Posts tagged ‘Water’

The Lazaras Creek

Taking a break from downtown and people as subjects, the heavy rains overnight on February 17 sent me back to Bull Creek the following morning to continue observation of how it has been changing under the impact of our continuing drought. The creek had been resurrected, if only briefly, even as the broader drought continued. The surreal mystery of the fire hydrant standing in the middle of the dry creek last October now runs to full irony.

Photoshop Reprieve!

Come on in, Danskin Triathlon, Austin, 2006

I just had to post a W00t! for Adobe’s most welcome change of heart regarding its upgrade policy for older versions of Photoshop, but not having any new photographs on hand I had to dig back and pull out an older one from the “reconsidered pile” to have something to go with it. The water’s great, come on back y’all.

I saw the Adobe Relents news first on Michael Reichmann’s Luminous Landscape site and knew immediately that I would be reversing my own course: I will be buying a Photoshop upgrade in 2012 after all! It will be to CS6 when that launches later in 2012, skipping over 5.5. I am so happy that I did not fold and pay for a CS5.5 upgrade on New Years Eve (see my previous post, Farewell to the Photoshop Tax).

That’s two lots of positive news out of Adobe in two days. Yesterday brought the Lightroom 4 Beta announcement, something I will be downloading and installing this week. Michael Reichmann (again!) has had an advance copy for some time and he has posted a video preview titled A Kitchen Table Video Overview on Luminous Landscape. Unlike Photoshop increments, the transition from Lightroom 3 to 4 appears to offer a lot of meat for photographers. So Adobe will get two orders from me this year reflecting quite a change in my attitude in just a couple of days.

That’s not to say that I regret my investment in Pixelmator; I’ll be keeping an eye on their progress and $30 is not a lot to spend as a vote of encouragement. You never know when that lifeboat might come in handy.

You can read more about Adobe’s change of heart in the Adobe Listens to Users, Defers Big Changes to CS6 Upgrade Policy article on the ProDesignTools site.

Austin Rain

Edge - Third Visit - Bull Creek, Austin

Last weekend it rained in Austin. Radio DJs marveled between each set list; it was the lead story on every newscast Friday through Monday. Bull Creek flowed for the first time in five months; not deep, not fast, but magically, mystically.

Saturday afternoon I took the camera back to the creek for a third visit. The dusty brown rocks had greened; the algae had merely been waiting for moisture and not dead. Sunday turned cold and rained all day; a London day in Texas. Two inches for the weekend; not an end to the drought of the twelve driest months on record but a reminder that such a thing could happen and a relief from the possibility of more wildfires.

It may be false hope but we will take it just the same.


Drain Pipe in Rain 3 - Sushi Sake, Stonelake & Research, Austin

Drain Pipe in Rain 3 - Sushi Sake, Stonelake & Research, Austin

Synecdoche: a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (as society for high society), the species for the genus (as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (as a creature for a man), or the name of the material for the thing made (as boards for stage).

Thanksgiving, after the meal was cleared, a good friend was explaining her need to make art as an outlet for self expression at this stage in her life. She turned to me for agreement on self expression as motive and purpose, but I was mute. I am one of those people that is cast into deep water by the habitual greeting of “How are you?” for which no response is expected beyond “Good, how are you?” If I take such daily questions so literally, struggling every time to compose a detailed and accurate answer, it is perhaps no great wonder that I am thrown off balance so much more by the subtle and complex question of “Why do you make art?”

There is self expression in all art and craft, even in how you make breakfast or tie your shoe, but I don’t think that “self expression” is enough to explain my underlying purpose in making photographs. I don’t write in my journal for self expression, I do that for self discovery. I don’t use photography for self discovery, I use it to investigate the feint possibility of there being meaning in life. I am looking for hope through the glass of my cameras, hence the quote at top of the home page of this web site:

Why is form beautiful? Because, I think, it helps us meet our worst fear, the suspicion
that life may be chaos and that therefore our suffering is without meaning.
      Robert Adams

An abstract painting is the deliberate if not entirely conscious expression of a mind, of the painter’s mind. There can be little or no direct communication though such work as that of Clyfford Still or Mark Rothko and yet it can appeal at some non-linguistic level; its ultimate source is in its resonating with a shared sympathy and primeval recognition within us. If we stop trying to read such images for their meaning and instead allow ourselves to simply feel them then we may indeed find some common ground between ourselves, the artists, and our fellow viewers. When my viewfinder contains some abstraction of the world around me, what is it that I am communicating with at that moment? What is the source of that drawing by light?

Photography is a form of stop-motion Zen participation in the common moment before it is an expression of myself. A photograph, a true photograph rather than a Photoshopped invention, is a re-presentation of a narrow slice of the physical universe. My contribution to the expression is in the timing, the framing, the focus, the exposure and the color saturation – all selections from the palette offered by the universe. The image is as at least as much made by the world expressing itself as it is by the one holding the camera; the world draws itself onto another portion of itself.

I do not expect to find God through a Nikon lens but I am looking for the suggestion of some connection, some fabric, some tissue, some value that extends beyond my isolation and coming termination; some larger pattern in which I fit and to which I belong.

That is the synecdoche I seek; the part that speaks for the whole. That’s why I make photographs.

The Paddler

The Paddler - Iona, Scotland - 2006

I am chuffed; Fotomoto has selected my Edge of the Unconscious picture as their “featured image” for today, April 2! It will be interesting to see if that leads to any income for Save The Children but if it doesn’t straight away, well, every bit of exposure helps. At least someone thought well enough of it to allow it to represent Fotomoto for the day.

The Paddler photograph above was made two shots later on the same afternoon and from the same vantage point on the ferry quay, Iona, Scotland. The sunlit aquamarine could be the Caribbean backdrop for a super model fashion shoot but instead it is in the North Atlantic and she is an everywoman archetype; a stand in for all of us that would rather be paddling than working in the office this April second. For this brief moment she was doing what every tired mother dreams of when the laundry still needs to be folded and the three year old upstairs just awoke, coughing.

Announcing the Announcement of CS5

Trees and Ripples

Color is the first thing I see, the main thing I photograph. There is no obvious subject in this image other than color itself. If you look long enough you will find the sunlit pine trees and a breeze blown pond of the Colorado Rockies, but it could be anywhere, anytime.

This is another re-found picture, overlooked for seven years, for which I owe thanks to Adobe Lightroom’s all-in-one-place catalog view of my photographs. However, I am hesitant to praise Adobe too much or too soon; I will reserve judgement until after the just announced announcement of Creative Suite 5. Earlier this week, Adobe told the press that on April 12 it would tell the press about the still later release of CS5. The updated product suite will not be available on April 12th, that’s just the date when we will be told the release date.

What this manic game of marketing musical chairs means for me is that almost certainly, yet again and as predicted, I will have been forced to upgrade to the current release of Photoshop just in time to be too early to qualify for a free upgrade to the new release. So pretty much the only thing I care to hear announced on April 12th is that my March 1st CS4 purchase qualifies for an automatic CS5 upgrade.

I had to buy Photoshop CS3 just before CS4 was announced in order to be able to read the images from a Nikon D300 camera, I had to buy CS4 just before the CS5 fanfare to convert my license from Windows to Mac. That I am getting free use of of the Lightroom 3 beta is small consolation because I am going to have to buy that when the beta runs out; having got used to what it can do I am unlikely to be willing to give it up. The free beta is both a good way to gather product feedback and a still better way to get new customers hooked. Adobe knows what every street corner drug dealer knows: give away free samples and they will have no choice but to come back and buy more.

All in all though I should be grateful, and I am, that I can afford to buy the expensive equipment that demands this expensive software. Few are so lucky.

[April 5, 2010 – looking back at this post and Thom Hogan’s 2010 News and Comments archive I realize that my title probably borrowed too much inspiration from his news report on the subject. I’m am pretty sure I first learned of Adobe’s plans from reading his site and while the sentiments that it generated are my own I need to acknowledge their origin.]