Monday, April 30, 2012

Indy Acoustic Cafe Series:
Jonathan Edwards hits a home run

Jonathan Edwards delivered a rousing finish to the current season of the Indy Acoustic Cafe Series Saturday, with a show that had spectators smiling, swooning, in awe and hootin' and hollerin' at all the right moments.

The show, at the Wheeler Arts Community in the Fountain Square cultural district of Indianapolis, was the seventh of the season that began last November and included -- with a few double bills -- performances by 12 artists, if you include Shawn Mullins' sidekick Patrick Blanchard and Craig Fuller's son Patrick. Also appearing this season were James House, Griffin House, Vance Gilbert, Callaghan, Catie Curtis, Jessi Curtis and Ellis Paul. Neither of the Houses nor Curtises is related, by the way.
Like many artists who appear in the series and who travel the country and globe performing before intimate audiences, Jonathan Edwards flirted with significant fame at least once in his career -- his 1971 single "Sunshine" was a Top 40 Billboard hit -- before settling down to a busy, less commercial-driving lifestyle. The sense of humility and appreciation of people's enjoyment of the craft exhibited Saturday has been a hallmark of almost all the performers I've seen at the Wheeler in the long-running series.

Edwards' show Saturday was packed with self-deprecation, storytelling, a brief explanation for why he was performing barefoot (he joked that his shoes were confiscated by airport security); a sharp wit and playful interaction with the audience; and a spine-tingling bluesy-ballad cover of the Beatles' "She Loves You" that snuck up on just about everyone in the audience, including me, and had folks hootin' (including me) with excitement at song's conclusion.

He also performed a charming, rhythmic, bayou-like romp, "Don't Crawfish Me" (a song he said a person he met in a bar offered to him); his ballad  "Sometimes" that a front-row spectator had requested ... and then transmitted live (with Edwards' blessing) via cellphone to the spectator's wife, Marsha, who was not at the show; and that wonderfully uplifting "Sunshine," which he gave an interesting syncopation makeover for the Series crowd in attendance.

After Edwards' final number of the regular set, I witnessed something I'd not seen at a Series show before: an immediate -- and unanimous -- standing ovation with more hoots and hollers. Would he come back to offer a clearly appreciative and satisfied audience an encore, and could it possibly top everything else he'd already done this night? Yes ... and yes. Edwards sung, a cappella, a stirring, spine-tingling (there's that phrase again) environment-awareness song that he dedicated to the recent observance of Earth Week.

Bottom line, the show became my new favorite of the dozen or so performances I've seen now in the series. The next season of the Series will open Oct. 13 and feature a return visit from John Gorka.

And now, here are some pictures from Saturday's Jonathan Edwards show. As always, click on the images to see larger versions. The final three images below are from the compelling a cappella encore.

To see a full gallery of images from the show, visit the Jonathan Edwards gallery in the Indy Acoustic Cafe Series area of my online site.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Return to Wasatch Lake, Part VI

So here we are, the promised wrap-up post on the trip to Wasatch Lake. In the previous five posts, we covered Sonny and Cher (the swans); sunrises; morning mists over the lake; other creatures, fowl and fish; and reflections on the water. This post is a sortakinda "everything else" entry.

Leading off the post is one of my favorite views of the lake. It's at the southwest end looking northeast. On the far left (just below center) you see the pier extending near the dam locks; directly opposite, on the far right with the bright red roof, is Cabin 7 (aka Sunshine), the western most cabin on the lake and, in my opinion, the cabin with the second best location. A frontal view of that cabin appears immediately below.

To see all my images from my three-day visit to Wasatch Lake, see my Wasatch Lake Spring 2012 gallery.

Above: Hickory Hill, Cabin 3, looks more like a fortress. It's the cabin with the most bedrooms (3); consequently, it can accommodate the most people (8). 
Above: White blossoms on a spring-bloom tree. One of the Ducksateers waddles nearby.

Above: The road leading to the lodge, a community building where guests can drop in to play pool or billiards, sit and relax or shop at the merchandise store. The grounds owners rent out the building for big gatherings as well -- reunions, receptions, conferences, etc. 

Above: In my first visit in October 2010, I easily ran and walked the trail that circled the lake. This time, however, winter snow and spring rain runoff -- and insufficient sunlight -- presented puddles like this on the north side of the lake, making running the trail prohibitive. I did walk it a few times, skipping through the bogs on the driest portions I could find.

Above: The pedestrian bridge at the lake's east end; it separates the lake, on the left side, from the beaver pond. I took many of my shots of Sonny, the swan, from here as he swam in the lake very near this bridge. Below: A closeup of a scene in the beaver pond.

Above and below: Two shots of the mini-rapids where overflow spills through the splash dam locks. Getting to the position to take this shot was a challenge; it's off the beaten path and required weaving through some heavy foliage. The picture above was shot using a shutter speed of 1/320; the one below, 1/5. I didn't have my tripod, so to make the slow shutter speed work in the shot below, I sat on the ground and rested the camera on bended knees.

Above: A sun dial, which you'll find on the pedestrian bridge separating the lake from the beaver pond. 

Above and below: Two of several bird houses I came across on the grounds.

Above: Along the long, half-moon loop trail, which scales the steep hill on the north side of the lake, you get an appreciation for the tall-tree forested area of the Owen-Putnam State Forest that bleeds over into Wasatch Lake property.

Above and below: I shot very few flowers on my visit. These are two examples.

Above and below: Lake views -- the one above, using a circular polarizing filter, which accounts for the rich blue in the water color near the shore.

Above: Just some floating horticulture on the lake water near shore.

Above: Another spring blossom tree.

Above: Vehicles parked near the caretaker/maintenance building at the entrance.

Above: A shot that could have been included with the "Misty Mornings" post. This is furniture on the pier in front of the owner's lake house, backgrounded with lingering, post-sunrise morning mist rendered smooth by wide f/stop bokeh.

Above: An antique rope-operated bell on the grounds.

Above: A decoration on my cabin, Peach Blossom (1).
Above: A juxtaposition composition -- tree vs. chair.

Above: Another swamp point on the lake trail at a point that leads over the earthen dam on the west end of the lake. By the second day I was there, because this spot gets more sunlight, I was able to pass without stepping in any water.

Above: The gravel road, caught in a morning moment of spot sunlight, leading to the lodge and Cabins 8 and 9 at the far east end of the lake.

Above: I turn to the Three Ducksateers to help me bid farewell to these posts about Wasatch Lake.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

'Discovering' pareidolia:
a (subtle) image within an image

I was going to devote today's post to a final, "all other pictures that didn't fit into subjects of previous posts" nod to Wasatch Lake, but something unexpected happened in the 24 hours or so since yesterday's post. Specifically, it pertains to the lead photo in that post (repeated above for your convenience).

While processing my images from the Wasatch Lake visit, I first noticed in this image what appeared to me to be a one-eyed face folded into the rippling water in the middle of the image, which was composed to focus on the duck cruising in the water. At my Joe Konz Photography page on Facebook, whose main attraction is a frequent "Photo of the Day" feature that usually carries a story that goes with the photo, the above image was my featured photo on Thursday. In the text accompanying the post, I happened to ask -- quite innocently, actually -- whether anyone else noticed "the face" that I had seen. Actually, the "one-eye" is because the face, as I see it, is turned to the right in an almost mid-profile, not because it's a deformity or cyclops. So, in the view I see, you see the person's left eye, an eyebrow, a forehead, a hairline and even the beginnings of a nose. (A quick aside: Since then, I've actually been able to see a second "eye" ... tilted down and to the right of the one I originally noticed, but I don't think it has nearly the impact or realistic impression as the one-eyed impression.)

I received two acknowledgments in comments on Facebook, and two emails about it later on, including one from one of the people commenting on FB, who also happened to send me images of a print she owns in which this phenomenon exists. The image is titled "Sacred Ground" by Bev Doolittle, but because I don't have permission to reproduce this image here, I provided a link to it so you can check it out yourself. If you google the title, you probably can find larger versions as well. The writer tells me that Doolittle is known for works involving "hidden images."

In "Sacred Ground," the "hidden images" are three beaked heads (no torsos), probably eagles, tucked into a dot pattern among a series of dense, leafless trees in a snow-filled forest. The creatures would seem to be protecting hallowed property by hovering large over two smaller, but very discernible -- and apparently spooked -- horses, one of which carries a human rider. Frankly, I'm not sure I would have noticed the creatures in the dots if the sender hadn't connected them (literally) for me; they were far more subtle than I feel the one-eyed face is in my photo.

I'd heard of this phenomenon before, though never really invested much time exploring or understanding it. I figured it had to have a scientific name, and after some quick research on the Internet, I came upon the term pareidolia, a form of apophenia.

This post isn't intended to go deep into the subject ... or say that my eyes (excuse pun) are suddenly open to pareidolia, or even that I'll be studying it intently in the near future. It's just to make you aware that if you ever noticed something of this sort before, or do so on a regular basis, you apparently are not alone.

The next post will be the one I had planned for today -- a final word (and pictures) on my trip to the lake.

To see all my images from my three-day visit to Wasatch Lake, see my Wasatch Lake Spring 2012 gallery.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reflections on Wasatch Lake, Part V

For the first 24 hours of my recent return to Wasatch Lake in Owen County, Ind., I had the whole grounds to myself; I was the only guest.

It was a pretty overwhelming sensation to be the only human amid that ecosystem, including that first-morning sunrise. Because I had maximum access -- including perspectives from the fronts of all the other lakeside cabins, I used that first 24 hours to take the majority of my photographs.

As a bonus, none of the few other guests who came that week went out onto the water in the boats that are provided, so because there were only the fish and water fowl to disturb the lake water, I had many opportunities to compose reflection shots, which is what today's post is about. You've seen a few already in the previous posts directed at other subject matter, if you follow the blog regularly. So today's post will be on some of the others, leading off (above and first two below) with versions that struck me for their oil painting impressionism look. I'm sure it had to do mostly with the minimum stir in the water by the smooth swimming strokes of the water fowl, but partly, too, by the way and angle sunlight was striking the water at that point of day. The rest are largely traditional "mirror" reflections.

To see all my images from my three-day visit to Wasatch Lake, see my Wasatch Lake Spring 2012 gallery.