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Posts Tagged ‘vintage vinyl’

March already? Far too much time has passed between posts, but I’ve been hard at work on a new photograph and video to share.

Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha — Pedro Garcia, 1958

Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha — Pedro Garcia, 1958

Way back in 2012 I made an attempt at creating a photo built around a super cool album cover that featured a slinky masked dancer cavorting about beneath a cascade of streamers and balloons (seen to the right). After staging and shooting the photo, the images lingered in my computer, and as I prepped for my 2013 summer show at the Pannikin in La Jolla, I simply abandoned what I’d shot. Oh, sure, I could show you the unfinished work here and now, but the OCD in me would probably try to make a diamond from a pigs ear and I’d spend weeks and weeks trying to at least make the failed composition look presentable. Instead, let’s jump right to the brand new photo — which I like!

Madame Paparazzi's wicked danse of seductive transformation

Madame Paparazzi’s wicked danse of seductive transformation

I actually took over 30 shots of this staging, then constructed the final image from the 7 best images, layering portions of each photo one atop the next to achieve deep focus throughout the final piece.

I tend to be easily distracted while working on my creative pursuits, so rather than snap the photos, sort through the candidate images, and plow through with all the necessary image adjustments, I ended up creating a video for the photo before I actually completed the photo (and, yes, that is possible in the world of Wind-up Dreams & Vinyl Nightmares). The frames for the animation were taken while I was deconstructing the stage set, and then reassembled into a free flowing pan’n’scan video using a whole bunch of software: Aperture, GraphicConverter, iDraw, and a new (to me) slideshow package called FotoMagico that allowed me to create deeper zooms than I’d used in previous animations. Nice piece of software worth checking out!

In an ideal world making one of these videos would be really simple: I’d come up with an idea, I’d choose some music, I’d shoot all the frames, and — voila! — there I’d have a finished video! Remember, though, that I begin with the finished photo, and, therefore, the last frame in the animation. The trick, then, is to conceive of the story in reverse, and begin taking things away from the scene in an order that will make some logical narrative sense once everything is reordered to run from start to finish. Oh, and without a sense of the audio that will be used.

This is… tricky.

Ah! But luckily, not impossible, and even when mistakes are made (for instance, removing objects out of order or completely reconsidering the storyboard during post production) software makes nearly anything possible.

Let’s take a look!

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People, have been after me for ages to post a few photos of my studio, and it seems as though it’s always that “next thing” on my long list of tasks. Well, guess what? Today, finally, is “next thing” day!

Behold! We step behind the Lego gates that border the grounds at Wind-up Dreams Studios!

Okay, so I don’t really have a gate made of multicolored Lego bricks, but the studio is tucked away behind a stucco and red-roofed wall in the converted guest house in my back yard. Here’s a nice view from the back courtyard.

Wind-up Dreams Studio — exterior view

The studio holds all my vintage vinyl LPs, along with a stockpile of essential equipment for creating my art: toy figures, alphabet blocks, old books, and kewpie dolls. Oh yeah, I also have a bunch of photography equipment such as tripods, flood lights, and a light tent where all of my creations are constructed, staged, and shot. The studio is the place for shooting my photos, with all post production work taking place on an iMac inside my office in the main house.

Entrance to the studio. No, really, I’m quite friendly.

Let’s go inside!

View from just inside the door. Messy!

And there you go. Nothing too fancy. Just a single small desk, a chair, and a whole lotta “stuff.” My main work area is inside the light tent you see on the right. That’s where I build the three dimensional scenes that are the basis for my photographs and videos. Beyond the light tent is “toy land” where my crazy array of toys and trinkets are stored. Actually, that’s not completely true… Many of my extra special figures are on permanent display inside the main house, with small collections of interesting figures occupying almost ever room. When called upon, those figures magically come to life and wander out to the studio while I am a sleep. One day, I’ll be stuck on a particular composition, and the next morning I’ll awake to find that a clay devil pounding on a drum has somehow made his way from the main house out to the studio to stand in exactly the perfect place to complete the photo. Amazing!!

Note!
Please shield your vision away from the lacy white curtains and the horrid floral print on the window valances. Those are left over from the previous owners who had papered the entire room in a similar pattern. And covered the bed with the same floral print. And shaded the lamp with, yes, flowers. And upholstered the white wicker furniture in the same wicked print. And laid white carpet. It was a 1970’s Holly Hobbie nightmare. I’ll change out the window treatments, I swear.

The back corner of the room is for lighting and tripods, records are on the left, and alphabet blocks are just inside the door and out of sight.

A, B, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K…

The storage for my alphabet blocks doubles as a TV stand, which actually doesn’t do me a whole lot of good since cable doesn’t run out to the studio, and I’m only able to pickup a handful of digital broadcasts using rabbit ears—which is just as well, as I’d MUCH rather listen to music as I work. The little bookshelf speakers on top of the cabinet are hooked up to a wireless receiver so I can stream music from iTunes inside the main house out to the studio. Random shuffle is my best friend!

Interesting coincidence
The purple cabinet was originally brown, and it was a fixture behind the counter at my parents’ drug store. There, the cabinet was used to display rolls of 35mm film.

Here’s a better look at the vinyl records I frequently use as background source material for my photos.

Stacks of vintage vinyl. Probably 500 LPs to choose from.

Record storage was becoming a huge problem in the main house until I discovered these LP-size milk crates at The Container Store. Each crate holds 50 or 60 record albums. They’re easy to move and flipping through the crates is a breeze while looking for a background to catch my eye. To the right are stacks of 45 RPM singles. Being an engineering bordering on OCD, I recently organized all of my 45’s by label color so I don’t have to go searching for a particular color to top a stack of records in a given composition. I’d formerly find myself taking apart whole constructions looking for a 45 of a particular color because I’d buried my one 7″ single on Sun Records somewhere deep within an elaborate stage set.

45 RMP singles. Yes, organized by label color.

The box beneath the 45’s contains a veritable army of kewpie dolls, all acquired for the installation I had on display during my Seven Signs of the Kewpie Apocalypse show in 2010. I don’t let them out much. I’m afraid of what they may do.

View from the toy cabinet looking back towards the entrance

Super cool art hanging in the studio!

You won’t find a lot of art on the walls of my studio. Not because I don’t want art on the walls; I do. Unfortunately, the walls are not particularly conducive to driving nails. While the main house is generous in its use of the finest construction methods of the day (remember, this is 1927), the studio—nay, guest house—nay, “servants quarters” (which was, in fact, the original function of the room)—the walls of the studio seem to be constructed of concrete blocks covered with plaster, which makes hanging art an exercise in frustration. To the right is one of my favorite pieces—an enlarged page from the Space Happy coloring book that’s been decoupaged on the surface of a kitchen cabinet and embellished with glitter.

Dinos! Cowboys! Battleships!

Hanging opposite Space Happy is the awesome mixed media piece you see to the left. It’s a mosaic on a big ceramic tile created by one of the developmentally disabled adults at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center in El Cajon, California. St. Madeleine’s is a wonderful organization that has done immeasurable good tapping into the creative talents of students throughout San Diego County. My sister gave me this piece for Christmas several years ago and thought it was a perfect addition to my fun filled studio!

Elsewhere in the studio I have posters of work by Keith Haring and Jackson Pollock, as well as an instructional cool poster outlining bad behavior in India. In a couple of the photos above you’ve probably noticed a large lobby poster from Forbidden Planet that had been on the wall in the big empty space above the record crates. Curse you, concrete walls, curse you!

Way over on the other side of the studio is where you’ll find most of the objects I cram into my photos. At the center is the Cabinet of Pop Culture Curiosities, which we’ll explore in all its candy-colored glory in a few moments. Above the cabinet is an assembly of shells, stones, and other interesting things first created by my artist friend, Anthia Linou. Over time the installation has changed a little, with new pieces added and older pieces moved or removed as occasions have arisen to use elements of the installation in my photos.

Far wall. Toys! Books! Stuff in boxes!

To the left and in front you see a jigsaw of boxes and containers, each containing a wide array of recently acquired figures or toys that overflow beyond the red wooden walls of the cabinet. I have a general idea of what is hidden where, but I’m frequently surprised by what I find as I open boxes and hunt through bags searching for a specific object to to be positioned within my latest three dimensional diorama.

Vintage books used to construct my scenes

Right of the cabinet is a bookshelf of oddly collected books, many of which have made appearances in past work, and almost all of which at one time or another has been used out of sight as supporting structure for my gravity defying stage constructions. Beyond what you see in my finished photos is a calamitous construction of records, blocks, Legos, and books, as I often need to build platforms and scaffolds as a base for objects and figures to be “level” with my chosen background imagery.

As we teased earlier, the real stars of my photos are the vintage toys and figures that perform as “actors” in the scenes I create. I’ve been collecting toy figures for years and years, and before committing my work to a studio these figures once-upon-a-time occupied playful space in my office from my days as a software engineer. There, they were scattered all across my desk, danced precariously atop my computer monitor, and mingled with manuals on the bookshelves. It was a fast paced, high tech life to be sure, but my toys are much happier living life together in my studio!

The Cabinet of Pop Culture Curiosities

With a little close inspection you’ll notice that the shelves are more or less organized into zones of common purpose—sort of like the sections in an encyclopedia. There’s the presidential section, the cowboys & Indians section. The kewpies all stand together, rubbing their cute little pink, green and yellow shoulders with Buddahs and nuns. There’s a musician section. An animal section. An army section and a skeleton section. Then, we have the geography section, the bumper car section, the rubber food section and the Egyptian section. Outer space is on the top shelf, and the realm of Monster Women is down below. It all sort of makes sense and provides me with the palette from which I add character to my images.

Want a closer look? Let’s go!! (Click on any image to get a nice close-up view!)

Doesn’t that make you want to run off to a toy store and buy a bunch of toys? I do feel bad, though, that accommodations are so crowded, and—worse!—so many great figures and toys are still locked away in the darkness of their shipping containers. One day I hope to devise a better way to store and display my cast of willing characters so all will have equal chance to catch my eye and find a spot in upcoming photographs.

We’ll wrap up this studio tour with a quick look at some of the equipment I use when capturing my photos.

The light tent where I construct all my photos

Above you see the setup for a typical photo session, with a 30″ EZCube light tent sitting on a table top, and floodlights surrounding the cube. The gauzy fabric allows light to bounce throughout the inside of the tent which cuts down on harsh shadows and other lighting troubles. The lights in the back are simple low wattage desktop lamps that are used to illuminate the inside of the tent while I’m working without sucking up huge amounts of electricity and otherwise acting like a personal tanning salon. The floodlights in the front are each 500 watts, which blaze with heat and illumination to pretty much simulate the sun inside the tent. In front of the tent and hidden just inside the fabric flap is my camera—a Canon XTi with a really nice L-series lens that allows me choose from a variety of apertures and zoom as necessary for a given stage construction.

The light tent with three floods. Get ready to sweat!

About a year ago I decided that simulating the light of the sun was not good enough—I wanted to simulate the light of many suns! So a third floodlight was added that could be positioned above the tent for even more control over light sources. The current setup is shown at the right with the staging for Despite her parents’ righteous determination, Baby Haley dreamed to follow her own path contained within.

And there you have it!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this short trip into Wind-up Dreams Studios, and if you come across any interesting and unusual figures that would like a home amongst the devils, nuns, kewpies, and presidents… Please! By all means send your recommendations my way!

Thanks for visiting!

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Time moves quickly in the world of Wind-up Dreams, and where I’ve had a host of posts planned around my springtime trip to Los Angeles, it’s suddenly summer and almost July, and does it really make sense to write up a review for a couple of concerts I attended back in April? No, of course not!

Ah! But that now long ago trip north did yield a pair of fairly amazing vintage finds that have found a life together and forever in a brand new photo and video animation. Where some may direct their travels to resorts, tourist destinations, and upscale shopping districts, I’m a bit more adventurous, wandering into odd little shops, swap meets, or tiny indy record stores where (my kind of) treasure surely awaits. One such store is Permanent Records, a fantastic little record store on the main drag in Eagle Rock with an incredibly diverse selection of new and used vinyl, plus a very knowledgeable staff with great taste in all kinds of music.

“Lazy Rhapsody” Lou Busch and his Piano Orchestra, 1957

In the stacks at Permanent Records I found Lazy Rhapsody, an album released by Lou Busch and his Piano Orchestra (imagine the stage required for that!) in the late 1950s. The record had loooooong been included on my Records Want List, a comprehensive spreadsheet I’ve maintained for many years to track the album covers I see on various vintage vinyl websites that have good potential as background subject matter for my photos. The best are those covers with a glamorous gal of the 50’s gazing off into negative space where my devious mind can construct an alternate universe for her to contemplate, and—for obvious reasons (I mean, just look at it!)—Lazy Rhapsody was VERY high on my want list!

Vintage books have made several memorable appearance in my photos, and I’m always on the lookout for old texts with unusual titles or fancy gold lettering on the spine. The day before my trip to Permanent Records I discovered the Cosmopolitan Book Shop, a jam packed used bookstore on Melrose Avenue, east of La Brea. Wow! Inventory, inventory, inventory… Floor to ceiling and wall to wall. It would take days to fully appreciate their stock, and I basically found the store while filling 10 minutes before heading off to  other locales. Luckily, it took only 9 minutes to spot an absolutely incredible vintage book! Crazy title—gold on the spine. Yay!

“The Influence of Women… and its cure” John Erskine, 1936

To the left is The Influence of Women… and its cure by John Erskine, a non-fiction book published in 1936 as a call to attention to men across the land that, basically, this whole business of (gasp!) gender equality could screw up the good deal that men had enjoyed since the beginning of recorded time. Oh, the horror! Inside is a stern text bemoaning the perils of women’s rights, the outlandish notion that women could be teachers, and that men have sadly allowed their wives to control the purse strings of family wealth. I’m convinced that I could leverage the book into a career as a standup comic by merely taking to the stage and, in a serious and knowing tone, recite passages to my delighted and far more liberated audience.

Best, though, is the inscription inside the front cover:

To Roy,
with best wishes,
from Lea — 1936

 What a lovely gift! Doesn’t it make you wonder about Roy and Lea? Was Lea a strong independent woman sending Roy a message? Or was she subserviently giving Roy a gift that in present day would have been on his Amazon wish list? In any case, The Influence of Women seemed like it would be perfect as a treatment in one of my photos.

I ended up combining both of these LA finds in a new photo and video. Behold!

Malcolm was never a popular boy, until he won The Irish Sweepstakes

This was actually a very simple photo, as it involved only a single background image and very few foreground elements, whereas most of my recent work has involved much more elaborate staging. Still, building the narrative and getting the overall composition right took a fair amount of time.

Added bonus… As I’ve done with many of my recent photos, I created a video animation of the photo during deconstruction of the set! For the video I tried to imaging why Tuxedo Guy might be surrounded by all those women, and tried to find music that would sort of carry the story—though from the perspective of the women, rather than the perspective of Tuxedo Guy. Many songs were auditioned; none of them worked. And then I recalled a number one hit from 1970 that ruled the airwaves to such a heavy-rotation extent that, now, decades later, there remain people suffering from the annoying effects of an “earworm” as this invasive slice of bubbly pop drivel continually spins inside their heads. Not daring to use the original and perhaps risk the peril of worldwide audio infection, I chose a harder edge 1991 cover version from Voice Of The Beehive.

Enjoy!

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Last year, in the wake of a very successful and joyous celebration of Record Store Day, I wrote a summary of my adventures and exploits as I cruised around San Diego county in search of RSD exclusives. Once again, it’s time for my review, if for no better reason than to stave off the inevitable onset of Post Record Store Day Depression.

This year, I have two words that perfectly sum up this holiest of vinyl holidays:

Jayne Mansfield

What’s that? You don’t recall seeing Jayne Mansfield’s name on any of the lists of Record Store Day releases? Well, no, there sadly wasn’t a big, buxom, box set of 12″ Jayne Mansfield covers on 180 gram virgin vinyl (though, I challenge any specialty label to produce such a set!), but as I made my way into Record City on 6th Avenue in San Diego, I spotted an enticing sign just inside the door:

Record City — San Diego, CA

Well, well! Record City happens to have an excellent selection of vintage vinyl in pretty much every category you can imagine: Rock, Jazz, Blues, and all those obscure genres that happen to be a goldmine for use in my fine art photos—Vocals, Lounge, and Pop. So, after scooping up a treasure trove of brand new Records Store Day releases (which we’ll survey a bit later), I ventured off to the long aisles of waiting vinyl to begin the hunt.

Music To Remember, 1956, with Jayne Mansfield on the cover

And almost immediately, I spotted a 10″ LP with the unmistakable allure of Jayne Mansfield on the cover. Jayne was regularly featured on album covers during the 50’s and early 60’s—usually leaning forward in an oh-so suggestive way to better… uh…. Well, she leaned forward. A lot. But on this album cover, she was leaning back. And not just leaning back; she was leaning back and COVERED all the way up to her chin! Had I stumbled across a Jayne Mansfield album of Christian hymns?!?! No. Just a simple compilation of sentimental instrumental selections, so you get Jayne relaxing on a sofa wearing a frilly pink nightgown (of course suggestive in its own right).

20% off? Are you kidding? While my other Record Store Day finds and freebies will make my turntable gleefully happy for weeks to come, those slabs of rare vinyl pale in comparison to Music To Remember, which is now safely tucked away into my stacks of vintage vinyl to someday live a second life in the background of a new photograph.

In the next installment I’ll tell you about my Record Store Day shopping experiences at two of San Diego’s finest music stores, and regale you with boastful tales of exclusive new music, sampler CDs, and custom giveaway bags. Until then, enjoy these images of the used vinyl I found at Record City.

And don’t forget… only only 362 days until Record Store Day 2013!!

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I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t post new blog entries anywhere near as frequently as I would like. Ideally, I’d be blogging on a daily basis, sharing news about new photos and videos, art exhibits, great books, cool records, and posting articles that dive deep into my creative process. Trouble is… I have a difficult time churning out prose without laboring over every word, sentence and paragraph. Plus, just to make matters a little worse, I can’t… stop… writing. Simple topics—hey! I like this record!—turn into exhaustive (but still, of course, interesting) accounts worthy of a short chapter in a book.

Yes, it’s a problem, but now… a solution!

RIP Jonathan Frid—the “real” Barnabas Collins!

I now have a super cool Tumblr account where, throughout the day, you can find quick and interesting posts from me and the merry minions at Wind-up Dreams Central. Everything we post is, of course, Super Cool. Take, for instance this scary photo of the recently departed Jonathan Frid. Oh, sure… I could have dedicated a 4,000 or 5,000 word blog post on Dark Shadows (and, come to think of it, I may do that), but I could spend a week or more in Creative Writing Hell in an effort to produce a Pulitzer caliber post on campy daytime horror. Instead, as quickly as a vampire could sink his teeth into an alabaster neck… there it is on:

Vintage Vinyl

My official Tumblr site!

While the Tumblr focuses on cool vinyl records, in recent days we’ve also made posts on awesome art, vintage advertising, weird toys, pulp novels, and outer space.

I hope you enjoy this foray into more frequent sharing of interesting things, and if YOU have a Tumblr, don’t be shy… feel free to reblog any of the images you find on Vintage Vinyl. We’re scouring the universe for cool finds to share with our followers, so let us know about your interesting finds!

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Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption — Deluxe Edition

I’ve posted from time to time about the digital coffee table book of my photograph, Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption, which was released this past summer, exclusively for Apple’s family of iOS devices. Creating the book was tons of fun, and I’ve been very pleased with the reception the book has received from the ebook community.

However…

Being a collector of books (and toys, and records, and art, and CDs, and devils, and, and, and…) I remain completely enamored of objects I can touch and relate to in ways that will never be matched by the bits and bytes trapped within a digital device. What can I say? I like the feel of a book in my hands, and there are great untold mysteries in slipping a sleeve from a big, beautiful album cover and reading the liner notes as black vinyl spins beneath the soft touch of a diamond stylus. Real books feel special. They smell like knowledge.

While I’m very proud of my digital book, and I’ve been quite excited to see how people have enjoyed flipping and zooming through the colorful pages on the iPad, I still wanted to produce a physical object that people could turn in their hands, explore, and connect with in ways that are difficult to mimic in a digital book.

And, so…

Over the past couple of months I’ve been hard at work creating a deluxe edition of Plastic Prophets, and I’m very excited to announce that the package is now available!!

Deluxe Edition box with cover photo printed on glass!

The Deluxe Edition comes packaged in the box you see on the right. Each wooden box is hand painted, signed and numbered, with a cover image that’s been printed on beveled glass and mounted to the lid. Inside are all kinds of collectable treasures you couldn’t possibly replicate in a purely digital release. The highlight is a 32 page full color “mini book” featuring many of the standout images from the digital book—here, reconfigured to be printed and bound in a limited softcover edition.

Hidden away in the box are other printed goodies, including a Plastic Prophets sticker, a Wind-up Dreams web card (randomly selected from a dozen different designs), and a signed, miniature, Certificate of Authentication.

Want a little more?

You’ve got it!

Your new best friend inside the luxurious Deluxe Edition box!

Lift the glass cover and inside the deluxe box you’ll find your very own kewpie doll, just like those you see in my photos! Your kewpie comes direct from Japan, and wears around its neck a miniature flash drive filled with a host of exclusive digital content.

The drive holds two digital versions of Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption. The first is exactly the same as the digital ebook available on Apple’s iBookstore and compatible with the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. And just in case you don’t have access to one of those devices, the flash drive includes the full 135 page book as a PDF that can be viewed on any personal computer.

iPad users will find another added bonus on the flash drive: 95 custom wallpaper images pulled from the pages of the book to give your iPad a custom Wind-up Dreams look that will be the envy of all your friends! Kewpies, bathing beauties, robots and presidents. They’re all on the flash drive to brighten your electronic day.

So what are you waiting for? Click on over to the Wind-up Dreams & Vinyl Nightmares Etsy shop for more information!

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After two months of pretty much solid work, my new stop motion animation is finally complete! As I detailed in my long ago prior post, this particular project was fraught with damning sabotage from Forces of the Universe that apparently are not fond of my work. Bad, evil, unsophisticated Forces!

At some point I’m hoping to blog a “how I did it” post to pass along some tips to aspiring stop motion animators, but for now I just want to share the video, as well as the final version of the photo that provided the basis for the piece.

First, the photo:

Lola and Lexi ditch Biology, and never return to the Eleanor Roosevelt School for Wayward Girls

Yep, there it is, featuring at its center The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Sex, published in 1950 and obtained on loan from my good friend, artist Nicole Waszak. In the background are a pair of vintage record covers: Perry Como Sings Hits From Broadway Shows on the left, and Hymns by the Hour of Charm All Girl Orchestra on the right. The Hour of Charm cover was pretty rough, requiring hours of retouching to eliminate dozens of unsightly brown blotches marring the matronly complexions of all those “charming” girls. The photo is divided into two halves, vices and virtues, with three bathing beauties emerging from a pool in the center to worship at the base of the imposing tome.

Lots of other things going on in the photo, of course, and I’m sure you can imagine what might happen next in this visual tale of warring morals, but wouldn’t you rather see (yes, actually see!) what happened to all the characters before I snapped this photo? Where did they all come from, and how did they arrive at the places where you see them in the photo? Who wouldn’t want to see that?!?

Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret… I didn’t actually create this photo. True! Back in the early days of October I was suffering through a frustrating bout of Photographer’s Block. Every morning I’d walk into my studio and stare into an empty light tent. I’d flip through my albums, and glance furtively at my bookcase full of toys.

Nothing.

I was totally blocked and had no idea what I wanted to create. I pleaded with my delegation of plastic presidents. They stared back, blank and unwavering, as if I were a long ago cast ballot. I was disregarded by my zoo of miniature wildlife, mocked by a denizen of devils, and completely ignored by my family of usually dependable kewpies.

Oh, I was all ready to take a photo, that’s for damn sure! My camera stood firm atop a sturdy tripod, trained on the inside of the frustratingly empty light tent where I usually assemble my three dimensional creations. All around were floodlights waiting to illuminate whatever wondrous scene that might spill from the deep, confusing puzzle of my imagination.

Again, nothing.

Well, as luck would have it, one night…

I suppose I left the camera switched ON in misguided anticipation that I might come up with a good idea and didn’t want my creative flow to be interrupted by the inconvenience of flicking the switch from OFF to ON. Or maybe I didn’t turn the camera on at all. Given what was to come, how could such a small detail raise any surprise at all? In any case, the next morning I opened the door to my studio carrying a hot cup of coffee—caffeine to prime the pump and whip those lazy synapses into shape!

There, inside the light tent, was the completed scene you see above. It was like the cobbler and his ever helpful elves! I didn’t question this miracle at all. How could I?!?! My work was done! It was THERE! And I liked it. All I had to do was snap the shutter as if I were taking a picture of a boring sunset falling into a hungry black sea.

Of course, before I could take a picture of what I had found filling the tent, I first had to replace the camera battery. It was dead. And I had to replace the SD card. It was full. And did I mention that of my three floodlights, two were burned out and one had shattered in a frightening scatter of jagged glass?

I turned to my shelf of toys, but not a one offered an explanation, and those positioned inside the light tent played their roles in conspiratorial silence. Quite baffling!

Ah, but I did have a full SD card!

I tucked the card in a pocket and bolted from the studio, crossing the patio to my house in three bounding leaps. I flew up the stairs to my office and jammed the SD card into the reader connected to my iMac.

There were 4,588 photos impossibly stored on this single card. I loaded them into the computer, and this is what I found…

Sometimes, you just get lucky.

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