Friday, March 27, 2009
An annual event that attracts thousands to the mountains of Western North Carolina. The image shown here is one of my favorites that did not make the cut for the contest this year -- I could only enter five. If I win, I will of course post the winner!
From their website:
"Folkmoot USA, North Carolina's Official International Festival, is a two-week celebration of the world's cultural heritage through folk music and dance. Held each summer across the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, Folkmoot features performances, parades and workshops by more than 350 performers from a dozen or so countries.
Performers demonstrate cultural heritage through colorful, authentic and original reproduction costumes, lively dance and beautiful music. During its 25-year history, over 200 folk groups from more than 100 countries have shared their heritage and culture at Folkmoot USA."
This year will be my third year to enter their photo contest, wish me luck!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
There’s a lyric from a hymn that goes something like, “…and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love..” and that represents my credo very well. Always tried to live and behave in such a way that observers could figure me out by my actions.
Remember when Jimmy Carter was running for president? Billy Graham commented that you should be careful when someone had to tell you how good a Christian they were.
I tend to favor ecumenicalism as most informed people tend to agree that all religion is man-made. So why risk affiliation with an organization who claims an exclusive connection with The Almighty when you can join hands with all believers? I do not believe that Jesus established the Pentecostal denomination on the “Day of Pentecost” any more than I believe that just because Jesus told Peter that he was giving him the keys to the Kingdom, that he also ordained Peter as the first Pope.
Most of us typically believe what we do because of how we were raised and what we were exposed to as we grew up. At some point, we all have to make conscious decisions as to what we will continue to believe and live by – our own creeds if you will.
Another benefit of ecumenicalism is that as we are exposed to other beliefs, customs, and rituals, our own beliefs are challenged. Can your belief system withstand the challenge of new and or different ideas? If they can, I say, “Stick to your guns! Be firm in your belief and behave accordingly!”
Here’s some reading to enjoy along the way. Some of it is inspirational and some challenging and all were interesting to me.
ORTHODOXY by G.K. Chesterton
HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES by Joseph Campbell
THE DAVINCI CODE by Dan Brown
GOD IS NOT GREAT: HOW RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING by
THE QUEST OF THE HISTORICAL JESUS by Albert Schweitzer
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE BEATLES by Steve Turner
Thursday, March 12, 2009
An old friend from Baton Rouge, LA has recorded several CD's of new age classical piano and has given us permission to use his music on the website. The recordings were made inside LSU's concert hall on their Steinway grand piano.
The current selection is "Calvary" and comes from his CD, WOOD WINDS SELECT PART ONE. You can hear more of his work, download selections, and buy the CD at:
or also at:
Monday, March 9, 2009
You can see it here: www.photographerswithoutborders.org/
[Some of the other photos may not be appropriate for work.]
Sunday, March 8, 2009
An artist from Turkey, Ethan Ozbiyik, has honored one of my images on redbubble.com with a poem. The image is one I got of some steps on Mount Pisgah (piz'-gah) on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Cold Mountain [of movie fame]. My image and his comments can be found at this address: (copy and paste into your browser) -
My sincere thanks to Ethan again. His gallery on redbubble can be found here:
Summary from my notes on composition at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography weekend in Asheville, NC—2008
Have been familiar with the “rule of thirds” for along time and for some reason always applied it horizontally. At this meeting, they pointed out that if you apply the same rule vertically, the two groups of lines form a “tic-tac-toe” grid with a square centered in the frame.
The instructor referred to the four corners of this square as “power points”; the four areas of the photo where the eye naturally tends to look in a scene.
The upper left hand power point is the most significant. Regardless of culture and reading path (up, down, left to right, or right to left) the human brain goes to that spot first. (There is actually scientific evidence to support this comment.)
The eye is naturally attracted to the brightest, most clearly focused feature of a scene.
Triangles are the most powerful of geometric shapes in a composition. The triangle also helps to keep the viewer’s eye in the frame.
THREE is the preferred frequency for number of items in a scene, ie: three flowers arranged in a triangle.
These rules work for any subject matter whether it’s a landscape or a portrait.
Example: Portrait – eyes on upper third line hopefully near the two upper power points. The shirt, drape, blouse, etc. should form a “V” below the face so that the eye line completes a triangle.
Rules were made to be broken!
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Last July we rented a booth at the Blue Ridge Arts and Crafts "Freedom Festival" show over the July 4th weekend. [We do this show every year.] A lady was admiring one of my matted prints priced at $85.00. She asked me, "Can you do better on this price?" My answer is the subject of this posting.
"Yes, I can do better. How about $125.00? Or even better than that, how about $170.00?"
My art is a travelogue, a diary or journal, a photographic record of the places I visit, the people with whom I meet, chat, get to know and love. The images I print and offer for sale are a documentation of my life; and my life has value.
It has long been a contention of mine that artists (including myself) often fail to adequately account for the value of their time when they are deciding upon the price of their artworks.
It has been my experience that when I raise my prices, my unit sales go up.
I'm looking forward to see what this year brings, a year that has begun with a general fear in the population of recession. Reminds me of when Johnny Carson started a nation wide shortage of toilet paper!
Friday, March 6, 2009
I once considered myself a conservative Republican, now it seems more suitable (in lieu of my disdain of the news) to be apolitical. My wife printed up a satirical bumper sticker for me (I was busy with PHOTOGRAPHY) during the last presidential election to poke fun at politics, fantasists, and racism. It read, "Yellow Dog Democrats for McCain". She's not even sure of the candidate for which I voted!
Will reading this entice people to buy my photography? This piece is full of subliminal suggestions to do just that!
Several years ago, I gave up the news for Lent. Every time I tell this story, that "several" comes out differently so instead of stating a number of years, "several" will suffice. It's been at least nine years though for sure. No newspaper(s), no CNN, no car radio. We rarely watch network television so no local news either. We get weather from weather.com and it's personalized! My favorite sports teams are followed via the web and even my log on screen at Yahoo is devoid of news since I deleted all those feeds.
Of course, there are inadvertent exposures to news if we are in a restaurant or some public place where a TV is blaring and it cannot be avoided. Most of the time I hear about current events from co-workers and e-mails and this is almost always a day or two after the event(s). At my age and level of experience it's difficult to surprise me. Have I become jaded? After 9/11, it's become even harder to come up with something that is really way out there.
Since giving up the news, my stress level has gone down, my personal life is happier, my kid's grades in school are better, and my dog had a litter of eight puppies. My car's gas mileage has improved, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels have stayed within normal limits and my PSA hasn't changed in over twenty years (4.5).
I therefore highly recommend a "news fast" for everyone!
See a complete selection of my work at my official website: www.royalflamingoworks.com
Please sign the guest book while your there, too!
All my work is copyrighted by either, “Chip Etier”, or “Royal Flamingo Works, LLC”
Born in Louisiana, FC Etier spent most of his adult life in Baton Rouge, eventually splitting his time between Baton Rouge and Gulfport, Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina sent him in search of a safer harbor, which he found in Western North Carolina. With an eye for the unusual found within the usual, Etier has been involved with photography for many years. A fan once remarked, “Give him an acre and he’ll find a million inspirations.” Hoping that there are others who like what he sees through his viewfinder and who will support his interests, Etier is seldom found without his camera. His influences range from Shutterbug and Black and White magazines to Salvador Dali, with many others along the way, including Scott Kelby, Dennis Hopper, Patti Smith, Miriam Goldberg, William Eggleston, and Ansel Adams. He studied art at Louisiana Tech University and independently learned the art of photography.
“I’ve got a head full of ideas that are driving me insane.” Bob Dylan said it and I’ve been living it. One of my ideas is the possibility that my work will be recognized.
I have devoted my time behind the lens to exposing the extraordinary in the ordinary, whether it is found in the lines of an old face or a workbench covered with scraps.
Although I’m inclined to express myself in black and white, a large segment of my work is in color.
Answers to three common questions:
1) Canon not Nikon
2) Digital not film
3) Paintshop Pro not Photo Shop