Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter sunset, and goodbye to 2010

Winter sunset, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Every year seems to go by just a little faster. I wonder if that is because I'm so busy, or if I'm losing track of time as the years go by. Probably a bit of both.

It was a very busy year from all perspectives: work, home, woodturning, photography, music, family dogs. Some of the highlights this year include the adoption of our two youngest dachshunds, Luna and Topper. Having three dachshunds in the house is a lot of fun. My field season in South Africa was also a big highlight - especially the opportunity to go camping with Dennis and Gigi Laidler, and that Steve was able to join me in the field for 10 days. That was his first trip to South Africa and my ninth field season there.

I'm always glad to start a new year, though, and I'm looking forward to the opportunities that will come in 2011. I have a lot of interesting research going on in my lab right now, which should come to fruition during 2011. I'm working on some fun sculptural turnings when I have some blocks of time at home, and I'm really looking forward to playing the new set list with Aisling at our concert at the Upper Arlington Public Library in April.

I hope all my online friends and acquaintances have a happy and prosperous 2011. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Latest project

Woodturner, originally uploaded by Stephen A. Wolfe.

I've been invited to participate in "Emerging Patterns: an international invitational," which runs May 28 - Sep 01, 2011. John Hill called me last week to invite me. He said they wanted a "medium" size piece - about the size of a basketball. For me that's gigantic, but I have had an idea percolating for a few months now that will be good for this exhibit. So, I started it this week - putting the log section on the lathe, roughing it to shape with an arbortech, turning it true - all this on day 1. Day 2 ws for shaping the outside and doing the layout grid plus most of the hollowing. Today was Day 3 - finishing the hollowing and turning off the foot. The rough size is 10.5 X 7.5 inches, roughly 2 to 3 times the size of my usual work.

Steve has been documenting my progress and I'll post some more pics as I go, but here's one of me finishing the hollowing.

Here's a link to my facebook page album with the rest of the pics: Emerging Patterns Project

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

Baby, it's cold outside!, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Another photo from Hayden Falls. I love the sculptural effect of the icicles streaming down the fall.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter in Hayden Run

Winter in Hayden Run, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Another image from our visit to Hayden Falls.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hayden Falls

Hayden Falls, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

The temperatures have been very cold in central Ohio this past week or so. Yesterday, Steve and I stopped at Hayden Falls to do some photos of the frozen landscape. I decided to process this in black and white using Silver Efex Pro in Aperture. I think the tones of black and white do this scene justice.

I'm not ready for Christmas, but I might actually put up a tree in the next day or so. I've had a hard time getting into the holiday spirit this year. I think it's because I've been overwhelmed with a busy schedule and I just can't face having to put up the tree and then to take it down again in a short time frame. It was different when the kids were little. Now, they don't get into the holiday spirit at all, and it's not nearly as much fun as it used to be. However, our dachshunds will probably enjoy the chaos, so we'll likely enjoy it none-the-less.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Waterman Farm

Waterman Farm, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

This photo was taken the day after Thanksgiving, on a cold and sunny afternoon. I really enjoy walking on Waterman Farm, the Ohio State University experimental farm. It's so nice to have a bit of rural scenery in Columbus, Ohio. The contrast of the city skyline against a working farm is visually interesting, and the open space of the farm helps me to relax amidst of all the bustle of a city.

I recently heard that the long term plans for this area includes taking some of this land to make it into parking lots to replace the ones along Canon Drive as the hospital complex and medical school expand their footprints into those parking areas. I have no idea what the university planners think about the value of land, but this landmark and acreage are more valuable than mere dollars for building footprints and parking lots.

I was glad to see the news that Upper Arlington's application to put a connector road through from Ackerman to Zollinger wasn't funded. From what I read, the university was behind that poor bit of planning. Progress does not mean making every square inch of an urban area a busy and noisy place, full of traffic and people in a rush to raise their blood pressure. We need these kinds of spaces to be left open. I wish there were some visionaries amongst the planning commissions who could realize the value of nature and the ecosystem services such open areas provide.

Monday, December 06, 2010

South Africa video blog: September 19, 2010 - part 3

The third and final part of my video blog about my photo safari around the Cape Peninsula with Nick Laidler. We ended the day at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront in Cape Town. This is always a fun place to visit, especially for the street entertainment. I watched tumblers, a vocal group doing traditional singing, and a Dixieland Jazz band. The restaurants and shops at the waterfront are always worth a visit, too. I hope you enjoy the video - leave a comment and let me know what you think of the new format.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Seascape in Black and White

Seascape in Black and White, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Sometimes a black and white photo tells the story better than a color one can. This image was captured near Port Elizabeth, South Africa on September 25, 2010. I photographed the breaking wave at just the right moment, and the processing with Silver Efex Pro combined with Viveza and Color Efex pro enabled me to bring out the details.

I was out for an afternoon break from the woodturning conference, but it just happened to be along a stretch of coastline that look favorable for Hyobanche habitat. Not long after this photo was taken, I wandered through some dunes and found a population of Hyobanche robusta. The inflorescences were well spent, but it was fantastic to find the plants here. I'm not sure if I'll get any DNA from this collection, but at least I know for future field seasons that I can find the plant in this area of South Africa.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

South Africa video blog: September 19, 2010 - part 2

I added music and commentary to this blog entry. I'll be using the same format for the rest of the series, so let me know what you think. Thanks!

In this video blog entry Nick took me to Green Market square. I talked to one of the vendors about their background and found the information to be very interesting. We also went up to Signal Hill to take photos of Cape Town from that vantage point.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

South Africa video blog: September 19, 2010 - part 1

My first few days in South Africa were spent on getting organized for the field season and adjusting to the time zone. To help with the transition Nick Laidler offered to take me on a photo safari around the Cape Peninsula. We were to start before sunrise so that we could be in place in time for sunrise. Nick, however, overslept a bit and so we made it only as far as Zandvlei, which turned out to be a fantastic spot for photographing the sunrise.

Here's my first of three video blog entries from that day.

You can see some of my favorite pictures from the 2010 field season on my Flickr account. Click on the link to go to the album: 2010 South Africa

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Reflections, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I don't usually use f/22.0, but this image needed a really huge depth of field to capture the foreground and background with great clarity. The Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4.0 L is a good enough lens to get by with this f-stop. The photo was taken at Bass Lake, Indiana.

Steve and I were taking our time returning to Jasper-Pulaski wildlife refuge to see the sandhill cranes at sunset. We decided to take a stop at the lake to see if there were any interesting photo ops. The mirror reflections on the calm lake sure made it worth the stop.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Action shot for Lignum essentiate

Woodcarver, originally uploaded by SWolfeNI8W.

Steve likes to take B&W film photos of me working in my "studio." This one was of me putting the drill holes on my latest project.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunset at Jasper-Pulaski

Sunset at Jasper-Pulaski, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Columbus Audubon had a field trip to Jasper-Pulaski wildlife refuge in northwest Indiana this past weekend. Thousands of sandhill cranes gather here as a stop-over during their fall and spring migrations. It was so awesome to hear and see thousands of these magnificent birds in one place. Highlights included seeing/hearing the mass take-off after sunset and a couple of hours after sunrise. This is one of my favorite photos from the weekend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lignum Essentiate

Big leaf maple burl; 3.5 inches diameter X 3.25 inches tall.

The title of the piece reflects the inspiration for this carved surface. I was thinking of tracheids - one of the cell types for wood. These are elongated cells that are pointed on each end and the walls of the cell are dotted with pores to allow the water to percolate from cell-to-cell.

Another view of the vessel.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back to analog - jalopy

Back to analogy - jalopy, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

One of my first film photos in decades. Steve bought me an Canon EOS 620 that works with my current lenses. This image is from the first roll of film I shot to see how the camera works. It's so weird to go back to film again. I keep looking at the back of the camera to check my histograms and image. Weird, eh?

Shooting film does bring back the carefulness in framing a shot and the anticipation of of surprises to see what the film reveals. I used Tri-X 400 film, aperture priority with f 8.0.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Arum Lily

Arum Lily, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I'm slowly, but surely making some progress on processing the thousands of images from my field season in South Africa. Believe it or not, I'm still working on the first weekend's worth of photos when I did a photo safari with my friend Nick. This is one of the images from that day - an Arum Lily in bloom in The Company's Garden, which is in downtown Cape Town.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Giant Protea

Giant Protea, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

These lovely inflorescences are the size of a large dinner plate - about 12 inches (20 cm) across. This one was photographed at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden using my Canon EF 100-400 f4.5/56L lens. I was after birds that morning, but some of the flowers were so spectacular that I had to do them as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Collecting at Koeberg - 22 Sep 2010

There are two species of Hyobanche at Koeberg Nature reserve, and each time I'm in South Africa for a field season I try to get back to the reserve to do some work. Here is the first of two videos from this day's field work. It's a lovely site and it always involves an interesting ride along 4X4 tracks to reach the populations.

Here's part 2:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My first sunrise after returning home from South Africa

Every once-in-awhile conditions are perfect for a stunning sunrise photo. On the way back from the gym yesterday morning, Steve and I saw the fog hugging the ground before the sun was above the horizon. When we arrived home, Steve suggested that I go chase some light and I'm glad I made it in time to see this sunrise.

Here are a few more photos from this photo shoot.

Autumn sunrise - 3

Autumn Sunrise - 5

Autumn sunrise - 4

Thursday, October 14, 2010

African spoonbill

This is one of the coolest looking birds I've seen this trip. We were coming back from collecting Hyobanche robusta in Sedgefield when we saw this bird at the lagoon. I love the blue coloring on the bill.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Orange-breasted sunbird

I posted this on Flickr yesterday morning and it made it to the Explore page - that was quite a surprise. It was from an early morning walk at Kirstenbosch with Steve. I brought along my 100-400 mm lens to try to capture some bird photos. I am becoming more and more confident with this lens. I've captured some really cool bird images with it during this field season.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sunset at Seapoint Lighthouse

I'm crazy busy right now with some field work, so I don't know how much video editing I'll achieve for the rest of the field season. Yesterday I went up to Citrusdal to go in the field with Wilhem Hanekom. He's the one who discovered one of my new species, which hasn't been up again since a big burn in 2004. However, he had found some more Hyobanche atropurpurea from a site I've worked before, so I did have a productive day in the field.

Here's a pic from last weekend. This is an image I had visualized after having visited the light house the first weekend of my field season, and so I'm very glad the opportunity came up to capture it. We had been doing a tour of the Cape Peninsula with Trent Bosch and his family - everyone loaded into Binky - the Laidler's land rover, and we hit seapoint just as the sun was setting. Dennis, Gigi and I had just gotten back from the karoo the previous evening, so it was quite a nice opportunity to become a tourist for the day.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Table Mountain Contour Path - Part 2

Our contour path walk included a lovely picnic to celebrate birthdays and my arrival to Cape Town. It was a wonderful way to spend my first evening in Cape Town. Thanks, Gigi and Dennis!

Table Mountain Contour Path - Part 1

17 September, 2010 - Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden:

One of my favorite activities in Cape Town is the evening walk with the Laidlers along the Table Mountain contour path at Kirstenbosch. A gathering of friends meets in the parking lot at the upper gate of the garden, and the walk pretty much leads straight up the mountain to the contour path. The walk up to the path is through a forest, and Dennis Laidler explains the history of the Kirstenbosch forest and we discuss a bit of biogeography and ecology for the Afro-montane forests of South Africa.

This walk took place the day after I arrived, which was about 10:30 the previous night. I was pretty jet lagged, but this is a great way to get a move on toward adjusting to the new time zone. The walk is a so much fun, traversing through the Afro-montane forests on the south side of Table Mountain.

Friday, October 01, 2010


Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula is famous for the penguin colony that lives there. These are African penguins, aka Jackass penguins. They have the latter name because they have a call that is very much like a donkey's braying. I think they're adorable, but Nick Laidler has a somewhat different view after working on cleaning them up after an oil spill. They do have a mean bite. . . .

Dude! What did you step in?????

Follow the leader

Which way do we go?

South Africa video blog - 2, part 3

Collecting the specimens is just part of the process. Each inflorescence has to be split and put into a plant press. I usually separate a few flowers for later dissection. It's much easier to do this now than after the specimen has dried.

Host root tissue needs to be collected and dried in silica gel for identification via DNA sequencing, and I dry individual flowers in silica gel for later DNA extraction and molecular studies.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cannon Rocks

First night of camping was at Cannon Rocks, about 125 or more km east of Port Elizabeth. We left the conference mid-afternoon and arrived at our campsite just after sunset. It took us a bit longer than normal for that distance because we drove the back roads. We stopped to watch some secretary birds and to do a bit of birding along the way. That was lovely - I have five new life birds from this casual travel.

The coast line here is lined with sand dunes, which is the perfect habitat for Hyobanche robusta - the aim of this bit of field work. I'm going to explore the dunes near our campsite before we head over to Boknesstrand, where I've collected previously. We'll visit one other site that I've collected and then just mosey on over to Storms River mouth to camp tonight. After these two nights on the coast line, we're heading up to Anysberg nature reserve in the Little Karoo. We'll have three nights there to camp, which gives us plenty of opportunity to explore the area, looking for Hyobanche rubra and H. glabrata.

The weather is a bit blustery on the coast line. All night long the tent was flapping in the wind and it was a lovely bit of white noise with which to fall asleep. I awoke at first light and wondered where Chirri and Mingmar were with the tea - I don't think camping will ever be the same again after having done the Nepal trek last year.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Association of the Woodturners of South Africa conference

I'll not be able to post a long note about the symposium, but it's one of the most interesting ones I've attended - primarily because the format is dramatically different than anything in my experience. It's a much smaller conference than one would think for a national symposium - only about 120 folks here, including spouses, I think. It's very well organized and the support from the school staff (it's held in a school for disabled children)is absolutely amazing.

I have lots and lots of pictures to process and some really fun videos to post when I have time and internet access. So many stories to share, so little time. I am having a wonderful time here with the South African woodturners. I'm glad I was able to attend this weekend! The big plus to this development is that I will be able to do some collecting along the coast of the Eastern Cape before heading into the Little Karoo.

One story that will be fun to elaborate upon is the auction that was held last night. I can't wait to post some videos of Izak Cronje in action as the auctioneer. Stay tuned - lots and lots of fun stuff to come!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Time for a road trip!

I'm heading east this morning. The Laidlers and I are going to a wood turning conference this weekend and then will be making our way back to Cape Town via the Little Karoo. The Landrover is loaded and ready to go. We'll be camping in nature reserves in some interesting mountains where there should be plenty of Hyobanche to collect. I've not been in the part of the Little Karoo, and so I'm pretty keen to collect there.

BTW - I tried to upload part 3 of my little video series, but it failed to load overnight, so it will be awhile before I can put it up. Internet connections here are iffy at best. Oh well - I'm making lots of videos, so they will eventually all go online.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

South Africa video blog - 2, part 2

The wind wasn't quite so bad in the shelter of the sand dune. In this episode I excavate Hyobanche for collecting the host roots that are attached to the secondary haustoria (organs of attachment) along the rhizome. Hyobanche is a holoparasite, which means it relies on its host plant(s) for all of its water, mineral nutrients and carbon. It's the only parasitic plant I know that has haustorial attachments from leaf bractlets along a rhizome. It's quite an interesting little plant.

I'm so amazed, every time I see it, how much biomass there is underground. All you see above ground is the inflorescence when the plant is flowering. However, there is probably 100X or more of the plant underground, which is not seen until an excavation is done.

BTW - the primary host for this species is Metalasia. I said Elytropappus in the video, but that's because my brain is still on east coast time in the states.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

South Africa video blog - 2, part 1

20 September 21010 - part 1: First day in the field for this South Africa field season. Louis Liebenberg found a population of Hyobanche that I will be describing in my monograph on Hyobanche. He sent the image to a researcher at Kirstenbosch who referred him to me. Louis was kind to take time out of his day to guide me to the population. We had a very interesting conversation about a book he is writing, and the site was absolutely beautiful. The lagoon near the dunes where this Hyobanche occurs had avocets, stilts and flamingos - stunning scenery! The Hyobanche is also quite beautiful.

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go to the field today. The weather turned very blustery overnight and the wind was really strong plus it was raining very hard at Kirstenbosch when I awoke. I called Louis to find out what the weather was like on his side of the peninsula and he assured me that it was much better. So, it was a go and I'm really glad I went to this site.

Monday, September 20, 2010

South Africa video blog - 1

My first ever video blog - not sure if I want to do this again - seems kind of awkward from this end. You'll have to let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Zandvlei sunrise

19 Sep 2010 - a day for photography around the Cape Peninsula and in Cape Town. Nick Laidler, one of my South African adoptees, took me on a photo safari. We started before sunrise and capture a beautiful one on the east side of the Cape Peninsula.

Here's another image from the early morning: Beach Houses at St. James

Beach Houses at St. James

Saturday, September 18, 2010


One of my favorite flowers from South Africa. I photographed this at Kirstenbosch botanical garden this morning.

Claude Lethiecq's Chinese Ball display at the 2010 AAW symposium

Here's a video I put together from the 2010 AAW symposium where I interviewed Claude Lethiecq about his amazing work.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Morning walk Sept 8, 2010 part 2

Part 2 includes an interview with one of our neighborhood friends. Steve has some typical goofiness to share in this segment of our walk, too. Feedback is welcomed.

Morning walk Sept 8, 2010 part 1

This is my first attempt at doing some video blogging. I'm getting ready for a field season in South Africa and I want to try something new this year - adding videos of some of the work I do on Hyobanche and some of the interesting things I see and do while in South Africa.

Let me know what you think of this first attempt. Constructive criticism is helpful. I'm new to videography.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

That time of year

That time of year, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I took this photo yesterday morning while on a walk with Steve. We were on the bike path that goes through the OSU cornfield on our way to west campus. This image symbolizes the end of summer for me. The field corn is ready to harvest, the temperatures are fluctuating wildly from fall weather to high summer, and there's just something magical in the air as the leaves are starting to turn and the sun is moving toward the equator in the sky. I love the lighting of autumn.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A late summer rose

A summer rose, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Summer is winding down, but there are still some beautiful roses at Whetstone Park of Roses in Clintonville, Ohio. The Park of Roses is one of our favorite places to walk dogs or to do some photography practice.

On a walk around our neighborhood this evening I noticed that many of the trees are starting to show some autumn color. There were a lot of leaves dropped on the sidewalk as well, which crunched under our feet. I've also noticed the quality of the light is changing as the angle of the sun changes as we approach the Autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere.

Autumn is a magical season. It kind of makes up for the end of summer, I think.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dublin Irish Festival - Killashandra

Another study of hands from this year's Dublin Irish Festival. I'm still processing photos from Sunday, but expect to do a series of blog posts from the festival in the near future.

Speaking of Arrowmont . . .

I'll be teaching a class there beginning one year from today! August 28 - September 3, 2011: Surface decoration for turned boxes and lidded bowls.

Here's the class description: Small turned objects offer a wonderful canvas for surface enhancement techniques. In this class we will explore surfaces and how to make a turned object tell a story. Techniques to be covered include pyrography, surface texturing with rotary carving tools, simple chip and line carving using palm chisels and gouges, and coloring the wood using a variety of methods. Other options for surfaces include the use of acrylic media fo...r building an interesting texture. Students must have basic turning techniques mastered, including bowl, hollowing, and spindle turning. Most of the work will be off the lathe; bring turned objects to work on, but we'll spend time on the lathe as well as on the workbench for this class.

Assistant for the course will be Ed Kelle, and I'm very excited about this. I love Ed's work with surfaces, and I'm sure we'll have a great week together with the students in the class. So, save the date and come join us at Arrowmont!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Arrowmont to Remain in Gatlinburg

This just received in an e-newsletter from Arrowmont:

In a historic decision, the Board of Governors of the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts has voted to keep the nationally renowned center for contemporary craft education at its current location in Gatlinburg, TN. Arrowmont offered its first craft workshops in 1945.

Over the past two years the organization has been considering options for the future following a decision by the owners of the land to sell the property currently occupied by the school. A special task force was formed to evaluate options and possible new locations for the school and through their work the choices were narrowed to a site in Greeneville, Tenn. or remaining in the current Gatlinburg location. Since then, the Arrowmont Board has been working with officials from Gatlinburg and Greeneville to finalize proposals presented by both communities.

In making the announcement, Arrowmont Board of Governors President Mary Ann Hruska said, “After reviewing the proposals from Greeneville and Gatlinburg as well as numerous meetings with local officials, the Board decided that Arrowmont should remain in its place of founding. We look forward to working more closely with the local community regarding our future.”

The Gatlinburg community effort to retain Arrowmont was led by former Mayor Jerry Hays and City Manager, Cindy Ogle.

"I am extremely pleased with this decision to keep Arrowmont in Gatlinburg. I want to especially thank the Gatlinburg Arrowmont Work Group for their dedication during this process. A lot of hard work has gone into preparing for this day by representatives of the City, Sevier County, Sevier County School System, the Chamber of Commerce, and private citizens. From here, it is my hope that we can sit down together and map out how we will achieve the goals and dreams for Arrowmont’s future," states Jerry Hays.

Arrowmont’s Strategic Planning Committee, along with the Gatlinburg Work Group, will immediately begin determining next steps including the orchestration of a capital campaign for funds to support the School’s future and exploring community partnership opportunities. The School’s on-going fundraising continues through the Friends of Arrowmont Fund. You may join by visiting our website or by calling 865-436-5860.

“This decision ensures that the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts will continue to be a leader in contemporary studio craft for many years to come,” said Hruska, adding, “Arrowmont provides the best in craft education in new and exciting ways while furthering our mission of enriching lives through art.”

Here's the link to the newsletter: eVisions Newsletter August/September 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stone carver at Dublin Irish Festival

I'm always fascinated by the hands of people who are artisans. This stone carver was working at the Dublin Irish Festival the first weekend of August. I watched him for a while before I started taking photos.

The sound of the mallet hitting the gouge was a delight to the ears as was the sound of the tool on the stone.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Woodturning Resource Center

In case you've not seen this useful site, I'm posting the links here. It looks like a great place to learn how to do a lot of fun projects. Click here to go directly to the Resource Center page.

The layout on my blog cuts off the right third of the image for the site, so do please go visit it to see what all there is to see.

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Ice Cream Scoop

Ice cream tastes a little sweeter when you scoop it with a beautiful handmade Ice Cream Scoop you’ve turned yourself. Turned between centers using standard turning tools, this is a simple project that will add a touch of class to any kitchen.