I’m published on the radio! (?)

29 07 2011

My friend and classical guitarist, Charles Mokotoff, shared this with me this morning. He is being interviewed, along with violaist Wendy Cheng, on WAMU 88.5 FM’s website, Metro Connection. Both are members of the Association of Adult Musicians With Hearing Loss (AAMHL). There will be a podcast of the interview and performances at 1:00 p.m. EST today. The podcast will available on the Metro Connection website at 2:00 p.m. EST.

From the small world department: I designed and produced a book a few months ago for AAMHL, working with Wendy Cheng and the book’s editor, pianist Cherisse Miller. (My Hearing Loss Magazine editor, Barbara Kelley, referred Wendy to me). The book, Making Music with a Hearing Loss: Strategies and Stories, is available on Amazon here.

You can see more of my photos of Charles, as well as listen to some of his other pieces and order his CD, Autumn Elegy, on his website here. Charles was the cover feature story for the January/February 2010 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America. Read more about his cover debut here. Charles played for us at our first-ever Tapas Party in November 2009, recapped here.

I shot the photograph below during a recital in November 2009 and blogged about that session here. Charles was interviewed last December by Japan’s Gendai Guitar magazine and a photo I shot of him was included here (so I can say I’m published internationally now!).





Necklace for Macie

28 07 2011

I crocheted this little wire necklace for my niece, Macie. Made of non-tarnish silver wire (26 gauge), it consists of two rows of crochet stitches with a separate wire-crafted bird nest containing three blue freshwater pearl “eggs.” I normally make the bird nests with 24 gauge wire, but this is what I had available when I was crafting with my sister in San Antonio a few weeks ago. It required more “revolutions” of the wire than 24 gauge would have to achieve the thickness of the nest, but the end result looks very similar. I’m working on a larger version for an adult to wear. Learn how to make the bird nest on Cathe Holden’s crafty site here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A Vibrant Morning Wake by Daniel Scott, Jr.

28 07 2011

A few months ago, Daniel (who is a graphic designer in Ft. Worth) contacted me and asked for permission to use a photo I shot of a cluster of Spiderworts blooming at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in March. My college roommate, graphic designer/artist/Austinite and dear friend Sonya who creates whimsical paper clay sculptures and “Bugs with Attitude.” Check out her website here. She took me there for an afternoon of shooting (it was my first visit there).

Daniel gave me a link to his mosaic work and I was duly impressed, so I gave him permission and anxiously awaited the final result. It is nothing short of gorgeous! I’ll be interviewing Daniel for this blog in the not-too-distant future, but wanted to share his inspirational piece now.

From Daniel’s blog, Recycled Consumer Mosaics:
I create artwork entirely from candy wrappers, drink labels, gum wrappers, sugar packets, tea packaging, etc. to utilize marketing brand awareness and color recognition from the marketplace. My swatch palette takes shape as marketing strategies change their client’s image. As each mosaic is made, more layers and techniques are worked through for the best results. That’s what makes this process fresh and unique with each blank slate, ready to be transformed into a work of art.

Below is Daniel’s beautiful mosaic along with the photo that inspired him. Stay tuned for my interview with him!





Be still my heart! (Installment #2)

28 07 2011

So I’m investigating teleconverters and extension tubes for my 105mm Micro-Nikkor lens and after reading a few suggestions on various Nikon forums, I start researching the first product—a Nikon TC 14A converter. A Google search reveals this item is available from Sears Marketplace (really?) for just $61.70!

Hey, isn’t this thing supposed to cost anywhere from $300-450? Let’s check it out pronto!

I click on the Sears Marketplace entry and here is what I get—Renal formula tablets for pets. (Am I the only one in the universe this is happening to? This makes twice this month!)





768.5 GB = 152,016 images!

28 07 2011

I had no idea that I had shot that many digital images since I switched from film to digital about seven or eight years ago! (Of course I’ve shot more than that; I delete the really bad ones before I close out the folder and back it up after each photo session). These images include client events (meetings, conventions, awards and staff portraits), portraits of friends/family/clients, pets, nature, still life, craft projects, home renovation projects, travel, lifestyle stock, assignment work, weddings, parties and garden club gatherings, and of course, my botanical/garden/insect images.

A couple of months ago I got a deal on Seagate’s FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 2TB external drives ($109.99 at Best Buy; now they’re even cheaper—$100.90 on Amazon; $99.99 at OfficeMax, B&H Photo and WalMart.

This drive works with both PC & Mac (I’m on a Mac) and will work with USB 2.0 and 3.0. I started with 250 and 500 GB drives years ago and began rapidly filling them up. I think the 2TB drives will cover me for some time! And these aren’t space hogs—they measure just 4.5 x 7 inches.

I copied all my photos (and all my client design files—86,476 items which include Photoshop files, Illustrator drawings, fonts, and Pagemaker/InDesign files!) onto one drive and am backing that entire drive onto two more drives.

You can never have your data backed up in too many places; trust me on this one! If you only have it backed up on one drive, it’s simply not enough insurance. I think you should have at least two complete backups—and no, your computer does not count into the tally). Taking my fellow photographer friend Ed’s advice, I will keep one of the drives off site at a friend’s house. Now that’s extra insurance!

If your images are as important to you as they are to me, please consider buying two drives and back up those treasures! The price is so miniscule compared to paying someone to recover data from a drive (trust me on this one; I speak from experience!). Get the largest storage capacity you can for your budget—this Seagate model just happens to be one of the best deals out there, in my opinion.

I hadn’t looked at the number of photo-only files that were transferred on the first drive, but I did notice it on this second transfer. It’s a grand total of 768.5 GB and a total of 152,016 photo (and about 9 hours to transfer!).





FAVE: The Deep by Pes

27 07 2011

Clever, clever, clever!





Foxy on the bench

27 07 2011

My neighbor Eric’s cat, Foxy, is a frequent visitor to our garden. A few months ago, she discovered that the newly-placed cushion on the wrought iron bench was apparently put there just for her. She allows me to photograph her, but she still hisses at me if I get closer to her. I’ll extend my hand and she’ll lean in a few inches from me, never averting her eyes from mine. And then comes that nonplussed hisssssssssssssssssss. Every single time. I’d say she’s a bit ungrateful for a feline who was just given a comfy bed on which to languish in the afternoon shade! Ah, well…she makes a great (and frequent) model, doesn’t she?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Same time, last year: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on ‘Zowie’ Zinnia

27 07 2011

Originally posted July 27, 2010

Overcast and very pleasant day, perfect for a quick (and fruitful) lunchtime shoot at Green Spring Gardens. This is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on a ‘Zowie’ Zinnia.

Note: I was actually trying to get a shot (with the tripod in place) of just the two Zinnias when the Swallowtail landed on one of the flowers. I held my breath and got just two shots before it flew off. I live for moments (and wild color) like this!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





American Goldfinch

25 07 2011

Finally—my first-ever shot of the elusive, quick-moving American Goldfinch (male), photographed at Green Spring Gardens yesterday morning. My friend Gina saw one of these in her garden yesterday too (perhaps he followed me home?) and thought for sure she had discovered something rare and exotic—much like a sighting of Bigfoot or even rarer, the Dodo bird. She even thought it was perhaps a flyaway pet looking for its home. That is, until she started a web search and learned what it really was. She was so excited doing the research that she is contemplating a career change from flight attendant to ornithologist. This morning her voice had morphed into that of the character Miss Jane Hathaway (the love-starved-pith-helmet-wearing-avid-bird-watching perennial spinster) from The Beverly Hillbillies. (P.S. I advised Gina to not quit her day job.)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Christopher and Peter Artinian

25 07 2011

I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Christopher Artinian and his son, Peter, at the Hearing Loss Association of America’s (HLAA) convention last month in Crystal City, Virginia. Chris is the CEO and president of Morton’s Restaurant Group, Inc., and was the keynote speaker during the convention opening session.

The Artinian family is the subject of Sound and Fury, the 2001 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature. Directed by Josh Aronson, the film tells the story of two brothers: Chris, who was born with hearing, and his older brother Peter, who was born deaf. Both brothers married and both had children who were born deaf. The difficult decision to provide cochlear implants for their children ripped the family apart. Chris and his wife Mari chose to have a cochlear implant for their son while Chris’s brother and his wife Nita, decided they weren’t quite ready for such a medical procedure for their three deaf children. The families finally came full circle and have put the period of “fury” behind them.

Chris and Mari live in Illinois with their five children. He attended Villanova University, and is a longtime supporter of the March of Dimes, Rotary Club and various charities related to children with cochlear implants.

In 2006, Aronson finished Sound and Fury: Six Years Later, a follow-up to Sound and Fury. Click here for an interesting read from pbs.org on director Josh Aronson’s motivation to create Sound and Fury.

Click here to read ‘Sound and Fury Update: A Family Comes Together Again, by Karen Putz, director of Illinois Families for Hands & Voices.

Above, top right: Peter shares his hearing loss experience with Convention attendees. Left: Chris and Pete making their rounds in the exhibit hall at Convention 2011. Below, top photo: Christopher Artinian and his son, Peter. Second photo: HLAA Executive Director Brenda Battat, Christopher Artinian, HLAA Board President Pete Fackler, and Peter Artinian

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blackberry Lily

24 07 2011

The Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda chinensis), also known as Leopard Lily, is native to China and Japan. Although it is called a Lily, it is actually in the Iridaceae (Iris) family. The leaves look exactly like the leaves of an Iris. This drought-tolerant perennial bulb sprouts two inch flowers in mid-to-late summer (in both yellow and this orange variety) and forms clustered black berries (hence the name!). The flowers only last one day and when they dry they twist into corkscrew-like spirals that fall as the seedpods develop. The seedpods will split open in the fall, allowing the plant to self-sow. Blackberry Lilies can be grown in sun or part shade in containers, beds and borders and can reach 24-40 inches in height. They are propagated by division of rhizomes or by seed in the spring and are hardy from zones 5-10.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





52 fish pile-up

23 07 2011

Sorry about the lame title…my other contenders were “a fine kettle of fish,” “fish soup,” and “koi calamity.” Photographed at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota, Florida

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





2DPhotography’s “Rube Goldberg” approach to portrait photography

21 07 2011

Thanks to my fellow photographer friend, F.T., for sending this fantastic video. Way too much fun (and quite elaborate process)–enjoy!





Harvest time

21 07 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Love only the sunflower

21 07 2011

Ancient Aztec Flower Song (anonymous)

Be indomitable, Oh my heart!
Love only the sunflower;
It is the flower of the Giver-of-Life!
What can my heart do?
Have we come, have we sojourned here on earth in vain?
As the flowers wither, I shall go.
Will there be nothing of my glory ever?
Will there be nothing of my fame on earth?
At most songs, at most flowers,
What can my heart do?
Have we come, have we sojourned on earth in vain?

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Orange Dead Leaf Butterfly

20 07 2011

While sitting (in the butterfly-shaped chair, of course) and trying to cool off in the Wings of Fancy observatory, I glanced over at the plethora of butterflies gathered to feast on rotting fruit (yum!) and saw a leaf moving. Is that a leaf? Is that a leaf eating that rotten banana? I had never seen anything like it—it was a butterfly camouflaged as a leaf! I learned from a volunteer that it is the Orange Dead Leaf Butterfly or Oakleaf Butterfly (Kallima inachus), native to tropical Asia, India and Japan. Although I never saw it open its wings to reveal the intense complementary colors of blue and orange, I did see it on an ID sign (see inset photo). This species, just like the Common Morpho (that brilliant blue butterfly that never stays still long enough to let anyone photograph it!), is very dull-colored brown and tan on the outside, but so striking when the wings are open.





Brimstone Butterfly

20 07 2011

Brimstone Butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni), photographed at Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy exhibit

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A Monarch for a Monarch

20 07 2011

Dear King of Texas,

Your wish for your very own Monarch butterfly has been granted. I had to reach back into my ever-growing archive of Monarch butterflies to find the one most befitting of Your Highness. This was a photograph I took at Brookside Gardens in August 2010. I hope it meets your expectations! (You are advised to put on sunglasses before viewing—that punch of color is over the top, isn’t it?)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Cairns Birdwing Butterfly

19 07 2011

Cairns Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera euphorian), Australia’s largest native butterfly species; photographed at Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy exhibit

Love butterflies? Check out more of my photos from the Wings of Fancy exhibit in 2008 here and here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Monarch Butterfly

19 07 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sunflower closeup

19 07 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Here comes the sun(flower), do do do do…

19 07 2011

I shot this image at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Montgomery County, Maryland. The sunflowers are shorter (once again) this year (some barely knee high), so it’s a challenge to get shots head on without groveling in the red dirt. The field was buzzing with honey bees, bumblebees, Cabbage White butterflies, cucumber beetles and various other flying critters. Very few of them cooperated for this photographer, though. I was bombarded several times by wayward bumblebees that tried to fly through me to get to a prized sunflower on their radar. Michael and I shared the field with only three other photographers (and a poorly constructed scarecrow that we thought was another person). I used a wide angle lens (atop a tall ladder) to get this shot.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Malachite Butterfly (Siproeta stelenes)

19 07 2011

Photographed at Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy exhibit

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A Monarch for Mary Ellen

19 07 2011

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/





Same time, last year: One shot and he was off!

19 07 2011

I posted this photo last year around this time. Michael and I are headed up to McKee-Beshers in Maryland to photograph the sunflower field this morning (otherwise, this gal would not be up and typing this early! ;-) I hope to capture a slew of new photos—stay tuned for the results.

Originally posted in July 2010

Unlike the Dogbane Beetle, who let me photograph him for almost 15 minutes, I got just one shot of this Cucumber Beetle before he was off to another sunflower. I wish I could have had time to add some ring flash light to add extra sharpness to his body, but the composition draws me in, so I’m giving myself a brownie point for that!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Revisited: Sewing with Jasper

18 07 2011

We lost our beloved Jasper (aka Stripey Joe and Mr. Twitchy) in late October last year. He had been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and an enlarged heart two years earlier. While we knew the condition could be monitored and medicated, we were well aware we could lose him sooner than his normal lifespan. Even armed with the prognosis, how can one ever prepare for such a loss? We loved him fiercely for almost ten years and he is never far from our thoughts. He was my furry photographic muse. I still see him by the patio door in my studio, watching birds and skinks and squirrels, and I can still hear his terradactyl-like meow. While we still have ZenaB to spoil, there is something missing in our little family.

Originally posted July 18, 2010.

(Sounds like a reality show, doesn’t it?—like Project Runway, but with felines). I’ve been in a sewing mood since the 4th of July weekend at the lake and to date I have made three tablecloths, 33 table napkins and six table runners. Do I need more table linens? Of course not! Every time I start sewing, Jasper insists on joining me and nestling into whatever fabric is available. Hope you like cats because that’s all I’ve photographed this week. It’s been too hot to do anything outdoors! This evening, my friend Karen joined me at the sewing table. She was making the second of two pillow shams for her bedroom (and we were so brave—flying without a pattern—whoo hoo! Wild women!). In the second photo, Jasper is serving as her topstitching quality control inspector. While Karen sewed the sham, I pulled out the Sculpey clay supplies and made some large leaf-shaped buttons for the pillow closures. Now I just have to bake them in my clay-dedicated toaster oven, paint, and seal. If they turn out halfway decent, I’ll photograph them and show you the finished effect.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The Orphaned Images Project: Gertrude Kitchens and Olive May

17 07 2011

From the writing on the back of the top postcard, I’m surmising the lovely young woman is Gertrude Kitchen (or Kitchens). It is addressed to Miss Ethel Noland, a woman I wrote about in a previous posting on this blog. There was no address or cancelled stamp, so the postcard was never sent.

The second postcard is addressed to Mrs. Frank Wilson, Idaville, Ind., RR No. 19. It was sent June 27, 1913 at 8:00 a.m. from Lima, Ohio. (Postage was just a penny!) The card reads as follows:

Dear ??? and all: How is this for outdoors picture. Why don’t you write. How are you and (Maud?) and Leonard? — Gertrude

The baby is identified as Olive May, 14 mo. old.





Revisited: Cool and green and shady

17 07 2011

Originally posted July 17, 2009

This shot of one of our pond plants (the center “poof ball” is a type of Dwarf Papyrus, as I recall) reminded me of a song from John Denver’s “Back Home Again” album. It’s called “Cool and Green and Shady.”

Saturdays, holidays, easy afternoon
Lazy days, summer days, nothing much to do
Rainy days are better days for hanging out inside
Rainy days and city ways make me want to hide
Someplace cool and green and shady

Find yourself a piece of grassy ground
Lay down, close your eyes
Find yourself and maybe lose yourself
While your free spirit flies

August skies, lullabies, promises to keep
Dandelions and twisting vines, clover at your feet
Memories of Aspen leaves, trembling on the wind
Honeybees and fantasies
Where to start again
Someplace cool and green and shady

Cool and green and shady
Cool and green and shady
Cool and green and shady
Cool and green and shady

Words and music by John Denver and Joe Henry





A writing prompt for The King of Texas

16 07 2011

Hey Dad—remember this photo of me, shot by you after you discovered I had gotten into Mom’s lipstick while she was working (and you were supposed to be babysitting)? I stumbled upon this shot this morning and thought it might make a great writing prompt for you, so I’m sending you down memory lane to write a (lengthy, as always) caption for this photo! (No, your photo won’t win any awards—just look at that green color shift!—but it sure speaks volumes about my strong will and need to be creative, doesn’t it?)

Response from The King of Texas:

This child—this sad-eyed waif—this refugee from a war-torn country is in pitiful condition. Such innocence, such reluctance to reveal who assaulted her and left her in this deplorable condition. She claims that she took a little nap and when she awoke she found lipstick everywhere—yeah, right!

One can see that she tried to cover up the evidence—note the hand-print on the left side of her shirt, and also note the lipstick-covered left hand. Her plaint was “It’s not my fault. Who did this to me?” She places the blame squarely on her father, complaining that as the official babysitter he should have taken precautions to prevent such a disaster.

She even blames the green color shift of the photo on me—oops, I mean on the official babysitter. All her readers need to be reassured that ultimately the wayward lipstick and the sad-eyed waif were separated—it required lots of scrubbing and lots of complaints, both from the scrubbed and the scrubber, but she emerged unscathed and good as new, ready and eager to seek more challenges, and all the while maintaining her innocence.


				




Revisited: Orange you glad(iola)?

16 07 2011

Originally posted July 15, 2009

About the title—admittedly, very bad. I had to go with my first thought. Sorry.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/

OrangeYouGladiola








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