Project a la Hockney

I have been playing rather seriously with photography for about ten years now, starting with digital, and then moving into film.  However, for me, there is always something missing in photography, and that simply is working with my hands.  I get rather bored, to tell the truth, of photography.  I would rather do something with it, make something with it.

Coming home from Mammoth in August, seeing the desert, made me recall two things.  One was David Hockney.  The other was his photo collage – montage – joining – whatever – of the Pear Blossom Highway.  There is just something about it I have always enjoyed.

Last weekend I decided to do something about it.  I went out to the local botanical garden and took a whole series of images, all digital, to create something similar to Hockney’s Pear Blossom Highway.  Altogether, I took enough photos for about a dozen panoramas, ranging from about 20 images to 70.  It took a few days to process the images in post, and then to create a panorama, too, just to get an idea of what the final pictures could be.

I chose three that I liked.  The pictures above are one of the three I sent to the Costco photo lab to print as 4×6 inch glossy prints.  I have no idea if Costco will stick to my colors or not – no idea!  That is part of sending them to an inexpensive photo lab.  For 112 images, I am paying less than $20.00, so that’s a pretty cheap thrill.  And, they will be ready in a couple of hours, so the fun can begin soon enough.

From all the images above, the one below is the merged pano, done in CS6, to give me a bit of a road map – like cheating on a puzzle??


Once I get the collage done with the prints, it will be interesting to see how it actually looks, compared to a computer-merged panorama.

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Tourist Stop: Bodie, California

On the Road to Bodie

For what it’s worth, Josh and I went up Highway 395 to see what the Eastern Sierras has to hold. I’ve never been up there.

High Noon in the High Desert

We decided to visit Bodie, the old silver-mining ghost town. It was amazing – not so much that it was a ghost town, but that at one point, it wasn’t a ghost town.The road in is about 13 miles long, the first 10 of which have been recently blacktopped, but the last 3 of which are gravel and washboard.  We were there under a noonday sun. Historically, about 5% of the original buildings remain, many of which had been destroyed by a fire sometime ago (1920s??).  While it is rather desolate and barren, visiting and learning a bit of its history, you are amazed to see the civilization of an age past come to life.

Click on the images below for the slideshow!

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Things Show Up At The Wrong Time: How to Move Your Photos to a New Drive Using Lightroom

My main HD is getting full, so before leaving on vacation, I decided to move and back up my photos onto an external drive. And then I found this video! I should have searched before doing . . . and Terry White is one of my favorite experts on Photoshop. This is a bookmark for myself.

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Old Things, New Things


With film disappearing – and reappearing – it seems the only new cameras for film are made of plastic and don’t cost too much or else are quite expensive.  There is something to be said for both approaches, but the quality of pictures taken with a plastic camera are not as “good” to my eye as are ones made from better quality film cameras, whether old or new.

Lizard Mouth at Sunset Jimson Weed

Of late, I have been enjoying the usage of old folding cameras, made from the 1930s and into the 1950s, which use both 35mm and 120mm film.  Besides the folders, I do have some SLRs, but, those are for discussing another time.  The folders are weird (compared to today’s digital) and definitely slower.  I mean, you have to get the film developed, or do it yourself!  The majority of folding cameras use 120mm film, but 35mm did make its debut in the 1930s, popularized by Leica.

The Road Beyond West

When I become interested in something, I tend to end up with a small collection.  That is what has happened with folding cameras.  I have ones which range from 6×4.5 to 6×6 to 6×9, all in cm, not inches.  They use 120 film, and the results can be great to deplorable, but always interesting.  The 6×6 square format is perhaps the most challenging because the viewfinders are offset and the image – as is for all of these kinds of cameras (non-SLR) – but with a square format, the eye wants to move into the center.

A View at Sundown

Autumn in the Valley

So, here are some images.  I plan on taking some of these cameras up to the Sierra Nevadas next week, along with a digital or two . . .

Prickly Pear

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy all these square images, taken with an early 1950s Perkeo II by Voigtlander, sporting a 75mm Color Skopar f3.5 lens, and Portra 400 film by Kodak.  Post in LR and other critters.

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“April is the cruelest month.”  Let’s change that to “July is the laziest month.”


Normally I am always busy, but this past year the busy-ness of my life changed to just hanging on because of the work schedule.  In fall, it will resume, with one difference:  I will have Wednesday afternoons off at 3:00 p.m. for 8 weeks, and then 2 p.m. for the remainder of the year.  M, Tu, and Th will remain the same – 9 hour days with a 30 minute lunch.  Sucks!

The result of this constant working is no sense of self or life – and this summer, it is really hard for me to focus on making things or finishing things.  I can start, but lose interest in a moment.  Only a few things seem to keep my interest:  reading (something I haven’t done in years), gardening, photography, and being outside as much as possible, even if it is just to loll around.

Productivity is something by which I measure the value of my time.  Making things in particular.

I guess what I need to do is set a few goals.  Therefore . . .

  • Goal 1:  finish a dress.
  • Goal 2:  finish a small quilt.

That should do.  Life will fill itself in between with friends and family and a contentment lolling in the sun brings.  (Not sunburn – I do wear my sunscreen.)

Here’s to the heat of summer in the heart of July!

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Palm & Shadows

Yesterday was a nice day – trip into the San Fernando Valley and then to Glendale and Pasadena with a friend.  We visited the Norton Simon museum.  I haven’t been there in ages, and I think the last time I was there was sometime in the last century (doesn’t that sound great?)!  Walking into the galleries was like meeting up with old friends.  I caught up with Gauguin and Fragonard, to name a few, and met some new friends, too, like Georges Lacombe.

River BW

Others were out in the sculpture garden, Maillot and Moore.  In between, a strong cup of coffee with pastries and conversation, topped off with dinner and home.  I’ve forgotten how much of a wonderful experience a great museum can be!  Oh, we took some photos, too.



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Another Walk on the Wild Side

Toward the River

Meetup groups can be a great way to make connections, to do and learn about new things.  Lately, I have been going on walks with the local Nature Conservancy group, and enjoying it immensely.  I am amazed at what I see and what I learn.  There are a lot of sharp eyes – the leaders spot things I wouldn’t notice, like horned lizards, and mountain lion tracks.  Yesterday, we wandered over to Santa Paula, California, to explore the property the Nature Conservancy has there.  It is up against the mountains and along the Santa Clara river, which is one of the last open rivers in Southern California – “unmolested” as Amy (the leader) says.


This hike consisted of a group of young men from a church in San Bernardino to a couple of young kids who found a horseshoe with the nails still in it and a feather from a red tail hawk.  All told, there were about 15 of us.  There were people I had met earlier – I expect they are regulars, as I am becoming – and newbies, too, who weren’t “new” to the world of nature, but just to me.  Some had amazing knowledge of plants and animals and the ecosystems involved.

Horned Lizard

Probably the most interesting part of this hike, for me, was to learn about the invasive species here in California, and their negative impacts.  These plants include arundo donax, black mustard, and fennel.  They are everywhere.  The arundo donax is an import from India and was used to control flooding along rivers.  The problem is that it is very invasive and dense, crowding out native species.  Black mustard was spread (supposedly) by the Spanish missionaries as the wended their way up from Mexico into California, using it as way to mark the trail from Mission to Mission.  Finally, fennel (which has a taste similar to anise or licorice) is an import from the Mediterranean.  Each of these plants are very familiar to the California landscape, but extremely, extremely difficult to eradicate.  Each has changed the native landscape in its own way, not for the better.


Native species along the Santa Clara river include mountain lions, badgers, egrets, herons, coyotes, pond turtles, yucca, buckwheat, cat tails, bull rushes, black walnut, red tail hawks, and a lot of other plants and animals adapted to the dry climate.  The Santa Clara river itself is not a river as one might think – not like the Mississippi – but a seasonal one which varies depending on the rainy season.  Some years we might see it wide and filled, other years a bit more than a trickle.  Where we trekked there were scattered ponds, low areas surrounded by cat tails and clogged by the arundo.


Many people think that everything in So Cal is just a freeway . . . it’s not.  There are a lot of open areas filled with life.  You just have to get out to look for it!  Below is a gallery of images.

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