Monday, December 31, 2007

Wintery hike

On our way home from lunch and errands with Reena's mother, we needed a hike to clear our heads. Our route took us past the Edna Taylor Conservancy, so we zipped up and stomped off into the snow. There were few people about, and we had less than an hour of light remaining, so we had to enjoy what was available. We've had a lot of snow this month, nearing a record, so everything was draped in a fresh coat of the white stuff.

Line of oaks

I really like this image, even if everything is pointing to the right! The oaks spread right over the path we were on and it really was a supurb bit of scenery. When Reena came around the corner to where I had just taken this photo, she let out a little gasp and uuup! came her camera.

To the right

As our light was fading we were caught in the transition between woods and marsh. When I took this photo I had not only a sense of place, but a greater sense of transition. There were several demarcations at that moment: marsh-forest, day-night, fall-winter, life-death. I could have lingered longer there...

Transition 1

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

December Hoar

Finally, I found the hoar I've been looking for! After a whole bunch of mornings with trees coated in rime, yesterday I was rewarded with a find of hoar frost. The effect was pretty localized, just in the area between Madison and Sun Prairie. I didn't see any on my east side commute, nor was there any once I reached Sun Prairie. I guess that low lying area had just the right conditions.

And a bit more view...

I really considered finding this frost to be a treat. Something about it just makes me grin. The title is linked to a Wiki page describing different types of frost.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus, originally uploaded by nataraj_hauser.

I have a slip of the 85+ year old christmas cactus my mom had. It seldom blooms. My sister in law has several cuttings off that same plant, as well as a couple other plants, and hers thrive. They were in riotous bloom today. She says she simply ignores the conventional wisdom and leaves them to bake in the full sun. The reduced light of the WI winter does the rest. I guess I'll try something new with mine. In the meantime, I'll enjoy this bloom.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

going nowhere (lost)

going nowhere, originally uploaded by nataraj_hauser.

We have had several days of fog as the temp rises to around freezing and the snow starts to melt. I took this photo on my way to work, between Madison and Sun Prairie. I am a bit embarrassed to mention that with the fog I got a bit lost en route so I don't exactly know where "here" is. Not that it mattered; every road looked like this with 1/10 mile visibility and short sight lines. I had chosen this back road route because I wanted a picture of an old white church in the fog. I probably drove right past the dang thing without seeing it! There are a couple more of this 'fog' series on my Flickr site. You can get there by clicking on this image, or by following the link under "Links To My World" at the left of this page.

UPDATE: Here's the same road a couple of weeks later on a sunny day.
Road to Nowhere 2

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Rime and Reason

Rime and Reason, originally uploaded by nataraj_hauser.

Yesterday was another one of those mornings in Wisconsin where the early morning air is really damp and the temperature plunges just before sunrise. The result is a coating of rime frost that's like a thick fuzz on all the trees. It's truly beautiful, and by 10:00 AM it's all gone.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Laughin' in a Winter Wonderland

One of my traditions for this time of year is to go clomping around in the snow with my sister and her Jewish pal to chop down a tree: a Christmas tree in her case, and a Solstice tree for Pagan me(*). This year we have about a foot of snow on the ground and a veneer of ice somewhere around the 4-inch depth. It made for some pretty humorous clomping. Here my sister and her friend had been hauling her tree, singing snippets of Christmas carols, and tripping over sawed off stumps and other concealed terrain features. At this moment, the singing was replaced by belly laughs. A great day!

(* It sounds like a start of a joke doesn't it? "A Christian, a Jew, and a Pagan are walking through a forest..." Heh!)

I've receive three or four emails from people who want to know the punchline to my protojoke. I don't have one, but I'm having fun pondering it. What the line does make me think of though, is this Tom the Dancing Bug "God-Man" cartoon. It's so sadly true, yet I can't help but to remind myself that there I was, the Pagan part of the joke, "and no one was wasting no one." (Bonus points if you can identify what movie that quote is from.)

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Checking In

Our kitty, Captain Hook, is getting to be a pretty geriatric cat and has some health issues that are taking their toll. We had a day recently where we wondered if it "was time". We want his life to still have reasonable quality without undue suffering. That night, he was hunkered down in the bathroom - not at all a routine place for him - and looking a bit less bright-eyed than usual. I decided to lay down with him and see how he was doing. Reena captured the moment.

me-n-Hook 2007

me-n-Hook-2 2007

After a bit of heart-to-heart and nose-to-nose, we decided he was just having a bad day and that he still had some juice in him. He was right, and with some help on our part has bounced back somewhat. His end-of-days period continues a bit longer.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Icy Bug

Icy Bug, originally uploaded by nataraj_hauser.

We don't just get snow here in southern Wisconsin. No siree. Sometimes we get a quarter inch of ICE, then snow. Makes cleaning off your car before work a bit time consuming. You get an idea of just how thick the ice is here, not only on the windshield, but even on the car itself. The slight yellow blur in the windshield is the fake flower I keep in the built in bud vase during the winter.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007


Another splendid Saturday night of homemade entertainment. A handful of musicians met with a handful of belly dancers and delight resulted. Improv music fed improv dance. Dolmas and hummus fed the bellies. Mmmmm!

Music and Dance

Alec and Thomas coverd the strings, oud and modified guitar, while the rest of us filled in on drums, tars, riqs, and zills. The dancers tried out their moves, entering and exiting at will.

Music and Dance

Now that's my idea of a great night. There are a few more pics at my Flickr site.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Wisconsin's first brush of winter

Driving to work today was a mixed treat. There was, of course, the slippery ice and snow covered roads to contend with, and the radio was telling me of the dozens of accidents and rollovers that were occuring. There was also the sheer beauty of seeing every tree coated with rime frost. There were many places I wanted to stop, but chose wisely and did not. When I got to the industrial park where I work, I contented myself with what I found there.

Soft and Frigid

The temperature this morning was around 6 degrees (F) when I was driving in, and the dampness in the air (such as it was) coated the trees with a type of frost called rime. I was hoping as I saw it while driving that it was a hoar frost (little spikes of ice) but no. This is a softer, thicker type of frost, and for the few hours it lasts before the sun melts it, it is really lovely.


Stop for birding

And from the break room window at work:

Picnic anyone?

I really enjoy how the snow sifted through the slats in the table, and even formed corresponding ridges in the snow under the table. The gaps in the snow match the gaps in the fence nicely, too. Beyond the fence, the morning sun was igniting the pine trees. The sun didn't hit that patio area for another two hours or so.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fun Weekend

I went with my wife to join her family for a late Thanksgiving-early Christmas get together. As has become our habit, we got a house near Wisconsin Dells and spent the weekend hanging out, talking, eating, and playing games. The cool part is that we're right near one of the water parks and so spent several hours playing in the water indoors while it snowed like crazy outside. This picture is part of the outside portion of one of the fun new slides. I had a blast on the inside of this, and liked the look of the outside too.
Winter at the waterpark

This little guy was trying to get the hang of his mask while playing in the shallows of the wave pool. Every time he'd get them just about on, Splash!, he'd get bowled over by a wave. Great fun for both of us.

I liked this little image. The water park had hundreds of these inflatable rafts for use with the slides or the wave pools. This batch was sitting on the "shore" of the newest wave pool and I just loved the play of light and reflections of the ceiling across their collectively fascinating shapes.
Get a grip

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shameless plug

Fourteen of my favorite photos are now available for sale. If you look to the top/left on this eyeDance page, you will see a slider menu showing the available images with my choice of framing. Clicking on the image you like will take you to a site where you can choose purchase options; print or custom framed. If you like the default framing I have chosen, clicking on "Custom Framing" will take you to a page showing you the default and the price, and also offering options to change the frame, mat, and glass. Any changes will automatically be reflected in the quoted price. The framing prices are quite reasonable.

If there is a photo you have seen here, or at my Flickr site, that you would like to buy but is not one of those I selected for sale, please contact me to determine it's availablity.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

like the sun in solution...

A pour of good tequila, originally uploaded by nataraj_hauser.

I love tequila. Good tequila. I have consumed a lot of good tequila, and a fair bit of bad tequila (until I got a real job). Words seldom fail me, but I can't say it any better than Tom Robbins did in "Still Life With Woodpecker":

“Now tequila may be the favoured beverage of outlaws but that doesn't mean it gives them preferential treatment. In fact, tequila probably has betrayed as many outlaws as has the central nervous system and dissatisfied wives. Tequila, scorpion honey, harsh dew of the doglands, essence of Aztec, crema de cacti; tequila, oily and thermal like the sun in solution; tequila, liquid geometry of passion; Tequila, the buzzard god who copulates in midair with the ascending souls of dying virgins; tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!”

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Minding my bokeh

Milkweed pod, originally uploaded by nataraj_hauser.

I've started paying attention to the bokeh in my photos - the out of focus parts of the picture. Is it pleasing? Does it enhance the subject of the photo?

This is day two with the new 50mm prime lens, and I'm feeling challenged, but in a good way.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nature's Andy Goldsworthy Moment

Nature's Andy Golsdsworthy Moment
Nature's Andy Goldsworthy Moment
Most of the trees along this path at Picnic Point in Madison were long since bare, and then we see this tree that held out until last night when the snow arrived. Then, all its leaves dropped creating this bright cluster on the path.

And we came upon this too.
The Last Hurrah
The Last Hurrah
Amid the bare trees of Picnic Point, this cluster still was holding it's leaves for another day, or possibly two.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

In the Studio

More of the madcap weekend: Pagee GoGo went into the studio to record their first cd. Granted access to the inner sanctum, I managed to get some fun photos without (hopefully!) disturbing them too much. This first one, of Ana Paula, is just a really nice shot, and I love her leopard hat and scarf. And check out that microphone...
Ana Paula of Pagee GoGo

This shot of Chris was just about a tosser, seriously underexposed, and I pushed it about as far as I could to "fix" it. Of course it's not fixed, but I found the end result compelling and thought I'd keep it. What do you think?
Chris of Pagee GoGo

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

German Wheel Workshop

DSC_0028.JPG, originally uploaded by nataraj_hauser.

I had another madcap weekend. Saturday afternoon I took a workshop on how to perform on a German wheel. It's like a large (7 foot diameter) hamster wheel except there are only a few rungs holding the two hoops together. It was harder than I expected to do anything but the simplest things, and I wish I had had more time on it. The instructors, members of CircEsteem, made it look easy and they did a great job teaching. There are a bunch more photos here:

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Sunday, November 11, 2007


Reena and Chris 1
This is one of a hundred or so shots taken today for Pagee GoGo to use as promo material. I really liked this one of Reena and Chris because it reminds me a bit of the Cheap Trick "In Color" album cover. I guess now I have to get the two homely ones (I hope they self-select!) on a moped for the B&W back cover.

Here is another from the set that I liked, even though technically it's not my best work:

Reena and Chris 2
You can find out more about Pagee GoGo and their wonderful Brazilian music at

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

What makes a photo popular?

DSC_0098.JPG, originally uploaded by nataraj_hauser.

Some of Foxy Veronica's Peach Pie burlesque.

What makes a photograph popular? I have taken some pretty good photos of some pretty interesting things or people. They get posted to my Flickr site, and most generate a small number of views. A few get viewed 50 or 75 times, and one or two select pictures get viewed 100 or more times. In two weeks, this photo has been viewed more than 200 times. That poses a number of questions for me, and I'm curious to learn your thoughts.

Why this photo? What makes this special? Does this image make you want to look closer? It's a halloween picture amongst other similar pictures, some of which are racier or more interesting to my eye. It's essentially a "snapshot", in the pejorative sense of the word, and the flash effects are a bit harsh, especially on Foxy V (on the left).

I used a handheld 1-second exposure with a rear curtain flash setting (meaning the flash fires twice, when the shutter opens and again just before it closes) to give it a bit of an otherworldly sense just because it was Halloween. ISO was 800, and I suspect that I'd have gotten a bit richer results shooting at 400.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

eyeDance format change

In an effort to reproduce my photos more effectively, I have changed the "look and feel" of the blog. With the former, highly desireable, black layout, I found I could not effectively control the crop of my photos on the right. This new template reproduces the images fully, though against a light background. I hope you like it.

UPDATED: I discovered that I could return the black background. My color choices for fonts, etc., may be funky because I'm colorblind, so if you don't like the colors, let me know and I'll get some help. *grin*

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Barry under lights

CSC_0155.JPG, originally uploaded by nataraj_hauser.

I like this photo of Barry from Pagee GoGo playing last weekend at the Brink Lounge, though at first I thought it was a tosser. I suspect it would have been a better shot if I had applied a bit of exposure compensation. It also makes me wonder if I could have had the external flash fire at half strength to provide some light but not fully illuminate Barry. It might have been an effective place to bounce the flash, though the ceiling has some changes in height right where I was so that might not have worked very well. As always, there's plenty to learn. Share your tips on this topic if you have some.

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Monday, October 29, 2007


Another Halloween in Madison.
I was dressed for the dance floor,
but no one asked me to dance (it
must have been my appalling lack
of high heels!).
C'est moi

The beer was flowin'
Prosting with Reena

the music was groovin'
Annapaula and Barry

and the real girls were naughty!

All in all, a great night at the King Club.

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Friday, October 19, 2007


Nothing pithy or profound,
just a moment to expound
and show my love around.

It's good to be me!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Indelibly Seared

Ghost Duet
There is something profound in
select moments of the dance
that lingers, indelibly seared
into my psyche.

I cannot predict when those moments
will occur, and striving for them
seems to only make them more elusive.
Yielding opens the way.

My goal is not to create
the perfect dance, but rather
to let the perfect dance
create me.

Moment by ecstatic moment
the dance of life
creates all that is me.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dances With Camera

I took my camera dancing,
joining a duet of men.

Dancing with camera 7

With terrified abandon
I surrendered myself to the dance

Dancing with camera 5

Swirling, rising, falling,
ever shifting contact dance

Dancing with camera 4

shooting images and praying
that I wouldn't smash the camera

Dancing with camera 3

At exit all was well, and sweat
and smiles the immediate reward.

Dancing with camera 1

While these few photos provide
a shareable link to the moment.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Symbols of Competing Religions

They both expect your money to flow and flow.
They both offer soporifics as compensation.
Opiates. Habit forming. Yet still...
Not without some positive benefits.

Use each wisely.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Peaceful Intentions?

I took a picture of a large 'dove of peace' puppet being marched in a parade. When I reviewed it later, it wasn't really that interesting. When I narrowed it to this crop however, I began to chuckle. The peace dove looks decidedly hostile towards that unsuspecting smiley face balloon. Call me warped...

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Contact Improv

Contact improv...
What other dance form is so egalitarian? Women and men have the same role: Dancer. There are no "mens moves" or "womens moves". Each dancer brings to the dance what she or he is able to bring. With no rules, the dance is governed by the desires of two bodies in motion around a shared point of contact. It is the form I love - the freedom of expression.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why I Bought My Nikon

It was for photos like this that I bought my Nikon D40. I was at an outdoor concert on a cool, rainy night. Every E-Z Up that could be found was hastily arranged into a labyrinth of pavilions and the show went on. It was a great time and everyone was damp but happy. As the last bank of stage lights was about to be powered off, I took this shot. The colored light makes it novel, and I tried it as a B&W image too but ultimately settled on this one. I realize that dodging out her hair at the bottom in the shadowy part would make this a better photo. I'm still working on the "get it right before the shot" phase of my development here, so I'm avoiding post-production other than crops and some brightness/contrast tweaks.

There are more photos from that evening in the 'Mug Shots' set at my Flick'r site. Clicking on the title of this post should take you there.

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eyePatch, Part II

I received a few requests for the follow up photo to the original eyeDance post, and so I have updated the post. While it should still be displayed on the main page for a few more days, you can always come back to the post using this link:

Or you can look for it later in the archives, by title.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

riding the moment


Alternating with
rapid transitions; sudden falls,
invigorating transitions of weight on the fly.
Both dancers listening to the voice of the other's body; each whisper, each shout.
Dance of life with no beginning and never ending
Embracing the force of chaos
riding the moment
back down to

This poem is based on the mathematical progression known as a Fibonacci series. This progression starts with 0 and 1. Each successive number in the progression is the sum of the two preceding numbers. Thus, the first few numbers are: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21, and so on. I chose to interpret the progression as the number of syllables present in each line rather than a word count. Rather than work with an open-ended progression and quickly reach lines of ridiculous proportions, I chose instead to mirror the progression. I attempt to include the zeros by indicating a deliberate breath.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Face Book

I also take the view that it's a mistake
to try to look younger than one is,
and that the face in particular ought to be
the register of a properly lived life.
~ Christopher Hitchens

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