Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Labor Day Effort

For quite a few years, the Filthy Pikers have toyed with the idea of "10K for Labor Day" -- that is, writing 10,000 words over the four day Labor Day weekend. I've never managed to achieve that, but this year, I thought I'd give it another try.

In my voyage of creative discovery, I realized anew this past weekend just how much I hate deadlines and quotas. I could not find a single drop of desire to write, even though I have two interesting stories started.

However, I followed my sudden rabid urge to create. I needed to make an image to go with Charles Cicirella's poem "Modern Day Job" in the Piker Press, so I tackled a work of pastels. No, I wasn't thinking of the Hulk when I made green the focal point of the picture. (In fact, when I was done I wished I hadn't used green.) It was a lot of fun having ALL my pastels spread out on the side of my work desk, so much so that I'm going to do that again today.

Then it was time to move on. My Sony camera has more features to it than I was ever able to use (DSC-H400), but with the creative urge on, I perched on the back patio in the morning light and just played with the thing. Photo after photo, setting after setting -- it was glorious!

This is the breadfruit plant that thrives in the southeast corner of the yard, under a canopy of fern pine and hopseed. I loved the way the light was shining through this newly-unfurled leaf.

My neighbor's queen palm was blooming, and I had a good view of the fascinating golden cascade. Using the fence as a tripod, I was able to get a nice zoom-in of the blossoms.

Back to the shade and morning light! Bernie has a coleus on the shady bank, the variety is called "Camp Fire." The stems are dark red, nearly black, and the leaves catch the light beautifully. Sadly, the camera didn't want to catch the light except as a glare.

All that warm, pinky lit-from-within color was lost. How can a camera see things so much differently than my eyes? Exploring a light-blocking setting on the camera (for the first time ever) gave a somewhat better result:

From the darkness of the shadows, I moved to full sun on my potted corn plants. After giving me a few delicious ears this summer (it has been a lousy corn year everywhere in the Central Valley because of the high heat), the corn has dried. Beautiful when it's green, beautiful dried, too. When it turns white, I think of it as "ghost corn."

Back to the studio, and Photoshop. I needed a cover image to accompany Ken Dubuque's humorous essay, "Armed and Dangerous." Using some public domain clip-arty images, I was able to cut and paste together a contraption that put me in mind of the mommies who barrel along the sidewalks, shoving huge buggies before them, all the while staring at their smart phones:

The stripes were simply for graphic effect visually, but what was stupendous to me was that in fiddling with settings and tools in Photoshop, I was able to get onto the screen just what I could see in my head.

Between Photoshop and my camera, I was able to capture this antique-colored portrait of Bernie's zinnias. I've always loved how zinnias hold their shape even while their summer color begins to fade.

And finally, since our cell phone joined the ranks of Electronics That Refuse To Do What They Were Meant To Do, Bernie got me a Motorola g6 that has a pretty spiffy camera feature of its own. This is the first photo I took with it, on Monday evening:

My glass of wine! What better subject could there be, at the end of the holiday weekend? And with that tenth picture, if a picture is worth a thousand words, I did achieve 10K for Labor Day. Cheers!

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