Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Botched Postage Stamp inspires Oregon wine

Well, actually it didn't inspire the wine, only the labels on the bottles.

A botched batch of 100 postage stamps called "the Inverted Jenny" depicting an upside-down airplane, one of which sold at auction for $525,000, inspired the Benton-Lane Winery
stamp collecting label designer.

So now when you see a huge postage stamp along Territorial Highway near Monroe in the southern Willamette, you know the rest of the story.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Traveling Ol' 99

For this vacation, my wife Eddi and I debated where to go, France, Portugal, Scotland, perhaps back to Italy or Spain.
How about Highway 99?
Ok, Ok, it doesn't have the romantic ring of Route 66. But we felt sorry for Ol' 99. It
was at one time the main North/South route between Canada and Mexico. Now a relic in the dust bin of travel, usurped by the sleek concrete of Interstate 5. In many places Ol' 99 is only an off ramp to the business district of places like Creswell, Saginaw and Walker.

So we rented a car, and at the crack of 10:15 dawn, drove
down the hill from our house to begin our Oregon 99 adventure. The next few blogs will show what we found.

The new Evergreen Aviation Museum building just out of McMinnville. For you wine lovers, please note the Spruce Goose vineyard in the foreground. How did they land that thing?

Further south, we wandered off of 99 into Albany and accidentally found these retired volunteers carving detailed carousel animals. The goal–sometime in the undefined future–is to have a carousel museum combination community/convention center.

All of the work is volunteer, about 89,000 hours to this point. Besides the local greater Albany area guys (and gals), one volunteer told of carvers coming from southern California and Montana to work for a month or two.

No public money involved. "You know what happens when the government gets involved," explains a volunteer.

Check out the detail.

As I left, I tried to imagine what America could be like if somehow we could inspire citizens, especially retired ones.

Each of the 90 animals has a sponsor, who puts up $10,000. This gentleman has been carving on this griffin, sponsored by his son and daughter, for a couple of years. How long before he will finish? With a big grin, he replies, "oh, a couple of years." He carves three days a week.

Check out the detail and color on this hippocamppas, mythological sea-horse.

Lighting with Photoshop

When I accidentally stumbled on warehouse full of guys carving wooden carousel animals (see May 18 post),
I felt completely naked with only an 80-200 lens on my Nikon D3. Here I was in the middle of a fantastic situation with only a single big non-image-stabilized lens, no strobe, no tripod. What to do?

Shoot, you dummy. Make your body a tripod and light it with Photoshop later.

I wanted atmosphere around the carver.
So in Photoshop CS3, I first dinked around with Filter>Render>Lighting Effects. But that wasn't enough.
Then with the pen tool, I made a selection to darken everything except the shaft of light.
Which do you like better?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dangerous Rorschach clouds over vineyard

It's not often that nature provides a psychological test for insights to wine lovers' perceptions. But on one rare Fall day in the Red Hills above Dundee, Oregon, such an opportunity momentarily displayed for all to do a Rorschach self examination. As a highly trained Rorschachian photographer, I was able to wrestle the moment onto my camera's digital sensor.

Before you read any further about the dangers of this test, What do you see in the photo? Hey, be honest.

As you know, psychologists use the non-organic ink-blot version of this test to examine a wine lovers' personality characteristics, emotional functioning and booze-absorption ability. It has been employed to detect any underlying thought or tannin-identification disorder, especially in cases where patients are reluctant to describe their thinking or drinking processes openly–as in most men.

In a national survey in the U.S., the Rorschach was ranked eighth among psychological tests used in outpatient mental health facilities but rarely used in tasting rooms. According to my dentist and Wikipedia, it is the second most widely used test by members of the Society for Personality Assessment, and it is requested by psychiatrists in 25% of forensic assessment cases. Please note this is not the same test the State Patrol gives out on the highway after they pull you over.

Please do not take this test alone or without a glass of wine or root beer nearby. Please also note that nether the photographer, wine industry or God are responsible for any damage you might suffer from viewing the image.

So what are you seeing in the photo?