Monday, October 18, 2010

Last Supper

Sometimes a chore can turn into a delight than can be transformed into a photographic pleasure. For a week I've been preparing for a two-week trip to Europe where I'll be visiting my daughter who's studying in Barcelona; then I'll travel to Paris to visit friends.
As part of the endless preparations, I kept eying the food in my refrigerator hoping I wouldn't have to throw it away just before heading for the airport. Yesterday a friend and I were sitting in the sun in my backyard about to leave for a goodbye lunch when an idea popped into my head. "Let's just stay here," I said, "I've got all this food that I don't want to waste....why don't we just use everything in the fridge."
So two eggplants, leftover tomato sauce and mozzarella, and some parsley became my version of eggplant parmesan. We also roasted a few orange and yellow peppers, used half a container of mesclun for two small salads, and warmed the remains of a loaf of semolina.
An hour and a half later, this Mediterranean meal graced my table."Take a picture," my friend said, "it looks too good to eat."
But I'm hungry and tired from all the cooking I thought sighing.
"Com'on, do it for me," she insisted."

*for those of you who are enjoying Learning to See, I will be away until early November when I hope to return with some more photographic pleasures!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Trees, there's something wondrous about them. The way they stand strong, sway in the wind, grab the earth with their roots. So much like people, each with its own personality.
So on my visit to the Bayard Cutting Arboretum with a friend last Saturday, I was captivated by a very special tree, a huge weeping beech presiding over the back lawn. It's long, heavy limbs cascaded to the ground draping its trunk, concealing it from view.
As we neared, we separated the curtains of small green leaves. Beams of light bounced off the main trunk and the many offshoots popping up, some curving over head, others lending support. We had discovered a treehouse on the ground, no climbing required.
Afterwards, I inquired about the tree and learned that it's been there for 350 years. When I told my friend, he said "I hope we look that good at 350."


Sunday, October 10, 2010


Yesterday while wandering around the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Oakdale, known for it's ancient weeping beech trees, my eye gravitated to a line of coleus plants popping up at my feet. I sunk down to my heels and moved in as if a magnet was pulling me close.
One, two, three...I counted three hearts beating against one another. I thought of my daughter, Lauren, her little boy, and the new baby now growing inside her. I thought of her vibrancy, her thirst for life, her relentless energy. I thought of her glittering smile mixed with quite a bit of mischief.
But mostly I thought about how she nurtures her child so seamlessly, is able to balance the demands of the outside world with her maternal instincts. And I'm thrilled that it's so much easier for her than it was for that's progress!
Tomorrow is Lauren's birthday, she will be 25, what a beauty...

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Stoops, they reveal much about the inhabitants. For years I've been looking at stoops wondering about the people inside. Perhaps, I'm a nosybody or worse, some sort of peeping Tom. But let's face it, aren't we all curious about others. Isn't that why we love biographies, novels, movies and yes, photography. They give us a glimpse into other people's lives.
So if you were passing by my house and saw my stoop, you'd learn that I love dogs, flowers, and autumn colors. And maybe if you're observant, you'd notice that my welcome mat is worn and my stoop needs repainting, that I'm in need of a handyman.
As far as the image itself, it appears quite straight-forward, but notice the high contrast between the left and the right. While the mums are in deep shadow, Copper is bathed in light. A lot to ask of any camera no matter how sophisticated. So I had to compromise, choose an exposure that provided enough light to see the flowers, but not so much that it would obliterate the dog. Either way, I had to sacrifice one for the other.
Setting my ISO at 400, I chose to expose for the mums, but about one stop 'under' so we could still see Copper. The result is rather haunting. Perhaps a precursor to Halloween. Doesn't he look like Snoopy with super-powers?