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.