Photo 101, Day Eighteen: Edge & Alignment

…in which our hero doesn’t bring his book to the bar and is shown some nice edges in the neighborhood.

Last night I ventured down to the All-Request 70s/80s/90s Bear Happy Hour at Exile. I requested and heard both “My Kind Of Lover” by Billy Squier and “Gemini Dream” by The Moody Blues. In the past I have brought a book to this event. But my friend Damian in NYC said not to anymore because it was kind of off-putting. He should know as he is a well-regarded DJ and, therefore, see much human interaction. So, I swallowed hard and went to the bar without a book.

Amazingly, I managed to strike up a conversation with someone local. He said he had seen me for several weeks but didn’t feel safe approaching me until I actually smiled in his direction. I mentioned that before I headed home, I was going to wander around the neighborhood to snap some pics of things with edges.

He volunteered to take me and show me some nice, edgeful stuff.

Moral: Smile, get edges.

Route traversed: route copySongs mentioned:

Billy Squier: My Kind of Lover

The Moody Blues: Gemini Dream


Photo 101, Day Sixteen: Treasure

The enameling studio, or I make vaguely modernist fridge magnets.


One of these is a knob.

A few years back, my sister moved from the horrid suburbs back into Columbus into a 100yr old house with two garages on the property. One of these she converted into a craft studio whose highlight is an enameling kiln. Enameling is more rightly known as glass-on-metal and involves melting little granules of glass onto copper in an oven the temperature of some of your better white dwarf stars. This oven will burn all the hair off your body, and you will scream in murderous pain every time the door opens.

But it is worth it. Granted, not every piece is worth saving. The vagaries of oven temp, thickness of glass, or how much you thrash around when the door opens will affect outcome. There’s even something called fire scale that determines the final product. I’m not going to explain what fire scale is; I’m just gonna let you imagine how cool it is. Like it’s part of a dragon or something. However, there are times that a piece comes out that’s strikes a cord so primal that you can’t wait until you slap it up on the fridge. (Or onto the back of your apartment door where they will peel away so much paint when removed that your landlady will have what she claims is no choice but to charge you $200 to repaint the door.)

Then there the ones that are so perfect, they have to be given as gifts. Luckily, I have given away more than I have kept.

When I got to the enameling kiln, I hadn’t done anything creative in years –anything that I could point and go, “Look, me make pretty!” I was completely disconnected from that part of my brain. Times spent out there with my sis, listening to REM, drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and smelling my burnt arm hairs helped reawaken that urge that years of brain fever and grad school had beaten out of me.

Photo 101, Extra Credit: Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland (EVERYTHING ON MANUAL)

I took a basic photography class last Thursday from Midwest Photo Exchange here in Columbus. I learned about my ISOs, apertures, and shutter speeds. It was a revelation and relieved me of my reliance on AUTO.

Yesterday, I reconnected with my friend Beth after a thirty year absence. And what better way to reconnect than to stroll around a historic cemetery? I have a thing for cemeteries and have posted about Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn in the past.

I like a nice memento mori.

So, the pics in this gallery are all taken in the “M” mode and manually focused. There are literally a hundred photos that don’t look like anything. I have not altered these in any way, not even cropping.

Photo 101, Day Ten: Mystery & Lighting Effects

Last night I attended my first Pride event in Columbus. Last time I lived in Columbus, I was a frightened high school kid who couldn’t even possibly imagine that someday he would be walking around being gay, gay, gay without threat of being shoved in locker.

I happened to attend the Pride Festival in Goodale Park at Magic Hour. Unfortunately I didn’t have my new Sony A5000 because I thought I’d be going to the bar afterwards. So, all of these pics are taken with my iPhone 6 (a little to a lot of tweaking afterwards on some)…

Photo 101, Day Seven: Big & Point of View


I live in Columbus, Ohio. Other than the campus of OSU, there is nothing “big” in Columbus, Ohio. And I don’t have the necessary zeppelin to capture its size. Everything else is a respectable average. That’s what Columbus, Ohio is most famous for: it’s impressively above-average averageness. We have a nice skyline, but not one that shouts Columbus, Ohio, Manhattan of the Corn! Our highways are big enough to handle the necessary traffic, but this ain’t LA, Atlanta, or Dallas. Our zoo is famous, but the animals are all normally sized for their species.

I lay awake in my bed. Tossing. Turning. Little hamster spinning on its wheel. Big. Big. Big. What’s big around here?

I slept fitfully. I woke up early. Called in the back-up hamster. What’s big?

Then I noticed the water in the glass by my bed. The surface was rippling. The cat looked at me, said “Hell no!” and bolted under the bed. I went to the window.

Dear God, I thought. The prophesy has been fufilled!

Giant two-headed T-Rex spies his (and/or) her nemesis, the massive bellini glass with balls…


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Photo 101, Day Six: Connect & Tags

Roots and Runners: Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars…

I chose today’s subjects because today –June 15, 2015 –marks the first anniversary of a great man’s passing. There have been very few public personalities for whom, upon hearing of their death, I wept. Casey Kasem was one of them. He made me the music fan I am today. He taught me that all music was equal and deserved at least one listen. He taught me not to judge other peoples tastes [Well, not too harshly. But, c’mon gays, you can do a lot better. I know you can.] He taught me that no one doesn’t like having chart trivia spewed at them for no good reason. Each Saturday morning I listen to a re-broadcast of an AT40 from the 80s and one from the 70s on Sundays. I am a complete chart nerd!

I wrote many words about him last year when his crazy wife Jean stole his body.

So I felt the best way to honor the man was to feature things that keep their feet on the ground and some other things that keep reaching for the stars. Yeah, it’s totally contrived and hokey, but it’s my Long Distance Dedication.

Photo 101, Day Five: Solitude & the “Rule of Thirds”

Four views from an area in transition. Columbus, Ohio.

For me solitude on a beach or in a yurt just isn’t an option. The sheer amount of people one has to deal with to get to these places outweighs the benefits. I find solitude wandering around and finding beauty in places no sane individual wanders or finds beauty. But if you’ve looked at the rest of this blog, I’m not exactly sane.

When I got the camera last week, my first outing was to an area along East Fifth Avenue in Columbus between Fourth Street and Cleveland Avenue, near the railroad tracks. The city is in the process of prettifying E. 5th with fancy street lights. Soon warehouses will give way to urban infill housing. Along the tracks, sidewalks and trees are already in.

Walking around these liminal spaces frees my focus to notice the beauty in the geometry and the splashes of color.

Oh yeah, and a bunch of thirds.

Dead end in Grant Park redevelopment area.

Dead end in Grant Park redevelopment area.

A truck alone in front of a bunch of places where you need to be alone.

A truck alone in front of a bunch of places where you need to be alone.


A fork. Alone. When you wander these spaces, sometimes you look down.

Sidewalk and trees awaiting walkers and climbers. Grant Park Redevelopment Area.

Sidewalk and trees awaiting walkers and climbers. Grant Park Redevelopment Area.

Same view, but now in black and white. B/W really piles on the lonliness, right?

Same view, but now in black and white. B/W really piles on the lonliness, right?

Photo 101, Day Four: Bliss & Captions

As to not disturb Murder Cat in her bliss, this was shot with the Sony A5000's long lens at 210mm. Safety first!

As to not disturb Murder Cat in her bliss, this was shot with the Sony A5000’s long lens at 210mm. Safety first!

Bliss is a quiet place in the sun to think your dark, dark thoughts.

We all need a warm, relaxing place with a view. A place where we don’t have to suck in our bellies. A place where we can plot against our enemies, be they othat guy that never texted back or the Republican Party or our impenetrable writers block or, most of all, the horrible chipmunks that taunt us day in and day out.

Kim (aka Murder Cat) is my inspiration. It’s all I can do to keep from plopping down on the rug by the screen door with her. But bliss is best a solitary place.

Photo 101, Day Three: Water & Orientation

Four shots of Adena Brook. Columbus, Ohio

Adena Brook in the Clintonville area of Columbus was named after the Adena Culture which flourished in Ohio between 1000 and 200 BC. If you drive around Columbus and know where to look, you can still see some of their mounds.

Even though Columbus appears relatively flat and boring, parts of it are riven with ravines. Or ravished with rivulets. Below you can see the remains of an old dam that formed a swimming hole from back when Adena Brook and its ravine were a summer getaway. The pool below the old dam is still an important swimming hole for local dogs.

IMG_1929IMG_1930For the above two shots, I think rotating the camera allowed me to foreground the doggie swimming hole nicely.

The next two shots are a few yards upstream. You can still see the sides of the old swimming hole.

IMG_1917 IMG_1916Again, rotating the camera allowed me to foreground the old swimming hole and to allow the viewers eye to follow the creek. I think a vertical camera works quite well for composing shots where you want to guide the eye along a path.