28 Moons: Blog https://www.28moons.com/blog en-us Renee Wallace Wilson (28 Moons) Tue, 25 May 2021 20:04:00 GMT Tue, 25 May 2021 20:04:00 GMT https://www.28moons.com/img/s/v-12/u53372021-o621831227-50.jpg 28 Moons: Blog https://www.28moons.com/blog 80 120 I Had A Dream https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/5/i-had-a-dream

When I was a child, my mother told me to get out of the car and go to the woods where I belonged.

It was the dark of night.

She told me she didn't want me anymore.

I promised I would be good forever.

She drove me home.

If you see me go by in the deep of the wood, 

then say my prayer.

I promise. I will be good.




(28 Moons) dark discipline memories pictorialism vintage woods https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/5/i-had-a-dream Tue, 25 May 2021 20:03:24 GMT
Putting A Twist On Things https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/4/putting-a-twist-on-things

I bought a bunch of lensbabies with my covid check, getting excited about the oncoming spring after a long, hermetic winter with the pandemic. I wanted to do something creative and different and lensbaby called out my name.  I dunno. I could go home with my head hanging low, figuring that I should stick with the lenses I have. I looked at some of my macro shots that I took with my traditional macro lens and they were ordinary. If I haven't said it before, then let me state that I want to spend some time in the lensbaby environment and journal it.


This experience is not without its challenges!


I looked at the lensbaby photos and they were sketchy with the exception of a few. "They say" that there is a learning curve.  OK, I'll accept that. So here's the story attached to this photograph:


I was shooting in an old, isolated cemetery. This is the back road in the cemetery leading out. I've been in there before and it's spooky. Once you get on this route, you are never sure where it takes you or when you will get out of there. If there is mud and you get stuck, there isn't anyone who will come to your immediate rescue. You worry about what will jump out at you when you are inside of this path.


The cemetery is, overall, eerie. When you hear wild life step on a stick, your radar goes up. I've been jarred by a deer jumping out of the woods, only to disappear before I could get a camera on it.


So, there I was with nobody around, walking among some very old trees and cemetery stones. This place has a lot of rich people from back in the day and by that I mean the 1800s and some from the 1700s and some from last week. 


I spotted a very old fir tree with wild violets growing under it: purple violets and white violets. I wanted to take some of the white violets home because they were unusual and, afterall, they were wild - God's children find homes wherever they will. The birds were chirping softly. There was nobody around. I didn't have a spade, but there was a screw driver in the car.


As soon as I attempted to dig out a little plant, the birds went wild. I mean, they were screaming wild. I felt like I was in a horror movie.  Who says cemeteries aren't haunted. 


The lensbaby was giving me that dream-like visual that I could show you of something I'd see in my sleep while I was awake. 


This photograph was shot with the lensbaby twist 60 straight lens on Canon Mark IV

(28 Moons) black and white isolation landscape lensbaby woods https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/4/putting-a-twist-on-things Sun, 11 Apr 2021 17:59:49 GMT
Journal: Today Is Supposed To Be Tax Day https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/journal-today-is-supposed-to-be-tax-day  

Today is supposed to be "tax day" and most of my papers are in order and waiting for the appropriate time to be piled into proper slots for the accountant. 


I had a couple of errands to run and I took my lensbaby composer pro ii with the sweet 50 to the cemetery to photograph the obvious. It is a subject I've overdone in the past, but it was quick and convenient. The upshot was that most of the shots I took in the cemetery were those of things laying on the ground, not in the ground. My camera would lack the necessary technology to do that, but of course, it would give new meaning to selective focus.


Don't get me wrong. I surely photograph a lot of nature and I get mightily sick of doing that. I used to be a people photographer and I miss it, especially since I moved from a big city to a small town. My life embraces the cats indoors, the cats outdoors and the garden. My neighborhood is almost rough, so there are a lot of characters moving about, but that doesn't mean the best of them would allow me to take photographs.  


I walked a bit up and down the sidewalk. The spring weather is making the day refreshing and the house next door has several people on the front porch. I talked a little bit. I pulled the camera out and did some flower shots in their pretty garden and then I started to aim the camera at them, not knowing how they would take to it, but they did.  The magic was in printing out the pictures and giving them to the group. 

They were happy. I was happy to work with the lensbaby,

Geez, I want to do more portraits. Flowers always show up. People ... well ... that's a harder capture. 


(28 Moons) lensbaby local portrait selective focus sweet 50 https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/journal-today-is-supposed-to-be-tax-day Mon, 22 Mar 2021 19:34:01 GMT
Journal: Wrong Starts https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/lensbaby-around-the-house

Working with the Lensbaby Composer II Sweet 50 takes a lot of practice. I took my eye glasses off and put my eye up to the viewfinder of my camera. Things looked perfect.  I forgot that I adjusted the view to accommodate the eye glasses.  Things weren't so perfect after the fact. 


It's been quite a morning. Things have been going wrong from the start.


My 20 year old Siamese cat has been sick and so I've been giving him antibiotics which are making his health bounce back.  His vet, in a phone consultation, figured we had nothing to lose by trying to give him something. The two tigers stayed close by for well over a week as he retreated to the master bedroom. His time might be coming and I will never be ready for it.


Mr. Lucky has always been a "bulldog."  I have been told that mean cats live a long time.  All of this week, I wondered what happened to his stubborn will. He didn't even have it in him to give either of the tigers the stink eye.


I once had a boss who lived to be 102 and he was mighty mean. Mr. Baker's maid used to say that he was so mean that God didn't want him.


Two days ago, I woke up and Lucky was in bed with me downstairs. His appetite was big, but he hadn't left any litter box treasures yet. The vet was hoping that I could get something up in my fingers and test it. I didn't think that was such a good idea. I'd take the cat's word for it if he'd do his business.


This morning, this cat pooped my pants. Yes, that's right. I know, it is too much information.  While I was medicating him, he left something on my jeans which are now going through several cycles of wash just in case. Let's just say that I might be gagging, but I'm glad he had it in him. Welcome back to the world of the living, my precious cat!


It might be a good day to get out and see if I can find some interesting things to shoot with that lensbaby.

(28 Moons) black and white lensbaby soft focus still life sweet 50 https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/lensbaby-around-the-house Fri, 19 Mar 2021 13:57:57 GMT
Journal: Soft Focus Cosmos https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/soft-focus-cosmos  

If  you follow UFOs around your back yard, then good for you. I am sure you have tales to tell.  If you watch too much cable television, let your political views stay there. Learn how to depart. Perhaps something more needs to enter your mind and your photography.  If you believe and if you do the things that drive you past another fixed idea, then continue, please. Follow your instincts. If you do any of it or all of that, then let me welcome you to the club of night crawlers in the world of artistic photography. Don't be confused. Artistic photography, manipulation of photography and all that you think came along with the introduction of photoshop was invented before any of us were born, so we didn't think it up. We were given an opportunity to discover it and embrace it.

Working with the Lensbaby Velvet 56 creates some amazing effects. Purity, soft focus and pictorialism are a form of creativity that is sometimes revived and sometimes pushed to the back side of history. Using a lensbaby straight out of the camera can be either a starting point or an end point. 

(28 Moons) Lensbaby Velvet 56 https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/soft-focus-cosmos Mon, 15 Mar 2021 19:21:00 GMT
Journal: Dreaming https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/lensbaby-velvet-56

I have heard that it is important to shoot what we feel, not what we see.

The things that we see come through our eyes.

The things that we feel are cosmic.

This is an important consideration because both come together in the form of creativity.

Here is where art departs from logic


it's important to let logic, standing on its own, take a rest.


The photo  at the top was shot with a Velvet 56 on a crop sensor with a very wide aperture. A bubbly texture was added, color was adjusted, saturation was adjusted. The second photo is a macro shot, using a 90mm lens.

(28 Moons) abstract dream dreaming dreams floral focus lensbaby soft Surreal velvet velvet 56 https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/lensbaby-velvet-56 Fri, 12 Mar 2021 19:48:25 GMT
Journal: Fake Flowers https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/fake-out  


Today has a hint of spring in it.  I have three female cats who were born under my porch last year. The girls have been living on my enclosed porch for two weeks after their spay. They have had the run of the porch, but are not allowed inside with the three indoor cats.


Today is beautiful and so I opened the door and let them go back outdoors. They are happy and excited, but still clinging a bit to me.  I tried to photograph something in the yard with the lensbaby Velvet 56.  At this time of year -- mid march -- there is some left over snow and a lot of brown "stuff."  


The girls took off on adventures and would return to me as I walked around the yard. Neighbors stopped in their cars or on the sidewalk to see that the girls were out again.  They are so popular.  I tried to take their portraits, but they were so animated with their new freedom that it was difficult to get them to settle down. I gave up on trying to find interest in the garden and I left the girls to muddy up and have fun.


I have tried to photograph fake flowers with no grand success.  Usually, the fabric texture ruins everything when I tried to shoot with a macro or regular lens.  I tried the Velvet 56, positioning the flower in front of a window. The subject was back lit which caused haze as well as the softness produced by the lens.  I am happy with the result!


(28 Moons) flower lensbaby soft focus Velvet 56 https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/fake-out Tue, 09 Mar 2021 20:27:37 GMT
Journal: Lensbaby 2.0 https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/lensbaby-2-0

Let's talk about vintage lensbaby. I am going to explore more about them since I just reinvested in the system again. 


Lensbaby lenses create their own sort of photography. At least, that's the company's mission statement.  Technically, you can do this in photoshop. The question is, do you want to take those extra steps. Do you get the resullts via post processing or does that silly little piece of plastic have some tricks up its crazy sleeve?


In order to get into a lesbsaby frame of mind, I would say that the best place to start that exploration is with an original. That's not to say that you would want to run out and buy the original, but that is also a consideration I would not readily dismiss if the current used price comes down. 


Back in the earlier days, buying a lensbaby and putting it on your camera was a bit of a disappointment. There was no digital information coming through to the back of the camera and it has no auto focus. This "drawback" has not changed.


We might conclude that from the mission statement of lensbaby that a world of creativity opens up to you straight out of the camera. It is certainly true that you can achieve many different results.


How could a little piece of plastic on a floppy/stretchy bellows do much? Can it do anything? Were we sucked into a hype? The company  continually manufactures more and more gimmicks at even higher prices. Lensbaby used to be $99 and now you're not going to get to the checkout for anything less than two or three hundred for a basic lens. By the time you have become drunk on youtubes, you might consider just about everything in excess of a thousand dollars.  God bless those covid stimulus checks. After being locked up for a year, a good sailor with a destination could use a good stimulus.... Be care, tread small, think back to Lensbaby 2.0 which was not their first issue, but so damn close.


The quick and easy assumption is that lensbaby 2.0 doesn't do much and that's why it was so cheap. Turn your computer off for a minute and take a "youtube" break just for now. Let's think about the lensbaby system and its genesis because on the low wrung, you can get in with a similar lens to the lensbaby 2.0 or you can spend your check on something more.


The only way you could focus  the LB2.0  was no better than trying to plunge a stopped up toilet and to shift things around at the same time, things that wanted to spring back into place after you moved things around. Very often, this cheap little lens didn't do what was intended. That is, unless you changed your plunging technique, but only if that dawned upon you. Nobody helps you out of a stopped up toiled scenario. There are many images on the interent/youtube showing you potential, but you still have to get up on your feet and make it across the deck of your sailing vessel headed for the new world.

Be prepared. It takes time to figure it out.


Once that I felt that I had some control over that wobbly little thing, I figured something more would be something better. Afterall, when you invest in "the line," the next thing must be better.  I graduated to a different version, one that locked down. Yet, these extras didn't do quite as much as the simpler version. The lensbaby 2.0 had more freedom. Once you learn how to plunge that first stopped up toilet of creativity, the rest might be extra plumbing.


I regretted that I had given up the lensbaby 2.0 in favor of this locking tilt shift version which looked like that thing they put on people's heads and shoulders when they break their necks.  I truly believe that the medical apparatus has more power in what it does than these extra gadgets on this Lensbaby 3g.  If you are doing the ebay shuffle, I think that you might want to avoid this model.  It was "less than."  It didn't do enough to make a difference and its extra steps made it less impressive.


I convinced my dearly departed friend, Bob Crum,  to buy one of the original "2.0" versions after I showed off to him how I could make some interesting florals with it. He's gone now and I will meet him again (affectionately) in the high heavens as a later date. I can't convince him to sell me his older "2.0" and the prices on ebay are stupid, silly, over priced right now. 


A year or so ago, you could get a lensbaby 2.0 for about$20-40 on ebay. Right now, the price is up to over $100 and I don't get it. We are still locked down in covid status. Aren't people dumping stuff for cheap? You can pick up the SOL lensbaby for about $200 and it's as good or better than the original LB2.0 which sells for $150-200 at this writing. You can buy the Spark which is the LB2.0, brand spanking new -- between the two, I'd opt for the Sol, but the Sol does other things.... or, perhaps it is a better version of LB 2.0.


I own a Velvet 56 which I will talk about at another time. If I get myself up on youtube, having that pricey 56 isn't enough... are they trying to talk me into the "85" as well... or would my macro lenses (90 mm and 180 mm) be good enough. You do not need to rush out and buy those two macro lenses unless you have money to burn and we are talking selective focus here, not macro.  


I just dropped better than $350 for the Composer Pro II with the 50 mm optic. Consider it my birthday present to myself.  I plan to get out and experiment and write more about selective focus, but the best place to start is with the lensbaby 2.0 which I still wish I owned. Once you learn to stop hating it, it was quite an interesting lens. I leave you with two initial shots I took with the lensbaby 2.0 just to let you know what you can do.  Now, if you are "hard core" tack sharp, perhaps a good study of pictorialism will get you to understand why selective focus has become such an art form, dating back to the origins of photography  Anyone can snap a picture, but someone worth his salt will bring creativity to a final image. If you never had the opportunity to walk across the deck with a peg leg, memorizing every thump and how it sounded on one wood plank compared to another, then I must say that you never really learned how to live. Creativity starts with a starting point and it ends with a final symphony of all of the sounds, visuals and colors you find.



(28 Moons) lensbaby lensbaby 2.0 selective focus https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/3/lensbaby-2-0 Fri, 05 Mar 2021 20:33:45 GMT
Old Friends https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/2/old-friends

Remembering Robert G Crum

Fillmore, California


My dear friend passed away on January 14, 2021. I was 3,000 miles away from paying my respects in person.  When you get old like us, time takes us sooner than we'd like. I last texted him on the 12th and he had texted me a few days earlier. He loved photography. He wrote about it in his column for the newspaper.


It was in the year  2009 when Roger, Carole and I packed into my car and drove to Ojai.  Roger and I had to do an assignment for a photography class at Santa Monica College. The course required that we submit a selfie with each shoot.


At the end of the day, things were peaceful on the lookout point. Carole relaxed in the back seat with her magazines, maybe waiting out the time to go home after a full day. Steve tagged along, drinking beers in his pickup truck.


Everyone stirred to life when Roger put on a long white night gown, an auburn wig and bright red wax lips.  Roger was crawling all over the look out point's placard in various poses.  Roger could have been, should have been, he is an art director.  One only needs to go out on any shoot with him when he insists that you put your gear to one side and stand here, there and everywhere.  Roger gets an idea ... no, rather a vision. It's always a major production.


A local reporter for the Fillmore Gazette saw the antics and pulled his truck in to observe the craziness.  That was Bob. This is the first photograph I took of Bob on that day.


Bob and I would do many photo adventures together. He was an outdoorsman and wanted to go everywhere by kayak, by car, by whatever means and always with his camera. In his later days, Bob was thinking about getting rid of the heavier camera gear and getting something lighter, but always thinking about his next shoot.


I had sort of put my camera off to one side. After years of taking photos, after hundreds of thousands of photos, I was a little frustrated that it seemed so difficult to conjure up business or to sell fine art prints.  Hell, it was hard to get a model other than myself, but Bob encouraged me to keep at it.  Perhaps we bickered about some things in photography. He liked to post process and I'd complain that he'd post process to a fault. He hated black and white and believed in color, overly saturated color.  If we bickered enough to squabble, we wouldn't speak to each other for maybe no more than a day and then we'd change the subject.  I have always been the negative one.  Bob was light, fresh, friendly and cheerful.  I must have made him crazy, but he "loved" me anyway and he was encouraged when I would momentarily let go of my resistance.


Good friends are hard to come by and good friends are hard to say goodbye to.  I printed out this picture, framed it and hung it in my kitchen.  I wish him a good day every morning and remember that it is time again to make more photography.  And, as I beat myself up about what sort of photography I should set out to do -- which is always that sticking point that makes one turn around and do something else instead, waiting for a form of inspiration or for the excuses to wear out --  I now realize that there's always time while we have it. Life doesn't give us time beyond the expiration date. You go when your ticket says it's boarding time.

Where ever you are Bobby, I know you're taking it all in. I will see you later.

Happy Trails.



(28 Moons) https://www.28moons.com/blog/2021/2/old-friends Sun, 07 Feb 2021 20:19:51 GMT
It Tastes Like Flowers https://www.28moons.com/blog/2020/8/it-tastes-like-flowers

I need to write about this process which, in truth, is not finished.  I wanted to do some sort of collage to get back into the mindset of composite photography.  For a while, I was tuning out, figuring that everyone was doing it.  I was thinking about my favorite composite, the young hairless girl in the window in the rocks, thinking to myself that it's a tough act to follow. The girl in that photograph is actually a little girl in a swimming cap, but she looks bald, she looks lost and she was perfect for her photo.  She's a vintage photograph.  I LOVE to collect vintage photos.


How was I going to follow that act?  I think I've been avoiding it forever because making a series of it might be most difficult.  How many windows can I park on the rocks in Joshua Tree?  Then, I thought that perhaps the series could be more about vintage photographs, perhaps just vintage children.  I thought about that a while longer, like even longer.  I took myself on a tour of the LIbrary of Congress website to see what I could take for the taking with no copyright issues.


I found a black and white photograph of a little girl eating ice cream, 1906.  I took a fast youtube tutorial in colorizing -- I surely could get better at this.  I was a little bit in a hurry and I see where I'm going to improve on this photograph -- like painting in her hair.  I colorized her on a fast track, assuring myself that it was a first try and I'm in a hurry to see what I have.... I promised myself that I would get better at this.  The truth is, I do not consider this a finished product just yet.  Its always a process. If you are a photographer who in the beginning of your career over sharpened the hell out of everything, you know how important it is to go back to the original file and do it again when you have more experience.


Overall, I had mixed feelings about the entire picture.  I put it to facebook.  The response is very good,better than I imagined.  I think I will go with that. Usually, I'm so wrapped up in my own message that I failed to see what this message might send to other people.


Art can be narcissistic - we have our vision, our sight and our message. Remember, a message received is a stronger communication. Art is personal, but what might seem less personal to us might be something more impactful for the viewer and so as much as I might beat myself up on this piece, I am going to let it find its own path through me. I am an artist er oh I am a technician and a fascilitator.

(28 Moons) antique colorized composite flower https://www.28moons.com/blog/2020/8/it-tastes-like-flowers Sat, 29 Aug 2020 19:43:01 GMT
SAFE PLACES https://www.28moons.com/blog/2020/1/safe-places  

There was no winter weather to deal with today. The temperature was nearly forty degrees above normal if normal would be in the teens. Someone on the television complained about global warming and climate change, but didn't explain how that actually comes about.

It was a cloudy day.

I looked out my window and wondered if I could get a good look at the sky from a higher vantage point. I finished my coffee and quickly packed up three black nylon bags -- two backpacks and a camera holster. As I rushed out the front door, a passing man -- a neighbor, I assume -- made the comment that he could take in more days like this. I agreed, but I knew it wouldn't last. We both agreed that harsher weather looked as though it was coming.

I was hurried.

My mission was to get to the top of a high hill in the country, one I frequently visit.

The trees in the distance were isolated, naked and grouped sparsely. The fields were golden with dead vegetation. Weather can change dramatically on this hill. Snow can blow so white that you can't see your way down with any confidence. It was something to be conscious of.

As I struggled to keep a filter holder on my camera lens, I entertained the thought of shooting from inside of the car, but there was an even better capture from behind. I needed to get out and walk around.  I tend to be overly cautious to be too far from the car, even if I can see it parked on the road.

As much as I love isolation and my independence, I remain aware of one shoot when someone drove by, but circled around in his truck.

"Are you all right?"

I immediately had a strange feeling. The longer he engaged with me, the stranger I felt. I found a way to end the conversation and started to walk back to my car, parked on the shoulder of the road too far away. He pulled his truck off of the road and followed me, driving on the shoulder  directly, behind me.

I can't tell you exactly what my next moves were because I was keenly aware, but I drew a blank about my alternatives.  I had no plan, no defense.  I stayed focused on getting back to my car.

I knew that his intention of intimidation was festering something ulterior. I wasn't imaging it. He was driving on the shoulder of the road at my back and one slip of his foot put me under his truck. I had to get inside the safety of my car and it was taking too long to get there. 

I felt that if I bolted, he would respond like a wild animal, racing after prey.

I later learned from a law enforcement officer that a woman's body had been found in an abandoned barn in that area and I was cautioned to be careful whenever I ventured out alone. At that time, I was photographing an abandoned barn. I wondered if that woman was in that barn. I joked, I told the officer that I believed that I met the killer. 

When I see stories on the television about bad things happening, I am convinced with conviction and without hesitation that things don't happen to me. I am nobody's victim. Just ask the skunk who comes into my yard at night that I chase off with a yardstick. I cannot be messed with.  

Who am I fooling?

My experience teaches a new mindset about preparation and caution, but it has a learning curve. We have to build these things into muscle memory.

I still rush out the door and I forget  to prepare myself with any foresight. When you stand on the edge of a horizon to grab your selfie or you think that the train bridge 400 feet above the falls is a great place to take your kid, think about how you plan those things.

I don't believe that danger is gender favored or lurking around every corner, but it can show up. We also can't live our lives sheltered, but it serves to remind any of us to have a plan. 

I mentioned that the weather could change in a heartbeat on top of the hill.  Did I bring any food and water with me?  Were there warm items of clothing packed in the car. Afterall, it is January in the Northeast.

I would have stayed longer on top of the hill today, but I packed one-half battery and I used it all up testing my new camera. I had also forgotten my cell phone. I was remiss in taking my own advice. Muscle memory begins with some sort of organization or drill every time we go out the door.  


(28 Moons) awareness danger isolation preparedness safety https://www.28moons.com/blog/2020/1/safe-places Sun, 12 Jan 2020 17:48:18 GMT