March 28, 2012

Photo of the day: 143

Another series of photos from the first day or two in Estes Park last week. More rusted wires and weather-beaten posts. At least my aesthetic demands are simple.

White birch in late winter on the river walk. Good pinks and grays. Hmm, where is the pink coming from?

There was a bit of a forest fire at some point along this fence row. When I walk along the road through these mountain cabins that I covet, forest fire is the second thing on my mind (after the coveting).

Rusty wires at close range always look like they’re made from melted crayons.

Last fall’s pine needles and this spring’s blue sky.

Ponderosa pines have manly bark. Meaning scaly and rough, I suppose.

Old post and old grass blade in clean focus, trailing off to dreamy animation in lower frame.

Wild grass seeds popping in late afternoon light.

New blue steel knotted in old post.

Another bowl from the glassblower’s shop. Gives me a hankering for Good ‘n’ Plenty.

Another few from the florist/lady’s second-hand store, where I passed the afternoon not shopping.

Waxy succulent in red pot fading to a tasty bokeh.

Jeanne really liked this pink and yellow hydrangea, while I favored the weird blue and green stuff going on above and below it.


March 26, 2012

Photo of the day: 142

Filed under: Photo of the day, Photography — Tags: , , , , , , , — paul davis @ 9:03 pm

Jeanne and I spent last week at our friends’ cabin in Estes Park, Colorado. The river below the cabin was still half iced over, but in the middle the water flowed freely over orange and green rocks. The sun was acute in the west. I walked tenderly over the ice and lay down on a big boulder to get down tight on the water surface. All around me our boys, their girlfriends, Jeanne’s niece and her fiance, our sister-in-law Gail, Jeanne, and two dogs were playing on the snow and throwing rocks in the water.

One of the two dogs: Amanda’s malamute puppy.

Always a sucker for simple little weeds, and an inclination toward negative exposure adjustment.

Remnant of wire fence in an old post at the top of the trail. Gail pointed at it as we hiked past and said, “You should take pictures.”

Nail in the post.

Two nails in the post.

Fun solar flare, early morning through the pine tree.

We visited a glass blower in town. He said he didn’t mind if I took photos–this one is a platter already finished, hanging on the wall, reflecting an orange light.

Jeanne found a second-hand shop in town, with a florist in the front half of the store. I made the best of it–the florist said she wouldn’t mind me crawling all over the place with camera in hand.

March 19, 2012

Photo of the day: 141 (Mombasa 6)

Filed under: Photo of the day, Photography — Tags: , , , , — paul davis @ 9:57 am

One last post from Mombasa Sunday morning. Little girl behind her mama, in the courtyard.

Had to wait until there were only three kids on the slide, compositionally speaking.

She was never sure of me…or maybe she was exactly sure of me.

Perfecting the gap-toothed grin.

The always charming girl with the yellow button.

Steady gaze.

Big sister with little sister. You can deduce some sense of the quality of the light: equator at midday.

My favorite stairway.

The approach.

The hoist.

The carry.

Heading home.

March 18, 2012

Photo of the day: 140 (Mombasa 5)

Filed under: Photo of the day, Photography — Tags: , , , , , — paul davis @ 10:34 am

Another of my favorite Mombasa models.

Do you think she knows how enchanting she is?

Another good smile.

Multiple hands, signifying.

The light on her skin, the light in her eyes, and the shape of her head and neck.

That wall in the stairwell makes the perfect photographic backdrop. I set up across from it most of the morning, waiting.

It’s 100 degrees and humid on the equator/Indian Ocean, but baby’s head can’t get cold.

Big sister.

It was during church, and I suppose I shouldn’t have been lying on the floor. But how else to get this shot?

His head on his hand drew me in.

March 17, 2012

Photo of the day: 139 (Mombasa 4)

Filed under: Photo of the day, Photography — paul davis @ 1:34 pm

Another few photos in my argument that hands are interesting in Mombasa.

Hands wrinkling.

Hands crossing.

Hands holding.

Hands enwrapping.

Hands consoling.

Love the splash of light across her face, her elegant neck, and the orange against her dark skin.

Majestic topknot, splendid blue.

Crossed arms, cool attitude.

This boy’s eyes always get me.

Ok, his, too.

Smile and eyes both.

March 16, 2012

Photo of the day: 138 (Mombasa 3)

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , , , — paul davis @ 7:45 am

Third in the Mombasa series. All of these photos were made one Sunday morning at one church in Mombasa.

He could smile, too, though the file numbers tell us that the smile preceded the frown by four clicks.

This is one model who shows up over and over in the photos I kept. You can see the poised woman becoming.

Killer laugh, too.

In many of my photos of Kenyans, the hands are telling.

Another young lady who shows up in a lot of photos.


Mombasa is really, really hot.

Do young people in the United States look at the camera like this?

Hands and smiles.


March 15, 2012

Photo of the day: 137

Filed under: Photo of the day, Photography — Tags: , , , , , , , — paul davis @ 7:33 am

A few shots from a railyard near the Daniel Smith’s artist supply in south Seattle. I was waiting for Jeanne, having exhausted my own considerable interest in the cool stuff Daniel Smith’s sells, and wandered over to examine the graffiti. I was tentatively taking a few shots that included the picturesquely orange railroad worker in the background. My tentativenous came from the suspicion that railroad workers wouldn’t want me wandering around in their yard. In fact, after this shot, the worker saw me. He first began edging out of the shots, and then came toward me. When he got to me, he said, “What are you doing?” I said, “Taking photos of the graffiti.” He said, “Hmmh. Where are you from?” I said, “Kansas City.” He said, “Oh, there’s a great railyard in Kansas City!” And we were off.

Quite a nice painting…

…and more impressive in context.

Oh, yes.

Pulled back a bit from the first shot.

A leftover fence shot from last summer, somehow mixed in with graffiti photos. Barbed wire and fence poles are my thing.


March 13, 2012

Photo of the day: 136 (Mombasa 2)

Filed under: Photo of the day, Photography — Tags: , , — paul davis @ 5:15 pm

These young ladies were talking together on a bench in front of the high wall of the church I was visiting in Mombasa. Partially hidden by greenery, it was a perfect hide-out. They didn’t seem to mind the camera entirely.

The children’s choir practicing in the courtyard.

One very collected baby.

Meanwhile, hanging out on the front porch…

I love her smile.

One of my very favorite Kenyans, the serious Robert Adie…

…and his less serious twin.

This lady has just washed the church steps, while dressed in her Sunday clothes, and is now cleaning her feet before putting her nice shoes back on.

More shots from the van on the way back to our lodging. Pretty good tin recycling scheme–just nail it up again.

The market is wherever it chooses to be.

School uniforms.

Different school uniform.

March 12, 2012

Photo of the day: 135 (Mombasa)

Filed under: Photo of the day, Photography — Tags: , — paul davis @ 9:03 pm

I’m still sorting through photos from a trip to Mombasa, Kenya, in late 2010. This is one of my favorites. We were in traffic and I was shooting from the far seat across our van through the open window, into the open window of this taxi going the opposite direction. There’s a high reject rate trying to photograph this way–hundreds of missed shots that stack up and haunt you–shots that would have been SO good if only the side view mirror hadn’t gotten in the way, or you’d had a second more to frame things up.

Young men coming from school. The post in the foreground puts a pretty good dent in the composition–one where you want to jump out of the van and ask everybody for another take.

The blues and reds are true. Might be better without the pail on the stool, but I like it.

These two-wheeled carts are the semi-trucks of Mombasa. Everything gets moved like this. I think this guy is just waiting for his next load.

I held the camera out the window of the van, pointed backwards, and let it find auto-focus on the man pulling the cart uphill. So, definitely no chance to compose–the ultimate spray and pray.

Good colors.

It’s not much of a trick to come up with visual irony in Mombasa.

The only interior shot of today’s post, just for a change of pace. Upstairs of a church in Mombasa.

March 10, 2012

Photo of the day: 134

A few more in the peripatetic series begun yesterday. Imagine trying to make a contoured surface like this with sputtered crayon. You know you could never do it as artfully as paint, rust, spider, and time have done.

One of my idle fantasies is to apprentice myself to the machinist who works out of his own shop near my office in Independence. I went by there one day several years ago to see if he could surface grind the fence from my elderly Davis & Wells jointer. The fence was curved convexly from top to bottom, which is exactly what you can’t have if you want to joint to a consistent right-angled edge. The big roll-up doors were open on this warm spring day and I found the machinist working over his micrometers at a desk. He looked up with a face blackened by oil, eyes white. I handed him the fence. He said, “Yes, I could take a few thousandths off that, lots of iron there, bring it to true.” Looking around at a lathe the size of a Buick, a surface grinder the length of the room, I thought I might be in a little over my head. “How much to do that?” I asked. “Not much,” he said. I left the fence with him, and when I came back it was ready, and I found opportunity to come back again with a chisel of my grandfather’s that had been bent, then a dull forstner bit, then the want of a 48″ straight-edge out of A2 steel for a good bit less than the online people would charge me. I was a nuisance, to be sure. On each visit, I wandered a little further into the dark maze of heavy, serious machinery. I imagined the machinist taking a shine to me. What if I began working there on my lunch hour for free. Cutting, spinning, welding, grinding, bending, melting steel seemed like the answer to the question, “When I’m making furniture, why won’t wood do what I want it to do?”

In the pump handle here, I admire the graceful casting and discern the cross-banded machining marks as the first patina applied. I know these pump handles emerged from a factory by the thousand, perhaps unloved in their creation. Still, I like this one now.

The reds of the pump handle lead me to look again at the red stripes of the grasses.

The reason the gold manila yellow pops is the subduction, in color and value, of the gray surrounding (as Jeanne is helping me to see).

The ogee ovoid pointiness and creamy pearly topographing of this pod against the dove sky drew me across a ditch and into the briars.

A couple of nights ago, with the moon one day short of full, low clouds raced headlong between us (the moon and me).

One more of the green cheese moonscape of the arty vase in my Iowa lodgings, showing off the finely crackled glaze.

And a last shot of its sister vase, in green and peach.

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