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The Internet Ramblings of Matt & Lori Knowles

June 2008

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Sun, Jun. 1, 2008 - We Stopped and Smelled the Flowers

We Stopped and Smelled the Flowers

Both Lori and I fondly remember getting the little variety packs of cereals when our families vacationed. For my family that was about the only time we got to enjoy sugared cereals like Trix and Cocoa Puffs. So while we were at the store last night we decided that we should celebrate our little vacation with a bit of tradition. You can't use the boxes as the bowls like you used to, and the Trix are a bit brighter than I remember them, but the Cocoa Puffs still taste pretty yummy.

After our in room breakfast, we headed down the coast to Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. It had been some time since we had visited the garden, since the last time we were there I was shooting with my Minolta film camera. One advantage to shooting digital was that it didn't cost anything to take pictures of not only every plant we liked, but I also took pictures of the plant's identification tag so we would remember what it was. However, some plants, like this flowering cactus, didn't have signs, so I can't tell you what this one is. Pretty wild flower though and it looks pretty inviting if you're a bumble bee.

Mon, Jun. 2, 2008 - It's a bird...

It's a bird...

One of the owners of the Fort Bragg Super 8 Motel wants seagulls on the web site so I was trying to get photos of seagulls. This one did a nice fly-by for me. I wish I had had a faster shutter speed dialed in, but the bird came at me so fast I felt lucky to just get it in the frame. This was photographed at Glass Beach. It had been awhile since I had been at Glass Beach on a sunny day. Due to people constantly carting it away, and the ocean relelentlessly grinding it back to the sand from which it came, the glass is gradually disappearing. I expect in a few more years people visiting will be wondering why they call it Glass Beach. You can still find spark plugs there though. I guess no one has figured out how to make jewelry out of old spark plugs.

Tue, Jun. 3, 2008 - Learning to Fake It

Learning to Fake It

Last night Larry Martin came over to give us a quick demonstration of his graining technique. He makes it look so easy. We'll find out this weekend when we try it outselves. As Lori noted though we have a nice floor made out of real wood which we can study for examples.

Wed, Jun. 4, 2008 - One More from Fort Bragg

One More from Fort Bragg

This shot was taken after sunset from a viewpoint along Hwy. 101. It was shot with a 30 second exposure which is why the water looks the way it does. I was hoping for a more dramatic sunset that evening, but we had such great weather that day that there weren't really any clouds to provide some color in the sky.

Thu, Jun. 5, 2008 - Lupines Again

Lupines Again

When I rode through this lupine patch with Blake last month, I knew it would be a great location for a model shot. Maria was back in town and the day ended up being a perfect day to take off and shoot since my iMac blew it's power supply again for the second time in less than a month. I never really noticed lupines smelling before, but with this many in one place the scent was heavenly.

Fri, Jun. 6, 2008 - Artie, The Magician

Artie, The Magician

You know those magic tricks where the magician shows you an empty box, and then closes the door. A few magic words are spoken, the door is opened, and a leggy blonde emerges? Well we had something similar happen in our home tonight. Lori and I were sitting on the futon practicing our sign language, and I kept hearing funny noised in the kitchen. I got up and looked and none of the cats were in the kitchen so I went back and sat down. A few minutes later the noises started up again and I checked the cupboard under the stove because it was open. We keep the cat food bowls there and open the cupboard when Artie wants a snack. (Usually every few hours.) Just to be sure Artie wasn't in the cupboard I checked, even looking behind the bag of food. Convinced he wasn't in there, I closed the cupboard and then went down the hallway to look for him. He wasn't there, he wasn't in my chair, and he wasn't out on the back porch so I figured he must have gone outside.

Once again I went back to the futon to continue our lesson. But shortly I was interupted again by a loud crash in the kitchen. Thinking maybe we had mice running around I opened the door under the stove again, and there was Artie. At first I couldn't figure out how he had managed to transport himself into the closed cupboard, but after a more thorough examination I found that he had jumped over the wall into an adjoining cabinet that opens on the other side. It gave us a good laugh, the little trick he played on us. It even gave us the chance to use the sign for "fooled you" that we learned earlier.

Sat, Jun. 7, 2008 - The Final Four

The Final Four

A sunny workday for a change, so while waiting for paint coats on the house to dry I put up the last four brackets, and did some painting on the fence until I ran out of primer. So I went to Fortuna to get some more, via Hwy. 36 to Dinsmore and back. Yeah, that's totally out of the way for going to Fortuna, but it had been awhile since the Sprint had been out.

Sun, Jun. 8, 2008 - Prime Location

Prime Location

With the prep work done on the gable, and a new gallon of primer, it was time to start painting the gable. While it was white I used the opportunity to play around with the color scheme in Photoshop. You'll see the results shortly.

Mon, Jun. 9, 2008 - Cooperative Effort

Cooperative Effort

Today Lori and I started in on woodgraining the office woodwork. This was one of those rare painting projects that I enjoyed her help. Not only did it add variety having two different people painting, we also learned tricks from each other as we experimented. Most of the experimentation worked, with only a few boards that we're not totally happy with. We're not unhappy enough with any of them though to paint over them and try again. Most of the woodwork will be hidden behind curtains and furniture anyways. In the photo, I grained the plith block (the bottom of the vertical molding) and Lori did a really nice job on this baseboard. It'll all look even better with a couple of coats of varnish.

Tue, Jun. 10, 2008 - Painting the Fish Scales

Painting the Fish Scales

Like many Victorians, our bay window gables feature fish scale shingles. I tell you, these are a real pain to paint. If there were any more of them on our house I'd be breaking out the paint sprayer instead of brushing them.

Wed, Jun. 11, 2008 - What's with the Temperature?

What's with the Temperature?

The last few days have been nice and clear, most likely because the wind has been keeping the fog out. But it's been a cold wind. Temps have been getting down into the 30s at night, and barely getting above 50 during the day. Seems very weird to be having a nice sunny day in mid June and it's almost jacket weather. Today we were having 15mph wind gusts, which compared to our winter storms that's just a gentle breeze. But it does play havoc with you when you're 16 feet up on a scaffold and you're trying to paint a fine line.

Thu, Jun. 12, 2008 - The colors of our house

The colors of our house

Mostly the house is using the same colors as the barn, with a few additions, although the body and accent colors have been switched between the two buildings. One addition to the house is a blue, which you can see now on the gable. I first tried a lighter blue called Devotion, that just wasn't right. So back to the paint store and two shades darker I found Tried and True Blue. Well that must be the one I need. I ended up using the Devotion for the porch ceiling. It is very traditional on old homes to paint the porch ceiling blue. We did that for our bungalow in San Jose as well. Some say it's to make the porch feel cooler, which really isn't desirable in Ferndale, other theories say it's supposed to keep mosquitoes away, which with Nile virus cases on the rise, maybe that's the better reason.

Fri, Jun. 13, 2008 - Friday The 13th

Friday The 13th

Probably not a good day numerically to be up on ladders and scaffolding, but we had the best weather all week so again I took most of the day off to paint. In addition to finishing the first coat of tan on the porch, I also added another traditional touch on Victorians, a little gold leaf detail in the gable. I'm not sure if this is a tradition going back all the way to the Victorian period or not, but I've seen it on a lot of homes and it's a nice touch when done in moderation. This was my first experience at gold leafing, and I'm glad it wasn't real gold, because with the wind I lost quite a bit of the leaf as it was being applied. Hopefully the artificial leaf will hold up outside after a few coats of varnish are used to cover it and prevent it from oxidizing. If it doesn't then I'll have to try and find some real gold leaf.

So that almost completes the first gable. I had to remove the half balls because most of them were rotten and I ordered some replacements that just came today. I found the exact size that I needed from an online craft supplier. They aren't redwood but they were only $4.50 for a bag of 10 of them (of course I needed 11) so I'm going to impregnate them with epoxy and then they should be ok for exterior use.

I didn't really plan it this way, but the colors on the gable coordinate very well with the Aesthetic Design & Photography web site, including the gold leaf.

Sun, Jun. 15, 2008 - The Return of Melaine

The Return of Melaine

Two years ago I met Melaine at the fair, and we did a couple of shoots together that were really fun. I had hoped to work with her some more but she doesn't live in Humboldt County, and I lost track of her after her phone and email changed. I had just about given up hope of doing another shoot with her when she contacted me to let me know she was going to be in Ferndale again. I had hoped to work outdoors with here, but today was very drippy so we spent some time in the studio, photographing her in some of Lori's costumes. Here she's modeling a 1770s period corset that Lori made.

Sat, Jun. 21, 2008 - Plan B

Plan B

After going almost 6 months without working with any models, I felt blessed to work with 3 of my favorite models this month. I first worked with Natalie last December and we had corresponded since then throwing ideas back and forth. Her and her husband came up to stay with us in Ferndale this weekend and we had planned two shoots. First I wanted to shoot her wearing a couple of vintage wedding dresses on horseback, but finding a proper horse proved a greater task than I thought. I wanted an elegant horse and it needed to be comfortable with a dress blowing around behind it. That proved to be the sticking point for a lot of horses. It seems horses get freaked out when they see something behind them fluttering around. So the horse shoot was put off until I can find a suitable horse.

The other idea I had was to shoot at my favorite wildflower patch and we had timed their visit to coincide with the likely bloom time. Actually, I had planned it a week earlier, but her schedule changed, and we had to bump it back a week. Still, with our cold spring, the wildflowers were really behind, and they weren't even really blooming yet. We got some nice photos up on Route 1 even so.

I still had our last location to look forward to, my favorite pond. However as we got to a clearing on Route 1 and were able to look east, we could see that the previous nights electrical storm had set numerous fires out in the direction I wanted to go. Since that area is pretty remote, and not a place to be if it's on fire, we headed back. We did stop near Bridgeville for one final shoot in the river. Natalie was a sport and had fun playing and swimming in a reproduction set of Victorian underwear that Lori designed.

Sun, Jun. 22, 2008 - Sunday Morning Shoot

Sunday Morning Shoot

Before Natalie and Dave left for their ride back to Oakland, we had time for a short shoot in the studio. Natalie wanted to do a corset shot, and when she mentioned she loved hats, well, I had to pull out our favorite hat.

Found out that over 200 fires started just in our area. FVFD responded yesterday for a mutual aid call while I was out photographing. I have a feeling it won't be the last time the department gets called out for these fires.

Mon, Jun. 23, 2008 - La Marionnette

La Marionnette

This year's Ferndale Dance Academy production is La Marionnette, a story that Laura East wrote. Every year her production gets better and better and this year's production was no exception. This year Laura started teaching a pointe class, and two of her students were going to be dancing pointe. Unfortunately, Kelsey (pictured), had broken her big toe earlier and while she gallantly tried dancing the first rehearsal on point, it was too painful. Ever since seeing Kelsey first dance 5 years ago, I've always been impressed by her attitude, she's always happy. Seeing her in pain from dancing on her toes was the first time in 5 years I've seen her without a smile on her face. I felt very lucky to see her dance on pointe for even just a little bit. She's come along way in 5 years and I expect she's going to go even further.

Tue, Jun. 24, 2008 - Future Ballerinas

Future Ballerinas

Every year one of the special moments of the production is the numbers with the youngest ballerinas. You just can't help but go "ahhh" when there are a bunch of two foot tall ballerinas are on stage.