Checking Out Blogs

The daily task in the WordPress Blogging 101 course that I am taking, was to remind us that blogging is not a one-way street: there should be balance between the blogs you read and the posts you write.  Our assignment was to find 5 new blogs to follow that piqued our interest.

The approach that I took for this task was to do some noodling around with the WordPress Reader, as it became rather obvious that the net that I was casting with my tags was much to wide.  After a little tweaking, I found a tag that I liked that led me to some pretty cool blogs with some inspiring images; I used ‘Abstract Photography’ for the tag to find these blogs:

  • The Brighter Writer – this blog contains interesting manipulation of images to create abstract art and provides stimulating visions to inspire all.
  • Lingua Franca – Omar writes about technology, photography, literature and social issues and complements his writing with images that show his vision of the world.
  • Cooper Creek Park Photography Project – this relatively new blog struck me with some cool perspective in images, such as in this post The Wild Grass; I expect to see a lot more from this blog.
  • The Perpetual Vagabond – this blog has been going strong for a number of years and presents a great view of nature from the eye of this vagabond, such as in this post: Impressions in the Sand.
  • Mundane Profundity – I picked this blog, because I sense that we’re kindred spirits with some great early posts and a significant hiatus.  As the author just kicked off a 2016 project, I look forward to seeing what else appears…

This exploration was a lot of fun and inspiring to keep me going.  From time to time, I will do some additional checking of what comes out of other tags in the Reader…

Hello, New Year!

As a New Year commences with hope, intentions and goals to be achieved, it is time to put together a plan toward achievement.  Some of these goals will be focused on photography, and some of them will be in the area of playing the guitar.

This blog is a step in the photography plan of my goals; and I think it is time to revisit and refine the reasons for the blog.  Part of what I hope to achieve through this process is to eliminate some of the barriers that have made for infrequent blog posts.

As a photographer, even a part-time one, I always look to challenge myself, improve my skills and undertake some interesting projects that keep my creative juices flowing.  I aim to use this blog as a vehicle to help move these areas along with the hope that some of what I share may be of interest to photographers and creative artists alike.

Expect my posts to vary, as some will be to share some of my photographic endeavors and the thoughts that went in to them, whereas others will be musings about project directions and random thoughts that cross my mind.

 

p52-20131105-IMG_2630

‘The Wise Tree’ is part of this post, as one of this year’s projects will involve this tree…

If this blog attains any success, it is to be measured in the feedback that it attracts from readers, and, possibly, what it might inspire others to do and achieve.  It’s a journey without any specific destination, but, who knows, we may see some interesting sights along the way.

Of course, we may end up following the road less taken and some posts may even talk about playing guitar, but, with your help, I will try to make it entertaining for all!

Instant Grammar – page 43

The railroad that runs through West Boylston does not carry a large amount of traffic.  The occasional cargo train will rumble through town at a rather slow speed; if one gets caught by the train at one of the two grade crossings in town, it is best to turn your car’s engine off and relax, as it will be a while before the crossing clears again.

Past meets present, as we reach infinity.
Past meets present, as we reach infinity.

When I am fortunate enough to meet a train in this way, I enjoy the time to take a closer look at what is passing in front of me.  There is much to learn by watching a train pass by.  The railroad is a veritable history collection on steel wheels.  Ranging from the collection of freight cars and their owners to the cargo that they haul, each train tells a story.

The train may be made up from a large variety of rolling stock from carriers, such as Green Mountain Railroad, Boston and Maine, Pan Am Railways, Bangor and Aroostook, Maine Central, Providence and Worcester Railroad, and the list goes on.  Each of these railroads has their own background and current state of success or trouble.  Some railroads do well financially, but many small railroads’ fate often hinge on consolidation.

The types of the railcars tell another part of the story: what is being carried.  Usually, I see a mix of tankers, car carriers and loads of building wood on center beam cars.  One part that is always a mystery, is where the cargo originated and what its final destination is.

Additionally, the train is a rolling canvas for graffiti artists.  Often just a stylized writing of the artist’s chosen name or some clever message; occasionally, there is a true masterpiece that rolls by and you cannot help, but be amazed by the talent.

By the time the train completes its passage of the grade crossing, I have been entertained, puzzled and stimulated.  It’s time to fire up the engine once more and continue the journey.

I hope you enjoyed my musings about page 43 and feel free to take a look at the entire book at the following link for the softcover versionInstant Grammar 2013 by Frank Jansen or for the hardcover version Instant Grammar 2013 (Hardcopy) by Frank Jansen

Instant Grammar – page 11

During my (then) rather lengthy daily commute, I always opted for the scenic route, which, albeit 10-15 minutes longer, was much more relaxing than using the highways.  And it had the added benefit of providing some interesting scenery to enjoy!

The Cows are Hamming it up!
The Cows are Hamming it up!

One of the points of interest is a set of farms near the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border, one of which literally had a road right through the property of the farm.  This did make for slower travel and the occasional scent of true farm life, such as organic fertilization; from time to time, I would stop here and capture something or other.

On this fine day in April, I wanted to get a bit of a wider image of the cows feeding in the very New England farmland (read: large rocks intersperse grass and mud).  However, the cows had a completely different idea!

As soon as the cows saw that I had pulled over, they decided to come over and find out what I was up to…after all, there may have been food involved!  So rather than getting the wide shot, I got this wonderful close-up of the cows vying for attention.

I hope you enjoyed visiting page 11 and feel free to take a look at the entire book at the following link for the softcover versionInstant Grammar 2013 by Frank Jansen.

Instant Grammar – page 34

The interest to capture this image came to me, as I was looking to get some nice sunlight reflected in the pond that is right next to this little building. One of those nice, quiet October mornings when you feel like it might still be Summer.

Beauty and Otherwise.
Beauty and Otherwise.

I didn’t really like the reflection that I could get, given the (self-imposed) constraint of using my iPhone for every shot during the year, and I had already photographed the nicely restored mill building across the road (you can see part of it in the “Instant Grammar – page 3” post and another part later).

So I started looking for something different and my eye was caught by the splash of red from the somewhat dilapidated berries in front of the very dilapidated building.  Putting the graffiti in the frame behind the berries allowed for a bit of juxtaposition of nature’s beauty against what can otherwise be created by humankind.

I hope you enjoyed visiting page 34 and feel free to take a look at the entire book at the following link for the softcover versionInstant Grammar 2013 by Frank Jansen.

Instant Grammar – page 21

On August 13th, we had just finished a very nice dinner at one of our favorite Worcester, MA, restaurants: Bocado (highly recommended).  As we were leaving, I had this gnawing thought that something was missing…

What Lies Between Buildings.
What Lies Between Buildings.

Of course! I hadn’t captured my image yet that day!!  As we walked out the door at Bocado’s, I noticed that there was a small hole in the wooden fence between the two buildings and took a peek!

What I saw, intrigued me for the lines that were formed by the various surfaces, pipes, bricks, and the buildings, only to be broken by the pure organic texture of nature coming in to play.  Luckily, a small hole is enough for an iPhone’s lens, so we get to see the result here.

I still enjoy looking into this image and wondering what lies beyond the fence and who will use the plywood, or what is in the blue container…

I hope you enjoyed visiting page 21 and feel free to take a look at the entire book at the following link for the softcover versionInstant Grammar 2013 by Frank Jansen.

Instant Grammar – page 4

On page 4, we find ourselves in the cold of Winter with Thoughts of Spring.

Thoughts of Sping
Thoughts of Spring

Of course, one may think that those thoughts are a bit premature, given that the image was captured on January 7th and plenty of cold and snow could reasonably be expected… While that is certainly the case, seeing the farm tractor catching glorious sunlight got me thinking of Spring well before its arrival!

In an instant, I knew that the farmer was prepared for the next season to arrive and take on the tasks to get his fields ready for whatever their purpose was to be.  It was almost as if Winter allowed me to peek into a diorama of things to come…

A little piece of magic for all of us to enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed my musings about page 4 and feel free to take a look at the entire book at the following link for the softcover versionInstant Grammar 2013 by Frank Jansen or for the hardcover version Instant Grammar 2013 (Hardcopy) by Frank Jansen

Instant Grammar – page 26

The image on page 6 was shot on September 5, while I was waiting for my car to be serviced.  It had just rained and I sauntered over to the Panera close to the dealership to get a bit of breakfast.

A Sunny Flower on a Rainy Day
A Sunny Flower on a Rainy Day

After a (somewhat) healthy power breakfast with a cup of hot green tea, I was walking back and rather liked the sky that presented itself, so was looking for an opportunity to photograph it in some fashion.

As it happened, the dealership had planted a nice row of sunflowers along the edge of their lot to dress things up a bit.  I liked the idea of juxtaposing the sunflower against the doughnut shop and the sky; a bit of a 3-way contrast between sun and rain, as well as healthy sunflower seeds vs killer doughnuts.  A bit of finding the position to line up flower, shop and sky, and you see the result here.

I hope you enjoyed my musings about page 26 and feel free to take a look at the entire book at the following link for the softcover versionInstant Grammar 2013 by Frank Jansen or for the hardcover version Instant Grammar 2013 (Hardcopy) by Frank Jansen

Instant Grammar – Page 8

Page 8 displays an image that was captured on April 7 in East Haddam, Connecticut.  The location is in Devil’s Hopyard State Park, which is a great spot for hiking and interacting with nature; the small cascade is called Chapman Falls.

Chapman Falls in Devil's Hopyard State Park, East Haddam, CT.
Chapman Falls in Devil’s Hopyard State Park, East Haddam, CT.

I was visiting friends in East Haddam for the weekend to explore some photography opportunities, help with a web-site and do some off-roading with my newly acquired FJ Cruiser.  On this beautiful Sunday, a bit of exploration along a tricky bit of trails (great boulders and such) led us to the vicinity of Devil’s Hopyard State Park.

As we were all ready to stretch our legs a bit and new there would be a bit of scenery, I parked and we started following trails.  The trail that took us down to Chapman Falls provided access to a bit of clambering over a couple of rocks to get a seat right across from the falls.  The falls feature potholes that have been created by stones that were caught in eddies and spun to wear holes into the rock; as these holes formed, larger stones would get stuck in them and continue the process by carving a deeper hole.

The origin of the name ‘Devil’s Hopyard’ is not entirely clear, but there is folklore surrounding it.  One of the more believable accounts is that hops were grown in the area by a man named Dibble; maybe not as fun as a supernatural dance location, possibly.

Hope you enjoy page 8 and feel free to take a look at the entire book at the following link for the softcover versionInstant Grammar 2013 by Frank Jansen or for the hardcover version Instant Grammar 2013 (Hardcopy) by Frank Jansen

Instant Grammar 2013 – page 19

This image is a bit unique in the collection resulting from the 365 Day Instagram project: shots of trash are pretty rare among my images, unless I see something unusual about the particular trash item.  On July 22nd, something caught my eye about this little tableau, as I was driving along my morning commute.

A Couch Alone.
A Couch Alone.

It is not every day, that I see a red couch, albeit dilapidated, framed by a bit of greenery next to the road.  The couch looked a bit forlorn and disheveled, as if it was having a rough morning following a long night of rowdy partying at the local fraternity.  To add insult to injury, trash was stuffed under the cushions in a futile attempt to make the most of this act of brazen dumping.

What adds a little bit of irony to this situation is the fact that just to the left is the entrance to the local town transfer station (aka dump); the couch almost made it, but was left in clear violation of local rules: the transfer station fence bears a sign that expressly forbids dumping!

So here is page 19 for your enjoyment.  Feel free to enjoy more images in the book at the following link for the softcover versionInstant Grammar 2013 by Frank Jansen or for the hardcover version Instant Grammar 2013 (Hardcopy) by Frank Jansen