Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Fool

The Tarot series continues!

The Fool card represents the individual on the journey through life. We start life innocent, guileless, vulnerable; in the same way, when we start the conscious journey to enlightenment we are equally innocent and open to influence. The rest of the Major Trump cards represent the trials and experiences the individual goes through on the journey. The Fool is neither good nor evil; he or she is open to experience and ready to learn and become and is open to influences both right or wrong. We all travel the path with eyes and arms wide open, come what may.

And of course the perfect music for this card is Lennon and McCartney's "The Fool on the Hill". If I remember my music history correctly they wrote this specifically about the Fool card. It makes sense to me!

Photo, artwork, and text © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Through the Mists of Time

Some shots taken today and within the past month and made to look old in Photoshop.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I played in Photoshop™ again, using the Exposure 2 plug-in to create the over-saturated look of a postcard.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Two Takes

I put together a still life today and got two treatments I like.

Black & white with selenium processing, using the Photoshop plug-in Exposure 2

Oil painting treatment in Photoshop

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Papa Johann!

Johann Sebastian Bach, March 21, 1685 - July 28, 1750. Many in music refer to him as Papa Johann because he basically wrote the rules for composition in Western music, rules that are still followed now, even by the most "modern" of composers. Structure, counterpoint, harmonization; he defined it all. He may not have invented all the rules, but he codified the system and exemplified it in his prolific compositions. According to his Wikipedia entry, he was a:
composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although he did not introduce new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivaled control of harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France.
His "Anna Magdalena Notebook" and "The Well-Tempered Clavier" are still used as practice books for piano students, while his "Goldberg Variations" serves as the ultimate challenge for concert pianists. His "Art of the Fugue" is still the last word on the form. His sacred cantatas are performed every Sunday in his ordering of them in the liturgical year in many churches, most notably Emmanuel Music, working in Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston and founded by the late Craig Smith, performing the sacred cantatas at the 10 AM service for the last 40 years. The man has left an impressive legacy.

Bach's music is a challenge to those who like to tinker, as well; his music tends to be used a lot by people who like to rearrange, reorchestrate, and in general fool with the classics. In Bach's music the most famous example of this is Arturo Toscanini's orchestration of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor; originally an organ piece, Toscanini arranged and orchestrated it for full symphony orchestra. It formed one of the main events in Disney's Fantasia; here's the clip from the movie:

When Wendy Carlos revisited her Bach realizations for synthesizer on her Switched-On Bach 2000 in 1998, she included the famous toccata and fugue, which she'd decided not to tackle in her original 1968 recording Switched-On Bach. Mama Wendy (I call her that because of her pioneer status in the world of electroacoustic music) says her 1998 realization was inspired by Toscanini's orchestration.

Another famous arrangement of a Bach piece is Ian Anderson's - of Jethro Tull fame - take on Papa Johann's Bourée in E minor for lute. Anderson's version for flute is still a great memory for many of us veterans from the '60s and '70s. Here's a live performance from the 2002 Jethro Tull reunion tour.

And finally... I picked up a CD by Don Dorsey, an audio production consultant and arranger famous for his Disney productions, in a cut-out bin years ago; this one was from 1985 - Bachbusters, his own run at realizing Bach's music. Most of the CD was pretty pedestrian and far from Mama Wendy's or Isao Tomita's approaches to the classics, but his whimsical take on Bach's "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" always stuck with me. It was the perfect way to end the recording, and it's the perfect way to end this birthday tribute. Enjoy! And Happy Birthday Papa Johann!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vernal Equinox

Happy Spring!

House Finch

Corn Speedwell

Appalachian Spring: Calm and flowing (Shaker melody "Simple Gifts), by Aaron Copland

Photos © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Old Pennsylvania

I've discovered that the farmers across the road are Amish.

I used the Exposure 2 plug-in on this using the daguerrotype setting. I thought that was only fitting considering the subject.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For Japan

Photo © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Some painterly approaches to some of my favorite photos of the last month or so. A little day off activity because I didn't have a chance to get out and about.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Visitors Again

We had more Whitetail Deer in the backyard again yesterday, six this time. And this time they had a clear hierarchy, with Papa and Mama and yearlings. Papa (second photo) spent most of his time watching me and making sure I wasn't coming out the door. Mama (the largest deer in the top photo) herded the youngsters (one just off camera) to the grass up toward the tree line. There was one latecomer, a youngster with an injured right forefoot (bottom photo) who Papa watched over carefully. This one probably won't live much longer; it can't put any weight at all on the leg, which will leave it vulnerable to the local Coyotes. There's another injured youngster, the furthest left in the top photo, who also has an injured leg - the left hind leg - which hobbles it a little, but it can put weight on the leg and isn't nearly as bad off as the other one. Life is tough for deer, especially in that first year!

And just a note - My posts here are going to be more sparse from now on. I start work at the local Lowe's tomorrow, and I don't know what my schedule looks like yet. It's a "seasonal" (translation: temporary) part-time job, part-time being defined as anything between 10 and 39 hours a week, which has the potential of turning into a regular full-time job, so keep fingers crossed.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Muskrat Ramble

Part of yesterday's walk was spent standing very still, watching two muskrats eating and preening in the cattail marsh next to the northern Duck Pond. I spotted their den as well but didn't take a picture because it would look very uninteresting, like just another untidy pile of dead cattail stalks. I only spotted it because I knew what I was looking for, a slightly denser packing of the dead stalks. In any case here are two shots of the more active (and more photogenic) muskrat partner.

Munching away at a tasty cattail root; humans have also used the root as food, much like the potato. The dried root can also be ground and used like flour or polenta.

Ah! That was good! Now let's look around for the next tasty bit.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Encroaching Spring

Some signs seen today that Spring is moving in.

This moss on an old log is looking a lot greener lately.

And this Corn Speedwell looks to be the first flower to bloom here.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Backyard Visitors

We had some friends drop by for lunch. They especially seemed to like the greens.

As you may be able to tell from the condition of their coats, it's been pouring rain all day. These were shot from inside the patio doors in the kitchen; there's no way I was going out in that!

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, March 04, 2011

Theme Thursday - Books

"Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital. " - Thomas Jefferson

"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting." - Henry David Thoreau

"When you are old and gray and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire, take down this book and slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep." - William Butler Yeats

I first heard Simon and Garfunkels' album Bookends in the listening room of the library at Cockeysville Middle School back in 1969. Now whenever I see bookshelves I hear that "Old Friends/Bookends" medley that ends side one. Here are Paul and Artie performing it live.

Photo © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger
Check out this week's other Theme Thursday posts.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


The creeks are all running high around here right now, a result of the "Spring" melt. I went down to the Duck Ponds with my tripod and neutral density filters to take slow shutter shots of the moving water. Neutral density filters block light so you can set your shutter speed very slow without overexposing in order to get certain photographic effects; in this case, turning moving water into silky smooth flows, like the fountain I shot in Newport two years ago. Those gorgeous waterfall shots in National Geographic? This is how they get them.

This is the color version, using the Exposure 2 Photoshop plug-in in the Fuji Provia 100F setting.

And this is the black & white version, again using the Exposure 2 plug-in, this time using the gold split color toning emulation. Color toning is a process for tinting, and sometimes preserving, black and white prints in the process of printing to paper. Selenium toning is a popular archival process, converting metallic silver to silver selenide. In a diluted toning solution, selenium toning gives a red-brown tone, while a strong solution gives a purple-brown tone. But selenium doesn't create a completely stable print, so it's often split with the archival Gold Protective Solution (GP-1) formula, which uses a 1% gold chloride stock solution with sodium or potassium thiocyanate. This creates a print with warm brown shadows and magenta midtones which is often used in black & white portraits, especially bridal portraits. I had an idea that there were enough whites and lighter midtones, much like a human face, in this shot, so I tried the gold split emulation as an experiment. I think it worked! For me, it especially emphasizes the creamy silkiness of the blurred water.

Anyhow, thinking of slow shutter speeds used for creative purposes somehow put the term "slowhand" into my brain, which made me think of old Slowhand himself, Eric "Slowhand" Clapton, and for me the quintessential Slowhand tune is "Layla", so here's a great version of that for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Photos © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger