bob Dylan photo. (blish!)

More of Tracy:

Friday, October 28

New Monthly Calendar Feature on My Blog

If you are a regular reader of my blog, please enjoy this calendar on your own computer or print it out for your desk or kitchen wall (or whatever...)

I will be publishing a different photo-calendar at the end of each month on my blog, for your enjoyment and use. If you do download the calendar, please let me know by leaving me a comment. Thanks and enjoy!

(To download the calandar, just click on the photo to get a larger version then right-click and save the image to your computer. Or you can skip the downloading part and just "print" the calendar from the larger image-page. Let me know if you need help with it)

She folded her hands primly and sat ... waiting

A rainy day, the temperature has dropped at least 15 degrees. Still, I want to wring every last vision of autumn's beauty from our garden. Hunt for it. Capture the glow before it vanishes. A reminder of life, of warmth, of nourishment and joy. There is loveliness in the garden's demise. Just look!

Learn Photography on Photo Net

Why didn't I know about this educational and useful website before now??? Well, I just discovered it through Daniel at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. Thanks, Daniel! And now, I'm sharing it with my blog readers in hopes you will find something useful here about photography. Great tutorials on the PhotoNet "Learn" page.

Thursday, October 27

Lilac Curtain

It's raining today and the lilac leaves are limp, almost transluscent ... like curtains. I peer through the folds at a drooping sky, raindrops hit my studio window with the sound of sleet - frozen rain. Car tires slice through puddles on the asphalt on our busy street. The floor furnace kicks in. It's smells dusty from disuse. Winter is coming. These leaves will fall soon. Cover the bed below their branches. Blanket the earth with their slow-fading beauty.

Here's another rainy-day photo from a set I just posted on Flickr of mostly photos I shot in McCloud while we were just there for 2 weeks. If anyone recognizes this plant, I would like to know what it is. I was in a "hurry" that day because it really was raining on me, getting my camera wet, etc ... and I didn't take the time to identify it. This plant doesn't grow in Montana, as far as I know, so I'm not familiar with it. Anyone know it's name???

Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12

Dusky Shadows

I've never seen orange aspen leaves before this year. And this smallish aspen grove is the only place I've found them -- orange -- these photos aren't manipulated to look more saturated. This really was the color of the leaves today. Usually, aspens change to a glowing, golden yellow.

Tuesday, October 11

Early Morning Frost Field

On the way to Missoula ... and anticipating meeting up with my friend for a photo adventure. I was running late, but still I couldn't help stopping for this one.

Saturday, October 8

Meditation on Autumn Garden

Meditation on Autumn Garden
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
another in my series of leaf experiments.

Friday, October 7

Meditation on Autumn Cleome

Meditation on Autumn Cleome
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
I am still trying to perfect my technique of photographing leaves and flowers, then transforming them into meditations ... (almost)symmetrical designs like the Huichol "nierika" or doorway to your heart. This one is based on a cleome plant that was surprisingly still blooming on October 6th (wow! - that's late!) in Helena, where I live. The alternate name for this design is Flower of the Heart.

These designs are best viewed large. You can click on the photo and it will take you to my Flickr page with that photo. On the flickr page, above the image, click on "all sizes" and it should take you to the large size, where you can see all the detail in the leaves and flowers. Leave me a comment please, to let me know how you like these designs. Thanks for looking!

Yarn for a Scarf

Time to get Cozy
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
What great colors to wear on a dreary, gray winter day! This is a Schoeller and Stahl yarn called "Limbo Color" -- it's one of those self-patterning yarns, but you can also get creative with it and make a scarf out of color-blended small squares. This way, each square has the pattern of a graduated blend, and every square is different. Makes a gorgeous scarf. I want one, but I don't knit! Carol carries this yarn at her store in downtown Helena.

Here are a couple photos of the scarf squares, closeup:

Wednesday, October 5

Meditation on Autumn Maples

Meditation on Autumn Maples
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
Another design created by photographing leaves and manipulating the photos in Photoshop. I like the imperfection of these ... the way they aren't perfectly symmetrical, so it shows my human hand in the creation.

The Miracle of Fall
is on the website of the University of Illinois Extension Service. This is an informative set of web pages including why leaves change color in the fall, where to see the best fall color (traveling) and a list of trees that have exceptional fall foliage colors, among other sections of the website. Each section also has links for further information. A pretty good general site if you want to learn more about Autumn Colors.

Below is an amazing diagram revealing the structure of a leaf. The diagram is from the Missouri Department of Conservation online. You can see the carotenoids and anthocyanins hidden in the leaf's cells, waiting for the chlorophyll to diminish so they can show off. Check out their fall color website here.

Tuesday, October 4

Meditation on Autumn Raspberries

Created from photos of individual leaves and through Photoshop layers and blends.

Saturday, October 1

Banned Books Week

I didn't realize until today that this past week, ending today (October 1st) has been Banned Books Week -- sponsored and promoted by the American Library Association. It is a week to become aware, as much as you can, of the potential threat to one of our basic rights and freedoms -- the freedom of speech -- that can be eroded very quickly by people who want certain books banned from libraries, from schools. Just out of curiosity, I check the American Library Association's list of the top 100 most "challenged" books from 1990 through 2000 -- to see how many I have read, or have had in the house for my sons. I wasn't surprised, knowing my rebellious streak - that I've read 60 of the 100 books. Most of the books I haven't read are children's or teen books that my kids may have read.

The Top 100 Most Challenged Books of 1990 to 2000:

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

ALA | Banned Books Week