Category: Photography

Class Assignment: Finals Week

The photo editor of the college paper sent me out to get some photos of last-minute cramming during finals. I tried the college library but couldn’t find anyone studying. Really?

My deadline was nearing and it just didn’t seem to be going very well until I went upstairs to the library in the Student Union. Surely, there would be students immersed in their books? Highlighters highlighting?

Well, no so I shot what I saw; the photo editor liked it and put it on the front page of the student paper.

Fortunately, there were no repercussions from the subjects in said photo. We were more genteel in those days.

This is another example of a photo that needed a lot more work, but we were limited to what we could do: blow the dust off, play with exposure time in the lab, dodge and burn a little during exposure time. Photoshop didn’t exist then. Neither did PCs for that matter.

Next assignment: let’s see if I can improve these three photos.

Class Assignment: Informal Portrait

I hadn’t had much luck finding a good subject for the informal portrait. Things just weren’t working. So instead, I was trying to take a few photos of my clarinet (not for this assignment, of course) when my friend Dan came in. He asked if he could borrow the instrument for a few minutes and I handed it to him.

I had no idea he could play it but this guy was good. Really good. Way better that me, for sure.

I asked if he would pose for a few photos of him playing, which were nice but not what I needed. Finally, I asked if he’d just pose with the clarinet and I got this photo.

This photo, like most of them from college, were certainly not close to a professional quality. So it seems appropriate to use this photo and the others to finally start to learn Photoshop.

Class Assignment: Illustrate a Poem

I have a lot of old photos and negatives. A lot. Tons. Gazillions. Most of them are not very good, so I’m culling the herd this winter. I hung on to a few black and white photos from my photojournalism classes because I just couldn’t let them go. And lucky you, I’m going to post three of my old class assignments here this week.

This is, dust marks included, the result of two separate exposures on a single sheet of photo paper. Sandwiching the negatives just didn’t work.


People riding trains are nice
they offer magazines
and chocolate-covered cherries,
the details you want most to know
about their recent operations.
If I’d been riding home to you
I could have listened with both ears
but I was on my way away.

Across from me
there was a girl crying
(long, silent tears)
while an old man held her hand.

It was only a little while ago you said,
Take the seat by the window,
you’ll see more.

I filled the seat beside me
with my coat and books.
I’m antisocial without you.
I’m antiworld and people too.

Sometimes I think
I’ll never ride a train again.
At least not away.

— Rod McKeun

The lot that got away

Is that an Interstate Highway I see before me??

Some time ago, around the time that I was optimistic enough to think I could pack up and move to Vermont and still somehow support myself, I found this vacant lot for sale. The fact that it was affordable should have tipped me off.

It was a wooded lot (as advertised) but it was a wooded lot:

  • On the end of a private gravel path. The future owners of the house next door used the lot as a driving range. This made my dog very happy — not to be hit by incoming golf balls, but in finding about three dozen of them where our living room would have been.
  • Above but still next to (I mean really, really next to) Interstate I-89.

On a brighter note, the architect I spoke with was very cool.


Egret — Mystic, Connecticut

Sometimes, it’s good to just get away from the flock and dream of Spring.

Meanwhile, back in the news, I find this headline: “Trump moves ahead on gutting bird protections.”

Photo Lab

I was looking at how much I pay every month for Adobe Creative Cloud and decided that I really, really need to use it more. (Or cut the cord.)

Many years ago, I originally bought a version of Photoshop to fix some vacation photos where every roll of film had a continuous scratch in the same place. I did learn at lot but I’ve forgotten most of it.

So, since I seem to learn more when I’m trying to fix a particular problem, I took a rather boring photo of a lobster boat in Maine, added some layers to give it a watercolor effect, and cropped it down to what you see above.

Here’s the original:

I once worked for a photographer who said that his best photo tool was the waste basket.

I can get uncomfortable with manipulating photos and I know that there are purists out there who want to let the original photo stand, but I’m intrigued by it. After all, we manipulated those black and white negatives all the time in the darkroom, right?