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Category Archives: Travel

Vivacious

Some colors in nature are almost too vibrant to be captured by a lens. These tulips clustered under a tree on a windy day, and I’d hoped the shade would temper the almost-too-vivid nature of the orange. Still, it’s hard not to smile back at these happy faces, eh? As they were tossed by the wind, I was reminded of children running.

IMG_3722^cropped

 

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Downtown

A blackbird in a barren tree in early spring — notice the red Christmas lights still twining the branches? ūüėČ

at Myriad Botanical Gardens (c2016, KB)

at Myriad Botanical Gardens (c2016, KB)

 

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Where Are You Going?

Where Are You Going?

“Progress” is merely¬†motion in a certain direction, as in advancement¬†toward a goal. Depending on the goal, your motives, or your methods, that progression can be positive or negative.

People say, “Hold on! It’ll get better!” but sometimes we need to let go. As much as we admire people who trudge onward¬†toward their goals, there is, indeed, a time to give up.

Sometimes we persevere in the wrong direction. We may not know it. We may know it but not know how to change it. Our effort, skill, hope, endurance, loyalty, courage, and strength of will are expended in vain.

Step back. Examine goals, motives, methods, relationships, results. Is this truly the path you want to tread? Is this the end result you desire?

Don’t be discouraged by how much road — or how much life — lies behind you. It’s never too late for a course correction.

east on a Wyoming highway (c2013, KB)

east on a Wyoming highway (c2013, KB)

 

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Oklahoma City Lights

Last week, a fellow editor/writer and I met to work out a few details on a project¬†and ended up hanging out until after dark. We ate supper at The Garage — great burgers and tasty fish tacos — and I brought the camera for our stroll, just in case. Unfortunately, it had the short lens (shallow depth of field, 1:1 ratio), so there’s less detail and more blurring than I’d like.

This first image is of a parking garage, looking rather sci-fi or action-scene-like:

parking garage (c2015, KB)

parking garage (c2015, KB)

I edited the next photo to show the heat map, because the dim lighting was insufficient to show detail, such as the spiral fire escape strung on wires above the common space between two buildings. It’s surreal and quirky and cool, but something keeps me from wanting to walk underneath it. ūüėČ

"flying" fire escape (c2015, KB)

“flying” fire escape (c2015, KB)

The image below is a fuzzier version of one I¬†shared on Facebook a few days ago. It’s the Devon Tower in downtown Oklahoma City, otherwise known as the Eye of Sauron.

Devon Tower a/k/a Sauron's other lair (c2015, KB)

Devon Tower a/k/a Sauron’s other lair (c2015, KB)

Miscellaneous images below of old buildings, Christmas lights, and alleyways:

"Cinemascope" lends an older feel to the already old structure (c2015, KB)

“Cinemascope” lends an older feel to the already old structure (c2015, KB)

a misty, oblique shot that almost transports the viewer to an Old World city (c2015, KB)

a misty, oblique shot that almost transports the viewer to an Old World city (c2015, KB)

another blurry shot, this time of Christmas lights blanketing businesses near Automobile Alley (c2015, KB)

another blurry shot, this time of Christmas lights blanketing businesses near Automobile Alley (c2015, KB)

alley behind businesses that front Automobile Alley (c2015, KB)

alley behind businesses that front Automobile Alley (c2015, KB)

same alley, Christmas lights in a closed cafe (c2015, KB)

same alley, Christmas lights in a closed cafe (c2015, KB)

industrial-like structure abutting the alley (c2015, KB)

industrial-like structure abutting the alley(c2015, KB)

 

Below are variations on a theme. These images were taken before I departed the parking lot beside the alley. I was ready to drive away, but caught sight of the spiral fire escape in my rearview mirror. The result is a surreal mix of that reflection and of the alley beside the car.

The ghostly figure in the background is of a passerby walking her dog.

(c2015, KB)

(c2015, KB)

IMG_3331^light

(c2015, KB)

IMG_3332^b-w

(c2015, KB)

IMG_3332^HDR soft

(c2015, KB)

IMG_3332^light

(c2015, KB)

IMG_3332^infrared

(c2015, KB)

IMG_3332^invert colors

(c2015, KB)

Something tells me I need to spend more time downtown, and this time bring a tripod to help hold the camera steady.

NOTE: all images property of Keanan Brand

 

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Images and Words

c2015, KB

c2015, KB

The photo above is of the old Fred Jones plant in downtown Oklahoma City. Now empty and surrounded by fencing, the building is apparently undergoing renovations. The distance and angle created by the fence, the short range of my lense, and the shortness of my stature all combine to make the building seem a veritable tower. A fraction of reflected city skyline is caught in the windows, lower right. (c2015, KB)

As I read the four issues of Popular Photography that have been awaiting my perusal, I am struck with a longing for this lens and that camera, this tripod and that backpack, and a wish for a much bigger bank account.

However, I also recall a piece of advice drilled into me over the years by older, much better, more knowledgeable photographers than I:

A good photographer doesn’t need expensive equipment.

The problem there is the word “good”.

Sigh.

I want that new $849 Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lens, but there’s the nagging little problem of no money, and I’m nowhere near the¬†photographer I want to be.

A¬†story has¬†been rattling around in my head for over twenty years. It features a journalist who becomes a soldier during WW1. He’s a photographer, as well. Someday,¬†I’d like to use an antique camera. The physicality of setting up the equipment, and then the light and the stillness required for the shots, seems the equivalent of writing with quill and inkwell: There’s a meditative creativity that is inspired by the delayed gratification of capturing a scene on film or in words.

It’s different from the instant-ness of digital cameras or computer keyboards, the laying down of images or words without necessarily the weight of thought to anchor them.

But I digress.

We’re experiencing rainy weather here in Oklahoma, punctuated by days of sunshine, never long enough to dry out the ground. As soon as mud¬†and moisture are¬†no longer impediments, the Canon and I shall venture forth once more.

c2015, KB

c2015, KB

 

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Jungle Ramble

Jungle Ramble

Last month, I posted a few science fiction-y photos from the family meander on the grounds of Myriad Botanical Gardens in OKC, and promised a few more shots.

As I sorted through all the photographs from that day, I realized how easy it is in this digital age, without the built-in guide of a roll of film with finite limits, to forget exactly how many shots one has taken, especially if the day is fine and the venue is pleasant and one has all the time in the world.

Orchid (c2014, KB)

waterfall and palm trees (c2014, KB)

(c2014, Keanan Brand)

(c2014, Keanan Brand)

(c2014, Keanan Brand)

(c2014, Keanan Brand)

(c2014, Keanan Brand)

(c2014, Keanan Brand)

(c2014,  Keanan Brand)

(c2014, Keanan Brand)

coy koi (c2014, KB)

coy koi
(c2014, KB)

And here I must end the ramble, but there are many more photos to come. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Art, Creativity, Life, Photography, Stories, Travel

 

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Crystal Bridges, part 4

Continuing the series¬†about Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, here’s another¬†batch of¬†artwork¬†currently on display:

"Basket of Peaches", oil on canvas, c. 1885, Joseph Decker

“Basket of Peaches”, oil on canvas, c. 1885, Joseph Decker

"Free", basswood (resembles cast bronze), c. 1876, Emma Marie Cadwalader-Guild

“Free”, basswood (resembles cast bronze), c. 1876, Emma Marie Cadwalader-Guild

Anne Page, oil on canvas, 1887, Dennis Miller Bunker

Anne Page, oil on canvas, 1887, Dennis Miller Bunker

"Cowpuncher's Lullaby", oil on canvas, 1906, Frederic Remington

“Cowpuncher’s Lullaby”, oil on canvas, 1906, Frederic Remington

"The Art Student (James Wright)", oil on canvas, 1890, Thomas Eakins

“The Art Student (James Wright)”, oil on canvas, 1890, Thomas Eakins

I only shot pieces that captured my fancy, that spoke to me even if I didn’t quite understand what they were saying. As you might be able to deduce from the selections so far, abstract art and I are not on speaking terms.

 

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Crystal Bridges, part 3

The Crystal Bridges art collection offers a superb overview of American art including American masterworks as well as surprising, lesser-known gems from the Colonial era to contemporary work. Sculpture in the collection graces interior galleries and outdoor trails. —Art page, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art website

I was at the Museum this past weekend, wandering the galleries and grounds. Previous blog posts (1, 2) have dealt with the exterior and the walking trails, but this post will include some of the artwork currently on display.

When I say I am an amateur photographer, I mean it. Not only am I limited in lens selection, but in skill and knowledge, but I’m open to learning and experimenting. Therefore, most of the photos here were highly edited in order to counteract the dim lighting and crowded gallery. Still, I hope you enjoy them.

Lafayette -- not handsome by any means, but his face is commanding.  (Marquis de Lafayette, oil on canvas, 1825, Samuel Finley Breese Morse, co-developer of Morse code) (c2014, KB)

Lafayette — not handsome by any means, but his face is commanding. (Marquis de Lafayette, oil on canvas, 1825, Samuel Finley Breese Morse) (c2014, KB)

The artist was also the co-developer of Morse code, and the man for whom Samuel F.B. Morse High School in San Diego, California, is named. I attended there in the late 1980s.

(c2014, KB)

(c2014, KB)

I don’t recall the name of this sculpture or its artist, but it’s of a Native American couple, him down on one knee,¬†an arm around her as she perches on his other¬†knee. The front is nice, but the details here were more interesting.

The Indian and the Lily, oil on canvas, 1887, George de Forest Brush

The Indian and the Lily, oil on canvas, 1887, George de Forest Brush

This is one of my mom’s favorite pieces in the whole museum, but neither of us can afford a print of it just now.

Proserpine, marble, 1840, Hiram Powers

Proserpine, marble, 1840, Hiram Powers

In the background, Mrs. Jacob Franks (Abigaill Levy) looks over the shoulder of the bare-breasted Goddess of Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crystal Bridges, part 2

Water from Crystal Spring and other springs and streams on the Museum grounds provide all the water used in irrigating the Museum‚Äôs flower beds and lawns.¬† No city water is used for this purpose. —Crystal Bridges blog

 

Not only are wings of the Museum built out over the water, but there are many bridges on the walking trails.

On a bridge, looking back at one of the Museum galleries (c2014, KB)

On a bridge, looking back at one of the Museum galleries (c2014, KB)

Bridge leading up to a short, winding, foliage-lined walk up toward the front of the Museum (c2014, KB)

Bridge leading up to a short, winding, foliage-lined walk up toward the front of the Museum (c2014, KB)

The day I was there was pleasant, bright and mild, though the humidity finally did me in. Breathing wet air and slogging along in clothes sopping with sweat might dampen one’s enjoyment of the surroundings, but there’s always a shady spot to rest, feel the breeze, and enjoy the view.

No, not this view! Although you might see something similar. The painting below is Landscape, oil on canvas by William Trost Richards, and one of my favorite works currently on display. (Pardon the glimpse of gilded frame in the lower right corner. The gallery was crowded, so I took shots from whatever angle was available.)

Landscape (1864-1865) by William Trost Richards

Landscape (1864-1865) by William Trost Richards

And, as you’re walking, if you need rest of another kind:

Restroom along walking trail -- Frank Lloyd Wright meets the USS Enterprise. (c2014, KB)

‚ÄúSkyspace ‚Äď the Way of Color‚ÄĚ by James Turrell — Frank Lloyd Wright meets the USS Enterprise. (c2014, KB)

I bypassed the building to view the wildflowers on the hill behind and alongside it. As you can tell¬†from the second shot, the day was bright and I didn’t adjust the camera to deal with the brilliance. Still, I like the colors.

Wildflowers (c2014, KB)

Wildflowers (c2014, KB)

Tiny suns (c2014, KB)

Tiny suns (c2014, KB)

 

 

 
 

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Crystal Bridges, part 1

This past weekend, I accompanied my mother to Crystal Bridges, an art museum in Northwest Arkansas.

Crystal Bridges was designed by internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who envisioned a building that would complement the surrounding Ozark landscape. Nestled into a natural ravine, the Museum integrates the element of water on the site through the creation of two spring-fed ponds that are spanned by two signature bridge structures and surrounded by a group of pavilions housing Museum galleries and studios.
Architecture page, Museum website

It’s a beautiful site. Before the front colonnade is a giant, gleaming, sky-reflecting metal tree that reminds me of a lightning strike.

"Yield", stainless steel, artist Roxy Paine (c2014, KB)

“Yield”, stainless steel, artist Roxy Paine (c2014, KB)

This being May, flowers are in bloom, and wildflowers line the drive to the Museum or mantle a hill on the walking trail.

Wildflowers (c2014, KB)

Wildflowers (c2014, KB)

The Museum itself is glass and steel and stone, and spans the water. Its distinctive ridged, humped rooflines remind me of the backs of sowbugs.

Crystal Bridges (c2014, KB)

Crystal Bridges (c2014, KB)

 

Outside a window-lined gallery (c2014, KB)

Outside a window-lined gallery (c2014, KB)

 

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