Saturday, May 30, 2009

Woman in cell, playing solitaire

Photos often carry with them a certain sense of time and place. Here are some aspects that land this in a different time and place than today.

1. The style. This one has a woman with a certain hair style and dress that places it in an era that is not today.

2. The color. That red in her skirt was a natural outcome of photographic processes in the 1950s but we'd need Photoshop as well as intent to replicate that today.

3.The scene. What about this would be remarkable today vs in 1950? Well, a woman in jail in 1950 would have been quite scandalous. Today, we have jail celebrities such as Martha Stewart, quite respectfully, and in orange, not red. Cells have white or grey walls, not blue. But perhaps the cell in 1950 just means she's a wanted woman, not someone who has actually broken the law.

4. The game. Cards in 1950 would have been more scandalous than they are today. Any woman today can play cards, jail or no. Then, cards could lead to jail. Today, she would need to be doing something else.

5. Body parts. Bare legs and an exposed head mean this isn't Amish or Muslim, the two having nothing alike.

6. Body position. One leg crossed means this isn't a porn shot.

This image is from the Eastman House collection and is available on Flicker.com. What a great resource to understand, by contrast, where we are today, vs where we were then.

Where will we be tomorrow? I'm looking as well for the visionaries who can see that.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Entente Cordiale


Entente Cordiale
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
A little Franglais fusion is the perfect representation of an English French vacation...a little Cotswolds, a little Provence. The formal French arrangement of traditionally English flowers creates a wonderful cottage garden.

Created by A Touch of France for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2009. Photograph by Jennifer Henderson

Thankful Thursdays


Hyacinth
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
At 5:30am on a Thursday morning, what am I thankful for?

Well, coffee for starters, with cream. It's one of the simple pleasures of dawn.

That I am enjoying photography again after a dry spell of probably 4 years. Funny enough, I got into it again this last January because I needed some photos for this blog.

For sleep. When you go without for awhile for any reason, you come to treasure every night that's peaceful.

For employable skills and that I've been able to work with so many truly wonderful and talented people, people I like and enjoy. That is truly a blessing.

And always for a God who sees me and hears me and loves me.

What's got you feeling fortunate?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lady Phalaenopsis Teabags

"Be pretty if you can,
be witty if you must, but
be gracious if it kills you."


-attributed to Elsie de Wolfe





Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thankful Thursdays

I have lots to be thankful for again this week. I am thankful:
1. to be healthy
2. that the weather is sunny, warm and beautiful
3. again for coffee in the morning, dark and hot and rejuvenating
4. for great fun photographing flowers yesterday
5. for traveling mercies
6. that God hears my prayers


How about you? What's making your day today?

Jenn's Guide to Surviving the Chelsea Flower Show

After my 3rd visit to the Chelsea Flower Show, I've figured out how to manage when over 5 days a total of 157,000 people are expected. (Photo compliments of the Royal Horticultural Society Website as mine are not ready yet. Cancer Garden)

  • Order tickets in advance as this is a world class event and usually sold out.
  • Consider becoming an RHS member as you gain access to members only show for the first 2 days (better deal for in country residents)
  • Pick up the tickets on the day of the show 1 hour to 30 minutes before opening time to avoid queues for sure. Or order early enough to have the tickets shipped to you.
  • A sleek profile is very important. Lose the big bag. Keep the one you do carry flat to your body. Put lenses in this bag.
  • Going early in the day (8am) helped speed access to the scene and thus the shooting. By noon the crowds were insurpassable as in 15 people deep. People are everywhere, standing and sitting in the garden designs. Btw, all the newscasting agencies came in the morning
  • For "all-in" photos the 20mm shows the garden design as intended well. However, composition is much easier with the 50 mm. Forget the big guns.
  • Sunlight is at best uneven in England so be ready to wait at a spot until it should re-appear to light the scene.
  • Plan a breakfast booster and lunch.
  • Under no circumstances plan to need to go to the bathroom if you are a woman as this will take 45 mins in a queue of 100 women. If you must, the bathroom trailers near Garden Gate are the least overrun. Men, as usual, will face no constraints.
  • Photograph in the exhibition pavilion from 11 to 2 when the sun is/can be brightest overhead and is filtered by the pavilion cream translucent roof.
  • By 2pm the avenues were impassable and at 3pm even more people arrive as the reduced price ticket holders are let in so plan to leave.
  • Consider photographing the small gardens first as they are hardest to access with crowds but also consider that they are positioned in the shade so you made need a sunny day to shoot them first thing in the morning.
  • Take a cab to the event to save your feet
  • Walk out because there's no hope of traffic moving

Sunday, May 17, 2009

3 Travel Tips to Reach Escape Velocity

The pace of activities before leaving town rose to a crescendo as I rushed around trying to get everything done before vaulting through the narrow departure window.  This whirling dervish-ness reached its counterpoint when I fell into my seat exhausted while the plane took over moving for me.  Now, I could only hope that I packed things that matched or, if not, that I would have enough time to shop.  When I reached my destination, I felt cheated, not properly set up to do or be my best.  And this has happened over and over again.  And I got tired of it.

Instead, for a recent trip through the friendly skies, I took 2 weekend days to carefully prepare. Actually, I started 10 days before thinking about what I would need and how I would need to carry it.  I learned a few things you may want to use yourself.

3 Travel Tips
1. An out-of-the-way well-lit staging area helps translate all those little ideas, nagging notes and creative outfits into packed action. You can use your suitcase as a staging area by just flinging things (blue jeans, 3 prs, socks, 6 prs) in as they occur to you but something about the darkness of the black well erases my memory.  I need a well lit space to see what I have already got.
2. Put all those facial jellies, hair elixirs and other beauty must haves in a clear plastic cosmetic bag/box with internal structure and a handle on it.  You can move in and out of a hotel room much more quickly if you have one or even 3 bags to toss in the suitcase instead of many small items.  The structure means the bag won't flop over and you won't have to paw around for that tiny eyebrow pencil or face spray.  A wide opening helps you score 2 points when shooting the conditioner from the shower to the bag in your dash to leave.
3. Remember, you are not a beast of burden.  You do not have Ahnold's muscles. Plan your bags accordingly.  Examine carefully what you need to take and strip away all excess.  For example, my frequent buyer cards to local shops won't be any good on any trip.  I don't use my fountain pens anyway so what are they doing in my purse.  Take this opportunity to clean up. Yes, a 3rd pair of shoes would be ideal, but what's the weight and bulk to use ratio?  One time is not enough.

The result of these efforts was a peaceful feeling of readiness and a house that didn't look like a tornado just ripped through.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Blog Blazers!

About a month ago, I was the fortunate random Winner! of a contest over at Misadventures with Andi.  In addition to a Poken, which I'll get to next month, the prizes consisted of 2 books, one of which I've already read and shared with you, From the Creator of Dooce.com, and the other of which I just finished - Blog Blazers: 40 Top Bloggers Share Their Secrets by Stephane Grenier of FollowSteph.

While I adored Heather's book, Blog Blazers was a bit of a different beast.  The same set of questions asked of 40 bloggers meant I could only read 2 or 3 interviews at a time before I lost track of whose answers were whose.  

Nestled together like that, few of the contributors had unique or memorable answers. Question: "What makes a blog successful?" Answer: "It depends......" One exception was Manolo Blahnik at Shoeblogs.  No wonder.  He comes from outside the technology industry and constantly refers to himself as "the Manolo." Definitely quirky.  His answer to "How long does it take to become a successful blogger?" was refreshing: "Two days.  On the first day the visitor appears. On the second day this visitor comes back to see what's new.  Success!"  While looking for a unique spin I discovered 3 bloggers that I now follow.

While all 40 of these folks are passionate about their topics, this particular framework didn't set them off to best advantage.  At the same time, it appears that Grenier's goal wasn't to make you fall in love but to provide a scientific survey.  And that, he did.

Coral Bowl of Beauty


Coral Bowl of Beauty
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
Three tight buds of promise turned into coral colored Bowl of Beauty peonies. The 5pm sunlight permeated the petals on this one making them luminous. Yellow bars of gold light up the interior. A thankful moment.



Update: Greeting Card

Day #11 of BBB Challenge - Come up with 10 Post Ideas

This exercise amounts to mind mapping along a timeline.  Start with your 5 last posts written from left to right on a timeline and build new topics (not time based) around the nodes of those posts. Short, sweet, mindmapping is a skill I use a lot to put the butterfly net around the swirling mass of possibilities. 



Guess what!  I bet you can see it coming! The next exercise will be putting these new topics into time order!

Here's a quick review of where we've been:


Day 8 has an index of links to Days 1 through 7.




Day #10 BBB Challenge - Set up 'Alerts'

I did this way back and I have to say, setting up Google Alerts is a great way to stay on top of focused areas.  I have one alert for my blog and one for various other topics.  Check it out here: http://www.google.com/alerts

Thankful Thursdays

Hi there!  As I was falling asleep just a few hours ago I made a list of things I'm thankful for:

1. coffee
2. cream
3. sleep
4. beer
5. Fridays
_____

6. Ecclesiastes 3:11 a He has made everything beautiful in its time. 
7. Ecclesiastes 3:11 b He has also set eternity in the hearts of men. Yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

What are you thankful for this week?

Have a fabulous Friday!  

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Crumpler Photo Bags

I just bought a Crumpler bag called the $7 Million Dollar Home and I love it!  

(The name is quite a nod to nomadic messenger culture and presages the nomadic life we may all live someday as the speed of moves to take advantage of labor, materials and skills arbitrage picks up.)

This bag is just about the best way to compactly hold in one place all the camera gear I like to take with me on trips. The only way to make it 
better is to carry less or to add a waist belt or hire a photo assistant to do the schlepping.  I'm not Ahnold so I need the help.

If you're interested, I highly recommend a trip to one of their stores (there's one in San Francisco) with all the gear you want to carry in hand.  It will help you demo out the bag with your stuff. 

If you want to check them out, you can find bags and store locations here. Warning: Most REI stores carry only the $3M and $5M bags.  Smaller.  Much smaller.  Probably the size I should be carrying.  But won't.

As a prize for shopping, the staff at Crumpler gave me my very own roll of paint-by-numbers toilet paper.  I'm speechless.  It's too big for the bag I got but it's very pro-nomad!

Have fun!  And many thanks to my husband for telling me about Crumpler.

UPDATE: I thought you might like to see the paint-by-numbers:)

Day #9 of 31DBBB Challenge - Join a Forum

This one stumped me for awhile because I don't really enjoy or spend time in forums....but I thought about it for a few weeks.....and maybe I do, I just didn't know it.  
I like what I call focused forums.  Here are 3 examples:
1. Liz Strauss's The Mic is On nights are focused because they are time bound for an hour or two on one night every few weeks and they are focused because they concentrate on one topic each time (free to wander of course).

2. Amazon's book reviews are another example.  The reviews or comments are focused on the book listed. There isn't much conversation between reviews but that doesn't mean there couldn't be.

3. Yahoo Groups can also serve loosely as focused forums.  Ask Liz Ryan for example.  The members cover a broad range of topics but are united on getting advice from Liz and each other on work and life issues, questions and quandries. 

I looked at the DBBB forum but didn't find enough central focus to keep me there at the time.

After my weeks of cogitating I've decided that forums are much like collages...it's a real challenge to take all the disparate contributions and make them valuable as a whole.  Focused forums do that successfully much more reliably.  And, like any method of building relationships, it takes time and consistency. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thankful Thursdays

I got to this a little bit late in the day but here's what I wrote down this morning:

1. Thank you God for making my presentation yesterday, Wednesday, be such a good one.  (It was a very important presentation at work, broadcast on company TV even.  It went really well overall, only one glitch.  Now people I don't know are smiling at me.)

2. Thank you for an opportunity to sleep in a very relaxed, post stressful event fashion.

3. Thank you for my husband's support. 

4. Thank you for peonies and that one is in bloom.

What are you thankful for this week?

Oh, I changed the name of this post slightly because Thank Filled Thursdays was just a little too stuffy.  Thankful Thursdays is much more relaxed.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Perfume House: Part 2

As I shared with you back in January, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to "smell better" and I meant that both ways - to gain a more discriminating nose and to improve the quality of my perfumes.  This past weekend's visit to Portland provided a 2nd installment in my lessons at The Perfume House.  Only this time I was going to have a "consultation" with Chris himself.  

As we started, his only question was, "Do you want a day or an evening fragrance?"  From there he looked at my skin texture and brought out about 10 different perfumes:

Josephine by Rance (never heard of it)
Montaigne by Caron (never heard of it)
Lalique (exquisite bottle)
Amouage Gold (on my list to smell)
Serge Lutens' Douce Ambre (have his A La Nuit)
Amouage Dia (same as the Gold but with Rose)
Clive Christian's 1872, X and #1

There were stories to go with each one conveying the importance of the fragrance in perfume history or the association with royalty.  For example, Josephine and Le Vainqueur fragrances were commissioned by Napoleon to be made of a list of ingredients that he chose. The goal given to the perfumer was to create the fragrances in such a way that when the 2 were in a room, Josephine's was the dominant fragrance (at that time, only royalty wore perfume) and when the 2 were together, a 3rd fragrance was created that everyone would want.  Talk about Managing by Objectives!

When I smelled the perfume I thought simply, "Oh, the flowers in here are fresh and there are lots of kinds!" I was more right than I knew.  The top notes include May rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, hyacinth, peony!, lilac, hawthorne, bergamot.  The mid: iris, violet, geranium, black currant, white peach, cloves, galbanum.  The base notes: sandalwood, Bourbon vanilla, ebony vanilla, ambergris and white musk. As a lover of fragrant flowers, I was smitten.

For another take and some additional background, check out Marina Geigert of NY's review at her PerfumeSmelling Things blog.

Though it is an evening fragrance, I was delighted to smell the Amouage Gold because it was on Luca Turin's short list.  The top notes were rock rose, lily of the valley, silver frankinsense. The mid: myrrh, orris, jasmine. The base: ambergris, civet, musk, cedarwood and sandalwood. Warm, complex, scintillating, this intrigued me each time I smelled through the lineup.  Reminded me a bit of French actress Fanny Ardant.

The Montaigne was also exceptional.  It is a fragrance for one who has come to terms with feminine power and who is also of a certain age.  It comes across as soft but definitely not to be trifled with as well as somewhat beyond understanding.

If you're intrigued and want to do some more research, try Basenotes, a website with fragrance news, a searchable perfume database and reviews. 





Finally! Bowl of Beauty

I've waited since last fall for this event....the first blooming of my peonies.....and it happened so quickly that I almost missed it.  Here's the tight Bowl of Beauty bud on April 29th......and on the left, here it is May 3rd.  Funny enough, it seems to close up for the night.

Unfortunately, I was out of town for the initial debut. My only consolation is that while on my trip, I got to see my first Tree Peony at the Chinese Garden in Portland. There were several but here's one that impressed: 

Both of these peonies are in the pink range but there were some beautiful burgundy, yellow, orange, chartreuse and white ones. The exciting part is that unlike bush peonies, tree peonies can be grown in mild climates such as mine and will still flower. Good thing I bought one earlier this year to try out though it will be a few years before it blooms.

Peonies weren't confined to the Chinese Garden either.  While driving around we happened upon the largest bush peony installation I have ever seen here below.  

While I'm sometimes tempted to become a micro-grower, I have a feeling it's much like the wine business where the best way to make a small fortune is to start with a large one.  :)