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.

Old Photos Are Fun

I’m sure that many of you suffer from the same photographers’ malady that I have: tons of images that you have forgotten about! Now, that is not all bad, because I have taken some bad photos in the past (and will take more in the future), which are best forgotten.

Bay of Fundy at Low Tide
Bay of Fundy at Low Tide

On the other hand, my photo editing/processing skills have expanded and improved over the years, so some of those not-so-great photos might benefit from a bit of this new skill level.  As I went looking for the source file for a reasonably nice landscape of Peggy’s Cove that I took in 2007, I stumbled across an image at the Bay of Fundy that just never pleased me.  If I would take it nowadays, it would be as an HDR sequence, so that I could really get everything I wanted in the image.

However, thanks to the wonderful folks at HDRsoft and the fact that I have played with Photomatix Pro for years, there was the possibility to come up with something new in this image.  It is no longer a pure photo, as I went rather painterly on this image, but I really enjoy the mood that is captured here.

Let me know how you like it and about the photos you have resurrected from the past!

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 2013 – page 31

September 12th was one of those mornings that promises a rather uneventful day: quiet, overcast and the promise of a bit more sunlight.  During my commute, I was pondering what I might want to capture for the day’s edition of the project and nothing really caught my eye.

What is the apple of your mythology?
What is the apple of your mythology?

As I neared the border between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, I decided to stop and check out what a little pond looked like with the muted light.  After parking the car and walking over to the pond, only to discover that the beaver dam had been destroyed to leave no water behind, it became time to look around.

As happens so often, turning around 180 degrees and looking in that direction indicated that there might be some opportunities.  I crossed the road and found this wild apple hanging on for dear life with the morning dew heavy all over it.

Of course, there is much significance to the apple in many mythologies, so you can opt for the one that tickles your fancy.  Personally, I found it interesting that this apple is still hanging on a meager branch that looks barely able to support it, much less nourish it to grow; it appears to me that the apple has outstayed its welcome and is on its way out to rot before it even hits the ground.

Clearly, there can be some very deep meaning to that statement, but then again, I’m just a simple photographer…

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on page 31 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

Instant Grammar 2013 – Page 3

The first image in my book ‘Instant Grammar 2013’ was captured on January 1, 2013; a very nice day with snow left on the ground from a weather system that came through earlier in the week.

Janurary 1, 2013 - House at the Squannacook River Dam in Groton, MA.
Janurary 1, 2013 – House at the Squannacook River Dam in Groton, MA.

My good friend and fellow photographer, George, was visiting from Connecticut, so we planned to do a bit of wandering around on New Years Day and explore the area for some photo opportunities.
I had some locations in mind from my daily commute to the high-tech part of my life. This commute used to take me through various small towns with lots of interesting older architecture and locations. The Squannacook River Dam in this image was one of the locations on my list, as I enjoy water in my images and I knew there was potential for a good image.
It took a bit of clambering down the embankment to get the angle and framing of the image that is shown here. I wanted the house to rise above the dam and falls and use the sky and snow to complement one another, so as to provide a combination of the majesty of nature and structure, along with a sense of peaceful coexistence.
Hope you like this one! More can be found in the book at

Instant Grammar 2013

The Book’s Finished!!

During this past week I spent a good amount of time going through all the images from last year’s 365 Project that I described in a previous post (365 Projects – What’s Next? ). After gathering all the images, the task of culling them to a number that would produce a reasonably priced book was harder than I expected, but nonetheless gratifying even in some unexpected ways.

The Cows are Hamming it Up!
The Cows are Hamming it Up!

There may be some good reasons for all of us to go through a process like this once in a while.  It’s healthy to go back through a body of work and make decisions about what we’re going to include for publication in print (I gently put forth the concept that having photography in print is a different level of visceral connection to a work than on a computer screen; I may have to write a blog post about that concept).  It certainly felt like a cleansing to me with a much more positive outlook on my work as a result.

Fingall's Cave on the Island of Staffa.
Fingall’s Cave on the Island of Staffa.

First to describe the process that I used.  I took the 365+ candidate images (there were some days, where I had several interesting images, so I included these for this process rather than prejudging).  I assigned rating stars to all of the potentially publishable images, which wound up ranging from 3 to 5 stars.  Including all the extra images, this resulted in 229 images at 3+ stars: too many!  At this point, I did a quick re-scan to ensure that non of the 3-star images should have a change in rating and set the cut-off at 4+ stars: 164 images!  Still way too many, as my target was slight less than 60, so that I could publish it in a  60 page book.

Dunkin' Donuts and the Weather
Dunkin’ Donuts and the Weather

Another quick scan allowed me to get the number of potential images down to about 130, which was moving in the right direction.

Rather than continuing to pare down the number of images through this methodology, I decided to start formatting the book, which gave me the opportunity to get a sense of how the various images would work together on facing pages.  As I did this, a sense of flow and story was developing, which resulted in a very satisfying end product (I’m still writing the afterword, but that’s a matter of another 30 minutes max) that will go out later today for production.  I’m psyched!

Oh, almost forgot: go out and do something likes this for one of your projects and you’ll appreciate your own work a lot more!