Photographs? Well, not technically.

28 01 2010

A few years ago I dabbled in scanning flowers on my Epson flatbed scanner and got some pretty good results. The technique works best if you can cover the flower arrangement with a dark piece of fabric or black cardboard. While the original images were nice “record” shots of my flowers, I wanted to do something more with them. I ran the scanned images through some artsy Photoshop filters to give them a romantic, soft-focus glowy look. So there you have it…photographs without a camera!

Not long after I toyed with the process, I saw an exhibit of photographer Robert Creamer’s images at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. These large-scale works were amazing! He scanned all sorts of things—dead birds, flowers, fruit, bones, and more. You can read more about his Smithsonian exhibit here and see more of his work on his website here. Watch the video here for a demonstration of his setup.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






In honor of George Hope Ledbetter…

28 01 2010

Pancreatic Cancer Challenge: Know it. Fight it. End it.

Please take a moment and send Congress an urgent message to increase funding for pancreatic cancer research by filling out the form here.

Carmen recently sent me this “Take Action Now” message from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (pancan.org).

Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Every day there are approximately 116 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. More than 35,000 people will die from pancreatic cancer this year. The five-year survival rate is only 5%.

Carmen’s husband, George Ledbetter, lost his fight with pancreatic cancer on November 9, 2007. He was a very dear friend and is still very much in my thoughts. Only 56 when he died, George rose to the rank of full-colonel during his U.S. Air Force career, and had retired from that service some two years before his death.

He was brilliant and witty, and filled to the brim with stories of his career as a military attorney. Some of his stories Carmen deemed “not quite appropriate for mixed company,” but he always responded to our pleas for him to “tell it anyway.” He was completely enamored with the world of finance, and when he retired he began studying to become a financial adviser. However, he was never sure whether he would pursue that profession on completion of the intense course.

George was a familiar sight to the staff at a local McDonald’s restaurant. He spent several hours there every morning, eating breakfast and drinking coffee, with his workbooks and notepads spread over a table for four.

One of my favorite memories of George—and one of the stories I love to tell about him—occurred on a trip Michael and I made to the Green Valley Book Fair, one of our favorite day trips. We invited George and Carmen to go, and while en route our conversation turned to this question: “What would you do if you won ten million dollars?”

We each offered up a variety of plans, items such as “pay off all my bills, buy a house in the mountains, or on a lake or on the beach, travel the world, build a giant studio in a barn, save the animals (insert species here), fund animal rescue leagues, etc.” George, usually the last to respond in such conversations remained quiet, listening closely while forming his answer.

Finally I said, “George, what would you do if you won ten million dollars?” His answer was ready, and he immediately launched into all the ills that would befall one in such a situation—how much the government would skim off the top, how much interest the money  would gain if one didn’t spend any of it, what tax bracket it would throw one into, how it couldn’t possibly solve all of one’s financial problems, and how friends, ones that one didn’t know one had, would come out of the woodwork to claim their piece of the pie! I responded, “Gee, George, ya really know how to kill a fantasy, don’t cha?”

Michael says he thinks about George every day, primarily because George taught him a stretch exercise to avoid foot pain caused by a shortening of the Achilles tendon. Michael has done this stretch faithfully every morning since learning the exercise.

After Carmen retired she embarked on a new career, and she and George moved into a beautiful home in South Carolina. Restless in retirement, George returned to Alexandria every chance he got, frequently by agreeing to babysit a friend’s dogs whenever she was out of town. During those solo visits we continued meeting frequently for lunch. His favorite restaurants were Ruby Tuesday and Roy Rogers, and while there he would offer up firm opinions and lengthy diatribes, give sage advice and voice acute observations on a variety of topics—everything from politics to finances, and from celebrities to neighborhood gossip.

George was a consummate conversationalist—no topic was taboo, no subject uninteresting and no angle unexamined. He had what we felt was an unwarranted fear of health problems—George was physically fit and took daily walks, but his fears concerning his health were always present in our conversations. His greatest fear was that of developing diabetes, a condition that was prevalent in his family.

We found it very sad and ironic that he would ultimately be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a devastating and incurable disease which usually strikes without warning—those afflicted rarely see it coming.

I shot the photos above at our Second Annual Pesto Fest in 2006. They show George and his wife Carmen toasting, George in uniform for his retirement ceremony, and George with Angus, his beloved Cocker Spaniel.

Famous people who had pancreatic cancer:

Actor/director Michael Landon, age 55 (1936 — 1991)
Actor Patrick Swayze, age 57 (1952 — 2009)
Professor Randy Pausch, age 48 (1960 — 2008)
Operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti, age 71 (1935 — 2007)
Actor Joan Crawford, age 72 (1905 — 1977)
Composer Henry Mancini, age 70 (1924 — 1994
Actor Juliette Prowse, age 58 (1936 — 1996)

In an article I read on www.medicine.net, Gagandeep Singh, MD, director of hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., and a spokesman for PanCan, reported, “Pancreatic cancer is almost equal in its incidence in men and women, so sex is not a factor. It occurs most often in patients about the age of 60 through 65, so at age 55, Patrick Swayze is young. The youngest patient I have ever treated was 21 and the oldest was 86, so there is a spectrum.”

In answer to the question, “Does pancreatic cancer run in families?” Singh replied: “Yes. About 10% to 15% of these cancers do have a genetic or familial predisposition. In fact, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter was the only person in his family who did not have pancreatic cancer. His mother, father, and all of his siblings had pancreatic cancer. We do know that there are certain genes that may be linked to pancreatic cancer.”

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Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

26 01 2010

This is a Polaroid transfer I made of an image I shot in Maine back in the 90s. The Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is located at the entrance to Muscongus Bay and Johns Bay, near the town of Bristol. Read about the history of the lighthouse here. Fun facts: Congress appropriated $4,000 for building the lighthouse in 1826. The land was purchased from its owners for just $90! It was built for just $2,800, and forty-year-old Isaac Dunham of Bath, Maine, became the first keeper at $350 per year. Check out the Pemaquid Point webcam here (it appears that today the snow has melted, but what a difference a day makes—check out the view from 1/24/2009 here).

Want to learn how to make Polaroid transfers from your slides? Check out Sarah Wichlacz’s visual tutorial here or download Holly Dupré’s free online book here.

I made all of my transfers using a Daylab Slide Printer and Polaroid 669 film. I still have a boatload of 669 film in my storeroom (stored in a cool, dry place, of course). I should get printer out and make some new images soon! Check out the collage of my favorite transfers in my posting on October 21, 2007 here.

I ran a “tell me your favorite garden story” contest with a pack of my notecards as the prize—and didn’t get even one bite. Kinda surprising you can’t give away free things these days! That posting can be found here. Anyone interested in free notecards? Tell me a story!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





My amazing new find—MagCloud!

25 01 2010

I received the sample magazines I purchased from MagCloud (http://www.magcloud.com) and am quite impressed with the reproduction quality. I ordered two—Plant Society by Matt Mattus and International Photographer by Bryan Patterson. I was really impressed with the quality of both the paper and the printing.

MagCloud allows you to publish your own magazine using any layout program (InDesign, QuarkXpress, Photoshop, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, Apple Pages and Scribus—see specs and download templates here). When the design is completed, you must export to Acrobat pdf format (read their “how to publish” specs here.) You upload your pdf to MagCloud, fill out the description, and order a proof, which they print, bind and mail to you in two weeks or less. You review the proof, make changes (if necessary) and upload a new pdf file.

When you are happy with the final proof, you mark the issue as “published” and set the price. MagCloud charges 20 cents per page and the publisher (you) specifies any markup above that. With the issue “published,” visitors can buy it on the MacCloud website using a credit card or their PayPal account. Orders can be shipped to the U.S., United Kingdom and Canada. More countries will be added in the future. When someone orders your magazine, MagCloud prints, binds and mails the issue to your buyer. You can also send an order to a group of people using their “Ship to Group” capability. Publishers collect royalties via PayPal.

When publishing any magazine, your publication must be set up in “signatures” of four pages. This means your publication can be 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28 pages, and so on. The total number of pages in the file must be evenly divisible by four. A MagCloud magazine can be as cheap as .80 cents per issue (4 pages—perfect for a marketing brochure!), all the way up to MagCloud’s maximum of 100 pages at ($20.00 per issue), plus shipping. You determine whether you want a markup above the cost of printing to be added for your audience/buyers.

From the MagCloud website: This service is ideal for publishers of small run magazines—special interest groups, clubs, schools and niche magazines—looking to minimize their setup, operational and print costs, and increase their advertising revenue. MagCloud also offers a great opportunity for electronic magazines and popular blog and website owners who are looking to provide their readers the same great content but in a portable and slick printed magazine style format.


Check out the “recently featured magazines” here, or use the search feature on MagCloud to look for magazines on topics that interest you. Some publications are personal efforts (such as family albums, cookbooks, calendars, design and photography portfolios, etc.), while others are published by businesses and associations. Even actor Ashton Kutcher has jumped on the MagCloud bandwagon—in collaboration with GQ Magazine, HP, and The Gentlemen’s Fund, Kutcher published a photo essay to raise awareness of the flood that devastated Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the summer of 2008. All proceeds from the sale of the magazine go to support the rebuilding of Cedar Rapids. Learn more about the publication and see an online preview here.

One Respe: A Photographic Benefit for the Survivors of the Haiti Earthquake features the donated works of several photographers, including photojournalist Mary Ellen Mark. All proceeds from the sale of this 40-page publication go to the American Red Cross International Response Fund for Haiti relief.

Love dogs? Love Shirl Magazine, a 56-page, ad-free magazine published by Lee Spillennar, is whimsically designed and highlights living, working and playing with your dog.

Check out Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG Quarterly, published by Spot On Media LLC, with stories of survivors, athletes, advocates and articles on healthy living, nutrition and cutting-edge medical advances.

Publish a magazine showcasing your photography! James Worrell has done just that with Food for Thinking. Drinking. Eating. and Make-Up. Give family members their 15 minutes of fame with a family reunion magazine like publisher Andrea Bagley has done with Roeber Family Reunion. Having trouble getting things done? Check out publisher Michael Sliwinski’s Productive Magazine. Frog lover? Check out Leaf Litter, published by Tree Walkers International, with beautiful photographs and articles related to amphibian conservation, ecology and natural history. Are you a Foodie? Check out Off the Vine Magazine, published by Jennifer Anne Shorr. This 44-page publication covers new flavors, fine dining, travel, wine review, cooking and beautiful photography from the west coast.

Publish your own calendar! Take a look at Brian Jones’ 2010 Pacific Northwest Nature Photography calendar. The publication runs 28 pages, so the cost is approximately $5.60, plus shipping. The list price is $10, which gives him just over $4.00 profit (won’t make him rich, but it’s something if he generates enough interest for volume purchases!). If making money isn’t your priority—say, you just want to publish your family reunion magazine and have it available to your family to purchase directly, you can list the price for the actual cost. The best part: you can use your calendar for marketing purposes. There is no minimum order, so order only what you need—no excess inventory in your studio. I really love this concept and have all sorts of ideas spinning in my head right now!

In between design jobs and the massive spring cleaning I’ve undertaken, I’m working on a “how to photograph your garden” magazine with photographs and how-to articles. I hope to have the magazine available for purchase by early summer. If the venture fares well, I might make it a regular series on different topics (how to photograph portraits, weddings, special events, landscapes, etc.).

I’m now inspired to put together a portfolio magazine with my garden photographs, accompanied by my own poetry and garden essays as well as some of my favorite works from other poets. I’m letting each image I pull from my archives inspire the design and this is one of the layouts that is completed. This two-page spread features a lacecap hydrangea I photographed at the Atlantic Botanic Garden. The poem is by one of my favorite writers, Rainer Marie Wilke, and has been translated by Guntram Deischel.

Blue Hydrangea

Just like the last green in a colour pot
So are these leaves, withered and wrecked
Behind the flower umbels, which reflect
A hue of blue only, more they do not.

Reflections are tear-stained, inaccurate,
As if they were about to cease,
And like old blue notepaper sheets
They wear some yellow, grey and violet,

Washed-out like on a children’s apron,
Outworn and now no more in use:
We contemplate a small life’s short duration.

But suddenly some new blue seemingly is seen
In just one umbel, and we muse
Over a moving blue delighting in the green





Post redux: Pink!

23 01 2010

Originally posted in January, 2009—I apologize in advance if this ginormous collage crashes your system. I realize I got a little carried away with my collection. Pink just plum(b) took over.

(Oh, and do be patient while the collage loads. It might take a little longer than usual, but I promise it is worth the wait.)

If your system does lock up, you could also blame my blogger friends (and my Dad):

Jan at http://www.thanksfor2day.blogspot.com/
Heather at http://mommymirandamusings.blogspot.com/
GG at http://fishandfrog-turtleandblog.blogspot.com/
Dad at his eBay store here (which was apparently ransacked because there is nothing posted)

Their recent comments gave me the impetus to post the colossal collage below.

“oooooooooohhh What a show, Cindy! I literally said that all the way through. Ooooh. Gorgeous. We’ve had some sunshine on and off the past few days. I think you need to get out of your basement more. Only 49 days until spring!!” — Jan

“Oh, man! You’re always taking my breath away like that, jeez!” —Heather

“Absolutely GORGEOUS! Your photo of the back of the day lily is particularly interesting. Have a wonderful weekend.” — G G

“The begonia shot is: Beautiful! Astonishing! Unbelievable! Gorgeous! Breathtaking! Damn, that’s a purdy pitcher! Please put me on your e-mail announcement list for every workshop. I won’t be able to attend, but I’ll be there in spirit if I know when and where (I’ll need the schedules so I’ll know when and where to send my spirit).” — Dad

I replied to Heather that I would soon be posting a rather long “pink collage” that could potentially crash her system. She replied, “bring it on!” So that’s the skinny and here we are.

Okay, the color pink wins by a long shot (so far) in the number of times it shows up in my garden photo archives. I thought orange was prevalent, but I was so, so wrong. I can only imagine how many times purple will show up—I tend to gravitate toward that color in my garden, even though I wouldn’t dare actually wear that color. Actually wearing that color or any shade of burgundy makes my skin itch. But that’s a whole ‘nuther topic. We artists are very sensitive to color, you know.

Well…now that I have revealed this little-known (and useless) fact about me, I should also tell you that I will not drive a burgundy car—and my anxiety doubles if the interior is burgundy, too. I discovered this about myself about 20+ years ago. So just guess what color car I am inevitably assigned when I rent a car. Yep. Burgundy. Or red (which I don’t have as much an aversion to after driving a sporty little Jeep in California two years ago…red = acceptable…burgundy = don’t go there). It doesn’t matter if every car left on the lot is white. The rental agent will start walking, keys in hand, directly to the only burgundy car in the place. I kid you not. Ask my cousin Bill. (He recently confessed that he now asks for “anything but burgundy” and “no rental plates, please”—the second request came about after I read something about never-do-wells stealing from rental cars because they know they’re driven by tourists with some good loot in tow.) And if someone traveling with me is renting the car, they usually don’t care what color it is, but I always comment, “betcha it’s going to be burgundy, mark my words.” Then the rental agent will lead us to only burgundy car in a sea of other colors. I kid you not. I’m jinxed. So now when I rent a car, I request “anything but burgundy, please.” This request is met with raised eyebrows more often than not. And I feel compelled to explain, “I’m an artist. I’m sensitive. No burgundy, please.” On one trip to San Diego, Michael went to rent the car while my friend Norma and I waited in the parking lot. It was late in the day and we said if burgundy is the only one available, then we’ll take it (but we won’t be happy about it). I said, “I just know it’s going to be burgundy.” Michael got the keys and met us across the parking lot and was laughing uncontrollably. But wait! Under the vapor lights…it could be…it just might be brown…yeah, it’s brown. We got out of the parking lot and saw the real color…yep, you guessed it. It was burgundy. Once again.

Now I must admit I don’t mind using it in my graphic design pieces. Burgundy has always been a nice corporate-y business color. And I don’t mind if other people wish to wear burgundy or drive a burgundy car. Just don’t ask me to ride with you. Especially if you’re wearing burgundy in your burgundy car with your burgundy seats. I will then offer to pick you up in my passive silver car with its quiet, unassaultive gray interior. I will not apologize for this particular peeve of mine. It is what it is.

Now back to pink. There is an off chance that I actually have something pink in my closet to wear. If not, I should. I do believe all women look good in pink (in particular shades depending on their skin tone and hair color), even if they don’t think so. I speak from experience as a portrait photographer. It’s a very flattering shade on women. And sometimes on men, too. There’s something youthful and joyful about the color pink, especially in the garden. And I love all the pinks in my garden—from pastel pink to just-look-at-me! magenta.

Ever wonder where the preference of “pink for girls” and “blue for boys” came from? I found this on www.wikipedia.org:

“In Western culture, the practice of assigning pink to an individual gender began in the 1920s. From then until the 1940s, pink was considered appropriate for boys because being related to red it was the more masculine and decided color, while blue was considered appropriate for girls because it was the more delicate and dainty color, or related to the Virgin Mary. Since the 1940s, the societal norm apparently inverted so that pink became appropriate for girls and blue appropriate for boys, a practice that has continued in the 21st century.”

The use of the word for the color pink was first recorded in the late 17th century, describing the flowers of pinks—flowering plants in the genus Dianthus.

Just 49 more days until spring, huh? Can it be? Oooh…now it’s just 48!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

broughttoyoubythecolorpink





Post redux: Organized chaos vs. needs medication

23 01 2010

Originally posted in May 2008…on this chilly Friday night, I went back through my archives to refresh my memory—right now, in the middle of winter, our garden looks nothing like these photos. I know I must have patience…gardening season isn’t that far away…(and looking at that last photo reminds me that Michael needs to finish recoating the last three sections of our sidewalk!) If there is just one thing that my garden has taught me in the last six years, it is patience (I am, by nature, not the most patient person in the world—insert snickering from family and friends here). Gardeners have patience (and faith)—even in the dead of winter when their gardens are sleeping and at their saddest point visually—that the garden will rise again. And so it goes…

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“Organized chaos,” was Michael’s response yesterday when I asked him to describe the front yard garden. I also asked him to guess what passersby might be thinking. I’m thinking they think I have too much time on my hands…or perhaps I have an illness that could be regulated with medication. I must say that when I’m in the kitchen, near the windows overlooking the two sides of the garden, and someone goes by—I try to catch their expressions and see how long their eyes linger over the garden. So many just pass by without even a glance to their right. How in the world can they do that? Those that take time to pause from their running, walking, jogging, baby-stroller-pushing, dog-walking jaunts get a silent stamp of approval from me. Aside from my own visual gratification, I create this “organized chaos” for them, too.

Recently my friend Gina spent an entire afternoon helping us clean up the backyard and plant those last few bulbs and impromptu plant purchases from the Green Springs Garden plant sale last weekend. I cajoled her into taking leftover bulbs, excess plants, garden ornaments, an old table, empty pots, etc…anything to just get my backyard looking like paradise again. She and Michael kept shaking their heads every time I came up with a statement like, “oh…um… I forgot about the free sundrops someone abandoned in the parking lot. Where should we (shove) those?” Or, “if we just stake up that bunch of plants, I’m sure we can find several inches of valuable real estate in which to plant these lily bulbs I forgot about.” Or, “we’re almost done, guys, just six more things to plant. Okay…I forgot about those, okay, eight more things, and then we’re definitely done.” I confess. I’ve never met a plant I didn’t like. I take great comfort in knowing that I am far from alone with my disease. I’m in such good company with other plantaholics!

The front part is about half in bloom. Right now, the penstemon, beard’s tongue, sweet william, catmint, yellow yarrow, coreopsis, thyme, veronica, rose campion, salvia, ice plants, and sedums are in various stages of bloom. My ‘Purple sensation’ alliums are past their prime, now in their architecturally-interesting “koosh ball” stage. The multitude of lilies are just starting to form buds. Tiny blue forget-me-nots, a gift from Peggy’s garden, are still flowering. The bearded iris (a gift from my friend Karen’s garden several years ago) are almost done with their show. The false sunflower plant surrounding the iris is about halfway to its height and will reach 8-9 feet before bursting with small yellow flowers against the blue summer sky. (Insert amusing sidebar here: I bought this plant a few years ago when my friend Debbi took me onto base at Fort Belvoir. The tag on the plant read, “sun-loving perennial, reaches 4 ft., profusion of yellow flowers throughout summer.” The plant proceeded to reach “Jack-in-the-beanstalk” proportions—9 feet the first year—forming a swaying canopy over the steps before it finally spewed forth beautiful miniature sunflowers! Several friends asked if we were growing corn that year.)

The liatris, a favorite of bees, are just a quarter of the way to their height. A bank of lovely lamb’s ears, started with cuttings from Karen’s garden, offsets the other plants with their silvery green hue. The Autumn joy sedums are puffing out, waiting until everything else steps out of the spotlight for it to shine in the fall. Michael’s olfactory favorite, the moonflower, is slowly making its way up a trellis on the front of the house.

Yesterday, I planted mina lobata (firecracker vine or Spanish flag) in a pot at the bottom of the steps—just so I could get more photographs like this beautiful one I shot last summer: https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/09/03/mina-lobata/. In front of the pot I planted three new coneflowers and another shasta daisy. We added another hellebore to the large bank (another offering from Karen) in the shade. On the front porch, there are two topiary frames planted with hyacinth vines. My beautiful and very photogenic stargazer lilies have returned, making their way upwards from a terracotta pot. Three baskets hang over the railing, filled with verbena, sweet potato vine, allysum, marigolds, portulaca, and marguerite daisies.

Farther up, in front of the morning glory trellises, everything is verdant. When that area begins to peak this summer, there will be a profusion of lavender, multi-colored lilies, silvery purple thistle, yellow black-eyed susans and sundrops, take-your-breath-away Heavenly Blue morning glories, red bee balm, deep pink butterfly bush blooms, grayish-greenish-blueish sea holly, blue-eyed grasses, shasta daisies, various other sedums, and white, purple and orange coneflowers….I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

I replied to Michael, “Organized chaos presumes I did not have a plan.” To which he countered, “There was a plan?” Of course there was a plan. My plan incorporates textures, scents, colors, varying heights, creepers, crawlers, climbers, and a botanical variation of Noah’s Ark—two of everything, please. How is that not a plan?

I’ll accept “organized chaos.” It’s preferable to “needs medication.”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135/h1109ae8#h1109ae8





A drop of water…

22 01 2010

Thank you to my friend F.T. for sharing yet another fascinating item with me this morning. He wrote: Watch the 2-minute video that shows a drop of water falling into a puddle at 2000 frames a second. You will see something totally unexpected. It is the first time the physics of the event were explained to me.





Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

16 01 2010

We toured the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum/Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center yesterday afternoon with Michael’s sister, Ann. Although it opened almost a decade ago, we hadn’t been out there until now. Since Ann is an engineer and has designed brake systems for business airplanes, we thought she might like this excursion. (We also learned that “Hazy” is pronounced “Haa-zee,” not “Hay-zee.”—good to know we were wrong all these years!)

Whether you’re an airplane enthusiast or not, it’s a spectacular collection of 163 aircraft, 154 large space artifacts, and more than 1,500 smaller items. I was amazed at how small the cockpits were in some of the smaller planes—some look like they could only hold a person the size of a 10-year-old! There are two hangars: the Boeing Aviation Hangar is 103 feet high, 986 feet long and 248 feet wide (293,707 square feet); the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar is 80 feet high, 262 feet long and 180 feet wide (53,067 square feet). The museum has an observation tower (164 feet high—seen in the last photo), a 479-seat IMAX Theater, three multimedia classrooms, a museum store, public dining facility and simulators. Admission is free (IMAX movies additional). Open daily, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25)

One of my favorite planes was the incredibly shiny Boeing 307 Stratoline Clipper Flying Cloud (the large silver plane in the second row, right). This plane was the sole surviving Boeing S-307 Stratoliner, arriving at Dulles International on its last flight, August 6, 2003.

The Fulton Airphibian FA-3-101 (the red plane that looks like it’s broken into two parts) caused me to do a doubletake. The Fulton Airphibian was the first roadable (never knew that word existed!) aircraft designed to be used as a car or an airplane (how convenient!) certified by the Civil Aviation Administration in 1950. According to the Smithsonian’s website: It could fly to an airport and then, after disengaging wings, tail, and propeller, become a car. While a technical success, the Airphibian did not become a marketable design. The weight of its automotive parts caused sluggish performance in the air, a problem with all aero cars—average speeds were 160 kilometers (100 miles) per hour in the air and 89 kilometers (55 miles) per hour on the road. A former company officer donated the Airphibian in 1960 and Robert Fulton III restored it in 1998.

Another interesting plane was the Waterman Aerobile (the cartoonish-shaped blue and white plane, 2nd from bottom of collage). This vehicle made Time Magazine‘s “50 Worst Cars of All Time” list. You’ll see the Concord Air France directly below the Waterman Aerobile in that photo. At 202 ft., 3″ in length, it spanned the entire width of the building!

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The information below is from the exhibit signage:

Boeing 307 Stratoliner Clipper Flying Cloud—First flown in late 1998, the Boeing 307 was the first airliner with a pressurized fuselage. It could carry 33 passengers in great comfort and cruise at 6,096 meters (20,000 feet), while maintaining a cabin pressure of 2,438 meters (8,000 feet). This enabled the Stratoliner to fly above most bad weather, thereby providing a faster and smoother ride. The Stratoliner incorporated the wings, tail, and engines of the Boeing B-17C bomber. The wide fuselage was fitted with sleeper berths and reclining seats. The wide fuselage was fitted with sleeper berths and reclining seats. Ten Stratoliners were built. The prototype was lost in an accident, but five were delivered to TWA and three were purchased by Pan American Airways. TWA owner Howard Hughes purchased a heavily modified version for his personal use. The airplane displayed here was flown by Pan American as the Clipper Flying Cloud. Boeing restored it in 2001.

Waterman Aerobile #6In 1934 the Bureau of Air Commerce recognized the Waterman Arrowplane as one of the two award-winning designs for its flivver (light, easy to fly, and affordable) aircraft competition. Waldo Waterman’s improved Arrowplane, the Aerobile #6, fulfilled his dream of designing a tailless roadable airplane. The Aerobile was a two-place, high-wing, cabin monoplane with a transmission drive system that operated the propeller in the air and the rear wheels on the ground. The one-piece wing was removed by moving a lever and pins. Painted in “Buick blue,” it had many standard Studebaker, Ford, Austin, and Willys automobile parts to keep the price down and maintain the look of a car. It received FAA certification in the experimental category in 1957, but no market materialized. Gift of Waldo Waterman
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Several exhibits showcased various cameras—including a Graflex Model RB used by Charles and Anne Lindbergh. Click here to see some of the other still and movie cameras on display. Another interesting exhibit was the Apollo 11 Objects Collection, shown here.

The last photo in the collage below is of the front of the museum at dusk—how serendipitous to have an airplane passing through at the time I captured the image!






Ann

15 01 2010

Michael’s younger sister Ann was in town this week for training for her job as an engineer (she previously designed brakes for business class planes and is now in a supervisory position). She added a day on to visit us and we spent the afternoon exploring the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum/Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport. If you like the Air and Space Museum on the Mall, you’ll love this center—it’s spectacular! Steven Ferencz Udvar-Hazy, owner of ILFC, the largest owner of aircraft in the U.S., is responsible for a $65 million grant to the Smithsonian Institution. This grant allowed for the building of the Udvar-Hazy Center annex, which houses more than 120 aircraft and 140 space-exploration exhibits.

Later in the evening I photographed Michael and Ann together for our wedding album (since there weren’t any photos of them together at the event), and cajoled Ann into posing for a quick “cover girl” session afterward. And it was quick—we got our session done in less than 20 minutes—and that’s a record for me for a portrait session like this. She was excited because she was able to take 4×6 prints home to surprise her husband. I made the prints on my little Epson PictureMate printer that I picked up for just $25 at Ritz when they were closing last spring. That little printer is fast and although prints are a bit more than getting them done at Costco, you can’t beat the convenience of printing images you just shot 15 minutes earlier and at almost midnight, too!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Just had to share this…

15 01 2010




HLM Cover Feature: Guitarist Charles Mokotoff

12 01 2010

The January/February 2010 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), is in the mail to members this week. Classical guitarist Charles Mokotoff is our cover feature.

The original cover I had done earlier just wasn’t doing it for me…so I went through all the photos I’ve shot of Charles since March to see if any of them really popped. This one was originally shot horizontally, so I tilted it in Photoshop and filled in the gaps with the background to form this vertical cover image. Now this is a cover! I love the movement blur on his hand at the neck of the guitar. Purely unintentional—downright serendipitous! Bonus: You can even see his hearing aid—always a plus for a magazine focused on hearing loss.

I shot this issue’s cover when he played for the HLAA staff this past spring. I first profiled Charles on my blog in November here. I did some outdoor shots for the interior pages in mid-November, then went to hear him play and photograph him at a recital for the Friday Morning Music Club in the Old Town Hall in Fairfax, Virginia on November 19. Read that posting here. And finally, Charles was our well-received live entertainment at our first-ever Tapas Party on November 14. You can read about that party and see photos of the soiree in my posting here.

To learn more about Charles, visit his website here. Listen to sound clips here. You can order his CD, Autumn Elegy, from CD Baby or itunes.com.

Charles will be performing at two venues in March:
Central United Methodist Church
at 4201 Fairfax Drive in Arlington, Virginia on Friday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. He will perform a recital of solo guitar works by Scarlatti, Albeniz, Boccherini, Rak, Mozart and others, and will be accompanied by Barbara Cackler on piano. For more information, call 703.527.8844. (Free, goodwill offering accepted)

On Saturday, March 20, at 8:00 p.m., he will perform at the St. Albans Episcopal Church, 3001 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C. He will perform a recital of solo guitar works by Scarlatti, Albeniz, Boccherini, Rak, Mozart and others, with accompaniment by Sonya Sutton on the harpsichord. For more information, call 202.363.8286 or e-mail ericg@st-albans-parish.org. (Free, goodwill offering accepted).

You can download and read the article by clicking here: Charles Mokotoff HLM Feature





Ooooh, buy me this!

6 01 2010

One blog led me to another and I stumbled onto “Lull,” the lamp that opens and closes like a flower! It’s designed by Varmo, an award-winning Norwegian design group. Clever folks, those Norwegians! Check out the Lull website here: http://www.lull.no/ Below is an animation of how the lamp works.





Outta my way!

6 01 2010

This is one of my favorite Polaroid transfers. I shot the original image (Velvia transparency) one summer at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD. While the original isn’t a bad image, it has more impact as a transfer, I think. This image was one of many I posted in a collage in October 2007 on this blog. See that posting here. I’ll post some more of those images enlarged and individually in the future. I’ve also run across some additional transfers I hadn’t scanned yet, so I’ll post those when I do.

FYI: I found this link here on photographer Holly Francis Dupré’s website. She has developed a comprehensive guide to creating Polaroid transfers that is free to download.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Boat in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

6 01 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

5 01 2010

I shot this photograph of my dad and my cousin Bill in the 90s when we took a day trip to Fredericksburg, Texas. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area spans more than 1600 acres north of Fredericksburg. The Rock is a pink granite exfoliation dome that rises 425 feet above ground, 1825 feet above sea level, and covers 640 acres. Now that’s a big rock! It is one of the largest underground rock formations uncovered by erosion (batholiths) in the U.S.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Dreamy Sylvia

4 01 2010

Sylvia, Thelma, Patricia and my sister Kelley were the “Four Musketeers” throughout their junior high and high school years. All four girls were almost always willing guinea pigs as I was learning photography. Any time I had an idea, they were game to model for me. This is one of the first shots I remember taking of Sylvia. We shot it out in the country, not far from where she lived. She’s wearing the dress my dad helped me picked out for my graduation from high school. I’ve always loved this photo—she has such a classically beautiful profile. And she still looks the same, decades later. This is another one of my vaseline-on-the-uv-filter vignette images. It kind of has that Holga look, too, with the out-of-focus dark areas around the edges. I most likely shot this with my Sears Pentax K1000. 35mm slide scanned by ScanCafe.com (FYI: I received my DVD with high rez scans from ScanCafe a week ago, followed with the arrival of my original slides today—all safe and sound. I highly recommend this company if you have a slew of slides to contend with.)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sunset near Arches National Park

4 01 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Santa Fe chapel

4 01 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Giant Antarctic Petrel

4 01 2010

The giant petrel is the largest flying bird in Antarctica. Like the skua, it is a predator. These increasingly rare birds lay eggs in October and the eggs hatch in January. There is actually a rather large baby chick directly behind this bird in the background. I got one other shot of the mother and baby from another angle, but had to be careful not to stay too long or get too close. I used my 80-200 lens for this shot, so I was quite a distance away (and face down on the ground to get the eye level shot!). There were two adults and two chicks with them at Hannah Point, where this photo was taken. According to Guillaume Dargaud on his Antarctic Birds site, “the giant petrel is the largest of the 95 species of petrel and also the longest living one. A bird tagged in 1952 is still alive.” I also learned that the giant petrel is commonly known as a “stinker” because of its habit of vomiting on any one or thing that approaches them and appears to impose a threat. (Thank goodness for long lenses!)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Leopard seal in Antarctica

4 01 2010

I photographed numerous leopard seals in our back-and-forth jaunts in the inflatable boats from the MS Disko to land. They look sweet and cuddly, but leopard seals are the second largest species of seals and by far the most aggressive (something I didn’t know at the time). The whiteish throat with black spots gives the seal its name.

According to Wikipedia: The leopard seal has an unusually loose jaw that can open more than 160 degrees, allowing it to bite larger prey. It can live up to twenty-six years, possibly more. Orcas and large sharks are the only natural predators of leopard seals. The leopard seal is the Antarctic’s equivalent of the polar bear and is the top predator on the continent. Visit Wikipedia‘s link on the leopard seal here. (In the section on “attacks on humans,” I read that “leopard seals have previously shown a particular predilection for attacking the black, torpedo-shaped pontoons of rigid inflatable boats….” Hmmm…sounds like what I was in while photographing this guy!)

If you possess a morbid curiosity about how leopard seals devour penguins (one of their diet staples), take a look at the incredible still photos (many underwater….brrrr!) of leopard seals in Antarctica by National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen in a video he narrates here. Nicklen’s latest book, Polar Obsession, is available on Amazon here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Picture this. Miami. Christmas day. 1991.

4 01 2010

(FYI, the title borrows from the character Sophia Petrillo in Golden Girls…”Picture this. Sicily. 1912.”)

With no plans to visit our respective families for Christmas that year (no particular reason not to either), we declared that Christmas must be spent in the Everglades National Park. We loaded up the car with cameras and camping equipment and embarked, with unbridled enthusiasm, on Great Aventure #17 (remember, this was early on in our courtship, so the adventures hadn’t stacked up just yet!) to the Everglades. What surprised us most is how close the park is to Miami. One minute you’re at the mall, the next minute you’re surrounded by alligators.

Camping + Nachos + Steve Martin = It Must Be Christmas!
Michael, master camper that he is, set up a fine tent. It was getting late and we were too impatient to cook over a campfire (okay, so I was the one who was too impatient), so we did what any camper would do if they were just a mile from a city—get in the car and drive to a Mexican restaurant, followed by a late showing of the newly-released movie, Father of the Bride. Mexican Food and a chick-flick. How Christmas-y is that?

Gators + Marshmallows + Open Boat = Are You Kidding Me?
One afternoon we booked a tour on an airboat that took us through the glades to spot alligators. At one point the guide spotted a rather large one, slowed the boat down, then tossed out a marshmallow in its direction. The guide then joked (insert Captain-Clint-from-Jaws voice here), “Aye…ya know…he could scamper onto dis boat in no time flat if he really wanted to…arghhh.” The group was so silent, you could have heard a marshmallow drop.

Mama?
One morning we were walking along the Anhinga Trail…camera in hand, I searched for something to record in the saw grass marsh. I came around a corner and there sat a miniature alligator…not more than a foot long…and a mere five feet away from me. I stopped and snapped a few shots. Then I kneeled down and shot a few more, moving very slowly so as not to frighten him away. Michael was a few feet behind me. I paused, then turned to him and asked, “umm…this is a baby alligator, right?” He nodded yes. “umm…so…where is its mother?” He replied, “in the tall grasses near this boardwalk, probably watching you.” We had seen several “mothers” sunning themselves on the banks when we entered the park. This little guy? I could take him, but I was no match for his mother. “Ummm…10 shots of this little guy is plenty, I do think. Oh, my, I think it’s time for lunch. Let’s go. Now.

Do You Get The Feeling We’re Being Watched?
I photographed these Black Vultures in a tree overlooking our campsite. In retrospect, I think these vultures must have seen our license plates, figured we were lost Yankees, and were just waiting for us to run out of prepackaged R.E.I. meals and simply perish…our bodies ripe for the picking. Little did they know that in town we had supplemented our MRE’s with refried beans, enchiladas, buttered popcorn and Nonpareils. We lived to tell the tale.

Vulture #2: “So, how long do you give ’em?”

Vulture #1, shrugging shoulders: “I dunno. Whaddya think? Two, three days, tops?”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Hearing Loss Magazine, 2009 recap

1 01 2010

The first issue in 2010 of the Hearing Loss Magazine, published by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), will arrive in member mailboxes in about a week. I design the bimonthly magazine and provide photography services as well. Reflecting back on 2009, we profiled Dr. Mark Ross, audiologist and regular contributing Hearing Loss Magazine author; Jennifer Cheng, an epidemiologist and competitive cyclist; Dr. Vinton Cerf, also known as the “Father of the Internet,” and his wife, Sigrid; Ret Cpt Mark Brogan and his wife, Sunny; and Deanne Bray, who stars in the NBC series, Heroes. These cover subjects are in the links below. To view the corresponding pdf links, click on the link, then on the same link again in the next window. The pdf should begin to download and open automatically.

January/February 2009: Dr. Mark Ross is an audiologist and recipient of HLAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2008. Dr. Ross received his BA and MA from Brooklyn College in 1957 and 1958 and his PhD from Stanford University in 1962. He is a professor emeritus in audiology at the University of Connecticut, and has also worked as a clinical audiologist, a director of a school for the deaf and as director of research and training at the NY League for the Hard of Hearing. He is currently serving as a consultant to the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center at Gallaudet University. Ross is a regular contributor to Hearing Loss Magazine. His article in this issue, Revisiting the Perennial Question: What is the “Best” Hearing Aid?, is available for download here: BestHearingAid. Also in this issue, Dr. John Niparko and cochlear implant audiologist Courtney Carver‘s article, Successful Aging and Our Hearing, which can be downloaded here: NiparkoCarverFeature. (Dr. Niparko just happens to be my wonderful otolaryngologist, and the “model” in this feature is Fred Anzaldua, a family friend and HLAA member from San Antonio, Texas.) Cover photograph of Dr. Mark Ross © Cindy Dyer

March/April 2009: HLAA’s annual convention was held in Nashville, Tennessee, June 18-21, 2009. HLAA also celebrated its 30th birthday in 2009. Dr. Vinton Cerf, a “Father of the Internet,” was the Opening Session keynote speaker. Dr. Cerf was our cover feature for the May/June 2009 issue (see next entry). Nashville was a fantastic venue for the event! You can view the schedule of workshops, speakers, and social event for Convention 2009 here:  Convention2009Teaser. This issue also featured an excellent article titled, Why is Everyone So Mad? Getting a Grip on Hearing Loss. Author Sam Trychin is a lecturer at Penn State. Dr. Trychin conducts training programs, classes, and workshops for people who are hard of hearing, their families, and professionals who provide services to them. Trychin’s article can be downloaded here: WhyIsEveryoneSoMad

May/June 2009: In March 2009 I had the immense pleasure of meeting and photographing Dr. Vinton Cerf and his wife, Sigrid, for the cover and interview by HLAA member and freelance writer Barbara Chertok, who is a former speechreading and lipreading teacher as well as a bilateral cochlear implant recipient. Dr. Cerf is a hearing aid wearer and Sigrid is a binaural cochlear implant recipient. Dr. Cerf is currently vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google. (Sigrid’s otolaryngologist is also Dr. John Niparko, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland.) Learn more about Dr. Cerf and Sigrid in my May 10, 2009 posting here. Read Barbara Chertok’s interview with the Cerf’s here: DrVintonSigridCerf. This issue also included an article titled, Music, MP3 Players and Hearing Health, by Patricia M. Chute, an audiologist and dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. This article is a must-read for adults and parents of children who use MP3 players incessantly! Read Chute’s article here: MP3HearingHealth. Cover photograph of Vinton and Sigrid Cerf © Cindy Dyer

July/August 2009: Jennifer Cheng, a competitive cyclist and infectious diseases epidemiologist from Washington, D.C., was our cover subject and author of the article, Racing With (Not Through) My Hearing Loss, in this month’s issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. Jen was diagnosed with progressive sensorineural hearing loss at age 17 and wears a hearing aid. Born and raised in Seattle, she graduated from George Washington University with a Master of Public Health degree in International Health in 2005. She is a competitive road cyclist for Team CycleLife powered by Specialized, a promoter of women’s cycling and racing in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Cheng received the HLAA Outstanding Young Adult Award at HLAA’s Convention 2009 in Nashville. You can read Jennifer Cheng’s article in the link here: JenniferChengFeature. Also in this issue—an article by Dr. Mark Ross titled, Listening to Music Through Hearing Aids: The Music Program, available for download here: MusicThroughHearingAids Cover photograph of Jennifer Cheng © Cindy Dyer

September/October 2009: Ret Cpt Mark Brogan and his wife, Sunny, were profiled in an article by Barbara Kelley, editor of Hearing Loss Magazine. I had the immense honor of meeting and photographing Mark and Sunny in June during HLAA’s Convention 2009 in Nashville. Mark shared his story (along with scars and his amazing Purple Heart tattoo, courtesy of Miami Ink)—it was a humbling experience for me. Mark was also a guest speaker at Convention 2009. He was a United States Calvary Officer in A Troop, 4th Squadron 14th Calvary, 172 Stryker Brigade Combat team, deployed from Fort Wainwright, Alaska to Iraq to lead a platoon of infantry soldiers. A TBI (traumatic brain injury) survivor, Mark was wounded while on a foot patrol in the Al Anbar Province in Iraq, on April 11, 2006. In addition to the injuries to his skull and arm, his right eardrum was perforated and he has severe-to-profound hearing loss. He wears hearing aids in both ears. Mark was medically retired in 2007. He is a veterans’ advocate and a commander in the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 356 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Read about Mark’s incredible journey from intensive rehab to reconstructing his life, in his blog here. Read a downloadable pdf of Barbara Kelley’s feature article on Mark Brogan here: MarkBroganFeature Also in this issue—an investigative article by Dr. Mark Ross titled, “What About that Thing I Saw on TV that Helps You Hear Better? It’s only $14.99!” is available for download here: SoundAmpProducts Cover photograph of Mark and Sunny Brogan © Cindy Dyer

November/December 2009: Actress Deanne Bray was interviewed by Barbara Kelley, Hearing Loss Magazine editor, in an article titled, Deanne Bray: A Hearing Loss ‘Hero’. Bray was most recently known for her starring role in the PAX-TV series, Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye. The show was loosely based on the true experiences of Sue Thomas, a woman with a profound hearing loss, who worked for the FBI in 1978 doing undercover surveillance by reading lips. Deanne’s latest role is that of Emma, in the NBC hit series, Heroes. Deanne has a severe hearing loss (70 dB to 90 dB) and wears a hearing aid in her left ear. She reads lips to augment what sounds the hearing aid provides. She also uses sign language, assistive listening devices, and captioning to navigate her personal and professional life as an actress. She is married to Troy Kotsur, an actor who is Deaf. Troy was on the Lifetime series, Strong Medicine, and guest starred in Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye. He was also on a special Deaf themed episode (December 13, 2008) of CSI: NY, and an episode of Scrubs. They have a four-year-old daughter, Kyra Monique. Learn more about Deanne on her website here. Read Barbara Kelley’s interview with Deanne here: DeanneBrayInterview. Also in this issue—Author Nan Johnson describes her history of progressive hearing loss and her decision to seek a second implant, in her article: Going Bilateral with Cochlear Implants: A Personal Trip to “Stereophonic Hearing,” available for download here: GoingBilateralCochlear Cover photograph of Deanne Bray by Felicity Murphy.

Do you have a hearing loss or know someone who does? Consider membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America. Student annual dues are $20, individual annual dues are $35, and family/couple annual dues are $45. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, Costco membership, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.