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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Travelin' Home!

After a successful Memorial Day at the show in Kerrville, I packed everything up and was on the road just after 6:00pm. I didn't have any definite plans. Just drive until I see something I want to photograph. That happened just on the outskirts of Llano and I took the first image. Five weeks of wet weather had the area quite green and wildflowers were still blooming. Actually it was probably much greener now than it was in early April when the flowers are usually blooming their best.
On the square in Llano is the old Lantex theater. I arrived just before sunset and decided to photograph it in the waning light. About 45 minutes later I figured I had done about all I could with it. I started to drive away and noticed the lights under the entrance had just come on. I circled back and parked the truck where I had just been. I got my camera back out and took this image. The others weren't the same without the added lighting.
After leaving Llano I figured I could make it to Temple before getting a room. This would also give me a chance to check out the City Garage in Salado, about 20 miles from Temple. I got there about 10:55. The lights were on so I got out and started shooting. I like this image but I do want to get there some other day to shoot it before the sky goes completely black. At 11:03 I was shooting one more composition and suddenly the lights went off. On a timer I guess. I had arrived there just in time.
The last image was taken this morning after leaving Temple. Too bad the field in the foreground wasn't covered in wildflowers. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New images from Kerrville!

Today was the first day of the Texas Arts and Crafts Festival in Kerrville. Usually I grab something to eat after the show ends for the day and after that will go crash in my motel for the rest of the evening. I did go feast on some fajitas but after that I decided to go find something to photograph. I came across the old Arcadia theater in downtown Kerrville. Both of these images were created from a series of different exposures that were combined with Photomatix Pro. I like both but I especially dig the Ticket Booth. Anyone out there second that motion?
The show went well today despite receiving some rain and hail in the afternoon. It was quite a storm. My booth is under a large tent that contains about 12 spaces. I am set up in 2 of the spaces. The sides of the big tent are open. The front of my display is 10 feet from the edge of the tent which puts the back walls of my display about 20 feet from the edge of the tent. The wind blew so hard that about half of my work hanging on the back wall got wet from rain which blew in. Some things got very wet, but the clear UV coating did its job and nothing was damaged. However there was some damage to other booths in the show. Some artists are in there own 10x10 tents. An area in the parking lot had about a dozen tents this morning. This afternoon when I left I only saw three. Several mangled EZ-Up tent frames were laying off to the side. Sadly, I heard a potter lost all his work.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Off to Kerrville!

I decided to camp out at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area on my way to my show in Kerrville. This would also help me avoid driving the whole distance this morning and then setting up at the show soon after arrival. These two images were taken this morning, showing the first light of the day hitting this big granite dome. I am surprised at how green it is in the Hill Country right now but I guess it has rained a lot in the last month. I may spend another day photographing after the show. There are actually a lot of flowers that have bloomed. Its not the bluebonnets and paintbrush that you get in April but its something.
Thank God set up was very easy today because I hardly slept at all last night. College kids should be forbidden from camping in a public campground. A group of them were at the park and didn't quit making noise until 4am. I did manage to here some of the wildlife sounds that I like to here while camping. About 2:30am I heard some snarling and hissing that I think was 2 raccoons fighting in a tree about 30 feet from my tent. I also heard some other funny sounds being made during this confrontation. About an hour later I heard a pair of owls talking to each other. At daybreak the dove all started cooing and I heard some wild turkeys in the distance. I saw some deer while a hiked to the area where I photographed. When I finally got to my hotel this afternoon I took a nap.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Omaha makes NAIA Hall of Fame!

This was posted last year on the NAIA website.

The 2008 Omaha Summer Arts Festival was hit hard by a severe storm Friday afternoon of the 3 day show. Wind speed was over 70 mph. Many booths toppled or flew through the air, thousands of dollars of art was destroyed, but no one was hurt. Several years ago the Omaha show staff created a well thought-out and detailed Emergency Plan. Having a plan in place and following it before, during and after the disaster no doubt saved lives and limited damage.

During set-up, palettes of free sand bags were available for every artist to help secure their booth. Artists, patrons and vendors were warned of the oncoming storm about 25 minutes before it hit. Immediately after that warning they all were informed of mandatory evacuation. After the storm, the show held a meeting with all the artists and vendors to discuss recovery plans. Clean up had already begun in ernest. Giant lights, like those used at night for freeway construction, were brought to every intersection in the show. Artists were able to work late into the night to prepare for the remaining two days of the show while the main stage was completely rebuilt and debris was cleared.

Award judging had not been completed before the storm so at artists' suggestions, the show donated the award money to the nearby Boy Scout camp recently demolished by a tornado which also killed four Boy Scouts at the camp.

All exhibitors from the 2008 show are invited jury-free to the 2009 show.

"For being fully prepared with an excellent emergency plan, for following through with the plan to protect lives and property and for making compassionate decisions regarding award money and next year's show jury NAIA is honoring the 2008 Omaha Summer Arts Festival staff as our first entry into the newly created NAIA Hall of Fame."

Thank you and Congratulations!

I might add a little praise of my own to this. I straightened everything up after the storm on Friday and was set back up by 11pm. It wasn't as stable as it used to be, but it was up. Saturday was nice weather and rain had just about been taken out of the forecast. However, when I left the show about 9pm I noticed some low clouds just north of Omaha. I went to get something to eat at a Red Lobster near my hotel which was about 10 minutes away. Nothing has been said about the storm which moved through on Saturday night but for about 30 or 40 minutes it rained hard and the wind blew quite a bit. The festival staff was still keeping up with things pretty well. When I was paying my bill at Red Lobster about 9:50pm my cell phone rang. It was Carly Barth with the festival. Apparently they thought I may have had some things knocked over in the storm. Although this news just about ruined my dinner, I was impressed that they had their act together this well. After the call I drove back over to the show to check on my things. Several panels had come loose and fallen over but nothing was really hurt. For the second night in a row it was about 11pm before I left the show and was done for the day. I did hear about some artist's work being damaged on Saturday night but it was nothing compared to Friday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Storms in Omaha Revisited!

Well, its getting to be that time of year when you never know when some nasty weather is going to show up. Last year I got a big dose of it at the Omaha Summer Arts Festival. On Friday afternoon, June 27, 2008, a storm rolled in and 85 MPH winds were reported. The first 2 images are what it did to my tent and display. I have had a lot of time to analyze this storm and another storm that I experienced the following weekend in Rockport, Texas. Could I have done anything different to have kept my tent upright? Maybe. I now use the canopy hooks that Propanels came out with last year. They secure the top of my display panels to the tent frame. I also replaced the velcro on the panels. After 6 years of use the stuff just didn't grip very good anymore. I now try to always to have the bottom sta bars attached on my Trimline tent. I then zip-tie the legs of the Propanels to them. I also use the zip-ties in the corners instead of velcro. Support bars from Propanels help keep it all square. I might add that fabric walls do nothing to strengthen the tent. Once all this is together there is very little movement from the tent or display when pushed on by myself or the wind. I've always had big weights on each leg of the tent and I'm not sure if more weight would have made a difference at Omaha. I feel that where you are located during a storm can have an effect on how well you survive it. You will notice that the line of tents to the left of me made it through the storm. The wind was coming from the left. Those tents were all side by side with only one of their sides exposed to the wind. My location was different. I only had the one tent next to me and that tent ended up behind me on the sidewalk. This left me totally exposed to the wind. Also, my tent is almost 2 feet taller than the normal height tent so that made it even more exposed. During the storm I ended up with nothing around me to deflect the wind or help hold me up.

Most of the artists were sent to the basement of a large office building during the storm. Finally they allowed us to leave and check on any damage to our work. The image above shows whats left of the big commercial tents near the music stage. What you can't see off to the right is part of the tent that is sticking into a second story window. This is the area of the show that we first saw after the storm. My booth was located about 50 yards from where this was taken at the intersection with Farnam Street which is where all the artists tents are located. I was a corner booth. The last artist tent before the intersection. The bottom image is looking down Farnam Street in the opposite direction from the picture of my tent. The upside down tents came from across the street while dragging large concrete weights. These weights were so heavy that they used a fork lift to load them after the show ended.
So! How did the rest of the show go? I got a lot of help picking up everything and cleaning it off from people I didn't even know. I hope I told them all how thankful I was. Then I found a place where I could bend my tent poles so they were reasonably straight again. By 11:00 that night I had it all set back up. Some inventory was ruined but I still had enough to get by and have a good show.

Thanks to Christine Hauber for the photos. See her work at http://www.workingintheusa.com/

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lucky day for a one-eyed goldfish!

The prickly pear cactus is blooming in my neighborhood. On the corner, about seven houses down is a big cactus that is covered with blooms. About three blocks away is another one. Most of the time I see yellow blooms on a prickly pear, but about half of the blooms on this plant are orange. The honey bees were having a blast rolling around in the pollen. The third image today was taken on my recent trip to Utah. It was taken at Goosenecks State Park near Mexican Hat, Utah.
OK, so whats a goldfish got to do with these photos? Nuthin! But lets go back a couple of weeks. Thats when I put a picture of the big bullfrog that lives in our backyard pond on this blog. The last time I saw him was a couple of days after that. Did the full moon cause him to go looking for love? Did he get eaten by the black cat I saw in the yard? Did a raccoon grab him during the night? Did we have another visit from a Great Blue Heron? Usually the fish hide for about 3 or 4 days after a heron raid and we haven't noticed that happening. I now think I have a good idea what may have happened to mr. frog. Today I spent most of the morning in my back yard office. My computer is about 15 feet from the pond. Its a small pond in a fairly small yard with an 8 foot fence around it. About noon I went in the house, showered, dressed and then walked through the den on my way to the kitchen. The room has a window where you can see the back yard. Thats when that surreal feeling hit me again. I need to back up and take another look in the backyard. Did I see what I thought I saw standing by the pond? OOOOOOOOOh s......t!!!!! And he's already got a fish in his beak. I tried to quickly grab my camera and get a picture, but failed. The heron started walking toward the far corner of the yard as soon as he saw me watching him through the window. I opened the back door and was heading toward him before he flew away and dropped the fish about 30 feet from the pond. The fish landed in the grass but was still alive and flopping about. At first glance I thought he was injured. Then I realized it was the goldfish that only had one eye and that was his bad side that was facing me. I picked him up and threw him back in the pond where he swam away and hid with the rest of the fish. To my surprise the fish did come out and get some food this evening. I think I spotted old one-eye with them.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Drive-in home from Tulsa!

I have posted another version of the old theater that I photographed yesterday. A little reflection helped this one. Today I drove back from Tulsa. I didn't stop much but I did take a few images. These three are parts of an old mural that was on the side of a restaurant in Colgate, Oklahoma. Things like this get better when the paint is peeling but not peeling so much that you can't tell what it is.
Tomorrow morning I will probably sleep late in my own bed. Shouldn't I be off at some show selling my work? That's usually what I'm doing. This is usually my best weekend in May. Last year I had a ridiculously tough decision to make as to where I would show my work. I had applied and was accepted to Tulsa where I had been the previous three years. Just in case I didn't get in Tulsa and also as a long shot, I had applied to Art on the Square. Art on the Square was the #1 rated show in the Art Fair Source Book last year. Average sales were reported to be over 10K. I was quite surprised when I received an acceptance letter from Art on the Square. I hated to decline Tulsa but wouldn't I have been nuts not to take a shot at my piece of that 10K. Well, I had a decent show but nevertheless I did pull that 10K average down quite a bit. This year I didn't apply to Art on the Square. Good thing because they put in a new rule not allowing photos on canvas to be hung. They had to be put in a bin and labeled reproductions. Go back to my post about giclees if you want some more of my thoughts about this type of BS. This year I only applied to Tulsa and got wait listed. Most shows these days have plenty of cancellations and chances are still good you will get in a show. Not this weekend at Tulsa. I didn't get in.
Although I dislike not being accepted to a show, I do realize that rejection is a big part of being an art show artist. Every artist that does what I do gets plenty of rejections. I really shouldn't feel that bad about being wait listed for Tulsa. I walked the show yesterday. In the visual artist area of the show there was 22 jewelers. Only 5 photographers were juried in and they were mainly black and white photographers only showing a few pieces that were color. There probably should have been another 4 or 5 photographers and I would bet that more of the applicants had color work than black and white. The jurying seemed a little biased and out of balance to me. Fortunately, for the buying public, a color photographer got one of the few spots that became available. Unfortunately, it wasn't me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Didn't you reserve your spot from last year?

Most of my day was spent in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Around noon I went into Lou's delicatessen and ordered an avocado salad for my lunch. Lou asked me "where is your booth located this year"? I went on to tell him that I don't actually have one yet. I had been "wait listed" and was hoping to get a spot in the show because someone canceled or if they had a "no show". He then asked me "didn't you reserve your spot from last year"? Hmmmmmm... That is when I gave him a quick explanation of the jury process and how it works. Most people don't realize how competitive it is to get into most of the decent art shows these days. Six hundred artists may apply and only 120 spots are available. The great majority of 480 artists get rejected and don't get in the show. A few of these will be wait listed. If you have been wait listed, the show may call you if there is a cancellation or you can show up the day of set up and be given a spot at the last minute if something becomes available. That is what I unsuccessfully tried today.

About 4pm I decided it was silly to wait around any longer. My camera gear was with me so I decided to drive out west of town along part of old Route 66. While driving through Sapulpa, Oklahoma I noticed some neat old cars in a parking lot. A car club was meeting and having a picnic. I stopped and photographed for a while and created the top image. A little exploring and I found a sign to an old skating rink. Right before sundown I found an old deserted theater to photograph. I will probably shoot my way back to Texas tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Route 66 trip!

When is the best time to process images when you return from a trip? Immediately, weeks later, months later, or years later. All of the above could be correct. Usually, I immediately work on the images that I am most excited about. I may print a few and take them to my next show. I then get busy and will occasionally look a them again when I get a chance. As time goes by my preconceived ideas about the images when I took them will gradually fade and I will see them in a little different light. Sometimes I have processed an excellent image years after I have taken it. Anyway, these were taken about 4 months ago but I didn't process them until today.
These are some images from my Route 66 trip back in January. The Route 66 Restaurant was taken in Clinton, Oklahoma across the street from the Route 66 Museum. http://www.route66.org/index2.html The next image was taken in Shamrock, Texas. The old car and the painted sign were in a couple of small towns that we drove through in Oklahoma.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Toads in Love!

These events seems to get bigger every year. I say "these" because it will happen again in June, July, and August right before the full moon. More little toads are created in the pond each summer and more seem to appear out of nowhere to breed when the time is right. It started up again right after dark last night. One cute couple skipped the calling, the preliminaries, the foreplay and everything else and were already locked up laying eggs about 9:00PM. The usual routine is to start calling after dark. Check this out! This attracts more toads as the night goes on. There is a lot of jumping in and out of the pond and a lot of jumping on each other. Eventually a male gets paired with a female in a posture called "amplexus". Eggs are fertilized as they are laid in the water. This morning there was five pair of toads laying eggs in the pond. The party appears to be over now but the pond is full of eggs. Soon it will be full of tadpoles.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Toadfest 2009 has begun!

I got a glimpse of the moon last night as I got in the car about 9:30 to go home from a camera club meeting. The moon was almost full. I thought to myself....the toads should start doing their thing any day now. It started sooner than I imagined. While sitting at the computer in my backyard office about an hour later, I heard a slow speed version of the mating call I have grown so familiar with the last couple of years. Click here to here the toad call! The troops are gathering already! When I went back in the house about 11:00 four of the little guys were sitting around the pond taking turns calling. Tonight I bet I will count at least 8 or 10 around the pond. They will make this noise until about 4 or 5 in the morning. What gets me is ... where are all these toads the rest of the year? We never see any. I guess they are hiding in the bushes and under the deck.
These 2 shots were taken last year. I will be ready with my camera tonight though. The bottom image is quite interesting because the calling was sending out vibration waves in the water.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Strange things in the desert!

Ok! No more complaining about the rain. I did have some time this evening to look at some of my images from February's trip to Arizona. These are some that were taken while at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. An exhibition of Chihuly glass was set up amongst the cactus and other plants. Quite an interesting mix. I also got a shot of one of the strangest shaped Saguaros you will see. Someone must have given it some of that fertilizer that they make over near the toxic waste dump.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hey! I'm trying to get some sleep here!

Laying in bed.
3:15 am I hear thunder in the distance.
3:45 The rumble of thunder is much closer.
3:50 My eyes are shut but I still see the flash of lightning which lights up the room.
3:55 Another flash which is followed by a very quick and loud crack of thunder. As it starts to rain heavily the flashes are many.
4:15 It seems to be quieting down.
4:30 A very bright flash with an immediate loud crack of thunder which rumbles for another 15 seconds afterwards. I hear car alarms go off in the neighborhood.
4:35 Silence at last? No. I here a slight tapping in the house water pipes which tells me that the automatic sprinklers have come on. The yard is already flooded. I get up and turn them off.
7:55 I get up. Check the radar on the internet. No rain west of here. I better head to Cottonwood. They will put straw everywhere to give us something dry to stand on. If we don't get anymore rain we may be able to have a good turn out this afternoon. Sweet!!!!! Now if I can just stay awake the whole day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A river runs through it!

Years ago I saw a movie called "A River Runs Through it". Today I got to see it happen in my tent during the Cottonwood Art Festival.

About 3:00pm it started to rain. The aisles between the tents became flooded with water and lots of it decided to drain right through my tent. Usually the inside of the tent will remain dry since it is covered but not where I was located at. The show was done for the day at this point. It rained quite hard after I got home about 6:30. Its now almost 10pm and I here it starting to come down again. The weather guys said it may stop raining in the morning and clear off by tomorrow afternoon. I hope the stop part of that forecast is correct. Maybe we can still have a little bit of an Art show tomorrow.
The images you see today were taken in Arizona back in February. I took them at Tumacacori National Historic Park which is just south of Tubac, Arizona.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A previous road trip!

Although I haven't touched my camera since shooting my frog, I did pull out a few images from a few months back. A friend of mine had a new digital camera he was anxious to try out so we spent an afternoon driving up to Decatur, Texas and shooting some stuff. Just off the square is an old Coca Cola mural. Good thing they don't still cost 5 cents or I really would drink too many of them. A few blocks away is an old gas station that was turned into a barber shop. The other mural is on a wall in Justin, Texas. We talked to the artist that was painting on it. He has seen my work at Cottonwood and is on my mailing list. Cool!
Speaking of Cottonwood, the show starts tomorrow. I am in a new location, booth 187. I hope its a good weekend but between the swine flu and the chances of rain, who knows how it will go. While setting up yesterday I hear on the radio that Mayfest in Fort Worth was cancelled. Artists and food vendors were already set up. What a drag to do that to them and what an overreaction to things in my opinion. Take a few precautions but lets get on with our lives. The normal flu we have each year effects thousands of people and there tragically are some deaths from it, but I heard there was only 130 confirmed cases in the US. No reason to panic. Bring your umbrella and come out to Cottonwood.