Word and Image

Family

Lighten Up

Now for a technical tip or two. Colleen’s down jacket will squish into a tiny pouch. It’s ideal for travel. It packs light and small. And my big Domke camera bag – I’m carrying way too much equipment these days. The Sony RX100M6 is an excellent point and shoot. I should admit that it is as good as my Nikon D610. It turned out to be warmer in April at the Grand Canyon. Off came the coat and vest. And I downsized to a small backpack. When you are exerting yourself at altitude every pound less is appreciated.

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Altitude

 

No, I am not advertising for Lay’s chips. At the Grand Canyon you are at 6800 feet. It’s high enough for the pressure inside the bag to exceed the outside atmospheric pressure. So my model was kind enough to show you two bloated bags. It happens in jetliners too. The cabin is pressurized to about 6000 – 8000 ft. I never noticed the pressure change on an airplane but walking about at >6000 ft will leave you short of breath. Maybe. I was. Colleen wasn’t. She’s a better (wo)man than me. … and always has been.


Timing

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When I go to a tourist attraction I do my best to avoid the crowd. An oxymoron? Well, I do my best not to have people cluttering my picture. I can do this for the most part. But the time to be there is offseason. When? Not April. But December works. The only thing is that it is cold! Your choice. I was happier cropping out tourists in April.

DSC02238Quintessential shot? It’s a big hole in the earth. You really can’t do it justice shooting from the rim. There are lots of photobooks in the bookshop. Sunrise/sunset shots are nice. I’m still searching for a better shot. Otherwise, pick one at random. They are all spectacular.

_DSC8096-2Jump? This is a trick my kids taught me. You look like you are jumping out over the Grand Canyon. Isn’t that grand? Bend your knees. You look higher. (They neglected to mention that part.) And you need a willing photographer. Colleen does not like heights. She objected (strenuously) all the while she was shooting. Hey! I was the test dummy.


Kolb Bros

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I’m a photographer? The Kolb brothers were daredevils that filmed the Grand Canyon. Their feats were something to make the heart faint. Colleen is the reader. She read and told me about their exploits. The wood home/studio was perched precariously on the canyon rim.

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The railroad and Harvey company tried to compete and put them out of business. They commissioned Mary Colter to design a stone building on the trail ahead of the Kolb house. Tourists would stop there first and miss the Kolb studio. And to make things worse the company put their mule waste station upwind from the Kolbs. Yup, a shitty situation. The Kolbs prevailed and the building stands. Who knew the histories and how they intertwined? I should read more.


Beef

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…as in “complaint.” I have nothing but sympathy for Colleen. There’s no wait in the men’s side of the restrooms. And the women’s line is out the door and up the block… Evidently someone thought of this. There was a bank of portapotties about 100 or so, down the road and out of sight of this place. Nice of you folks to inform people. Meanwhile, you would think the planners would have known to make the women’s side more capacious. But then again, the architect was a man?


Don’t go there

Sheep and wool fairs always have a place where they sell fleece. It would be fleece that is sheared from the sheep and sold in large plastic bags at $/pound. It’s less expensive than yarn ready to weave. But there is a lot of processing. Are all fleeces equal. Hardly. Picking fleece is an art. I’m learning. I used to go by feel. That would be too simple. As we picked and chose, a volunteer came up and “squoze” my bag. Huh? She recognized her fleece and was checking. Yup, it was from her sheep. A mother always knows. Neat! If you wander into the fleece barn… you get fleece. I/we must be good pickers. A couple people admired our choices and told us they’d take the bag if we changed our mind.


Need to know

I have a lot of cameras. I don’t get rid of them or sell them. I just keep them and my collection grows. I collect a few vintage cameras when the price is right. Cheap! Weaving and spinning stuff is a lot more bulky. It takes up real space. I have my old cameras on a few shelves at the moment. There are four looms in my bedroom. Well, three. One went to the living room – temporarily. (I hope.)

Before the auction a prudent bidder checks the merchandise. So we did. But then a bargain comes along? This time we checked in real time and it was indeed hundreds off the list price. I bid at the auction like I meant it. We got applause when we “won” it. It’s a Schacht Matchless (spinning wheel). Sure, you would know one if you saw it? But it was worth more than $1000 used. The bobbins included were worth more $$$. And the former owner was in the audience and told us what he had last spun – for the fair. We met him. He had spun up the wool for this exhibit. It was more than 75 samples. Wow! Yeah, it was quite a feat. He stayed around till his wheel was sold. And I assured him it would go to a good home. See, we even seatbelt it like a member of the family. All of this, I’m sure, is more than you needed to know.


Buttons

Something else to collect? We go to antique stores. We collect things. It’s not intentional. But it happens. We got a lot of baskets that way. Antiques can be expensive. Or not. We tend toward the less expensive. Buttons! Of course, people sell them for a lot of money. A jar for $20 and up. But there are jars to be had for way less. And the buttons can be interesting. Ha ha! I didn’t really believe all that. I’ve no particular interest in buttons.

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And then we were at the fair and someone was trying to sell old buttons. Retail! Seriously? Yup, serious money.


Progress

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Here’s where I made a post and then went to find a picture. On another note (completely unrelated and irrelevant to madder) I have surpassed 468,000 digital images since 2003. The cost savings in digital vs film is staggering. And the volume of images because the cost is low has risen exponentially. The first digital cameras were made by Kodak with a Nikon SLR body and cost about $10,000. Real estate gains in value. Cameras thankfully became less expensive. There is no connection of numbers to yesterday’s madder. I just thought I would randomly marvel at time and progress.

And, who would go out and buy a typewriter? There are kids who have never seen film. By the way, I have a database that allows me to keep track of the images to the extent that it is only mildly painful to lay my hands on an image from years ago.


What’s a Madder

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There is no picture of the madder. You would probably not recognize it. We bought two. It is for dying. That is, you use the root to make a dye for yarn – red. The pedigree is that this particular plant came from the queen’s garden in Kensington. How about that? I have no way to confirm. We have wintered it and it thrived. Then I set It out on the deck when we went on an extended road trip. The only thing that survived was a few very tiny (near microscopic) leaves. I threw the plant out twice because I thought it was dead. It got replanted again and again. My hope? I will revive it and be able to be “back” in the family. Our quest to obtain one met with a lot of poor puns. “Whatsa madder with you?” Geez, could you guys get a better line?