Personal Photo Project of the Week No. 2

Funny Face Homage
Funny Face Homage

This is an example of completing two photo projects in one week. Long time fans of Jill and the keenly observant will note that she is wearing the same shirt as in Psyched Up (Not Out). That is because these pictures were taken moments apart.

Another observation that could be made is that this is the inverse of the June picture in the 2010 Photography 139 Calendar.

Funny Face Homage
Funny Face Homage Inverse

The positive image (image at the top) is the image that was originally designed. The image in the calendar was something I did later in post production for fun. As it turns out, Jill actually prefers the inversion and while her feedback may have contributed to its inclusion in the calendar over the originally designed image the real reason is one of practicality. An image that has this much dark and black is hard for a printer to print with any kind of quality. So the much lighter inversion was selected. This is why calls by Baier to include moon photography in the calendar have been ignored to date.*

I indicated in an earlier entry that this picture was placed on June because it represents a darkroom technique. This was another contributing factor. That image was created in Photoshop, but it is an image that could be made in the darkroom and was inspired by many of my darkroom failures. Failures that can be seen in my newly christened “failure trunk” that resides in my basement.

Memory is a funny thing. The original picture was inspired by the Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face. I’m certain that they settled for Audrey Hepburn because they didn’t have a Jill Gorshe. Fortunately, I didn’t have to settle.

It had been a couple of years since I watched that movie, but I do remember being inspired to make this image immediately during my initial viewing.

A few days after taking this picture, I re-watched Funny Face. It turns out that it is in color. I remembered it being in black and white. That is okay, I prefer my image to be in black and white.

Here is a still from the scene in the movie Funny Face that inspired this picture.

Funny Face Homage

This picture did take a little bit of groundwork to make. The inverse image in the image comes from a test picture I took of Jill a couple months ago when she posed for the hand picture.

I converted this picture to black and white, cropped it and made it into a negative image.

Funny Face Homage

Admittedly, Jill isn’t crazy about this image of her. That might be why she likes the FFH Inverse better.

Although I personally love all of these pictures (mostly because of my ego problem) my favorite picture is actually somewhat of a joke.

As anybody has modeled for me can tell you, I don’t give much direction. Therefore, when Jill sought direction, I told her just look at her picture. I didn’t want any kind of a modeling pose.

She replied, “That is good. Because if I tried to model it would look goofy like this…”

Then she did the following.

Funny Face Homage


Next week’s personal photo project involves a creature that did not live to see its artistic contribution to the world unveiled. Despite the insinuations of Jay, I didn’t commit murder. It died completely independent of my actions. I do confess that it was convenient for me that it passed on because I have no clue what I was going to do with it, but fate bailed me out. Not my own actions.

*Incidentally, tonight is a great night to go out and watch the moon. It is the perigee moon. The largest full moon of the year. It is as much as 14% wider and 30% brighter than other full moons you’ll see later this year!

Throwing Apples

Sometimes when I’m driving to the Computer Mine in the morning I eat an apple for breakfast.

When I get out of my car I like to throw that apple into the woods before I descend into the Mine. I do this because I figure that the apple is better used by many of the woodland creatures that scurry around out there than it would be sitting and rotting in the garbage can next to my bench.

Today when I threw the apple I disturbed a crow. I love crows.

So I watched the crow fly up and out of the woods and into the Ames sky.

As I tracked his flight I noticed an abnormally large brown thing perched on a tree behind the mine. Then I noticed its white head.

I didn’t bring my camera to work today but I was able to borrow the camera of a fellow miner to snap off a few shots of the beast.

Throwing Apples

Throwing Apples

Throwing Apples

This is the first time that I have seen a bald eagle in Ames.

The 52 Themes

I have been asked by a couple different people if I knew all 52 Themes for RWPE couldn’t I think ahead?

The truth is that I could think ahead, but off the top of my head I couldn’t tell you what maybe 5 of the themes are that haven’t been used yet.

Plus I have to admit that I don’t feel the need to think ahead on RWPE, when I’m already planning very far ahead for my Personal Photo Project of the Week. To put it somewhat bluntly, thinking ahead defeats the purpose of the project. The point of the project is spontaneity and being forced to think creatively when faced with a timeline. But admittedly there is a factor of convenience involved as well.

During the first 3 weeks, the photo that I have ended up taking (all 3 weeks) has been my 3rd or 4th idea. The first ideas just haven’t worked out because of time and sometimes the weather.

However, I do want to afford other people the opportunity to “think ahead”, so below I have listed all 52 Themes:

1 means available 0 means used.

1|~|Peace of Mind
1|~|Painting with Light
1|~|Smoke Photography
1|~|Long Exposure
1|~|Rule of Thirds
1|~|Leading Lines
1|~|Symmetry and Patterns
1|~|Depth of Field
0|~|Use of Space
1|~|Odd Camera Angle
1|~|Panning & Camera Blur
1|~|Light Placement
1|~|Still Life
1|~|Diagonal Rule
1|~|Self Portrait

Some of these themes are somewhat specific photography techniques that some people might not understand. Don’t worry, when “Depth of Field” or “Painting with Light” or chosen, I will do my best to explain what that means. Of course, there is no reason to have to think inside the box and feel obligated to use that technique literally.

RWPE #3 – People

Last weeks Random Weekly Photo Experiment Theme was PEOPLE. Here are the submissions:

Christopher D. Bennett

Michael Vest

Jesse Howard

Becky Perkovich

There were also a couple of different types of submissions. The first of the different types of submissions came from Shannon Bardole. Her submission breaks the one and only rule of the Random Weekly Photo Experiment. That rule is that the picture has to be taken the week of the theme.

However, I’m going to allow her submission because her take on this experiment is art appreciation and not creating new art. The picture she submitted I actually took.

06-28-08 - Box Brothers
Shannon Bardole

Dawn Krause also had an interesting take on this RWPE. She has elected to participate this week via her medium of choice – poetry.

The world wants lovers never pain
To dance in sunshine without rain
Our very nature will cause a rift
Away from Eden we slowly drift

Human nature a cunning score
Breaks the heart whom we adore
For want of love unconditioned
Search the world for our rendition

Young love will often never last
For inner tensions we are cast
Still we search for a kindred soul
A companionship to make us whole

Dawn Krause

I hope at least a few people are in suspense about the theme for RWPE this week. The Random Generator spit out the following theme:


That should be interesting considering most of the vegetation is covered in a thick blanket of snow and ice, but I have faith that a few people will be able to come up with something of interest.

Personal Photo Project of the Week No. 1

My new Friday tradition is to post my Personal Photo Project of the Week. This is not to be confused with the Random Photo Project of the Week that is posted on Mondays. The Monday pictures are random. The Friday pictures are personal.

One of the goals I developed near the end of last year was to complete a personal photo project every week. This isn’t a 2010 goal. This is a “until I run out of what I view as creativity goal”. I’m hoping that this is a 2011 goal, a 2012 goal, a 2013 goal…

Because frequently “fate takes a hand”, sometimes I don’t complete my personal photo project every week and sometimes I complete more than one project a week I’m giving myself a very generous buffer. Although this is the first week that I’m posting my personal photo projects I have a buffer of 6 weeks. That means, that this project was completed 6 weeks ago and if you participated in a weekly project, you won’t see it posted on the website for roughly 6 weeks.

PPPoftW #1 was to get a picture of a foot to match my hand picture. Jill graciously agreed to pose for the foot picture so that the hand and foot pictures match (well, they are at least attached to the same body). So without further adieu, I reveal Psyched Up (Not Out).

Psyched Up (Not Out)
Psyched Up (Not Out)

Not all photo projects will be taking new pictures. Some projects involve framing pictures. Some might involve hanging up pictures. But some projects involve taking multiple pictures. Here are a few other pictures from the “Psyched Photo Sessions”.

Psyched Up (Not Out)

Psyched Up (Not Out)

Psyched Up (Not Out)

Psyched Up (Not Out)

Psyched Up (Not Out)

I am choosing not to publish Jill’s favorite picture from this photo session because it is more of a “behind the scenes” type photo and although I think most people can figure this picture out, I still like to leave some things to the imagination.

The Baiers

On Carrie’s birthday she requested that I take a few pictures of the Baier clan. Here are my favorite pictures from that day.

But before we got too deep into these pictures I need to point out a couple of things.

First, the addition of these pictures to the Friends Album makes it over 500 pictures in the Friends Album. A milestone worth celebrating. I think I will go to Jason Baier’s favorite restaurant tonight to celebrate.

Second, there are times where I forget that I’m not invincible. This photo experience was one of those times. I insisted on climbing on top of a rock in the middle of a frozen stream to get the picture that I wanted.

I did get the pictures that I wanted, but when I came off the rock I planted my feet not so firmly on rather thin ice. The ice did not hold and I went crashing through into the freezing water below, up to my knees.

While the cold water was a few notches past invigorating, the real pain of this experience came from bashing my right knee against a rock on the way down. A knee injury that plagued me for weeks and undoubtedly contributed to some weak performances on the basketball court.

I don’t bring this up because I desire sympathy, but merely to point out why in the middle of this collection of pictures of the Baiers there is a seemingly random picture of your humble narrator, photographer and hero.

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

Unfortunately, the lighting conditions couldn’t be worse for portrait photography, but I think we came away with some good stuff.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

I’ve often heard that the saddest thing in the world is unrequited love. Unsolicited love on the other hand…

I’ve never been a Christmas card person. My thoughts on cards is that when somebody sends you a card, what they are really saying (with apologies to Mitch Hedberg) is: “here, throw this away for me.”*

Apparently my bah humbuggery has gotten around and this year I think I hit a new low for Christmas cards received.

Christmas Cards - 2009

However, even though I don’t participate in the tradition I took Christmas card photos for 4 sets of people. That made me think that maybe I should get into the act.

But I don’t know how far I want to take it. I could certainly send a picture card of me that says, “Merry Christmas! Please, throw this away for me.” But I began to wonder if I have it in me to write the perfunctory Christmas letter.

You know, the whitewashed version of people’s lives that some people put in their cards. I didn’t think I was capable of this level of lying, but then I opened the theme Christmas letter from Geri D.

It was inspiring in its creativity. Maybe inspiring enough that some of you might just get something in the mail from me in December of 2010.

Since I have already covered the Christmas card photo shoot for the Howards, I am going to spend the next few days covering the other 3 photo shoots.

The other thing I want to cover today is a new photo project I am entering into with Mike Vest of Waxen Media. (Jesse Howard has also agreed to participate, but did not submit a photo for this week.) It is the type of photo project that I hope some of you choose to also participate in.

We came up with 52 photo “subjects” and entered them into a random generator. Every week on Monday we will randomly be given a new subject to photograph.

On Mondays I will post the previous week’s photos and that week’s subject. Anybody that would like to participate can. You can participate as many or as few weeks as you want. The photos don’t have to be taken with a fancy camera or have to be high art. Pictures with a camera phone are perfectly acceptable. The only rule is that the picture has to be taken that week.

Just email me your picture before noon each Monday.

Last week’s subject was “Use of Space”. Here are our pictures:

Christopher D. Bennett

Michael Vest

The subject for next week is “SOOTHING”. I know this to be short notice, but snap something off and email it to me at

This weekly random photo subject should NOT be confused with my ongoing Personal Photo Project of the Week that is one of my goals for 2010. I should hopefully start publishing some of that work next week. After I cover the other 3 Christmas Card Photo Shoots.

Of course there is one last subject that needs to be covered. It has been exactly 1 week since my old friend college football left me until next September.

The Gridiron Bowl Prophets made many wild predictions and this time, Yours Truly came out as the Champ.

Gridiron Bowl Prophets Final Standings:

  1. Christopher D. Bennett – The Insight – 23 of 34 – 429 Points
  2. Corey Faust – In It To Beat Bennett – 20 of 34 – 393 Points
  3. Jason Baier – Hokies – 21 of 34 – 367 Points
  4. Jesse Howard – Bowl Prophet – 20 of 34 – 341 Points
  5. Toby Sebring – I Love Lamp – 17 of 34 – 323 Points
  6. Lowell Davis – AC000000 – 0 of 34 – 0 Points

It is only my incredible modesty that prevents me from pointing out the thorough dominance of my performance.

*Despite my bravado, I don’t really throw anything away. If I’m ever on Hoarders, it will be because of the boxes and boxes of cards I have in my basement.


Pardon and Sanctify Me

This cross stands on top of my church. It no longer looks like this because the it was painted during the tuckpointing process last year. The name comes from a classic hymn:

1. On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

2. O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.

3. In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.

4. To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he’ll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I’ll share.

The “story” of this picture and its original color incarnation can be seen by clicking on the link below:

Number 750

This is entry number 750 in this online journal. I’d like to take a little bit of time to archive some data. It is one of my peculiar imbecilities that I love meaningless statistics. Therefore, consider these statistics:

Every journal entry falls into at least one of sixteen categories. This is how many journal entries have fit into each one of these categories:

  1. Photography – 295
  2. Friends – 269
  3. Life – 238
  4. Family – 98
  5. Religion – 63
  6. ISU Football – 41
  7. Jaycees – 40
  8. Movies – 39
  9. Blogging 33
  10. Sports – 25
  11. Work – 25
  12. House – 24
  13. Writing – 23
  14. Comedy – 20
  15. Politics – 17
  16. History – 12

If you measure popularity by how many times a picture is viewed, these are the 10 (or so) most popular pictures in my Artistic Gallery.

#1. Outburst of the Soul (26 Views)

#2. Untitled (23 Views)

Grizzly McAlpine
#3. Grizzly McAlpine (22 Views)

Obama at Mike O'Brien's House
#3. Untitled (22 Views)

Obama at Mike O'Brien's House
#5. Untitled (21 Views)

#5. Jen Smoking (21 Views)

#7. UnHingd Publicity Still (20 Views)

2007 - Living History Farms
#8. 1900 (19 Views)

#8. Untitled – (19 Views)

Boone County Fair Photo Contest - 2008
#10. Campanile Self Portrait – (18 Views)

#10. US30 East of Ogden – (18 Views)

I know these numbers are somewhat controlled by the length of time a picture has been in the Artistic Gallery, but I am pleased by the number of black and white images that are high in popularity.

But it begs the question, what is the most popular subject in the Snapshot Gallery. What do people like to see from the “Daily Grind of My Existence”?

The Big Jesus Road Trip
#1. Jesse and I with the World’s Largest Cheeto – (25 Views)

The Big Jesus Road Trip
#2. Jesse with a Bob’s Dog – LeMars, Iowa (23 Views)

The Big Jesus Road Trip
#3. Jesse and I in backstage of the Surf Ball Room – (21 Views)

Shannon at Backbone State Park
#4. Shannon reading a map on our first road trip to Backbone. (19 Views)

Iowa State vs. Texas A&M
#4. Sumrall catching a pass against A&M. I think this picture is so popular because it was a popular picture to get spammed when I was having spamming problems with the galleries.

The Big Jesus Road Trip
#6. Jesse at the Surf Ball Room – (18 Views)

The Big Jesus Road Trip
#6. Jesse kissing the Blarney Stone – (18 Views)

Eastern Iowa Road Trip - 2006
#8. Jesse and I in Clinton on The Eastern Iowa Road Trip – (17 Views)

Bonne Finken
#8. Jen and Shannon making some kind of deal at Bonne Finken – (17 Views)

Bonne Finken
#8. Cousin Amy, Sara and Jen at Bonne Finken – (17 Views)

Eastern Iowa Road Trip - 2006
#8. Jesse and Jay on The Eastern Iowa Road Trip – (17 Views)

Eastern Iowa Road Trip - 2006
#8. Robert enjoying the view of the Mississippi River in Balltown – (17 Friends)

The Big Jesus Road Trip
#8. Jesse videotaping Big Jesus – (17 Views)

The Big Jesus Road Trip
#8. Jesse and I at the Sgt. Floyd Memorial – (17 Views)

I think what I have learned from this exercise is that people like to see Jesse and I having adventures. I think I’ll have to look into us having a few more adventures in 2010!

I will have to check back in on this when I hit journal entry number 1,000.