My theme for this final post of the year, begins with a farewell to Vietnam and looks back on 2009, the year The Aware Writer blog was born, nurtured and, thanks to all my friends, continues to grow.
I shot this street scene in downtown Saigon late in 1966. The date stamped on the slide is Dec 66. I decided to convert the old Ektachrome transparency to B&W this time.
I think this shot was from the same roll as my “Reflections: Saigon Street Life (1966).” Take a look at the guy in the foreground on the right. He’s holding what looks like a badminton racquet as he bends over to pick up something. It’s the same guy who was in the background in the reflections shot.
I converted this photo to B&W from an undated slide, but I don’t need a date this time. You’re looking down at the coast of Vietnam from the vantage point of my seat in the back of the Pan Am jetliner that was winging me home to the US in January 1967.
This was a regularly scheduled commercial flight out of Saigon. My friends in customs (my Air Police squadron was involved in customs at the airport) arranged for me to sit in the back with the stewardesses. I did enjoy the ride home — a ride that ended my tour in Vietnam, my hitch in the USAF when I arrived in San Francisco and was the eve of a new phase of my life as a civilian.
The Aware Writer blog was born in mid-May of this year. I kept telling myself that I wanted to start a blog and when I “retired” from my duties as a senior steward at Helium.com I finally had the time.
The Aware Writer began as a platform for my writing with a focus on helping and interacting with fellow writers. Within the first week I was adding graphics to compliment my words. I used my own photographs whenever possible. Gradually, my focus shifted to photography with the words as compliment and balance. My true passion for photography pushed to the forefront but my words refused to stay behind. Now we’re partners!
I think the big shift began when Tammie pointed me to Lisa’s Chaos and her Monday Macro meme. My first entry was “Flowers Can Have Bad Hair Days Too” at the end of June. Then James commented on my “Monday Musings: Circle of Life” Monday Macro at the end of September and suggested that my photo would be perfect for his Weekend Reflections meme.
My first entry for James’ weekend reflections was “Reflections: The Wonder of Innocence” in the beginning of October. Then I discovered Ailene’s Monochrome Weekend in mid-November. My first monochrome post was “Pedicab Rest Stop: Saigon (1966)”
Just a few weeks ago, MaryT left a nice comment on “A Found Portrait II (Sepia Toned)” and suggested I might drop by her newly launched Sepia Scenes meme. I stopped by Mary’s site, linked my post and am an enthusiastic participant now.
Thanks to Lisa, James, Ailene, MaryT and all the participants of their marvelous photo theme memes. We visit, we help, we learn and we are having lots of fun doing the meme thing. I know I am. Participating has given me pushes and advice when I needed them most.
I’ve dug deeply into my archives of both color slides and B&W negatives and am finally organizing them. I ordered fresh chemistry and film and got back into developing my own B&W again. And I’ve refined my work-flow so I know how and what to expect.
I’m learning how to convert my color images to convincing B&W photos. The pair of photos I converted for this post are evidence that I’m learning my lessons well. I’ve learned a few tricks of my own that I’ll share with you when I fully understand how they work. Sometimes when you flaunt the “rules” you get better results. I fooled around with toning B&W in the past and now I’m digging deeper and really learning how to tint (when appropriate).
It’s been a great year — a year of exponential creative growth, sharing and new friendships. Next year will be even better. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow when I post my first reflections of the new year. Happy New Year’s Eve. See you all tomorrow.