Every now and then you see something that is worthy of the word "amazing." If you were scared to take the training wheels off your bicycle when you were little then don't watch this. This little video has great photography and simply astounding bicycle tricks. Thanks Dallas Peak for bringing this to my attention.
Yesterday I had lunch Joe Young a retired photojournalist from The Indianapolis News. We agreed to meet at Santorini's, a Greek restaurant in the Fountain Square area just off the southeast corner of Indianapolis, Ind. The lunch almost didn't happen. Continue reading
I visited one of the collection of doctors I now have for an annual checkup on my sleep behavior. As I came in the complex I answered the usual battery of questions about my birthday, address, name, Facebook friends, etc. to ensure the nurse had pulled the correct record. Everything checked out. She had my correct record. I was ushered into an examination room. Those rooms should be renamed "waiting" rooms. This room was particularly sterile. No one had left a magazine for me read. There weren't any glossy posters on the wall with drawings of various outcroppings of disease variations to study. I actually study those posters. I admire the medical drawing and photos. This room merely had folders of forms and those get boring very quickly. I asked the nurse as she closed the door, "How long before the doctor comes? Several hours?" Continue reading
Whether you start the song by singing "Let martial note in triumph float" or "Be kind to your web-footed friends," the Stars and Stripes Forever is one of the best marches ever written. One swells with patriotism when it is played. Indeed, it is the National March of the United States of America. It is especially appropriate for listening to on the Fourth of July when 76 percent of us celebrate the Declaration of Independence. The other 24 percent of us don't know what we are celebrating according to a Marist survey of knowledge about history. Continue reading
There is big news in the Rubik's Cube world; scientists have created a computer algorithm that will solve a Rubik's Cube puzzle of any size. In a 3 x 3 x 3 puzzle, there are 43 quintillion possible moves. Cubes of larger dimensions would have so many possible moves that ordinary humans cannot immagine how big the quantity really is. Since the cube was introduced in the 1970s and was a popular craze in the 1980s, it has certainly taken a long time to solve this burning issue. Much, much longer than my son, Brian, took when he was a very young boy. Continue reading
Every now and then I am reminded of how wonderful the gift of sight is. I have enjoyed photography for most of my life and it is hard for me to conceive of life without sight. One of my students was simultaneously taking a photography class from me and another from an art program. The art photography instructor had given an assignment in which the students were to make pictures while blindfolded. When our student in common put her prints up for critique, she was criticized for not have prints that were focused. I simply could not figure out the purpose for that assignment. I have thought about that assignment often and still cannot find an educational justification for it. I did find a book of photographs made by students who were blind. They were all made with cameras with wide-angle lenses, which had plenty of depth-of-field. That book got me to thinking about the creative act itself. How could those blind students appreciate the book they had made because they could not see the images? Doesn't a musician need to hear the music they play? Don't artists and photographers need to see the images they create? Isn't sight and sound critical to the aesthetic experience? Perhaps my thinking is limited because I do have aided sight (glasses) and aided hearing (hearing aids). But Beethoven composed music after he became totally deaf. And Tara Miller is a commercial photographer who is blind. Limitations are not necessarily barriers. Just this week a new camera technology was introduced that may well be in high demand for any photographer and will enable blind people to take up photography without any worry whatsoever about focus. The camera does not focus when the picture is made but is focused afterward via software. The point of focus can be changed at will by clicking on the picture. Thus, end viewers of the photography can potentially focus anywhere within the frame. The photographer doesn't focus at all. I am especially taken by technology that enables us to see clearly what cannot be seen by the unaided eye. Newton invented the telescope to better view the mysteries of the sky. The late MIT professor Harold Edgerton invented electronic flash in order to freeze motion. One of his most famous pictures is that of a drop of milk splashing to form a crown. These effects are made possible by the incredibly short duration of an electronic flash, which is much, much faster than a camera shutter speed. There is a difference between looking and seeing. We look were we are going (unless we are driving a car with a cell phone held to our ears). We see when we are able to study and enjoy the detail of what surrounds us. As a artist you will "see" if you follow the principles elaborated by Betty Edwards in "The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." In taking 30 minutes or more to do a contour drawing of your hand you will really see the detail in your hand. Photographers and artists will often study a scene carefully before raising the camera to the eye or putting a drawing pen to paper. Photographers also look for unusual angles that provide a different view from eye level. Sometimes when you look at the ground you discover things you don't see at eye level. Henry Luce wrote the manifesto of Life Magazine at its founding as a picture magazine in 1936. In part it read: "To see and take pleasure in seeing To see and be amazed To see and be instructed" Take the time to see.
I like simple solutions to long-standing problems. Biting flies are certainly annoying and they do carry diseases. I happened on to the Epps Ultimate Biting Fly Trap because I am now on the email distribution list of AgriSupply where I bought some plastic water-proof manual cases. The manual cases were originally intended to be mounted on farm equipment to hold operating manuals. Motorcyclists also use them to hold extra fuel containers, tool kits and the like. I now have three of them mounted on my motorcycle. The appearance of the fly trap mimics the profile of a farm animal (horse or cow). As the flies circle in for their meal, clear plastic deflectors knock them into ordinary soapy water. The soap breaks the surface tension of the water and the flies drown. The manufacturer claims the trap will drown a pound of flies a day. That's a lot of flies. Of course anything named "Ultimate" should be effective.