Friday, January 28, 2011

It Was A Good Day To Play

You know that life is good when an opportunity to earn a bit of scratch is also an opportunity to get in costume and play!

Festive Crew (DSC_0033)

Last night Cycropia performed for the Middleton Chamber of Commerce's annual event. We were ground performers interacting with the attendees and we had three lyra - steel hoops - mounted 10+ feet in the air to do some aerial dance.

The rig, 1 of 3 (DSC_0014)

It seemed to be a smashing success. The folks from the Chamber of Commerce were effusive with their praise, and indicated a tremendous amount of positive comments from the attendees. Staff from the hotel were blown away at how easy we were to work with, and delighted in watching us.

There are a double-handful of pics in a SLIDE SHOW for your entertainment.

A day well seized!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

eyeDance Promotion

I am pleased to announce the addition of a new page on my business website, eyeDance Studio Photography. The new page is aimed at dancers and other folk who use their bodies for performance or other dedicated skill (like martial artists, actors, etc.). I hope it will attract more performers to make use of my experience shooting dancers to their advantage for promotional images, or just for the pleasure of it. Here is a sample from the page:

Studio Photography

Please, take a look at the new offerings and see if there is something there to tempt you, or perhaps refer me to a friend. It's not too late to arrange for a Valentine's Day gift. If not a session of photos of you for your sweetie, how about a gift of a photo session for your sweetie?

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Portrait of Nala

What words do I need to add to this photo, really? This is our newish cat, Nala, posing perfectly for her portrait.

Nala Portrait

What a beauty!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Folk Ball 2011


Sometimes the photo just has to lead. This weekend the UW Madison's Great Hall in the Memorial Union was home to the annual Folk Ball, a volunteer-run event providing an awesome experience for folk dancing, and folk music aficionados. There is nothing like it in my experience. Assemble several hundred like minded dancers, provide a day of donation-funded workshops, then host an evening ball where said dancers can dress up in their ethnic costumes (or just folksy finery) and dance the night away. Smiles are omnipresent and these people are in their glory.

Afternoon workshop on Turkish folk dance

If you missed it, file it away for next year, and towards the end of the year, just search for "Folk Ball 2012". After all, it may be the last one if the Mayans were right...

There are more pics HERE, from this and prior years.

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Friday, January 21, 2011


I noticed that I had an accumulating pile of left-behind technology, so I thought I would blog about it. I'm going to start at my beginning though, so bear with me for a moment. My first computer was an APF Imagination Machine, purchased in about 1981. In addition to fulfilling me needs as a D&D Dungeon Master, it also fostered a degree in computer programming. And it engendered a need for functional computing devices. It was replaced by a Sinclair-Timex Z1000 in 1983, and then a whoa-baby Commodore 64 in 1984. After graduation I had a series of faceless IBM-clone machines, the first of which had an 8" floppy drive that could save up to a full megabyte of files! Following all that, as my home computers became less distinct tools, came the decade of PDAs. The first of these was a super-geeky device marketed by Pocketmail but branded as a Sharp TM-20:

Pocketmail Device

This unit was about 3"x7" and weighed about half a pound. It was, as described, easy to carry around in a pocket. The outside top had a few indicator LEDs and a prominent send/receive button. Opening it up revealed a small but functional keyboard, an LCD screen for text only, and a few specialized function buttons for contact book, calendar, and mail composition.

Pocketmail Device

The functionality was pure genius. After composing an email, one closed the device and powered it off. Then, using virtually any telephone (there were some problems with early digital cell phones) one deployed the built-in acoustic coupler on the back, dialed Pocketmail's toll-free number, and when the modem answered, pressed the send/receive button.

Pocketmail Device

The device would have an audible conversation with the Pocketmail modem and send your email(s), then retrieve and deliver any incoming emails to the device. For its intended purpose, it was brilliant. It also made a good travel alarm. I traveled for work a lot in those days (when long-distance phone calls were still expensive) and this was a very handy device to have. My wife also had one. Alas, as cell phones became more popular (we resisted for many years) pay phones virtually disappeared. It became more of a challenge to use my little Pocketmail device. I was actually sad when I discarded it to the back of a drawer and the next device took its place.

More to come!

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Cool Soap Gift

We have some friends who bought a 150+ year old farm and decided to raise sheep and, for a while, horses. Among the various things they do with their sheep is create boutique soap wrapped in felted wool to function as a built in pouf or loofah. What a great idea! A mutual friend gave us a bar as a gift, and I thought I'd pass the info on to you.

Ingleside Farm Sheep's Milk Soap

In addition to creating soap, they run an Etsy business and a BLOG. from the blog you can read about their celebrations and challenges, and get to their various websites. In my opinion, the soap makes an excellent gift!

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowy Day Distractions, Part II


Once I roused myself from my snowy morning distractions (see previous post) I went to the Edna Taylor Conservancy for a little walk. My self-appointed goal for the day was to shoot at the widest angle my current lenses allow - not very wide, a 28 mm on my camera behaves like a 42 mm - and so take in the Big Picture. I did alright for most of the time I was out there, but I didn't always follow my own rule.


This toggling from wide to macro had my brain in sort of a ping-pong state. Thus as I was trying to take in the entire vista that had opened up in front of me, I almost missed the local residents that were about 20 yards away from me.


There were three (that I saw) but it was not possible to jockey into a position where I could get a clear shot at all of them. So I am content with this fine photo of two does. There is a SLIDE SHOW with around a dozen photos from the day. They are the first in a larger set that covers the winter so far. I hope you enjoy them.

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Snowy Day Diversions

It is a snowy day today and I have yet to venture out. Instead I am savoring the morning in style.

Snowy Day Diversions

Nothing like lingering on the couch listening to Pandora Radio ("David Byrne" station), sipping a tasty latté, and reading a fun science fiction novel. Even better , the latté is made with Cafe Caribé coffee so I get fond memories of the Caribbean thrown in for good measure.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Mazopalooza From The Outside In

It was a busy weekend. I would normally have been attending Mazopalooza - a contact improv event in nearby Mazomanie, WI - but choices about Life, the Universe, and Everything kept me away. Sort of. Friday the participants spend a portion of their day blocking a show for that evening. It is all improvisational, so scores are proposed and experimented with, then quickly deemed "ready". There is a brief tech run to establish lighting, and then the doors open for a free performance for friends, family, and the local residents.


Being a spectator instead of a performer was an interesting variation for me. I found the show to be entirely enjoyable, quirky and often humorous, and yet occasionally quite poignant. The lighting was different this year from year's past, and some of the lights used were LEDs. I noticed at a show last summer that the LEDs created havoc with the digital video cameras that were used. My own experience was similar. I hope that is not a sign of lighting mischief that digital camera shooters will have to deal with forever! Other color choices did not have the same effect.


There are a lot of talented movers in this community (drawn from a number of Midwestern cities: Madison, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, and Lafayette, IN, and a few others from farther afield) so it is delightful to watch what they come up with on the fly. Not everything goes right, but everything goes well.


The next day I returned to the event as a guest musician, with three others, to provide improvisational music to accompany their improvisational dance. While I did sneak out from that role to have a delightful dance with an opalescent woman from Canada, mostly I intently watched and provided music. It was a fun and challenging collaboration to remain sharply present and let the goings-on in the room inform my/our choices of rhythm, volume, and melody (or lack thereof). For not being at Mazopalooza, I sure had a good Mazopalooza experience!

There are three-score photos in a SLIDE SHOW for your enjoyment.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Collapsing Bonfire - Shower of Sparks

Sometimes everything works out right. I was at a winter party recently and a seasons worth of deadfall had been assembled for a bonfire. It was a doozey, with flames shooting straight up on the calm night. All the wood was dead and quite dry, so it burned hot and fast. I took a score of photos as it burned, and stood afar as I awaited the inevitable collapse - and shower of sparks.

Bonfire's Collapse

It was worth the chill for that shot. Happy New Year!

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wall Running - Silly Mad Fun!

One of the benefits (among many) of being part of an aerial dance troupe is the opportunity to try really fun things. As we work at building our upcoming spring show (April 21-23, four performances) we are learning wall running.

Learning to back flip

The skills gained by this experimentation will be used to choreograph a dance piece in harnesses on the wall. It is easy to get caught up in the mad skillz used on the wall and I personally need a reminder that the point is to dance on the wall. So it is good for me to work in a group setting where I can observe others and get my gentle reminders.

Thinking about form

However, the sheer delight of exuberant play on the wall means we can have it all. This truly is creative play time of the sort that feeds my soul.


There are more photos in a SLIDE SHOW for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

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