Category Archives: photography

Wooden Wunderkammer

I’ve been plotting a presentation of wood photographs for a while now, thinking that there would be a Blurb book devoted to that subset of my work with Creatures. I decided to try a YouTube presentation instead, and Wooden Wunderkammer is the result of the moment:

I’m still exploring refinements of the Ken Burns thing, and haven’t really worked at precision of transitions with the soundtrack, so the above is, as they say, provisional.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Three tiny experiments, steps in getting comfortable with Adobe’s Premiere Pro. All are Talking Dogs (it’s not what they say, but that they talk at all):

Talcott Parsons

A professor at Harvard, back in the day, seemingly resident in a rock at Drift Inn Beach
(experimenting with Adobe Draw and the iPad)


Ondine and Imam
Two beings discovered in ice and rock, respectively
(another brace, Adobe Draw again)


A first try at mirroring (there will be many more…)

a toe dipt yet further into video

A fourth YouTube video is up: Ken Burns has Hash at Home Kitchen Cafe, again and again

With each of the videos I’ve done I have learned some valuable lessons, and with each I tried out something new to me. After sending links to a few friends, I then made further edits and changes which I haven’t made public.

I have at least half a dozen other clutches of photos that video presentation would enhance, at least in terms of distributability, and I’ve realized that I need some more sophisticated tools, and more careful consideration of where I really want to take this phase of photographic exploration. And so I’ll be doing a 2-day Premiere Pro workshop at Maine Media during the coming weekend.

It’s very useful to consider Ken Burns himself on the “Ken Burns Effect”:

…a very honorable attempt on my part to will old photographs alive…

…willingness to not hold a still photograph at a distance. To just merely acknowledge its plasticity, to not just see its two-dimensionality but to go into its world and to trust that that world had a past and a present. And to activate it. And to be the feature film-maker that I wanted to be with a master shot, a wide shot, a medium shot, a close shot, a pan, a tilt, a reveal, inserts of shots. And to listen to that photograph. To ask the question, “what sounds is this photograph making if it were alive?” That’s what I do…

from Ken Burns: the Kindle Singles Interview (conducted by Tom Roston)

It will be interesting to see how this particular toboggan ride goes.

Three enigmas

Some photographs resist simple interpretation, even when their ostensible subject matter (ice, sand, rock…) is clear. Sometimes it’s possible to imagine a figure or a face, but even the most fertile imagination runs up against limits now and again, and one is tugged into surreal territory. Here are three such that I’m puzzling over, from a trip to Drift Inn a few days ago:

almost Arcimboldoesque, a right-facing head ?


? a demonic cocktail shaker ? a flamingo executing a jeté ?

scale indeterminate: ? a view outward toward the Cosmos? satellite view of a caldera?


The term ‘revenant imagery’ seems handy for bits of déjà vu that resonate in memory. Thus:


My first thought when this came up on the computer screen was “absolutely The Duchess from Alice in Wonderland!” in the Tenniel illustration. And sure enough the retrieved Google image is almost perfect:

liquid Form

I’ve been thinking that I should explore water in its liquid phase, but I want to avoid the clichéed stuff of falling water and flowing streams, and address more directly the forms and the energies within. This morning as I was reading Christopher Williams’ Origins of Form: The Shape of Natural and Man-made Things―Why They Came to Be the Way They Are and How They Change it occurred to me that these two photographs were about the same thing, which might be sketched as ‘fluid dynamics’:


Shubenacadie sediment post-processed

(the original image of the latter was much less dramatic)
Shubenacadie sediment

and here’s another Shubenacadie River sediment shot,
taken at the same time and reprocessed today for dramatic effect:
Shubenacadie sediment


Twenty Meters of Rocks: Revisiting the Same Spot Multiple Times (Ole Henrik Skjelstad) is a lovely meditation on Place, with 17 quite stunning early-morning photographs of sunrise from a Norwegian beach. They are ‘landscape photography’ and so in a different realm than what I experience looking down at the rocks on the 30-odd meters of the Drift Inn beach that I frequent, but the point of seeing different things with each return is beautifully made. I see the Usual Suspects again and again, but they are subtly different every time:



It doesn’t work the same way with ice in the Drift Inn ponds, which are never the same from visit to visit, but the locale keeps drawing me back to see what might be new. At the moment the ponds are dry, so we’ve been exploring other water margins. This froggy being exemplifies: