The look develops

Struggles with the look and feel of my blog.

For me, a photographer, there’s nothing harder than designing the look and feel of this blog; I don’t know, if it is the perfectionist in me or my inability to make this type of decision.  Whatever it is, it’s a funny thing!

With any kind of camera in my hand, I can make snap decisions (yes, there is a pun there!) and even use a bit of precognition to help determine the look and feel of an image, such as the one here…

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So, for the time being, as this is an assignment in the excellent Blogging101 class that I’m taking through WordPress, I’m using this as a basis for my blog’s look and feel.  There will be further tinkering, as I figure out menus and widgets to add and make it more usable.

Stay tuned!

What lies at our feet

The Pond

BY AMY LOWELL

Cold, wet leaves
Floating on moss-coloured water
And the croaking of frogs—
Cracked bell-notes in the twilight.
—-
During those moments when we look for the grand landscape to capture, it may lie at our feet.
During those moments when we look for the grand landscape to capture, it may lie at our feet.

—-

Photography is a funny thing: All too often, we wander around with our fancy cameras with this preconceived notion of what great landscape we are going to capture, only to come up wanting.

This image was captured at such a time during a photo trip to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Our group was looking for the  perfect spot to do some sunset photography; most were looking for landscape features that would complement the light of the sun, as it descended toward the horizon.

As I trailed the group, I took a moment to look at the pond in front of me.  A bit of experimentation with the composition of what I saw resulted in ‘Pondscape’.

Oh, and that sunset never panned out for us.

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…

Happy New Title and Tag You’re It!

As this blog didn’t evolve much over the past couple of years, today was a perfect time for the second daily task in the Blogging 101 course from WordPress’ Blogging University: Take Control of Your Title and Tagline.

It was time to rid this blog of the old title of ‘jansenphoto’, as my name doesn’t truly reflect me.  The new title ‘Dutch goes the Photo’ actually tells you something about me, my background and approach to photography.

Angleic Butterfly emerging from Vines
Cryptomorphosis 1

The new tagline ‘Focus Hocus Pocus’ is a nod to one of my favorite Dutch bands, Focus and one of their great songs ‘Hocus Pocus’.  Music like that never gets old, just like novel approaches to photography keep things fresh and exciting.

Another link back to the ‘Focus Hocus Pocus’ is on view in the image here, which I captured in the Netherlands about 5 years ago.  All the magic in this image titled ‘Cryptomorphosis 1’ was done in-camera with only minor touch-ups in Photoshop…

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.

 

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‘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.