Today’s Poem

December 26, 2015

Bonfire-2:b&w

Solstice

By Florence Newman

All year we’ve banked the embers of our rage

and gathered brittle bitterness and grief,

stacked cords of hardened sorrows high to feed

the bonfire built against the darkening days.

Tonight a fiery feast at last repays

our abstinence; upon the pyre we heave

our heartache, the sacrifice we bleed,

bottomless libation, offering to the blaze.

Cast in the broken hopes, the stifled sighs,

recriminations, doubts, defeat, despair,

the fruit of many seasons, grimly grown.

Fill up the void with self-deceit and lies,

with unshed tears, unspoken pain and care,

and beat the drum until the very depths resound.

Copyright © 2015 Florence Newman.

Today’s Gag

September 26, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Jim Sizemore.

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Photo Quote

March 12, 2010
Once you really commence to see things, then
you really commence to feel things.”

Edward Steichen, 1879-1973


Cat Nip

July 23, 2008

Zen photography thought for the day: Inside the vertical there may be a better horizontal. (And vice-versa.) When it comes to photographic composition, whenever possible, I prefer what some might call the “arty” method—that is, I like to carefully arrange the image in the view finder of the camera before the shutter is tripped, then exhibit the result full-frame. But I’m no stickler. I know from experience that sometimes a well planned composition is simply not possible (for instance, when grabbing a shot of a child or other small animal on the move), and in such cases a well planned crop may save the day. My idea of a good photograph is one that elicits an emotion in the viewer, either positive or negative. The crop above was selected with the idea of pure “joy” in mind; to intensify that feeling I “zoomed” in on the original (see below) to eliminate unnecessary details and emphasize the dynamic lateral movement of the woman’s head out of the left side and top of the frame. (Whenever possible I like to have important elements “bleed” off the edges, which adds to the drama.) This extreme crop keeps the eye of the viewer where it needs to be, focused on the expressions of both the young lady and the cat; it prevents the eye from wandering up or down, right or left, forces it to remain close on the interesting blur of the woman’s head and the sharper head and body of the animal. The full frame image is one of those “shoot and hope for the best” deals that happen so fast you’re happy if you get anything at all. (With animals and kids you can forget about re-staging an action, so the crop becomes a useful salvage tool.) This image makes me smile each time I see it—and the way I decided to crop it, I think, enhances the playful feeling. My idea was simple: Make it easier for the viewer to share the joy I felt the first time I saw the image come to life in the developing fluid. (If you have a different idea, or like it better un-cropped, take a moment to post a comment and tell me about it.)

Copyright © 2008 Jim Sizemore.