project 366 day 75


Keeping the (second) streak alive, so far.

Since my major blunder on February 21st, I have managed to keep a second photo streak alive. Since things are still busy, busy, there has been many a day I've just shot something on the fly and some days when I've hustled to take a photo only to remember that I had already done so earlier in the day.

This photo of the fish bottle was taken on March 3rd. I've been going back to glass a bit, but trying to vary my subject matter. This photo was taken late afternoon in the light coming through my office window. One positive thing about trying to keep this project going on a daily basis is that I have a new appreciation for how much light comes through my home/office windows on a daily basis and how to use that to my advantage. Morning brings great light to the porch and kitchen. Mid and late afternoon more light streams in through my living room and office.

More photos can be found on Facebook (Scrivo Communications) and Twitter (@ScrivoCom). I am still posting to Google+, but not so enamored of it now, so I tend to post less frequently there. More photos can also be found in my 366 Shots Gallery on my photography site - ScrivoPhotography.

project 366 day 55


I lost it between the Zatarain's and the coins.

February 22 was a sad day. I woke up and remembered that I had not taken a picture on the 21st. Streak snapped at 51 photos. On the 20th I took a quick shot of a Zatarain's box, then played around with some Photoshop filters. On the 22nd I dejectedly took a quick shot of some coins.

But I regrouped and am pressing on. Work got increasingly busy in January, not a problem on days when I may have been shooting, but on days when I focused on deadlines for graphic design and writing projects, it became more difficult to remember to take a shot. The majority of my shots have been taken on the fly with my iPhone, but the upside is I have taken a few shots that I love (one of my favorites is the grapefruit taken on Feb. 11th), some that have inspired design and illustration ideas, and others that are making me think of new photo projects. In addition to posting on Facebook (Scrivo Communications) and Twitter (@ScrivoCom), I've began posting to Google+ on a new business page, and less frequently to a gallery on my photography site - ScrivoPhotography.

project 366

Coca Cola Bottle, Project 366

Leap Year: 366 days of photos?

I wanted to pursue a project this year to help keep a camera, of some sort, in my hands more frequently. Since it was leap year, adding day 366 - I thought, why not a photo a day. My plan is to take one photo a day and then post them to Scrivo! Communications Facebook page and @ScrivoCom. Hopefully, I can get a shot each day. I think it doubtful I will post daily though, but who knows?

Blue Vase in sunlight
On my second shot, I decided to make use of the awesome light that comes in through the porch windows in the morning, and used a Coca-Cola glass bottle I had on hand. I really loved working on this shoot first thing in the morning, and I feel inspired to shoot more glass this year. I've already returned to glass, having shot a blue glass vase for 1/4/12. Two other shots this week were of kitchen implements and today's shot, an iPhone shot of some favorite books.

pixie on the shelf

There's an elf on my shelf? He better keep those books in alphabetical order!

Some of my favorite Christmas decorations have been with me since childhood. Leather reindeer, a very worn out Santa Claus container (for secret stashes of candy), and an elf or two. Some favorites have not made it through the years. One unfortunate toy was an inflatable Santa Claus that I often used as a punching bag when I was small. There finally came a Christmas when my father could not patch him up, but he graced our home well into my teens.

This Christmas, I've decided to take some shots of a few of my favorite things. This pixie is one of my favorite decorations / childhood playthings and has been around long before the current "elf on the shelf" craze. He's been on the mantels of cardboard and brick fireplaces, under the tree, in the tree, at the breakfast table, on the desk, and just about everywhere in between. This year, he decided to hang out in front of some Harry Potter books. Hopefully, he will not get into too much mischief there. As far as I know, he has never tattled on me to Santa. He doesn't roll like that. My father, who had a great sense of humor, picked up that wonderfully shiny MJ glove somewhere, and then placed it on Pixie's hand. Stylin! He has not taken the glove off since.

Toys and decorations that have a history bring back wonderful memories. Just seeing this Pixie's smile reminds me of how exciting the Christmas season can be, and how extraordinarily happy a child's heart can be over the simplest of things. Must be a little of that Pixie dust and that old Christmas magic.

bert monroy

Bert Monroy, pushing the limits of software design.

A few years back, at a National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) Photoshop World, I attended a seminar held by Bert Monroy. His digital "paintings" blew me away back then, but his latest effort is truly incredible. He has really pushed the limits of software and hardware with his latest creation, "Times Square." In addition to being an incredible work of art, it is also an homage to Photoshop developers and professional photographers, featuring quite a few of those characters within the work. The finished painting will be on display at Photoshop World, March 30 to April 1 in Orlando, FL.

The image size is 60 x 300 inches and took four years to create. The overall image contains over 500,000 layers (total of all the files) and is comprised of almost 3,000 individual Photoshop and Illustrator files. Check out "Times Square" and see it for yourself.


photographing thanksgiving

happy thanksgiving banner

Want to improve your holiday photographs this year? Seven tips to get you started!

Identify the subject. Before you take the shot, ask yourself this question: “What’s the subject of my photo?”
Is it the turkey, the spread, carving the turkey, grandma, the kids? If you have a clear idea of what subject you want to capture with each shot, you will be better able to focus on and capture the subject.

Frame your subject. Focus in on your subject. If there are any distractions in back of your subject, move them, reposition your subject, or reposition yourself to help minimize the distractions.

Change your point of view. A photo of the family at the table might be better shot a little higher than the eye-level of the tallest person in the scene. Photos of the children can benefit from crouching down to shoot at their level, rather than down at them. Experiment with different angles.

Posed and Candid Shots Pose family members for some shots. Take multiple photos of family members in small groups. The more people in your photos, the more photos you may have to take to compensate for problems like closed eyes, heads turned away from the camera, etc. For natural, candid photographs, take photos of family members talking, raising their glasses, having fun.

Get in Close Most people have a tendency to stand back when taking a photo. Take a couple of steps towards your subject. Get in close to capture a child’s face next to grandma and grandpa’s. The result will be more personal photos that draw the viewer into the scene and elicit a more emotional connection to the subject. Plan to take a photo of the turkey being carved? Get in close to the food too! Try a few shots focused on the knife slicing through the turkey or a close-up of a piece of apple pie.

Light up the Room You can always use flash indoors, but it can flatten out color or create harsh lighting situations. First try to use indoor or natural lighting. Turn on as many lights in the room as possible, or position subjects near a window to take advantage of natural lighting. (Remember to shoot away from the window for proper exposure.) If your camera allows, try increasing your ISO to avoid flash use. To obtain truer colors, use an appropriate white balance preset (for sunlight, incandescent light, flash, etc.) if your camera allows. If you use your flash, remain within the recommended flash range. Avoid shooting towards shiny objects or windows that will reflect the light back at the lens.

Get in the photo! It’s easy to get in the photo yourself. A tripod or level surface to keep your camera steady is a must. Set up your family leaving some space for you to jump in. Focus the camera, set the timer, step into your spot, and smile!

halloween for hope

The Crow - Halloween Photo

Halloween for Hope - The Ellie Fund.

I had a great time shooting pictures at the Ellie Fund's Halloween for Hope at King's in Dedham. There were some great costumes, free pizza, bowling, games, raffle prizes, prizes for best costume, and a ton of fun! Great group of people providing great services for breast cancer patients and their families! After the gig, I put together a short photo show - check it out.

in the boneyard


I was on a mission to shoot a couple of other subjects in Provincetown, but because it was a gray, windy, foggy, cool, somewhat drizzly morning, I thought it would be an opportune time to spend an hour in the cemetery.

It also proved convenient that a friend was visiting a resident of the assisted living facility in town. The assisted living facility is located across the street (Alden) and beside the graveyards. (Yes, you read that correctly.) One car, two keys, and I had shelter from any sudden downpours.

I decided to play around with using a Canon digital SLR with an available pinhole body cap (actually for an old Pentax) held over the body in place of the lens. There were the inevitable goof ups and light links, possibly a stray finger, and movement aplenty, but the point was to just shoot down and dirty and quick and get a soft look with some ghosting effects. I decided not to worry about the many dust critters that were also revealed as I felt they added a little "je ne sais pas quoi".

This was definitely easier than carting around the homemade pinhole "one shot" cameras I made while taking a class at the FAWC (Fine Arts Work Center) some years back. I could more easily adjust the exposure time and determine if I had captured what I had meant to by checking out the LCD display on the back after I took the shot.

I shot them in color. For this blog, I decided to make only the following adjustments in Photoshop: a black and white adjustment layer for all three, and I brought back the color in the beads around Mabel's headstone. Other than that, I decided to just keep the pics "as shot" - no extra processing.

headstones in a line
cemetery path

quackin' up

duck race
The Neponset Valley Sunrise Rotary Club is getting ready for the annual Duck Race on the Charles. The Club will be selling ducks at local supermarkets over the next few weekends and you can adopt a duck by going to Many business sponsorships are also available. The event will support many local and international charities and it promises to be LOTS of family fun.

To produce this flyer, I chose a template that I've used for other Rotary events, but I wanted to inject a bit of fun into it. I reversed the template by moving the gradient to the bottom (rather than the top) and left the top open and white. The blue gradient on the bottom also helped create the feeling of the ducks floating on water. I got my hands on a rubber duck, shot a quick picture in my office, spiffed the duck up in Photoshop, added a drop shadow and pulled it into the In Design layout.

One duck looked a little lonely so I added a couple of others to make it look more like a race. I played around with object effects until I got a look I liked. Red and yellow text was used to draw more attention to the flyer. I added an outline to some of the text to help it stand out more, and added a few effects to some of the text as well. For another marketing tool, I created a a Facebook Duck Race on the Charles page and used a piece of the layout (the Duck Race on the Charles text and the duck heads) for the profile photo.

Duck Race 1 PDF

bashful baker website

bashful website
The Bashful Baker was overdue for a website change. Check out their new website, The website was designed with RapidWeaver, a great little program. I began with a template and customized it to suit the bakery.

I had a lot of fun putting the new Bashful website together on their new domain. In addition to their quality desserts and goodies being handcrafted using the finest ingredients, their desserts are fresh, so we decided to play around with that and the fact that they may not be all that “bashful.”

Writing copy for the bakery is always fun; while they are serious about their cakes and pastries, they have a wry sense of humor. While I don’t consider myself that much of a computer geek, the commentary on the contact page sprang from a spirited conversation about computers.

I shot the mini-pastries which debuted on the front page when I uploaded it this month. (Yeah, taking pictures of delicious pastries is a tough assignment, I know, but someone had to do it.) I also shot several other photos featured in the main content areas or sidebars of other pages; one of my favorites was the cocoa dusting on the tiramisu on the contact page. Many of the wedding cake photos were contributed by other wedding and event photographers.

In addition to the site, I created design pages using a custom background and photos that the bakers had on hand. We printed some up for their photo album and also downloaded many of the designs into a digital photo album they can use as a sales tool.


serviam magazine

layout page 4
I am really excited about one project that is making its way to the Ursuline Academy community now — the Serviam Magazine. Another makeover was called for, and my focus was to create a clean design which continued make use of color but did not hamper the readability of the magazine. (Pictured at right, page 4)

When creating a design, it’s important to create a good structure with repetitive elements. I chose a 3 column setup and used rounded green (PMS 625) boxes which bled off the bottom of the page on the left hand pages and off the top of the page on the right hand pages. Lowercase headers were used to introduce new sections; on left hand pages the headers were set above the rounded
page 20
box and on the right hand pages were set over the box. The headers were generally set in an opaque tint of the main color.

Inconsistency creates chaos, but too much consistency creates boredom. At some point you have to break the mold a bit — or altogether — so I chose my change-ups carefully. For example, on page 20 (pictured at right), the color scheme became a gold box with some purple text, fitting for a page on spirituality, but in keeping with the basic formula. When reviewing my photographs ( for shots of spirituality, Patrice Howard ’04, UA’s Director of Communications, decided to write an article on Liturgical Dance, an aspect of spirituality that had not been strongly featured before.

page 21
For page 21(pictured at right), we chose to highlight UA’s drama club using Dan Busler’s excellent photography ( Dan takes amazing performance shots and he gladly supplied us with photos he took at two UA plays. I chose a simple red curtain for the background from, made the box on the right a transparent black, and used yellow text which brightened the page and also complemented the yellow tones in some of Dan’s photographs.

On pages 15, 18, and 22, I dramatically altered the formula or dispensed with it altogether. On page 15, using a backdrop of the famous UA rhododendrons, I created a straight-forward collage of photos shot by Patrice (who took the Serviam cover shot) and myself. After discussing the layout a few times,we went with a full color back and simple white frames around the pictures. Other info on the page echoes elements found throughout the magazine.

Page 18 retains some of the elements from other pages, the round photo bleeding off to the left, the intro header, a pull quote, but we added a light yellow back and brought in a touch of other colors in the header and subhead. In addition to those brick and blue colors just looking right, they are also similar to the colors of the Haitian flag, apropos for an article on service in Haiti.

Patrice wanted a travel picture collage for the trip to Washington D.C., and the focus was on fun. I dispensed with the standard layout altogether. There were so many cool photos, shot by Patrice, from which to choose. I settled on six and set them in frames to give them a Polaroid feel. Handwritten text beneath the photos, a bit of a sassy attitude, a touch of stars on the background photo, and stripes for the main text completed the look. The page was built in Photoshop and imported into the layout program.

Pages 15, 18, and 22 are pictured below.

page 15
page 18
page 22

The Serviam Magazine is 28 pages, and it includes an extra 12 page Strategic Plan with its own cover shot. The cover shot is one of my best and a personal favorite. (Pictured at right.)

While it looked great in its original state, it did require a little alteration to suit the requirements for the cover. More on that “magic” another time. For the strategic plan, we wanted to use a layout to differentiate it from the magazine, but the colors and design elements utilized in the plan “recall” those elements found in the magazine, which results in a more smooth, less jarring, transition.


getting in close


The last month I’ve shot a couple of weddings, and these candid shots are some of my favorites.

My intention in each one was to “get in close” to the subject in order to capture the joy — and sense of humor the couple shared.

bride and groom
bride and groom

skipping out

A friend of mine skipped down to the beach this morning. “I feel so guilty,” she said when she returned my call. “I should have called you.” She was already on her way back when she phoned at 11:30 am.

By that time I was through with my morning writing and trying to talk myself into sorting through files and paperwork and doing some accounting and all that other not-so-fun but necessary stuff. I promised myself this would be a day of reorganizing and cleaning, but I find myself thinking of the ocean as the long weekend closes in.

It was August of last year when I took this picture of “Miss Abby.” It was a miserably hot and humid day, one of the worst days of the summer, as I recall. A childhood friend who was visiting from Oregon was reeling from the humidity and we went down to the dock in search of some relief. Even by the water there was little relief, but it felt just a bit better to look out at the blue water, the pale blue sky. It was a gorgeous day.

I’m still at it at 4:00 pm. I have to admit that I “skipped out” myself from shuffling papers to fiddle around with some photos, my website, and some design work. Back to the grind for at least a while longer today. But I keep wishing I was at the beach.

chasing the crow

This morning I saw a small bird soaring right behind a large black crow. It seemed like the small bird was chasing the crow who was about five times the size of the small bird.

As I watched them, I thought about art and creativity, and how all the creative things that artists do are sort of like the small bird chasing the crow. You have a goal in mind that you’re in pursuit of, a vision of something greater than yourself, and you’re trying to catch it.

Later, as I tooled along downtown, I heard an old song by Donovan with a line that ran something like this, “First there is the mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.” The song also mentions a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Sixties songs and Donovan’s influences aside, I thought of those words in relationship to the bird and the crow and to the process of art as well. A vision of something larger than yourself. Either a feeling of missing the mountain or scaling it step by step and losing sight of the mountain. And then, there it is back again, and hopefully you’re not still at the foot of it.

While I’ve been busy writing and doing design work, I have also been busy trying to get a new online photo service for my work, go through some of my photos and pop them into my gallery, and this has re-ignited my desire to pursue pinhole photographs again.

In addition to experimenting with color pinhole and using my digital differently to get similar effects, I also worked on scanning some of my original black and white pinholes. Although that presented a few obstacles, I had fun doing it. The pinholes are so different than everything else I have shot, but as Marian Roth, my pinhole teacher, told me: these are a part of who I am too. “You think it’s the camera,” she said, “but it’s not. It’s you.”

Since I’ve been thinking about blogging, and haven’t done so for a month, I thought I’d share a few pinholes today. They are a lot darker than my other photography, and the color ones have presented some pretty eerie effects, but I love them just as much, if not more than getting crystal clear, light- and color-filled shots.

Fountain of Ghosts
The fountain in the yard at Snug Cottage in Provincetown. Taken with what I referred to as my “fish-cam.”

wharf 1
Lancy’s Wharf, Provincetown
Also taken with the “fish-cam.”

The “fish cam” was a can decorated with colorful fish. I used the fish to orient the paper inside either vertically or horizontally. The paper was curved inside which provides the warped look.

wharf 2
Lancy’s Wharf II, Provincetown
Taken with the “eye-cam.”

The “eye cam” was a smaller Body Shop can. I drilled the hole for the pinhole through the eye on the cover of the can. I didn’t shave the hole clean, and this added a little something to the process.

This broken up pier just keeps disintegrating with each passing year. I’ll be sorry to see it go.

all i want for christmas...

underwear on head
Sometimes all a kid wants is her Scooby Doo underwear and a soft toy to hug. I love taking pictures of kids, because you never know what they’re going to do next.

After an afternoon of shooting more posed photos, and in the aftermath of opening presents, this cutie chose to run around with two of her favorite things: Scooby Doo underwear which, as you can see, makes for interesting head wear, and her recently acquired Lily the talking frog (a gift from me).

After 100 or so recitations of numbers and ABCs, apparently Lily the frog can prove to be annoying to her mother, my goddaughter, in both English and Spanish, or so I’ve been told. Hey, I could have bought a drum set...

Hope the holidays are happy for you and all your dreams come true!

pilgrims and indians

race point
Recently, I read Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick which dispels the many myths about the Pilgrims, Indians and Thanksgiving with which we've been brought up.

The book details the Pilgrims' journey from England to Holland and eventually to America in search of a place where they could live and worship as they saw fit.

The passage was long and brutal. They arrived, not on Plymouth Rock, but along the outer arm of the Cape, eventually landing in the Provincetown area before making their way to Plymouth Harbor. I've often looked out from Race Point, over the dunes and out to sea, and thought how beautiful and desolate and barren it looks, and what it must have been like to be among the "first" to see this shore.

Without a doubt, the Pilgrims needed food, and fast. One of their first acts of procuring food was to, unfortunately, steal corn that had been stored away for the winter months from the local inhabitants. Not a great way to begin a mutually beneficial relationship in a foreign land. But the Indians befriended them and there was likely a celebration of thans the following fall which was unlike the Thanksgiving we have come to know and love.

And, amazingly, a peace, uneasy at times, was established between the Pilgrims and the tribes along the coast and lasted for about 50 years. Over time, the cultural bridges that had been built failed. The balance of power began to shift from the Indians to the increasing numbers of English who arrived on this shore looking to establish their own thing. And they needed lots of land for cows, and houses, and crops, and commerce. And the next generation needed still more.

The story gets a little complex, as stories do, with arms deals, land "bought" at ridiculously unfair prices, friends becoming enemies, enemies becoming allies, and tribes setting against tribes. The end result: a lot of bloodshed on both sides. Dead Pilgrims and far more dead Indians—as well as enslaved Indians who were sold to pay for the war te new Americans waged.

The past cannot be undone, but there's a lesson or three in it, as there always is. While I'm passing the turkey and stuffing, and fighting over the wings, and giving thanks for waht I have, I'll be reflecting a lot more on the mythology of the day.

I imagine that, with the exception of the occasional plane, boat, and hiker, this view in 2005 might have looked pretty much the same to a Pilgrim or the Nausets in 1620. This double exposure above was taken with a Holga Camera from the balcony of the Visitor’s Center at Race Point. The Holga costs $24.00 and is a whole lot of fun.


shooting into the sun

sun over water

Somehow I missed the whole, "Don't-shoot-into-the-sun" rule.

I also have to admit that as a kid I occasionally challenged the "Don't-look-into-the-sun" rule, even if for a moment. (Sorry, mom.)

Not that I advocate for staring into the sun until you go blind. That would be bad.

This shot was taken in August at sunset. It was an incredibly hot and humid day (the worst, as a matter of fact).

The air along the shore was still very dense and still, even as night approached, which made for an interesting view out to sea. As I stared out over the water into the sun, and felt my eyes go blurry, I saw a boat passing. It appeared to be not much more than a mirage, and I liked the result.

to sleep...

Upon the launch of my 2006 website: feels good to finally
have a web page that I can begin to customize a bit more.


Now, "to sleep, perchance to dream..."

This shot of a rumpled bed is a little more like a nightmare.
Slow shutter speed and no flash give it an eerie quality.

It also didn't hurt that the inn where this shot was taken in August is considered to be haunted.

pinhole photography

provincetown theatre
Unnerved by the aspect of taking a poetry writing course at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, I scrolled down the list of available classes and saw "Pinhole Photography."

Build your own camera, trial and error...there was something appealing about the method. Or you could say I chickened out of taking the poetry class.


Nothing could compare to the feeling of capturing not only an image, but a feeling, on paper. This primitive and natural way of taking photographs helped me to give up control.
light through trees
You never feel fully in control when you are out there allowing the light to do its thing, to find its way through a pinhole into a tin or box to create a picture of the world that is upside down and backwards. The image you see, or contrive to capture, is surpassed by what the light and circumstances reveal.

No control. And yet, you learn to control the things you can and to accept the outcome.

I took this amazing class and thought, I will never write again. I became obsessed with my "cameras" and with the dark room, working until well after midnight and back at it with the sunrise.

Happily, I did take up my pen again and did take a poetry class. But working with pinhole photography helped rekindle my love of photography and to inform my writing in sometimes small, sometimes major ways.

pictured top left: Provincetown Theatre, top right: A Light from Above