Saturday, March 31, 2012

Makin' Lemons Outta Lemonade...Or Somethin' Like That

(All pics. snapped on 3/27/12 - using a Sony Cybershot and Instagram effects)

(I think I'll name the above photo, "Totally Pointless")

There's no mincing words here, I simply do not like the pics. in this post, and I've spent each day since I took them - procrastinating like a muthah, when I shoulda been writing about 'em - regardless of how I felt about 'em. But it's been well over a week since I published my last entry, and since I have no other new pics. to write about instead...I guess I gotta go ahead and deal with the derned things...

(This pic. earned the title, "Close, But No Cigar")

On Monday of this week, I threw a bunch of randomly selected costumes, along with my camera bag - into the back of my car, and took a little road trip to Shepherdstown, West Virginia. I'd decided to finally get my butt in gear, and stage a shoot that I've been dying to do - in a gloriously dilapidated old house that I've drooled over ever since I first saw it a month ago.

I parked my car in a lot across the street, and while I was consolidating all of the junk that I'd chucked into the trunk - I realized that a critical item was conspicuously missing...I could not find my Sony Cybershot, anywhere! Had I actually been stupid enough to have left it on the kitchen counter? Or had someone reached into the front seat of my car (where I was absolutely positive that I'd placed it) when I left the gas pump and went inside the Sheetz to purchase a soda and cigs....

Whatever. At that point what mattered the most, was that I would not be doing my shoot, and believe you me honey - I was torqued. The thirty minute drive had not been all for naught though, because I did take a bunch of pics. in and around the old house with my iPhone, some of which (if you're interested) can be seen *HERE* on Little Pretties.

(This one's called, "Snore"...for more than one reason)

The next day, I was adamant about getting some new selfies - and since my friend who owns an apple orchard had mentioned mere days before, that the apple blossoms would be blooming within the next coupla days - I figured I ought not look a gift horse in the mouth...and so I made the short drive over to his farm for the day's shoot.

(How 'bout, "Bottom of the Barrel" for this winner of a pic.)

I can't explain why (or how) I was never able to get in the proverbial "zone", especially considering the splendor of my stellar surroundings - nevertheless, over the entire three hours that I trod all over my friend's farm, experimenting with any number of themes and ideas - the end result was an overall feeling of utter disappointment.

The only things that I actually did get out of this pathetic excuse of a photo shoot, was a wicked case of poison ivy (where the sun don't usually shine), and a swift kick (in that same place where I got the poison ivy) to do whatever it takes from here on out - to ensure that I never ever fail like this again...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Commando Mission

(All pics. snapped on 3/13/12)

This could very easily wind up to be one of those posts, that gets my dumb ass in a buncha hot water. Ya' see, unless I share the details about how I got these pics. - there's really no other story to tell. But if I do that - then some mean-spirited busy-body is apt to arbitrarily blow the whistle on me...and that's not just me bein' paranoid, believe me. 

"Now, why would someone do something as petty as that?" you might be wondering - and who can blame you...I guess. Well, believe it or not - this type of thing has happened before, and that's why I've got my guard up. 

Some of you may remember the Shot in the Dark entry from way the heck back in 2010. What you don't know however, is that not long after I posted that entry (in which I confessed to having been detained and questioned by a police officer, after he caught me trespassing in a public park after dark, while taking semi-nude pictures of myself in the gazebo) some meddlesome, anonymous caller contacted a local, county official - and angrily asserted that the Chief of Police ought to issue a warrant for my arrest, true story! I can't tell you how I found out about this (cuz I promised my informant that I'd always keep mum), but I can tell you this - it did in fact god is my witness, and all that.

I'll never forget how one friend reacted to the ludicrous, and perturbing incident by saying, "Well, Lauralyn? Hate to break it to you...but not everyone who reads your blog is your friend" And it's those very words that have me asking myself, "Should I open my big mouth? Or not..."

After weighing the balance, I've decided that withholding key info regarding this shoot, would be un-Big Ugly-like...and so - for the sake of providing at least a leetle meat for my readers - I've opted to run the gauntlet...*gulp*...Ok, here goes...

After a friend and I explored the grounds of a now defunct golf course, recently - I could not stop thinking about how badly I wanted to stage my next shoot there - not only on the sand traps, and once manicured greens, and down by the river that flows along one side - but most especially inside of the imposing manor house that sits up on a hill keeping watch over the property.

Here...Ya' want me to show you what it looks like?

Is that not freaking gorgeous? Can you understand now, why I became so suddenly and seriously obsessed with the stately structure, and its surroundings? And why I simply couldn't wait to go back?

On my first visit, after briefly surveying the grounds with my friend - we drove over to the old house to take pics. of the exterior., and while we did so - I snooped around trying to find some way, any way that I might possibly gain entry inside. Unfortunately though, every window and door was locked securely. I did notice however, that there was a single pane missing from one of the first floor window sashes. The opening was tight, and it was kind of high up - but by now I've learned how to make myself small, if need be. Hoping he might offer to give me a boost - I casually mentioned to my friend, "I think I could fit through there." "Eh...", he cautioned. "I wouldn't...the place might be rigged with motion detectors, or something."...True dat. 

It was windy and cold the day that I was there with my friend, and so after only about a half an hour - we hopped back in his truck, blasted the heat, and drove off...

Nine days later, I returned to the golf course alone, and with a plan. It was much earlier in the day than when I was there the time before, plus - it was unbelievably warm considering it was only mid-March. My strategy was to start out taking selfpics outside around the grounds (not gonna lie, my friend definitely had me nervous about what might happen if I did actually climb into the house through the broken window) and if my camera battery still had a charge after I finished outside - I would think about taking more pics. inside the house...maybe.

I never expected that anyone other than me, would be at the golf course when I arrived that day...but they were. There were cars parked in front of the old clubhouse, and golf carts buzzing here and there - I was shocked! I had no idea who all of those people were! Were they real estate agents and potential buyers? Property managers and their employees? Or possibly fellow poachers who had come there to take advantage of a beautiful day on a half-decent golf course with no green's fees. No matter why they were there though, those folks had officially foiled my plan...There would be no naked pictures out of doors for me that day...rats.

My only options were to either bail (no way) or execute Plan B...which I did, and here's how.

So there, I've done it. I've publicly admitted to (non)breaking and yet entering a private property in order to satisfy my incessant craving to photograph myself in off-limits venues...Wonder how long before all hell breaks loose...I'll be sure and let you know if anything happens...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Welcome to The Doll House

(All pics. snapped on 3/05/12)

It's crazy to think, that when I took these pics. eight days ago - it was blustery, cold and snowing intermittently. In just one short week's time, the weather here has taken a welcome but drastic - turn for the better...with temps. rising into the mid-seventies, the warm sun and blue sky peeking out from behind a blanket of fluffy, sheep's wool clouds...

Flashback to last week though, when it was still bitterly cold - while I staged these selfpics. in this fantastic, old ruin. After more than three hours of near overexposure, my body became so crippled by the cold - I thought that it might actually take another whole week before I thawed out entirely...*brrrrrrrrrr* (Thanks ever so much, to my friend who lives up the street from this house - cuz he let me warm up by his woodstove for a spell, before braving the cold for the rest of my shoot...You're a lifesaver - without you I might not have been able to continue)

The point of this entry though, is not to paint the picture that this was one of those heinously miserable shoots...quite the contrary really, even factoring in the extremely uncomfortable conditions. Anytime I have the opportunity to photograph myself in awe-inspiring surroundings, such as this - it's much easier for me to tune out the "bad", since I'm just so damned grateful to be there! Despite the fact that sometimes things happen feet get so cold, that they turn a putrid yellow (which in my experience, is way worse than when they turn a sickly white)...usually at that point, I can no longer even feel them touch the ground...

Let's talk about the house though, since it is the star of this show.

This is one of those deals where, I've driven past this house maybe a million times before - and you know? I've noticed it (even took a bunch of exterior shots of the facade, this time almost exactly a year ago) but I haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking about it...'til recently...

While visiting my friend with the woodstove, two weeks ago - I got the sudden urge to actually go insida the place...and when I did - what I saw blew my completely! It was just so much more dilapidated than I'd ever imagined, not to mention - chock-FULL of a wide array of subject matter to favorite being the carnage of baby dolls and their dismembered parts, naturally.

There I was in one of the most outstanding locations that I've ever come across, and while it was an ideal place to take pics. with my phone - it didn't take me long to surmise that a self-portrait shoot there, would be prohibitive...if not completely verboten. The house was dangerously unstable in certain spots (due to a kitchen fire that had spread through the walls up to the second floor, and a roof leak that had ravaged large patches of the floors on both levels. Stepping deliberately and gingerly was essential in order to keep from careening through the rotten flooring down to the basement...and if there's one thing that I am not during my self-portrait shoots - it is "ginger". I frequently havta tear across the space that separates my camera from where I pose...sometimes so furiously, that it sounds like a stampede of charging elephants. The old house (I bargained), would not tolerate such behavior...which meant that I'd have to be content with taking camera phone snaps only....

Long story short, I changed my mind...I just couldn't stand the thought of a.) pussin' out like that, and b.) not taking advantage of such a scrummilicious backdrop...and so I returned one week later to tempt fate.

On my second visit, (upon further inspection) I discovered that several of the rooms (plus the stairs) did have solid flooring - and at that point I began strategizing how to best approach my shoot... voila!

When I left that day, my body was positively frozen to the bone...somehow though, I felt warm deep down inside - cuz I'd done it...and that treacherous house (bless its heart) had kept me safe from harm...

(Snapped on 2/02/11)

Someone who commented on this entry, was curious to see what the The Doll House looked like on the outside. Of course I'm happy to oblige, but since I haven't got any new, exterior shots - I had to dig this one out of the archives...

OH! One last thing - if you're curious to see pics. from my first time inside of The Doll House, please check out my new Little Pretties post...


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Extra, Extra!

So HEY! Guess what?! The first two prints that I'll be offering at auction on eBay - arrived at my house today - WOOT! Aaaaannnd...I had just enough time to get them listed, before I had to drive into town to get my daughter from dance. 

They look AWEsome you guys, I ain't lyin'. The pros at 1650 Gallery did the most fabulous job printing them (plus a couple of other prints that I think I'll hold onto for now). I was so excited when I saw them - I literally felt like I was hyperventilating for a full 40 minutes after I laid eyes on 'em...

But enough with the blubbering for a minute...lemme show you what they look like so you can decide if you wanna go to eBay and take a gander:

(Snapped on 9/19/10)


Still available on eBay - starting bid reduced!

(Snapped on 9/19/11)


If you're interested in finding out more about these prints (dimensions, etc) - both pics. are right now, and will continue to be posted on The Big Ugly's "Store" page - until they're either sold, or their listings on eBay expire. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Switchin' It Up

(All pics. snapped on 2/27/12)

It gives me great pleasure to announce, that I've recently taken a renewed interest in traversing this great and wide countryside, for the sole purpose of capturing images with my iPhone. Those of you out there who have ever visited The Big Ugly's baby sister - Little Pretties, are probably well aware of my former addiction to snapping random, everyday things with my phone (as well as with my even more neglected toy cameras: Diana & Holga)...and you may have also noticed that over these past few months, I have (for the most part) totally dropped that ball.

In my last post, I griped about having been astonishingly busy over recent weeks - which in retrospect, is somewhat amusing - taking into account the fact that I am newly unemployed and all. And to be perfectly honest, it was wrong of me to try and vie for your sympathy. Why? Because I've brought all of the chaos upon myself. How? of the biggest contributing factors to these hectic days of late - is that I've consistently put off more pressing obligations, to instead run around takin' pics. wif mah phone...(and to sneak in a few self-portraits along the way).

Now I realize that such irresponsible behavior might lead you to believe that I've reverted back to my gadabout ways (and rightfully so!) but I've no regrets for being such a self-indulgent flake these days. Because, while prioritizing photography over the things that I should be doing - does have me at times suffering from a mild case of buyer's remorse (so to speak), I feel that the added daily stress has been absolutely worth it. Ya' see, by shirking my duties in favor of bleeding the pressure valves on months and months of built-up, creative urges - the sense of satisfaction that's been coloring my world, is far more intense than that which I might've felt - had I stayed home and done laundry or mopped the floor (like I shoulda).

For me, one of the best parts about iPhonography (if that's a word) is the terribly addicting ritual of uploading and embellishing my candid snaps on Instagram...

...and up until...ohhh...I dunno. Maybe a month ago? (during that period when my Mac was so sickly that it was practically useless, and the only way that I could share pics. was to post 'em on Instagram...remember?) I had never before "Instagrammed" my self-portraits, for two reasons: 1.) The majority of my selfpics could easily be categorized as NSFW, and Instagram ain't cool with nudity on the site...and 2.) I am something of a purist in that - I believe that Instagram should be for iPhone photography only. And since I shoot my selfpics with a Sony Cybershot, well then - shouldn't that disqualify them from inclusion in all the fun?

Clearly I am not a person who is very strong in their convictions, because last week (without hesitation or remorse) I acted on the impulse to gussy up a select few from my newest batch of self shots - with the kickass filters on...(you guessed it) INSTAGRAM! I edited, and posted them - and once I saw that they'd been added to the camera roll on my phone, I deleted them off of Instagram. That way, I would have them at my disposal to publish on The Big Ugly, while still keeping in Instagram's good graces.

...and here they are...

Ok, so now - I'm counting on YOU - my highly esteemed and trusted readers, to cast the deciding votes as to whether the bells and whistles work here? Or do not...And don't dare hold back, cuz I wanna know the truth. I promise that my feelings won't get hurt...

MAJOR Thanks, btw - to the fabulous family that allowed me to make not one, but two trips out to their property - so that I could take the self-portraits seen in this post, as well as gobs and gobs of neat-o Instagram pics. - some of which I shared on Little Pretties...