Old Work

Digging through some of my older photography (waayy older). I took both of these with traditional film in a very simple camera. The feel is very different from a lot of my newer pieces. I especially like the color tones.

What are your thoughts?

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Hay-on-Wye is A Book Paradise in Wales (WhenOnEarth.net)

Every bibliophile knows of some little book nook. Maybe in their town. Maybe their favorite vacation destination. Maybe their favorite vacation destination is their favorite destination because of that little book nook.

Quaint libraries.

Clever shops.

How about a town full of books?

The place exists. It’s in Wales. And it’s called Hay-on-Wye.

Not only is it FULL of specialized shops, ranging from antiques, to detective novels, to new releases, but every May, the town holds the Hay Festival, celebrating books and drawing writers, publishers, philosophers, and various book-lovers from all over the world.

Time to start saving for another hop across the pond…

For a more thorough article with even more page-tickling images, check out:Hay-on-Wye is A Book Paradise in Wales.

The World Between

There’s a certain romance about the open road, a calm stretch at the heart of every adventure that quiets the soul and speaks to the mind. It’s where you have many of the best conversations you will ever enjoy, or where you’ll think some of the clearest thoughts you will ever savor. You’re surprised by the charm of small towns or just the incredible beauty of a shifting sky after rain.

This weekend I drove over four hundred miles alone in with only patchy radio stations and campy pop tunes for company. It was glorious. The state has enjoyed several waves of storm systems recently, and most of my drive was in the rain. The clouds made a gunmetal silver ceiling, turning the world into one big open room. Summer is in full swing, and because it hasn’t climbed to the scorching temperatures July often does, the trees, grass and fields are all lush emerald. When the wind blows, the trees become flickering patchworks of silvery green, and the golden crests over the corn fields ripple and sway like a yellow sea.

I’ve always been the first to poke fun at northern Ohio, and I often direct people to my old college with, “Just keeping going until there’s nothing but corn and soybean. Then you’re about there.” And it’s kinda true. But during my drive, I was struck by a strange appreciation for those wide open fields and the broad sky they revealed. Ohio isn’t Big Sky Country, but sometimes it feels like it. There’s more sky than earth sometimes, and as I passed through all those storm cells, I watched the clouds fold, dance, and fade. Clear beams of angled light pierced the ceiling, shining through the cracks. The ceiling crumbled, and then there were clumps of cotton piled high at the edge of space, set in a blue sky. The colors shifted and turned with the light. In college, my roommate was an art major, and she would leave colorful smudges from her paints and pastels on everything she touched. Indigo, lavender, blue, white, grey, tangerine – the sky was like that, color without form.

Clouds carried spots of shadow across the roads and fields, and it was like walking through a forest without the trees. It’s funny, because one of my greatest problems with the north is the lack of trees. I like my forests thick, and full, and shady. There are small stands of trees up north, but nothing you could call a proper forest. However, in just about every field there are one or two old sentinels. They were left behind when the land was cleared to mark the original boundary lines between farmers’ crops and territories, and though those borders have shifted, the trees remain. Because they haven’t had to strain against their brothers in a mad climb toward the sunlight, they’ve spread out and grown thick with horizontal limbs. They’re beautiful. Minimalism isn’t usually my thing. Give me a crowed Victorian flat cramped with strange bric-a-brac and dusty stories any day. You can keep your unrealistically white rooms and posh dots. Nature’s minimalism, though, makes an impression. Taller than the crops, the trees are easy to see from the road. Their color, texture, and shape mark them as separate from the green and gold fields over which they preside. And when you’re alone in your car, climbing a low hill where the road looks like it disappears into the sky, you get those trees. You have a conversation without words, and come to an understanding without terms.

The road is open, and you’re alone. There’s no traffic, and no rush. You left a place, and you’re heading towards another, but until then you’re nowhere. Your existence is in transit.

You’re on the road.

Magic Hour Travelscapes

Two of my favorite things in the world are travel and photography. As you can imagine, travel photography holds a special place in my heart. Travel photography from Venice during Carnevale is even better.

Say hello to Magic Hour Travelscapes, a unique photography studio that gathers enchanting images from the world over. Whether it’s the people, the palaces, or just the open road, these people have a special gift for finding powerful shots in often over-photographed locations.

On their website, they host galleries from Italy, New Zealand, Cuba, Paris, London, and much more. They’re all fabulous. But the Venice photos might be my favorite, because in addition to combining photography with travel (two of my favorite things) they add masks (yet another favorite thing) for a grand total of three favorites in one.

I highly recommend looking  at more of their work. It’s absolutely fantastic. Check out their galleries.

Century

The fact of the matter is that I’m not a huge fan of personal fiction blogs. It’s not that the content is bad, it’s just that it seems like a very public forum for incomplete works. I’m an introvert every other day of the week, and my original writing is like my secret baby that I smother while I try to hide from the raiding trolls. But every now and again someone asks about it (usually well meaning family friends), and I’m caught flat-footed. I also realized that I’m being pretty stingy, since most of my original work is prose, not photography.

I’m not published outside any teeny tiny university publications, and my work is far from polished, but I decided to share this with you. It’s the first half of the introduction to “Century,” a short story I submitted this past quarter to the Writers of the Future competition. I’m a big fan of CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. If you see a place I could improve, do share. If you’re a troll, go hide under your bridge, ’cause I’m a goat and I’ll boot your butt off my blog.

I write for your enjoyment – so if you enjoy this, please let me know. If you don’t, I’ll probably shove my babies back under the pillow and leave them there.

So, with no further dragging of feet or twiddling of thumbs, here it is:

Century

Waking up was nearly as bad as falling asleep. Or maybe it was worse. Going under was like drowning, lungs thickened with stuff they were never meant to take in. Waking up was like realizing that you died; everything was cold, stiff, atrophied . Renewing the life in that cold dead flesh was the job of the Watch.

Weak heartbeats strengthened, thick blood heated and flowed again. The lid of the sleeping coffin rose with a relieved puff of hydraulics, and the fresh air rushed over tingling skin.

Samuel Sterling opened his eyes, pleased when none of his eye lashes broke off in the process. It must be a good crew. On his last trip, only the ‘important’ parts of his body had been thawed before he was woken, and his lashes had shattered. It had been a chilly greeting. The Watch crew took their duties seriously, but had clearly taken no pleasure from them. Sam didn’t understand how they could treat their life’s work so disdainfully. This was a matter far beyond the rigors of professionalism. The trip had covered over two hundred light years. Every member of the Watch aboard that ship had been born there, raised there. To not enjoy their profession was to not enjoy their lives.

It was a male Watcher who slowly swam into concrete dimensions above Samuel’s gummy eyes.

“Deep breaths,” the Watcher instructed. “If you would please give me your arm?”

Samuel obliged, giving his arm an enthusiastic twitch to demonstrate his compliance. For a few moments, he let himself relish the feel of warm human hands pressing against his skin. How long had this trip taken? One hundred years? No. One hundred and thirteen? He would check the date when he had recovered enough to join his fellow Dreamers in the ship’s common area.

The usual plethora of medical equipment was wheeled over, stabbed into veins, taped to temples. While the Watcher worked, Samuel’s eyes meandered over the other open sleeping coffins. Men and women emerged like baby birds fresh from the egg – wet, delicate, vulnerable. Gentle hands were needed to resurrect and care for such fragile things.

At least the frigid Watchers who had ruined his lashes had not taken the dark road to mutiny, like the Century Watchers, who decided it was most merciful to let the Dreamers in their care die in their frigid sleep. The vital life support systems had been disengaged, and the sleeping coffins were jettisoned. Sam shuddered, feeling the needles pull under his skin. Never before had the colloquial, overly psychoanalyzed name been more apt – sleeping coffins.

The Watchers aboard the Century waited until they docked at the station in orbit around Gliese 581 c, long enough to inform the station captain of their decision, before committing mass suicide. Even the children. All of them. They just snuffed themselves out, and no Dreamer could understand why. No Watcher would discuss it.

But that had been ages ago. Literally, ages. The Century had actually been one of the first ships to make a journey of five hundred light years or more. By the time the ship left, completed its exploratory mission and returned, it had been separated from the rest of humanity for over one thousand years. All the original data the crew acquired over the duration of the mission was still in the data banks, but the conclusions of the Watchers – usually taken, polished, and then presented by the Dreamer scientists at the end of the voyage – had been deleted. Only one cryptic sentence remained: The fathers of the gods wear chains.

It had been a sensational news story, and every member Dreamer society wanted to share his or her own opinion on at least one local news program, but the Watchers remained ominously silent on the incident. For a while there had been wild speculation that some bizarre rebellion was forming, that the Watchers would begin dumping the Dreamers they were couriering by the thousands. Despite these fears, there had been no reoccurrence of the Century tragedy. It took people a long time to risk such distant travel again, but eventually they did, and all went as planned.

It wasn’t as if fear of the Watchers was a new development. Since the first trip from Earth to its neighboring planetary systems, the regular roles of Watchers and Dreamers had caused some unease. Trusting strangers with one’s life formed strange relationships

Dragons, Thistles and Giants

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So, it’s been a while (months) since I posted any original photography (except for the teaser shot, which in connection with the short film, so it doesn’t count – so there). These are some older shots taken in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Kudos if you know which are which.