Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Reflecting on Color & Photography

The picture appearing below was taken recently, before our cold spell spilled down from the Arctic, and appeals to me because of the contrasts in color—that is, the dark branches next to green leaves and the orange in the treetops at the top of the picture. Even though I am color blind, I still appreciate color.



When I was tested for colorblindness in the Air Force, I could only identify nine of the twelve numbers among the pages of colored dots. Now when I sit at one of the portable blood pressure machines at the grocery store, it gives me the option of testing my color vision, and I cannot identify any of the shapes on the five screens of colored dots, some of which make up a martini glass or a palm tree.

The Air Force recruiter, when I enlisted in 1969, assured me that I would be able to work as a photographer. Once I got to Lackland AFB and started boot camp, I discovered that my color blindness prevented me from entering that career field. Stubborn, I refused to sign up for any other career for which my test scores made me eligible. The Air Force soon chose for me and decided that I belonged in what was then called security police. It didn’t matter that I had been developing my own pictures while I was in high school. It was a skill that I had learned from my roommate during my junior year. He was on the yearbook staff, and we often spent our weekends in the photo lab.

The 35mm Voightlander that my Dad had gotten in Germany in 1957 became mine until it was stolen from my barracks room. For some reason, I never bought another camera and missed the opportunity to take pictures of the people and places that I knew during almost two decades of my life. All I have are my memories until it becomes possible to record those mental images that we bring up from a much earlier time in our lives.

Monday, November 03, 2014

End of Season at End of Day

These pictures reflect the end of the season at Red Barn Farm, which is located near Weston, Missouri.













Sunday, November 02, 2014

Jakob Lind Lauritsen's Shadowing

For each of the past several years, I have been compiling a list of the best jazz recordings released during that year. One of my selections for 2014 is Jakob Lind Lauritsen’s Shadowing, an EP of six songs that has been released on the Gateway Music label, a label that promotes independent musicians in Denmark. This piano trio is composed of Jakob Lind Lauritsen on bass and audio art, Nicolai Majland on piano, and Morten Haesum on drums.

Consisting of electronic effects, this audio art allows Lauritsen to create a fourth instrument, one which makes a significant contribution in “En Aften,” “Egn Prelude,” and “Egn,” the first three tracks, and in “Time,” the final track.

The predominant mood is melancholic. Even so, the music can be appreciated at all times of day. The nuances are most pronounced when the volume has been turned up.

The contribution of each member is strongest, without the addition of audio art, in “Mild,” the fifth track. Ultimately, this twenty minute EP serves as an excellent introduction to Lauritsen and his trio and reveals the extent to which young jazz musicians in Europe have been experimenting with the piano trio and attempting to expand its possibilities. Let’s hope that the trio decides to release a longer recording in the near future.

Personnel: Jakob Lind Lauritsen, bass and audio art; Nicolai Mailand, piano; Morten Haesum, drums.

Tracks: En Aften (5:19), Egn Prelude (1:15), Egn (4:42), Interlude (0:56), Mild (5:07), Time (2:09).

Thursday, October 30, 2014

That Last Weekend of Color

Last weekend marked the last weekend of color. Fortunately, I managed to get outside for a little while and capture these images. I have discovered that adjusting the shutter speed and the ISO produces better images than the preset landscape setting. I was having problems with the sunlight washing out the color when I was using the landscape setting. For a while, I was getting frustrated with my eight megapixel dSLR, thinking that it had outlived its life after eight years of use. I am happy to discover that I was wrong, and that I am still able to capture the images that appear below.