Breaking Bread

Bread from Colin Spitler
Bread from Colin Spitler, before we dove in... | Olympus PEN EP-2 and Olympus 17mm f/2.8 lens; exposed 1/100 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 400.

Fellow Picture Story and Photographic Essay student Colin Spitler, who is separated from our class by the distance between Missouri and California, sent us a care package with two loaves of bread that he had baked earlier this week.  It was very nice to munch our way through our Friday class…until a seed got stuck in my wind pipe.  Ouch.

David Rees sclices the bread before class
David Rees, with his trusty towel thrown over his shoulder, slices the bread before class begins. He said that he always cooks with a towel. | Olympus PEN EP-2 and Olympus 17mm f/2.8 lens; exposed 1/40 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 400.

Rediscovering the world of the small

Violet Wood Sorrell, MKT Trail, Columbia, Mo.
Violet Wood Sorrell (Oxalis violacea), MKT Trail, Columbia, Mo. | Nikon D700 and 105mm f/2.8 G ED Micro Nikkor lens; exposed 1/125 sec. @ f/3.5, ISO 800, hand-held.

Over sixteen years ago, when my dad put a camera in my hands, I began to explore the world of the small.  Macro photography continues to be one of his specialties, but it’s something that I didn’t feel that I had the patience for.  At the time, I was right.  Who knows, that still may be true to some extent–I was hand-holding, after all–but as I begin the process of bridging documentary photojournalism with nature photography, a need to enlarge the world of the small has arisen.

In another day or two, I should have a new Canon 100mm macro lens, but in the mean time, I am working with one of the university’s Nikon D700 bodies and a Nikon 105mm macro lens for the close-ups for on a new project on the MKT Trail.  The trail runs through Columbia, Mo. to McBaine, and then connects to the Katy Trail–a large trail that runs where the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railway used to have its tracks.  While it is conceptually similar to the piece I made on Stephens Lake Park, it is because I remain curious how people in urban environments connect back to nature.  For some of them, parks and trails may be the closest they ever come to experiencing something truly “wild.”

Third Draft: Stephens Lake Park – A Green Oasis on Broadway

While I was “officially” finished with my contribution to the class’ Broadway project on Wednesday when I turned into my professor, David Rees, a disc with my “second draft” of the video, I was still not quite satisfied with it. The timing of a few things was still off.

On Thursday, I posted another version of the video, and received some more feedback from it both in person and through a comment on the post, and took those into consideration. I was also unhappy with the color of certain clips in the video, and adjusted those within Adobe Premiere. Finally, I went back to Stephens Lake Park for one more “walk around,” which was also my last opportunity to experiment with the Canon 35mm f/1.4L lens. The result is a little tighter, with better matching between audio and visual components.

I consider this a finished piece, but am still more than happy to hear comments and suggestions.

Stephens Lake Park: A Green Oasis on Broadway

Stephens Lake Park: A Green Oasis on Broadway from David Kennedy on Vimeo.

In late March, I posted a “draft” of my contribution to my Picture Story class’ project on Broadway, one of the main arteries of Columbia, Mo., which was a “think piece” about Stephens Lake Park.

This Monday, I had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Saitta, Parks Development Superintendent for the city of Columbia, and ask his thoughts about the relevance of Stephens Lake Park for the community, and the significance of the park’s location on Broadway.

I believe this to be a significant improvement upon my original idea, and I hope you’ll agree. Comments and criticism always welcome!

2nd Thirty Days – Day Thirty

 2nd Thirty Days - Day Thirty - Elizabeth looks out onto her yard
Elizabeth looks out onto her yard (completed drainage on the right), Durham, N.C. | Panasonic Lumix G1 and Olympus 17mm f/2.8 lens; exposed 1/160 sec. @ f/3.2, ISO 100.
Elizabeth | Panasonic Lumix G1 and Olympus 17mm f/2.8 lens; exposed 1/50 sec. @ f/4, ISO 100.

Completed French drain
Completed French drain, with drain-pipe re-covered with landscape fabric and clay soil. Fescue grass seed will be laid this fall to fill in the (expansive) work area that destroyed the previous grass.

2nd Thirty Days – Day Twenty-nine

 2nd Thirty Days - Day Twenty-nine - Gravel!
Gravel in the drainage ditch, Durham, N.C. | Panasonic Lumix G1 and Olympus 17mm f/2.8 lens; exposed 1/4000 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 100.

At long last, the French drain project that Elizabeth and I started last March is finally close to completion.  Together, we hauled one ton of gravel from her driveway, up the hill to the back yard, and then scooped it into the trench.  We’re both tired.

Another view of the French drain
Another view of the French drain (near completion)

2nd Thirty Days – Day Twenty-eight

 2nd Thirty Days - Day Twenty-eight - Gloves and Boots
Gloves and Boots, Durham, N.C. | Panasonic Lumix G1 and Olympus 17mm f/2.8 lens; exposed 1/400 sec. @ f/8, ISO 100.

A year ago, Elizabeth and I set out to build a French drain in the back yard of her house to alleviate some drainage issues.  The problem is that the weather a year ago was that, in the process of digging the trench for the retaining wall and drain, we encountered an enormous tree stump that had been buried.  That, and wet weather, led us to abandon the project, leaving her with a swale in the mean-time.  This summer, we contemplated working again, but the heat and humidity were not ideal conditions.  The fall?  Sure, but I needed to be in Columbia, Mo. for graduate school.  Winter break?  Um, no.  So, that leaves now as the ideal time to work.

Tuesday was attempt number one at building the retaining wall.  Yesterday was the successful attempt.  Today?  Gravel, drain pipe, and more gravel.  Just one ton.  Literally… to be updated tomorrow.

Retaining wall
Completed retaining wall...a year late.