Word and Image

Posts tagged “Still life


1956 29 Tulips on tile copy

This an iconic view for me. We have a white tile floor in the kitchen in Westhampton. It’s spring and it’s tulip season. I’m trying for a shot of the tulips that is different from the usual. So I went for this graphic composition. You can see my shoes at the bottom. I’ve done this with other flowers in other seasons since this image. But this was the first shot like this for me.


2370 03 Mystic

We’ve been to Mystic Seaport many times. I still try for a quintessential shot. Not many, but one shot that would convey the early sailing history of this New England town. I find that detail shots do this for me. But as with many things I’m still looking …2370 08 Mystic 2370 07 Mystic


Here’s a picture that conjures up an instant story unrelated to the picture, except for where I took it. I was invited to dinner at a transvestite bar/restaurant in the Greenwich Village. I had already passed the window. A young woman was sitting with her back to the street wearing a wedding style veil into which was woven scores of condoms, a bachelorette party. I was meeting a bunch of my OR nurses. Not wishing to be first to arrive, I carefully cased the joint and walked discretely on down the block. While wandering and waiting I shot this slide of a window display. So much for anonymity…once inside, I was quickly recognized by a neighboring table of nurses, who were also dining. They were from another hospital that I had previously worked in. It’s a small world even among NYC’s 8 million people. And… I was injured when one of the gym socks (of the transvestite singers) poked me in the eye. All that from a picture of some pottery bunnies… Who’d have guessed? I suppose Freud would say there is symbolic meaning in the rabbits.


I shot this slide in a gallery window in San Francisco, 2000. I keep a database and could look it up. Somehow I remember Chicago or Seattle. That’s why I keep a database (more accurate than memory). Luckily I started this record many years ago on index cards and later transferred to computer. Now it takes only a few moments to look up information. As to the image and the art, my only interest is because of my profession. As to why only the artist can say why he chose this subject and its meaning. My curiosity is also in wondering why all the teeth appear to be well.

Internet: Today of all days, suddenly a lot of random hits from all over started coming to my blog. I don’t know why. A casual search on the ‘net and I have this picture front and center. You can get/swipe the shot so easily. I’m amazed at how fast the ‘net can work. It appears the visits are wordpress traffic. I’m not ‘freshly pressed.’ So, it’s a mystery to me. Thank you all for reading/looking.

Central Park Painting

Look around and art is all around us. I love to see painters at work. Surprisingly there aren’t too many who sit and work in public places. Maybe I just don’t hang where there is a lot of inspiration. So it’s a pleasant encounter whenever I stumble across an artist at work.

Tulip Again

Tulips, same day different tulip, come in all different colors around Central Park. Here I got one with more detail in the petals and used the shadow to highlight the center pistil. I wonder at the color pattern, which must look inviting to the bee that pollinates the flower. I imagine the pattern like landing lights guiding the plane into the runway at an airport.


In the spring tulips are dependable photographic subjects. For the most part I have tried it in every possible angle. The subject here was shot in Central Park and from a head on position to focus in on the center. I shot this with slide film. There is too much contrast to see the individual petals, which enhances the center.

Day Lilies Rainbow

So someone, my wife I think, was watering the day lilies. These are also native to Long Island and need very little care. You do need to occasionally supplement the rainwater. It was wonderful to have a rainbow. And one that I could reproduce! I don’t see them often enough to have an opinion on how best to shoot one. Just glad to be here…

Birthday Cake

This is one example, and not even the most creative, of the many cakes my wife has baked over the years. She has made a 3D Barbie, 3D teddy bear, 3-4 tier wedding style birthday cake, and so forth. I promise to get these pictures for her and someday I’ll actually do it. But here in this example is her take off on my daughter’s drawing. Everyone’s artistic in the family.


Close-ups can stop the eye. So here’s a take on a common item. I’ve been to many ‘street fairs.’ I’m not a shopper, so it usually means that I’m accompanying someone else. My way to pass the time is taking photographs. That way we don’t know who’s slower, my companion or me. Anyway, after the requisite wide shots, I concentrate on some close ups. Everyone’s seen yarn. It’s about color and pattern.

Lawn Ornament

Well, appropriately, there are race cars, family cars, and the lawn cars in Maine. Yard cars are kind of left to weather (gracefully?). I’m like that and have separation anxiety. Or I hoard? In either case, I helped to bypass this by leasing cars for many years. Three years, lease done, turn in the keys, drive away in another car. Lately I have been hanging on to my now ten year old car to see if it will go past 200, 000 miles. I keep my car in a garage.

Christmas 4 years old

Well, here’s a rare photo of my childhood. As much a photographer as I am now is probably because my family had a laissez faire attitude about pictures from my youth. Or, it’s too emotional for me to go back and look for the old snapshots. There are some formal baby pictures but mostly we have very few photos from that time. We had an Argus C3 (see next post). And my first camera, now long lost, was a Kodak Instamatic 100. It shot 126 size cartridge film and had no settings and a rudimentary flash. At least I think it had a flash. Nonetheless it was my first camera purchased shortly after we moved back to NY from West Virginia. I had purchased it with my mother in Astoria on Ditmars Boulevard. Somehow the Kodak advertising had appealed to me through the Walt Disney TV show. I first used it at the World’s Fair 1964 to 1966. As it turns out my wife lived in Flushing a few blocks from the house that I lived before my family moved to West Virginia. She used to beg her parents to go to the Fair, and only rarely got to attend. My first real camera was an Exakta around 1971. After that I finally got a Nikon Ftn and the rest, as they say is history.

Organ Grinder

Sometimes you don’t have the traditional monkey handy and available. Maybe the monkey had the day off. Wally and Smartie, are street performers, from the London street fair scene many years ago. Who was who? You don’t see folks much like that in New York. But then we have our own characters.

Stuyvesant High School

I attended Stuyvesant High School a long, long time ago. During that time I was on the swimming team. It wasn’t too hard to join the team. Most kids in New York City don’t swim well. Well at least it seemed that they didn’t much in those days. My daughter’s high school team and her league had excellent swimmers.

I also did the low hurdles because no one else did. I even won the Manhattan Borough Championship meet and was mentioned in the NY Times Sports section. Who knew? I was pretty full of myself until I showed up for the City Championship Meet at Randall’s Island. There was a high school in Brooklyn called Girls and Boys High. They were African American. The hurdlers from that team were nine feet tall (I exaggerate) and could step over the hurdles like a speed bump. I came in last to them.

But, I digress. NY City High Schools by and large did not have swimming pools and Stuyvesant was no exception. Hence there were very few swimmers among the 704 students enrolled per class. In order to workout we would swim either at Evangeline Residence or at the 23rd St Bathhouse. Evangeline was a Salvation Army residence for women on about 12th Street in Greenwich Village. It had two lanes in small basement pool, was overheated, and very humid. No women, we were an all male school at the time.

The 23rd Street Bathhouse is still around from the early 1900’s. It was indeed a bathhouse for poor folks to take the occasional bath. The pool also had two lanes. There was a gargoyle at one end spewing out ‘cold’ water so that swimming in one direction was against the current. And this pool area was not heated much. City budget, I guess. In the winter you could see frost on your breath and the few blocks to walk to the subway invariably froze my wet hair.

The point of this picture for me and teammates in the years that preceded and followed, was this figure. It sat in the window of a shoe repair shop. Even at that time this was an old display. Yet in all of our collective psyches,’ this became a symbol of our trudge in the cold to workout and then leave to freeze our hair. It was an iconic waypoint in the life of our swim team.

New Year’s Eve


Times Square, New Year’s Eve, the Millennium 2000. Yes it was wild and crazy. I have never been to Times Sq on New Year’s. It was the one and only time on !2/31/99. The kids and I walked over there in the afternoon. There were celebrations every hour marking New Year’s as it happened in each time zone around the world. We did not stay until midnight.


I’m not much of a macro lens person. Based on my very limited sports experience, the best action shot would be to get the bee just as it was landing/taking off. Failing that, I cropped the image and put the bee in a position following the rule of thirds. A macro lens might have pulled in more detail.


This has been a favorite shot for me. It’s just a simple still-life. My kids loved to go apple picking. So for a while each year we have all kinds of photo ops with the apple arrangement.


Autumn in Maine, these ferns were changing. I just like the serenity of the image and the muted background

Ducati Motorcycle

This demonstration was a static setup. I just enjoyed the still life. It’s a beautiful machine. And, for all the motorcycle accident victims I have taken care of, it’s a pretty safe bet I won’t be on one anytime soon.

Highheeled Shoe

Another technical demonstration is this high-heeled shoe. It was on a pedestal mounted to a turntable connected to a computer rigged to shoot in 10-degree increments. Complicated, it was designed to obtain 36 images. What for? In order to create a spinning catalog view for internet shopping, you need this setup. Clever.

Reflection Redux

This post follows up on the post of 9/26/11 in which tomatoes play the central role. My wife bought oranges yesterday. I can tell you that they don’t stack easily and I insisted on stacking them away from the wall of the kitchen counter. The slide show illustrates an early effort to balance an orange. With more time, a bit of motion blur might be fun to experiment with, as the orange tumbles off the other two.


Still Life

The craft fairs provide so much material for photographing. I start by saying that I have no interest in stealing design or artistic ideas. Someone recently objected saying that many of the ideas were copied in China and shipped back cheaply. That’s unfortunate. Camden, Maine – summer 2006 – I was visiting again and this glassware was just a grab shot. Great lighting, good blur of the background, and nice composition make this shot a favorite still life. One might ask whether I planned or did anything special to set this shot up. I didn’t. I don’t. The image was just there and I took the picture. Instinct and experience play an unconscious role. You can walk around all day and miss shots like this. So in the end it’s just walking around with the camera ready to go and visualizing as you march along. I’m not a big planner.

Plumbing Issues, Hotel Medici

The Medici Hotel, Rome. Traveling through Europe, we arrived late into Rome. Lisa and I had started about two weeks earlier in Barcelona. Right at the beginning in a diner, I left my wallet behind. That meant all the credit cards were lost. No one tried to use them so if I could remember the restaurant, they are probably still holding my wallet. Well we traveled with traveler’s checks and were just about out of money. Don’t believe the saying that American Express will replace your card easily. It wasn’t until the end of the trip in Rome a few days after our fateful stay with the Medici Hotel that I finally found an American Express office. Lisa didn’t drive and she didn’t have a credit card. We were pretty low on cash. I will admit that a late night arrival in a strange city is no way to scout accommodations. In the dark the Hotel Medici was about the right price. We took a room without a bathroom. It had a sink in the room and the shower/tub was down the hall. The next morning as I sat on the bed repacking my camera gear, Lisa was propped up on the sink putting on make-up. I heard a crack and a thump as the sink came away from the wall to land on the carpet. There was no support beneath the sink. Lisa screamed. (more…)

Fall leaf

Maine, fall 2008. I make it a point to seek the fall foliage each year. In Maine I thought that I would find spectacular vistas and new opportunities. Traveling the state, I sought out mountains, and hillsides. I explored potential photo ops at dawn and dusk. Rain and fog added to the intensity of color. The hard part is the timing. Where and when would the color peak? It was still a guess and really no different than it has always been. The way to find out was to constantly explore and subtly you will find the drop off in image colors. This was the year I got my moose pictures. Here, I got this detail shot. The water and leaf leave little doubt as to the season. And it appeals to me as a peaceful moment rather than the end of a season.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 474 other followers