Not marconi, not macaroni, not marscapone, not macaroons…Macarons!

•June 27, 2014 • Comments Off

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This is going to be a quick one.  If you are interested in Macarons (NOT macaroons) there are eleventy-million articles and pictures floating around.  These are from The Painted Cupcake in Green Hills, Nashville, TN.  Oh yes, they have a cupcake or two, but on this particular day we concentrated on the raspberry and the mint-chocolate macarons….okay…

I’m throwing in a strawberry cupcake, too

 

 

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I am looking forward to getting my pixels wrapped around the lavender, pistachio, and lemon macarons…amongst many others. Not to mention the salted caramel, red velvet, german chocolate, etc., cupcakes.

The only real problem I see is that once the shoot is over, what should I do with the subjects…??!!

I guess I’ll figure something out

 

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To Bargain With The Wind

•June 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

bigben

To try to change the past or predict the future is much like trying to bargain with the wind.  You may turn up your collar against the past or button your coat in anticipation of the future, but neither can be effectively contained or diminished…
And as soon as you feel that you are adequately protected you turn a corner and an icy blast from the Abominable Snowman will warrant a hasty retreat or perhaps the dragon’s breath of the Past will pummel you from behind.
The future is an illusion, a myth, an Abominable Snowman or a Dragon, created by our free will, but our free will only exists in the fleeting moments of NOW,
soon to be the past…
but shaping us now for what is to come…

 

I am intrigued by the misguided concept of living through the effects of,  and spending a great amount of time and energy reacting to,  the Past.
And/or we act as if every move we make is inspired for, or is essential to indelibly mark and shape,  the Future.  Don’t get me wrong, we indeed should learn from past experiences…but though the lesson is Now, the Past has passed…forever.
We are often so keyed into these absolutely non-existent moments, the Past and the Future,  that we totally override and neglect the NOW.
And the NOW is truly all that exists.

Through photography one exercises a craft that  is hopefully almost entirely taken up by the NOW…
(although by the time anyone, or even myself, sees my recordings/reporting, it is from the Past…right?)
That NOW moment is what photographers attempt to capture…and then it’s gone… leaving us with only an image representing one fleeting portion of a tick of the clock.
Why are we, most of the time, afraid of or at least not in tune with
the NOW?

We tend to struggle and search for the ‘extraordinary moments’ while the most, the ONLY, extraordinary moment is passing us by as we presage the future or ruminate on the past.

In our daily lives, we miss the NOW more than we grasp it.
We carry hurts from the past, (many self-inflicted, though we find it easier to cast the blame elsewhere),
and we fret over possible future annoyances that exist only in our minds.

There is no future other than the illusion that we conjure…that we
manufacture!

There is no past other than the memories that our mind chooses to recall and their meaning is only relevant to our own  interpretations.
(Blind men feeling an elephant)
The future does not exist.
The past may be said to have existed… but is gone.

It simply is not there!
If we react to the past we are tilting at windmills.
If we are anxious about the future, we are wasting our time and our mind…tilting at windmills again!
It does not exist…!!

(BTW…I will be using a new text-speak abbreviation from now on…
T@W….tilting at windmills…)

We think of what could have been and what might, or ought to be… what others should be doing or thinking… and we allow those thoughts to crowd and cloud the view of the very moment in which we find ourselves….
NOW
How often have I missed the importance of the moment because I was comparing it to an experience that I’ve talked myself into thinking was more important…or more immediate than NOW?

I go for a walk every morning with my dog.  Many times I become aware that we are halfway done and I have missed the sunshine, the rain, the fog, the breaths, the blue sky, the grey sky… the feeling of movement… because my mind is elsewhere…out of the NOW.  What a waste!  I am becoming better at then stopping and admiring an insect going about its work, or the song of a bird, or the ‘busy-ness’ of my pup as she sniffs out what has transpired in the neighborhood overnight…the things that are true, immediate, and form the NOW.

How often have I allowed some thing or  someone to  assume the role of  the lead character in my own play?…to change the theme and to direct the  flow of my ‘being’,  not unlike a fallen tree may dam and  obstruct the pure flow of a mountain stream?

My goal is to be the stream…to continue to flow around, over, or through the dam.  The fallen tree does not change the nature of the stream…it merely diverts.

“What is in the way, IS the way!”  Lao Tze

 

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I am of the opinion that the clock and calendar (and possibly mirrors to a certain extent…) are what expedite our growing old.  I, and I’m sure you also, (unless you are seventeen), feel exactly as we did, inside,  when we were eighteen…

not quite as spry…and hopefully wiser…but basically the same.

 

Without clocks we might grasp the concept that our lives are really only one day…the sun comes up and goes down but that is merely a measure of  Earthly revolutions…we still are the same.
If we didn’t require sleep occasionally, we could see the flow of ‘time’ for what it is….NOTHING
It would all be NOW.
Ask a tree  what it did yesterday…what are its plans for tomorrow?  If it could talk it would probably say, “Oh, I think I’ll just grow…unless of course I don’t”

NOW is all we have,
all we ever have had
and all we ever will have.
And we don’t really HAVE that…
We only experience it…
if we allow!

The key is not in the “I Will…”, “I Should…”, or the “I Was…”.

It is the  “I AM“!

 

Musical History Tour

•June 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Roseanne Cash 2

Memphis, TN

I was in Memphis last November for the Rock and Soul, Memphis Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony and wrote about it here.

http://rkpowers.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/take-me-to-the-river/

This time the morning started in a studio control room with Mike Curb, Al Bell, Jim Ed Norman and David Porter.  There is no way I can list the thousands of ‘records’ that these guys played a part in.  Look ‘em up!…quite an exciting group to be around…particularly for someone whose early life was strongly influenced by their works.

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After that meeting we went to an old church where Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two  rehearsed in the basement and had their first live performance in the sanctuary.  Johnny’s oldest daughter, Rosanne, was doing a guest lecture session and ‘Q&A’ for the Rhodes College Mike Curb School of Music.

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A little break then found me at Leonard’s BBQ, one of the older Memphis BBQ establishments established in 1922.  Wouldn’t you know it…?  I got there just as they were laying out the all-you-can-eat buffet….

Then… Rosanne continued the ‘interview’ (This was all produced by the Rhodes students) and performed in the house that Elvis bought for his mom with the earnings from ‘Heartbreak Hotel’.  The Curb foundation bought the house a few years ago to keep the history alive and refurbished it, even to the point of reclaiming some of the original wallpaper.

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So, from Stax to Cash to Elvis, it was a wonderfully educational trip through the Memphis music history…with a few ribs on the side!

 

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Wright On!

•June 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Biltmore Sprite designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

 

At the Arizona Biltmore.  I had the pleasure of visiting for a week while working on a ‘coffee-table’ book for GrandinHood Publishing.  As I mentioned in a previous post,   though Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence is obvious, there is still controversy over his actual involvement and the credit that he gave himself over the architect of record, Albert Chase McArthur.  I was not shooting for this assignment but was able to play around a bit with the camera, and was concentrating on  ‘color’ and graphic elements in photographing AND  processing.

 

Biltmore Block

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Landscape maintenance is a constant project here, from flower beds to fruit trees.

 

Orange

…and the jacaranda

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The Aztec Room, a banquet hall which I absolutely love.

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The Aztec Room has a gilded ceiling, and when I was there in November the room was always set up with tables and chairs for receptions, etc. When I saw that it was empty, I had to jump in!  Rather than post all of my variations, if you are interested, some more are on the rkpowersphoto page of Facebook.

 

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Food shots were taken on the ‘line’ at Frank and Albert’s, one of the in-house restaurants.

I limited my food photos to a 50mm /f1.8 lens so that I had to move myself for a shot rather than zoom the lens. Plus, I love the short depth of field.

 

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This was also an experiment in mixed lighting.  The warming shelf has heat lamps that are closer to tungsten color temperatures while, as you can tell from the blue cast on the bowls and chrome, there were large windows to add daylight.

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There was no stylist or for that matter, time to really ‘work’ the shots. (Until post…)  Often a plate was placed and then snatched up by a waiter before I even had a chance to notice it was there.

 

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And then…a couple of bar shots…not to be confused with “shots AT the bar!”

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The Hand You’re Dealt…

•June 1, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

Saavedra 2Sebastien Saavedra

Often…in the past…while working at a racetrack, particularly Indianapolis  and Daytona, I would lament the fact that I could not seem to ‘finagle’ my way into obtaining a ‘photo vest’.  These are the vests that some photographers wear to show their ‘official’ status and gives them access to  vantage points that no one else can get to.  At the Grand Prix I asked one more time, but was told unequivocally that unless one was sanctioned by a ‘legitimate’ publication…the media…vests were not to be handed out…the fact that I was part of a racing ‘team’ made no difference.  So, this time I took the approach of the old saying to “..play with the hand you are dealt”…

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I searched the available spots that didn’t cover the track with fencing and decided I would work those spots until I got what I came for.  I found one particular point with an opening that was approximately 20 feet across….what’s that…a little over 6 meters?   I could follow the car’s approach through the fence (with auto-focus turned off) and then click off a 3 shot burst before the 200 mph ‘flash’ was again behind the fencing and on its way.  Needless to say, it took quite a bit off experimentation and grumbling and re-timing…and deleting… until I finally settled on manually focusing on the spot on the track where the car best filled my frame.  Here’s an example of the ‘approach’.

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You can see that autofocus would have assumed the wall was the subject and then there would have been empty track before the focus caught up with the actual subject.

The opening picture of Sebastion Saavedra’s #17 car on qualifying day.  He won the ‘pole position’ for the standing start.

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There would be no shots of his car from the race, as you can see here.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgrKI2z6moA   I would not post this video if anyone had been hurt, but miraculously it was just a bad day for some.  I was busy watching the #98 which had also started on the first row, until I saw everyone turn to the start line and then I saw tires, etc, flying everywhere.  (This is why ‘the boss’ always suggests that I cover practices and qualifying because you never know what might happen!)

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Munoz was the first to strike and his car ended up coasting on 3 wheels to this spot, about 200 yards down the straightaway.

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And the winner of the Inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix….

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One other thing…

This is Colton Herta’s #98 UCF2000 car. The UCF2000 is sort of a precursor to the Indy series…minor leagues, in a way.  Due to a technical malfunction Colton was forced to start at the rear of the pack but managed to make his way to a #5 finish and had the fastest lap time.  The interesting thing about this is Colton is the only Indy-car sanctioned event driver born in this century!  He’s 14!!!  I would predict that his name will be mentioned many times in racing’s future!

 

Colton Herta

 

 

 

 

Sometimes We Don’t ‘See’ What We See

•May 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

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I love the ‘flyovers’ that happen at many American sporting events.

As a kid, I wanted to be a pilot and then an astronaut (who didn’t in the 60′s?) but then I was told that perfect eyesight was needed for both… I didn’t/don’t have that, so I became a photographer, where one’s eyesight doesn’t matter as much as one’s vision. (And glasses help…)

stealthStealth bomber, 2011 Indy 500

 

I still intend to put up a little more on the Indianapolis Grand Prix, but since that weekend I’ve been back to the Arizona Biltmore and then the Indy 500…so…I have a few more things to share shortly.

Now, this is not about any of those except for the fact that this ‘flyover’ occurred at the Grand Prix.  I’m not certain what these aircraft are.  Maybe someone can tell me…

 

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But ‘seeing is’ not necessarily worth ‘believing’…and perceiving can be colored by..well…just about anything…or anybody!

(If you don’t believe that, simply check out the political rants on facebook.  People are so caught up in being ‘right’…or correct… that those ‘friends’ who disagree with their perceptions are said to be fools and/or idiots…)

But that’s for another day.  Suffice it to say that the intensity of the ego’s emotional reactions is not proportional to correctness….but directly proportional to the NEED to be correct!

 

And, we have probably all heard the phrase, “The camera doesn’t lie!”

That, I’m afraid is not necessarily true, either.

Case in point…  I almost missed the flyover and just happened to be in a position to quickly ‘snap off’ a few frames of the planes.  When I zoomed in later, I was somewhat shocked by what I had captured.  On a photographic level, this looks extremely dangerous from my ‘perspective’…my vantage point…

(click on the image to make it larger)

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This looks even worse!

 

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Not what it appears to be.  No planes crashed, which from these images would seem inevitable.

Things are not always as they appear on the surface.  ‘Nuff said!

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Girls In The Hood…or, ON the hood

•May 15, 2014 • 4 Comments

 

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While at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend I was treated to a display of beautiful classic autos in the infield/fan zone.
There was a time when all cars were a luxury.  Not that they were all ‘Luxury Cars’, but they were a luxury for the few who could own them.

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I have heard that there was actually a time when celebrating one’s 16th birthday did not necessarily make one feel entitled  to one’s own car…! :)

Morgan

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Most of these autos WERE luxury cars though.

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They had been beautifully restored.  My first thought was to photograph several of them from whatever interesting and/or unusual angles I could devise but when each car is surrounded by several onlookers, that becomes a bit…umh…distracting in a photo, so I settled for a study of the tiny sculptures that adorned most of them…the hood ornaments.  (And, BTW, I didn’t bother to remove my ‘self-portrait’ from many of these.)

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Here is the photo ‘instruction?’ part of this story.  I am evidently so ‘old school’ that I first thought that I should get out a journal and keep notes of what ‘mascot’ belonged to which car…you know…don’t want to waste film on placards…Actually, I was storing my images on digital cards, so….well, you get the point, right?  I don’t really HAVE to tell you the intensity of my brain-freeze, do I?  So…hint…tip…when you are photographing something that you want to remember logistic details about, go ahead and use a few megabytes to record it!  If it’s a landscape that you want to come back to, many cameras and certainly cell phones will record the exact GPS location for you. (I’m not really trying to tell you something you already know….I’m trying to hammer it into my own mind.)

 

Now, for me, it just gave me an excuse to ‘look it up’ later which therefore gave me a bit of history that I didn’t know, though some I could have guessed…

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The hood ornament started as a radiator cap.  Originally they had thermometers on them so that you could see when your engine was going to boil over and you would pull off the road and have a picnic while it cooled off.

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When water pumps and better radiators came around, the designers were then free to add a unique touch to their product, still as radiator caps for a while and then as iconic ‘identifiers’.

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Most everyone knows a Mercedes Benz hood ornament.  You can see that and you don’t even have to see the rest of the auto to know what’s under the ‘mascot’.  Though there is NOT one here…

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There are various stories about each mascot, from the Rolls Royce woman (who was the mistress of….well, I won’t tell tales…) with a billowing negligee that represents wings

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to the very obvious ‘Swallow’.

 

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The 40′s moved from the classic sculpture into a more streamlined look and the 50′s and 60′s introduced the  ‘Space Age’ themes.

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Most ornaments in some way signified, or intimated speed….movement…to lead you down the road.

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I mean, you don’t ever see a Jaguar mascot resting on its haunches…or a cormorant sitting on its nest

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Anyway….as much as technology has improved autos, I still think that someone should take the basic design of say a Packard, or LaSalle, or Duesenberg  and simply reduce the size to Toyota, Nissan or VW wheelbase specifications….Nash 3
Wouldn’t it be extremely cool to have a 2015 Ford pick-up truck that is the exact design as a 1948 pick-up, with wrap-around windows and all, compact sized, fuel efficient….wooden bed..?  okay, I’ve gone too far…

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Bring design back to automobiles!!

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At least reintroduce the hood ornament!

Isotta-Fraschini

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(I do like the way the reflection of the Indy Pagoda reinforces the lines on this one)

I may have mis-identified a few of these, because, well, I didn’t have the sense to…NVM…

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LaSalle

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