Sunday, June 17, 2018

Real or Not?

At the beginning of May, my husband and I attended a Symphony Fundraiser. We do not belong to the high-brow club, but this is one event we enjoy attending each year. My husband's work sponsors a table at it, and we are one of the fortunate couples that are invited to share the table. Plus, anything to support the arts.

There is also a silent auction that is fun to peruse before the dinner and entertainment. Most items are beyond our budget, but every once in a while we stumble upon a treasure. Three years ago, we bid on and won two passes to the three summer plays in a nearby resort town. We have continued to buy the three-plays bundle passes since then, we love them that much.

This year we bid on and "won" two annual passes to the Muskegon Museum of Art. Before last year, I had never been to this particular museum, usually going to the big art museum in the city and bypassing the smaller one. But...I have been missing out. This museum is smaller, but it is also more intimate and the variety of exhibits is exceptional.

Tuesday, I finally had a free day to meander my way up to Muskegon and redeem our gift certificate so we can get our passes. It was a perfect day. Temperatures in the low 70's, blue skies, and a slight breeze. I may have made a few stops at favorite beaches along the way.

The main gallery had three exhibits: the first one was these life-size resin sculptures created by Marc Sijan. The attention to detail with the skin coloration, winkles, moles, the good and the bad skin folds was beyond words. I kept circling them, marveling at each detail.

The second exhibit was twelve photographs taken in the summer of 1951 by Dorothy Thompson with her Kodak Brownie camera of the Whiskey Ridge Raceway.

The third exhibit was of American Icon: The Art of the Motorcycle. I would never ride a motorcycle, but I do love vintage machinery in any form.

I was the only one in the galleries most of the time, which was pleasant and quiet, and gave me lots of time to just look.

The other gallery I found so inspiring last time, and felt the same again, was the gallery of paintings. To see different styles near each other gives me a clearer impression of what I like and what I don't like. The trick is figuring out why I am drawn to some and not others. These observations give me insight into my own work.

I can't wait to spend a year exploring the museum, and this may become just like those summer plays, a reoccurring adventure.

When was the last time you visited a museum?

End Notes 

My June filming project is coming along well. My prompts are keeping me on track. My 3 X 5 cards are my favorite way to be inspired daily.

I have decided to make a short film of each week, because we all know I hate long films. I have had a theme emerge that will be my slightly longer feature film for the month. I have missed making my films, so it was fun to put this first one together. As always, Findley tends to be the star of the film...

June Begins... from Sarah Huizenga on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Summer Projects

June 30 Day Film Challenge

I mentioned at the end of my last blog post, that I was committing to 30 days of filming for June with some fellow classmates of the Make Films: 12 course.

Determined not to fail, I have taken some extreme measures. I made a list of four daily prompts, compiled from four different photo challenge lists. This gives me a starting point for each day. I don't have to do all four, one or two are a great accomplishment.

I have written the four prompts on a 3 X 5 card for each day, and placed them right on my desk so I will see them multiple times per day. Usually by lunchtime, I have crossed one off the list, so the next day's prompts are moved to the front. This gives me time to dream up an idea for the next day.

I have also made a note in the app Evernote for each day with the four prompts. A reminder pops up every morning at 8 o'clock.

Most days I have multiple clips filmed for the day. This could present its own problem down the road, overload of too many choices or a five minute film.

Abandoned Artifacts

Each summer, I do some kind of photography project. Last year it was The Meadow, which extended well into the fall and taught me so much about photography, patience and good light.

June 2015

A few years ago,  I did a summer project of photographing items people left behind at the beach. This was before I knew to call this sort of thing a project. But I did find some pretty interesting things.

The other day as part of my 365 photography project, I posted a "find" on Flickr, where I am keeping my 365 photo album. One of the people that "follows" me reached out with a comment, saying she would love to collaborate on a project like this. So Kristine Ortega and I have decided to collaborate on the summer project Abandoned Artifacts. We are also inviting those who want to play to join us.

Fishing line

The rules are pretty simple.

  • Take a photograph of a "found by you" abandoned man-made artifact, preferable taken where you find it. But sometimes good light requires a mild adjustment :) 
  • Use whatever camera you have - phone, dslr, or point and shoot
  • Process however you want
  • Share it with us, and the story behind it, if you want. 
Fly in a bottle

Where you can share...
  • Flickr group - link is here
  • Instagram with the hashtag #abandonedartifactssummer2018
  • Pondering a FB group - trying to cover most social media.

By the end of the summer, I expect I will have a collection of mismatched sandals.

My goal with the project is to create a scavenger hunt for the summer. Something fun to build community, make new friends, share some stories, and get outside with your camera.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sense of Wonder

Lately, I have been reading a lot of photography books of the coffee table variety. By reading, I mean I have been reading the Foreword and the After Thoughts and the captions, but I have also been reading the actual photographs.

In almost every photography class or workshop that I have ever taken, the instructor recommends to "study the masters", sit down with other photographers' work. By studying others, I will find myself in certain aspects of their work. The problem is that I rarely found this to be true.

Before our vacation in April, I was at the library looking for a good book to take along. I decided to wander over to the non-fiction side, maybe find a book of poetry to bring as well. But instead of turning right to the poetry aisle, I felt myself pulled left to the photography section. I had been down this aisle before, and had even checked out books, but they were always from the "suggested" list of masters. They were usually returned before they were due.

Scanning the shelves, I decided to let Titles and Covers be my guide instead of suggested lists. The above book got me with both title and cover. This might be me.

The best part of this book besides the subject matter was that it was a collection of a couple dozen different photographers. I was bound to find a few that resonated with me. And I did, six of the photographers in the book had work that drew me in, and made me want to stay. Even the photographers' work that didn't resonate was helpful, because it showed me things that didn't speak to me or unsettled me, and I was able to figure out why.

The light bulb moment came when I turned to this two page layout. Photographer David Husom photographed county fair buildings in the 1980's through the 1990's. These two buildings couldn't have been more perfectly paired for me to analyze. While the one on the left had elements I liked: typography, painted white wood, and little pops of red. It is the brick building on the right that made me want to walk into the photograph and explore.

This one held me at arm's length. I wasn't close enough to catch glimpses of the inside to see what mysteries it might hold. There wasn't enough intriguing detail to make me want to stay. This was taken in bright sun, not my favorite time of day.

Now this one. First, I feel I am standing on the street right in front of it. The open doorway gives me glimpses of what's inside. I want to see what those windows in the back of the building look like. I imagine the light is amazing in there. The golden light warms the brick on the front of the building and reflects gloriously on those windows on the right. The design of the tile around the open doorway. The number 2. The Youth Cattle sign and the lightening rods that flank the sign. All of those details are a visual feast. Everything is very symmetrical, except for that lone bush on the left side. I feel calm, balanced, but also intrigued.

After this two page spread, I began to look at the remaining photographs with new eyes.

Here is a list of the other photographers in the book, whose work intrigued me:

What each of these photographers gave me was work that filled me with a sense of wonder. That's what I seek in other's work and my own, the ability to wonder.


It has been a good couple of weeks away. We/I still haven't gotten everything done that we wanted to do. We got the 15 yards of bark spread. We spent a very hot Memorial Day weekend staining the deck. The kitchen flooring went in Wednesday, the kitchen feels so much more complete now. But there is still painting, drywall patching, and finding a new half bath vanity that makes me happy.

I didn't do any filming in May, after completing eight vacation films from April, there just wasn't the time or the desire to film more. But June shows promise, I am joining some others from the Make Films:12 course and committing to thirty days of filming. I am ever so hopeful that I won't lose steam on this.

I signed my husband and I up for a photography workshop in August - Abandoned Buildings in Gary, Indiana. Doesn't that sound like heaven?

I will be in and out this summer. Sharing when I have something of value to say. Otherwise, I will be around on Instagram and Facebook.