Mid century

Same lobby nook as yesterday’s entry, shown here in its full gloriousness of neon colors and over-the-top, umm, furniture. I’m actually not sure what those roll-y things are, you can’t sit on them and they’re too big to spin like tops. Those mid-century modernians had a refined sense of waste. Probably the post-war boom. With all that new industry, and the explosion of factories and manufacturing, it became necessary to make up things that could be manufactured, and bought, and put into tract homes. A lot of the decor had that feel, and maybe that’s why it continues to linger: its promise of all things being possible, of leisure time, of suburbs where you can watch John Glenn splash down in his space capsule and think: look how far we’ve come. We look back on all that stuff as “camp”, or in the worst case, “kitsch”, but today’s world is so full of gloom and so little hope for the future, that there is something compelling about the unbridled optimism of the 50s and 60s.


Another shot from the Marriott. This careful staged display of mid-century modern design was tucked into a corner, for no apparent reason. I love mirrors and all reflective surfaces for photos, and also I love groups of objects. The display gives an air of spareness, even as it displays quite a few objects.

Three coins for the fountain


The lobby of my hotel had this Marriott-approved tasteful fountain. I sound like I’m making fun of it, but in fact I love fountains of any kind and always stop to admire them. (water freak, what can I say.) Water is my favorite photographic subject, especially moving flowing water. Actually, it’s pretty hard to take a picture of water that isn’t moving … gravity and vibrations, not to mention the pull of the moon, guarantee that it’s in motion all the time.

The money shot

Some things, you just can’t plan for. I was recently at the SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina. Outside the Neiman Marcus, the corridor is stunningly decorated with an Aston Martin. Been there for months, hasn’t sold yet. ANYWAY, I was walking past and saw an “I-almost-went-to-Woodstock” sort of ex-hippie, ogling the car, trying to get a selfie. This being a never-to-be-repeated opportunity, I started running to get into position to take my own picture — hair flying behind me, shopping bags banging against my leg, trying to look as though I were absorbed in reading email. Then he flagged down a young lady who agreed to take his picture as he tipped his hat: to her? to prove he still had as much hair as he did when Jimi was still alive?

If you are ever in a situation like this, and don’t want to seem obvious about taking someone’s picture, just remember what one of my first photo teachers told me: “pretend you’re getting paid”. You’ll do whatever it takes to get the shot.

Keep me hangaring


A recent visit to the North Carolina Museum of Transportation provided many opportunities for your intrepid blogger. There was a hangar that was off limits to the public, but I peaked in the door and got off a couple of shots of this wonderful building filled with vehicles and conveyances of all kinds. The only thing I was close to was an old Fleetwood (my god, people used to BUY those things, and DRIVE them), but the ceiling was the thing that most drew my eye. That framework of girders and supports needed to be photographed, screamed for it.

Walk like a man


I posted about my visit to the North Carolina zoo yesterday; see that post for my thoughts on the zoo. These are a couple of treatments of more chimp sculptures. Their amazing realism, the placement of the sculptures, and general high quality make them ideal photographic subjects.

Chimps are us 


I recently made my first visit to the North Carolina Zoo, and I’m sorry it took so long to get there. Because of my experiences taking care of big cats rescued from roadside zoos, where animals are seriously mistreated and abused, and because zoos often breed exotic animals for profit, I have been boycotting zoos. And while many “zoos” are just profit machines and deserve to be shut down (and the owners prosecuted), the NC Zoo was an amazing experience and a place that I am proud to support and visit again and again.

The animals have huge habitats, as close as possible to their natural ones; there are large setbacks between viewers and the animals; when animals need special care, or are being introduced to their environment, they are off limits for visitors.

Throughout the zoo, there are amazing realistic sculptures of the animals. These chimp sculptures are highly stylized but still seem utterly realistic, as though they could walk away or scream at you.

Selfie in a bottle


In general I find that selfies are indulgent and narcissistic; however, while sipping out of my camelback bottle, I noticed a faint reflection in the straw inside the bottle. Seizing the moment, I got a quick HDR pic with my iPhone, the camera app. The only processing I did was to up the contrast with a swipe down the “straw” part of the pic in PaintFX, where my face is showing. Cropped it, and done. I didn’t even have to apply any effects.

It shows once again, that if you are ever bored with your same old go-to photographic subjects, or can’t think of any subject, try a reflection. Photos are captured light, and reflections are twisted-around light, which will make you see something new.

Black rose redux

I’ve done pictures of roses before and posted them here. Although I’m not a hearts-and-flowers photographer, I do find that flowers are fantastic subjects to work with, because they have an amazing structure to them, and textures. I AM a textural photographer.

This was a red rose that wanted to be a velvety black. So now it is. As always, I took the picture with my iPhone 6, which can take very good macro-type pictures, if you can keep it still enough.