Sunday, June 7, 2015


we just returned from yellowstone.

this is my first trip with the nikon d800 and the new tamron 150-600 lens. photography was my first artistic discipline. I used to shoot a completely manual camera. didn't shoot for a long time and then came digital. i've spent the past few years remembering how to shoot manually- paying more attention to lighting, aperture, learning to use cameras that could probably drive my car if I knew how to program them to do so.

photography is an interesting medium because people quite often think that they can take the same photo themselves, unless the shot is very unique in aspect or presentation. I have spent a lot of years taking photos to use as inspiration for paintings or as components of mixed media work. i just couldn't charge enough for framed work to make it worth keeping the inventory. and while i have some good shots of birds and animals and landscapes they weren't compelling people to hand over cash to own them. (tho i am often told i "have a good eye" at art shows)

i've been lucky to have some friends who are good photographers challenge and teach me over the past few years. my friend pamela is a very bad influence in the gear department (or good, depending on how one looks at it- i have her to thank for the upgraded camera & lens). shooting with her also pushes me to become better, because she is so good at what she does, and so willing to share her knowledge.

david and i would discuss art when hanging the gallery monthly. what we thought worked and didn't and why. we were very honest in our critiques of each other's work, which helped both of us improve. we didn't discuss gear so much, bc he's a canon guy.

i feel like i am finally getting it- using the right gear (tho i have to figure out how to manage it more easily), seeing the right things and capturing the images well- because it doesn't matter how great your eye is or how good your gear is, if the technical aspect is missing it just doesn't work.

i am tickled with the shots below because not only are they in focus and correctly exposed (yay me!) they tell a story. i have plenty of "bear in the woods" shots- these are more. some of that is being lucky enough to come upon these guys when we did, but not all.

as i was going through my photos, i was pleased to see that i had captured images of the babies with their moms to provide a sense of scale. i was equally happy to have captured the gawkiness of the babies on their own.

i feel so fortunate to be able to go to yellowstone and shoot for 4 days with great equipment. i am so happy to feel like i have captured some of what it's like to be there. 

the other camera in my bag is my sony nex5- a mirrorless dslr. i opted for this instead of my d300 because it is lighter and easier to pack and captures images just as well (when i don't mess it up). still figuring this one out, bc it has an electronic viewfinder, and i can't always tell if i'm in focus or not. but there are lots of fun options, it's light and has a great 18-200 lens, which makes it my go to landscape and macro camera if i don't want to carry/change lenses on the d800.

i am planning a series of paintings of my animal photographs- it will be interesting to see what comes next-


Monday, June 1, 2015

traffic boxes and public art- Boise is full of opportunity

I am fortunate to live in a city with a thriving public art program. One way in which this manifests is with Boise's terrific traffic box wrap program. I have been selected to create 2 boxes.
This is the first one I did- "king of the road", based on the story that Roger Miller wrote the song at the Idanha Hotel in Boise, with is at the other end of the block from this piece. I was tickled to get this location because I have always loved that story. I had so much fun with this- and there are lots of personal touches, like Halle looking out on the street, a note declaring "amber kissed a boy here" because my friend, upon hearing that I had gotten the box on this corner, told me that she had done just that.


My second box, below, incorporates my photography. The year I was awarded this location the jurors were drawn to bird images, so naturally I fit right in. This is less personal than the first but was still a great deal of fun to do. Called "there's a feeling I get".

Boise's traffic box program is a terrific way to introduce artists to public art. For most of us, it's a virgin public art project. That means the first time designing to a template, going through an approvals process, making requested revisions with grace (not always easy). We get to meet and work with city Public Art officials and learn. We also get paid! Bonus!
Since my first traffic box, I've done 3 other public art projects- TB 2, an installation with my friend Lynn at the Foothills Learning Center, and am in process of a third traffic box for the city of Ketchum. This one incorporates the theme Sun Valley Serenade, which is a movie that was filmed in Sun Valley/Ketchum and plays on continuous loop in the Sun Valley Lodge. This one is very large, so I don't have it nicely laid out like the previous ones. Top is the parking lot side, bottom is the street side.

The lessons learned in Boise came in handy here, as I worked with the city to confirm dimensions (something I would never have thought of) and redid the original art due to copyright concerns. Can't wait to see this installed!
I'm so grateful for the opportunity to learn and to share my art with the world. The first traffic box also led to inclusion in the city's first Public Arts Academy, which provides all sorts of information to artists on finding Public Art opportunities and how to submit proposals. Last week, I submitted an unsolicited proposal for the airport- looking forward to seeing how it is received.
I look forward to sharing images of the big box above when it's installed, and sharing details of my unsolicited proposal if (when) it is accepted. Love stretching and trying new things- on to the next adventure!