Monday, April 26, 2010

Echoes

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You know, one of the odd things about having a Flickr stream is that I can finally see how important visual imagery is to me, and how a color, tone, or mood works its way steadily through my psyche.


I've noticed that just like words with a similar set of syllables and matching tones, I tend to match colors and shade as well... For example, that pic above was right next to this pic in my stream...


extrap

Is it just me, or do those 2 photos seem to share so much in terms of color and exposure and tone?


Then, this picture, with its greens, golds, and dark-haired woman with a downturned face and heavy, curving brows, was next to those 2:


My favorite at the Met

It's like a series of visual echoes... :)


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My favorite at the Met

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A few night pictures

double
There's no reason at all for these pictures - I was just clicking around in my stream and wanted to share them with you. A few pics I snapped late at night on my way home in Brooklyn. I was playing with filters and got a totally unplanned double-exposure effect on that one up there, which I loved.


Here's one of the pics in that "double exposure", all by itself.


The moon was HUGE that night - and if I'm not mistaken, it was Good Friday. It was a beautiful night, just cool enough to appreciate having worn tights and a light jacket, and people were out in swarms. But mostly I noticed it was a lot of single young men on the toasted side, which simultaneously made me laugh and creeped me out at the same time. :)

Comments from last post:
Thanks, Kat, for that awesome link! I'd always thought there was something oddly unnatural about the angle of the dress strap. So does the original exist? I couldn't tell that from the article...

Dani - thanks! :) Being a mounted policewoman does sound like quite an adventure. :)

Camelama - ooh I love your ideas! Added to the list, and I'll be thinking about horizons for you...

AscenderRisesAbove - thanks for the tip!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Week #4: Close-up of a police horse; Met favorites

Week #4: Close-up of a police horse

So, I kinda skipped a week, boo. I was procrastinating because my horse pictures were less than glorious, so I'll add a little extra to my post this week to make it up to you... :)


As promised, here's a friendly NY police horse on duty in Tribeca:



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You know, that picture is really lame, and nothing bums me out more than a lame picture. Try as I might to tidy it up in Photoshop, you really can't do much when you start with something less than stellar.


But, on to the subject of horses. You'll probably think it's hilarious that I'm from Texas and yet am terrified of horses. (The reason this picture is crappy is because I was too timid to get close and snap a good picture - combination shyness and slight terror.) Nevertheless, I have actually ridden 2 horses in my life - both of them were practically blind old nags on the short and plump side, and I was still scared stiff sitting atop of them. Both were on specific "horseback riding" tours - lame attempts to give city people like me the illusion that they have gone horseback riding. I still remember the unfortunate young man who was assigned to the 10 ft tall stallion. I would have peed my pants.


Here's the horse from a bit farther away:



I loved how much attention the horse was getting, although they're fairly common. People were snapping pics, standing, turning and pointing. It was almost like horse paparazzi. :)



I also love catching, by accident, these curious little exchanges going on in my photographs. What, for example, is the guy in the tux saying to the horse police? Why's that other guy pointing? I like to imagine an altercation between the two, where blue shirt guy got a little tough with tuxedo guy, and the horse police was called upon to intervene. :)


My favorite at the Met

The next topic is probably going to make me a little verklempt. I was asked to show my favorite pieces at the Met. Actually, I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art fiercely, and have been there often, by myself. I love to sit and sketch, or just lazily walk from piece to piece, finding the quietest areas to hide and enjoy.


Up there is probably my favorite in the entire museum. She's not immense, but the color, the mood, and the lines strike me as perfect. I've sat before her many times. The last time I saw an old friend I lost last year, we sat in front of her. It had been many years since we'd talked, although we were once close friends. Isn't it odd how there are some people so marked on your soul, almost as if they were made of the same exact dust as you, that wherever you find yourself, at whatever point in life you are at, talking with them is always exactly the same, exactly as close, exactly as wonderful? This is the kind of friendship I had with my friend. And I think it very lovely that the last thing we shared was this painting.


one of my favorite paintings

Here's another beautiful woman at the Met, and I think she's not a permanent resident, but was on loan from somewhere else. She was a childhood favorite, and it was amazing seeing her up close. All the Sargents are huge and his brush strokes so bold, in a way you'd never expect when seeing them from far away or as teeny tiny representations in art textbooks.


So, there you have it, assignment #4! Do you guys have anywhere new to send me? I'm going to very slowly work myself up to photographing NY people, but it's so hard when you're super shy! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Think pink


Thank you guys, for all the nice compliments on the Lookback photos! :) I was once again playing with Pioneer Woman actions, I combined Fresh and Colorful, Lovely and Ethereal, and 70's (of course!) to get that look.

I thought I'd share with you what NY has looked like for the past 2 weeks - the white flowers have been raining down from the trees in steady downpours, leaving behind fresh green leaves, and out of nowhere, pink trees have bloomed...


This tree is in Brooklyn, not far from my apartment, and standing under it is like nothing else in the world. Have you ever stood under a pink tree in the sunshine? It doesn't feel real, and I highly recommend it. I'm not sure what these pink trees are called - the blossoms look like clumps of miniature roses.
Here's one from far away:


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This one stands in front of Grace Church, and I almost took a picture of all the people stopping to take a picture of it. Then I decided that would be boring and ironic. :)

Here's a closer look.


Any of you ever been to Grace Church? I'm the kind of weirdo that always steps into whatever church I happen to pass on the road, and this is one of my favorites. In fact, one of these days I'd love to go church-hunting and see how many churches I can find in the LES and East Village to photograph (there are A TON). :)

Oh, and Morgan - that guy looks like your ex? Lucky girl! He's a cute one! :)
And tamdoll, I must (guiltily) admit that I love to go "sightseeing" on a workday on Broadway - I will truly miss the men in shirts and ties if I ever leave this place. :)

Okay, assignment pictures will be my next post, I promise! I think I'm putting it off because I didn't get great shots. But oh well! Be ready with more suggestions!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The lookback

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A funny thing happens when I try to photograph buildings and trees in NYC - as you might expect, it's almost impossible to get a shot without people in it. And people have a way of doing very interesting and amusing things. :)


So, there I was, innocently photographing the beautiful pink tree in the park in the background. It was only when I threw these in Photoshop that I realized I had unwittingly captured a very New York phenomenon for you: The Lookback. :)


Our protagonists are small, to be sure, but you can still discern what's going on. Take a look at that handsome young fellow in the blue dress shirt and purple tie (lovely combo, by the way). He looks distant and unassuming, no? Minding his own business, he couldn't be any less interested in the people that pass, except, what's that?


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He spots someone in the lower left- dark haired girl with a plastic hairclip. Now, I know that's not a very romantic description, but... he seems interested....


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And.... there goes the lookback! Did you catch that? In case you're wondering where his line of sight is pointing, I prepared a handy visual aid for you below:


surp

When I first moved to New York, I thought that New York men were the most distant creatures on earth. That's because I grew up in a culture where we all, male and female both, give each other almost incessant compliments. New dress? That's a nice dress! That color looks so good on you! Does your hair look like it went through a lawnmower this weekend? Oh, very chic. So stylish. And these are the friendly acquaintances. Strange men on the road? A virtual cacophany of male happiness! You might be the most annoyed woman on earth, but you certainly feel at least like the prettiest.


New York men, on the other hand, are terribly quiet, rarely so much as looking in one's direction. I was beginning to feel very unattractive indeed, when one day while turning back to adjust something in my bag, I busted my first New York male giving me a lookback. Then another. Then another. And now I content myself with busting them giving others the lookback, on a daily basis. Seriously. Ever visiting New York? Get ready for the lookback. :) More pictures, soon - I have actually been completing assignments from you! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

TV sets and Springtime in NY


These little yellow signs have become so familiar to me that I hardly even glance their way, but since this was the first one I've seen this Spring, I thought I'd show it to you. Law and Order is the main set I walk through on my commute, with an occasional Ugly Betty. :) Oh, there was also a huge lineup of trailers for The Good Wife this morning, and they had a fabulous spread of goodies for the cast in a food trailer, including what looked like fresh-squeezed orange juice. :) I've never actually seen them filming, since that seems to happen either in the wee hours of the night or some sort of off-time with less commuters and lollygaggers.


Springtime in New York is beyond amazing. You have no idea the number of things in this city that bloom, until you're here in April.


The daffodils come first, brave little flowers that bloom when it's still cold, often battered by fierce rains and freezes:



Then come the tulips, always, oddly, the red ones first, that open up wide and serve as playmates for the waning daffodils:



Then, quiet trees burst forth in white blooms that live so briefly, only about a week or so. If you are here during this magic week, you'll find youself walking down an entire avenue lined with mysterious white trees, as delicate and snowy as white cherry blossoms. This week the white flowers are yeilding to green leaves, pushing themselves through the blossoms.


All of this is the normal course of Spring that I've seen for 6 years now. But oddly, suddenly, it feels like summer is upon us in NY:



Yesterday it was over 90 degrees. In April. It was beyond bizarre, walking home from work in this delicious, balmy air - perfect for sipping a cold drink in the warm evening at an outdoor cafe.


It's hard to believe this is what I was looking at (from the same vantage point) less than 2 months ago:


whiteness all around

Any freak weather out there for you guys? :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Assignment #3: Favorite Subway stations

Assignment #3: Favorite subway stations

As you can see, my lists have been growing! And even though the weather has been spectacular, I've been pokey about getting out.

But I did think I'd show you another one of my favorite subway stations....



If you can see this view, you're near one of my favorite stops. Over on the left is the Flatiron building, and on the right you can pop on down to the 23 St subway. What's so special about the 23 St stop?

You'll notice it looks rather average and boring as you walk in:



Well, what's special are the hats:


hats

Laid into the wall among the white tiles are dozens of detailed mosaic hats. I love to pass the time while waiting for the train walking up and down the platform, making mental notes of all the hats...



And my favorite is watching people waiting for trains who have (knowlingly or unknowingly) lined themselves up beneath them, so that it looks like they're wearing them. At one time I had a goal of posing a stuffed monkey under each of them for a photograph. That may have to wait for the proper state of inebriation and/or boredom. :)


I've already located another spot on my list and I may have to add that later this week... Want to send me somewhere new? Give me a suggestion here! :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Actual embroidery


Yes, that's right - actual embroidery here. :) I'd had this Krupp pattern from the MrXStitch Etsy store for awhile, it's called Forbidden Love. Finally, I pulled out my pile of Aida cloth on Saturday and just started stitching. It was a quick stitch, (for cross-stitch) about 6 hours or so. Finished picture soon!


My movie list for this stitch was:

  • Year One (terrible - I think I only laughed once)
  • Cover Girl (Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly - fun for the magazine covers, but a little on the cheesy side)
  • Criminal Justice, ep. 1 & 2 (Amazing BBC series with Ben Whishaw, who I adore ever since seeing Bright Star)


I decided to hang my unfinished twins on the wall to inspire me to finish them:



So far, seeing them has inspired me to start other projects, but I'm hoping I'll pick this up again soon... :)



I love looking at little details in the sunlight. I think just having the sunlight has already inspired me to start new things.


Here's a beautiful bracelet my friend brought me back from her trip to Turkey:



I'm not Catholic, but I've always loved rosaries. Instead of fine metals and gemstones, however, I prefer the cheap ones made of plastic and fake silver. I guess because to me, the worth of any item should come from the significance you attach to it, and the memories you create for it - not the price tag attached to it. I'm just odd about things like that. :) This lovely one hails from the supposed last residence of Mary in Ephesus, or the House of the Virgin.


Hope you all had a fabulous Easter weekend! Any Easter traditions for any of you? My family doesn't make a big deal of Easter, so I'm always fascinated by everyone else's traditions... I popped up at church, admired all the Easter bonnets and squirmy kids in their scratchy Easter best, and soaked up the sun afterward. It was perfect weather for a picnic and just sitting and smelling all the blooming spring flowers. You? :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

That Seventies Action

photos that have something to say to one another

I've been uploading pics to Flickr for oh, about 5 years now. I always tweaked my pics a little - upping contrast and lightening the especially dark and gray ones. But lately, I've become addicted to Photoshopping them. Particularly, that cool Seventies action in Photoshop that I got from Pioneer Woman.


Has it become an illness? Or maybe it's just a phase? I have a hard time enjoying my pics if they're not all Seventies, tricked-out lately...

before:

after:



before:

after:


before:

after:


I even worked out a weird series of Curves and Hue tweaks in Gimp (like Photoshop, but free) to produce this odd concoction, which sort of looks like me at the bottom of the ocean (which I love) :




What do you think? Is too much Photoshop a bad thing? Is all the Seventies bugging you? ;)


And, now that the weather is nice I fully intend to carry out an assignment this weekend, have no fear! :)