Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 17 - 365 Day Challenge

Day 112 -Mallards pairing off

The 365 day challenge is an interesting educational experience for a photographer. It does help you to remember to take your camera everywhere with you but it cannot provide the inspiration to actually take a photo. There are times that everything you see through the view finder looks like a photo you have already taken. Or one that does not fit with a level you have already established.

You get to look closely at what you expect of yourself photographically and whether you are measuring up. The two Mallard ducks above I was happy to capture but found my inner editor criticizing the clutter in the composition and that I snapped it with my wide angle instead of my long lens. Realistically you so often do not have the right lens on or the time to change before the object flies away.

Day 113 A

Day 113 B

Because of the bipolar weather I found myself falling back on still life or arranged compositions. In the green house the geraniums were blooming nicely. A cluster of flowers had broken off so I placed it to photograph. I do not much like the garish colors of this flower. They look wonderful on a deck or a patio and seem to represent the lushness of summer, but I find them too vivid and the leaves too green. So happy with the composition I began to look at ways to be happier with the color. in 113 A I reduced the saturation. And in 113 B I did the black and white option which shows the structure of the flower more.

Day 114 - Murphy Pensive

There are times you really have to push through your reluctance or barriers to reconnect with your muse. No doubt this happens even for the professional photographer on assignment. The 365 day challenge is challenging because of that. Day 114 was a bit of a break through but by day 115 I was back to finding the definitive geranium photograph.

Day 115 - Pretty in pink

Day 116 - ensnared

And on day 116 my mood was obviously coming out in my photographs. And so I took off on a road trip to change my mood and perspective. I had to drop off work in Trinidad, Colorado for the Trinidad Area Arts Council show Splash. Trinidad is a town I have driven through on the interstate. Now I was deep in the center of the city. Sometimes inspirational is just a change of scenery.

Day 117 - Reflections of Trinidad

Trinidad is an old mining and railroad town which had its heyday at the peak of both those industries. It is being restored and repurposed. Lots more pictures coming from my short time there and other visits but I came home tired and just post processed one or two. Week 18 will probably be a bonanza of Trinidad photographs.

Day 118 - Set in Stone

Some weeks you just have to keep on keeping on. There is usually a door of gold as a reward.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 16 - 365 day challenge

 It was a rough week for me and the USA. I had just completed Week 15 with post Day 104 when the news broke about the Boston Marathon bombing. I decided to dedicate Week 16 to beauty. And because my last post for the week would be on Earth Day, also to the earth. And if it took more than one photo a day to lighten the mood I would do that.

Day 105

Day 105 A

However I had no idea how hard it would be to get out with the camera and take those beautiful and heart warming and soul lifting photographs. Fortunately I had over the weekend taken some great photos I had yet to post process. And that was good because there was the broken waterpump. And some less than stellar weather as winter seems to hang on.

Day 106 - Wheeler Peak from Black Lake

Day 107 - Cows grazing

Day 108 - Linda's Horses taking in the sun.

What little good weather there was, however, was not missed by horses or cows or locals soaking up the early morning rays before the spring winds settled in driving everyone back to shelter and me to my studio where I contented myself with photos of my plants.

Day 109 - one of my Euphorbia

Flowers are not blooming yet unless they are in green houses. And we even had some snow. I am behind on planting in my poly tunnel but did finally get my strawberries and some other veggie starts out.

Day 110

Day 111 - Another of my Euphorbia

Hopefully I will be more inspired next week and nobody bombs anything and towns do not blow up and my car runs like a charm. And please no wind. No snow but give us rain.

Pushing the Envelope

Monhegan's Schoolteacher, 2004 by Jamie Wyeth 

Pushing the Envelope

Up late
Waiting until the town slept
before taking her bath
flaunting herself
in ways forbidden
by day and her job.

Curtain open
She reads forbidden literature
as nude she dries her hair
eats the cookie
her diet forbids
not the school marm now.

Warmth of the fire
pagan glow of the winter moon
a throbbing heat unsatisfied
in a sleepy town
a book
and a brazened display.

J. Binford-Bell
April 2013

See The Mag for other responses to this visual prompt

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Constant Critic

Spring, 1935 by Kuzma Petrov-Vodin
Visual prompt provided by The Mag

The Constant Critic

Enough already!
my less critical self shouts
at the perfectionist me
Why not just enjoy?

But the perspective is wrong
they are giants
in a Lilliputian world
So could you do better?

Of course I can
And the colors do not work
But the hands are awesome
So he should just paint hands.

He was a writer and a violinist
I hope he was better at that
Would not be bad if he took the people out
Or cropped at the feet.

He was famous at painting
In Russia
Their literature is strange too
And their music.

Enough already!
You will ruin it for everyone.
Everyone likes this?
I think not.

Just shut up!

J. Binford-Bell
April 2013

Week 15 - 365 Day Challenge

Magique by J. Binford-Bell

April is such a tease. The beginning of the week was magic which is what Magique means in French. And the above picture was such magic that I immediately posted it on my timeline and so it officially is not in this week's challenge. But that one day when the ponds I visit thawed and the ducks and geese came back dominated my photos for the week because the remainder of the week was back to winter.

Day 98  - hanging gardens

Not a different crop of the opening picture but another framing of it with the lens and the accent is on the reflected trees and not my labradoodle, Magique. If you are a photographer with dogs you know they put themselves in the picture quite often and sometimes that is a good thing.

Day 99 - Hanging Garden in Sepia

Bad weather was back on Day 99 so I played with my photos taken after the ponds melted and wished for a return to calm pond weather. I personally do not think sepia always works except for outlaw portraits but playing with lots of different post processing options I quite liked this one.

Day 100 - Less than Stellar Weather

April in the mountains is iffy at best. Snow comes at night when the temps fall and turns to sleet and icy rain as the temps rise. I was sitting in my car and debating whether I needed to get a rain coat for my camera before I took it out in such stuff. Digital cameras do not like moisture, but in the arid southwest United States we do not get a lot of it. The car was warm and the defroster on and I was on the verge of calling off any outside photography when I noticed the shadows through the rain/snow mix on the windshield. The wind made the streams of moisture go at an angle.

Day 101 - Snow Returns

At least the camera was allowed outside on this breeze and freeze day. I didn't stay out long. I was resisting the return of winter, if indeed it ever left. I was having trouble with Facebook not posting photos on my fan page where they were suppose to be or just anywhere on my timeline. The weather was awful so I played around with Google + for posting my 365 day challenge photos, looked off my computer for the majority of the day. And on Day 102 to cheer myself up posted the photo below taken on the day the ponds thawed.

Magique up to her belly in just above freezing weather got more likes and more comments and more views than any of my more artistic ventures during the week. Maybe it was my black and white mood.

Day 102 - Water Dog

So even though the weather had not improved or maybe because of it I returned to that folder of idyllic pond reflections. The green made me happy. But the continuing bad weather didn't.

Day 103 - Serenity

Day 104 - Remains of Winter

Only thing saving the week, in my opinion, was the purchase of the latest update of my photo editing software. It does marvelous things with black and white, which like sepia, is not my favorite. I am a color person. But the clarity and definition I am able to now get in B&W delights me. I promise more color next week if the weather provides more spring and less winter.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Bath

Women with a towel by Edgar Degas

The bath

Always this special place
closed away from the world
and family
saturated with steam
and warmth.

So much more than bathing
a place to day dream
and imagine
lose myself in clouds of mist
explore my body.

What is not to love about a bath
with scented soaps
and bubbles
big lush towels
against skin.

A time stolen from the day
to pretend to no one
who I am
A sabbatical
from me.

J. Binford-Bell
April 2013

For more creative takes on this prompt see The Mag: 163

Week 14 - 365 Day Photography Challenge

Day 91 - Good Friday in Taos

No Day 91 was not Good Friday. And Good Friday was not good. I am fine but a friend had a crisis that day and didn't even get a helicopter ride but I got a good picture.

At one time in my life my camera was my armor. I took it to parties and company events and took photos. It kept my hands too busy to hold a drink and offered this protective shield against having to talk to anyone. And if someone rushed the barricade it gave a topic of discussion. I am an introvert and the camera can become my escape and cave. At the same time it is a way to see a world others often miss. Just having a camera on the car seat opens worlds - a sort of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street which I remember reading to my sister.

Day 92 - Angles

Few streets in my neck of the woods these days. And literally woods. So when I get tired of trees I focus on ponds and windows and angles of roofs on the houses in the area. But this week was special because the ponds melted. And the mirror to see trees and clouds upside down opened. And oddly it happened on a day it snowed.

Day 93 - Cold reflections

Day 94 - Through the window

I had been hungry for reflections. Even washed windows on a green house tend to get better reflections. I love the inside, outside, other side beyond in the photo above. I have always understood Alice Through the Looking Glass. What I did not understand was Dad trying to explain it was nonsense.

Day 95- Apologies to Monet III

My sister, by far the better photographer, is going through a period of estrangement with her camera. While I am going through an enmeshment. Cameras are not always a happy relationship. I think I am hiding behind mine rather much at the moment. My argument is with Facebook which refuses to post photos. I began the 365 day challenge by posting one photo a day on my fanpage - Binford-Bell Studio - and now it just swallows pictures. Which is one better than it is doing on my timeline page. You can find the pictures I post on my fanpage if you look long and hard enough. I am not up to the effort it takes so I doubt my fans are. How goes it with Google +?

Day 96 - Dancing on the edge of winter

So there I was with all the ponds melting and the ducks and geese coming back and no need to look for a subject to snap for the daily challenge and Facebook is denying me access to my audience. Bringing up the question of do I take pictures for me or them. Definitely me. But I do like pleasing people and art was always my way - sometimes my only way - to do that.

Day 97 - Changing weather

Week 15 will be all about reflections I think. I have so many I have not been able to share. So a daily blog here featuring just one photo? Or posting them on Google + and then the usual weekly blog here? Continuing to hide them on my fanpage (if you go to the albums you can find them)? But do not look for them in the newsfeed. All viable options considered.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week 13 - 365 day Challenge

Day 84 - Studio Reflections

Week 13 began rather slowly. There are in the year weeks of high enthusiasm and low. I admit to just snapping the picture above to see where my selective focus would be in one of my camera's auto modes. The puzzle of overlapping images was rather fun however and this photographic challenge is suppose to be about learning and challenging yourself.

Day 85 - Buddha of the Geraniums

By Day 85 I had decided to more or less focus on the spiritual around me. It was after all Easter Week. I am not a Christian. My beliefs are far more eclectic. Buddha of the Geraniums fit right in. I have taken this image before and not been all that pleased but I took it this time after washing down the flowers and the objects in the bed, and knocking down some petals.

Day 86 - Celebration of spring

Easter comes from the goddess Eostre so this arrangement of orchid blossoms done in Easter Egg colors seemed very appropriate.

Day 87 - Full worm moon and Gothic Cross

As the first picture indicated I was very much in an experimental mood this week. I had been out taking some pictures of the full worm moon and came back into the studio and noticed the moon through the window shinning behind a beveled glass cross. As I was uploading it I noticed how very neat the water spots on the glass looked. Almost like stars. I collect crosses and was doing a blog post on Sidetracked Charley about my collection and so snapped a couple quick picks of some of them. And so Day 88 below.

Day 88 - Sign of the Cross

Day 89 - Good Friday

Also taken on the day of the full worm moon or chaste moon but as I had bracketed images not all were in focus. Almost hit trash when I realized the full moon was in incredible focus under the arm screen left of the cross. I thought it rather ironic the symbol of Christianity was out of focus but the moon, a symbol of beliefs dating way before Christianity was in sharp focus.

Day 90 - April Fools

And back to a celebration of spring in a riot of color. And back to the green house with the orchid and Buddha. I was driven to spring clean and had washed down the green house windows with a hose and brush and had to record the way the water distorted the aspens just outside. Then of course I had to distort the colors.

Someone asked a post or two back about what does not make the daily cut. So I thought I would post a couple of this week's also rans.

Phoebe Reverent with Ishtar 

Was going to post it after Buddha. Used it in a timeline post and a blog instead.

Crosses with Guardian of the house

This went into the Sidetracked Charley blog on Crosses, and the photo below became a cover on my timeline.

Aspens and sky

Monday, April 1, 2013


Between Heaven and Hell by Jacek Yerka

Jacek Yerka was born in ToruĊ„, Poland, in 1952. He was born into an artistic family with both his parents graduates from a local Fine Art Academy. His earliest memories were of paints, inks, paper, rubbers and brushes. As a child, Yerka loved to draw and make sculptures. He hated playing outside, and preferred to sit down with a pencil, creating and exploring his own world. This difference between the other children in his primary school led to social problems with his peers and Yerka describes his primary school life as being a "grey, sometimes horrifying reality". However, Yerka later became 'untouchable' in his high school due to his clever sketches of the school's worst bullies. For more on Jacek Yerka see Wiki.


and imagined
Joy and Despair
There is this narrow world
Of things to hold on to.


and nightmare
Heaven and Hell
A slice of life fleeting
The mundane comforts.


and insanity
A life lived
Within the limits of art
By pencil, paper and paint.

J. Binford-Bell
April 1, 2013