Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Hot Day At the Plymouth Public Library

Saturday's art & craft and book sale at the Plymouth Public Library (PPL) was a lot of fun. Not that we didn't expect it to be. This was our third year participating and because it's Bev's work stomping-grounds, lots of the library staff came out during their breaks to say hello and check out our new photos. So there's lots of teasing, and jokes, a little bit of gossip, and plenty of friendly chat that takes place in addition to the more serious part of running the business.

Like any potential good art & craft and book sale, customers arrived to check out the goods even before we arrived to set up. And we arrived an hour before the sale started. Oh those early-birds! Before they even opened the library doors, the line to get in to check out the books was longer than the front portico (which is pretty darn long).

We heard stories about some very unruly and elbow-throwing book customers who, once they'd gotten inside and could start checking out the tables and boxes of books, went a little crazy. It seems large book sales like this one (the library has two sales each year - a late spring one and one in the winter) attract lots of booksellers looking for highly desirable volumes that make for good resale. Some even come with sophisticated hand-held scanners to quickly check the IBSN codes on the covers to determine which books are worth buying. Internet sites like that sell used books have made this a very lucrative practice. Plus, and this is like the thrill of the yard sale hunt, you never know when you might find a valuable first edition that someone donated to the sale and had no idea what they were giving away.

We're able to get set up very quickly - both because we've had a fair amount of practice at it and because displaying photographs is not a complicated deal. Imagine being a jewelry-maker who has to set out and display each and every necklace, pair of earrings, pins, rings, etc. Now that takes time!

For this show, we were also minus our larger matted and framed photographs which are a bit more complicated to display. All our large pieces had been delivered to the Hughes/Donahue Gallery and are already hung for the opening of next weekend's photography show.

Oh, and maybe, just maybe, set up goes easily and quickly because two guys name Bob and Bob help us do a lot of the heavy work like unloading our vehicles, putting up the tent, setting up the tables, etc, etc. Thanks guys. You know we really appreciate all your help and support - we couldn't do this without you. Well maybe we could - but the thought of two Polish woman putting up the tent by themselves is enough to make You-Tube tingle with the possibility of that being video-taped for the world to see! What you say? A million hits in just one week?

It was busy. There were lots of people wandering around the outside tables. The economy is definitely getting better. People were actually taking money out of their wallets (and letting loose a few moths in the process) to make purchases. A local nursery had a wonderful stand of beautiful perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, starter vegetables. There was one other photographer who was selling his work. Not nearly as nice as ours, of course. No, really. In my don't have a prejudiced bone in my body opinion, our work was definitely better. I think.

We did seem to be the tent that was channeling all of the literary karma of the day which in turn made Salmon Falls Photography the gathering-place for some members of a local Plymouth poetry group called Tide Pool. We also want to thank Joe Horn for his wonderful company and stimulating conversation and for his permission to use on one of our poster-effects a limerick he wrote back during his early school days. (We have some beautiful photographs of a very old Vermont cemetery and have never know what quote to use for the poster-effect - this may be the quote.)

There once was a man from Socorro
Who would never pay back what he'd borrow
Said he to his friends
I will make amends
But they buried him on the morrow.

It was hot. No getting around that. It's a day like Saturday that makes you're grateful that the PPL is located so close to the ocean. We had a very refreshing breeze blowing across the lawn in the morning keeping us comfortable. Well except for when a strong gust would all of a sudden come out of nowhere and knock over a lot of the smaller or lighter items on our tables. If I had to estimate how many times we had to straighten out the tables and upright knocked over photos, I'd guesstimate somewhere in 1,000s (well maybe not that high, but certainly way more than 10 and probably closer to 100 - a few zeros here and a few there, what's the dif).

One thing that most warmed our hearts yesterday were the customers who stopped by and told us they specifically came to the show in the hopes that we would be there again this year. These are the "art patrons" we are trying very hard to cultivate - the people who come to a show, see our photos, fall in love with them, buy one or two, and then come back the following year hoping we'll be in the same place so they can buy some more. We love you people! We want you to get addicted. We want you to never have enough of our photos. We want you to become just like Julie V. whose whole front hallway is covered with Salmon Falls photos. And yet she still stops by and sees new photographs she just must have to take home.

I took some time to wander around the lawn and take some photos of what was going on and I will post those for you to check out. I'm going to try and learn how to add labels to our photos so you'll be able to better identify what you're seeing. Just like our company website, this blog is a work in progress and we're learning more each time we post each new blog. In about 30 years or so, I should have this down to a polished science.

The show ended promptly at 1 pm as scheduled. Actually, some exhibitors had packed up and left before 1 pm. Not because they were so efficient and thinking of the library's janitorial staff and the cleanup work that still needed to be done, but because it was getting so DAMN hot! By then, even the breeze wasn't enough to keep people comfortable with the sun that high. Oh, and there were more than a few people wandering around whose underarm deodorant had failed by then. (Just thought I'd throw that part in to see if you were paying attention.)

Thanks to all our wonderful fans and customers who made this show a wonderful financial success and so much fun for us. I'd like to say that the fun part is way more important than the financial success part (and most days it actually is) - but we do need to replenish the bank account to be able to buy more print paper, ink cartridges for the printer, matting and sleeve supplies, frames, pay our taxes, and on and on. And Bev has such expensive tastes in camera lenses and she so wants the motion-detector camera that we can mount outside on a tree to take photos of birds and other wildlife.

Thank you Little Fairy (I'm now capitalizing your name and that makes it your official name from here on in) for being so appreciative of our "Old Library" photo - a photo that we don't understand why it's not a resounding success and best-seller in Plymouth. And to the wonderful man who told us our photos made him want to go home and throw out his camera and give up taking his own photos and who fell in love with my "Old Maine Rake" - I'm sure the fact that it was in the sale bin had nothing to do with the instant love affair you developed with that photo. Thank you Cindy and Stef for your support, refreshments, and help packing up. And again, to our two wonderful husbands. Family is golden!

Don't forget, next weekend is our big show at the Hughes/Donahue Gallery in Taunton. Come see us, take a look at our photos and the work of 19 other area photographers. We'll be there both Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm - 6 pm. As will Jack and Darryl, the gallery owners, and we'd all love to have you stop by. Personally, we think our show is going to be so good, it would be worth driving from Harrisonburg, VA or Bedford, NH, or Newark, DE just to see it. But if you can't make it, we certainly understand. And then, shortly after the show, I'll be writing a new blog to post. See you then. Judith

P.S. You may have noticed, the photos included with this blog do not have titles. Heavens to murgatroid snagglepuss. I can't even begin to tell you how complicated it is to add titles. You need to be a major computer nerd just to read the directions about how to do it. I won't say we won't ever begin to add titles. But don't sit around holding your breath. You may expire.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Backyard "Road" Trip

It's been some time since I wrote our last blog, and I feared I might be getting a bit rusty. Our trip to Bar Harbor, although still very much present in my mind's eye, seems like light years ago now. I began to think I might need to warm up a bit for two upcoming blogs I will be writing - one about the craft show and booksale Salmon Falls Photography is participating in this coming Saturday at the Plymouth Public Library and then the Hughes/Donahue Gallery Show that will be taking place on the weekend of June 26th and 27th.

So I decided to take a photographic road trip around my own backyard . . . and my front yard and my side yard - a regular circumnavigation of the old homestead. Photo ops are everywhere and they don't always require that you get in a car or truck or hop on motorcycle to drive someplace that's a distance away from home.

Those of us who live in New England are blessed with photo ops that come and go so quickly - changes in the weather that happen in the blink of an eye, changes in the seasons that result in ever-evolving colors in our flowers and shrubs, trees that go from barren winter silhouettes to a riot of oranges, reds and yellows in autumn. I love the spring wildflowers, those ephemeral beauties that bloom in the woods in the dappled sunlight before the trees sprout leaves that completely shade the forest floor. At that point, without hardly any sunlight getting through the tree canopy, the wildflowers go dormant for another whole year. Miss the two weeks or so when the lady-slippers are in bloom and you've got to wait another whole year for your next chance to catch them in pixels or on film.

That's why, if you love photography, and you want good photos, you take your camera with you whenever and wherever you go - winter, spring, summer and fall, snow, rain, sunny days, heavy fog, sunrise, sunset. I can still see in mind's eye, and this is from back in the early 1980s, one of my best photo ops ever. I was driving early one morning down Beech Street in Bridgewater on way to work (this was back in the days when I managed a laboratory over in the Town of Middleborough), when I passed a hay field with a gorgeous rusty, old hay rake sitting out in the middle of the field. (A little aside here: Bev and I love rust. We always have. Give us rust on practically anything, and we want to take a photo of it.)

And sitting on the top of the hay rake seat where the farmer's helper would be were the rake being used, was a black, white and yellow calico cat. He (she) was staring ever so intently down into the hay looking for a field mouse to eat for breakfast. The sun was just coming up and although most of the field was still in shade, the hay rake with that hunter cat sitting atop it were lit by the early morning rays of the sun. It couldn't have been a more perfect photo! Did I have my camera with me? No. Shame on me. Now that photo is just a memory in my mind's eye - but boy, do I still wish I had it on film.

So we're going to include some photos from my backyard trip so you can see what you might find when you just wander around your own lawn. There is one photo that for me, brings back wonderful memories of Bev's and my trip to Bar Harbor. If you've been reading our blogs, you know that we "borrowed" some lupines to bring home from Maine. It was such a joy to see all those lupines in bloom as we traveled throughout Bar Harbor and other places in Maine. For me, for as many trips (and that's a LOT!) as I've made to Maine over the years, I had never seen the lupines in bloom.

As soon as we got back home from Bar Harbor, I put my lupines in one my favorite pitchers and put them out on our deck on the "new" junk table I bought for $6 from this wonderful character of a guy who owns the best junk and secondhand and collectibles and antiques place to browse for everything and anything imaginable. (If Bev gets ambitious and tears herself away long enough from the Celtics game, perhaps she'll post the photo of me sitting on the steps of that wonderful junk shop.) And for about a week after we got home from Maine, which was about how long the lupines lasted, every time I walked out or in our back door, there were the lupines looking ever so beautiful in that pitcher on that old junk table . . . and memories of all those Maine fields and hills covered in lupines would flood my mind. Now of course, the lupines have long expired - but I have my photo of them to always remind me.

Photo ops are everywhere. You just have to see them. And that's why photography is as much about having a good eye as it is about being proficient in how to use your camera. For me, and I think Bev would say it's the same for her, we see photos in our mind's eye long before we take our cameras out and start shooting. So the next time you're out and about in your own yard, or taking a walk around your neighborhood, or even out riding your bicycle, pedaling for a bit of exercise, think of your eyes as your camera - because that's where the really good photos come from first.