Tuesday, December 10, 2013


The Road Not Taken

...Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference...Robert Frost

These last few weeks it seems that I have been on the road called Technology Strand. It has sometimes been hard to see just where I was going and several times I wondered if I was in fact, stranded. I was trying to get back to my photography and make some roads for others to use to get here as well. But there where detours along the way. 

It seems that Technology Strand was only the beginning of a very twisted route with a lot of stops starts, delays and a bunch of side streets, some of which I will list here.

Yahoo Street (my old neighborhood )

Domain Transfer Drive (me crazy)

Melbourne IT (sucks)

GoDaddy (You've gone too far this time)

Google Dashboard (bang your head here)

Time Metrics (I'm running late as it is)

Traffic Sources (Beep Outta my way)

Password (Memory Lane)

Analytics Academy Road

Support (not so Super Highway)

I finally made it back to  www.michaelarend.com  and I hope I have made it easier for my friends to see my images. Go ahead and take a look, then drive around the block. It is easier to get to my other activities now.

Merry Christmas, 

and yes that is me 
probably asking Santa 
for a BB gun!

I am still (a kid)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sunken Treasure

Sunken Treasure

When I was a kid I loved to play in the water, any water, the sink, the tub, the toilet, the garden hose. If it was water I would play with it. If it was a pond, a stream or a lake, even better. Fish, turtles, boats and bottles, anything that might float, sink or swim was interesting to me. I also liked TV shows and movies about the sea. The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau was one of my favorites. I also loved any kind of pirate movie, sailing ships and treasure that was the life for me when I was not dreaming about having my own pet dolphin like the boy in the TV show, Flipper. In the summers back then I was often in the water with fins, mask, and snorkel looking for anything interesting especially treasure. Lost rings, necklaces, and even a transistor radio that I tried in vain to revive were rewards of the hunt. My family was also involved in collecting stones, and fossils. We had a basement half full of stones and the various tools to cut shape and polish them, along with a kiln and the tools to mold rings. Often the stones we found came from the shores of lakes or as deep as we could wade or where I might snorkel. All of my life this habit of looking for cool, unique or out of the ordinary has been with me. I am not much of a collector for the sake of gathering up things. I guess that I am more of a hunter looking for things to create images with.

 Recently I was hunting for these things along a stream called Mud Creek(It was not very muddy where I was at). 
My original plan was to shoot the fall leaves floating down the stream and getting hung up on branches and things that were in the water. I wanted to to combine the movement of the leaves with other elements and some leaves that were not in motion. I made several images like this and while I was hunting for more I started to take a closer look at what was under the surface of the stream. 

Suddenly a new combination of elements was before me, there was a landscape of leaves just below the surface looking almost as they would laying on the forest floor. But here the light was changed, filtered by the waters flow the colors and textures were different, subdued, muted, less crisp.

 And here and there to my delight, were freshly fallen leaves adding their bright tones to the subtle composition below. Now “I” was Jacques Cousteau with my own undersea world, even if it was only a few
feet deep at best. So into the water I went with my waterproof hunting boots, sinking the legs of my tripod into the the sandy bottom of the stream. Shooting and hunting now, and happy with the new experience...until I was brought up short by a problem with my sub-sea equipment. My boot was leaking, not much but very cold! Now with the light failing and with one cold, wet, right foot I called a halt to the days' exploration and hiked back up to my vehicle, and from there to dinner.

Now I have had a chance to clean up the treasure that I found while playing in the water. The great thing about this type of treasure is that it can be shared and will enrich both you and I.

I am still (a kid).

Here are the places you can find me...

http://michaelarend.smugmug.com/ Portrait, Event, Charity and Art Prints

http://michaelarend.blogspot.com/ My Blog at Google Blogger.

https://www.facebook.com/mikearendphotographer Facebook, what the heck is that?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Market Day

Philippine Market

I have had the rough draft for this post sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks waiting to be completed. I am always happy to show some of the things that see when I am in the Philippines.

With the recent typhoon and it's devastation
I want to put a face on the people that

have been affected. Although Gumaca (where my wife is) did not take a direct hit, they had very heavy rain and wind.

I often go to the market with my wife when I am in the Philippines, actually I almost always go unless I
am left with another member of the family(they are worried that I might get lost...(Hey I'm 12 years old what could happen?)

There is the main market in town that is a permanent affair with butchers, bakers, candlestick makers and all of the rest like flip-flops, T-shirts, canned goods, hardware and pretty much anything you might need.

There is also Tiange (Chyange is the way it sounds to my ears) I asked my wife about the spelling, her reply was that it is flexible..spell it however I want to. I should make a list and have a contest.

It is a one day market, set up and taken down each day, much like a Farmers Market here in the US. In my wife's town it is done every Thursday. Many of the sellers go from town to town for the weekly Tiange, In the town of Lopez (about 30 minutes away) it takes place on Fridays.

 The merchants are often selling items that they or their families have produced themselves. In the local markets you are usually much closer to the source of your food.

The markets big or small are always colorful. And as
a photographer walking through one, even in Manila I often hear someone call “Picture picture!” I hear it from adults as well as kids, they are happy to say hello, talk for awhile and get a picture taken.

I am still (a kid)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween House

Halloween House

Last weekend I was coming back from Ft Wayne Indiana and I had taken a route that would take me through several small towns, one of them being Waterloo Indiana. I
had just come off the freeway and was going through the center of town. Suddenly I saw an amazing house decorated for Halloween. There was a large assortment of stuff including large stone gargoyles an iron fence and even a hearse. All of this I took in at a glance as I was driving by, it was getting dark but I decided to round the block and take a closer look (Shoot Where You Are).

I found a little place to park near a garage/workshop and walked toward the house looking for someone that I might talk to. The garage itself looked interesting as though a tinkerer and collector of odd bits and pieces was in charge. I saw a man working on a car beside the shop and said hello. The guy popped up from his work and said hi, he looked like he could have just stepped off of a movie set, something like “Back to the Future”. He was very nice and said that his wife had put the display together. He had just purchased the hearse, and that also became part of the project with a theme of “don't text and drive”. His wife soon appeared and was more than happy for me to make some images and take the grand tour. The hearse was the first stop, they were still adding some final touches and signage about texting and driving. She told me that several teens had stopped by and told her that it was a cool idea and a good way to make a point about texting.

There was a number of common Halloween items but also a lot of quirky odds n ends, antiques and handmade props. The place was really interesting and also did not have any really graphic items, I would think 8 year olds and up would be OK with it all.

I don't really do scary stuff and I am no fan of most of the horror stuff out there, monster movies yeah, horror/slasher/antisocial..nah. All in all it was fun and I had a nice talk with some genuinely nice Halloween fans!

I am still (a kid)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

And The Winner Is...

And The Winner Is...

Well first I would like to thank everyone again for coming to Once Upon A Paintbrush for the reception, and for all of the likes and shares on Facebook and also for checking out my blog and website. It is very nice to see the likes and especially the comments. Facebook can be kind of fussy to work with when you have a couple of pages tied to your name, so you may have seen some duplicate posts on the same page, who knows it may happen again.

Now for the winners, I can not really call this a first and second place, it was more of a first and second idea that we decided to do at the end of the reception.

The winner of the B&W metal float print that was at the reception is Stefane Widney!

And the winner of the framed flower print is Gina Smith!

Stefane and Gina can contact Cassandra to pick up your prints, And if we are lucky we can get a picture of you both.
The cat is officially out of the bag now so if anyone talks to Gina or Stefane you are free to let them know if they haven't found out already.

Here are the links to our pages/sites

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Name Game

The Name Game

The night before the show/reception at Once Upon A Paintbrush  Cassandra reminded me that I had not
titled the image of the tree and canoes. I still really had no title in my head other than “Waiting For Summer” which was a little close to the title for the heart in the stone wall image. It was getting late and we were getting a little silly and started batting around some caption ideas. I forgot to mention that the musicians were also at the gallery, doing a rehearsal for the next evening. Samantha, one of the musicians had several ideas, each of them we all thought were amusing. Everything was a little amusing to us at that point, and there was absolutely no alcohol involved. Suddenly it was suggested by someone that we just put sheet under the print and let the guests come up with titles during the show.

So away we went with that idea and it turned out to be lots of fun and a way for the guests
to be engaged with the image. The list grew to almost 2 pages during the show, with titles and the names of the namers...namers, yes it is a real word.

Here are the titles that everyone came up with, not in order and without the namers names. See if you can remember your own suggestion(s). Leave some comments if you can remember. 

You are also welcome to join the fun and come up with more titles!
Just put them in the comments.

End Of The Season
Adventure Awaits
Watchful Giant
Unknown Adventure
Let The Journey Begin
On Another Day
Peace Be With You
Fall Into Another Season
An Unseen Beauty
See You Next Spring
The Barren Voyage
Tucked In
Grey With Turquoise And More Grey
I Stand In Solitude And Wait
Winters Rest
Gone With The Leaves, And Some Canoes
Until I see You Again
Seasons End
No Cats
Under My Wings
A Season Not The Seasons
Ghosts Of Summers Past
I Dare You!
There Is Hope

Want To Canoe?
Darkness Falls
Season Of Rest

I wonder if some of you were thinking of titles when you got home and you were trying to go to sleep! If you were let me know.
Also you can  like  Michael Arend and Once Upon A Paintbrush on Facebook
And if you see this on Facebook take a look at my blog and website.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

SAILING to the Red Wall

Two weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon after several snags, snafus and sidetracks I was finally able to deliver six large prints to Once Upon A Paintbrush, the gallery in Bryan Ohio that is featuring my work in a show that officially starts October 5, 6-9 PM. That day I also made some promotional images for the gallery and show.

Before the shoot, we were caught in one more snag, there was one print for the show that hangs vertically. When we unwrapped it, and turned it over it was set up to be hung horizontally. Ouch it needed to go back to the framer (who at this point I will not name) in Ft Wayne Indiana. 

We did the promo images some of which can be seen on my Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151830005252370&set=a.55218602369.62158.608802369&type=1&theater )and also the page for Once Upon A Paintbrush. ( https://www.facebook.com/OUAPaintbrush )By then we were tired and I decided to run the print over on Sunday.

On Sunday, the print took a trip to the framer, and then back to the gallery, problem solved! When I arrived Cassandra (the owner) was at her easel working on a commissioned piece and talking Jennifer, one of the musicians that will provide music at the show opening. Jennifer plays Classical Guitar, and I noticed that she had a cool, jade green, form fitting case for her instrument. We rechecked the print one more time, and talked about the piece that Cassandra was working on. Then it was time for me to get going, or so I thought. Well I did leave, at least for a few minutes. As I drove away, I spotted a burgundy colored wall about a block from the gallery...

It was Shoot Where You Are Time!

My mind is always going, making connections, imagining things. So I pulled into a little parking lot by the wall and looked around for a couple of minutes. Hmm, cool green case, burgundy wall, little green tree growing against the wall ( it may have been a big weed ) and of course the musician. Back to the gallery I went at a good clip. Cassandra and Jennifer looked at me a little funny when I walked back inside. Then I told then about the wall and asked to borrow Jennifer, her guitar and case, oh and one of the chairs from the gallery. They thought it was a great idea. Maybe Jennifer didn't feel comfortable driving over with this nut that she had just met, so while I loaded the chair into my vehicle she started walking the short block to the wall. I was about a minute ahead of her so I set the chair along the wall and had Jennifer sit down with her guitar while I set the green case in position and let my imagination show me where I might go. It was fun, and about 300 shots later Jennifer was walking back as I loaded my gear and the chair for the 32 second ride back to the gallery. I dropped the chair off, thanked them both and really left this time.

So now it's time to explain the title of this post, Sailing to the Red Wall. Shooting where you are is easier when you practice a few basic habits.

Stop              where you are at, be willing to change your plan.
Ask               for a picture, or to get permission to shoot somewhere.
Imagination   use it all the time it's better than texting or TV.
Look             for subjects all of the time and everywhere you are.

Now you know how to sail to the red wall.

I am still (a kid)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Turn On The Lights

If you are reading this post, and if you are like me you are most likely on some type of digital device with a glowing screen, a PC, a tablet, or maybe your smart-phone. Our screens may be three inches and we are scrolling to see everything bit by bit. If we have a tablet or laptop we can see more stuff at once, it's better and still very portable. Or we could have a desktop monitor and lots of screen space.
We are also seeing hundreds, more likely, thousands upon thousands of images, pictures of family and friends on Facebook and places like that, news and entertainment images, and of course the ever present advertising images. Oh and I forgot the artistic stuff, paintings, digital art, photography, and images of things like sculpture to mention a few. And we get all of this on TV also. The stream of images seems almost infinite these days. For most purposes it is infinite! We can not hope to take it all in even at the high speed at which it is presented. The images whiz by, pop up, pop down, fade in, fade out, and crawl across our screens. They come they go, like so many people in a hurry, they seem to push, rush, take cuts in line, all impatient to make an appearance. Then they are gone, replaced by the next and the next and... few have made much of an impression.

We shut off the phone, the PC, the TV and BLIP they're gone.

They were real, for awhile, in their own way I guess. Now I sit here with you, sort of, in a odd reality. I am communicating to you, or maybe with you in a digital time lapse, about images. I think images are much more enjoyable and meaningful when they are real, when you can touch them or see them in a more permanent context. Galleries, museums, and art shows are great for that. I was at a show a recently talking to a photographer when a gentleman who was looking at some images of Italy suddenly exclaimed “I know that place, my wife and I were there on vacation and she got lost!” He ran off to get his wife so she could see the photograph. I hope they took it home, put it on the wall and discussed who really got lost with their guests. Physical, tangible art is like that. It enriches our lives and homes day after day.

We can turn off our lights... and BLIP, when we turn them back on hey our art is still there.

I am still(a kid)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

How Did I Get Here?

The other night when I was searching my images for the red fabric
image that I wanted to show you for the previous post, I came across a red barn that I shot in the spring of 2008.
I had been waiting for a day that the light was hitting it from a good angle. I also wanted to have some sharpness and color in the foreground so I was shooting wide angle with a small aperture. I started noodling around with it last night trying to get a look that I was happy with. I was taking the image back and forth between Lightroom and Photoshop, trying to develop a unique image. I had made a couple of copy layers and blended them and desaturated everything except the barn and small tree. Then bla bla bla and then bla bla bla I was getting close but had not arrived at the place I wanted to be. I am not real keen on one shot methods to get to a finished picture. I often take a lot of twists, turns and detours to get where I'm going with an image. And very often I keep several (work in progress) variations that I like. My dad said I always took the hard way...but that was mostly in mathematics and I always seemed to have the wrong variations in that area. Finally as I drove around the block for the umpteenth time looking for somewhere to park my image I spotted a little place that looked great Time to stop here!

I am still(a kid).

Friday, September 6, 2013

Red Satin Hats

The idea of “Shoot Where You Are” for me, has a bunch of connected thoughts and perspectives that I want to explore and explain in some of my posts.

When I was about four or five years old I had a red satin hat that I used to put over my eyes. I always like looking thru things like colored paper, leaves, dishes, my Frisbee(which I could not throw properly). The red hat was the best of them all! I think it was quilted, the top was probably two layers sewn together with white on the inside. When I stood in the sun with that hat on my face the color was the coolest and brightest red that you can imagine. Then, my face would get too hot under there and my viewing would be cut short. There I was, a five year old kid with his hat on his face instead of his head. But hey I was standing still and not in some other mischief, mom was ok with that.

So that interest in seeing light glow though anything continues. Big things, little things, it doesn't really matter. And it doesn't matter where it is if you are ready to look and shoot and imagine.

I was at COSI (a fun science place http://www.cosi.org/ ) a few years ago and saw a piece of RED material hanging near a display. It had light shining through it.

I still am(a kid).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I suppose have to start somewhere...I guess I did start somewhere, or sometime. I have a picture of myself when I was about 2 yrs old holding a camera (you can see it at (www.michaelarend.com). And I remember having my picture taken and also looking at photographs. At that time it was all Uncle Somebody or Aunt Somebody, or pictures of the lake, or boats, fish...stuff, just everyday stuff. I was was also always fascinated with looking through things. Magnifying glasses(great for killing ants),telescopes to make things close or very far away, kaleidoscopes, tubes, reflections. I was the kid that spent hours walking around the house with a hand mirror just under my chin looking down and pretending that I was walking on the ceiling. I would carefully walk around the light fixtures and step over the doorjambs and then go outside to stand on the sky. Or I might be found in the closet with sunglasses on, seeing how dark I could make it. I was always experimenting and looking at things in odd ways. An old Brownie camera was part of that type of playing and exploring. I could look down through the top viewfinder and out the upper lens. Everything moved in the opposite direction across the frame as I looked down. I was also always drawing pictures, rockets, monsters, and airplanes were my specialty. Making pictures with a camera fit me perfectly. I was a very visually oriented kid.

I am still (a kid).