Saturday, December 30, 2017

Penguin Dreams and Stranger Things

Penguin Dreams and Stranger Things ©2017 - The title for this piece came from a book by my favorite cartoonist, Berkeley Breathed, published in 1985. I fell in love with the character, Opus the penguin, when I first discovered his comic strip, "Bloom County". I photographed these  adorable, tuxedoed  Humboldt penguins at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ. The Humboldt is a South American penguin that breeds in coastal Chile and Peru. It gets it's name from the cold water current it swims in which itself is named after the explorer, Alexander von Humboldt. Although we tend to think of a penguin's striking coloring as elegant, it is actually a matter of camouflage; from above, it's black back blends into the murky depths of the ocean while from below, it's white belly is hidden against the bright surface. Considered marine birds, penguins live up to 80 percent of their lives in the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere. It is a common myth that they all live in Antarctica. In fact, the Galapagos penguin lives on tropical islands at the equator. However, in the case of my little colony of Humboldts, I've placed them on a tiny island in the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey where they are joined by a young gentleman from my vintage photo collection who is dressed as elegantly as they are. I added a cold, full moon rising in the background behind the trees, some clouds and several crows gliding overhead. Assorted filters, texture and color created the mood and atmosphere I wanted to complete the piece.

Pale Rider

Pale Rider ©2017 - The title of this piece came from the 1985 western film, "Pale Rider", a reference to the rider of the pale horse in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who represents death. My little equestrian (from my vintage photo collection) received the title only for his overall pallor and not for a specific association with death (although I leave any final decision on that interpretation up to the viewer). The tree, with it's skeletal limbs and gathering crows, was captured in the area of Bernardsville, NJ.It fit nicely into the background image of a furrowed  ield of grasses in the area of McGuire Air Force Base just south of Trenton, NJ. The small road cutting through the center provided a  convenient bridle path for the pale rider and a hitch hiking crow trying to  move things along with his riding crop. Clouds, a rising crescent moon,  color, texture and filters were added to complete the mood and finish the  montage.