tumblr sunday: christmas with the big red cheese

capchristmasCome to the the Coelacanth Gallery to see our holiday decorations.  Here’s my favorite so far, a gorgeous C.C. Beck* Captain Marvel “Christmas cover”.  The snow, the trees, the giant boot… the color scheme and the lettering … they don’t make  ‘em like that any more.  Someone out there probably has a copy of this comic and can tell us what’s in it, but I bet whatever its contents, a good copy a pricey collectible indeed.  And if yours is a reading copy with some lucky long gone kid’s name on the gift tag, well, I think that’s a good thing.

(*Well, it sure looks like Beck to me, and it’s tagged as Beck on Tumblr. )

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before and after

IMG_20141220_173334~2A frosting color palette for another double batch of Land O Lakes butter cookies.  The blue is the first one I’ve found that really works: one drop of the neon blue.  The orange is still a work in progress; this one is one drop of the neon pink and two drops of the standard yellow.  Next time I’m back to trying for a decent purple.IMG_20141220_182503~2

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at the movies: the hobbit: battle of five armies

This movie presented this reviewer with a tidy ethical dilemma. Regular readers know I saw the first two installments in the interminable Hobbit trilogy in the theater (in 3D) and wrote about them here, so I felt some obligation to complete the sequence. On the other hand, long familiarity with the source material led me to be pretty sure this movie was going to be pretty depressing, and on the evidence of the first two parts, probably not very good either. Is it a violation of some kind of social contract to go to the movies fully expecting not to be entertained? My internal debate led me to conclude it probably was.

But I went anyway. It was impossible to resist. And I was basically correct: Battle of Five Armies is pretty depressing and not very good. But, like the rest of the series, it is not without interest. As always, the details are behind the cut in case any of you are determined to try it out and don’t want to be spoiled. Continue reading

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hydrangeas in december

I’m obsessed with hydrangeas, photographically, at least.  Luckily I live in an established neighborhood with lots of old gardens full of an amazing variety of hydrangeas, and since I am on good terms with most of my neighbors I can photograph their plants from spring through late fall.  But once December comes and those lovely brown dry flowers blow away in the winter winds, it gets tougher to get my hydrangea picture fix.

Luckily made-up bouquets in grocery store floral departments help take up the slack.  I found these blue and white hydrangeas in a Trader Joe’s in the south suburbs of Chicago, and shot them with my phone camera.  All images are cropped, some to my favorite squares.

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good advice

On this busy day (I’m working on your Winter Holiday present), a wander through the phone camera’s galleries found this gem of good advice.  IMG_20141029_165103Let’s be careful out there.

Question of the day: is the phone camera archive really a new kind of visual notebook?

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kandinsky’s birthday

Today is the birthday of the painter Wassily Kandinsky, and he’s been honored by a well deserved Google Doodle.  I thought I’d join in the celebration with a black and white portrait photograph of the artist from my tumblr collection, but I dont have one.  This  very cool Google image search soon found a worthy addition.

It’s Kandinsky’s photo ID. From the Bauhaus.Wassily Kandinsky-500x665


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best of the drawing of the day, week 137: doctor elabo

drawingoftheday-week137-doctorelaboIn spite of the caption, here’s someone who needs no introduction.  Doctor Elabo is in the house!  He’s a jolly, funky, mystical guy, and very much the spirit of my new Pilot Elabo fountain pen.  (Yes, the one I was feeling so guilty about a little while ago.)  I will say my guilt is lessening every day I have this pen, because it is quite amazingly flexible and a joy to use.

Drawings like this one are really more sophisticated versions of the test pages I do for new pens, like the one you see in the link above.   This one is finished, but it is still a sampler of sorts,  designed (on the fly– it’s a lucky drawing) to try to explore some of the different ways you can shade with this pen, and to demonstrate what I think are pretty much its full range of line weights.  And a pretty dynamic range that is, for a medium nib.  It’s a serene, powerful, but essentially forgiving pen, just like Doctor Elabo himself.

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tumblr sunday: the five persons, or the powerful hand

five personagesOK.  My goal here is not to offend anyone’s religious or cultural beliefs.  This image, called The Powerful Hand or The Five Persons, is a time honored symbol in a Mexican and Puerto Rican folk religion and combines Catholic symbolism with concepts originating in traditional and indigenous cultures.  It’s quite fascinating and you can read something about it here. No disrespect is intended.

But, taken just as a piece of art, it’s pretty amazing and sort of … wacky.  God with a triangle halo! Holy finger puppets!  Two headed angels that are just heads! Sheep drinking blood! Click on it to see a larger version! It’s like something out of a Western Hemisphere folk art version of Hieronymous Bosch.  I like it.

(And because I know you are curious, the finger puppet holy people are, from the right, St. Joachim on the thumb, St. Joseph, the Christ Child on the middle finger, the Virgin Mary, and St. Anne on the pinky.)

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at ten minutes of four …

Well, it was about ten minutes of four when I saw the clock in the first image, and I thought it was a funny coincidence.  But by the time I cropped the photo in question, and the other ones, and frosted the cookies, and berated the Dire Corgi for stealing five of them, and got around to setting up this post, it was 20 minutes after five, so you will have to take the joke as a given.

Don’t worry about the Avenging (or Ascending?) Angel– you already know that he survived the match to have a snack afterwards with a small fan in a pink hat, as seen in the first post in this “Wrestling at the Moose Lodge” series.

It is the Dire Corgi’s birthday today, so it turns out that he has stolen his own special treat.  At least he was nice enough to share his illicit birthday cookies with his brother.

So there you go.  The chronicle of a Saturday afternoon: taking and editing photographs, wrangling corgis, making neon blue cookies.  And writing a blog post with about 22  24  separate edits.

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more wrestling action! from the moose lodge

Let’s get ready to (small scale) rumble!  Here are some action shots from my famous “wrestling at the Moose Lodge” shoot of last Sunday.  TV wrestling this was not, but its more intimate distances made for some most interesting photographic opportunities.  As I mentioned in my first post, I had way more fun with this than I expected to have.

These guys are very entertaining performers and put a lot of energy and passion into their work.  Their facial expressions are priceless.  All of these shots were cropped, mostly because I am not used to a zoom lens and the art of composing on the fly.

A small sensor point and shoot, even a good one with an excellent lens like my Fuji X10, is really not the right tool for shooting action in low light.  The relatively fast shutter speeds you need to stop action require the use of very high ISOs (a measure of sensor sensitivity) to record enough light, and this makes for grainy, “noisy” pictures, particularly on small sensor cameras.  And you can see from some of these shots that shutter speeds of 1/100 or 1/200,  which were my compromises, were not always fast enough to fully stop the action.  Watch for a bit of motion blur, particularly on the hands.


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