When I left the house last night, it was mostly clear. I stopped and got a coffee, and by the time I made it to my destination— a gravel road a couple miles north of the Rapid City turn-off—the half-moon was still bright, but a thin haze of cloud had started to move in.Continue reading “Star trails, through the haze”
A friend of mine, Steve Groves, was a talented writer and an amazing cartoonist. I think he had a hard time believing it, though.
For a while he drew a weekly strip for a local newspaper, called The Grove, that featured humans and animals in a small town. The main character had moved home from the big city and would often question just why. The humour veered between gentle and biting, as all the best satire does.
A sample cartoon is at the top of this post. I often told Steve that The Grove reminded me, in tone and in execution, of Bloom County. He’d always mumble something in an embarrassed voice about how it “can’t be that good”, but it was.
(He would sometimes tell me that he found my success in writing inspiring, and I’d mumble something in an embarrassed voice, because I know how much rejection I’ve collected, how much further I feel I have to go, so I guess that particular knife cuts both ways.)
Steve died last year after a battle with cancer. A mutual friend, one T. Keith Edmunds, set about on a project to gather some of Steve’s work into a memorial collection. Mine arrived on Thursday, and it’s gorgeous. 96 pages of cartoons, drawings, sketches, and notes for projects that run the gamut from “kid’s book” to “nightmarish monster hunter”.
Thanks, Keith. And of course, thanks, Steve.
Unfinished Stories: The Art of Stephen Groves is available for purchase, as are select prints of Steve’s work.
On my walk to work this afternoon, I was struck by how much receding ice on concrete resembles a topographic map of an archipelago.
Sidewalk at the WMCA.
I call this one “I didn’t mean to set it to 6s, f/32, ISO1600, but look how it turned out”.
Edited in GIMP: basically, stacked the same layer about 5 deep, with all but the bottom-most set to “Multiply”.
Last week I got my hair cut. My hairdresser, like me, is an amateur photographer. We got talking lenses, and she said she had a Lensbaby but had no idea how to use it. She offered to lend it to me.
I said “Sure!” I’ve been curious to try one out, to see what it could do, but not curious enough to buy my own.
I did some experimenting. It’s not like any lens I’d used before; you focus with two fingers, and you can maneuver it so that you’ve got a sharp focal point, and the rest of the image is blurred—almost motion blurred, really. It was interesting to use, but not something I’d probably buy for myself. Certainly not at full price.
Then last night—Hallowe’en night, no less—I glanced out the window as I was getting my stuff together for judo. After a day of unbroken clouds, I saw that the sun had broken through, and was throwing golden light everywhere. I raced upstairs with my camera (which still had the Lensbaby attached) and snapped the above photo, of the trees in my front yard.
I like it. I think it turned out pretty good.
Now I think I need to do some more learning with the Lensbaby.
The Halloween tally:
- Mad scientist
- 2 members of a motorcycle gang
- Day of the Dead
- 2 jailbirds
…for a total of 10 Halloweeners. (Plus two parents, dressed as Mary Poppins and Ben, who didn’t come close enough to get any candy.)
At judo: 0 kids. 5 adults. A nice quiet evening of flashcards and kata.
“The children […] actually rule the Blue Planet of Earth. They are more intelligent than the older people and outrun them on bicycles.”
Half an hour’s worth of Earth’s rotation, along with the headlights of three or four vehicles traveling down Manitoba PR 468, under the bright light of October’s full moon. Also I think there are a couple airplanes crossing the sky. And clouds.
Nerdy tech details
I’m not sure anyone but me will care about this, but so it goes.
~200 images, 10s each, f/2.8, ISO 800. WB was set to “Daylight”.
Lightly edited in GIMP: I copied and pasted the main layer as two more layers, and set the middle one to Grain Merge, the top one to Hard Light. This darkened the background a bit and enhanced the lights.
We just got in from They Might Be Giants’ Winnipeg concert.
What a great show.
A song, from my French immersion schooling, about sunflowers. (Every time I see a field of sunflowers, this song comes to me.)
Le tournesol, le tournesol
n’a pas besoin d’une boussole
ni d’arc-en-ciel, ni d’arc-en-ciel
pour se tourner vers le soleil
The sunflower, the sunflower
has no need of a compass
nor of a rainbow, nor of a rainbow,
to turn its face to the sun
One thing I didn’t remember from elementary school music sessions in the library at École Laurier: that bassline.