Graphic Arts and Celtic DNA

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Rule of Thirds.”

I usually keep the rule of thirds in mind when I design a watercolor painting, but haven’t much thought of it for photography.  Mostly because of the limited aperature control in my camera, or perhaps I should go back to the manual to check more about the aperature mode that I do have.  I may not be doing all the camera is capable of.

Anyhow, I chose a lightweight cement mortar sculpture that I had done some years ago, and used it as my subject.  The lightweight mortar is composed of portland cement and vermiculite.  The latter is a mineral much, much lighter weight than sand, and if you cast a block of this mortar and wait some 4 or 5 hours for it to stiffen to semi-rigid, you can then carve it with a knife and smooth the surfaces with woodworking rasps.  After it hardens in about 24 hours it is smooth and hard as regular mortar, but easier to move about.

Sculpture of Mermaid

Sculpture of Mermaid Warming in the Sun

I set the aperture to an F of 3.3, but didn’t seem to get much of a reduction in field of view focus.  However, I used an Edge Blur effect in iPhoto, and that gave a good result, I think.


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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symmetry.”

In sorting through my photo album to find material for last weeks challenge, I came across photos I’d taken while working at a dam in Egypt, sometime in mid-eighties.  The ones that intrigued me I had taken at Rameses tomb, south of the Aswan Dam, at its UNESCO-sponsored transport to a new location to escape inundation by the new, deep reservoir being formed behind the dam.  I still marvel at the engineering accomplishment of successfully moving this giant structure, block by block, and hardly being able to detect any of the resulting joint-work today.

The quiet majesty of the tomb impressed me very much.  The pictures I’ll show today were taken inside the tomb and its interior temple.


Wall carvings depicting Rameses conquest of Nubian warriors. Notice the simple symmetry of the depiction of Rameses.

The long corridor leading to the inner temple at the rear of the tomb

The long corridor leading to the inner temple at the rear of the tomb. Again, a simple symmetry of form.

The inner temple as it is lit by the long shaft of sunlight reaching in from the entrance of the tomb.

The inner temple as it is lit by the long shaft of sunlight reaching in from the entrance of the tomb.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale


Scaling Grandma McCabe Redwood–Largest in Mendocino County, CA

13 members of the California Native Plants Society join hands to encircle the largest first-growth redwood tree in our county, near the Gualala River.  We roughly triangulated (using hand-levels and tape) the height, and it clocked in at about 350 ft. high.


Rameses Tomb, along Nile River in Egypt


Rameses Tomb sculpture

Rameses Tomb was relocated to this new site before filling the new, Aswan High Dam on the Nile River in early fifties, to prevent its being inundated by the reservoir waters.  Each piece of the tomb and sculptures was mapped, numbered, sawn into manageable pieces, and transported, to be reassembled at its new location above the reservoir.

I was a geotechnical engineer assigned during the eighties to do a performance evaluation of the instruments installed in the dam during construction.  It  was wonderful to be able to tour the site while I was there, and note the magnificent scale and grandeur of the tomb structure.

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Tide Pool creatures live in a world defined by a changing depth of perhaps fifteen or twenty feet, and may have only the dimmest sort of consciousness–that the mother tide shall return with a sustenance and embryonic fluid needed for protection and propagation.  We humans live with what is thought to be the highest sense of consciousness, and in a somewhat deeper layer of sustaining gases and nutrients–perhaps reaching to twenty thousand feet.  How infinitesimally small both layers are when thinking of a universe that continues to expand in depths measured in billions of light years.

Tidepool Urchins--waiting for tide to come in.

Uncovered Sea Anemones in rock pockets–waiting for the tide to hurry back.

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Express Yourself.”

Here’s your blog artist at a recent July 4 parade, attempting to express himself in watercolor painting: see first photo.  It was difficult to find the proper focus when there was such distraction from our coast highway artists collective models, posing at the front of the truck bed: see second photo.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Serenity.”

One of my favorite watercolor painting sites is a lotus and waterlily pond not far from my home, built by a homeowner at a site within a dense stand of redwood forest.  The owner makes the pond available to our painting group on request, about once each year, and it is one of the most silent, serene places we get to enjoy on any painting excursions.  It is very difficult to capture the beauty of this pond, with its crystal clear water, and the multitude of colors one can see on the surface and below.  If I had the run of the place I know I might want to go there more often, simply to meditate.

lotus Pond

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Shadowed.”

Thinking of our new photo theme, “Shadowed,” it can sometimes prompt a certain sense of apprehension, perhaps in  cloaking  some object or scene that has drawn our attention.  Shadowing is almost like a physical presence as it physically moves with time across our view, dimming or perhaps  obliterating color, causing us to almost lose some perception of depth in our field of view.

The first photo of a darkening, rocky coastline  is of that sort.  The second photo presenting a shaft of sunlight entering a room shows a shadowing effect that dramatizes boundary effects between light and darkness.  In extreme light, color becomes washed out, and in extreme shadow any color is cloaked in darkness.  Notice how in the transition area between light and darkness, color is at its richest in saturation.

And finally, to remove the solemnity of shadowing discussions, we have a possible crowd pleaser, the charming cat photograph, which few can grumble over (I hope).  Here, my cat Tock creeps out of the obscuring shadows to “startle” his House Mate.  (Alas, Tock is no longer with me; he disappeared months later I’m sad to say)>


Bedrock fragments in surf at twilight


Room of an abandoned house with sunlight entering an empty window.

Tock Block

A rare, gray calico panther creeps out of the shadows