Meet my alter ego

Hi, this is from Elmer, the gas station attendant at Hwy 61 Filling Station Show. My crazy cousin Richard said I could make a plug for my show on his website. What are family members for, anyway?
Here is the show. Good story for Stacy Knudson, server at the Fryn’ Pan Family Restaurant. Bad for the Police in Moorhead.

Thanks for stopping by. Share it if you like it. Ciao, Richard

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Short highways lead to important places…

Well, my cousin said that it was the shortest highway in Minnesota. Well, it was and it wasn’t. But the point is that he was right and that is why I could not find my turn-off from Hwy 10. Here is the story.

Richard Lund, Minnesota born actor, Translite photographer, light field photographer

Seriously… Richard Lund

My cousin John (we called him Johnny Joe in the olden days -B.C.- before cable) explained why we could not find the turn-off for St. Benedict’s on Minnesota Avenue from Hwy 10. It was because Minnesota decided that all their prisons would be served by a state highway. This one serves the St. Cloud Reformatory, the old name it had when my grandpa worked there as a guard. And, as I find it on the internet, this is true, or at least as true as the internet can be. Apparently, the year I was born, they passed a law to make all state hospitals and prisons accessible by state highways. Methinks that they did this so that they could control the access and that they could maintain the roadways. When I looked it up, this trunk highway was not the shortest, but it was short, so I would call my cousin “right for now.”
My brother and I had taken a tiny trip to see my Aunt Maureen. Today I share the Hwy 301 pictures taken after our visits with her were done. They show little color, being swallowed up by winter snow and winter sky. Gotta admit, I like this kind of environment. Hope you enjoy.

Road leading to St. Benedict's, Minnesota Avenue, Richard Lund

The road leading to St. Benedict's. Not much color.

Hwy 301, Winter snow in St. Cloud, Bare tree in winter, Bare tree in Minnesota, Richard Lund

Bare tree stands alone along Hwy 301

Minnesota Avenue in snow, Winter snow in St. Cloud, Richard Lund, St. Benedict's winter

All is quiet along the Minnesota Avenue, St. Cloud, in winter


As you compare the two with single trees, consider the scaling effect of the intervening branches from the sides.
Thanks for coming by. I you liked it, share it. And visit Hwy 61 Filling Station Show, now with a new episode. Ciao, Richard

Posted in Human vision from eye to brain, Personal Anecdotes, Roughness Is Beautiful in Pictures, Silence in photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Well, it’s here. Makes taking pictures a new adventure. Really.

You may not have any idea what I am talking about. That is okay, because I don’t really have all the facts just yet. But have a look, seriously. (Hint: click within the picture for a choice of focus.)

So, here is picture number one. Right out of the box. My model is Randal, my sushi connection at Octopus in Burbank tonight. Yummers.

And finally, the lemons picture.

If you liked the post, share it. And thanks for stopping by. Look for my new blog dedicated to lightfieldwork.com

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Nearly black and white

Richard Lund actor, Richard Lund translite photographer, Richard Lund Minnesota boy

Richard Lund on a good day.

When I started to take pictures for real, I began in black and white. We could shoot, develop our film, print it, mount it, and show it, all with a little help from Kodak’s Tri-X®, some HC-110, fixer, Photoflo®, Polycontrast Paper, Dektol®, some more fixer, and some mount boards and tissues. Those were the days of the yellow box and the yellow can and the darkroom. No computers required or tiny little cartridges of ink priced at about $8,000 a gallon. Recent news of Kodak’s continuing decline mark another change in my life that may not be welcome. But maybe we can still communicate our vision in the world without the iconic Kodak. (But I digress…)
And we shot indoors and out. In the winter, the exposure setting for both were not far off. In John Marshall High School classes, we used 1/60 at f/4. Outside in the bleek overcast winter, about one stop smaller. I got to visit Minnesota again recently and found the experience to be very reminiscent. The color on the cloudy days was gone near the River in St. Cloud. The River, of course, was the Mississippi. I crossed it every day when I went to school in Little Falls. A big enough river to keep me away from its banks mostly, but also a solid, healthy body of water. We did smell some unpleasant smells in the summer time in Little Falls, but not from the River, but from the paper mill on the River. I can still remember that smell. Very distinct and unpleasant. Reminds me of the smell coming up from the subway at Canal St. in NYC in the late fall of 2001 when the fires were still burning. Both were penetrating and undesirable, but very hard to describe.
Today’s work is from Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud from the east side of the River. My brother Jerome and I stopped there for a few minutes to feel the quiet winter against our senses as we were on our way to visit my Godmother Aunt Maureen who is also my dad’s sister. She doesn’t travel any more. So we took a quick trip up from Rochester to see her.

Munsinger Gardens, Mississippi in Winter, St. Cloud

A hint of color sneaks in the far shore across the Mississippi

Saint Cloud in Winter, Mississippi River in Winter, Richard Lund, Minnesota snow scene

Trees and bushes seem to take on the same color in this full color image

Saint Cloud winter, Richard Lund, Clarence Neil Lund hometown, Birch bark, depth cue

The depth cue of focus still works in the white and grays of winter

Thanks for stopping by for a look and a read. If you liked it, share it. Thanks.

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Neil Lund is laid to rest

Richard Lund actor, Richard Lund son of Neil Lund, Richard Lund photographer

Here is Richard Lund at 18 years

Clarence Neil Lund – born 25 August 1928, died 28 January, 2012. The following remarks are from his funeral service on 4 February 2012 at Rochester, Minnesota. The three sets of remarks are from his sons, Richard, Jerome, and Steven.

Richard Lund

A friend from long ago shared these words from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians on facebook. Linda lost her dad a year ago.

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”

In the beginning of my family, Lars Jacobsen begat Niels Larssen, who begat Matias Nielsen, who begat Nicolai Matiassen, who begat Nils Nicolaisen Lunde, who began Clarence Melvin Lund, who begat Clarence Neil Lund, who begat me, Richard Eugene Lund. Clarence was born in Wild Rose, North Dakota to a farmer turned grocer and a former school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. She was Marguerite Madeleine Gauché, born in New York City, orphaned in infancy, and raised by the Sisters of Charity at the New York Foundling home. She was sent on the “orphan train” to the Dakotas for adoption, being entrusted with a younger boy to watch over in the group going west. She was just about three years old.

Neil was the third born in the family, and the first born son. His older siblings were Muriel and Rita Maureen. Later to come were Gerald, Giles, Marguerite Jean, and Raymond. The family moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota in 1930. At some point Lawrence, Neil’s uncle, became permanently attached to the household as well.

Clarence Neil Lund

Our dad one month ago.

Neil married young and moved to Willmar, Minnesota to begin his career as a grocer. He managed stores there and in Watertown, SD, Long Prairie, Little Falls, and then moved to Hopkins to work at the main office of the National Tea Company. Shortly he moved back into stores, first in Wayzata, then Fairmont, and on to Rochester, Minnesota. Late in his working life he tried something new, working for Pacific Studios in New York City and Los Angeles serving rental customers. He retired to Rochester, nursing an injury from being hit by a car. He began to walk a neighbor’s dog because the dog was alone all day. After some time, he gained back his strength and decided to go back to work. He applied at an opening for a cashier at the parking ramp downtown and was hired on the spot. He remained in that role for more than twenty years, making friends as he made change.

He fathered four children, Steven Neil, Jerome, me, and my sister Jean.

During my childhood, he wore white shirts, tie, and slacks to work every day. I never saw him in a pair of blue jeans. He drank Hamm’s beer and smoked Winstons. He liked the Cadillac, but settled on a Rambler. He was the defacto banker for people in need before food stamps. He heard the Bible read in church, didn’t read it much himself, and had a son who went on to become a Bible scholar. He laughed at Precious Pup and watched the Three Stooges with us and also Rocky and Bulwinkle. He read the Sunday comics to us before we could read them for ourselves.

He took us to Lake Carlos for many summer vacations and taught us how to fish. He fished for bass and not bullheads. He read many books, broadening his vocabulary, which broadened mine as well.

He was a good man. He valued education, although he only went to high school. All of us children finished college. He showed us that a man goes to work every day, no matter what happened the night before. He loved a good joke and could use wit and sarcasm well. He kept his cuss words away from our ears. We had to learn them someplace else.

I never remember him criticizing my mother, even after their marriage ended. After a long time he remarried. Beverly Kohn was his bride. They met at work. She told me the other day that she was not sure she liked him at first, but over time things changed and they married.

As a young boy, he taught me to pray as his mother had taught him. I would hold my hands together flat, without intertwining my fingers. He said to start prayer and end prayer by making the sign of the cross and saying “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.” I am sure that I heard him say the Lord’s Prayer, commonly called “Our Father.”

Over the years, we had lived far apart. I think we had grown apart, too. But in the final days of 2011 and the first six days of 2012, we had the opportunity to spend many hours together, talking about the stuff that matters and stuff that doesn’t. It was a very good time for me. Our hearts once again were fully open to each other.

I made it a point to phone him often in the weeks following. One day I realized that my granddaughter was sick with pneumonia, the same disease that he was fighting. For the first time in my memory as a dad, I asked him to pray for Maggie, that God would heal her. And he did pray for her, checking up on her progress in later calls. On the last phone call I made to him when he could still talk somewhat, I remember telling him that I would say a prayer with him, the Our Father. I ended it with the words from the sign of the cross. The next day I called, but he could only talk for a bit and rushed to say that he had to hang up and say good-bye.

In one of those final conversations, he reminded me that both he and my mother were good people. I said yes. I added, I am so thankful for forgiveness. He laughed his agreement to my punctuation.

My son Neil asked him for his advice for his son Bryce, who is not yet one. What would Grandpa want Neil to tell Bryce when he was old enough to understand. Grandpa said “Love is the most important thing.”

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Jerome Lund

A Celebration of Dad

We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of Clarence Neil Lund, to some of us Dad, to others Grandpa, still to others Great-Grandpa, to some a brother, to others a brother-in-law, still to others an uncle, to many a friend, and to one ‘my beloved husband’. We are gathered here today to celebrate Dad’s life. Yes, it is a time for us to mourn our loss, but we must also remember the joy that he brought into our lives.

With Job we must say, “The Lord has given, The Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” We need, too, to pray with Moses, Lord, “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). The length of life, according to the Psalmist, is 70 years, or if blessed by physical strength 80 years. We are thankful that the Lord gave Dad 83 years upon the earth. It was his wish to retain his clear thinking and good humor until the day of his death. This he did and for this we give thanks.

Not too long ago as Dad lay upon a hospital bed, he recorded an important message to my brother Steve and me. Richard had already received the charge and recorded Dad’s message for us. Dad solemnly uttered: Boys, I want you to remember something very important and to repeat it to your children and grandchildren. Then, he continued with a very serious look on his face: Remember that kut-kut-ke-dak-kut is spelled with a ‘k’. Now, kut-kut-ke-dak-kut is what the hen says according to a children’s book. It was a fun family word that he used when we were young. This reflected Dad’s good sense of humor, even when he was suffering. A couple days before his death, Dad gave a password for his loved ones to give to the nurse to find out about his medical state of affairs. That password was ‘rascal’, the name of his favorite cat, but also reflective of his good sense of humor.

In a more serious vane, Dad told me that the most important thing was to love your family. This he repeated on a number of occasions during the last weeks of his life. For me the most important thing that Dad gave me was his unconditional love. Years ago, when I had become an adult, Dad said to me: “Son, I love you.” I will never forget those words. They pierced to the depths of my heart, giving my joy, peace, and strength.

Dad was a good conversationalist. During a recent conversation, I shared with Dad how that when I attended college in Scranton, Pennsylvania, I had an employer who used to pick me up on campus and give me a ride to work. My employer was 88, good-hearted, but nearly blind. One day as we drove, he passed a truck. So as to avoid an accident, I put my hand on the steering wheel and made sure that we stayed in our lane. Dad laughed and recalled a similar incident with a certain Dr. Handy from Long Prairie, where we lived for a year when I was in kindergarten. Dr. Handy had invited Dad to go deer hunting in northern Minnesota. (Can you imagine Dad deer hunting?) The trip on the way up was quite scary due to Dr. Handy being poor of sight. On the way back, Dad suggested that he drive instead of Dr. Handy. If I remember correctly, Dr. Handy allowed him to drive and Dad was relieved.

When Steve and I were young, Dad took the family to Green Lake near Willmar, Minnesota, for a day at the beach. He had had a display for tuna fish in the grocery store where he worked that included an inflatable fish, which we called Luna Ba Tuna. Dad asked the salesman if he could have the fish for his kids after they finished with the display and the salesman said yes. We had so much fun with Luna Ba Tuna in the water that day. Then, rather suddenly, a storm came up on the lake with huge waves accompanied by ominous skies. Green Lake was a large Minnesota lake, so it was very far across. The fierce wind caught a hold of Luna Ba Tuna and carried him out far into the lake. We, of course, cried Luna Ba Tuna, Luna Ba Tuna, Luna Ba Tuna. Dad was ready to swim out and fetch Luna Ba Tuna, but Mom said no. It was now too dangerous – and it was. Dad might have drowned had he ventured out. As the wind took Luna Ba Tuna out of sight, our wailing continued. In fact, Dad had to tolerate it until we came home.

When we were young, Dad worked very hard. In those days, grocery store managers had to work 12-hour days, 6 days a week. That means that he worked 72-hour weeks as a young father. Later, Congress reduced the workweek to 54 hours, then to 48, and finally to 40. I was so happy that Dad provided well. We felt as though we lacked nothing. As a young store manager for National Tea in Little Falls, Dad won a new car for his turning of a non-profitable store into a profitable one. For many years, Dad took us on lake vacations to Lake Carlos State Park near Alexandria, Minnesota. We would go up first for a week and then Dad would join us for three weeks. It was so much fun being together as a family. We never lacked. Dad always provided well.

Before I married my Norwegian sweetheart Anne, Dad commented to me on how beautiful she was and gently encouraged me to pursue the relationship – he was proud of his Norwegian heritage. Years after we were married, Anne’s Mom Helga and her friend Tone visited Dad in Rochester. Although Helga could not speak English and Dad could not speak Norwegian, they had a great time together. Now, Helga’s friend Tone had never been married. On the way out the door, Tone told Dad ‘takk skal du ha’, which means ‘thanks shall you have’ or in better English, ‘thank you’. Dad had learned as a boy that one answered that by saying ‘og gift skal du bli’, and so he answered accordingly, at which Helga and Tone burst out laughing. Dad had answered Tone ‘and married shall you be’!

In my last conversation with Dad, a few days before he died, it was difficult for him to speak. He said, ‘Just talk, I like to hear your voice’. He loved his family and his family loved him. Towards the end of that conversation, I shared a verse from the Bible, which Norwegians call ‘the little Bible’ because it sums up what the Bible says. ‘The little Bible’, John 3:16, says as follows: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. God the Father expressed his love for us in sending his Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Through faith in Jesus and his work for us, we can have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

It’s wonderful to remember Dad today and to recall the blessing that he has been to me. I always had a Dad that was alive, when many friends had lost their dads years ago. Now, I join with those who miss their dads. I will henceforth miss my Dad, but will treasure the memory of being loved by him in my heart forever.

Steven Lund

Memories of Dad (8/25/1928 – 1/28/2012) at his Funeral

in Rochester, Minnesota

Steven Neil Lund

February 4, 2012

 

Hi.  I’m Steven Neil Lund, oldest of Clarence Neil Lund’s four children.  I come here with all my immediate family: my wife Patricia (Pat), and our daughter Deborah (Debbie) – from Mentor, Ohio, an Eastern suburb of Cleveland.  And our son Augustine (Gus), his wife Barbara, and their three children ages 10, 8, and 6: Alexis, Noah, and Zachary.  They are from Kernersville in central North Carolina.

 

I come here with a smile on my face, a gnawing sensation in my gut, and a flood of memories in my mind.  The smile is because my dad lived a long, full life and I’m happy for it.  The gnawing sensation is because he’s gone and I miss him.  And the memories – well, I’d like to share seven of them with you.  The Gospel says “the first shall be last and the last first” (Matthew 20:16).  I’d like to borrow that logic and make my last set of face-to-face memories the first one.  And, then as the last memory, tell a little more about the first memory, so that the last becomes first and the first becomes last.

 

First (and you can tell that I’m an accountant), in April of 2011 wife Pat, single daughter Debbie, and I took Easter vacation in Minnesota.  “Why would ever want to go such a cold place on vacation?” asked several co-workers.  I told each one by one, “Because my dad is there.”  When we got to town, Dad was in St. Mary’s Hospital for shortness of breath and diagnosed with COPD, a terminal illness.  He was 82 and cheerful with the nurses.  I thought back to his 80th birthday party in Oronoco organized by his wife Bev.  At that party in 2008 many relatives, co-workers, and customers came.  After my April 2011 vacation visit, a month later I visited him on Sunday and Monday, May 15 & 16, 2011.  On Monday, May 16 his wife drove him to the parking ramp a half hour early so that he could make a smooth transition from the night shift.  Just before his 7:00 am start time, the operations manager stopped by to say hello.  I witnessed the cordiality Dad had with his co-worker and his manager.  Then dad and I made small talk for 30 minutes as I watched him chit-chat with customers who handed in their tickets.

 

The first hour of parking is free, so I made sure I got out in time.  As I drove out of the parking ramp, I handed Dad my ticket and looked above his booth.  In big letters the sign read: NEIL.  This was vintage Dad: he loved to be married, he loved having a family, he loved to work, he had a very cordial relationship with associates at work, and he loved to make small talk with customers.  The memory of Dad at the ticket booth will be forever lodged in my head.  That’s the first memory: Dad loved the ordinary pleasures of life.  On the table in the visitation room there is a picture of my dad in the kitchen of Darrell and Sharon Hystead.  They caught him washing their dishes after a wonderful evening together.  At the visitation last night, Sharon Roble/Hystead patted my shoulder and said, “Keep having fun.  Keep your dad’s tradition.”

 

Second, Dad was a practical problem solver, and — to the best of my recollection and unlike me — I never heard him raise his voice.  In 1951 in Watertown, South Dakota, when I was age 4, our neighbor put down a new cement sidewalk.  It was the summer and I had been outside off and on watching him.  Finally he put in the last segment.  It was late in the afternoon and I thought to myself, “I wonder what that stuff feels like.”  So I snuck over and walked on it while it was still wet.  Dad soon came home from the National Tea Grocery Store where he was the store manager.  My mother reported my misadventure to him.  Dad sighed, “Oh, Steven.”  Then he quickly went, borrowed a trowel and smoothed out my handy work, bringing an act of childhood foolishness to a rectified result.  Dad came to the rescue that day and solved my problem, — and I was very grateful.

 

Third, Dad was respectful to all people.  I spent second to seventh grade (1954-1960) in Little Falls, Minnesota.  My dad’s father, mother, three brothers and three sisters all lived in St. Cloud, a half hour away.  One summer day with bright Minnesota sunshine, when I was about 10, all of our family, Dad, mom, me, Jerome, Richard and baby Jean drove to St. Cloud.  Along the way you pass two little towns.  I sat in the backseat on the driver’s side.  Just before the first town, my dad stopped the car on the side of the rode, got out, and walked across the highway.  In a parked car going the opposite direction was a family of black people headed to visit relatives in northern Minnesota.  It was the first time in my life that I had ever seen a black person.  In the car were a dad, a mother, and two grade school age kids.  Dad talked with the black man and then he and Dad walked over to our car.  The other man was carrying a gas can.  Dad said through the open car window, “Slide over, boys.”

 

We drove to the next town and Dad dropped the man off at a gas station.  The man used an expression that I had never heard before.  He said, “Thanks a million.”  As we pulled away, I said, “Dad, how will the man get back to his car?”  Dad explained, “A car going the other way will take him.”  And then Dad commented, “Some folks would not do what I just did.”  In those days in small town Minnesota you never locked your doors and neighbors always helped neighbors.  I could not understand what Dad meant when he said, “Some folks would not do what I just did.”  So, like Mary in the Gospel, I pondered all these things and treasured them up in my heart.  It wasn’t until 11th grade (1963-64) in Fairmont, Minnesota that I finally found out what he meant.  That school year and the next school year my grandfather from the other side of the family stayed with us.  One day I got home from school and this grandpa and I were alone in the house and sitting in the living room.  All out of sudden, without any context on my part and without any apparent reason, this grandpa told me something that involves a racial slur.  I won’t use the slur.  This grandpa said, “If you give an N an inch, he will take a foot.  If you give an N a foot, he will take a yard.  If you give an N a yard, he will take a mile.”  Then I remembered the words of my father and determined to follow his example.  My dad said, “Some folks would not do what I just did.”

 

Fourth, Dad never gave out unwanted advice but he had a lot of wisdom which you could tap into.  He was sometimes serious and sometimes whimsical.  When I was young, he would sometimes say when we were discussing a subject, “I see said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw.”  At other times he would look at his feet and proclaim, “Steven, I have good understanding.”  But he was also serious.  Wanting something good but doing nothing about it would bring out these words, “Steven, my mother always used to say to me, ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.’”  When I was in junior high in Hopkins, Minnesota, our family went to the funeral of a relative on the Lund side in St. Cloud.  I was nervous about it going to the funeral and said, “Dad, I don’t know what to say to the people when we get there.”  Dad replied, “Steven, you don’t have to say much.  Just say you’re sorry.”

 

Fifth, Dad was the head of our household and I thank God for it.  When I was 14, I began to despise my mother and her many opinions.  One day I said to myself, “That’s it.  Whatever my mother says, I’m going to believe the opposite.”  I instinctively knew that such a modus operandi was ludicrous.  But I was determined to implement it anyway.  At the same time, I tried my best to get away with disobeying her by cooking up excuses.  However, somehow from my very early days I had the fear of my father in me.  When he came home from work one day, he took me aside and told me firmly, “Steven, obey your mother.”  After that, I did obey her.  But my heart was in it until a couple of years passed.  Then I finally realized how much knowledge and wisdom she really had.  And, if only for my own good, I should at least listen to her.

 

Sixth, I grew up in the 1950’s and early 60’s.  My dad hardly ever showed his emotions, but he definitely had them, especially love for his children.  When I went away to college 1,500 miles from home, I loaded my last suitcase in the car and then Dean Plew (driver of the car) and I went back to my house so that I could say goodbye.  Dad met me at the front door.  We used words, smiled but did not hug.  I thought to myself, “I’ll be back at Christmas.”  But my dad knew better.  This was the beginning of adulthood for his oldest son.  This was the last day of every day contact between father and son.  As my friend Dean and I drove away, Dean looked over at me and said, “When your dad said goodbye, there was a tear in his eye.”  At college I struck up a relationship with a really nice Christian girl and thought, “I’d really like to marry her.  But I should get my parents’ thoughts about her first.”  So I brought her home for Christmas in 1967.  My dad told me privately, “Pat’s a good woman, Steve.  If you marry her, I will treat her just like my own daughter.”  Three years later we got married and he always treated her that way.

 

Seventh, Dad is an example of the maxim, “Do what you love and love what you do.”  Dad worked in the grocery store business all of his ordinary working life.  In Willmar, Minnesota he began as a produce manager, in other towns he was a store manager for many years, and then – to avoid being transferred to Iowa far away from family, he ended up working for Piggly Wiggly in Rochester and then as a produce manager for Erdmans also in Rochester.  So he started as a produce manager and ended as a produce manager.  During that time, except for two weeks when he had an operation for varicose veins when I was in the sixth grade, he never missed a day of work.  Then Dad worked for my brother Richard managing a field office in New York City for a company that makes backdrops for movies and TV shows.  This lasted about a year until he was struck by a car while crossing the street to put the company mail in a mail box.  He had hip replacement surgery and walked with a cane thereafter.  Finally, for the last 21 years he worked for the parking ramp business in Rochester.

 

When I was very young, my mother read us boys lots of books.  My favorite book was about a grocer, just like Dad.  My second favorite book was “The Little Engine That Could.”  It told the story of a small engine that one day had to pull a very heavy load.  It did that gargantuan task by saying, “I think I can.  I think I can.”  My dad was like that.  He didn’t know everything about the supermarket business, but he always had a determination to succeed.  At the back of the book on the end leaves were pictures of train wheels.  After the story was over, my mother would hold the book open to those train wheels, then move the book as if the train wheels were moving and, at the same time she’d say, “I think I can.  I think I can.”  I sometimes thought to myself, “Just like Dad.”

 

Last, in mid-April of 2011 Pat, Debbie and I went to church in Rochester and then visited Dad at St. Mary’s Hospital.  Pat and Debbie walked out of the room, leaving me alone with Dad.  I said to Dad, “This is Palm Sunday.  May I read the Gospel and say a few words?”  He said, “Yes” and I read Luke 19:28-40:  as Jesus the Lord rode along on a colt, multitudes spread their coats on the road and cried out, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  In the Old Testament there are two primary words for God: God and Lord.  The Gospel calls the Father “God” and calls Jesus “Lord.”  The Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.  And yet there is one God.  The second person of the Trinity became a human being.  So Jesus is both God and man.  That’s the person of Jesus.  Next, Jesus told us his mission: to die for our sins on the cross (“as a ransom”) and to rise again.  On the Friday right after Palm Sunday many of the very same people who were so enthusiastic about Jesus five days earlier now turned on him and said, “Away with him..”  But some remained faithful.  I said, “Dad, may all of us turn from our sins, trust in Jesus as God and Savior, and follow him to the end in the company of his people.  Amen.”

 

Four Lund children with parents Lyla and Neil

Steven, Jerome, Lyla, Jean, Richard, Neil

Neil Lund, Richard Lund, Steve Lund, Jerry Lund

Jerry, Steve, Richard, Neil Lund

Richard Lund, Steven Lund, Jerome Lund, Jean Bubak

Richard, Steven, Jerome, Jean today

Posted in Personal Anecdotes, Reflections on Living | Comments Off

Lighting Products after I take the pictures…

Richard Lund, product photographer, translite photographer, actor, great old man

I am only pretending to raise pumpkins. Acting, it's what I do.

“If God wanted you to take pictures hand-held, he would have given you three legs.”

I am not going to sell you a tripod today. I just think that you might already own one, but never use it. Tripod photography is a pain in the tuckus. So uninspiring… so fixed-wing…so Microsoft Office… so irritating-when-you-need-to-move-an-inch-t0-the-left exasperating. And so heavy. And yet…they play a role in my photo life. Not just for translites. But also for cookies. Not the kind that websites track you with, the kind you eat, or at least I want to make you want to eat. Here is the story.

Take a basket of Good Habit cookies. Gluten Free, tasty, real food. I can use words, but why should I when I take pictures for a living, right? And they come packaged. In foil and plastic film. Did I say, “Reflections?” Well, yeah. What I really don’t dig are burned out highlights. Just blocks of white. Good for snow and sugar and silver halide paper before you print on it. Not as attractive in a photo. Okay, so little tiny, itsy-bitsy blocks of white might work, but not big dog-tag sized pieces.

They needed a quick shot of the cookies in a basket for publication. (Remember that? Printing ink on paper! How quaint.) And maybe online too. I had a roll of white paper, but my gradient roll was a goner and I did not have time to run to Hollywood to restock. And I did not want to build the world’s largest farm on teeny-weeny hot lights with tiny black wrap cutters. It was really about the blaze.

Lost? Here is the history lesson. Long time ago I made a big blow-up a bottle of some laundry stuff for a commercial. The shot was my first product shot, probably. I really did not know the field, but my buddy Ray did. And he helped set it up. The director of the commercial who was also the one doing the cinematography came by to see it. He liked our work, but wanted to add a blaze to the product label. That would be a soft-edged streak of light across the name of the product. Just a bit added, a highlighting of it. We call it a “blaze.” He set up a small fresnel light and put two sheets of cardboard in front with a narrow slit between, allowing the blaze to come through.

Later on, as I worked on news sets for Television, I had a use of this type of thing a lot. Little hits of light, softly kissing a surface to make them less boring. A bit of dance, eye-candy.

Back to cookies. I set up the camera, a Canon 7D, with my top-light Diva Light casting the shadow below. And I shot a whole series of shots, starting at over exposure, going down to underexposure. Maybe a range of five stops or so in narrow changes. (Pretty bright to pretty dark for those not talking camera talk.) Because of my heavy tripod, each shot would match the one before and after because the camera was in exactly the same place.

So, now, I took the pictures into my computer and used Adobe Photoshop to stack them into a series of layers. The light pictures were on top, going down to the darkest at the bottom. Photoshop was not the first program that I used to do this. I started using layers with Live Picture. It was a powerful program that did this trick of allowing me to paint out the part of the layer that I did not want to see, revealing the image below. It worked by making a mask that could be painted in and out, allowing fine adjustments without changing the picture. Sort of playing peek-a-boo with a mouse. I paid $3500 for it at the time and thought I got the bargain. It took Photoshop about seven or eight versions to catch up until now I just use Photoshop version 12- aka CS5.

Here is a set of five frames, from bottom to top, and finally at the bottom of the page will be the final shot, with retouching to fill in the missing background paper. The higher number layers will seem white, but that is just the way that Photoshop copies them for the web. Where you see blank white, the actual layers are clear.

 

Dark bottom layer, Good Habit Cookies

Bottom layer of stack. Pretty dark, but the highlights are under control.

Good Habit cookies

Layer 2 with most of the basket contents lighter than layer 1

Mostly about the packages, allowing the background and the basket to fade

Highlighting in post, blazes

Here are the highlighted labels

Here are just some tiny soft hits, mainly on the labels.

Good Habit Cookies in a basket, Richard Lund,

Finally, the Hero shot, blended. Ready for publication.

Thanks for stopping by to read. Get your Good Habit cookies today. “Too good to be bad.” If you enjoyed the post, share it. :)

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Money, Money, Moneyball…

Richard Lund actor, Richard Lund translite photographer, Richard Lund Moneyball

Brother, can you spare a dime? Not quite there yet…

I still love baseball. The game, not the experience of being a fan necessarily. And the big league ball parks are a world to themselves. Got to visit one recently. Athletics’ home field. Shot a backing for Moneyball, the new Brad Pitt film. Could be a good one. It certainly had a good design team. That’s where my friend Brad Ricker comes in.

Brad had some good work for me on Charlie Wilson’s War. I got to be back in DC shooting backings from the Capitol and some of the congressional offices. Brad had been the supervising art director. But that is another story…  He has the abilities to pull together a lot of things to make a good story that you can really see. (BTW, he was part of the team that did Inception, one of my favorite films of recent days.) His skill shows in the office set of the baseball team general manager played by Brad Pitt in Moneyball. Much of the under the stadium stuff in that film was designed and built under his supervision on the lot at Sony Pictures. Just visiting the set, even before it was lit, told me it was “real.” Of course, great set decoration is also essential. Look for the contributions of Nancy Haigh. And Jess Gonchor was the Production Designer, heading the efforts of all. These folks are the best of the best working in that world of making us believe what we see.

Back to the under the stadium set. Brad believed that he needed to invent a bit. He saw that the real offices did not have a window out to the stadium, but that in order to inform us of their connection to the story, he found a way to open it up to the place itself, the stadium, the field of battle. It is what my friend John DeCuir calls the “biosphere of the set.” John says, “that set design depends on proper connection with the world of its creators to connect the story with that imagined world.” Brad put a staircase opening just outside the office window so that we could make that connection.

You can see a bit of the set in the trailer for the film. The clip I watched had a short scene at about 18 seconds in where you got the depth cues of his design. There you will end up with a glimpse of my backing. I present the crop vinyl backing below.

Moneyball translite, Moneyball backing, Richard Lund, Oakland Athletics Moneyball

My vinyl backing made at 40'X20' completed the biosphere connection with Brad Ricker's set.

The next shot is a night scene. We did not end up using it, but you can see some of the crew’s positions for the shooting they were doing that night. Wally Pfister is the director of photography. I had the privilege of watching him operate the Panaflex film camera with really long zoom lenses the night I was there. He is committed to shooting film as the capture medium. He also shot Inception, so he is one man I will follow in the future. Yeah, I guess I am a fan.

Moneyball night translite, Richard Lund translite photographer, Wally Pfister

The scene during a break in the filming of Moneyball

One of Brad Pitt’s films for which I actually got a screen credit was Fight Club. It still has a lot of buzz today. It is part of our shared consciousness in western culture. Still ranks up in the top couple of hundred films on IMDB. I did not know Brad Pitt then. I did see him on the Sony lot during Moneyball, but like all of the stars, he and I don’t hang out. I am happy for his success, of course, as it means more jobs for all of us in Hollywood. And his films are fun to watch.

Fight Club did bring me into contact with one memorable guy, a real character named Richard “Doc” Baily. Doc was the man responsible for the scenes where the buildings blew up and collapsed. My part was to make the building “plates” in Century City. He complimented me when I gave him the scans of the night buildings because they were nearly perfectly straight. We miss him and his work. His company was called Image Savant. One of the folks I count as treasures in my working life. As you can see in this post, there have been many like that. I am truly blessed.

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A good man gets treated badly by BP Oil

Richard Lund actor, translite photographer, man with beard, Saint Michael in the City I had not seen John for five years. He called me up a few months back and wanted me to come stay with him in Mississippi while we were in danger from the nuclear radiation that was drifting toward the West Coast. We were told by the government that we had no worries here in Southern California. But then I heard a guy talking about a program ran during World War 2. The program was a put-a-bomb-on-a-balloon and launch it toward the enemy. From Japan. And where did the winds take them? Southern California, where I live. So, logically, based on evidence, a cloud of something nasty could make its way to my house. Not so crazy.

The one kind of radiation had a short half-life. So maybe it was not so dangerous after all. Maybe just taking some potassium iodide would be enough. Not to worry. But why did John call me up? Why did he sound like a guy who really thought the government might be hiding something from us? It turns out that the company operating the nuclear plants in Japan definitely was not forthcoming with the truth. And that the Japanese government was also tight lipped when we all could have used more light. Certainly the Japanese government was not the model for the USA. But John had encountered another big event in his life and was now seeing a side of Big Government and Big Business that the “little people” like him were not supposed to know about. He had survived Hurricane Katrina and now was suffering from severe toxic exposure from the BP Oil spill.

I met John and Mary Gooding in Pass Christian several months after Katrina hit. My priest, Father Carlos, had organized a small group to visit our fellows in Mississippi to help out for a week. We would do whatever we could: simple clean-up, cooking meals for other helpers, repairing buildings, clearing fallen logs, and just sitting and listening to folks tell their stories. Lots of groups came from all over to do the same, some for a week, some for months, some for a year, some are still at it today. No government program, no pay, no glory, just friends helping out. This is the kind of thing a lot of us do. Tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, snow storms, and sometimes for just hard times. It is the unwritten side of being an American, our untold story. We do stuff for our neighbors when we can and we do it again next time. No big deal.

John Gooding, Katrina Ice-man, The ice man, John and Mary Gooding, BP Oil killing

John and Mary Gooding with their daughter and three dogs after Katrina, FEMA trailer too!

One day in our work in Mississippi, we went to John’s house. He had two before Katrina. One was right in Bay St. Louis. It was badly wrecked by the storm surge, pushed off its foundation and just a big mess. John’s other house was in Pass Christian, but north of the Interstate 10. The storm surge did not make it that far. Lots of rain, wind, storm and all that. It was a house he was building. His basement was in, but the upstairs had just been started. After the storm the wooded lot was marked by many fallen trees, blocking his roadway out. John came out of his shelter and started cutting the trees so he could get his white pickup truck out. He wanted to see what had happened to his other house by the water.

Once he got near it, he saw the devastation and the needs. Some folks had stayed closer to the water and many were in need of everything. He left and went searching for help. In time, he found that the only functioning government was the army. He argued his way into them giving him water and ice and letting him bring it back to those in need. For the next three weeks he spent all his time driving water and ice to his neighbors. He earned a separate lane at the army supply station so he would not have to wait in line. He got called “the Iceman” by many for his efforts. He did endure harsh conditions, getting in contact with hazardous materials that had been washed away into the waters by the storm. But he kept up his work for those three weeks.

John was a carpenter and fine wood-worker. He was also a musician, writing songs to sing and play on his guitar. When I met him, I took back a bit of his music and story and started a podcast series. Got two done. Here is link to the first one. John Gooding, the Katrina Iceman.

Now imagine my surprise to see John’s picture on the landing page of Aljazeera yesterday. I knew it was him. I did not know the story. It grabbed my heart. Here was a man who I knew to be a good man being thrown away like trash by a big corporation. I want you to read the story. Aljazeera.net has Sick Gulf Residents Continue to Blame BP.

You will read about John halfway down the story. You will hear him say that he has no money to go to the doctor for treatment and that the company hired to hand out the restoration money from BP Oil has rejected his claim. That company is being paid $850,000 a month to do this work. To hand out $20 billion. Two of his dogs are dead. He is having a hard time even breathing, much less doing his work with wood. A simple wooden cross he made as a thank you hangs in our parish hall at St. David’s as a reminder of his gratitude. It reminds me that a local man in Mississippi who loved his neighbors as himself enough to take them ice and water when no one else could function. And that a big, multinational corporation runs away with a bundle of wealth extracted from the earth and leaves death behind. Shame on BP.

I wish my story had a happy ending. My grandma Marguerite Lund used to say, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” But if you hear of any opportunity to set things right or to make BP accountable, I would ask you to step up and do what you can. If you have the ear of government, tell John’s story to them. Or the media, tell it. Maybe we can get something done together.

I know that this post seems political, far from my usual chat about seeing and movies and stuff. I will get back to that soon. Thanks for listening to an old guy get grumpy. I needed to get this one off my chest…

 

 

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Getting ready for what’s next…

Richard Lund actor, deer in the headlights, party animal

Not time to fear the future, is it?

My friend Paul has often remarked, “I am just getting ready for what comes next.” Good answer.

History can be kinder than life at the time. We think back to the cigar chomping, plump guy in the UK who said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” He’s a role model. He spoke truth. And I think he lost an election down his road. But when we hear the name Winston Churchill, we recognize him as a leader.

Today’s post is short. I gotta do some other stuff. But I did run across one photo that I want to share. Here’s the story.

My wife handles the front yard plants. (For some, they would call it the front garden.) She has some cactii. One bucket has some in it that are resourceful. They don’t get a lot of water. Just enough, I guess. But every so often, something beautiful happens. They flower. And it is over pretty quickly. One day we see the bud, the next the flower blooms, and then it’s done. But when it is there, well, you take a look below.

Good life lesson. (If you don’t like the homespun kind of stuff, more Hollywood coming soon…Brad Pitt movie in a couple of posts.) But for me, it is something like this. Beauty comes every so often in a harsh climate. You better be ready. Enjoy it to the full when it blooms. And remember it for the dry days ahead. No matter what happens to Wall Street or Main Street or Fleet Street or the EU or the EEUU… we must pay attention to the beauty and roughness that shows it right here, maybe in our own gardens. It is okay to turn off the TV and skip Drudge or Huffington or Aljazeera for a bit and just look around. It just might be flower blooming day…

Richard Lund flower picture, desert flower, cactus flower

Roughness and beauty go together well.

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Changing shooting titles can be confusing…

Richard Lund, Richard Lund actor, Richard Lund wild hair

Is every day is a bad hair day? or is it just me?

Don’t know about your memory, but mine can be just out of sorts, if you know what I mean…

So, don’t ask me to title your next film. I will probably not have an catchy ideas about that. In fact, I have a hard time keeping up with the changes as they come. One of those times was for Maid in Manhattan (2002). I knew I had worked on it, but I could not remember the shooting title without looking it up. I could remember the location, the tweeks we did to the pictures, the names of the stars, even the art director Patricia Woodbridge. (Jane Musky designed it. I met her on Ghost, I think, but that is another story for another day.) I finally located the info. The shooting title was Chambermaid. I don’t know if the title change helped the picture. The stars went on to bigger and better and are still hot today. And Maid did a hundred and a half million in box office. Not too shabby. Not at all.

About the only lesson I have learned about movies and their successes is this one. Make sure that the audience cares about somebody in the movie. Some character has to be one that the audience really wants to win, live, survive, be remembered if they don’t survive, get kissed, get married, get free, get rich, or just wake up to a new day. This is the one they bring up the theme music on at the end. You know…

Bonfire of the Vanities was a good book. Did very poorly as a movie. Only one tenth the box office of Maid and cost a lot more to make. Big time director- Brian DePalma, Great DP Vilmos Zsigmond, and my buddy Richard Sylbert as the designer. Big stars like Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, Kim Cattrall, and Morgan Freeman. But about whom did we care? (Notice that I actually did not end the sentence with a preposition. I need validation. Give me a gold star on my report card. Please. Or just an attaboy.)

If you are thinking of making a movie about Gaddaffi, Saddam, Bernie Madoff, or some other modern villain, remember to include somebody in the story that we can care about. That we can empathize with. Connect to. Lock on. Hope for. Just sayin’…

So Ralph Fiennes and Jennifer Lopez were the big winners. And I could see my backings in the movie when they were in the hotel room together. Yeah, they “hooked up.” Big spoiler. Sorry.

The big deal for me was to lower the Chrysler Building so that you could see it in the shot. Have a look. Day and night. We made these in backlit vinyl at 80X18 feet.

Maid in Manhattan translite, Richard Lund translite photographer, Midtown Manhattan Skyline

Midtown Manhattan on a cloudless day

Manhattan Midtown at night, Maid in Manhattan translite, Richard Lund translite

Midtown Manhattan at night

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