Honorably Mentioned

BWSpider Hon Ment 2015

This past weekend was the first one in four that I didn’t go away somewhere.  For the previous weekend, I was at the “L.I. Who 3” convention for Doctor Who fans.  The weekend before that I made a day trip to Philadelphia to attend the Photo Review benefit photo auction, driving down there in mid-afternoon and returning home very late at night.  Before that, I spent several days visiting family in Nevada.
So, the most recent weekend was one to stay local and try to catch up with things here at home, though I did go into my office on Sunday to work some overtime.
Saturday was the key day, however, as the winners of the annual Black & White Spider Awards for monochrome photography were announced.  I had entered a dozen photos in several different categories for last year’s competition, with four being selected as nominees, but nothing beyond that.

BWSpider Nominee 2015

For this year, I entered only half a dozen, all of them nudes.  I had wondered when the winners would be announced, so I looked it up earlier this month, but on Saturday, I had totally forgotten that they would be announced on Saturday.  I only remembered when I got an e-mail telling me about it – but that was on Sunday!
So, I missed seeing the live online reveal, but when I did finally look, I saw that two of my six photos had been selected as nominees.  Then when I looked at the winners’ page, I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of them had gotten an honorable mention.
So, I was not among the three winners, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.  I think I counted 67 nominees in the amateur nude category, with three winners and 13 honorable mentions.  Of course, I don’t know how many total submissions were made to the category, but I imagine I will get an e-mail in the next few days that may say something.

BWSpider Nominee 2015 b

By the way, the honorably mentioned photograph depicts model Rebecca Tun at Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in Iceland during my trip there last year.  (Another of my photos of Rebecca was also published in PHOTO [France] magazine earlier this year.)  The other nominated photograph was made during a workshop in southern Colorado in 2001.
To see all of the nominated images in the art nude-amateur category, click here.  To see the winners, click here.
To see all of the nominated and winning images (including the professional nude category, won this year by Gary Breckheimer), click here.
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First Photos from the 20th Anniversary

Untitled Nude, 2015

Untitled Nude, 2015

It’s been a busy last few weeks.  I was away visiting family out west a week and a half ago for several days, and this past weekend I made a day trip to Philadelphia and back for the annual Photo Review benefit auction.  I was so busy with things that I even forgot to make a blog post about two of my own photos being for sale in the auction.
Oh, and there was the matter of taking the time to watch the New York Mets win the National League pennant and then play in the World Series for the first time in 15 years.  (Yes, it was disappointing that they didn’t win it all – they just made too many mistakes – but it was still a great run and a great year for Mets fans.)


One of the things that I did do since my last blog post was to get the first six rolls of film from my 20th anniversary trip to Woodstock developed.  I might have waited until I had spent more time working on the photos from this year’s earlier trip to Ireland, but I wanted to have some of the Woodstock photos ready so I could submit them for the annual contest issue of PHOTO (France) magazine.
I was able to submit a dozen photos to the magazine by the October 30 deadline, but I needed a bit more time to edit them for web posting.  Now that that’s been done, here are a few photos taken at the waterfall near Woodstock where we began the day’s photographing.  You can click on the top photo to see it larger.


A big thank you goes out again to all of the models who helped me to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my first art nude photos – Blueriverdream, Erica Jay, Claudine, Brooke Lynne, Kelsey Dylan, Stevie Macaroni, Nadine Stevens, Dane St. Clair and Elisa Dandelion.  Special thanks go out to my good friend Dave Levingston, as I could not have pulled this off without his assistance (and his van).
I’ll put up more photos in upcoming posts.  You can also see my earlier posts about the event here and here.
As for the French magazine, it’s just a matter of waiting until next year to see if anything of mine gets published.


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Thinking of Asia

Nam Ou River, Laos, 2006

Nam Ou River, Laos, 2006

It’s been a couple of weeks since I made a blog post.   That’s because this is the busiest time of the year at my office and I’ve been busy working overtime (both weekdays and weekends).  Another reason is that when I haven’t been at work, I’ve spent a lot of time watching the Mets.
Yes, indeed, the New York Mets baseball team.  The last time they were in the playoffs and played in the post-season was in 2006.  The last time they won the National League pennant was in 2000.  The last time they won the World Series was in 1986.
Well, they’re back in the post-season this year, one win away from beating the Chicago Cubs to win the National League championship and going to the World Series – and I have been enjoying it!  After so many years of sticking with the team, we Mets fans deserve to enjoy it!!!
Still, as you can tell from the title of this post, the Mets are not what I aim to write about. That subject would be Asia – or, more specifically, when to travel to east Asia again.
The Lollipop, Pakmong, Laos, 2006

The Lollipop, Pakmong, Laos, 2006

My first trip to east Asia was in 1989, when I went on a three and a half week trip to China and Hong Kong.  I was there during the student protests that year, and I was still there when the tanks moved in to forcibly move the students out.
It wasn’t until 15 years later, however, that I began to visit that part of the world in earnest, with my first of three trips to Japan.  The reason I went to Japan in 2004 was as a reaction to having photographed quite a number of nude models in a relatively short span of time – about eight models in four months, and not just here in New York – and I just felt the need to do something different.
The idea caught on with me, and in the ensuing years, I visited Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Tibet, too.  My last trip was one to Vietnam in 2011.
Pavilion at the Royal Palace, Luang Prabang, Laos, 2008

Pavilion at the Royal Palace, Luang Prabang, Laos, 2008

Why now am I thinking of Asia again?  A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Friends Without a Border benefit photo auction, which raises money to fund children’s hospitals in Cambodia and Laos.  While I was there, I had a conversation with the American doctor who’s in charge of the hospital in Luang Prabang, Laos.  I’ve been there twice, in 2006 and 2008, and it’s a beautiful, quiet, contemplative town filled with many Buddhist temple (in fact, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site), and talking with the doctor got me to thinking of going back for another, more extended visit.
The question now is, “Why haven’t I gone back after 2011?”
There are two primary answers to that.  The first is that I have only so much money and vacation time to spend on travel and photography, and it’s usually a choice between going to a place like Asia or taking models on an art nude photo expedition.  For the past few years, it’s been art nudes: a big  trip to Canada in 2012, a big trip to Iceland and a short trip to Canada in 2013, and a longer trip to Iceland in 2014.
Another factor in my decision making was this:  work.  All of my trips to southeast Asia have been made in the winter, as it’s too hot and humid there in the summer and I can’t get away in the fall.  A few years ago, however, management in my office changed the rules so that a person could only take off one week at a time during the winter and most of the spring.  This was really frustrating – not to mention unnecessary.  How then could I go to a place like Asia for only a week?
Wat Phra That Luang, Vientiane, Laos, 2008

Wat Phra That Luang, Vientiane, Laos, 2008

Still, my conversation with the doctor at the auction really did get me thinking of going to Luang Prabang for just a week – to just stay there and take in the beauty of the place slowly, rather than at the pace of a group tour.  Then again, it takes about 30 hours by place to get there and back – each way – so would I want to go for only a week?
The story doesn’t end there, though.  I found out recently that the rules for taking time off at work have changed again.  Thanks in part to some input from our union, people can now take off  two weeks at a time during that time of the year.  Obviously, having two weeks to travel is a lot better than having only one, and places that I thought I could only visit for the first time in retirement are now more of a possibility, sooner rather than later.
Of course, having more options means having to make more decisions.  Should I go to places like Myanmar (Burma) and India that I have never visited before, or should I go on more art nude trips which I’d like to go on, to places like Iceland and Canada (or perhaps even the U.S.)?
As going back to Laos remains a possibility, here are some photos that I’ve made during both of my trips to that country.
Buddha Figures at the Pak Ou Caves, Laos, 2008

Buddha Figures at the Pak Ou Caves, Laos, 2008

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Twinkle Toes

Nude, Prince Edward Island, 2012

Nude, Prince Edward Island, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any photos from my trip to Canada with Erica Jay and Dane St. Clair in 2012.  It’s also been some time since I scanned any of those photos, either.
So, here are a couple of photos from that trip which I scanned today.  I had not scanned them or included them with the other photos from the trip previously because those were all outdoors and these, as you can see, were made inside.  Somehow, they just didn’t seem to fit in with the others, but I like them quite a bit, nonetheless.
The photos were made in the home of a friend that we were staying with on Prince Edward Island.  I liked the soft light that was coming in and the high key look of the scene, so I decided to shoot a roll of 120 film with each of my travelling companions.  These are of Erica.  In the one at the top, I liked the way her toes looked, so I used a wide aperture to get shallow depth of field and put the rest of her out of focus.

3370_8 - Erica

In the other one here, her toes are obviously less prominent in the image.  I do, however, like the peaceful look on her face.
Maybe I’ll scan and post some photos of Dane soon, too.
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The Swans of the River Corrib

Swans, Galway, Ireland, 2015

Swans, Galway, Ireland, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some photos of Galway that I made on my trip to Ireland this summer.  Here’s another one.
The river that runs through Galway is the River Corrib.  At only six kilometers long, it’s one of the shortest in Ireland, running as it does from Lough Corrib on through Galway down to Galway Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
While taking a stroll through the city I found myself by the river and decided to walk a bit along the riverbank to see if I could find anything of interest.  As it happens, I did – a group of swans.
I made a number of photographs along this stretch of the river – a single swan, a pair and swans in larger groups.  This particular image is my favorite of them.  While most of my film from the trip still needs to be processed, I think that this may be one of my favorites from the whole trip.
Hopefully, one day, I can make some prints of it.
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The Creatures in the Black Lagoon

Nude, Iceland, 2013

Nude, Iceland, 2013

There is a place on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland called The Blue Lagoon.  It’s located right next to a geothermal power plant, and people can go bathing in the warm water there that has come up from underground.  It’s popular with visitors.  A color photograph that I made there in 1995 even won first prize in a big international photo competition.  (See here.)
This blog post is not about that place.

3471_2 - Aubrey Brooke Bjorg and Hallgerdur

The place I have chosen to display today does have a lot of similarities to the Blue Lagoon.   It’s located on the Reykjanes peninsula.  It’s next to a geothermal power plant, and one can go bathing in the warm water there, too.
However, unlike the Blue Lagoon, it is not popular with tourists.  In fact, it can be hard to find if you don’t already know where it is and how to get there.  As the rocks there are black, I call it “the Black Lagoon.”
I’ve written earlier about the day that I spent with local photographer Bragi Kort at the end of my trip to Iceland in 2013. (See here.)  We finished our day of photographing at the waters of the Black Lagoon, and I believe that the models – Aubrey, BrookeBjörg and Hallgerður – all enjoyed the chance to sit in some warm water rather than to stand out in the cold and wind, for a change.

3471_8 - Aubrey Brooke Bjorg and Hallgerdur

Unlike the Blue Lagoon, this place is on the edge of the peninsula, with nothing separating the warm waters there from the cold waters of the north Atlantic except for a series of low rocks.  As the tide came in and began to rise, with the cold Atlantic waters mixing with the warm, it was time to go.  In fact, the waters had risen so much that I had to take off my shoes and socks and roll up my pants to wade across, as I could no longer step from rock to rock to get back.  Still, it was a good way to end a good day.
By the way, this last photo (below) was the second to last photo that I made on the trip.  It’s a candid photo of the models preparing to head back to the cars and then to dinner.  It’s one of my favorite photos from the trip, too.

3474_6 - Aubrey Brooke Bjorg and Hallgerdur

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Galway, Ireland, 2015

Galway, Ireland, 2015

It’s been a while since I made a blog post, so it’s time that I ended my state of reverie over my 20th anniversary celebration and returned to the regular world of blogging.
(On the other hand, I am still trying to recover physically from that trip a few weeks ago which gave me a twisted and banged up right knee and two banged up shins and lead me on a trip to the emergency room a couple of weeks ago. A visit to the orthopedist may still be in order, too.)

3624_07 - Galway 2015

Before I’ll have the film from last month developed, I first need to take care of the film from my trip to Ireland in June and July, and I am happy to report that I have begun to have that done.
The pictures I’m posting now are from my first stop in Ireland – the city of Galway on the west coast.  On my first visit to Ireland over 20 years ago, we just passed through the city on the bus so I only got a glimpse of it.  It was nice, then, to be able to see the city in more depth this time, and it is a pleasant place to spend a few days.

3624_06 - Galway 2015

As for photographing in Ireland, I find myself photographing different things when I’m in different places.  In Japan, for example, the Japanese sense of architecture and style is so different and unique that I concentrate on that.  In the rest of Asia, I concentrate a lot on the people.
In Europe, though, things look a lot like they do here at home in the United States, so I tend to concentrate more on unusual details and things of interest, rather than large views of scenes.  Here are a few examples.

3625_01 - Galway 2015

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