Sunday, December 31, 2006

and perfect light

2007 is on the horizon.
may it bring you clear skies, and placid seas, and serenity.
happy new year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

let it rain

"after rain comes rained. look in the dictionary."
- loesje (dutch fictional "philosopher", b.1983)

i confess: i cross my fingers for inclement weather as new year's eve creeps closer.
cacophany is not my cup of tea.

Friday, December 29, 2006

roses are reddish

my lovely daughter, in an impulsive attempt to help me over one of the halfway hurdles, promised: if i made it through my planned month of thirty-one postings, she would update her own website every single day in january.
bless her.
it will be better than a daily bunch of blossoms, a whole month long.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

the book and the cover

he tossed his moth-eaten black cloak, and then himself, onto the seat across the aisle
from me, adjusted his enormous earphones, and turned up the heavy-metal-volume as high as it could go.
i sighed audibly - someone else's bass is my bane - and, gathering up my things, i
headed for the coupé door.
"ma'am?" he ventured. "may i ask why you're leaving?"
"you may", i answered, less curtly than i intended, partly bacause he had used the
polite form of "you". "it's sunday morning. i'd like a little quiet."
"then why didn't you just ask me to turn it down?" he asked.
i explained, wearily, that requests of that nature generally elicit aggressive responses, which are no fun on a sunday morning, either.
"oh!" he cried. "but i'm not an aggressive person at ALL!"
i sat back down.
he lowered the volume.
a few awkward minutes passed.
"i actually ha-have quite eclectic tastes in music", he volunteered.
a few more minutes passed.
"so do i." i smiled.
by the time the conductors came controlling tickets, he had relocated to my side of the carriage, and was confiding his talents, his passions, and his plans for the day, and he stammered enthusiastically, to everyone within earshot, "oh, we are ha-having such an enthra-thralling conversation!"
they laughed, and so did i, but sheepishly:
i had jumped to conclusions, and allowed first impressions to mislead me.
i should have known better.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

and joy is their reward

"friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity."
- kahlil gibran (lebanese-born philosophical essayist, novelist and poet, 1883-1931)

i gambled on the gift; it was small, and sentimental, and very personal.
it pleased.
oh, yes:
giving is much better than receiving.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

a tisket, a tasket

my futile forage through the attic in search of errant christmas crackers uncovered
this: a photograph taken in 1974, at upper canada village, during an outing with my college photography class. it was shot with my first camera, a praktica LTL, and, although i probably cajoled a course-mate into developing the negatives (self-
confidence was not my strong point; the mere thought of doing something wrong and ruining my pictures terrified me), i remember printing it all-by-myself.
i might compose - or crop - it slightly differently these days, but contrast like this still fills me with delight, and makes me wish i could remember which film i used.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

running the lights

believe it or not, it was august when i took this photograph: a sidestreet surprise on a sultry summer day. my bare arms - for i am very vaguely visible - betray the season.
i remember thinking, then, of christmas, and how far away it seemed.
and now it's here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

the prize of the upward call

and lo, behold: december has skimmed by, swiftly, smoothly; a new year is just
beyond the rise.
it was, perhaps, a silly, spur-of-the-moment little resolution - this posting daily - but it has done me good; and here i am in the home stretch, with a festive finish in sight.
it should be an easy glide from here.

Friday, December 22, 2006

wondrous familiar

"let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
- marcel proust (french novelist and author, 1871-1922)

those mornings - every morning - we stood companionably in the chairless kitchen, sipping makeshift lattes and waiting for the toast to brown; we watched the man-next-door tend his greens beyond the steamy window; we decided where - more or less - to go, which cameras to take there, and which film to feed them with.
those mornings - every morning - we crossed our fingers for sun, checked the door three times, and smiled wryly at how everyday routine - transformed by simple friendship - becomes a dearly cherished ritual.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

like the first morning

a few months back, i sat beside a man, a colleague, for an hour or two.
he was tough, and gruff, and very nice; he had a dozen tattoos.
he coughed a lot.
today, he died, 50 years old.
for many, this christmas will be rough, and raw with loss.
my heart goes out.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

floating through the blue

"happiness makes up in height what it lacks in length"
- robert frost (american poet, 1874-1963)

this is - sigh - a little post, with a lofty picture.
and a lot of italics.
it's been a long day.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

deckled edges

most of the old family snapshots tucked into my mother's letters are warmly familiar, but this one - which arrived not long ago - was a revelation to me.
i (perhaps because i had never seen it before) find it intensely intricate, and moving: beyond the homely length of checked tablecloth, the spacious sweep of lakeshore, and the tidy piles of melamine dishes, i see the concentration on my mother's face, and the total trust and adoration in mine. i am stirred by the delicate curve of her slender arms, and her tousled hair, by her innocent determination to do things the right way, and by her sheer and utter youth.
i have no memory of this her - i was just three - but this insight into this her delights, and touches me.

Monday, December 18, 2006

sancho and me

"much water goeth by the mill that the miller knoweth not of."
- proverb

i'm taking the easy way out tonight: i spent all day following a computer training (my eyes are now square, as we say here) and my lovely daughter in canada could do with a long-overdue pre-christmas email.
this, in case you wonder, is my screen saver, and has been for over a year. the calm pleasure it instills in me has me suspecting that i am even fonder of this flat little country, this home-away-from-home, than i ever thought i could, and would be.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

a level of sagacity

this - on a lazy december sunday - is for bob, who loves dogs (especially his lainey), and who gave me some excellent advice the week before last.
thank you, mr. smith.
i took it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

against all odds

i mentioned this film - grungy old svemapan, expired almost 40 years ago - once before, and i may mention it again: i am so taken with its endurance of the decades.
in whimsical moments, i perceive these coils of celluloid as wise, wizened gentlemen, deemed done-for, disproving preconceptions and sell-by dates: they climb mountains, they swim seas and cycle into suburban sunsets.
in realistic moments, i know that i was just lucky - and am lucky, for there are two
more rolls waiting to surprise me.

Friday, December 15, 2006

into temptation

it was mid-afternoon when we arrived in cambridge, and we had just managed a short stroll and several frames of film before i - tsk! - got waylaid: by the sensuality of lush, by the nostalgia of marks and spencer, by the allure of next and monsoon.

we got back on track, eventually, but by then the day had dimmed, and the shutter speeds - as you can see - got slower and slower.
and slower.
taking a shopper like me into a city for a photo shoot is a risky undertaking indeed.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

where the heart is

this house of ours needs a name, rather like snuggly toys need names, although my daughter has always called her beloved little bear "bear", and i'm not sure that "house" would be the most inspiring choice for a one-hundred-year-old-former-post-office in broek op langedijk.
"you could always call it 'dunroamin'", chortled my english companion as we strolled the southwold seafront, where the beach huts glow with a unique individuality. his irony escaped me, for what do i know of british banality and cliché?
i'm perplexed.
"finally!", perhaps?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

best left to matadors

"when in doubt, wear red."
- bill blass

if i can achieve twelve, i can achieve thirty-one.
yes, i can.
(and may i say: i am filled with admiration for those who do this all the time.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

and half a dozen to take away

they came cream-filled, double-chocolate-dipped, sprinkled with sweetness; they came delicately puffed and powdered. sometimes they came simply - and beautifully - plain, and pure.
they were set before me. i tasted; i feasted. i swept morsels - discreetly - to the side of my plate, and later - replete - i wondered which had pleased me most, and knew how little it really mattered.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

or what you will

we selected our tree today, and, as i sorted bluespruce finery and untangled knots of fairy lights, i realised that the picture i featured here last christmas is the one-and-only digital image that i have posted in the past year.
a festive house fills me with joy.
and - oh, my, yes - so does film.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

sweet sweet music

sometimes, camera poised, composing, coaxing an image into clarity, i am conscious of a melody, a lyric: what i hear by what i see, and feel - the soundtrack of my own perception.
this past september, on the blustery blackpool pier, i saw the sign, the building, and the sky. i loved the colours; i lined up the verticals, and, metering, hummed, "just before our love got lost, you said: i am as constant as a northern star, and i said: 'constantly in the darkness, where's that at? if you want me, i'll be in the bar'.."
the lovely joni.
somehow one never forgets the soundtrack of one's younger years.

Friday, December 8, 2006

that light we seek

"do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. let the days own trouble be sufficient for the day."
- samuel butler

i was going to write:
"i have grave misgivings about the feasibility of daily posting"...
but that would be a poor pun indeed.

so i won't.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

in the air i rose, singing

he was a traveller, back then, he tells her.
she nods.
she knows.
he was a traveller, back then, he says, and his tone is wistful, as he recalls a life astride the wind and the wide world, and watches the waves from the seawall's lee.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

approach with caution

the nice people at understand exactly how i feel today:
"bad-tempered, bearish, bitchy, captious, choleric, contrary, cranky, critical, cross, crotchety, crusty, difficult, disagreeable, dour, grouchy, grumpy, huffy, ill-humored, ill-natured, irascible, irritable, morose, obstinate, ornery, peevish, perverse, petulant, prickly, quarrelsome, snappish, sour, stuffy, testy, vinegarish, vinegary, wrinkly"
they are very perceptive.
a circuitous route might be advisable.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


"any way you want it to be, that's just right."
- bob ross (american painter and television presenter, 1942-1995)

this scene would seem to have been watercoloured - or photoshopped - into
nostalgic surreality, but neither is true: even i was surprised at the way the negative scanned.
as my friend j. astutely remarked, it rather resembles a hand-painted edwardian
picture postcard - apt, southwold being the charming old-fashioned suffolk seaside town that it is - and, as he even more astutely reassured me (aware of my conviction that nothing can outglow the simple truth), it totally conveys the feel, the colours, the magic palette of that fine october day.
and he should know.
he was there.

Monday, December 4, 2006

how fickle, how fine

in the early hours of today, feeling low, just home from a late shift, i perceived this as a patently pertinent picture: it had poured non-stop since this month began.
i just awoke, however, to a crisp bright blueness that rather contradicts an image of café tables in the rain; but this is december, and this is the netherlands, so by the time i'm dressed for work it may be totally appropriate once more.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

the truth of tenderness

"she gave me eyes, she gave me ears;
and humble cares, and delicate fears;
a heart, the fountain of sweet tears;
and love, and thought, and joy."

- william wordsworth (english romantic poet, 1770-1850)

oh, my.
could it be said any more sublimely?

Saturday, December 2, 2006


the abandoned amusement park appeared before us, suddenly, in the sunshine, as we strolled the hunstanton seafront; and, although the norfolk coast is anything but a visual desert, we exulted, like thirsty travelers stumbling upon a shimmering photographic oasis, and took our fill.

Friday, December 1, 2006

unheeded flew the hours

i totally missed nablopomo, (unlike the likes of jen and marilyn) and i don't consider myself a true blogger anyhow, but i need a challenge, even if it is december, and i have hundreds of photographs that may never see the light of day otherwise.
do i have the words, though? will i have the words? thirty-one days worth?
we'll see, my lovelies.
we'll see.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

a little sign language

a picture, i have heard, can be worth a thousand words.
i wonder if pictures OF words count double?
leeway is a blessing in time of need.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

and a lustre in its sky

fall happens dire, like today: dour, and dismal and devoid of glow; and fall happens delectable, like then, and here: crisp, clear, caressed by a charismatic light.
on the grey days, i remember and anticipate the radiant ones. on the radiant ones,
i - recalling pewter skies and rain - bow to seasons' splendid diverseness, and feel
myself doubly blessed.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

the sun and saint christopher

"our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.�
- samuel johnson (english poet, critic and writer. 1709-1784)

the quiet demise of his car, on the second morning of a holiday meant to be spent roaming the byroads of norfolk and suffolk, could have dampened our spirits considerably.
there was something about the day, though - something about the pub where we
awaited the towing service, about the gregarious truck-ride home in the splendid fall-afternoon light, about prince philip roaring past us in his landrover - that filled us with mirth, and optimism, certain that the bumps jostling us to and fro would be the last
we would brave for the rest of the week.
they were; yes, indeed.
they certainly were.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

cold comfort

i was accosted by two unpleasantly suspicious strangers - demanding explanations -
after taking this picture (i can never resist coloured lights) in the slightly-dismal cambridgeshire town of march.
my companion, sensing my dismay, consoled me.
"never mind", he said. "people here are notoriously paranoid. they see a pedophile in every photographer."
i felt, needless to say, greatly reassured.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

with a little help

the week in england was feast enough, but he - my friend, my lovely long-time-friend-but-new-acquaintance - was the icing on the...or perhaps the ketchup on the....or - hmmm - the mayo on the...

it was as delicious as a holiday can be.

Monday, September 25, 2006

earthly delights

i'd really like that 'yes' picture", said alex. "it's my Very Favourite in the whole exhibition."
i smiled.
"yeah. right." i replied.
alex - in his charming and irrepressible manner - had spent much of the europephotobloggers weekend* sampling the endless pleasures amsterdam had to offer, so i slightly doubted his sincerity, and his sobriety.
but how could i refuse? i, in turn, took home this picture of his, and he has promised to send me this one, which - sincerely, AND soberly - was MY favourite in the whole exhibition.

*a wonderful time: thanks to all for attending!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

the benefit of the doubt

a gentleman at one of the "old camera" forums i frequent yesterday referred to my photographs as "syrupy", and my anxious alarm ("syrupy"? moi?)- along with my intuitive reluctance to succumb to despair - sent me searching the thesaurus.

i took another look at some of the images from england-last-week (larger here, here,
here, and here), and read, meanwhile:

"bathetic, befuddled, confused, cornball, drippy, emotional, gushing, insipid, lachrymose, mawkish, mushy, romantic, schmaltzy, sentimental, slush, soap, soapy, soppy, syrupy, tear-jerking, tearful, teary, weak, weepy"

i seriously considered hanging up my nikon forever. but i read, undaunted, further:

"adventurous, amorous, bathetic, charming, chimerical, chivalrous, colorful, corny,
created, daring, dreamy, enchanting, erotic, exciting, exotic, extravagant, fairy-tale,
fanciful, fantastic, fascinating, fond, glamorous, idealistic, idyllic, imaginary, imaginative, impractical, invented, lovey-dovey, loving, maudlin, mushy, mysterious, nostalgic, novel, passionate, picturesque, poetic, quixotic, starry-eyed, syrupy, tear-jerking, tender, unrealistic, utopian, visionary, whimsical, wild"

this - "syrupy" as "sweet" - i can live with.
oh yes: i'm a positive, albeit deluded, soul.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

switching channels

it has taken me hours to pack for the short holiday in england that starts tomorrow morning when we drive off the ferry - fifteen minutes for the personal necessities like clothes and shoes and soap and toothpaste, and ten-times-that for the spiritual ones.

i can never decide which cameras and which film to take: each combination records
each scene in its own sublime, specific manner (like these two, taken a half-turn from one another, using the nikon FE and the great wall).
looking later at the images, i am happy to have had choice.
have a fine week!

Friday, September 1, 2006

time let go

"direction is more important than speed. we are so busy looking at our speedometers that
we forget the milestones."
- anonymous

the camera is old.
the film is old.
and i am a year older today.
i'm just fine with all three.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

by its right name

"between our birth and death we may touch understanding, as a moth brushes a window with its wing."
- christopher fry (english writer, 1907-2005)

the sadness has lifted, finally, its cumbersome heaviness hoisted high by time and love and circumstance; a tender translucence has taken its place.
this wistful weave of memory and mystery allows light in, gently, and light out, and the sheer splendour of life is visible once more.

Monday, August 21, 2006

no for an answer

adopting a homely, but working, near-giveaway polaroid camera from a local recycling centre is all well and good, but keeping it fed - with its expensive appetite - is another matter entirely. i was delighted, it follows, to discover, a nice little austrian online shop with a wealth of new and expired instant film, and accessories.
they are friendly, and fast, and charge realistic shipping fees, and i have been pleased with all my purchases, so approaching them, a few months back, with a request to sponsor the europephotobloggers' amsterdam meetup in september with a few small items, seemed a excellent idea.
at the time.
i was totally unprepared, i will admit, for the curt, condescending - indeed, sarcastic - answer that i received, and surprised by the short-sightedness of it, too. i had rather expected, perhaps naïevely, that they would astutely realise the possibilities of supporting an event involving photographers from two continents, and with a projected audience of thousands of enthusiasts.
i will still buy from them - their product is excellent, as is their service - but dismay, and disappointment, will niggle.
i'm like that.
rachel and i have bumped into a number of brick walls as far as sponsors go.
any ideas?