Passport to My Neighborhood - Loosing a Friend

When last year I posted about a grove of California Buckeye Chestnut trees I accidentally discovered in 2013 and how this small piece of land, one square acre among the fields of vineyards, felt like stepping back to when Pterosaurs’ ruled the sky and Dinosaurs roamed the landscape. So when the opportunity arose last weekend I returned for a visit to observe the seasonal changes of a magical plot of land I had been in love with and to see my friend.

Walking softly on new ground cover soaked in the night’s dew which loomed amidst last autumn leaves thickly covering the ground, I made my way past low hanging branches and those that had fallen and scattered throughout the place. 

The Nature Conservatory Lyman Memorial marker

Even though the trees still had no new growth, it was still a mysterious and magical place as when I was here the first time. Momentarily patches of golden light dappled the ground with warm golden sunlight which had broken through the mist still lingered amid the trees.

I had returned not only to see the changes but also stand before a majestic California oak tree I called my friend. It may be hard for some to understand that I call a tree my friend.

My friend, the majestic California Oak tree

As I make my way through the random maze of trees, I came to stand before the great one, only to discover, he no longer stood proud and tall, reaching for the sky. 

Now before me lay the fragmented pieces of what is left of the trees upper right side that shattered upon impact with the ground. Even now, the remains gracefully lay in an abstract pattern amidst other fallen pieces, creating an incomplete maze. I take a few more pictures, as if documenting a crime scene. 

Though very saddened at the loss of my friend, who much older then myself, for had seen the valley’s fields around him cleared of trees and rock, and replaced with countless rows of grapes for wine. 

Soon I shall return to sit among the fallen limbs and branches and let time pass slowly, listen to nature.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 5S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


The Markham Vineyards’ iPhone Exhibit

I am please to announce that I am taking part in the Pixels iPhone exhibit, along with sixty other entrees, being held at the Markham Gallery, located within the Markham Winery,  St. Helena. There will be an artists’ reception on Saturday, April 18, 1 PM, with many artists’ coming from various parts of Europe and America. The exhibit will be up from January 17 thru the end of December, 2015.



Preparations underway at the Markham Winery’s Gallery

In preparations for the exhibit, Knox Bronson, iPhoneographer and curator of Pixels at an Exhibition website, has been working endless hours since learning of this wonderful opportunity only three weeks ago, which was brought about through Baron Wolman intervention. In less than two days all available exhibit slots were spoken for, once Knox announced  Call for Art .

Before the agreed date of arriving with the art works, Knox had been working endless hours bringing it all together, so that last week Candace Nirvana, Marie Smith, and myself have been helping with matting and framing the art. On Saturday, the day hanging the show, Heather from Markham Vineyards, along with Yoni Mayeri joined us assisting to hang the show.

The Markham Wiinery

Should you find yourself in Northern California, please consider stopping by and do not forget to also check out some of the wonderful wines offered at the Markham Vineyards, which was established in 1879.

Markham Vineyards website
2812 Saint Helena North Highway, 
Saint Helena, CA 94574
(707) 963-5292

Pixels at an Exhibition website

All photographs taken with an iPhone 5S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

First Friday of the Month - Toronto HipstaPak

After uploading the Toronto Hipstapak to the Hipstamatic Classic camera and shooting my first handful of images, I reacted to the results of what I was seeing, no different then The Kingston Trio 1958 lyrics Tom Dooley; “Hang down your head Tom Dooley, Hang down your head and cry.” But judging a book by its cover without further investigating it’s content, will mean that we will never discover a treasure that is hidden within. 

Toronto combo: Le Allan lens with Queen West

While we certainly were given more with the Toronto Hipstapak then just a lens and film, with an additional three new flashes with geometric patterns, it was the Queen West film I was disappointed in when combined with the lens it was paired with. Many of the Hipstamatic community mobile photographers were waiting very long for a Black & White film, I cannot help but wonder if this is what they wished, a washed out Black & White film that has too many similarities to another HipstaPak, The District combo. The similarity to The District combo is a washed-out Black & White but the difference is that The District has a blueish duotone and the Toronto does not, but this is where my disappointment ends.

All image above are Le Allan lens with Queen West

I also discovered that the Le Allan lens with Queen West film produces a special effect that is subtle but still noticeable. I’m referring to the double exposure effect that acts like the Tinto 1884 or Sergio lens, by being only evident in the outer circumference of the area that remains unaffected, as you can see in the following images.

See upper left, lower left and right where it more noticeable 

Upper left store window and shadow of car, including rear bumper

Telephone pole and roof of building

When the Queen West film is paired with other lenses, like Lowy or Helga Viking, we have a beautiful Black & White image with no side effects. Matter-a-fact, most lenses combined with Queen West are a good combination with moderate style differences between them, which we expect.

Non-Hipstamatic image converted in Oggl to show
Queen West paired with Lowy lens

It is the Le Allan lens that produces the faded tones and when combined with other films in the Hipstamatic collection, we are in for a pleasant surprise. With the Rasputin film the lens produces a nice faded warm tone, representing an old photograph. The Le Allan lens is also very good when paired with the C-Type film, Blanko BL4, or Uchitel 20, as with about 30 other films of the 50 that are currently available.

Non-Hipstamatic image converted in Oggl to show
C-Type Color film paired with Le Allan lens

The three flashes, Spiro Gel; Cubic Gel; and Triad Gel create geometric patterns when used to capture the image. Of the three, two, the Cubic and Triad Gel randomly rotate when applied. 

Le Allan lens with Queen West without flash

Le Allan lens with Queen West with Cubic Gel flash

Le Allan lens with Queen West with Spiro Gel flash

Le Allan lens with Queen West with Triad Gel flash

These three flashes with their geometric treatment will work for those into special effects, as for me personally, they are no more then a gimmick. 

          Final thoughts

Both the lens and film from the Toronto Hipstapak are worth considering, when paired with other lenses and films. As to the three geometric flashes that are included in the HipstaPak, I can only say that some will like them and others not.

Bottom line, if you desire a lens that produces washed-out tones and a film with good Black & White contrast, then the Toronto combo is a good investment.



Le Allan lens with Queen West


All photographs were taken with the Classic Hipstamatic Camera and there was NO post processing was applied to any of the images featured in this review.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 5S by
©2015 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


Another Path and No New Years Resolution

At my age, a New Year Resolutions has little meaning and really serves no purpose than an act of amusement. Resolutions tend to limit ones broader vision into a narrow one, for one sees the goal as a single path to achieving it and being blind to the road less traveled offering other possibilities that lead to the same conclusion. 

Resolutions are merely sets of goals we hope to achieve before the end of a year and unfortunately most resolutions are created in haste with little regard to the success in attaining it, therefore most fail before having even reached mid-year.

As an alternative, consider living each day with open eyes and arms, embracing what life offers and to live each day to the fullest, for once the day is gone, it is gone.

Magical Forest

If you would like me to suggest a New Years Resolution, here it is. To remain true to ones creative belief and vision.

It is imperative for creative individuals not to loose sight of ones creative direction, yet at the same time it is also very important to remain open to new ideas. For incorporating a different concept with ones’s vision does reveal artistic growth, but one must first explore the various possibilities and how they can be incorporated in ones current work before embarking on a new path and discarding one’s belief and vision.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S or 5S by
©2015 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

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