Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trick of the Eye - Camera Prism Filter

Dogwood in Bloom - Prism filter effect
Way back in the early 1970's when my wife-to-be and I were dating, my brother-in-law-to-be Marc was in the Navy. He was into cameras and photography, and as as a kind gesture to the new guy hanging around his sister, he offered to buy me my own camera and accessories during his next deployment. One of the many filters he brought me was a prism filter. The prism filter gives an effect popular in the 60's and
Pink Floyd - Piper at the Gates of Dawn
70's, as seen in this Pink Floyd album cover from that period. Personally, I like the effect when used in a suburban nature setting. The dogwood tree we planted a few years back in our backyard cottage garden has put on more blooms this year, than all the previous ones together. The prism filter gave the effect here of a dense memorial spray, but a plein air spray.

Prism filter
The prism filter is much easier to play with in the age of digital cameras - it was way too expensive to play with when using film that needed to be developed. Now, I can play with it and dump the results that don't turn out. A problem I have had with using my prism filter with my digital camera is that as the automatic focus turns, the adjustment ring on the filter turns as well. It is still a bit of hit-and-miss as I take shots with the filter. In the mean time, maybe it would be helpful to listen to a little 1960's Pink Floyd music while figuring out what to do with this retro accessory.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

150 Years

USDA Jamie L. Whitten Building
The USDA is 151 years old, with the Department housed in the Jamie L. Whitten Building on the Capital Mall at 1400 Independence Ave., S.W. near the Smithsonian Metro entrance. The USDA headquarters is the only non-Smithsonian building on the Mall. The original USDA building is long gone, as are the experimental research plots - but with the addition of the People's Garden display, there is a little bit of
Central staircase
second-half of the 19th Century retro at play here. Construction of newer existing building was begun in 1904. There is a circular staircase from the main foyer area to the second floor. While ascending the stairs and looking up, you can see a mural painted on the wall to the above right.  I don't know the history of the painting - I will have to do some digging to find out about it. There are no records available on-line as far as I can find- more later.

The mural by Gilbert White

A little bit more looking at Wikipedia entry about the Whitten Building, and there was mention of Gilbert White as the artist of the mural. The link to his short biography is found here. A little more information from GSA found here. A sample of his painting ability is shown below, found at the Web link here. Another posting for a mural in Oklahoma can be found here - a tribute to 2,735 soldiers from the state who died in World War I.

Afternoon Tea