Musings on Photography

Thanksgiving, belated

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul Butzi on November 29, 2006



This past Thanksgiving, we traveled to Clarks Summit, PA, where we visited with family. We had, as Arlo put it, a Thanksgiving Dinner that Couldn’t Be Beat.

While I was at my sister’s house, I had my usual need for a little solitude and quiet. Just around sunset, I took a little solo stroll, taking along my Canon A95. I took a lot of photos, almost all of which were complete dreck. The one above is really the only one I like, and it’s not something I’d write home about.

But it didn’t matter. The air was crisp and clear, and the light was soft and seemed to light the world from within. Even the fact that I was strolling on a new road in a woods that was in the middle of being turned into a housing development didn’t seem to bother me. Anymore, it seems like unless the spot is completely urbanized, I look around and I see the same landscape process at work, the patterns just calling out to be photographed. In a world where often there seems to be too little that makes sense, it’s a comfort to realize that water still flows downhill, that sand gets sorted by size by the flowing water, and that surface tension organizes the whole thing in ways which reflect some deeper design.

On the way back, I sang a little bit of doggerel verse that went like this:

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right it, it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.

All you have to do to join is sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar.

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.

3 Responses

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  1. Dave New said, on November 30, 2006 at 8:55 am

    Sorry, I’m still sitting on the Group “W” bench. 😎

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Lisa Call said, on November 30, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    I’m curious – what do you do with your “complete dreck” photos?

  3. Paul Butzi said, on November 30, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    I’m curious – what do you do with your “complete dreck” photos?

    Dreck photos which were captured on film live on in their glorious dreckishness in perpetuity in my negative files. I have negatives running back to when I was something like eight years old, although I’d have to search hard to turn up that particular binder.

    Dreck photos which were captured digitally live on (again, in perpetuity) on a big file server (and on backups, of course).

    I’m probably unique in this way; I never see any compelling reason to throw photos away, even if I have no interest in printing them.

    This sometimes pays big dividends. When I started printing my 4×5 negatives digitally, I found there were a lot of images which I could never print satisfactorily in the wet darkroom, and I could print them nicely digitally. So I’m glad I didn’t toss those hard to print negatives with little promise way back when I made them.

    And every little once in a while, I go back and look at all those unprinted photos, and look for trends that might point the way toward something interesting I might tackle in the future.


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