Sunday, 19 July 2015

Building a Bridge To Get Over It

This was not supposed to be this blog post. I had something else written and different photos to share, but complications and questions just haunt the daylights out of me. So I'm posting a short series of early morning shots I took on the gritty, gritty banks of the Saint John River.

I used to have an early morning job. It would make me crazy to be out at such a beautiful hour, but unable to photograph what I saw, like mist on the river in the morning sun. Every so often, though, I finished early enough to race home, grab my camera and go back out to a good site (Yes, sometimes I had the camera with me, but that wasn't the safest plan in the world).

This was a Saturday morning in late spring. I wanted the train bridge disappearing into fog, so I scrambled down the embankment for some low level shots.

This is not a particularly popular site for the insanely-addictive-to-camera-buff bridge pics, so I guess I get to claim some unique angles to pay for my bruised ankles (see what I did there?).

The most important thing turned out to be the sun, not the fog. The light was amazing.

There's a lot more shots in the series that I really like. There's two panoramas, too. I'm pretty sure the wide panorama shots would be puny in this format, so I'm sticking with the stubby ones.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The trouble with love

Some photos I took last night in my backyard.

They're all of the same indiscreet union, a romance doomed to fail, to be limiting to both, temporary in what shallow support can be given, and yet beautiful in the moment.

Evening Nightshade is the vine that has wrapped herself around a grass stalk. She's a relative of Deadly Nightshade and carries some less potent, but still quite exciting possibilities in her sex (her berries).

She can knock you off your feet. She can paralyze you. She's got attitude to spare.

So, you might think to yourself, what's this dangerous beauty doing entangling herself with common grass? But if you did you'd be selling our straight-talking dependable champion of the earth quite short. Grass is strong—not in that bully sense of beating up on other plants, but in its tenacity. Grasses are the first thing to take root in seaside soil. They establish colonies and then whole societies with interconnected roots that are the basis of fertile soil as they rot and renew, thicken and spread. Grasses are the builders of continents full of lush plant life.

I could go on. But suffice to say, the grass is cool no matter how "common" you think it is.

At any rate, while not prone to romance stories, I thought this one was quite lovely. I'm not sure when, but I do know that a fellow is coming to remove the garden box that has "gone to weed," or as I like to call it: been allowed to be its real self.

The Nighshade will face its third uprooting. I doubt it can come back from this one. I think I might sneak out before the fellow arrives and move parts of it over behind my big pine tree. There will be less sun, but also less mayhem.

I 've been meaning to get pictures of this strange couple for several days. When I finally got out there with a camera it was evening. The sun was starting to set and I was a little bit worried about the angles I had to work with. Truth be told, there were about twenty five shots and these were the only ones I felt worked with both the bokeh'd background and the light. There were shots I thought were really good for the subject, but my deck was a too-busy bit of background.

Frankly, I think it's rather neat that the light kept changing through the shoot, too. It made variation where (let's be frank here) there isn't much in subject matter. Cute little vine, so-far sturdy stalk of grass. That's pretty much it.

I hope they're enjoyable (yeah, I know, grass. Still, though).

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Iron Belle

The name sounds like a great character for a pirate tale. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to use it sometime soon.

In the meantime, the photo that inspired the name was mounted on a short, steeple-shaped stand outside the Wolfville fire department.

Oh the decisions one faces after a photo is taken(!) There's cropping, and exposure tinkering, and sharpening, and burning/dodging, and any number of things that can take an otherwise interesting photo and turn it into art barf.

Resist, Tristis. Resist.

Sunday, 12 July 2015


Garden photography. 

The garden as entangled

It's all with a macro lens, even the far away shots, because I'm too (lazy?) to change lenses. Focus with macros is always about choices. But there are ways and ways. I choose ways, myself. Others might do the opposite. Regardless it's work and insect bites or vice versa. 
This is bud.
She's a tough one, so don't make fun of her name.

Gangland Flowers
I thought these fellas looked like they could pretty much take out anybody.

Monday, 6 July 2015

More on the Storm Fairy

Part of my rewrite for The Storm Fairy includes new illustration. In the end, it's possible that none of my illustrations will make it into the book, even if it is accepted, but I feel the need to include them. After all, most a little over half were done as part of my Illustration class.
For the most part, I'm happy with them. What I see in completed pictures is pretty much what I saw in my head. It also gives me a chance to make the village more diverse. It's pretty important to me that it be so, but I didn't want to do this carelessly. I wanted to do the research that allows me to depict people as more than just variations in skin tone, or stereotypes—although the point of the fairytale is to have types, especially traditional types of people. I wanted all the people to fit together, regardless of their ethnicity. Villagers are tidy, they all wear hats to keep their hair under cover. The women wear aprons and the children, who start with a freer feel and pastel colours wear increasingly uniform clothes in darker/richer colours as they age toward adulthood. Except for Erin, who's a little weird.

Note: I'm trying to organize my two kinds of work, writing and visual art. So, I'm going to link back and forth between the two blogs that focus on one or the other. I discuss The Storm Fairy on Domus Comm, so if you're at all curious, click here.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Storm Fairy

I've written a children's story that's been simmering in the back of my mind for a couple of years. It was inspired (kindled and seeded) by my good friend Nasnan Blacksheep.

I always felt that if I could only get the illustrations done, I could send it off to a publisher.
Want to know a secret?
They don't want writer/illustrators. They want written-only submissions.

Still, I've got a plan. It's a sucky plan, but I'm sticking to it!
Besides, I like my illustrations a lot. It's been great learning how, and a lot of fun playing with my characters.

I produced a picture book as part of my Illustration course (I just got my diploma in Graphic Design). But it had two issues:
1) I felt it was far too short in telling the story. I had to leave a lot out.
2) It was still too long for a picture book.

The solution: Make it a chapter book, instead. Those are longer, they can have a little denser text, and they're aimed at a slightly older group of kids, which is a better fit for my little tale of woeful weather.