Friday, July 29, 2011

Welcome: Newest Mother-Daughter Press Photographer-- John Feldhahn-- my grandfather

This path and gate lead forward and backward for me.  Sometimes I have heard something 1000 times but only on the 1001st time do I understand and take in what is important. Some paths are impossible to predict.  Who would have put me here looking at photos, family photos, and being touched as an artist and a daughter and mother.

My mother told me about her parents. That they were artists among their regular lives. My grandmother went to Parsons school of design -- enabled by the men in her life.  My grandfather loved photography. I heard this many times and I remember him with a camera and trying to catch us all in photogenic moments. But none of this prepared me for the day, about a month ago, when I opened up the boxes of photos she saved of his slides. They were beautifully filed, labeled, and even had compelling names on them such as "my 50 favorite pictures".  [Note to all mortal photographers-- this is one way to make your work live]. 

I fell into 3 days of breathtaking photos of people I knew including myself, my family, and complete strangers. So, as we have been selecting photographers to work with Mother-Daughter Press I want to welcome John Feldhahn and share just a couple of photos of his.  John's family came from Germany and he was born in Nebraska to a family that joined the Church of Latter day Saints. His mother Anke was a seer, a prophet, and woman not to be trifled with.  John went to Pharmacy school and met Madeline Crick at college.

The gate shown in the first photo was made by Madelines father -- Mr. Crick at his foundry in Independence Missouri. Much of the wrought iron work in their yard came from the foundry.

Until recently however, this one below was the only photograph of Johns I knew well.

It is Gay's wedding day. He has set the stage for this photograph. Each detail carefully thought out. She is very happy and wearing yards of blue silk. He places a photograph of her husband to be in a frame behind her and one of her mothers wedding in the other picture. He asks her to hold a mirror and look towards it. She wants to hide her hands, the ones whose nails she nibbled and a febrile illness had rendered unlovely to her.   They practice many shots but this is the one they like best.
The care and attention to detail are part of what make this photograph so beautiful. The model is gorgeous and the connection of photographer to subject-- uncommon and good.

Gay later worked some of his photos in with hers luckily, the same garden he photographed stayed in the family and my aunt Lois worked in it and made it even more lovely so we have over 60 years of one garden in photos.  Gay took his intital slide and then added in elements of Lois' garden and her own too. In this picture, that is her bird, his bird bath, Lois' birdhouse, and all of them shared the orchard. The flowers were from all three gardens.  

We were all shocked to end up gardners after watching our parents do it. Years later wishing we could ask them questions. This is the next best thing to getting a second chance to play in the dirt with them and design somthing together.

We plan to put many of Johns Photos in a web gallery and some images to stock for those places that like historical or antique images.  I am so pleased to have these to show.

Congratulations to John and his family :)
Let us know if you want to see more of his work or their work "together". Look for the stone pedestal birdbath as one clue 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Watching photographers & A love story

Living with photographers

In his quiet way James Bumgarner took a picture of his wife Gay Bumgarner
The Photographer
They are in Costa Rica and
She crouches in the undergrowth still and watchful
waiting, camera to her eye focused close.
There is a chance that the unusual butterfly of the area – it being the reason for their hike to this section of the forest, where it’s preferred plants grow --
and its unique black and white sworls, will come & be at home

She waits watching... carefully.  Filled with anticipation at this good spot and feeling lucky --- a lucky day perhaps.
she hears a click behind her and looks up smiling surprised to see her husband standing very near. 
He replaces the lens cap and wears a wry satisfied smile.
She smiles up at him-- and asks if he saw something "good."

He is happy with his camera and its long lens. He enjoys looking -- watching the exotic world ----and she thinks he would be just as happy with a good set of binoculars since he seldom actually takes a picture yet, he always seems content about it.
"Did you see something?” -- she wonders. 'what inspired him to actually take a picture?'
He looks at her with mischief and says,
"The view from here is just lovely" and she is filled with the pleasure of his attention and the compliment.
Their marriage is still brand new, her sense of good fortune unfazed.

He watches, as the wind plays with her hair
and smiles.
His pleasure in her company, her beauty, and her joy is a sturdy force
--- delight durable as an element of earth

In her white blond, Gringa hair, the butterfly is an exotic hair bow,
A stylish fascinator 
& as The Great Eggfly warms itself brief notions of flowers rise up -- butterfly visions-- created by the sun releasing the aromatic floral scent from her shampoo

Does the man speak to her of the butterfly?
No, likely not.
Her butterfly, the one meant for her, will come in time and she will be filled with excitement at its beauty and the efforts of making a picture.

Much later the yellow box of slides, "Kodachrome" comes in the mail and she peers  down her loupe at the slides on the lightbox.
She is confused and then she laughs in music.

Ah, the Great Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina)
She goes to him.
Note: There weren't many photos that James Bumgarner took and this is one she kept.  These are my imaginings combined with my rememberings of those times.  For all who knew them, enjoy.  If you are a photographer or live with one....enjoy too.
Have you a photo or a story like this?


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yes, four frogs. Thanks for counting

Hello, this is a bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana, smiling up at me from my "swimming pool" in Maine. She/he has her very own mosquito sitting in front of her that I think will be lunch (is it shocked into inaction or unaware?)

Thanks to all who played the guessing game.  You were right-- there were 4 visible. Most of you figured that if I was asking the question then there must be a trick so, most said "I see four but there are probably more".   Such a crafty lot you are.  But, I really wanted to know if the pictures on the website are actually visible in the way we have sized them.  Seems like everyone could see the details and count the 4 (visible) frogs.

The question is whether we should move away from thumbnails and offer bigger web pictures that will do them justice.  However, the problem comes when you try to make navigation and selection easy. I haven't seen what I like yet. It is just one of those head scratchers that may never be answered.

This big wonderful frog makes me happy because our "pool" is not going to get its complete maintenance this year and thus will be given over to the wildlife. Most of the wild life is amphibian and they sing deeply and with enthusiasm each evening.  They don't seem to mind my daytime visits with my camera at all.   I spend a lot of time archiving Gay's photos and some of the photos are 20 or 30 years old. Thus, the animal or creature in most cases is long dead. But, in this case I have a pool filled with frogs, tadpoles, and eggs, and a camera to learn so I am going to get to know them awhile in real-time.  I have even taken to giving them names.

In one of Gay's photography journals she admits that the frogs are one of her favorite animals to photograph. I agree but perhaps for different reasons. Right now I appreciate that they sit still a lot and although they are amphibian I find their faces seem expressive and interesting.

So, stay tuned to the updates from the frog pond in Yarmouth.  Join the blog if you want the updates...its free, easy, & more reliable than me remembering to send it to you by email.

Next will be a love story of cardinals with an unveiling of new cardinal and winter birds with berries.

My  health os still improving but it is slower than I would wish.  Thanks to all the well-wishers.


ps here is the next photo taken after the one shown in previous blog-- those ol anti-social frogs just haven't read the books about amphibians I guess. I only see three here but we know there are more.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

How many frogs do you see?

Put your count in the comments section of Facebook, or the website or email. Respondents are rewarded
If you cannot see very well (picture too small eyes, too old?) then you can go to original photo at

In the scientific literature bullfrogs are considered solitary and not particularly social although no distinction is made by sex.  Some sources say they will eat other frogs including smaller bullfrogs.  However, there is a growing appreciation of the complexity of their vocalizations as a clue to the oversimplification that may have been applied to their social lives and general intelligence.  If they are so darn solitary why are they always sitting around on lily pads and rocks together calling back and forth?

I think frogs are big jokers in the natural world. They love to make sudden noises or to leap up when it is least expected;  creating surprises for frogs and non-frogs too.  I think they love the freaked out look on those caught off guard.  If you watch them a lot there are activities that looks suspiciously like play.

For example, in the photo below there are two frogs sharing a moment of tender affection.  You don't see this kind of amphibian intimacy everyday.

 In fact in the close cropped view of the picture look at the front of the photo and you can see two young jokers ready to make sure that the intimate moment being shared won't last long or end quietly.

These fellows made a colossal nuisance of themselves in a very social way.  They swam surreptitiously under the lily pads emerging beside the quiet pair & filling the air with sudden loud calls.

Then diving under water they would be gone but I could see their silent eyes among the leaves. until they would reappear , out of sight only to reappear and jump on the occupied lily pad making it tip and then off they would go, kicking the pad and making it spin wildly so it would tip and  spin.

A group of frogs is called an "army of frogs".

Check out our new updated gallery of frogs and toads Amphibians galore here
I hope you are enjoying the frogs this summer by sight and sound.

And how many frogs are there up there in photo #1?