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When I visit Brooklyn to help my wife care for her elderly parents, I often visit Coney Island. I take my “real camera” and my iPhone. The Hipstamatic shots I take work well. That AP seems designed for Coney. The beautiful beach and funky boardwalk the crowds and fast food — the rides — all great subjects for me and my non-camera with its creative APs.

I also use a few other APs too — ProCamera, PhotoForge2, and PerfectlyClear turn my phone into a portable photo lab.

I learned a lot about using my iPhone for photography from Dan Burkholder. Dan is a deep well of knowledge and a great resource if you want to learn the skills for great iPhone work.

Here are some samples of my iPhone images:

Hipstamatic

ProPhoto PhotoForge2

iPhone Camera with HDR mode set on. PhotoForge2


The creative potential of the phone with these APs is vast. Resolution is adequate for large prints (11 x 14″ at least). Wide angle and macro lenses are available (I have a nice set– $69) so the only camera I need is on my iPhone.I have an iPhone4. The 4s and 5 have better cameras so I’ll upgrade in January when Verizon will let me. I’m not going to give up on real cameras — yet — but I find myself using the the iPhone more often lately, especially at Coney Island. Nice to have a camera, software and computer in my pocket!

ProCamera PhotoForge2


Magnificent sky early afternoon — as the thunderstorms that never happened threatened.

I was waiting for my father-in-law to have his Doctor’s visit at Lutheran Hospital in Sunset Park Brooklyn. So as usual I walked around the neighborhood. The sky had been threatening all day and now clouds of enormous proportions came together. I walked out on the Sanitation Department’s pier on a public street but past many no trespassing signs and got out to the chain link fence closing off the pier. Only had my iPhone — forgot to bring a real camera. Note to self — iPhone is great but sometimes you need a real one. I stuck to lens of the phone between the links and got a few decent shots. The sky deserved a better photographer and camera but I am happy with my results — considering.

I think my online friends Vladimir Brezina and Johna Till Johnson were out in the water heading from Manhattan to Coney Island the same day. They recorded some really great images from their kayaks — posted here in their wonderful blog — Wind Against Current.

Later that day there was a double rainbow back at my in-laws home in Gravesend —

Double Rainbow — Gravesend Brooklyn

It was a great day for photography and I’m glad I didn’t miss it entirely. Next time I hope to have both my iPhone and a real camera. Or at least an iPhone 4s upgrade!

To see these images in my online gallery please go here and look in the Brooklyn gallery.


I love to take photos in art museums (almost as much as I love to eat lunch in them!). The atmosphere, architecture, people, and of course the art provide a splendid background for photography.

Sometimes I find the art lovers augment to works of art in a thrilling way. They posture, gesture and stare in ways that is often subconsciously consistent and/or complimentary with the art. They extend it or comment silently on it or create a new piece simply by being there.

Here are some examples of my art museum photos (I’ll post more after a while):

Lobby, Brooklyn Museum

The image above is simply a shot of the lobby in the Brooklyn Museum. It makes a great architectural image because it is a beautiful space.

Phoning Motherwell

This is one of my favorites from museums. I call it Phoning Motherwell — that’s Robert Motherwell’s Elegy to The Spanish Republic # 108 the art lovers are studying. In their intensity and body language they have created another work for my camera to collect.

A Kline, A Pollock and A Sculpture

The one above is less striking but the person has almost become another sculpture, a taller, more slender person in black would have worked as well or better. (If anyone knows the identity of the sculpture please let me know)

Reflections in MOMA

This has architectural elements but also attempts to capture some of the atmosphere — the spirit of the New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Did I succeed?


Here are some examples of street art that I found in Brooklyn and Manhattan over the last few years. Some of it is true graffiti — just young people writing on walls — other examples were done by groups to commemorate something. But anyway — I love to come across street art (don’t like tagging tho — just scribbled initials usually).

Here ya go – let me know what you think.

Old Glory and Lady Liberty

These ladies are of Russian origin I think -- as are many in this neighborhood.

Roebling Tea Room in Williamsbug -- great name for a very nice tea room.

Random graffiti that only makes sense because of the signs. Designed that way?

The boardwalk at Coney Island -- nicely done garbage cans (part of a school project?)


This is Alec -- a Street Guy. Found in Greenwich Village.

I love this one -- its in Williamsburg at Metropolitan Avenue.

Here's the subway in South Brooklyn viewed through a chain link fence. Just a little graffiti but the composition is street artish, no?


 

obeysmica-artsy1First of all Shepard Fairey’s exhibit at the ICA Boston is stunning visually, impressive politically and I want to see it again. Fairey is an artist of the streets who made it to the legit museum and gallery world. He  graphically shows us how confused we are. Guns and roses, life and death, love and hate  etc.

His arrest  on the way to his own opening over an old graffiti rap was stupid and put Boston in a bad light. The local cops apparently didn’t know that their acions would be picked up around the world and that they would seem odd to most people who care about art. Sure private property needs to be protected but Fairey’s deal is that he can appropriate private property, use it to communicate his own, highly worthwhile message and he seems to expect to usually get away with it (“art is what you can get away with” saith the Warhol).

Well, I get it. His street work is clever and intriguing so I guess if he doesn’t tag my house I’m ok with his methods ;>) Or to put it another way, urban public spaces are usually enhanced by graffiti of this caliber. I guess. Its a matter of taste and will always be controversial. 

Yeah but wait a minute — something strange happened on my way to the museum — Because I asked I was told that no photography of Shepard Fairey’s work would be permitted. In other words I couldn’t appropriate his stuff for, say my blog or even just to show my friends. Yet the brochure handed out at he museum said — “Know the words” — and the first word is “Appropriate!” Yep, that’s what Shepard does, but he doesn’t want any appropriations of his stuff. Is that fair or or does it even make sense?

So I only took one sneaky photo (see below). Also took some legit ones of the building and surroundings – shots of the architecture are ok according to the young man in black who sold us our tickets. (He was in black so he must be hip..)

ica-architecture

fairey-approriated1

It would be ironic to be arrested or kicked out for taking photos of Shepard Fairey’s work (which mostly have appropriated photos and other stuff in them) — know what I mean? What do you think?

(BTW — I pulled the ‘Obey’ tag from a random place on the internet. It is available world wide for your appropriation and delight!)


A boardwalk through the marshes on Plum island.

Marsh Loop, Plum Island

Sorry I haven’t written a new blog entry for a while. Last time I was in a bad mood over the long winter, now I’ve been busy with Spring.

So what’s going on? Well, I formally left the Baha’i faith fifty years almost to the day I declared my belief at fifteen in 1958. I also joined a cooperative art gallery in Newburyport and sold three prints during my first weekend there. Website: http://bridgegallerynewburyport.com/

Maria, my youngest daughter is graduating from college and preparing to start graduate school this fall. We attended her thesis presentation and she was as her professor said, ‘perfect.’ Aurora and I are enjoying our membership in First Parish Church United in Westford. Lad is going to turn 15 next month, he has the wise old dog look as if he is seeing into the world of mystery and spirit.

My grown daughters are living their lives and I hope are happy. Aida is settling in to a new job while also doing well with painting and consulting. Robin and I had a great visit in March and she seemed so relaxed and happy — I hope she continues to be that way. I haven’t heard from my eldest free spirit, Dawn for a while — I hope she is well and happy. (Sent Robin and Dawn Mom’s day cards — they each have done wonderful work in raising their kids — many thanks to them and the universe for that!)

My Grandchildren are growing up — Jack has a new job, Eddy is teaching Freshman English and doing well in graduate school, Shaylyn is thinking of going to college on the East Coast — yeah!! — and Elliot is growing up and enjoying his new school (how I miss them all!) Shay paid us a visit in April and it was such a treat. She is so delightful to be with and I think she had a good time as well. Visited RISD and some art schools in Boston. I hope she picks one next year.

Meanwhile politics, local and national, marches on in its surrealistic way. Extremists abound. Mean spirits continue to rule and the rest of us rue the day. Yet our problems are not petty nor mean. They are the result of our success as a species. Its pretty clear that what is needed is for us to grow up and quickly. It is human nature itself that is challenged and needs to evolve — with great rapidity – if that’s possible.

While I feel very good — liberated — about the Baha’i decision, I think it a shame the Baha’i faith hasn’t had greater impact. Some of what the Bahia’s teach is good medicine. But its such a stew of mixed and contradictory beliefs and behaviors that in good conscience I can’t call myself a Baha’i. Greater impact would stir some of the questions that need asking now — I don’t hold hope that Baha’i has all the answers but questions? Yes it offers many.

I saw Karen Armstrong speak at a TED conference recently. She was receiving an award and gave a wonderful talk. From the TED website: (Armstrong) “talks about how the Abrahamic religions — Islam, Judaism, Christianity — have been diverted from the moral purpose they share to foster compassion. But Armstrong has seen a yearning to change this fact. People want to be religious, she says; we should act to help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help her build a Charter for Compassion — to help restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.”

The thoughts from this talk that have stayed with me include the conclusion that religion is not primarily about beliefs; rather its about behavior. I suppose the beliefs are a means of encouraging certain behaviors. Another lasting thought is that the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) all have the virtue of Compassion at their core — embodied in  the Golden Rule. Simple. Makes me wonder why the religions have gotten so complex. (Maybe its because as Karen says, “the Golden Rule is difficult.”

Here is a link to the talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/234

For me the problem with religion is that most of ’em claim to offer the infallible word of God. If you need to know what to do and you are religious you can look it up in the holy book. Of course this breaks down at times (often) and then the believers need to come up with logic that explains away the contradictions, logical fallacies, and misinformation. I think that only if we keep things simple — the golden rule, the four noble truths, “Love one another as I have loved you” — there is hope.

Most faiths act as if they had the only or ultimate truth. Baha’i says — all religious are true but ours is truer because its the latest revelation from God. Seems simple — but its a dangerous and divisive attitude. The concept that God progressively reveals more truth over time to meet the needs of each age seems simple too. But its simplicity precludes the problem solving and truth finding that we need to do in our lives as we follow our own unique path.

This is what drew me to the church we recently joined. It is affiliated with Unitarian/Universalist and through them with the teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I get much wisdom and pleasure from his writings. His advice is to listen to one’s inner voice, to intuition. He advises us to not seek the truth in books but in our own ‘genius’ — that is the spirit within. A kind of contradiction because I am seeking wisdom in books of his. At least Emerson doesn’t claim to be the voice of God!

The UU approach implies that truth can be found in many places, sacred and secular. I think this is good advice. Also the rejection of the belief that certain historic figures were unique and were incarnations or direct voices of God is good. As Emerson taught, the same source of truth that Christ had we may have as well. Christ set an example of how to find that source and we would do well to emulate it. But to worship him as God or nearly God or God’s only son is rejected. I agree. And I also reject the infallibility of Baha’ullah and the others in Baha’i who claim it because no one born of flesh was ever infallible. Worth following? Possibly. Infallible? Not possible.

I hope to write in this blog more often. I’ll get back to being more specific and reporting events that might interest others — like apparently skunk cabbage — one of my readers (or I guess searchers/googlers) most favored subjects strangely enough.

Meanwhile enjoy the springtime and let me know your thoughts if you want.

Use of photos

Photos on this blog are copyright protected. Therefore, if you wish to use photos please make a donation in an amount of your choice. My PayPal email address is fwinters@verizon.net.

Prints are available at Fine Art America

Or contact me directly.

Thanks.

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