Genie in a Bottle

Goes great with strawberries and chocolate | 16mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO 200

Yes, there’s a story about why I have an empty wine bottle on my window sill, but some stories are born to be secrets, so I’m keeping this genie in. :)

I just like the way the morning light comes into the window and casts interesting gold and green lights. I purposely overexposed the details outside the window, because I didn’t want them to detract from the focus on the bottle. I wanted to achieve a rich-toned dreaminess, and I think it’s close to approximating the feel of the memory attached to this.

Zenobia Willetta

Detail of statue of Diana, Biltmore House, Asheville, NC | 66mm, f/5.3, 1/500 sec., ISO 400

Why, you ask, have I titled this post “Zenobia Willetta?” Well, it’s the name of the “person” who sent the last piece of junk mail that I just received, and has absolutely nothing to do with the image.

Do these spammers just make up random names and hope that they’ll be lucky enough to hit on someone I actually know that matches one of their made-up names?! And even if I do receive something from say, John Smith, and I think “Hmmm, I wonder if that’s the John Smith I know? Might be a legit email.” I’m pretty sure that when I see that they’re trying to sell me a case of Viagra, it might be a tip off that it’s not MY John Smith!! So no thanks, Zenobia, I don’t need any Canadian-made Ambien tonight. Jeez.

Anyway, I carried my camera around with me all day today, and didn’t see anything I wanted to shoot. So tonight, I go back into my grab bag and haul this out.

I don’t do much black and white imagery, but I liked this one. This is a closeup of the statue of Diana at the Biltmore in Asheville. It actually sits way back in Hemlock Grove, the cluster of trees at the end of the expansive front yard and hillside in front of the home.

What drew me to this closeup is the one-finger touch of Diana on the creature’s head. In mythology, one of Diana’s “assignments” was goddess of the hunt and of woodland creatures. I don’t know what this creature is exactly, and perhaps, we’re not intended to know. But I like that the sculptor chose to portray this obviously powerful animal under Diana’s power/control with merely a touch.

Why Not a Miata?

Waiting to go for a ride | 50mm, f/5.6, 1/180sec, ISO 200

Sandee loaned her car to a friend, and he left his… a sweet little Miata… with her. We went out to eat and then took a quick spin with the top down. I can’t drive a stick, but as Sandee says, she “can drive anything from a nail to an 18-wheeler.”

It’s only my second time ever to ride in convertible. The first time was when I went on vacation to the Grand Canyon. The ride from Phoenix to the Canyon was mostly made with the top up because of the weather, but the ride from Flagstaff to Sedona was amazing!! Cruising the winding roads between the towering red rocks was something I’ll never forget. The only bad part is that I was driving, and I really wanted to be looking at the scenery above, not the road in front!

My Perception is Clouded

Some beautiful clouds I saw on my way home. Scroll down to see what animals I saw in the formations.

First of all, I love clouds. The bright, fluffy ones… the wispy ones that the wind sweeps along… even the dark, rumbling ones fascinate me.

I remember a seventh grade science project for Mrs. Caldwell, when she was teaching us about clouds… cummulus, cumulo-nimbus, cirro-cumulus and more. She assigned us a project to illustrate the kinds of clouds on a poster. As I recall, it was left us to us how to best accomplish this.

Being the overachiever that I was, I decided that, rather than merely illustrate it, I would create a three dimensional poster using cotton balls. It would be grand and the envy of my classmates. I drew out an elaborate scene beneath where the clouds would be, showing which would create rain and/or storms, and which would be present on sunny days.

Once I was pleased with the drawing, I set about creating the clouds. Mama had bought a bag of cotton balls for me to use, and of course, I had waited until the last night before the project was due to start on the clouds. I got out my Elmer’s glue and began on the left side of the poster, delicately positioning each cotton ball in its perfect place. I could already imagine the oohs and aaahs that would escape from Mrs. Caldwell as she surveyed my masterpiece.

I was planning to use gray tempera paint lightly layered on top of the nimbo-stratus clouds, as those are the dark clouds of storms. The strato-cumulus clouds would be thick and placed close together to illustrate the big, fluffly clouds of a sunny day, and of course, it would all match the illustration I had running beneath the clouds. It was going to be a thing of beauty.

However, as I got about 1/3 of the way across the poster, I was almost out of cotton balls. This, of course, was pre-WalMart, and everything in my hometown closed around 6:00. Even if a store had been opened, I think Mama was going to let me learn the hard way about procrastination.

My mind raced for a solution. I started trying to pull up some of the most recently placed cotton balls so that I could spread them more thinly. Of course, a cotton ball with glue being handled by fingers now covered in glue resembles a gooey glob more than a wispy cloud. So that wouldn’t work. What to do?!?!

I started trying to strreeeeettcch the cotton that was already glued down across the rest of the poster. The remaining balls in the bag were also stretched and thinned to the point they looked like gauze, and the glue showed right through them. A good 2/3 of the poster now looked like cirrus clouds–the thin, wispy kind that look like the outline of the wind.

Of course, now the clouds did not match the illustration underneath! I was distraught! My perfect project was now a gluey, stringy mess, and I knew that I would not leave Mrs. Caldwell’s class in triumph, but with my head hung low, a dark, little nimbo-stratus cloud following me around. I believe I made a C on the project.

I’d like to say I learned my lesson about procrastination, but I’d be lying. I think the only thing good to come out of that experience was that the names of the different types of clouds are now indelibly burned into my brain.

An angry Schnauzer and a body-surfing turtle in the clouds

The Good, The Bad, and the Flammable

Approaching "Spaghetti Junction" | 16mm, f/4.0

The Good: My side of town finally got some rain.
The Bad: I had to leave my side of town to pick up a friend on the other side of town; hence, travel through a horrendous thunderstorm. Traffic was a bear!
The Flammable: I’m really glad lightning generally doesn’t strike vehicles. This propane truck was in front of me for a long time, and somehow, I didn’t think that tiny fire extinguisher on the back right side would have done much good.

There are going to be days like this when I can’t find anything very interesting to take a photo of, and I just start snapping away. I did learn a valuable lesson about taking opportunities when they present themselves. The cleaning lady at work was cleaning the large windows of our building as I was leaving for lunch. Her silhouette against the bright sun coming through the windows would have made a great image, but I was in a hurry, and I let it pass. Didn’t see another good image all day. Lesson learned.

Get Yer Red Hots!

Fireballs in a jar on my desk at work... 105mm macro f/5.6

Remember fireballs? I remember having contests at school to see who could hold a fireball in their mouths the longest without taking it out or holding it between their teeth, gasping for cool air. I never won.

I mentioned a few days ago at work how much I enjoyed fireballs, and the next day, my boss brought me a jar full. How thoughtful was that?! And how fun to have something at my desk that reminds me of the good days at school. Surprisingly, no one at work wants to have a contest with me. Pity, they’d probably win.

For more about the original fireballs, check out this site.