Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

February 27, 2010

Fiumicino Italy

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 12:12 pm

Fiumicino nets, 2010 copyright Douglas Stockdale

My return to SoCal is a bit disrupted by all the snow in NY with my flight to JFK cancelled, so in the scramble I now have a flight from Rome to London and then non-stop to LA, BUT on Sunday. So an unplanned and extra day in Italy, sad, eh? And the sky is blue and the temperature must be in the high 60’s (F) and almost not need a coat, just a sweater. So rather than take a taxi into Roma, I decided to check out Fiumicino, a nice easy walk from my hotel.

As I blogged yesterday, Fiumicino is on the mouth of a small river that connects to the Tevere on the Tyrrhenia Sea coast, with a heavy amount of commercial fishing boats. Which means if you are looking to photograph fisherman fixing their nets or abstract net patterns, this is the place for you. I was interested in what appeared to be discarded nets on the edge of the dock, or at least it would appear so with the weeds that were growing within the netting. Then I noticed that there were men who went from pile to pile, occasionally picking some fixtures out, so now I suspect that these piles of nets were there to be recycled by those who might need a part or two.

So late in the morning I stopped at the Porchette stand for a ham sandwich and Peroni bier (beer). This stand has this smoked pig in the window and after ordering the sandwich, I watched her carve the ham right off this pig. Not bad, either, an interesting smoked & slightly spicy flavor on a rose panna (reflects the design of the bread, not the flavor), complemented by the beer. I can see where this could evolve into a foodie blog.

Okay, so I also had to stop on the beginning of my walk-about this morning for a fresh pastry (looked like an apple strudel, with raisins & soft nuts), but the guy behind the counter kept asking me if I also wanted a cappuccino. I think that was either a hint or a great sales pitch, but I had just finished one before I left the hotel, or I would have taken him up on it.

Now my son had always talked about when bumming through Europe, that they would always stop at these shops to re-fill their bottles with wine. In my travels, I never had come across any places like that until today. Son of gun, if in fact you could do just that. Almost bought a liter of Lombroso on the spot to take back to the hotel to sip on during the afternoon as I was writing this and working on another book review. But I had screwed up the last book review due to similar circumstances, so I did not really need to do that again. I will be opting for the 5pm cocktail hour down in the hotel pub later this afternoon instead.

I was also fascinated by the fresh fish market, the Pescheria. An interesting combination of odd-looking fish things, the way these were displayed and resulting patterns and the interaction of those running this shop and the shoppers. Especially this one character inside the shop who was cleaning fish, directing traffic, running a constant commentary which was occasionally interrupted by a brief & hearty song, depending on who was paying attention, all the while jestering with both hands, usually filled with a knife and some fish thing dangling between his fingers.

Ciao, Douglas

Nightscape – Fiumicino

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 7:31 am

Nightscape – Fiumicino, Italy 2020 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Finishing up this trip to Roma, we were staying at Fiumicino out by the Roma International airport and had a recommendation for one of the local seafood restaurant, Zi Pina, which turned out to have both great seafood and a very nice selection of wines, so thank you Giuseppe and Stefano for your recommendations. Oh yes, recommended.

Afterwards, I worked a little on some nightscapes as we walked back to our hotel and I think I will try this again. One of the issues with this travel schedule and trying to pack relatively light is not packing a tripod this time around. Since these are 5 to 15 second exposures, need to be flexible with a sturdy support so using car roofs, ledges, and almost anything that appears relatively sturdy. Of course nice thing with digital, instant feedback and the chance to consider a re-take if it appeared to be close aesthetically and formated to my taste. So not a specific project per se, but a collection of momentos and singular images that might inspire a new line of interest.

Fiumicino is located at the mouth of the river and lined with commercial fishing boats. No doubt this area is a source of much of the seafood served upstream in Roma.

Ciao, Douglas

February 17, 2010

Flat Irons lookout

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 1:08 am

Boulder Lookout for the Flat Irons, CO 2010 by Douglas Stockdale

Heading towards Boulder on 36 a couple of times and I had noticed that there was this Lookout, which I had suspected was for the range of mountains known as the Flat Irons. Why was it call Flat Irons, I don’t know, but it is. So on this trip, since it was a clear day and had snowed a couple of days before, why not stop and see what someone had thought was worth the stop to see. Like at Disneyland where they have big signs indicating that this was a photogenic spot. I guess we would not have known if someone had not told us, eh?

So I stopped and there was this couple taking photographs of what they thought was interesting, then starting to take some photos of themselves. So I start taking my photographs of them. But they did not ever try to get the both of themselves in the photograph. I almost asked if they would try, but just opted to ask if I could use their camera to take a photo of the two of them together, which they were very happy that I did. After which we chatted for a couple of minutes, I got the abridged life story and soon they were in the car and on their way.

A good deed done, but I forgot to tell them that I was also photographing them. Oh, well, details, details.

Best regards, Douglas

February 15, 2010

Sandstone Creek revisited

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 8:28 pm

Sandstone Creek, Vail CO 2010 copyright Douglas Stockdale

We were back in Vail last week for our annual ski vacation, when the folks from Southern California go “visit” the snow. Only this year the snow was not so great, so lugged the ski gear but did not use it, which was okay. So more time with good friends and family, being a foody, a little drink, DVD movies (little more drink) and lots of conversation (over drinks), nice.

Only not as much photography. It was interesting walking into Vail, as we passed Sandstone Creek, which was the place that re-generated my interest in photography again in the late 1990’s after a 15 year lapse during which I was more interested in drawing and painting. I had dusted off my medium format and with light meter and tripod in hand, had descended into this small ravine to work on my landscape photographs again, as though nothing had happened in between. But things had. Nevertheless, I needed to work through my issues and this was a nice place to do it.

Well almost, as at various times getting my snowshoes dislodged in a really deep snow bank and thought for sure I was going to freeze to death in plain sight, busting both my old aluminum tripod and my old Minolta 1 degree spot meter, falling into the creek and dropping my dark slide countless times in the frigid but shallow water. But it was a process of getting caught up and then realizing that photographing the landscape for anesthetic landscape was not enough for me, so I started exploring the landscape as a social or cultural metaphor. Not as a pristine place without the trace of mankind.

Thus the above photograph this year, the first after a number of years of not photographing this little secret place of mine. I actually enjoyed the experience of searching for an aesthetic landscape image, it is a delightful challenge. I cannot deny that is is a part of me, but more of a part of my past, yet still lingering in my memories. I guess that is what I found interesting in Linda Connors recent photobook, Odyssey, where she seems to lay claim to both her past and present.

Best regards, Douglas

February 5, 2010

Another realization

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 4:25 am

I think it was the beginning of 2009 that I came up with this brilliant idea of posting items related to my projects on the project blog pages, e.g. anything related to my project Insomnia would be on the Insomnia blog (

Okay, so this was not so brilliant.

But like any idea, it was worth a try and this time it did not work out to my satisfaction. Probably not yours either, as it meant jumping from one place to another to see if I had anything of value to read. So for the project (Insomnia or project of the day), my thoughts here, and a few updated photos posted on both blogs. Thus, visit the project blog only if you just want to see the current photos.

Keep my life simple, and hopefully yours as well. So the photobook reviews will still be on The PhotoBook, and everything else here. nice.

Best, Douglas

BTW, that also means that I have just deleted all of my writing off the project blogs and left just the photographs.

Insomnia project update

Filed under: Insomnia: Hotel Noir, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 3:08 am

Okay, this is putting a positive spin on reality; one of the up-sides of my intense travel schedule this past four months has been to allow myself some space between finishing my Insomnia: Hotel Noir book dummy last Fall and examining it again now. When I brought this dummy with me to Italy last month, I realized that I had not really looked at it for the last four months. So reading it again was refreshing, probably not unlike the late Gary Winogrand’s mantra of not wanting to look at his photographs for about a year after he made them, to gain some needed perspective.

Meanwhile, I have also completed another twenty photobook reviews during the interim, taking mental notes of what I appreciated and what was not working for me.  And so I realize that my concept for this project and printing it with a blue tonality is really rubbing me the wrong way. The use of the blue toning is making this project look too obvious, such that it seems that I am unsure of the underlying strength of the body of work, and appears that I am searching for a gimmick to help make it work. sigh. reality sucks.

So I will be working on this project again, another refinement.

Meanwhile, rather than outright deleting the Blue Edition dummy off of Blurb while I reconfigure this project, I am just going to not make it publicly available anymore. In the past, I would just delete the Blurb book and that would be it. This time, I am going to try a slightly different tack, but I need to pull the details together first.

Best regards, Douglas

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