Sunday, February 28, 2010

Running Drills

Remember in high school, running wind sprints from baseline to baseline on the basketball court, your flat-bottomed Converse or Keds slapping the wood all the way down and back so many times that your feet stung and your lungs were ready to burst? For us wrestlers, we not only ran the sprints, anddid  the usual regimen of calisthenics, but we also had quick succession round robin wrestling matches. All of that is what Rush is like.

Okay, maybe I exaggerate. Nevertheless, I have come to think of playing Rush as skill exercises, refining endurance and muscle memory. And Lord knows, I need the workout.

The common knowledge/sense about Rush is that one plays the cards, position and math; and the psychology of the game that exists on a consistent table of the same nine or ten players is not much of a factor. So, it boils down to opening up with your strong hands preflop, steal liberally from the Hijack to the Button, and consider the stacks.

Not quite.

There is a psychology that plays out in Rush. It manifests itself in trends such as defending blinds with a 3-bet. Everyone knows that late position steals are likely, and its effect is defending the blinds has become more commonplace as well. A perceived strong move is countered with an even stronger (perceived) move, which typically results in a fold or 4-bet.

We know that late position bets are made with a fairly wide range. I wish I could say I knew what the typical blind defense range is, but I don't, because my own range is probably tighter than most, and because I fold to such resistance except with the stronger hands. Still, I have started to develop a notion that nearly any pocket pair or Ax hand seems to be adequate for a re-raise from a blind. I could be wrong, because like I said, I haven't seen too many showdowns when I make a blatant attempt to steal.

As a result, I've cut way back on my late position steals. I'm playing anywhere from 14 -17% of my hands overall, and even my Button steals may be at 7% or so. I fold 7To, no sweat.

There is one exception, and it applies to nearly any hand I may consider playing: the stack size of potential opponents.

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold'em, $0.10 BB (9 handed) - Full-Tilt Converter Tool from

saw flop

Hero (CO) ($9.90)
Button ($3.39)
SB ($33.17)
BB ($10.97)
UTG ($3.98)
UTG+1 ($3.80)
MP1 ($9.63)
MP2 ($10.66)
MP3 ($6.89)

5 folds, Hero bets $0.35, 1 fold, SB raises to $0.60, 1 fold, Hero calls $0.25

Flop: ($1.30) J, 9, 8 (2 players)

SB bets $0.60, Hero raises to $1.20, SB raises to $1.80, Hero calls $0.60

Turn: ($4.90) A (2 players)

SB bets $1, Hero calls $1

River: ($6.90) 10 (2 players)

SB bets $4, Hero raises to $6.50 (All-In), 1 fold

Total pot: $14.90 | Rake: $0.99

Any guesses as to what I had? How about my opponent?

Saturday, February 27, 2010


It was a bit unsettling. The dog needed her afternoon long walk, so we headed out toward the back ten acres. As we neared the seasonal pond, I heard the familiar call of ducks. How could that be? Ghosts?
They've been on the pond for a week now.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Plastic Jesus

If you enlarged this photo from last week, you might have noticed that the night light behind my left shoulder is an Immaculate Heart Jesus. I love this light, and have had it burning in my studio for well over ten years. I didn't think about its presence when I framed this photo, which is a typical oversight on my part; yet, once I had the image on my computer, I found it a happy accident. They happen. And, as often follows after such a serendipitous event, I thought to work the light into some more work.

Initially, I thought it might be interesting to see how slow of an exposure I would need to use the night light as the sole source for illumination in a shot similar to that above. And in the tests, I found what I consider more interesting photos, so I put aside the original idea for the time being, and had some fun.



It will no doubt come as a comfort to all that Hanoi lets googlers search for nude bodies.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I almost feel behooved to write a poker-related post today, plodding my way through some hand analysis or prolonging a tilt at a windmill or two. After all, a trip to the dentist for a temporary crown makes for nothing. Except when it leads to something else.

I think I finally figured out why I like curling as a sport. Curling is like life.

No, that won’t do. It is, but I’ll keep it to myself.

I am of sufficient longevity that I remember a dentist’s chair resembling more a barber’s chair than a couch. “Would you like me to turn on the back massager?”

“Do you have an attachment for my rotator cuff?”

The dentist’s office is relatively new, less than four years old, and built on the main drag in town. A lot of big timbers and green siding give it the feel of a mountain resort. He has a small dentistry museum inside, a 150-gallon marine fish tank, and about twelve rooms with chairs. One dentist.

I had a bit of a wait, so there I reclined, feeling and listening to the rhythm of the balls inside the chair back, country music softly playing over the PA system. My mind drifted off to my massage therapist back in Chicago.

Back then it was my left, not my good arm. The shoulder caused a lot of trouble, referring, as they call it, down to my fingers, down my back and over my chest. She worked hard to relieve me of the pain and get mobility back. She was gentle and forceful at the appropriate times, even-tempered and attractive in kind of a Heidi-grows-up way. I could not help but adore her.

But I was not attracted to her.

Not that I couldn’t have been if I hadn’t wanted first and foremost to employ the best massage therapist in town, and if my life’s many other considerations up to that point had taken a slightly different trajectory.

Yep, just like chess.

Something for me to keep in mind...

I wonder how I would dress if I were a teenager again. And, will there ever come a time I put aside my Carhartt?

Monday, February 22, 2010

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

I rec'd this today:

Hi bastinptc,

We are running a special invite only competition for bloggers in the lead up to SCOOP and we would like to invite you to take part.
For taking part and successfully completing the required tasks you will receive a free $22 dollar ticket to SCOOP in your account.
All you need to do is the following:

Part 1:
Write and publish an article on your blog that incorporates the following sentence (including making the word 'poker' a link to 'which is why playing poker is clearly a game of skill'

Email your username and the link to your blog article to

Part 2:
We will send additional phrases between now and when SCOOP starts, there will be 5 in total.

Part 3:
We will award 50 additional $109 tickets to the bloggers who show the most work, imagination or make us laugh in placing these phrases within blog posts.

Also every blogger who participates in this competition will also receive exclusive access to higher value spot-prizes for live blogging promotions we will be running during SCOOP

The Rules:

1) Only one ticket per blog
2) Only one ticket per person
3) All 5 blog posts must be published
4) The word 'poker' in the phrases provided must be a link to
5) Tickets are non-transferable
6) Judges decision is final
7) This is an invite only event

All questions and queries regarding this invite only competition should be sent to

Happy Blogging!
Kind Regards
Fintan C

Marketing geniuses. Write for us, oh, say five outstanding but veiled promotional pieces, and if you're lucky, we'll pay you in a tender that is only valid at the company store.

Special and exclusive. My ass. 

The people have spoken

I could have gone back to the Widow’s woods, or down to the river again, but there was that little voice: “Be among people.” So I went to the park in town. It had water, and I wanted to get a little more footage for “Otherwise Seamless,” and there would surely be people present on such a beautiful day. The whisper would not go ignored.

I give the squeak too much credit. Not that the trip to town had no motive. I drove down streets I had not been on before today, looking for new inspiration, a little louder voice, with “Seamless” so close to being in the can and the woods done to satisfaction. A rasp: “Houses and yards.” You’d have to see, but then again, you someday might.

In the meantime, a babbling brook was calling.

But that’s not what I have to offer today. No more “OS” until it’s finished.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Not near as rainy as in previous years. Warmer too, so there's no snow on Snow Mountain. The lawn needs mowed already, and I could do it, being as dry as it is. (A lot of wells are going to go dry this summer.) Instead, I went for a walk along water.
I tweaked the hell out of this one in PhotoShop.


Imagine, if you will, either four monitors or all four videos on one screen playing simultaneously, and edited together in such a way that the image shifts from one "box" to another.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Final Staging

Since DW was off to a lecture in Portland, the plan was that I would take one of the cats to her vet appointment. Task out of the way, I was back in the dungeon to work on this last two weeks’ photo assignment, “The Aging Body.”

I had thought about the project on the ride to, and back from the appointment, struggling with how to present my body to show the aging, to no avail. Frustrated and home again, I sat down at the computer, my usual distraction when such a mood sets in.

The phone rang.

“Is this Patrick?


“It’s Kelly from the animal clinic. You forgot to pick up the medications at the front desk.”

“Shit, sorry, I’ll be right there.”

Sorry because that meant I walked on the invoice too.

The sun was setting, so after fetching the indoor/outdoor cat that shares my studio at night, I got in the truck and headed west.

Cute, petite Kelly giggled.

“Now, now, young lady.”

I’ve always been rather absent-minded, easily distracted, pre-occupied; in other words, intensely focused in an unfocused sort of way, that is, on the wrong things for the moment and task at hand. Place me in some hallowed hall, dress me in a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, an unlit pipe sticking out of a corner of my mouth and a spec of lunch on my beard, and with a few more IQ points, I’d be justified. I could give lectures!

Back in front of the camera, I played around with more close-ups of my face, straining to accentuate every wrinkle I could muster. It just wasn’t working, so I got goofy.

What about revisiting other body parts? If so, I’d have to take off my fleece and/or sweats, yet the heater was still warming the room, so those photos would have to wait.

Still, how would I photograph? I could collect more dust bunnies and redo the foot photos… As I stepped back from the camera, I caught a glimpse of myself at some distance, the light dimmer to where I could see only the flesh of my face and hands.

Maybe the answer lay away from the camera. Then it dawned on me: While trying to get as much as possible right with lighting, exposure and body parts, I had been neglecting what I actually thought about getting older.

Of course: metaphor, not straight image. The aging body is inevitable, as is death. What is the worse fear about aging? The fear of becoming irrelevant.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Coming up fast

Moments later the driver looked in his rear view mirror. I sped up even more and passed without eye contact.

A great day to be out of doors


Coming to terms

There are tomes upon tomes that wax on about the glories and/or pitfalls of poker. Poker the tool, the challenge, the entertaining hobby; poker the devastating vice and distraction from everything otherwise wrong with a life. Ho hum.

Poker is like life in only one regard: you have to be a good guesser. It’s one helluva big one regard, but it’s the only one when it comes down to it. Your top pair, damn-good-kicker could be toast and drawing nearly dead to a testosterone junkie-idiot at any given moment, or the same hand is good against a huge stack that jams with air on a straightened board. You make determinations based on perceptions and accept the consequences. The only question left to ask is: Why bother?

No, I’m not in a foul mood spawned out of variance. Inured is more like it. As Buddha said, “Screw the question. Either play the game or don’t.”

Inspired more than usual, I spent an inordinate amount of time in the studio today. I made a few pieces for “What,” one of which I posted earlier, wrote that poem, corresponded with a few folks, and just sat waiting for the fog to roll back in.

Then I made nine bucks in less than 50 hands. I guessed right.

I think I have thing for conflict.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A couple places I've been today


with no beach nearby

I hold the shell to my ear

and hear the third line



Toward Authenticity

In which after a lengthy interlude, pun meets cliché

Watching the Olympics is a good time killer.

Curling is my favorite event. It has been for twenty years, so don’t give me that Johnny-come-lately crap. The strategy, the geometry and physics, the frantic sweeping in front of a slow-moving missile so that it hits its mark with astounding force and amazing accuracy, or a miniscule mistake overshoots with a surprising amount of momentum, it is a beautiful sport.

Still, after sitting there on the couch for an hour or so I get fidgety. I should be doing something more productive. But I really enjoy curling! The conflict becomes externalized in the form of itchy skin. I start to work on my right shin, scratching away at the dead skin, the flakes sprinkling onto the leather couch. “Careful,” I tell myself, “you don’t want to have bloody legs for the next photo session.” I try to curtail the impulse, but the next thing I know, I’m scratching at my beard, and then my eye starts to want in on the action. Then my scalp starts to crawl a bit. “Damn dry skin.” Yet I do not fetch the moisturizer at the commercial break for an idea interrupts: I should photograph myself reenacting the itches.

So much for TV. It’s back to the dungeon with me.

The ambivalence with the leg photos from yesterday lingers, and I’m not quite sure how to overcome the compositional dilemma. And until I do, viewers will be spared that ashiness as I explore other aspects of my physique.

But what part of my body should I photograph?

After the “Nude vs Naked” assignment, a student from the class, Harpreet Khara, provided me with a short history on what those two supposedly contrary terms have come to mean in the context of art. He then mentioned that cultural differences must enter into the discussion as well, and offered this:

I consider the landscape of the face, physiognomy if you will. The eyes as windows to the soul & past/present; the fact my model let me into their personal space.....I can feel the aura hear their breath, that moment is intimate, nude and pure. I see nudity in the face far more than in the body.

Harpreet does take a lot of portraits. As any poker player worth his/her salt can tell you, the subtleties of expressions and features are a worthy study. Yet, try as I may, I am only able to pick up the grosser tells, which may be a personality flaw more than a lack of powers of observation. Watch a couple farmers talking and you’ll get an idea of just how important eye contact is compared to the texture of the dirt or gravel at their feet. Face-to-face is more reserved for confrontation.

It is not surprising then, after looking at the ground so much, that I would photograph my feet and legs. It was easy. And compared to the photos of my chest and neck, the places on my body where my age readily shows, my lower extremities were a walk in the park. 

I believe I am going to leave my ass and genitalia out of this current assignment, which I am sure is a relief to some, but which leaves me with more of my legs, my back, and my head and face. My back remains rather youthful, despite some aches and pains that would be difficult to portray in a photograph. And aside from the continued loss of hair, my legs still have a contour. That leaves my head and face, my gray hair and drooping eyelids.

I have to say that I am not fond of getting my picture taken any more than I am keen to stand in front of a mirror. While brushing my teeth, I pace from room to room; and, going by feel, I shave in the shower. That reluctance eased up somewhat while working on my “Made Self” series of photos last autumn. I “made” myself use the mirror to do that study, and I have to admit, I am quite fond of those photos; yet, if anything, that success presented a new stumbling block for me when it came to this class, and in particular this new assignment. How could I possibly capture the same level of emotional intensity of the “Made Self” portraits with only my unstaged body?

The itching and twitching would have to become performance.

As I wrote the above sentence, I had an idea. Imagine I went out to one of the several assisted living complexes in our area, found a common area where residents gathered, and photographed them as they sat scratching and picking and dozing, get action shots, if you will, and then came back home and positioned myself as they were, took a photo of that and then presented the work as diptychs.

Ain’t gonna happen. I’d rather assume the fetal position, a photo of which I also will resist.

And a glamour shot.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More PTB

There are advantages to being a remote student for the class I am taking with Jonathan Worth in Coventry. One is that I don’t have to actually attend a session at a given time of day and on a certain day of the week. Yet, this is also a disadvantage, as I don’t benefit from working alongside a group of peers. An extensive dialogue, not only about my work but that of others and their thoughts about the photographic experience would be invaluable. In the end, I suspect, I would gladly attend in person if it were possible.

Despite my heralded hermitry, I seek colleagues, which is surely one of the reasons I started this blog. I get a lot of work done in my dungeon of a studio, yet I greatly enjoy the window that has been added to this subterranean room via the internet, and my world has grown larger and better for it.

Is it pathetic to thank a virtual world/audience/peer group for making life more fulfilling? I suppose it depends on one’s level of cynicism, or what one had available to them before venturing forth into any other aspect of the world outside of the voices in one’s head.

No, I’m not crazy. Never have been. That kind of thing tends to be rather permanent, medication or not. We all hear voices, the difference being the subject matter of the conversations and their amplitude in comparison to our own. In fact, we often seek out the tiny voices, the non-judgmental whispers, do we not?

It was one such voice that led me to write Mr. Worth and join his class. And with that, a few more photos:

I shot this shortly after I posted the last batch. I like the photo quite a bit as far as the composition is concerned. Yet, I cannot say that it speaks to the subject matter of aging. Even the adipose in the background, I dare say, can be found on people much younger than I. Perhaps the knuckles of the hands suggest an older, arthritic person, but that is it.
Of course, this is an attempt to duplicate the above and was shot today. I will play with this area of the body some more and try to make the image a bit more performative, as well as work on composition.
Note the absence of the warm tones. It ain't pretty, the edema that comes with getting older. I wonder how the old-timers can sit at a poker table for twelve or fourteen hours at a time and not suffer. As for the composition itself, I like the demarcation in the middle of the frame, the light and dark, and how my eye is drawn down to the wrinkles on the foot. Other than that, it lacks.  I have other photos that are similar to this one in that I hoped to catch the baldness of my calf against what hair remains a bit further up, but I fear a single calf is not enough to make any image work.
As I thought about shooting my legs and feet, I knew I should take the floor into consideration as well. I was not sure how I would handle the color and details in the floor tiles, and as I sat looking at them, I noticed a dust bunny composed of dog and cat hair, and whatever else that seems to accumulates overnight on the floor. I thought it might be a useful prop and provide some metaphoric effect. For the scale of the image as presented on this page, the detritus seems to get lost, which might be a good thing; yet, I encourage the reader to enlarge the photo to see if there is a different effect.

I am happy to have two weeks to take my time to work out issues in the assignment. Previous assignments seemed to come and go at such a pace that any thoughts on how to proceed had to occur before the photo session, and success had to be found within whatever had been shot in that session. This is not to say that lessons do not carry over from one photo study to another. After all, this is a learning process. Still, there is some comfort, almost a luxury to be able to put the above photos out there and know that tomorrow brings an opportunity to think about what works and what doesn't, so that by next Monday I can have a group of photos with which I am largely satisfied.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Timing an image

Yeah, it’s everything.

Sitemeter shows a 25% increase in visitors today. Grump linked me.

I can only hope that the new visitors thus far are a bit on the erudite side, for with what should they greeted? Photos of my aging body parts. Well, Lambsie* did link me because of my interest in photography.

So, this post is for those of you new to this blog. If you’re interested in seeing my photo work, you’ll have to go deeper than this page for a more complete idea of what I point a camera at. Or, if you prefer, please visit my website,

Thanks for dropping by.

*If you’ve ever played with Grump on Stars, you’ll know why I call him this.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

“Picturing the Body” assignment, Weeks 6 & 7: The Aging Body

No stomach for it; but in the end I can laugh at myself. Feel free to join in.
The body ages, I shit you not. Aging is practice for how you want to go out.

Prepare yourself. There’s still a lot of ground to cover and another week to make the trip. John Coplans I ain't, but with any luck I’ll be able to make a couple photos that tell some pretty slick lies.
Now I can go shower and shave.

She loves me. She really does.

And to prove it she is looking into hand gun lessons for the .32 I gave her last year for Christmas.

4-H Can Drive

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Just Ducky

I may have mentioned this before: For a while we had a rather sizable and dense patch of daisies out by the plum and pear trees. We planted the flowers with the intention to encourage beneficial insects to hang out there, to protect and/or pollinate the fruit trees. The area was immediately adjacent to the path that led out to the barns, so we passed by it a lot.

During the middle of summer, when the daisies were in full bloom, I couldn’t help but notice that something smelled dead in the flowers. Not a huge stench, but noticeable. Searching the area, I found nothing. Yet the smell persisted. I eventually came to the conclusion that the odor emanated from the daisies.

Of course, daisies have been associated with death already in the phrase “pushing up daisies,” and perhaps now I know why. I have sense (sic) removed a lot of the flowers from the area.

Other phrases have also made sense from observations here on the farm, especially with the ducks. “Ducks in a row” refers to the formation the birds take as they run from the coop to the pond, single file. “Sitting ducks” is what happens when there is a threat from above. A hawk flies overhead, and instead of running for the cover of the lean-to, they just sit down where they are until the danger has passed, if it passes. If not, well, then they’re sitting ducks.

Another phrase comes to mind as I write this: Fuck a duck. Having seen drakes in action, the little rape machines that they are, rabbits don’t hold a candle to the male duck’s appetite. Relentless. The hens are helpless against the onslaught, and it might be that helplessness or a certain frustration the phrase connotes.

We started our duck experiment with three drakes, just to see what we would need to do to handle a larger flock. When we added eighteen hens to the mix, the drakes would not leave them alone, and even though the six-to-one ratio provided some respite, there was enough havoc created that we worried our egg production would suffer. And pity the smaller hens, for they by far had the worse of it.

A decision was made to cull the drakes from the flock. And by cull, I do not mean separate them from the hens; instead, we separated them from their heads. Dead ducks.
We didn’t enjoy the process. We just did what had to be done. It’s the way of the farm, and no different than putting another duck down when sick or injured.

While ducks may plop down on the ground when danger presents itself from above, when threatened from the ground, the birds scurry. The same holds true when either DW or I approach. Even though we have had these birds for six years, when they see us, they run away, sometimes in a row, and they are fast. If we need to catch one that it injured, we are better off trying to do so in the coop than in the open field.

Such was the case last week with the egg bound duck. Even though she was bleeding and most likely in severe pain, she was still nimble on her feet, and we had to wait until she was inside to catch her and take her to the chopping block. The same holds for the fattest duck of the bunch when she developed bumble foot (think really big wart full of bacteria on the underside of a toe) a few days ago. Although she limped, and was the slowest of the bunch to begin with, it was hard enough corralling her in the coop so I could inspect and treat the growing infection on her foot.

The usual regimen to effectively treat bumble foot involves a two-month stint of daily antibiotics and isolation in a dry environment. Well, I couldn’t see doing that for a six-year old bird and mentioned to DW that it might be time to put the bird down, which would leave us with seven ducks and one guinea. I was a bit surprised when she responded with “Perhaps it’s time to put them all down.”

Surprised but not astounded, for we had talked about this eventuality a couple months back. The girls were getting old and stopped regularly producing eggs some time ago. We were having a hard time justifying the expense of organic layer feed for the paltry amount of eggs we were getting, which is a good thing, for had we determined that the cost was not an issue, that would have meant the birds had ceased to be livestock and were now pets. That’s a mistake a farmer should never make.

So, this morning the birds remained in the coop. We were going to do it yesterday but it rained. You know: Nice whether if you’re a duck.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Country Nightlife

Nowadays I typically stay awake until the wee hours, very much unlike the recent past when I would have been getting ready for market just a couple hours after when I now hit the hay. The late hour is actually more of what I am used to, not so much from a practiced bohemian lifestyle (although that does play into it) but more that from an early age I always seemed to catch the graveyard shift at any one job. Add to this my preference for naps, and it is quite difficult for me to put head to pillow before 0200.

DW, on the other hand, usually falls asleep around 2230, no problem, and wakes early for some quiet time and the feeding of the inside animals. Last night was different. She was still writing at 0130 but quit soon thereafter. As she put it later, she knew there was a reason she stayed up.

I heard her going up to bed about 0145. Three minutes later I heard her running back down the stairs, through the kitchen and to the dungeon door.

“There’s something going on outside!”

By the time I made it up the stairs, she had the backdoor open, which caused me some concern for I was still not clear on the proximity of whatever it was that had gotten her attention in the first place.

“I think it’s coming from Steve’s.” As I reached the back door I heard swearing and what sounded like wood cracking. Not big wood, mind you. Just a size that one person might use to break over another person. And it wasn’t coming from Steve’s. No, it was the drug house. We went inside, I called the Sheriff, and we retired to our bedroom, not to sleep, but to get a better view. 

The response time was maybe fifteen minutes, which is pretty good for a county of our size and for the two cars responsible for the northern half. The first one pulled into the lane for the drug house, and by the time it made it up to the house, another was coming up the road. When it reached our house, it accelerated to such a degree for such a short distance before it would have to turn that I uttered, “Oh-oh, something’s up.” I imagined blood or bloodied.

We watched parking lights for a half hour. Occasionally we saw a flashlight walking through the yard as if looking for something or someone. DW went to sleep and I went back to work. When I came up to bed and hour and a half later, one set of parking lights remained.

“It must have been a good one,” I said to a drowsy DW. “They’re still there.”

Hoping to get some kind of report, we called the Sheriff again this morning. Six people were in the house, a domestic battery and an outstanding warrant was all the information we were given.

To be continued, unfortunately.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


After yesterday's session in the Widow's woods, I sat in my rig for a while thinking about the shoot and the place itself. One line led to another until I thought that line, "Nature is seamless." It is. Without us, anyway, even though we are a component only we tend to deny. Our participation often seems to be a wrench.

But let's say for a minute that we are not — a wrench, that is — and that the ground-off nose despite the face is part of the whole process. Just a thought. A very young thought. Besides, if and when the time comes humanity no longer exists, this sphere will still be spinning, keloids and all, with other life forms. And should the sun burn out, blow up or get sucked up in some black hole, well, that's Nature too, is it not?

OK, let's back up a bit, switch gears.

So, I was sitting there contemplating. And I was thinking about attention spans, another type of contemplation. There is an adage in direct marketing that states you have thirteen seconds to get the customer's attention. If your envelope doesn't get the person to open it and read that first paragraph, forget it.

The art world is not much different, maybe even more difficult. When one walks into a gallery, one often continues walking the whole time one is in the room, scanning for something worth stopping for. Each piece on the walls, a plinth or a monitor receives two, three, maybe four seconds of a gaze. ADD abounds. One commands, "Thrill me," as one should, I suppose.

Just as I rip up all of the junk mail I receive, I too generally peruse an exhibition in quick order. In and out in under five minutes. Unless... and I have stood and cried in front of paintings.

Out in Nature my pace changes. Just a bit, for the most part, but when something grabs my attention, I pause, sometimes long enough that the period becomes a meditation on that in front of me. So it was yesterday with the ants and the stream.

Did you notice? Of course you did.

I will go back with a real video camera.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Clerk and the Postmaster

I don’t suppose it matters much to him, the job-provided wardrobe. It takes the pressure off. I should ask.

And while I’m at it, I should pose the question to her from a slightly different angle: did you think of today’s photographs as you dressed this morning?

He did not smile for the first five years. Lord knows I smiled. Then I tried sarcasm.

She, her first day.

He saw me in my suit one day last year. She did not. They talked about it for days.

Both are good people.

I go to the Post Office every day of the week except Sundays. Neither of them work on Saturdays.

I got a bit fancy with these shots, removing all but the blue and red from the images, and bumping those two colors up anywhere from 10% to 20%.

I started photographing the pair last Tuesday. I planned on taking the last of a series today. And I had another question for her: Why no uniform?

He said she was in meetings all day in Portland. He also remarked about my attempt to get candid shots.

I had given some thought to the other clerk, equally pleasant.
With a genuine smile. But uniformed.


I had two, maybe three problems with this series. The light from outside and the overheads were problematic. The room is shallow, which made it difficult to step back far enough for wider shots. The last photo of two people is an attempt to remedy both of these issues. It also adds some much-needed variety. The third problem is one that continues to haunt me: taking my time to get the shots right. In this instance, however, I cannot be too harshly criticized. These people are working, and I did not want to interfere with that. I worked around and between customers, and thought it best to get in and out as quickly as possible. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. Nor some kook dogging them with a camera.