… on… new creations….

I’ve taken quite a few nature photos lately combined with a new urge to create new works. The two works in this post were both derived from the heavy manipulation/creative edit of the same nature photo. How were these created? All I will say it stems from a sense of play and exploration while working in Photoshop. I hope you enjoy these latest creations.

And for you cryptographers out there I used a simple code to transform the titles themselves into abstractions.  So with a small effort you’ll be able to decipher the titles.  Enjoy.

2r02k43 824

2r02k43 824

mot74rw4lls r4v4n64

mot74rw4lls r4v4n64

Your music moment today is provide by Havenaire. This track is “Calving” from their new album RABOT on the Glacial Movements label.

… on… traveling to/in the US….

So clearly the holidays are upon us.    If you will be traveling by plane either to the United States or flying within the United States you will definitely be meeting up with the local TSA (that’s the Transportation Security Administration – not my Initials Terry S. Amstutz).  Your local TSA agent will make you feel uncomfortable, offended, confused and bewildered (much like I do – as some of my friends all attest)….  Well here’s two videos to tell you what to expect  and what you can and can’t do.   Enjoy.   HAPPY HOLIDAY TRAVEL everybody! Welcome to the absurd world of travel by plane.

TSA – The Pokey Pokey

TSA – 12 Banned Items Of Christmas (fyi – You can’t fly, but you can drive across the border with any of these items.)


… on… Buffy Sainte-Marie….

As many of you already know I am a HUGE fan of a variety of music.   I’ve long listened to Native American music artists From N. Carlos Nakai, Bill Miller, Robbie Robertson, Robert Mirabal, Mary Youngblood, Pura Fe, Brulé, Rita Coolidge, John Trudell, The Black Lodge Singers,  Primeaux and Mike just to name a few.

One artist that I haven’t listened to in years is Buffy Sainte-Marie. She was born in Canada and currently resides in Hawaii.  Back in the 60’s – 70’s she was best known for her folk and country music along with protest anthems like UNIVERSAL SOLDIER and activism for Native American rights.

Well, the 74-year-old of the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation subject matter has NOT changed.   Her music has changed with a dynamic, visceral tone and timber to keep up with the times and lyrically she is as powerful as ever.  On the new music her unique time ravaged voice rages like a windstorm which is so perfect for the lyrics she writes and sings.   She reinvented herself in the past decade and  was recognized with the Polaris Prize and Juno Awards of 2015.  Her winning album was POWER IN THE BLOOD and just this year she released MEDICINE SONGS.  On the new album she not only has some new music but also has re-recorded some of her classics fanning the embers into a new burning flame.    On her website she states about this new album,

“This is a collection of front line songs about unity and resistance – some brand new and some classics – and I want to put them to work.”

You can check out more on this fine artist, humanist, activist, environmentalist through the links at the bottom of the post.   But first I want to share a couple of her amazing songs.   This is immediate music for our immediate present.  So turn it on, turn it up and don’t be surprised if you start to move.   🙂






Here are some great links



***** I need to give props to my friend and fellow blogger known as “sloppybuddhist” for re-acquainting me with this powerful music artist.  Check out her blog at https://sloppybuddhist.com

… on… holiday greetings….

Well It’s that time of year when I start mailing out holiday greeting cards to friends and family. Some of my readers here will be the recipients of one of these cards.

The design is unlikely. It does not feature a photo of smiling people, posed and dressed up pets, holiday foods, decorations, winter scenes, Santa, reindeer, elves, manger/nativity scenes, wise men, glitz, glitter or any other feel-good objectification of the holiday season. In short it does not follow every other cliché of the holidays.

This run-down, abandoned, forgotten building represents the humblest of beginnings and how some of the greatest miracles came out of what others revile, despise, and want to destroy or tear down. I could even make the analogy to the Bible story of the birth of Jesus;  there was a poor unmarried couple – she was pregnant – for one of the most mundane activity of registering for a census they went to a town where they had no one to stay with.  In fact there was no place to stay but a stable – the hotels/hostels/inns/rooming houses were all full and they were stuck in a stinky drafty stable with animals.  The woman had a baby there in the stable (no hospitals around) and laid him in a manger which held the hay that the oxen ate. There was nothing romantic about it.  It was difficult.  It would have been a royal pain in the butt.  Yet, that baby went on to inspire millions.

If that bible story were to happen today imagine a young couple from another part of the country just gets off the bus and there are no hotel rooms available.  They are left to fend for themselves in the street.   They have no local connections.  No one offers them help.  that baby might be born in an abandoned building, like the one pictured, its parents feeling the conflicting emotions of guilt for the lack of suitable circumstances paradoxically paired with the joy of giving birth to new life. So do not judge too quickly the appearance of things. Like the front of the card says, “all is not lost” There is hope for the “least” of all things which is represented in the image by the added wreath over the boarded up window.

The text inside the card is a simple haiku that I created.

“The greatest reason
A humble beginning
This season of hope”

Manchester xmas sm

I was surprised by this photo after I had gotten home.  I remember taking it.  I shot it through my car windows which had salt splash and grunge on them.  What looks like bokeh spots is actually water droplets on my windshield from the falling snow.  It didn’t make for a very good photograph but it was interesting.  Before I started my post-processing; I almost deleted the file, but decided to go further and added more textures and layers in an extreme way that almost gave it a painterly look.  I also de-saturated most of the colors except for red and green.  So again, from very humble circumstances and imperfect photo conditions this image was born. It has always been a personal favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy it too as well as the story of it’s making and how it evolved into a holiday greeting card.

May each and every one of you – without regard for your circumstances find hope in humble beginnings and discover, hidden within, the greatest reason to celebrate and commemorate life. It is in You.

Your holiday music moment is provided by
Low – If You Were Born Today (Song for Little Baby Jesus) from their holiday album LOW CHRISTMAS

If you were born today
We’d kill you by age eight
Never get the chance to say

Joy to the world and
Peace on the earth
Forgive them for they know not what they do

Blessed are the meek and
Blessed are the humble
Blessed are the ninety and nine

Deny the flesh
Deny all that’s evil
Tonight you’ll deny me thrice

If you were born today
We’d kill you by age eight
Never get the chance to say…

… on… the macro verse….

I’ve long been fascinated with macro photography.  It’s so hard to do it right.  And I’m usually too lazy to carry a tripod around so I’ve never really bothered.   But lately, as my previous post shows.  I’ve started getting into the so-called groove of close-up and macro imaging.    I still don’t use a tripod – all handheld – so the number of useable images are limited.

This morning was a beautiful frosty December morning and I decided to go to a local park close to downtown and only about 5 minutes from my apartment.   Here are two of the images I was able to use from this morning along with two new haiku.  Hope you enjoy them.

Les Bébés Congelés

Frosty mornings
Inhale a crispy frozen breath
I gasp, in love

Whiplash wind storm
When I am lost you bend me back
See what’s behind

Whiplash Bend

The music moment is provided by the Tindersticks.    Their song FROZEN from their recent album – The Something Rain.