Frame

The skylight at the Mandalay hotel and casino consists of a web of frames
The skylight at the Mandalay hotel and casino consists of a web of frames

Frame

Actually this picture has one big frame along with many smaller boxes and subdivisions that make up a grid. in other frames are everywhere.

Frame

View my Flipboard Magazine.

Dance

Two billboards in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia
Two billboards in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia

Dance

These companion billboards in Ljubljana, Slovenia, depict a dozen women in various forms of movement.

Where Is Ljubljana?

Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia, a small Balkan Slavic-speaking country, which borders Italy in the East……not too far from the noted city of Venice. Like Venice, Slovenia has a window on the Adriatic Sea and also a border with Austrian located high in the Alps. As a result this place is a topographically diverse nation with a population that in the past, has often been associated with the city-states of Venice and Vienna. In recent years, the women of this small nation have often gained more recognition than the men. One such woman, Melania Knauss, is married to a major U.S. presidential candidate, and could possibly become the next First Lady of the United States.

A Few Words On Outdoor Graffiti

To anyone who has traveled in Eastern Europe, one consistent image that might stick in the traveler’s mind is the abundance of graffiti, such as that pictured in the photograph above. It is everywhere in the East, at least in the cities of Ljubljana and Prague, which constitutes my major travels in the region. The stuff is an eyesore to most who visit and also to many who live there. The streaks of spray paint mar the many fine examples of European architecture that abound in the area and often predate the creation of the U.S. Upon reflecting about this widespread cultural phenomena, several things come to mind. The first being is that the spray painting is very basic (not that good painting would be any better) and second is that the government of these far-off places seems to have neither the money, the will or the desire to remove the paint marks.

The Berlin Wall

Another point of observation is that in these Eastern places there is little sanctioned outdoor art, like one might find in Berlin or other Western European cities. In fact, in Berlin, one of the great recipients of the renegade spray can artists was the Berlin Wall, which is defunct, except in a few preserved locales. Even now that the Soviets are gone and wall is down, modern-day visitors can still view numerous galleries and colorful outdoor murals, where younger artists can express themselves.

Literary Map of the United States

Relief Map of the United States
Relief Map of the United States

Big Country

Here is a relief map of the United States that includes part of Mexico and Canada as well. As anyone can easily see the country stretches between two coasts which approximately 3,000 miles apart. The western half of the country is quite rugged and mountainous, while the east sits at lower elevations and is blessed with abundant rainfall. Across the varied topography, there exists a wide range of culture, history, geography and lifestyles, which collectively form the United States of America. If you mapped the land mass according to the notable writers that each place has produced, you would see a landscape covered with names.

Literary Map of the USA

Scribner Books, the UK publisher, has done just that. Now all interested parties can purchase such a map from the major book publisher.  The map is printed on 84 X 59.4 cm (33 X 24 inches) recycled card stock and features 226 authors, who lived and worked in the USA. Price is right about 10 pounds ($16 US) and shipping is free in the UK if you make enough additional purchases.

Western Writers Come Out Big

The big winners on this display item are the western writers of the mountain states. Since the printer had to fill the land area with names, writers from sparsely populated areas, like Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah get their name spelled out in big letters, while for more prominent names from the populated east, get crunched together with numerous peers. A quick glance over reveals the names of E. Annie Proulx, Black Elk, Willa Cather, Cormac McCarthy, Zane Grey, Sojourner Truth and Vladimir Nobokov, which are all displayed quite prominently. Mark Twain does OK, but others such as Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jack Kerouac, John Irvine and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow may require a magnifying glass to read.

Montreal At Night

Night Lights on a Rainy Night In Montreal

I love walking around this city at night. So much that I often stay up to the wee hours of the morning, walking for miles on end and then stopping at an all-night internet cafe so I can communicate online. The Christmas season is rapidly approaching so by now all the stores are all decorated and waiting for Christmas shoppers. And for the most part they are not disappointed, for the Christmas shoppers are already out and about.

For you see- up here in the provinces there is no roast turkey and pumpkin pie at the end of November. That’s because Canadian Thanksgiving falls right on October 123. That’s right Columbus Day. I’m not sure I like the implication, but the home country sure doesn’t mind for the October is a long holiday and feast day not at all unlike our own Thanksgiving.

Well, anyway with no November Thanksgiving, there can be no “Black Friday” and so as a result the Christmas spirit doesn’t have to wait for the end of November to get rolling. And overall the transition is more gradual because it begins earlier.

Green Wreath At DesJardin Center

The Green wreath hangs above the entrance to the DesJardin Center. This place contains tons of glass and open space as well as a large Food Court with a free Wifi connection. It is good place to go in the morning where you can buy a cup of coffee or some sort of similar refreshment, take a seat and write meaningless blog material, just like I’m doing now.

Poissonnerie in Montreal
Poissonneriein Montreal on Sherbrooke Street
Night Lights in Montreal

And finally we come to this nocturnal explosion of color. Basically, the digital age has been a boon to nighttime image making. These cameras are not only very sensitive to night time shooting conditions, but the final image can be easily adjusted to create a more realistic color scheme.  I use a cheap Kodak Easy Share CX7430.

The camera has been good to me as it is a good nighttime shooter. However the images are not real sharp and a wicked paralax has developed so I can no longer shoot a daytime picture with a distant horizon line, for a wicked series of blobs develops towards the horizon when I do. As a result I shoot a lot of wall scenes and close-ups. I have my eye on a Panasonic Lumix with a Leica lens, but it may be awhile before I can afford one.

Hope you liked the images.

Buy Your Sweetheart A Book For Valentine’s Day

European Autochrome before 1900
Milksellers with Dogcart, Brussels, Belgium an Autochrome from 1890-1900, Library of Congress via Detroit Publishing Company

Here’s an old turn of the century(1900) autochrome from Belgium that features a dog-drawn cart and some milksellers. Dog-drawn carts are now against the law in most places, as is selling milk in this manner. The picture is  called an autochrome and it is a forerunner of the modern color photograph. The soft out-of-focus background makes the image appear like a painting, as does the dress of the three persons in the picture. All in all it is a remarkable glimpse of a bygone era and oh what a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift this picture would make.

This remarkable image also underscores why the printed page is not likely to disappear any time soon. And in my opinion the reason lies not in the printed word but with the printed images. A picture book with carefully chosen and displayed images, accompanied by good text, is not about to become a thing of the past. Like the intrinsic beauty and simplicity conveyed by this amazingly well-preserved photographic image, books with images have a lasting value. Even the high-tech visual wizardly that comes are way due to software programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Fireworks will not undue the paper-based image, in fact the new technology may enhance it.

ueen of Hearts
The Queen of Hearts from a 1901 edition of Mother Goose, source Library of Congress, picture William Wallace Denslow

This is no easily seen that with the growing acceptance of fine art prints made from designs and images created in pixels and then printed on archival paper with non-fading ink. It seems to me very ironic that some of the best compilations of computer-generated art can be found in the bookstore.

Still, images made from the past have a marvelous staying power, as seen in this wonderful rendition of the Queen of Hearts by William Wallace Denslow. It looks great on the internet, but make a calendar from a computer screen and hang it on your wall. (Well actually you can, but like the e-book, I don’t think the digital picture frames are going to replace the paper print anytime soon.)

Winter Lights

Christmas lights, Portland, Maine
downtown Christmas lights in Portland, Maine

The solstice has now passed and the days are getting longer, but the thermometer is dropping, as the New Year quickly approaches.

What better time to walk around in the freezing cold and photograph some of the seasonal creations that are on display in this northern city, where hours of actual daylight dips below ten hours.

Perhaps this explains why some of the older cultures resorted to building large bonfires to light up the winter night sky.

Nowadays, in the modern era we have the electricity to do the chore for us.

Here in Portland the popular thing to do is to decorate the tress or buildings with balls of lights. It really does look quite splendid in the long winter sky, but I have noticed that the lighting displays have become increasing thinner as the nation struggles throught he darkness of lean economic times.

Tree with lights
tree with lights in Deering Park in Portland Maine

Here is another picture taken from the city park with a hint of afterglow in the night sky. This concept of hanging lights on trees is quite unique to my eyes and quite wonderful as well.

And finally one more picture of some lights on a tree along with the moon in the night sky which is close to full.

Such is the wonder of the new digital technology, which allows me to go out and take the night picture with a hand held Kodak digital camera, come home and slide the SD card into the slot on my computer and post this picture just hours after it was taken. Best wishes and a Happy New Year, Everett Autumn

Christmas-lights-and-moon
Christmas lights covering a tree accented by the moon

First Snowfall

December snow Shadows
Shadows from a December snowfall

Our first snowfall arrived Saturday night and when I awoke on Sunday morning Mother Nature had left us with several inches of the white stuff. It pretty much covered everything and since the sun came out bright and shiny on the day after, I ventured out with my little compact digital camera to see what I could do with the shadows. Here are the results.

Photographing freshly-fallen snow on a sunny day can be a daunting task, if you don’t take some time to access the overall conditions and study the lighting when can be quite intense in contrast. Often it is better to make pictures in the early morning light or late afternoon, when the sun is not so intense.

For an interesting picture it is nifty idea to study the shadows and let the long black lines that go zigzagging across the white surface be the main compositional element of your picture.

Walking around your local neighborhood or even your backyard can be a lot of fun, even after a small snowfall. Here is what i shot on our first snow event of the year, which left us with a few inches here in Portland, Maine. All in all it was a relaxing diversion from my writing.

December Snow Shadow
First Snowfall Leaves Portland Area Covered In White
December snow Shadow
Shadows in the snow