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It happens to every child – the endless energy signals that it is time to momentarily shut down and allow the mind to try to figure out the world surrounding them. This happened once back in the 1980s to my son and I was able to photograph the moment. Certainly, only seconds later, I am sure that he was once again running around at top speed.

A good friend gave me a pack of old Kodak Ektalure, which is wonderful for the Bromoil process, and this was printed on that paper. It is great to be able to use paper that would otherwise find its way into the recycling pile.

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To begin I would like to thank everyone who has bid on either of my prints. The response has been completely unexpected and very much appreciated.

To this end I am adding a third and final print on eBay, Encounters, which is one of my favorites. When making this particular print I decided to add a bit of raw sienna to the black ink to give it some color, something I do not normally do.

This print is now being offered on eBay with 100% of the proceeds going to the Red Cross to assist their help with the victims in Nepal. I will pay the shipping within the United States, so all of your efforts go toward helping those who need it the most.

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To say that I have been overwhelmed by the response of my offering a print on eBay with all of the proceeds going to the Red Cross would be an understatement.  I have done this in the past with mediocre (at best) results.  This time I have been knocked over, which means that I have no choice but to offer another print.

I offered Urban Farm Worker on a previous post and am offering it now on eBay to anyone who would like to own a copy.  All of the money bid will help the Red Cross respond to the tragedy in Nepal and I will pay for the shipping, so if you have been thinking of helping those on the other side of the world then this is a way to get something in return as a “Thank You!”.


Update: To anyone wishing to bid on a print, I have decided to offer Encounters in addition to this one.

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The earthquake in Nepal has been devastating and aid workers are rushing to help. I am hoping to encourage people to give so I am offering this Bromoil print with 100% of the proceeds going to the Red Cross. I will pay the shipping within the United States. This means that you get an original piece of art just for helping those who need it the most.

If you would like to bid on this print then please go to eBay.  You will be helping those who need it the most and will get a piece of art as a thank you.


Update: To anyone wishing to bid on a print, I have decided to offer Urban Farm Worker in addition to this one.


Another update: To anyone wishing to bid on a print, I have decided to offer Encounters in addition to this one.

Jewelry Booth

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During Worldwide Pinhole Day I knew I would be at an art fair, so I decided to use that as the location of my image. For the lensless aspect I decided to use a zone plate on a body cap of my old Nikon D70. As I wandered throughout the building looking for an appropriate location I realized that my focal length was too long for just about everything that I found interesting. This was compounded by the fact that I was looking at a two second exposure.

Fortunately, I was able to find a chair, which allowed me to steady the camera, and took a series of images of this jewelry booth, which I assembled in post. Doing things this way resulted in a pair of phantom legs, but I liked them so I decided to allow them to stay.

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The most prominent feature of the Aran Islands is the millions of rocks that work to define property boundaries and keep livestock in place.  This is why it seemed so odd to me to find a section that was apparently made of concrete.  Could this have been a sign of wealth?  When the islands are basically composed of rock and rock is used for everything rock can possibly be used for, why create an entrance of concrete?  There is certainly history here, but this may be a piece that will remain a mystery.

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The first signs of spring are finally showing themselves, although the temperatures in Maryland are still uncharacteristically low. Spring training is in full swing with opening day only a week and a half away, I am seeing crocuses in the back yard and expect the daffodils to start blooming very shortly, and when I drive to work the sun is starting to make its appearance against the windows of the buildings in Baltimore. These are the three signs I look forward to seeing each time around the sun.

This final lumen print encapsulates this rebirth. The subject matter taken from dead flowers that sat in my darkroom is reborn on Panalure paper exposed to the sun for many hours (I set it outside a few hours before sunset, then forgot about it until mid-morning the next day), having had water poured between the sheets of glass holding the composition together from bottom to top. Simple curve and level adjustments convinced the colors to bloom, allowing paper that would otherwise have no use to give me a smile.

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I had the privilege of giving a presentation to the Central Maryland Photographers’ Guild about pinhole and alternative process photography. The idea was not only to give a talk, but also to give everyone a task based on the talk, and then return the following month to see how the participants have fulfilled that task.

My initial idea was to have everyone make a pinhole image, but I knew that that would present some real problems. As expected, when surveying the audience, nobody was still using film. This meant that they would not be able to make their own pinhole (an actual pinhole should not be used with a digital camera because it will allow dust to get to the sensor). I explained that although it would be possible to print one on Pictorico, ink does not really do a good job blocking light, so this would not work properly. The only reasonable way to do this would be to purchase a pinhole body cap.

I had planned to talk about the Bromoil process with examples of my work, which I did, but at the last moment decided to include Lumen prints in my talk. I am very lucky because I know a number of people who, having switched to digital and no longer have a use for their old photographic paper, have given their unused paper to me. I have been able to use much of it with the Bromoil process (an extreme example), but RC and glossy paper does not work with the process. That paper has oftentimes been used to make Lumen prints.

I decided to give the participants a choice of tasks. One option was to purchase a pinhole body cap and take a digital pinhole image. The other was to make a lumen print. Others are not as fortunate as I in having some old photographic paper, so I put together 30 bundles of paper and gave them to those who wanted to give this a try.

I was not going to present a task without doing it myself so I used some old Kodak Panalure paper to make a few lumen prints. In the past I have used this paper within my pinhole cameras because it properly captures the full color spectrum (as opposed to common orthochromatic paper, which does not). The offering here is one of the prints that I will be bringing on my return to the guild, and I look forward to seeing what others have done.

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All things must pass and so did our time on the Aran Islands. It was farewell in several ways, but foremost in my mind was how the islands had changed over the past nineteen years. When I first visited there was only one car on one of the islands, a taxi that would take one from the east end of Inishmore to the west end if one did not want to take a horse drawn coach. Today the island contains many cars that regularly zoom along the roads, making one step aside on a regular basis.

On one hand, some of what make the islands so attractive has gone away, on another hand it only makes sense to wish to the inhabitants the best of their choices, on a third hand those accustomed to dealing with cars will never know the difference. We may return – there are so many other places to visit – and if so my druthers will be to spend a couple of days on Inishmaan, where despite the changes on the large island, little has changed over the years. The ability to quietly contemplate over the ocean of rocks is certainly what John Millington Synge enjoyed (his house still exists there, though it has been whitewashed), and mindless exploration brings untold benefits, so I would love to pass through one more time.

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If there is one takeaway from the Aran Islands it is that there are rocks. Many, many rocks. It is estimated that there are about 1,000 miles of ancient stone walls to contain livestock and define property ownership. If one were to conservatively estimate that each foot of wall contained five rocks then that would come to over 25 million rocks. A rock was picked up and placed in a specific location over 25 million times. I am still unable to get my head around that.

This image shows three layers of walls with the limestone ground between. Deep fissures can be seen, which may contain hints of soil. The Aran Islands of one hundred years ago looked more like this than the fields of grass of today. Although a fictional documentary, the movie Man of Aran does show the islands in 1934, when men broke these rocks with sledge hammers to get to that soil.

Though that is no longer necessary, the islands offer a unique opportunity to see back into another time when things were very different.

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