Tag Archives: Iowa

What Am I Seeing? Three Very Different Black and White Photographs

This week I wanted to take a look at three very different black and white photographs and tell you what I see.

As I have mentioned in my posts, I shoot everything in Raw format which means I shoot digitally capturing tremendous detail. It does take up memory and believe me my portfolio and archives have their own hard drive because of it. The reason I shoot with that much definition is that it allows me to “play’ with the end picture more.

The first picture is a cityscape of downtown Seattle with the Space Needle featured front and center. What do I see? I see the downtown towers and Space Needle sharply defined…very bold straight edges. I see the architecture dominating the capture because of that factor. As an additional element, I see the sharp contrast of the cloud formations from the high level clouds to the puffy cumulous in the background.  I see an architectural statement of Seattle with the subtle element of weather which Seattle is known for.

From a cityscape to a farm. What do I see? I see a mood created from an abandoned farm highlighted by showing it in black and white. I see barren tree branches and collapsing buildings that have a lonely element with no life. The black and white presentation allows this mood to be front and center without getting distracted by pops of color.

From the farm to Old Point Loma Lighthouse sitting on the entrance to San Diego Bay in Cabrillo National Monument. What do I see? I see the top of a lighthouse where the simple architecture of the structure points your eye upward to the light. I see what is a deep blue sky not taking center stage because the presentation in black and white makes it a supporting gray backdrop to the white structure and the intricate architecture of the top of the lighthouse.

Thoughts?

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Barren Branches Go Colorful – Featured Art Prints

In keeping with the theme from last weeks post, I am featuring two art prints where the subject matter is pretty simplistic, barren branches. These are shots of trees along the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, Iowa during winter. I took this simple subject matter and started giving the branches a subtle abstract look to create images with more geometric patterns. As part of that process, I also changed the background to larger abstract shapes to keeping the focus on the barren tree branches. I created the Purple Barren Branches first and then wanted to use some of the same elements in the second one. I liked the power of purple and pulled it into the branches on the second one and notice the hint of green on the first one. I used it as the background on the second one, creating a different look altogether.

Thoughts?

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Midwinter in Rural Iowa – Featured Art Prints

Five years ago at this time in February, I was in Iowa to visit family. I took the opportunity to drive out into the landscape of rural Iowa for some inspiration (artistically speaking). There wasn’t a lot of snow as the temperatures had gotten above freezing. This time of year the landscape is stark, lacking the vibrant green of spring and summer, yet I still find beauty in this starkness. The fields are a golden brown and the trees stand like guardians with their bare branches. In recreating the scenes I came across, I used an Impasto technique (impasto: to lay paint on thickly creating deep textured brush strokes) to give the scenes texture and brightened up the browns of the land into a more vibrant golden hue.

This first scene is a dirt (muddy) road that I took trying to get a photograph of a red barn I had seen through the woods. After getting out of the car and looking back at where I had come, I decided I preferred that scene the way the road curved around the bend.

Another typical scene for this time of year is this frozen creek bed on a farm. Same golden fields and stark trees along the creek bed.

I have a thing about paths, sidewalks or roads that wander off into the distance as they create depth to a picture and stimulate the brain of the curious wondering where they go.

And then lastly is this discovery near the frozen creek bed, an abandoned farm. The setting seemed perfect for these buildings that were still standing, even with them being as dilapidated as they were.

My tribute to mid February…thoughts?

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Writer Inspires Artist – Artist Inspires Writer or On The Radio – Meet Hank

I could call this week’s post – “The Art of Visualization: The Key Element to Writing, Art and Photography”, but the result of that ability is “On The Radio – Meet Hank”.  I’m doing a joint collaboration with one of my favorite authors, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. One of my most consistent comments to her after reading her writing is: “I love it…I am instantly pulled in because I can visualize everything you are writing about”. When she asked me to do this joint post, her request was simple: “Go through your art and photography portfolio and send me a picture that you would like to have me weave into one of my novels”. I narrowed it down to Cedar Rapids Barn because this capture of an old dilapidated barn created a visualization of a rural setting and the mystery surrounding the structure (side note: I was driving on the outskirts of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the heavily wooded hills along the river when I spotted this structure nestled in the trees. Of course I had to stop…hike into the woods and take some shots with my camera). So with that, I would like to turn it over to the star of this visualization, Teagan: 

Hi Kirt! Hello everyone, I’m Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, from the blog, Teagan’s Books. It’s my pleasure to be a guest here at The Wall Gallery. Thanks to Kirt for working with me on this joint post!

3-things-cover_3-2016As I get ready for the takeoff of my next 1920s novel, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, I’m doing some collaborative posts with other bloggers. We’re combining their unique talents with my stories. From his wonderful collection, Kirt chose this image, Cedar Rapids Barn. I let it spontaneously lead me to the story below.

This tale is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip. (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story click here.)

Today meet Hank Hertz. This vignette is part of Hank’s backstory. He’s a young man Pip will meet when she is sent to live in Savannah, Georgia with her grandmother. However, this vignette takes place at some point not too long before Pip arrives there, so she is not in this story.

On the Radio — Meet Hank

No harm in trying one more time, Hank Hertz thought as he stacked all manner of electronic components on the counter.

“Hi, Mr. Hardscrabble,” Hank mumbled, trying to avoid eye contact with the hardware store’s proprietor.

“Hank, I already told you. Your ma told me not to sell you any of this gadgetry tomfoolery. You might as well put all that stuff back on the shelves, son.”

Hardscrabble put a hand to his balding head in a frustrated gesture. He found his spectacles there and smiled because he’d forgotten where he put them. However, he brightened when the door opened. One of “Savannah’s finest,” Detective Dabney Daniels strolled into Hardscrabble Hardware. His finely chiseled features remained neutral, but he raised an eyebrow at the tableau at the counter.

“Now get on with you, boy. Put everything back. I can’t take your money,” the store owner repeated before turning to a real customer. “That boy gets more like his granddaddy every day. Detective, what can I do for you?”

1928 Detroit police radio Blue

“No need to rest on formality, Homer. I can’t find my flashlight, so I’m here for another one,” the detective replied then looked sheepish. “Go ahead and laugh about things going missing at a police station. I can tell you’re holding it back.”

Hank watched the exchange between the tall detective and the portly shopkeeper as he reluctantly made trips from the sales counter back to the shelves. He could have carried more things at one time, but he delayed the inevitable, hoping Mr. Hardscrabble would change his mind. As he picked up a few more items to return to the shelf, the detective stopped him.

“What is all that stuff, son? If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were building a ham radio. Or at least intended to before Homer shut you down.”

For a moment Hank’s face lit up at the mention of his passion — all things electronic, especially radios. He looked dejectedly at his feet.

“Momma wants me to study law. She says electronics and inventions are a distraction. She even said they were toys!”

“So all the old fogies are conspiring against you, huh? Well, you’d better ankle all that stuff back where it came from, like Homer told you.”

***

1920 Radio News

After supper Hank got an armload of books and headed out the kitchen door. His mother looked at the heavy tomes and gave a satisfied nod. Hank knew she was watching from the window above the sink as he walked to the little red barn. Vines of Cherokee roses ran riot over the building. The Hertz family used the barn for storage, but Hank made it his personal spot to study or just hang out. He also had a workbench tucked in one corner where he discretely kept his radio equipment.

The horizon blazed red with sunset when Hank slipped out of the barn. He pedaled the motorized bicycle he had made until he was far enough away that his parents wouldn’t hear the noise of the motor. Dusk descended as he rode into town.

Hank didn’t pay any attention to the dark Ford parked on the corner, or to the fact that someone sat inside it. He rode down the alley and came up behind Hardscrabble Hardware. The back door was locked, but he found a window he could open. He took his flashlight and climbed into the store.

He knew exactly where to find everything he wanted. So it didn’t take Hank long to gather all the electronics he tried to buy that afternoon. He stood at the sales counter and added up all the prices. He figured the tax. Then he left the full amount of the purchase, plus two cents, because he didn’t have enough pennies to leave the exact change.

Putting everything into his bag, Hank turned toward the back of the shop. It felt like an electric charge shot from his neck down his arm when he heard a cough behind him. Hank jerked around to face the sound.

1920 Victoria motorcycle ad

The boy thought he’d lose everything he ate for supper when he saw the police detective standing there, arms folded.

“So you actually broke into the store and paid for the things Homer wouldn’t sell you? Son, I don’t know what to make of that.”

Hank stumbled back a step. He wanted to run, but the copper knew who he was and where he lived. Besides, Hank had a pretty good idea that those long legs could catch up with him before he got to his bicycle. His breath caught in his throat. Hank couldn’t have spoken even if he’d known what to say.

The detective closed the distance to the counter in a single step. He pointed his new flashlight to the paper where Hank had added up his purchase. Then he pursed his lips as he thought. He stared at Hank as if he could see every fib the boy had ever told. Hank gulped.

“Where’d you get the money for this stuff, son? Allowance? Money for odd jobs?”

Hank only nodded, still unable to talk. Finally he found his voice and croaked out a reply. “It’s my money sir. Fair and square. I wouldn’t steal anything.”

“I guess I’m going to have to have a talk with your parents,” the Dabney Daniels said, slowly shaking his head.

Poor Hank felt like he might sink through the floor, right then and there. His knees felt weak.

“But this,” the copper motioned at Hank’s bag full of stuff. “I don’t see as any law has really been broken. After all, I walked in through the front door, which was unlocked. I know Homer leaves through the back door and forgets to lock the front. But being as you’re here, I assume he left it open for you.”

Hank gazed at Daniels in wide eyed confusion.

“Besides, I hate doing paperwork. If you had actually broken into this store, I’d have to haul you to the station and spend the rest of the night writing up the report. I do have to talk to your parents though,” he added causing Hank to sink further.

The young man managed a groan.

“You know, I really need an intern down at the station. I think your mother will see that working for me would be a good learning experience for a future lawyer. In a way, that’s where law starts isn’t it? With the police? Meanwhile you can put your talent with radio gadgetry to use. How does that sound?”

The end

***

And so Savannah’s youngest policeman began his career. If you want to know more about the other characters in Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, click here. Thanks for reading.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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Deer In The Yard – Featured Art Print

For a little bit of that spring feeling, I thought I would feature this capture. What catches my eye every time I come across this shot, is the sheer beauty of the green lawn up against the beginning of a wooded area and oh yes…there just happens to be a deer in the frame staring back at me. I caught this scene on a hike I took in the springtime while I was traversing the wooded hills above the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The deer caught my movement and just froze. I took a couple of shots before it darted off back into the cover of the woods. Thoughts?


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The Old Farm – Featured Art Print

 

The Old Farm – is an art print I wanted to feature today. Is it colorful or does it grab your attention? Probably not, but what I like about it, is the fact it tells a story. The story is an obvious one, an old farm that has fallen into disrepair. When I came upon this scene in Eastern Iowa during the winter months, I loved the potential of composing a shot that would portray the feel of the property. I framed the scene using the barn as part of the foreground, with the dilapidated house in the background. The gate serves as a visual focal point pulling your eye towards the house. The final element for this particular art print was using a watercolor technique, which softens and darkens the scene slightly creating more of the mood. Thoughts?


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Deer In The Yard – Excerpt From A Photo Shoot

I wanted to share a photograph from a series I did when I was visiting family in Iowa. Being the avid hiker, I was hiking along the banks of a river and then up into the dense hilly woods that line the river. My family lives on the edge of the woods up in the hills in a neighborhood where this site is very common year around. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have watched numerous deer wander across yards without any hesitation. In this particular shot, I was coming out of the woods into the yard when I saw this lone deer pondering whether they wanted to come out into the open or not. I startled him (or her), but since I always have my camera on me when I hike, I got a series of shots and have posted this one in my Color Photography 2 Gallery and call it “Deer In The Yard”.

 

Thoughts?

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