...come again no more by Solomon Klein

tree-road
Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears
While we all sup sorrow with the poor
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears
“Oh hard times come again no more”
flower-grass
While we seek mirth and beauty and music bright and gay
There are frail forms fainting at the door
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
“Oh hard times come again no more”
road-bw
'Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave
'Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
'Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
“Oh hard times come again no more”
house-flowers
'Tis the song, the sigh of the weary
Hard times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door
Oh hard times come again no more!

–Stephen Foster

 

"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

–Revelation 21:4

 

"Learn by play..." by Solomon Klein

So, there's some long, possibly silly, though certainly heart-warbling backstory to this, but I'll spare you. The short of it is, I've been finding myself photographing mac and cheese and espresso nearly every Tuesday afternoon for the better part of half a year. This has resulted in the accumulation of a significant body of work centered around pasta and coffee. 

I didn't have any hard rules when starting out, but in the end I stuck to these three.

  1. All photos were made with my iPhone (SE)
  2. All photos were made in a square format
  3. All photos were edited in Snapseed

It wasn't necessary, but that's just what I ended up doing for all these photos.

This "project" initially started out purely as a documentary effort, and for the most part remained such. But as it progressed, I began to look at this as being more than just a documentary series. It became an exercise in "seeing". 

Ok. Maybe this was just playing. Maybe...

I think that's ok. As my good friend Daniel would say, "We learn by play". 

Playing is important, because it allows us to try things in a not-too-serious fashion. If we're doing something "for real", we stick to already-established guidelines and formulas. We don't try new things. We don't experiment. We don't explore new ways of fixing things, or solving problems.

And, I think that's sad. There is a time for work, and there's a time for play. Let's not forget to play sometimes. 

And, have some mac and cheese. It's good for you.

Top 13 of 2017 by Solomon Klein

So, 2017 is in the books. It was an interesting year. 

Yeah, pretty much. I mean, what can you say?

(A: you can say pretty much anything; it's a free country)

Last year, I attempted to put together a Top 10 of 2016, taking inspiration from the master Martin Bailey. After combing through the hundreds of selects, well... I just never got to a Top 10. 

At first, it was the trouble of choosing which images I liked. I had it down to like 80 photos, and... I liked them. So I pared it down to 30. Then to 20. I finally ended up with 12. 

And I didn't like them. They just didn't get me any more. Or I didn't get them. In any event, I never got to sharing them. 

Anyway. I've gone ahead and picked 13 photos that I made this past year that I appreciate, and I continue to appreciate. Hope you enjoy them. :)

 The Great Missouri

The Great Missouri

 Pause For Reflection

Pause For Reflection

 Old Barn

Old Barn

 A Silver Mist

A Silver Mist

 Moonrise Waterfall

Moonrise Waterfall

 Open Window

Open Window

 Busy Man

Busy Man

 Dreams

Dreams

 Total

Total

 Little Road

Little Road

 Dechutes

Dechutes

 Pattison

Pattison

 Lay Me Down

Lay Me Down

And that be that. Thanks for stoping by!

 

"Don't you want to thank someone?" by Solomon Klein

DSCF0477.jpg

So, it's Thanksgiving Day. Or, it is here. Maybe it's something else wherever you are. At any rate.

At the moment, things are pretty chill. We finished preparing 42 pounds of bird, and assorted bird auxiliaries. We'll make pies and things, and then, sometime this afternoon, we'll eat the aforementioned birdies and auxiliaries. Chances are you might do something similar, too.

Some point also, we may go around the table and have people say what they're thankful for. I have a list, probably looks like yours. Family, friends, health, house...

Oh, and food. Don't forget the food.

More specifically, here are some things I'm thankful for.

  • Mom and Dad who taught me most of what I know, and enabled me to learn more things. I'm thankful that they also put up with and encouraged my photographic experimentation.
  • Two strong hands that can still do things (not everyone has those, you know).
  • Inspirations like Duncan, Daniel, and Grandma, who make me want to make things.
  • Friends like Jebi who are good to me for no good reason.
  • And Jesus Christ, who opened my eyes twice.

The first time was some while ago. I don't have very good remembrance of the occasion, but I've lived this far to see the result of it. He gave me two eyes, and put me in an amazing world full of things, people, and places to see.

Then He opened them again, this time to see who I was, and who He is. And He did something for me that I could never do, and something I in no wise deserved. He made me His brother. And He made a way for me (and you; let's not forget you) to be reconciled with the Maker of all good things, when there was nothing good in me. And for that, I'm eternally thankful.

They say it's all about seeing. It is.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

"Through a glass darkly..." by Solomon Klein

Like a lot of photographers in the continental U.S., this Summer, I became the proud owner of a Solar Filter. 

Yeah. 

So, there was this eclipse thing this past August 21. It was pretty cool, to put it lightly. In actuality, it was 110% pure awesome sauce. Like totally, even. 

But yeah. Now what to do with a not-so-cheap Solar Filter? 

Turns out, these things are basically insane Neutral Density filters. Something on the order of 20 stops of negative exposure. 

So what if…

 Goose on the Deschutes, Bend, OR (ISO 100, f/8, 176.0s)

Goose on the Deschutes, Bend, OR (ISO 100, f/8, 176.0s)

 Under the bridge, Bend, OR (ISO 200, f/11, 294.0s)

Under the bridge, Bend, OR (ISO 200, f/11, 294.0s)

 The Pattison, Olympia, Washington (ISO 100, f/11, 608.0s)

The Pattison, Olympia, Washington (ISO 100, f/11, 608.0s)

I have some more work to do. For one, this filter lacks the anti-reflective coating you’d normally have on a filter. I might hack up a hood of some kind and see if that helps. The filter I’m using currently adds a very strong orange-cast to the image, so I’ve converted these to Black and White. With enough effort, I could possibly get a nice-ish color image, but that would require more effort, and I’m lazy, so… yeah. 

But hey, this is fun. If you still have access to a Solar Filter give it a try. Maybe you’ll learn something, and that would be nice, wouldn’t it?

 

Ansel and Grandma by Solomon Klein

 Random creek in Yosemite

Random creek in Yosemite

“You don’t make a photograph with just a camera.” — Ansel Adams

You may have heard something like this before. Great photos aren’t had simply by having good gear (although good gear is great, good in fact).

But the truth is, good gear won’t give you great photos, only good ones. And it won’t necessarily do that all the time, either. There’s technique and skill that one must acquire to make a great photograph.

But the Ansel quote didn’t end there.

“You don’t make a photograph with just a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” — Ansel Adams

He said that about photography, but I think this is true of any creative process, be it photography, painting, writing, home-building. We bring along all of our past experiences into the work we do, and the things we make. The images we’ve seen. The books we’ve read. The songs we’ve heard. The people we’ve loved.

 

The people we’ve loved.

 (Dog)

(Dog)

This painting hangs in our bedroom. Somehow, in all the moves we’ve made in the past 20 years, this painting has always been in our room.

Maybe there’s some conspiracy, I don’t know.

As is common with familiar things, I eventually forget details. I just noticed that the painting says it was made in “76” (that would be 1976). I’m pretty sure I knew that at sometime, but you know. I forget things.

It hit me that this piece of artwork hit the big 4.0 last year. This piece of canvas is 18 years my senior.

I think weird things.

Oh, and “Carmen”? That’s Grandma Carmen to you.

OK, maybe not, but I had to say that to someone. Sorry.  

I think most of my siblings inherited their ability to draw from Grandma Carmen. She did a lot of oil painting in her day. We still have a few of her masterpieces around the house. I can’t draw, but I like to think that the compulsion I have to make things comes from her.

Grandma had really bad arthritis, so much so that she couldn’t straighten out her fingers. I can’t remember her ever complaining about that, but I’m told that that stuff is pretty painful.

Yet for all of that, she had some excellent penmanship (or is that penwomanship? I don’t know). And she could draw like a dream.

She had this thing she would do that I found fascinating. She’d pick up a piece of scratch paper (occasionally an abandoned piece of grandkid artwork), and build a piece of art from what scribbles were left on the paper.

(And I’m complaining that I don’t have photographic opportunities, or live in a visually interesting place.)

I don’t know if that was original with her or not. I’d imagine someone had to have thought of that, but maybe not. Maybe we can name this process after Grandma.

As they say, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” That’s what Grandma did. She applied that thinking not just to her artwork, but to her life in general.

She also reminds me to be more thankful for what I have, and to not let circumstances or difficulties stop me from making things. She came with her family from Mexico as a child, and moved into southern California. As you may know, people were not exactly too friendly at the time towards people like my Grandma. Yet, that didn’t stop her. She stayed. And now I’m here.

Grandma did a lot of painting in her day.

That ended 16 years ago. Her birthday was yesterday.

Happy Birthday, Grandma. I miss you.

We’ll meet again.

 

Nothing to say by Solomon Klein

We arrived at our spot around 3:30 AM. Just a little pull out on the side of the road, north of Riverton, WY. Got about two hours of shuteye. By 6 AM, we had 15+ neighbors. 

 The Sun (just in case you were wondering)

The Sun (just in case you were wondering)

 First Contact  

First Contact  

 Moving in

Moving in

 Cover me

Cover me

 Total

Total

 Total (remastered) 

Total (remastered) 

It was really awesome, and I mean that in the true sense. Just... wow.

I can't even. 

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭8:3-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)