Fair Nostalgia

Everybody remembers going to the local fair. It’s warm outside and the day is long. You arrive, buy your handful of tickets for rides and games. I know, it’s wristbands now, but in my day, it was tickets. The music is blaring from the rides and the carnies are yelling out to passersby, “Win a prize!” The smell of corn dogs and polish sausage fill the air. Funnel cakes are obtained and eaten. And at the end of the day, the sun sets and the lights come on.

Ferris Wheel at dusk.
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Phoneography

As much as I carry my camera around with me, I do sometimes find myself without it when there is a photo that needs to be taken. Cell phone cameras these days are pretty nice. I won’t get super large prints from the files, but small to medium sized prints will look excellent from these files. Here is a quick gallery of recent phoneography on the train to New York. 

Dining car at night by Sharon Popek
This is what the dining car on the Crescent line looks like at 3am. I was going through to the bathroom, did not have my camera, so I took it with my phone. 
The dining car with a sun flare by Sharon Popek
The dining car at dinner, as the sun was setting. We went in for dinner. I did not bring my camera, because I was hungry and tired. But the sun coming through that window was more than I could resist. Cell phone worked great. 
The NYC skyline from the train by Sharon Popek
The view from the window as we were entering New York City on the Crescent line. The camera was picking up so much dirt on the windows, so I tried the cell phone. I’m happy with this the way it came out. 

Boot Fan

“Boot Fan” is one of my most popular images. It has sold more than any of my other photos. It’s one of my own favorites, as well.  

Where did the boots come from?

Everyone wonders where those beautiful boots were found. They belong to a good friend who is a boot fan. Well, she’s more than a boot fan, maybe addict is a better word. She has great taste, so I’m not knocking it. When I saw her wearing the first pair, I knew I had to do some photos of them. When I got to her house and found lots more boots, I knew we were going to make some beautiful photos.

What’s with the texture under the boots?

When looking around for someplace to shoot the boots. I noticed that she had this big, cool looking rock in her front yard. With it’s gray and red colors and the natural texture of the rock, it made the perfect backdrop. We shot several different setups. Some with boots on their sides and a little haphazard.

A pile of boots
Another pile of boots.

We did some with single pairs. I love these images, but they are not as popular as the Boot Fan.

A single pair of boots
 A Single pair with flowers.

All of the above images are available for sale in my gallery. Click here, to find out more.

Art Prints for Sale

If you enjoy my work, good news, you can buy prints. All of my images are available for sale on Etsy and Fine Art America.  Check out both or either for some great art prints or something else unique.

My Etsy shop is Purple Rosemary and the majority of my travel photography is available. Prints in basic sizes, from 5 x 7 to 24 x 36 and some other cool stuff.  It’s a good place to find images of your favorite small town or big city. 

My Fine Art America shop has all of images, including some of my more artsy endeavors. You can also find products, like coffee mugs, greeting cards, towels, and more. Some pretty awesome shower curtains and yoga mats are available there. 

Camera shower curtain
Pocket watch composite on a notebook
Cowgirl Boots on a yoga mat

I went to NYC and did a thing

I had 2 pieces in a juried exhibition at the Salmagundi Club. So, we took the train up to NYC. Read about the trip up here. Once in New York, we ate and drank and walked. The walking was probably a sad thing to watch really. I was having back spasms and the mister had a cold. We did not take the town by storm. But we did have a good time. The reception for the show was packed. It was exciting for me to see my work on the wall with so many other beautiful pieces. 

Dinner

Before the show, we went to Burger and Lobster for dinner.  The service was excellent. I also had the best Dark and Stormy ever. We both got lobster rolls and were fat and happy when we left.

Artist’s Reception

When we got to the Salmagundi Club, we noticed a long line for the coat check. There is a restaurant in the club, so we thought it might be for that. Nope. Turns out all of these people were there for the show! We made our way to the gallery, where we found this.

We made our way to where my pieces were and took a few quick pics before the crowd swept us around to see the rest of the show. 

We made it back home, despite the fact that we almost missed our stop on the way home. But that’s another story.  

All Aboard the Crescent

In September 2018, I visited NYC. Read about that visit here. While there, I took tons of photos. Two of those images were accepted into a juried exhibition called “Glimpses of Our World”. Naturally, my husband and I decided we needed to go NYC for the artist’s reception. My husband doesn’t fly and driving seemed like a stressful nightmare. So, we decided to take the train. Specifically, the Amtrak Crescent, which runs from New Orleans to New York City.

At the Station

Knoxville does not have a station, so we had to drive to Charlotte, NC to get on the train. Did I mention the train was leaving at 1:45am? It took just over 4 hours to drive to Charlotte. Did I mention this was something we just really wanted to do? When we got to the station, I was a bit surprised by the size of it. I had seen photos of the exterior. Since the Charlotte Station is the fifth busiest station in the Southern US, I expected it to be a bit bigger on the inside. It was not. The building was originally built in 1962 by Southern Railway. It has not changed since then. Although, I have read that Charlotte is planning a larger transit station to be finished in 2024.

On Board

Once on the train, our porter, Vincent, helped us find our roomette. A wee space, great for 1 person, acceptable for 2. The seats fold down to make a cot. And an upper bunk slides down. When you get a sleeper, you also get a porter. Vincent was a excellent! He made sure we got breakfast and lunch and did not miss our stop. He switched our roomette from the night layout to the day layout (2 seats). We talked to Vincent about his hometown of New Orleans, another place now on our list of places to visit! We slept well, once we got used to the movement of the train. People in roomettes get breakfast and lunch on the day train. Both meals were fair. Better than an airplane meal, which is a rarity anyway these days. Lunch is a prepared menu, so don’t get too excited about a gourmet train lunch.

A great way to travel

The great part about train travel is that you get to see a little more of the US than if you drove. Of course, we were moving pretty fast so unless there was a stop, it was difficult to take any photos. But it inspired us to drive the route and see some of those beautiful towns and cities some day. Another thing I like, is that when you go to the dining car, they will seat with you someone you don’t know if there is space at their table. This is a great way to meet some interesting people and learn about new places to see! If you do not want to do this, they are accommodating and will allow you to sit alone, if there is room. For breakfast, I sat with a young man from Canada. He was not very interested in chatting, and that was fine.

A little issue with the roomette though. There is an actual toilet in the roomette. This is just awkward and weird for me. Fortunately, there was no smell, which was my biggest concern. Other restrooms were available 3 cars up in Coach. So, I admit, that I did break down and use the in room facilities. It was not the worst thing ever. That being said, Amtrak, please remove these and just put a facility in each passenger car. I know that is the way it is in the newer trains. But maybe the Crescent could use a quick retrofit?

The toilet in the the room. I can hear the “nopes” from around the world right now.

We Made it

We loved ride the train. I like being able to walk around and stretch my legs. It did take a little longer than what would have been a 3 hour flight. The ride was 12 hours. However, we did not have to arrive 2 hours early, go through security, remove all of my toiletries, or face a good possibility of delay. The PIA factor in flying that makes the long train ride worth it for me. I get so stressed out when I fly. How long will security take, will the alarm go off and I have to get wanded and patted or worse, taken to the side? Will I leave something in the plastic bin? Do my socks have holes in them? We also did not have to find a way from the airport to the hotel. The hotel was 2 blocks from Penn station, so walking was quick and easy.

Stay tuned for the next entry about NYC and the show!

Challenge Yourself Part 2

I recently did a post on the importance of challenging yourself to stay inspired and boost creativity. I ended with images from a pocket watch challenge, which led me to a book challenge.

Book Challenge

The book challenge became an Open Book Challenge.

Photography and Motion Pictures by Sharon Popek
A page from an early history of technology book, discussing photography
The Clothing We Wear by Sharon Popek
A collage featuring an image from a shop window and chapter about clothing.

What’s Next?

These are images I worked on this week for my open book challenge. I feel like there is more to pursue here. So, I will be doing more of these. I like the idea of featuring images that pertain to the book’s subject matter. This is why I try to continue to challenge myself. It always leads to something new and inspiring. 

I would love to see your own challenges and inspirations! Share your links in the comments!

Challenge Yourself

After rereading a few of my end of year retrospectives, I realized that from November to February is a dry zone for my art. There are probably a few reasons for that. First, winter hits me hard, the cold, the short days, and don’t get me started on fucking holidays. Second, well, I think that first one is the big reason. So, to combat that, I’ve started a few challenges. One on Facebook, SP’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  The other is on Fine Art America, The Weekly Photography Challenge. I have found that sharing the challenges with others, helps keep me motivated. So, if you find yourself in a rut, take a deep breath, and challenge yourself.

The challenge was Stripes. So, I found a striped shirt of my husbands, and started taking pics. 

My Husband’s Shirt

Then, I put the shirt on and took photos of my hands.

Hands

After that, I realized that I had a striped dress on, so I took this pic.

My Pocket

The hand pics led to a Hands Challenge.

Holding Time

Which then led to a pocket watch challenge.

Time to Read

Next challenge? Books!

One thing leads to another and I’ve been working for 3 weeks straight. So, Challenge Yourself!

All images are available as prints, just click on the image and it will take you to the store! Thanks for visiting. As always, comments are welcome!

First and Last Images of 2018

At the end of 2017, I wrote a blog about my first and last images of the year.  I thought I would do the same this year. It’s a great way to see where I’ve been and if I have gotten better or worse or about the same.

The first image I uploaded in 2018. I love fantasy books and art. I have been attempting to create some of my own. Silver keys hang from an overgrown vine, just waiting to be plucked. It has the feel of a dream.

The Key to Fantasy.

The last image uploaded in 2018. This started out as an image created for a stripes image challenge. But it turned out to be more about the hands. I see a series of hands coming soon. 

Hands.


Be sure to share your own 2018 retrospectives in the comments! Feedback is also welcome.

All images are available as prints. If you click on the image, it will take you directly to my shop. 

Fine Art Photography by Sharon Popek