Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

December 24, 2012

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-125@110mm-F6.3-1/60th-3 Flash-ISO200
... the girls and i had our christmas today ... as you can see, it's rather obvious that as usual i got the absolute best presents ... roger happened to stop by for a visit and he graciously served shutter clicking duty so that after i took this picture he could snap one of the three of us (next entry) ... after that, it was on to baked chicken, gummy rice, sweet corn, homemade rolls, and, of course, ben & jerry's, along with a couple of good movies ... as a wise ol' latin guy said a long, long time ago, "a perfect day is made in perfect company" ...

December 14, 2012

SANTA & SENSLESSNESS

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@70mm-F6.3-1/60th-Bounce Flash-ISO400

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@17mm-F6.3-1/60th-Bounce Flash-ISO400

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@70mm-F6.3-1/60th-Bounce Flash-ISO400

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@70mm-F6.3-1/60th-Bounce Flash-ISO400

... my friend, robert, asked me to come over to the lawrence library yesterday evening to take some pictures while he served as santa for the kids ... this morning, cooling down from my daily exercise, i noticed on my newsfeed that there had been "a shooting at a school in connecticut" ... it caught my attention just enough for me to say to myself, "how sad," then i took my shower and headed out to run errands ...

... it was a bit later, while waiting for the house of pizza to finish preparing our lunches, that i watched in horror as the details of the terrible tragedy unfolded on the restaurant's big screen tv ... after that the walk back to the shop with the food, much of the rest of this day, it's all a tired blur ...

... i remember when i was a kid living in alaska, and one of my pals died in an accident, that the minister gave a sermon about "plans" which we "couldn't understand" ... on the ride home i asked ma, but, now looking back from what was then her side of life, i realize that she was too upset to console me ... it was pa, when we got back to the house, who said, "don't go in just yet" ...

... after mike and sue and ma had gone inside, he told me to get into the front seat, then took me for a drive ... he remained silent, even after he had pulled the car into one of his favorite places, a little turn-out at the spot where the lofty chugach mountains squeezed the tarmac to within a few feet of the wave battered edge of turnagain arm's frigid waters ... it was only after we'd sat for awhile that he turned to me and said, "some things make sense, pat, and some things make sense in time, but some things, some things will never make any sense" ...

... i thought on it for a minute ... "but, pa," i asked, "which one of them was this" ...

... "i don't know, pat, i don't know" ...

... then we drove home ... as i sat close to him he let me put my hand on the wheel, and i pretended that i was steering the car ... for that afternoon, at least, the illusion of control comforted me ...

... today, in this moment of absolute senselessness, i so wish my pa was here to take me for a drive ...

December 11, 2012

ONIONS

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... out for a stroll with my camera, if i do not actually discover the world, even in what i know i'm sure to find something new ...

NEWELL AND BALUSTER AND RAIL

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... when in doubt, photography is about contrast ...

PEPPER & SALT

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... sitting at the counter in the selah tea cafe on main street, waiting, i wondered, "why do we always say 'salt and pepper'" ... i think about stuff like that ...

AGAIN, WHAT IS THE OLYMPUS PROJECT?

... one of you, a recent addition to my journal bcc list, asked, "you label a lot of pictures as 'olympus e-p1 project,' what does that mean" ... so, for all the newcomers, here's the scoop ... 


... this is a "festival" ... by altering the top plate and changing the engraved labeling a famous german watchmaking company offered their own expensive version of the rather pedestrian "jubilee" produced in america by the bosley company ... possibly through some sort of wheelin' and dealin' transaction, in 1958 pa secretly purchased a festival in west warwick, rhode island, while we were making a stop on our cross-continent journey to take up residence in alaska ... it was his favorite camera for several years, until he took up using an argus c-3 ...


... the witnauer had superior optics, but i've come to think that pa just didn't want to take the little jewel-like festival out into the wilds, a place more suited to the ruggedly indestructible argus (a.k.a. "the brick") ... as i heard him comment, "unlike the german machine, no matter how humid or cold it gets the shutterleafs on the argus never stick" ... 

... after we moved to guam in 1965 he let me leave the house with the festival, it was with the little german camera that i first began taking pictures on my own ... later, when pa would allow, i also began using his beloved petri flex v ...


... the petri was the first "single-lens-reflex" i ever used ... an "slr" has a mirror located within the camera body ... above the mirror is a five-sided prism, a "pentaprism," which allows the user to look directly through the lens of the camera ... when the shutter button is pushed the mirror flies up from in front of the shutter (that would be the "reflex" action) which quickly opens and closes to take the picture, then the mirror drops back down ... much more complexity than the previous cameras, which utilize a separate viewing window ("viewfinder"), but the virtue of the slr is that the photographer can easily utilize lenses with different powers, such as telephotos (telescopic lenses) ...

... in 1969, while visiting in london, for the first time i purchased my own camera, an olympus sp 35* ...



... i'd gone to england on the sly, as in, "i'm going to england, ma" ...

... "really, when" ... "tomorrow" ...
... "how're you getting there" ... "got tickets on pan am" ...
"what about a passport" ... "skipped school, went to boston and got one" ...
"what're you going to do in england" ... "oh, i'll find something" ...

... pa, of course, both couldn't and refused to be flustered ...

... "do you need a ride to the airport" ...

... i remember that during the month or so that i was in england i tossed the leather case and made sure to let the camera's chrome get get scuffed up a bit, since i had absolutely no intention of declaring it and paying duty when i returned to the states ... it was a great little camera, and it served me well until i bought my first nikon ( a cool story for another journal entry, perhaps) ...

... over the years i've own nikons, leicas, mamiyas (both 35mm and 2-1/4), yashicas, canons, pentaxes, the list seems to go on and on ... each and every camera has been appreciated, all served me well, to the point that just from weddings my trusty nikons have probably fully returned all the money i've ever spent on photography ... over time, however, it seems that as much as the improved technology enabled me, there was also a corresponding distancing from the "roots" of my photography, the elemental relationship formed between vision and light ... so, not wanting to return to they-weren't-quite-as-wonderful-then-as-they-are-in-reflection-now days of messy and expensive chemical based photography, i decided to see if within a modest budget (say goodbye, leica digital rangefinder) i could put together a "modern" version of the olympus ... parameters:  single focal length lens, no zoom ... separate viewfinder ... manual control of aperture/shutter speed/iso, as well as aperture preferred automation (photographer sets the f/stop, or lens opening, camera sets the shutter speed) ... the result was the olympus e-p1 ...


... oddly enough, it was priced almost exactly the same amount as the ebay listings for 45 year-old olympus 35 sp's ... truthfully, the lens isn't any sharper than the olympus' and it exhibits a lot more barrel distortion, but the light meter is unbelievably accurate and under most lighting conditions the electronic focus is quicker and more precise than the olympus' rangefinder ...

... small, light, big-pocketable ... not to "replace" anything, just a tool with which i can enjoy seeing and sharing the world ...

... *picture is courtesy of photo.net ... if you're planning some attic cleaning, you should know 
that there's a spot on my camera shelf for an olympus 35 sp ...


December 4, 2012

LADY AND THE BLUES

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

"i feel pretty"
"oh, so pretty"
 "i feel pretty and witty and bright"

 but as they drive by i notice they no longer notice me,
that they never wanted to understand
i was also so witty and bright

now i'm just another poster they've forgotten,
fading behind the glass
fading behind the glass

PATRICK GROLEAU
(WITH, AS NECESSARY APOLOGIES AND/OR RESPECT TO STEPHEN SONDHEIM)


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... this evening i strolled up to mainely brews to use up my daily coffee ration while enjoying  dave mello perform some old time blues ... seeming now a very, very long time ago, at a place in my life where i felt very alone and, to no small degree, lost, it was a comfortable constant in my routine to be able to wander downtown to the you-know-whose-pub to fill myself with a bowl of tasty chili while listening to dave strum away on his guitar ... tonight we talked about where each of us has been, and how both of us find it so important to have learned how wonderful it can be to let go of where we're going, and simply devote our energy to appreciating where we are ...

December 3, 2012

DREAM WALKER

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... i glance out my living room window to chance upon a soul seeming aimlessly wandering through the parking lot below ... source, path, direction, destination–there was a time i would have wondered–now, with memory of my own dark sentence served, i remind myself that often beginning can be found misplaced someplace between going and coming ...