Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bouldering & Hunting Accidents

Post date: Feb 24, 2008
Hike date: back in the fall sometime

I mentioned our bouldering hike in my very first blog. This was a fantastic hike in an area called Sunset Rocks not too far from Harrisburg. Look at the diamond(ish) shaped rock on the lower right of the photo. You'll see a blue paint mark near the top. That's the trail mark! Right over these spectacular rocks. I love rocks. Olivia does too. We went to the Grand Canyon when she was two and I spent a lot of time shaking the rocks out of her pockets. (You aren't supposed to take any home with you. I believe it's illegal, although I doubt they were going to arrest a two year old. Certainly they would have let her go after her first temper tantrum-ha.)

We are new to hiking in Pennsylvania. I'm beginning to believe the entire state is hunting grounds. The first people we encountered were hunters. One of them was about 12 yrs old. Children with riffles-my favorite. I've since learned that you are required to wear 250 cm. of fluorescent orange when walking on state lands during hunting season. The trick is knowing when you've crossed into hunting grounds. Also it appears that it is hunting season for something or another during fall, winter and spring.

We met a Canadian man a few years ago in Las Vegas. I got into a discussion with him about gun violence and the movie Bowling for Columbine. The Canadian man said that there was less gun violence in Canada because Americans own hand guns and Canadians own hunting riffles.

Well, of course, if someone gets shot with a hunting riffle it's not "gun violence" it's a "hunting accident."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rocky Canonica

A new website by another great artist. I especially love the altered books.

Arden Bendler Browning

I'm suffering few the last few months of an abusive work situation. Arden Bendler Browning's work is just the thing to reinfuse my day with energy and beauty. Her latest works on paper are spectacular. Check out her website which I've linked to the image.

Olivia and I couldn't resist another trip out to Middle Creek. Well, to be honest, Olivia was ready to resist but she can't drive. We went out after school and stayed for the sunset. This time the birds were much closer to us thanks to the frozen parts of the lake. I took quite a few pictures so if you want to see more let me know.

All lined up in a row are black ducks, a grey(?) heron (I think it was too small for a great blue), northern shovelers, canada geese and swans in the background. There was also a belted kingfisher flying around but he's not in this image as far as I know.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Market Value

I’ve been teaching and this summer I’m going to begin a new phase in my life. The phase where I figure out how you make money with an MFA if you don’t teach. This has led me to a number of revelations. First of all, I think all art majors should double major. Expanding your interests and developing your mind can only be good for your art. And you might need that other major to survive. This advice is not going to help me at the moment but I am spending a lot of time trying to decide what kind of job to pursue. Early this week I decided I wanted to be a nature photographer. Olivia and I were standing at the lake absolutely freezing and watching the swans and loving it. I didn’t really get any close-ups of the swans because my zoom wasn’t powerful enough so I even came up with a marketing jargon. I will be the photographer who portrays “nature from a distance.”

I’ve come up with lots of job options- I have many skills and varied interests. All of my ideas have one thing in common: they aren’t any easier and don’t pay any better than being an artist. The truth is most of them are some variation of being an artist. Which is in fact what I am. I had a discussion with my college roommate recently. I think she summed the situation up well. She said, “Your personal satisfaction does not have a very high market value.”

Trundra swans and a short-eared owl

Post date: Feb 21, 2008
Hike date: a few days ago

We went back to Middle Creek on a sunny day and this time saw the tundra swans. The lake behind the tree is full of swans! It was a beautiful sunset and we stood watching the swans land on the pond until we couldn't feel our fingers. We met a bird enthusiast while we were there. She told us that the bird I photographed just after getting out of the car was a short-eared owl.

Snow Geese

Post date: Feb 21, 2008
Hike date: Last week

50,000 Migrating snow geese. What else can I say. It was pretty amazing, it's happening right now and if you are close enough to visit it's worth seeing. We drove out to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Kleinfeltersville, PA (I love the name of the town!) and I took these photos right before it started to rain.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where it all begins

I'm the one on the hike slowing everyone down because I'm stopping to take pictures. Trees, flowers, clouds, moss on rocks and of course animals. Since I'm the distracted walker Olivia and Matt are often up ahead scaring off any wildlife I might want to photograph. That just adds to the challenge. I (only partially joking) told Matt that if I didn't photograph it then it wasn't real.

But I'm not serious. The serious guys have really big cameras. I think I saw a three foot lens the other day. I have a good but modest camera. It's also light which is helpful. I didn't see any three foot lenses when we went bouldering! As it was I had to tie my camera to my back with my sweater to climb over the rocks. I spent some time considering what my spine would look like if I fell on my back.

I'm going to begin my blog with tonight's eclipse of the moon. It was freezing out here in Harrisburg, PA but very beautiful.