Friday, January 28, 2011

Work, Pray, and Play


Most of the musicians attending the retreat at Blue Cloud Abbey last weekend participated in the concluding concert on Sunday. The title of the concert was Music of Creation, led by conductor Kenneth DeJong of Bellevue, Washington, and organist Paul Klemme of Salem, Oregon. Rehearsals started early in the weekend.



The evening concluded with the musicians taking turns demonstrating their talents, not all of which were musical.

Brother Benet read one of his short stories with an excellent Irish accent.

Concert pianist Eugene Gienger

Conductor Kenneth DeJong demonstrated the dryness of South Dakota by making water disappear. Next year we will ask him to do the same with the snow.

Father Michael played two Native American flutes.
more to follow

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

music seminar

The first music seminar I attended last weekend at Blue Cloud Abbey was led by an experienced musician and organist, Rev. Richard Collman, who is also an oblate of St. Benedict, associated with Blue Cloud Abbey. He shared old and new music available for church musicians by passing around various collections as well as individual works. By playing excerpts he made it come alive. Below are some photos.

Rev. Collman

comparing notes

Who knew church music could be so much fun?

Fr. Chris Uehlein played portions of his newly published sonatina

Concert pianist, Eugene Gienger, played samples of various arrangements

even the Sisters of Saint Benedict seemed pleased

more to follow

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The sound of music at Blue Cloud Abbey

Last week I drove to Blue Cloud Abbey, near Marvin, South Dakota, for a private retreat. I knew ahead of time that the South Dakota Chapter of the American Guild of Organists would be holding a retreat for musicians. What I did not know was the inspiration and delight I would experience by attending music workshops, a talent show, rehearsals and the performance of Music of Creation, a festival of word and sacred music.

These events provided me with a wonderful venue for learning to use my new Leica. Most of the time the weather was "rotten" so my Canon DSLR and telephoto lens stayed in the camera bag. There were few birds in sight and, with way below zero temps and high winds, I was not eager to leave the Abbey. Nevertheless, I was busy filling up memory cards with images of musicians performing their art. Over the next several days I will post some of my photos. 

For those interested in such details, most of the photos were taken with the Leica M9 and 50mm f/2 Summicron wide open -- ISOs, except for the few outdoor shots, ranged from 400 to 1000. The wide angle shots were made with a Leica X1.

Below is a group photo of the participating, talented musicians.

Friday morning sunrise at the Abbey

A few hours later clouds overtook one of my favorite spots near the Abbey.

more to follow

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Where can we find inspiration for our photography? There are tons of sites and blogs by and for photographers, of course. However, I believe we can learn a lot from other artists as well. One that I have admired and followed for some time is the Canadian painter, Robert Genn. I have found his twice-weekly email letters inspiring and full of ideas. You can read about them here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


If you have recently followed this blog, you know that I have been exploring new directions in photography. Some of my feelings about photography in general and its purpose in my life specifically are well expressed by David duChemin in his blog. Be sure to watch the cited video. I just wish transformation would happen more quickly! I am interested in your comments.