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Some friends are thinking about creating an artist colony not far from Asheville, NC and this past fall we traveled there to survey the property.  Of interest was an old tobacco barn which appeared to be as solid as the day it was built.  That building could be used for a multitude of purposes.

The other building nearby was a small house, which had been occupied not too many years ago.  Not much was in there, but I did notice a chair, which had me thinking of the person who had lived there and what they might have been thinking while sitting in the midst of a place nobody visited.

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We are inclined to find faces – it’s called pareidolia.  Sometimes this tendency can be combined with other things.

In this particular case when I saw this tree it reminded me of the play Phantom of the Opera.  I pass it on a regular basis but it was not until the leaves fell that it was noticed.

I wonder how long it’s got before it comes down.

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Anyone who knows me even a little knows that I have no use for being cold.  Wintertime for me is three long months of cold hands.  As I write this the snow is beginning to come down and it is expected that we will end up with about two feet of snow.  The idea of digging out over the next couple of days does not give me a warm and happy demeanor.

There is no need to yell at the sky, but there is a need to return my mind to my trip to California earlier this year, where the temperatures routinely sat above 100F and I leisurely wandered from Los Angeles to Sacramento watching minor league baseball games over the course of a week and a half.

This image is from Stockton, where they were offering water as a means to cool off from the hot day.  As can be seen, a great time was had by all.

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Half a lifetime ago I lived in Jefferson, Maryland for a short period of time.  It was a very small town with a single grocery store that had little to offer.  On a recent trip to photograph in Brunswick I decided to stop off to see what has become of the place and saw that it had expanded considerably.

Of course, of note was the ice cream shop.  This brought back some memories so I decided to photograph it with my pinhole camera, and print it using the lith process.  It was done this way because of the ethereal effect, but also admittedly because this process can handle some fogged paper I was given (I love it when people give me photographic paper, whether it is still good or not, as I can always find a use for it).

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Each year we look to celebrate the new and ring out the old.  This is fine, but sometimes I like the old, and sometimes the old can be retained to work in new ways.

So here’s to the old and new, working in conjunction with one another in an attempt to get things just right.

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As the winter begins its yearly threat of ugliness it does so by turning rain into something more than just uncomfortable.  The coldness of the soaking precipitation chills us to the core and reminds us that nature is truly in charge.

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I was quite fortunate to meet John Luther Adams in Washington, D.C. this summer before the presentation of his work, Sila: The Breath of the World.

We had a good conversation about several things, one of which was my Piedmont Boll Weevils hat (the team is now called the Kannapolis Intimidators), whereupon he removed it from my head and placed it on his.

His orchestral work Become Ocean was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music and the recording went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.  I am looking forward to hearing his music played along side Philip Glass and Bryce Dessner’s at next year’s Big Ears Festival.

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I had a chance to give a demonstration on how to make photographic paper, which is always fun to do. Making the silver gelatin emulsion is the easy part, properly coating the paper is much more difficult. I might end up deciding to spend the money on an actual coating blade, but I continue to experiment with ways of evenly and accurately coating the paper that is affordable. I recently purchased Denise Ross’ book, The Light Farm, in the search for ideas on not only this, but also some recipes other than the AZO formula with which I am familiar.

My destination objective with making silver gelatin paper is to get some stability with photographic paper. I recently read that Fomabrom Variant IV 123 will no longer be available, which is a problem because that is my go-to paper for the Bromoil process.

The current recipe I use for making paper does not work with the process because the emulsion is too soft to use with a brush, though I do know of someone who uses sponges to ink the paper so I may give that a try. Also experimenting with various degrees of hardening may help. But knowing that I will always be able to make the paper I need would solve a continuing problem. Additionally, I am wondering how handmade paper responds to other processes, like lith printing and Mordançage. Time and testing will tell.

This image is from a number of years ago when I photographed in the Henryton State Hospital, which no longer exists.

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Age is not the determining factor when it comes to cool.  Some people carry a presence regardless of the circumstances and this guy impressed me as he quietly commanded the sidewalk.  He seemed to have no use for pretense or nonsense and was in complete charge of the situation.  Then again, perhaps not, but that was the vibe he offered.  But that’s the definition of cool, a presence without having to announce it.

I am in the process of producing prints for my show in the Stone Tower Gallery at Glen Echo Park.  This will be a continuation of The Extras, a project where I explore those who are the extras in the movie of my life.  I have been scrambling because an issue with the fixer concentration I used sent me in an unexpected direction (a technical thing I will write about on my Flickr page later).  Fortunately, I am almost done and am looking forward to getting these within frames and being ready for the 3 October reception.

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It is not possible to get into someone else’s mind. It’s hard enough to get into our own. Is the person acting other than we understand considered to be crazy or enlightened? Or both? Or is there a difference?

We spend our lives building filters to ensure that we fit in. When communion with the unknown becomes so important that those filters are dropped, we separate ourselves from everyone else and concentrate on the task at hand.

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