Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Solo show at Phoenix Country Day School

I was recently asked to hang a show of my work at my daughter's school, Phoenix Country Day School, in Paradise Valley, AZ, by Michael Pesselato, Art Department head. The exhibit is part of the school's "cultural enrichment" program, where they bring in local writers, artists, and musicians, to expose the students to their work, and hopefully inspire them. I am honored to be the first visual artist in this series. They recently had a professional jazz trio from the Red Rocks Music Festival perform with my daughter's Jazz Combo at lunchtime. The performance was well received and very enjoyable, as well as a learning experience for the band. A brief video is available here, featuring Lindsay on the vibraphone.

The show features 32 images ranging from 1981 to 2009 and from New Jersey, Canada, California and Arizona. I am also giving an artist's talk on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 2:10 in the Hormel Art Center. If you are local and wish to attend, please contact Gina Bridgeman via email as you will need to get a visitor's pass and directions for parking.

I will post photos of the talk when I have them.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stuffing to die for...

... well, it might kill you if you dare!

No photo post today... been busy with work and family things.

So, it's Thanksgiving... time to eat!

My father made the most incredible stuffing. Not your typical bread and onions, Stove-top kind of thing. This stuffing sticks to the side of your ribs. In my humble opinion, it actually makes the turkey taste boring. It has three different kinds of meat (well, if you count Taylor Ham, or Trenton Pork Roll as it is also known, as a meat), apples, onion, and seasonings. This is a real "Jersey" strength stuffing. The recipe is old and assumes you stuff the bird, which is not politically correct these days. It can be made in an oven baking dish instead.

Note: It is difficult to find Taylor Ham here in Arizona. The Basha's in Carefree occasionally gets a few rolls in for the snowbirds and I heard there is a place in the southeast valley somewhere that actually carries it.

So, if you're brave enough, here it is. Make sure you make extra... I make enough to last a week after Thanksgiving, and extra giblet pan gravy, too.

WARNING: Please consult with your physician before eating this stuffing if you suffer from high blood pressure, clogged arteries, or other cardio-pulmonary ailments. I cannot be held responsible for health issues aggravated by this stuffing.

Coda Family Traditional Turkey Stuffing

This stuffing is not for the faint of heart. Recipe for ±15-lb. turkey.


  • 6 thick slices Taylor Ham
  • ½ lb. Ground Beef, 85%
  • ½ lb. Sausage Roll
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Medium Apple
  • 1 lb. Bag stuffing bread
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
  • 3/4-1 cup tap water, room temp.


Cut stuffing bread into approx. 1" pieces, place in large bowl

Cut and dice onion and apple, keeping them separate.

Pan fry Pork Roll or Taylor Ham till medium well done, drain.

Pan fry Hamburger until medium well done, drain.

Pan fry Sausage, drain.

When dry, dice Pork Roll into 1/4" pieces.

Crumble chop meat and sausage.

In a large mixing bowl place the cut stuffing bread pieces, moisten with ½ of the water, mix with hands, rubber gloves optional. Add: Pork Roll, chop meat, sausage, onion and apple; knead mixture as if making dough, add remaining water slowly as needed. Add egg for binder, being sure it is well mixed throughout. Sprinkle Sage and Poultry Seasoning to taste (quantities are approximate, but sage can overpower the flavor of the stuffing. When thoroughly mixed, stuffing should be moist, but not overly moist. Form into snowball size balls and stuff cavity of bird, close cavity with pins or string. Any extra stuffing, can be placed in aluminum pan, covered with foil, and baked along with bird.

Note: Be sure cavity of bird is washed thoroughly and salted before stuffing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Inspirations #19: George Tice & White Castle

White Castle, Route #1, Rahway, NJ, 1973 by George A. Tice

OK, I have to admit... coming from Jersey I am a BIG White Castle junkie. I can remember my parents taking us to the Castle as children, when they still had car-side service and the burgers were a nickel. In 1982 at college (Rutgers) we used to have "Castle Runs" during study breaks. The Castle was about 10 miles away so whoever had the fastest run for the week got free burgers on Saturday night. I actually made a video of this for a class I took as a Senior. The video was called "Castle Run" and was loosely based on the movie "Cannonball Run". "Video" in those days was Sony Beta 3/4" tape. The camera was huge. Because the camera had to be connected to the actual tape recorder we couldn't take it with us on the run... so we were only able to tape the preamble (ordering) and the actual carnage (eating) after the burgers had arrived. I thought it was missing an external microphone, so I told my roommates that they could say whatever they wanted. Imagine my horror when my teacher said to turn the volume up for my final presentation - it had an internal microphone. At least he had a sense of humor and I got an A. Fast forward and castles became a rare treat. I knew my girlfriend (now wife) loved me when she went to Passaic, NJ to get me a "sack" for my birthday. After marriage we moved to Jackson, NJ and the nearest Castle was 50 miles away. My prayers were answered, but too late, when they built a Castle a few miles from our home just a year before we moved to Arizona. Now, I make my own Castles for Super Bowl every year... but we use filet mignon sliced 1/4" thick, steamed over a bed of carmelized shallots, with Tillamook Cheddar and thinly sliced sweet baby gherkins, on a potato roll. I call them "Chateau Blancs!" Uuu-uum good!

Ah, long live the good old days... it's too bad that everything has to be modernized nowadays. These old White Castles were really interesting architecturally. They are all boring, plain vanilla today.

Anyway, back to photography. If I could add just one photograph to my collection it would be "White Castle" by George Tice from 1973. Aside from the food connection, this is a beautiful example of night photography and the print is luminous. If you ever want to see what a print from a master printer looks like... see a George Tice exhibit.

Chicago Hamburger Company, Phoenix, AZ, 2009 by Richard M. Coda

This was the first night photograph I had taken in almost 30 years. I did pick this particular image as my first due to my fondness for Mr. Tice's image. As did Mr. Tice, I used an 8x10" camera for this. With TMax 400 film the exposure was 27 seconds at f/45-2/3.

This week, my night photography subject will be a Taco stand in color on the 8x10" I can't wait!


Turn out the lights and step out into the night
And the world is busting at its seams
And you're just a prisoner of your dreams
Holding on for your life `cause you work all day
To blow `em away in the night
"Night" by Bruce Springsteen

I'm not usually out at night where I have the time to do something for myself, so I have taken the opportunity to try something new. I have been playing around with night photography while my daughter is at her life drawing class. The last time I did night photography it was a failure. There was a total eclipse of the moon and I set my 4x5 up in my parents' driveway (this is a long time ago) and focused on infinity and left the lens open, covering it with the lenscap and making an exposure every few minutes or so... I can't even remember.

Burton Barr Central Library, Phoenix, 2009, by Richard M. Coda

I have always wanted to photograph this unique looking building but never had the time. One night, after an event at the Phoenix Art Museum, which is a block away, I saw it lit up and thought it looked more unique... almost alien-like. I arrived at just the right time... everyone had just left work so there were no cars or light trails to be bothered with. You can actually read some of the book spines in this image! I used the 8x10" camera and TMax400 film. The exposure was 53 seconds at f/32. The hardest thing about night photography is focusing.

Star Spangled Banner, Phoenix, AZ, 2009 by Richard M. Coda

I had passed this very large billboard many times during the day. There is no illumination on the flag side. There are lights on the opposite side, however. This billboard sits on the line inbetween a hair salon and a Chinese Restaurant. When I arrived there was a parking spot in the perfect location to shoot from, which I took. Again, using the 8x10" camera, I wedged my tripod between my car and the car next to me, hoping that the person would not leave soon. This is a very active parking lot at dinner time. Many cars came and left during the time I was there. I had the camera pointed upward so I wouldn't have to deal with headlights coming right at me. Now, as there is no illumination on the flag side this image was extremely hard to focus. After 10 minutes of trying to focus with the light dwindling by the second, I decided to focus on the middle and just stop down. I ended up with an 18 minute exposure at f/45-2/3. I think the image has promise. These are just negative scans. Hopefully I can get to printing them soon and make a really nice print.

I have one other night image but I will keep it for the next post as it is also an Inspirations post.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's New...

Haven't been able to post in a while... work is finally getting busy again, thankfully.

I have been able to try my hand at night photography while my daughter is taking her life drawing class at her school on Wednesday nights. I have the 8x10 film developed... just have to scan it to post. Next week I will be trying 8x10 color transparency film at night!

Also a new 11x14 negative. I hope to be in the darkroom printing some time next week.

Stay tuned...