For my Best Friend, on his Seventy (Hundredth) Birthday (for a Photo a Week: Traditions) 9/8/19

For 43 years now, this birthday guy and I have been proof that men and women can be best friends without all that romantic nonsense that seems required when a boy and girl become friends. We have had a fairly gender-less relationship.

It’s not that we haven’t had a bunch of different roles with each other. We’ve tried ’em all, believe me. 43 years is a long time.

For 30 years or more of those years, we had a delightful tradition of competing over our birthdays…who could outwit, out do, out surprise the other? My favorites from him involved dinner on a train with friends, a sunset cruise with his family, and the really sneaky one, when I met him for a drink in a very dark, very fancy bar, where it took me the better part of an embarrassing hour to realize all the other patrons in the bar were friends of mine…just waiting for me to discover them and be surprised! My favorite for him was the time I had a limo drive him all around town to very specific locations. Waiting for him in each destination, was the friend (sometimes a long-lost friend) he had shared a memorable event with in that very location. That one I was so proud of because the logistics (arrival times especially) were a nightmare and this was before GPS, cell phone contact, etc. It all went off perfectly. The evening culminated in dinner at his family’s favorite Mexican restaurant, and by then, our limo driver, having witnessed all these emotional reunions, was so connected, he joined us for dinner.

Each year, this tradition became more dramatic and elaborate until I think we both maxed out and silently agreed to just stop, and go back to corny, insulting birthday cards.

We do have our other ongoing battles for sure (sometimes feeling like the sibling role we adopt with each other). When we were younger, the fights we had were, uh, intense, heated, passionate, dramatic, elaborate, but always clean. He is the person in my adult life who taught me, through experience, people could be really angry with each other, and it didn’t mean they would leave or the relationship would be permanently damaged….or damaged at all, for that matter. Not my experience growing up, believe me.

Here’s a milder example of one of our disagreements.

I believe art is about taste, and only “good” if you happen to personally like it. He believes art is inherently either good or bad. Different upbringing for sure. He is widely educated in, and had a lifetime of exposure to historically and world famous art. His whole family is well versed in the field. He knows “good art” and will tell you exactly what’s wrong with “bad art”. He’s just that informed.

I, on the other hand, have very little interest in or knowledge of “real art”…although, when he and his family took me to the Getty museum, I have to admit getting goose bumps standing in front of several paintings. But I couldn’t tell you now who was on exhibit at the time.

I think, because my Dad taught me so young, to observe the “art” in even the smallest details around me, I instead fell in love with photography. Starting in the 4th grade, I never went anywhere without a camera. Are you old enough to remember that cheap Brownie camera so many of us had? Then the Instamatic, and I also had a Polaroid or two. I even got my first real job working in one of those little drive-thru Fotomat booths. People were thrilled to be able to get their pictures developed in ONE DAY!! And I loved being around all those people who loved snapping pictures like I did.

One of our ongoing debates has been about photography. Can it be “art”? He has leaned toward “No”. But to me, there is nothing more beautiful than capturing the “art” that actually exists…in real life…right there in front of you and your camera!

Being such a good friend, sometime in the early 1980’s, he gave me my first real camera…a beautiful Nikon, with amazing telephoto and macro lens! In some ways, it was wasted on me as I never really maximized my knowledge of that great camera. But I did get hooked on that macro lens. Imagine some 35 years ago, being able to take a close-up of a butterfly’s feet, or the mountainous texture of wrinkled blue velvet. Of course, now most of our phones can do that, but back then?? People seemed impressed because that kind of close up was so new. I kinda got it in my head that I might be ever so slightly “artistic” with my camera…a bit of a stretch, but the bottom line is I became completely enthralled with photography and it has been one of my favorite hobbies (passions? obsessions?) ever since. I LOVE taking pictures.

I have my best friend to thank for that.

So for his birthday (very few know his actual birth year, because he looks and acts much younger than his age) I am dedicating this post to him. To say thank you for the life-lessons, the experiences, the joy all these years, and for sharing his family with me. But most especially, to thank him for finally finding his princess…a lovely modelesque, blond-bombshell, adorned in all her pinks!! (He’s met his match with her, educationally, artistically, and she is so wonderful, she may well bump him into the 2nd best friend position!)

Oh and to say thanks for that now almost antique camera.

Here are some of my favorite photos, many of which I deserve no artist credit for because they were completely accidental. But they are my version of Art, so I share them in love and gratitude. There are a lot of them but in keeping with our tradition, I had to go BIG and be dramatic!

Hope you enjoy! (If you want to see an individual photo bigger, click on it and it should enlarge.)

Flowers and other growing things

 

 

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no clue what this is

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avocados you left in your fridge

 

Animals

 

Birds

 

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Landing HOT!

Hummers and Crows (different from the other birds…)

 

 

 

 

Oddities

 

 

 

Perfect Timing

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Favorite photo subject

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“Just resting Gramma”
sundog curve
Sun Dog

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very last family outing

Sky

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I would love comments!!! Even if they are to debate!!

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/a-photo-a-week-challenge-traditions/

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #34: Close-Up

https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/lens-artists-photo-challenge-34-close-up/

I love close-ups. I’m really hooked on macro and still learning the difference between the two.

I know in photography-speak, it’s about the lens but the only specifically macro lens I have is for a glorious, old Nikon film camera.

So these days, everything is just an experiment for me.

This is what my phone camera can do macro-wise. (I do love a photograph where the content is interesting, but impossible to identify.)

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Sometimes, I miss what could have been a great close-up until I mess with the crop feature in my editing program, turning it into a close-up. Is this cheating?

Of course, there are those photos you never, EVER want to see any closer or bigger!

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But there are the really fun shots too, like when the subject just cries out to be photographed up CLOSE!!

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I’m ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille (as in Cecil B.)

And last, but definitely not least, my favorite all-time close-up, courtesy of my dear friend Tracie!!!

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Pull up a Seat Photo Challenge, Week 5

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I have not looked through all the former “pull up a seat” photos posted so maybe this “seat” has been done before. (By the way, THIS seat was just photographed two days ago, in the dead of winter here in the Northwest!! My Primroses think it’s SPRING!!!)

Anyway, here’s my story!

Many years ago, we had to replace a broken toilet. In the 3 days time this old “throne” sat hidden (we thought) out by the side of the house, waiting to be taken to the dump, our only mean neighbor reported us to the City for having an unsightly yard. (I was not her first “target”. Several others had been on the receiving end of her ire before.)

It’s not like we live in a gated community with a HOA (Home Owners Association) or anything. Our street was still in the country, with horse ranches until not that long ago. And, you had to come all the way onto my property to even see the toilet.

Anyway, the city launched a “public nuisance” charge against me, gave me three days to remove it, and threatened a $500 a day penalty if I did not.

Well, that just pissed me right off.

SO I researched, found some Architectural Digests and various landscaping design articles using old claw-footed bathtubs, and yes, toilets, as Yard Art.

I planted the bowl and tank of the former throne with lovely, long-stemmed flowers, alive with color, and placed the toilet prominently in my front yard for all to now see.

I put a bathroom reading style magazine rack right next to it with all the articles demonstrating clever uses for old toilets.

The City was stumped and the neighbor was furious.

I left it there for 3 whole weeks, just for good measure, and only removed it out of respect for all my other neighbors who now had to see it every day.

Hey, I am a proud Child of the Sixties. Do I know how to protest and rebel or what?

 

For your listening pleasure but be warned, this video has harsh images from the times back then…(only one I could find)

 

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Photo Challenge of places we sit…or might sit…or art about sitting

A Photo a Week Challenge 9/21/18 theme Movement!

Posted these recently for the theme of “action” but it was so delightful watching these two “flower girls” burn off some energy waiting for the dang wedding to start, I thought I’d share them again for movement.

https://chosenperspectives.com/2018/09/02/lens-artist-photo-challenge-9-1-18-action/

I made the mistake of looking further in my files and found this…

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And this…(not a very clear shot but I have waited for YEARS to see one of our wild turkeys fly!!)

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But then I remembered the wonderful train trip we took from Seattle to San Diego…

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Can’t stop now. This challenge had stimulated some serious movement in me!

Next, I found this,,,

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Normally quite docile, this batch of my bugs is very fast moving and cleaning their home has become a two person job. James has to watch them while I refresh their terrarium!

They usually just wait patiently on the screen lid while I clean, except when..and I’m not making this up…I play Pink Floyd. Then they line up like these guys, and no kidding, will sway in time with the music. Little line dancing Extasotoma’s!! (One time I even tried posting a video of this dancing phenomenon on YouTube. Hey, I thought it was cute. But was turned away because I didn’t have the rights to Comfortably Numb. I didn’t know. It was just playing on Pandora while I was cleaning.)

And then there is the movement you don’t want to see!!

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Or lastly (honest,) the movement that absolutely CANNOT happen!!!

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There’s my submission for this topic, Movement!

 

I had fun!

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2018/09/20/a-photo-a-week-challenge-ready-set-action/#respond

A Photo a Week Challenge: The Fruits of your Labor

I’m a Professional Childbirth Attendant. Almost 40 years so hundreds of births now.

But my photos are not about that kind of labor.

This is called Zen Bead Embroidery.

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I started this one with the two tiny copper giraffes

You start with a color theme, or maybe a single button or charm or bead.

Next, collect and collect and collect some more, beads, buttons, rocks, shells, charms, tiny trinkets of any kind, until you have a gathered a bowl or box or pile full of the colors you want to use.

Then, settling as much as you can into a Zen mood, you simply start sewing things onto whatever size canvas/cloth you have chosen. No plan necessary. This is a moment to moment experience. No rhyme or reason. The only patterns will be those that occur to you or that simply emerge as you labor. There is no right, no wrong, and there are no mistakes.

You will spend however many minutes or hours you wish in each stitching session…until you know you are done.

Don’t worry if you cannot muster that Zen feeling. The stitching will assist you.

Or, if you have ever sat through someone’s labor and childbirth, you will already know how.

Frame, if you wish.

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I wanted to be able to call this one Ocean so I just gathered blues and greens and whites for foam

If you figure out that you actually like doing this, you can even choose an image, and let yourself fill it in, Zen Bead Embroidery style.

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And then, you can frame it, or keep it, or give it to your son, your original, 10 pound “labor of love” and tell him it is a “once in his life time” gift!!!

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https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/

A Photo a Week Challenge: “Fruits of your labor “

Defending Blue: The Altered Book

Recently I responded to a photography challenge from

Lens-Artists-a photo a week-Blue .

Of course, the BLUE is what caught my eye but the whole thing inspired me to write up the short version of a wonderful art experience I had a few years back.

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My long-time friend invited me to join a yearlong project, along with seven artists. (Please notice I did not say seven other artists, as I am maybe an interesting craft person, at best. But I was honored to be in the company of these true artists!!)

The project was rotating Altered Books.

An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its appearance and/or meaning. Wikipedia

This was our assignment. Choose a color theme. And then find a book to “alter”…. meaning just that…a book to change in any way you want.

We informed each other of our chosen colors (blue, red, green, orange, pink, brown, purple, yellow) and set off on our 12 month journey with each other.

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Our procedure was to start our own book, work on it for a month or so, and then mail or take it to the next person on the list. Then they would work on our book, in our color, and we would work on the book we received, using that color. The process is brilliant because you are thinking about all your co-artists throughout the year, watching for. and gathering, ideas and supplies for each of the others’ color themed books. (It was cool that our particular group also knew each other so the ideas we had for each book could have personal meaning, as well as working in that person’s color.)

After a month or so, working with the new color, we would mail or take that book to the next person in our rotation, and so on until we had each worked on every other book.

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The thing I loved most was as each new book arrived, it was like opening a birthday gift. Discovering the current month’s color and seeing what the last person had done with it was so exciting. And of course, as we neared the end, we got to see the project almost completed, with  many different interpretations of that color and of each person’s style of “altering”.

Sometimes the words on particular pages were used as a focus for the altering.

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Other times, it was the actual structure of the book (pages glued together and cut out in shapes).

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And there were even some very clever “pop-outs” so when you turned a page, something surprising would happen.

Since BEADS and BUTTONS are my primary craft addiction, I used a lot of those. But because we were emailing like crazy, sharing tips and checking in, we were learning new techniques from each other along the way (photo transferring, different washes, newly discovered glues, cool sticker sources, Exacto knife methods, etc.).

With each book we signed, left a book mark, or in some way identified our contribution.

 

We didn’t return the last book we worked on to its owner. Instead, we brought it to a gathering on a previously planned weekend. We met at a cabin on Hood Canal, so we could open our own books in front of each other. Every book got hours of attention, each page turned, a new gift! We got to talk about what we had done and why, how we had altered, what each color meant to us, etc.

 

And of course, this was a celebration, so there was food and wine and music too!!!

All in all, it was a memorable experience, one I would love to do again in my life. What a fun way it would be to get to know other Bloggers!

I just had another great idea! What if we did a rotating altered photo album. I know, I know, it would be easier online but what if we each found an actual photo album or scrap book, each picked a theme, (trees, babies, sunsets, politics, whatever!!) and then rotated our albums, sharing our own photography in that theme.

Think of the great coffee table book we could each end up with!

Wow.