The Hollow March Anniversary Photoshoot

Yes, you read that right. This frigid little month marks the fourth anniversary of The Hollow March‘s debut, and for that, I decided to have a little fun (AKA be a dork and play with sharp, pointy things). For those of you lurking about Facebook and Twitter, of course, this will come as no surprise, but yesterday I garbed up and got medieval on the Internet, essentially cosplaying as one of my novels’ main characters, Rurik Matair.

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The results were filled with grim shadowplay, filters, and were ruddy mysterious, but had the added advantage of a fancy hat and a scimitar. I would like to have kept both, but alas, neither was within my photographer’s purview to grant (woe is me).

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It has been a long, strange ride friends. In these four years I have not only seen birthed a series I had been dreaming up for the better part of a decade, but concluded it as well. Three books in four years; not too shabby for someone still fending off the latter half of their twenties, wouldn’t you say?

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Like the silliness? Want more? Want to dress up, too, or have great cosplays from other literature to share? Pop your thoughts and links into the comments, and share around. It’s an anniversary, after all, and that means it’s time for a party.

And for those of you that have stumbled across this site for the first time, and for whom this is their first introduction to me: where have you been? Here’s the link to my books, so you know who I am: http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Galford/e/B007A9XDXK/

Pure Michigan: Waterworld

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Welcome to Waterworld!

Water. Water everywhere! While many things have been occupying the eyes of the nation this week (and rightly so–many tugs of the heartstrings have gone to many corners of the U.S. these past few days), but locally, nature has been at the forefront of things.

Michigan, my home, is a land of water. It surrounds us. It pierces into the very heart of our state in its many rivers, lakes, and ponds. This is, truly, the Great Lakes State. Yet this week the state has been rocked by record rainfall. The end result: flooding. Massive flooding. And when I say record-breaking, don’t mistake me: the Grand River, in western Michigan, was predicted to hit a 24.76 foot crest today. Compare that to previous floodings here, as listed from the Grand Rapids Press

24.76 feet on April 21, 2013**
19.64 feet on March 1, 1985
19.54 feet on May 27, 2004
19.50 feet on March 28, 1904
19.29 feet on March 8, 1976
19.25 feet on April 3, 1960
19.25 feet on September. 4, 1986
18.83 feet on March 3, 1982
18.60 feet on June 9, 1905
18.5 feet on April 18, 2013
17.87 feet on February 25, 1997
17.84 feet on December 31, 2008

Flooding is not new here, but bloody hell, this one takes the cake. Large swaths of the city of Grand Rapids and western Michigan are going underwater. To prove that point, I took a little photographic adventure. Here are just a few things to show you what we’re dealing with up here. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Barreling through.

Barreling through.

No walkway for you.

No walkway for you.

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At least the cops get to bust out their boats!

At least the cops get to bust out their boats!

Waiting. Watching. Wondering.

Waiting. Watching. Wondering.

Under the Sea.

Under the Sea.

 

Kayak business? Probably booming.

Kayak business? Probably booming.

It was such a pretty house, too.

It was such a pretty house, too.

Beach? What beach?

Beach? What beach?

And the real kicker? More rain is expected to come…

Winter Productivity

White Fields2 copy

Winter. Because sometimes fact and fiction share a few details, and freeze us out between them. Thankfully, I suppose, scenes in my next book at least allow me to begin prodding beyond the frost. And when I wake up to bright beautiful sunlight, and see its gauges then sprout such blasphemies to me as “0”, I become all the more determined to scribble-scribble-scribble my way through it in a hurry. So, I suppose it serves a productive purpose.

Stay warm today, everyone. It’s frigid.

Photography: When Approaching a Stranger…

The scene I’m about to paint is one every photographer whose spent any real time in a city or abroad should know well: you’re walking down the street, camera in hand. It’s a gorgeous day. Then it hits you – there, standing not twenty feet away is the perfect shot. A man. A place. A moment. You lean forward, camera-in-hand, and the hesitation strikes—you should probably ask the fellow first, after all.

But how best to go about it? Newbies will often state the predictable, a fear that transcends jobs, situations, and just about any other healthy human boundaries you can think of: rejection. People seem to fear rejection worse than death, and I suspect it ties in with that whole fear of public speaking deal. Others, perhaps a little more realistically, simply fear the fellow will see them coming, and promptly skitter off the other way.

It may sound like tough love, but the best advice on this is simply: get over it. Or more accurately, work through it. You’re right, they could reject you, but maybe it’s the writer in me talking when I say—rejection is just a part of the process. It’s part of life. It’s the worst they can do to you, and in the scope of things, it’s really not that bad. There’s other photo opportunities, and they will present themselves so long as you push yourself forward.

Keeping it practical though, my best advice on the approach would be this: don’t go jogging on over with your camera already primed and ready for the shot, clasped in your sweaty photographer hand (yes, I’m envisioning a hot, sweaty summer day. So shoot me.). Slide the camera to the side or behind your back, put it in your camera bag. Don’t get rid of it entirely, certainly, but just shuffle it out of the focus of your approach, and you will indeed be less “intimidating” if you so fear it.

Also: do not, hear me, do not go trotting up to a child with a photo in mind before first approaching their parent. This can get you in heaps of trouble. The child telling you a photo’s alright is not good enough—get parental permission. Heck, given how much parents love pictures of their children, too, you might consider pointing them in direction of a link, or a contact if they’re interested in the image. Such an offer certainly fits into the niceness angle I’ll be addressing…

Coming from another angle—don’t go into this with a holier-than-thou attitude. Nothing puts a person off quicker than a photographer with an attitude—a sort of art school mindset that everything must be just so, and that you are entitled to their picture simply by virtue of being in the same area. You wanted a photo of them specifically. It’s their right to give it to you or not. Don’t get snooty, and don’t be offended if they say no.

Be friendly. If you’re at a food stand,  buy a hot dog or an apple or something. Engage them in conversation. If it’s a street performer, consider tossing in a few coins for the trouble, and the lovely performance. And disarm them with a smile!

Well, that last bit sounded tacky, but hey, smiling works. Try being a scowly photographer, I dare you.

Photography Site Live!

If you’ve been following me on Twitter (@aurinth), you probably have heard me rambling on about a new venture of mine, among other things. While I do so love to engage myself in the written word, I also have a passion for photography – you’ve undoubtedly seen bits and pieces of my work scattered here and there about this blog – and that passion has finally (belatedly, some lecture me) into making a website dedicated to that passion.

Galford Photography is a Wix-based site pertaining to all categories of my work. Portfolios including portraiture, nature and landscape, city and architecture, as well as my editorial photography, all make an appearance. Through the site, those interested will also now be able to contact me regarding potential photography work, whether requesting services for some grand new venture, or simply regarding interest in one of the myriad numbers of images already swirling through the galleries.

The real challenge in getting the thing up and running, I would say, was in going back through all my photo archives looking for the right images to showcase. Goodness. Let me tell you – I knew I loved photography, but my own library startled me at just how many images I had lying in wait. Suffice to say, it took me many hours to weed through, and I’ll confess my efforts on commenting for One Shot certainly took a hit for it (don’t hurt me!)…but the end result was a vastly more efficient archiving of my files, and a glittering new website ready and waiting to go. Plus, it kept me out of the 95+ degree June we had going on around us the last few days.

I mean, what was up with that?

But I digress. Now that I can breathe a bit again, I think I’ll be off to actually partake of a little more photography, rather than simply staring at my collected works of it. Certainly enough to stir a bit of the wanderlust in a person, let me tell you.

And of course one last shameless self-promotion for the road: http://www.wix.com/galfordc/galfphotography#! Check it out, let me know what you think – and be sure to let me know if you encounter any issues with the site!

Spring Fever

While many of you may have been living the good and bountiful life the past little while, I can assure you spring is only just recently hitting Michigan…this past week marked the first time it’s stayed consistently and comfortably above freezing even in the darkest hours since winter kicked off.

Naturally, I’ve been loving it. Everything is green and blooming and warm…the world has opened its arms in invitation, and how can one but accept such a generous offer? As a result, this week’s quotes are in celebration of this beautiful time…and the pictures are from one of my fresh new adventures…

“It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
~Mark Twain

“And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”

All photos, copyright Chris Galford.

Fake Spring

Last week, if you weren’t aware, we here in Michigan experience a little phenomenon we like to call “Fake Spring.” It wouldn’t say it’s commonplace, but it happens often enough that while we are still terribly confused by its appearance, I doubt there’s anyone out there really protesting at this point.

So what is fake spring you might ask? Fake spring is when you have fine, snow-laden winter going on around you, complete with bitter wind chills, hordes of Ugg boots, and North Face jackets, when all of a sudden Michigan decides that all this snow’s gotten a little boring, and all of a sudden the sun break through the clouds, the birds circle and chirp, and all that snow recedes into wet, gloppy pools of thick brown mud.

Suddenly, there is grass again. Bikes make a tremendous resurgence. Coats depart and the crazies (we call them residents) start walking around in short-shorts and flip-flops again. Good times, really.

Of course that strange little bizarro world you’ve entered comes to an end. It ended this Sunday, in fact, when after all that snow had melted, Michigan let loose a maddened giggle, and dumped us with another 7 inches of the white stuff. Yes, it is a strange place I live in. One with a sick sense of humor I might add.

But life goes on, snow or no, and those same crazies in their short-shorts and flip flops return to ice-driving, barreling down the ice-laden stretches without concern to speed or silly little things like…reason, AKA traction. Then, we all cry a little inside.

Hope you’ve enjoyed a few of the pics I took while out and about enjoying that Fake Spring. All are from the Lansing River Trail, a local favorite of mine. These pictures were taken on the first day of Fake Spring, before all the snow had its chance to melt – but as you can see, the river was a lot less icy than it was a couple weeks ago.

Fifty degree weather in the midst of February – to some, apparently, a fact that means “Let’s go kayaking!”

And then, of course, there’s this…

Tasteful advertising at its best!