Monday, December 31, 2012

david's d35

Last day of 2012 and if you don't like guitars (or my ongoing ramblings about them), you'll want to skip ahead to next year... 

After our trip to the Bugman, I borrowed David's 1970 (there must be some '70's theme here) Martin D-35 to pass along my Christmas present - a thorough cleaning, new strings and the addition of a case humidifier.  If you don't know by now, I love beautiful wood - whether the tone is coming from an acoustic guitar or simply the sound of its name.  Walnut, oak, ash - these are the woods of my home.  Mahogany, rosewood & spruce belong to places only my mind has travelled.  Since 1933 the CF Martin Co. has been making guitar backs & sides from Honduran Mahogany and Brazilian Rosewood, but by the 1960's over-harvesting had put rosewood on the endangered list - so much so that large scale use of it became illegal. Martin's first solution was to quit using large pieces of Brazilian in their two-piece backs and move to smaller pieces (once considered scrap) formed into a three segment design.  In 1965 the famed D-28 gave birth to the D-35, and by 1970 Martin moved away from Brazilian (in high production guitars) & David's guitar was made from East Indian Rosewood. So much for the sustainable history lesson, the bottom line once again - good tone wood, nice light & shallow depth of field gets us here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

visiting the bugman

Whenever I hook up with my old friend David Soliday an adventure of some sort usually transpires.  We met at a workshop on the coast of Maine & have travelled to Texas, Jamaica and the panhandle of Florida chasing good photographs.  Through the years we've logged hundreds of miles in his 1978 VW Microbus, Boston Whaler skiff, various Land Rovers and spent uncountable hours on the phone discussing/dissecting every problem Nikon, Apple & Adobe has thrown at us. At times I'm sure we have propped up the national economy with our purchases of cameras, lenses, software and hard drives.  So, when David proposed a short trip to a VW junk/graveyard to search for Bus replacement parts, I was all in.  Located in the middle of 75 piney acres, Aubrey Watson (aka the 'Bugman') oversees the transition from road to rust for more than 400 VW's. Beetles (Bugs to Aubrey), Buses, Karmann Ghias, Squarebacks, Slantbacks, 411's and Things rest in the sawgrass and pine needles, waiting to be picked or passed over.  After searching through vehicles & piles for more than an hour, David came away with a window, a drip pan and several new insights into the workings of mid-1970's VW's.  I picked up an aluminum VW logo (off a Bug, not a Bus) for $5 & the belief that you didn't want to be doing this in August - that is, unless you really like snakes...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

tone wood

To quote a famous photographer - "there was the light & you can't pass up light like that."  Working in my office this morning when I saw the early December sun streaming through the window, hitting the little Martin guitar leaning against my desk.  Serendipity - as I had been thinking about what to hang in the upcoming faculty show.  Shooting with my 50 & 60mm lenses, I didn't have to look hard to find nice images.  And, it doesn't hurt that Martin & Gibson use wonderful wood.

Monday, December 3, 2012

the last beautiful days of autumn

I've borrowed the name of this post from a John Nichols book - the middle volume of his trilogy about life in Taos, New Mexico.  Attracted to anything that includes photography, fly fishing for trout, wood cutting, VW Microbuses, wine, women & mountains, I read all three pieces in the '80's (the other two being "If Mountains Die" and "On The Mesa").  His opening lines still ring true to me - "I live for autumn.  All year long I have reveries of those cool beautiful days to come, and memories of Octobers past."  Even though it is December, today was one of those days.  Blue skies striped with clouds, a cool morning turned to warmth and on the last of the ivy clinging to the Fine Arts Building, color - autumn color.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

worth repeating

This post was originally written in May, after the Indiana primary. Not much is different, although I did notice there weren't many pro-Democratic yard signs in the old school house lawn this morning when I voted.  My grandmother, who voted here, would be surprised to see the way her county has changed.  She was a Roosevelt Democrat, as were most of her neighbors, and never knew a Republican who would stand up for the working man.  She was a farm woman; my grandfather, a union carpenter.  I guess my politics hasn't strayed far from theirs, but I'm not sure how they would feel about my social views.  I do believe that only women should make health decisions for themselves and a marriage between two people should be any two people.  And that when you wave a Confederate flag north of the Mason-Dixon line, it has little to do with loving the South.  That being said, I'll take you back to May... 

I'm a political person by nature.  I still believe Robert Kennedy would have changed our country for the better, that Mo Udall would have made a great president and that my "don't blame me, I voted for McGovern" sticker was the best accessory to ever adorn my '73 Econoline van.  I've cast my ballot for more losing candidates through the years than winners and unfortunately today was one of those days, as Indiana turned away from our voice of reason - Richard Lugar.  But even defeat can't cloud my view of the process.  You see, I vote in a one room school house in the little town of Wilmington - staffed by my neighbors, surrounded by oak & ash and across the road from a cemetery that is home to fallen soldiers from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  There is something 'so American' about this place and process, something so optimistic and hopeful.  It's what brings me back, year after year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

first light, last color & a new post

This week one of my students told me that I've been 'slacking' - my word, not hers.  She noted that in the last couple of months my blog posts have become sporadic, to say the least.  And, she's right. As to why, I don't know, but I'll try to do better AK.  I remember when I first started reading Bill Allard's posts and how they dwindled from daily to weekly, then monthly and recently, one or two every 3 months.  Disappointed is too strong a word to use, but I was a little saddened not to get vignettes from a storyteller that I enjoy.  So, as the last leaves fall from the trees in my yard and October becomes November, here's a photo that was made with early morning light, kissing the tops of the trees & a promise of more posts to come.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

an old friend comes through

On assignment for Cincinnati Mag last week to photograph the Motr Pub on Main.  It was dark, not very busy and there were the normal challenges that come with those situations - high ISO, camera shake and blurry people.  By 12:15 I was tired & already had 500 images on the card but decided to stay until my old friend Jeff Roberson took to the stage.  I first met Jeff years ago when he worked at Robin Imaging and I still processed a lot of film.  Jeff is a Photoshop guru, RIT grad, photographer, motorcycle collector, musician and as I learned that evening, a stay at home dad.  After another 200 images and an hour of great music I was rewarded with the image I was hoping for.  It may not make the magazine, but it says a whole lot about the night.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

sectional time

Tonight, 5 years ago seems like yesterday.  It was the last time that Mike Lang & I walked off the soccer pitch as coaches of the South Dearborn Lady Knights.  After nine years, more than 100 wins, one Sectional & two Conference championships, we stepped away.  Our time had come and gone, just like all of the freshmen who became seniors.  I think what I miss most are the bus rides - a time of excitement, anticipation, intense conversation, joy & sometimes utter disappointment.  But, any sadness that lingers from lost games or championships quickly fades when I see a former player - see how they have grown and made their place in the world.  So now, I stand on a hill above the first game of the Sectional Tournament, with no desire to go inside but in no hurry to take the short trip home, away from the game we all loved.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

eat a peach

My friend Jamon has started a new project - 24 Gibson style, small bodied guitars.  Red spruce, mahogany & maple.  Bluesy to the bone, good enough to be named for a legend.  Any ideas?

Friday, August 17, 2012

late lunch

Dutch's Larder in Hyde Park, after a long shoot and no lunch.  Smoked turkey, pepper bacon, avocado spread, heirloom tomatoes, red cabbage and pasta salad.  Worth the wait.

on the road

Just started shooting a "food road trip" for Cincinnati Magazine & visited a great little Ohio vineyard.  More to come...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

pay off

Save your money, buy a guitar, take lessons and have your story reported in the Wall Street Journal.  You never know what will pay off, just ask Luke Flottman.

Friday, August 10, 2012

race frames

Mid Ohio Race Course, August 2012, IndyCar Championship Round 12.  D800, 28 mm lens, good weather. And: faaaast doesn't get you into the Spelling Bee,  Franchitti takes on America, rush hour, Will Power waits, Rahal & Ganassi discuss, the most you see of Marco, Barrichello beams, Dempsey covers, Hinch at the ready and Justin explains.  Finally, GoDaddy catches some rays, Mario sleeps & Maggie takes it all in.

Monday, August 6, 2012


No shoots during July and no posts.  Last week, however, the dam broke.  Two assignments from the Wall St. Journal and 13 restaurants for Cincinnati Magazine - all in the same week.  Here's a small view of Lydia Butler (born with one ventricle in her heart), midnight madness (the first practice of the year) at Bloomington High School North and breakfast at Nicholson's.