I was fortunate enough to make it onto an island full of puffins. I’d do it again. The problem is that it would be a very arduous trip. So for now, once was enough. It’s not just the birds. There is fog and lupines.
You need the whole experience. The shot one sees on the post card is of the lovable bird statically positioned. You can’t point your camera and not capture a zillion of these shots. So what is unique? Pondering, I fell back on my sports experience (tennis, Manny) and realized that “flying” was the ticket. Ninety percent of the time the puffins are standing around. The last bit is flying. There’s plenty but it is not easy to have the focus, focal length, and composition all working simultaneously for a bird in flight. On this one I had no lessons or advice. I just relied on experience and imagination. It was a one shot deal. There are other things I might do since I am more experienced now. It’s great that things change and make you want to get better.
Paraphrasing what Forest Gump said, ‘(fog) is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ It is such a subtle thing to shoot fog. Like rainbows the effect is ephemeral. And back when it was film, you would not know what you had until the moment was long gone. As a kid I rode to have transportation around the neighborhood. At this point in my life it was for the scenery that changed faster than running. And later biking would be for fitness. We were on our one and only guided bike tour in Maine. The kids were dropped off in camp. And here was that foggy morning….Lubec, Maine.
I’ve done this shot whenever there is the opportunity. Usually it’s an early morning shot. In this instance David and I were on a mission to Al Waba. We left early in the morning and began to take a series of shots of the passing countryside. The clouds/mist/fog/smog hung over the mountains (hills) and, voila! You have to do a bit of cropping and you need to pull out the hills layered upon layer. But it works.
This plant is really ugly most of the year. It’s gangly and unkempt. But, for a brief period in the spring, this bush really shines. So the trick is to get a shot that does it justice. The flower itself is not particularly photogenic. It’s really about the color. You don’t want to get too close. There are too many imperfections. The plant needs a pairing, hence the white picket fence. I’ve taken a lot of forsythia shots over the years. I’m still waiting for a better shot. But this will do, to illustrate my struggle.
Back around 1980, Lisa and I were taking a timeout. We were sort of broken up. So she went to Eluthera to vacation. I wandered up to Boston to visit an OR nurse Ann (Sweeney) Levy. She was married to a GI specialist. She had been the Neuro OR coordinator while I was a resident at NYU. Her mom had had a brain tumor and I had assisted the Chief in her surgery, which turned out well. Leaving Boston, I drove to Cape Cod on a Sunday evening in October. All the traffic on the road was headed away from Cape Cod, bumper to bumper. I felt like I was going against the evacuating tide of traffic in my lone car headed to Providence. Wandering the dunes the next day, I chanced upon this house and got these images of the dunes with the autumn storm clouds. The house is gone now, changed forever into a non-picturesque photo-op some years back. It took me about 30 years to return to this spot. Things change. But, back then, when I took these images, they are iconic in my memory and can never be repeated. Like time it’s a one way trip. I could have done better with the composition. The house is a bit too centered. My father in law, Bill, offered to crop it when he framed the photo. But I decided to keep it as I shot it.
And the road signs warn drivers about… something you don’t see in the USA. I have to say that I have braked for moose after I saw the sign in Maine. I never saw a moose on the road in Maine. But there was a moment when I realized that hitting a moose would be like hitting a truck. I got the wise notion while driving in the fog in Maine, that the GPS device gave you good forward idea of the road and its curves ahead. The rub is that if you happen upon a moose at high speed, you will hurt yourself. I slowed down and got cautious. So far no sign of any stray camels. I tend to doubt there are any wild ones about. And like moose, for me, any sighting is worth a photograph.
Well, I haven’t been out of town too much. But the nurses organized a trip to Taif and invited me. You cannot not go to Macca as a non-Muslim. So to get to Taif is a round about road. It’s slow… 80 miles, 4 hours. We left at dawn; it was still very dark. I was honorably put into the front ‘shotgun’ seat of the bus next to the motor and the driver. As the dawn lightened, I got the early morning light as it gave me an overlapping view of the mountains. This was shot through the tinted bus windshield, in poor light, and from a bouncing moving vehicle. You don’t always get a shot you can keep, but sometimes…
I understand the topography better now. I was on the side of the jet ideal for aerial shots. The building to the right of the park (near center) is my hospital. We’re about 5000 feet up so it’s not sharp. And, there’s jet wash from the engine. But, at least I can pick up landmarks now. “Toto, we’re not in Kansas…”
It’s open to the public. I haven’t been there yet. Once again there is something of historical significance to have a shot while the construction is still in progress. This is a view that won’t be repeated. I watched the dedication on TV at the 10th year anniversary – James Taylor, You Can Close Your Eyes and Paul Simon, Sounds of Silence. It was pretty powerful stuff.
From the location of the Spine Summit at the Hyatt Hotel, you have a splendid view of the fountain. Since I had my trusty Canon G11 on my shoulder, it was but a moment to get this sunset. There were a few mosquitoes, so I ran inside after this shot. To the left there is an artificial island, which I am told was owned by a deceased king. The island has about one thousand caretakers who still reside until the next king/prince will take possession. Seems like a lot of wasted space at the moment. Oh, I almost forgot. The fountain is powered by a jet engine. When I looked up tourist spots this is listed but that wonderful museum remains a local treasure.
I put together this landscape. It’s interesting enough to me because the main element is my family in lower right. We had stopped by this pond/lake and there were hippos in the water. It was a non-event. The hippos were just noses barely poking out from the surface. You don’t go close to hippos. They will kill you. They have skulls in which there are teeth that look like they were derived from a saber-toothed tiger. I didn’t know they were so dangerous. But they never let us get near.
Wow the waves were going on this day. I think I would have been queasy on the ship. Yes, there’s not a lot to love with the boat being dead center. But then again, the waves and sea make this ever so much more interesting. I could have cropped and adjusted. Aside from some minor corrections in Lightroom, it is what it is.
We are at the eastern most point on the north fork of Long Island. It’s the terminus for the ferry. This ferry has had a significant part in our lives. It connects Long Island to New London, Connecticut. It is the way to summer camp, friends, skiing, Maine and so many events. It’s not a regular trip but we’ve made it often enough for the scene to be familiar. Like everything else, I take a picture of the lighthouse on each trip. Sometimes you like the shot better than others.
I spent a lot of time it the fall in Bear Mountain. I used to drive back and forth to med school through the park on the way upstate New York. Recently my memories are more vivid than my slides and images. But here’s one on the connecting road from the Palisades to Route 17. I think it’s called Route 6. The cars whiz by at 60+ mph. Standing at the guard rail you feel the breeze from the cars as people speed to their destinations. I’m glad I had a chance to stop and see the beauty.
I saw a picture someone took of the Blue Ridge Mountains and I remember a car ride in those mountains as a kid (without a camera). I take these shots whenever the opportunity allows. It’s the same trip to drop David off at Putney. We’re still hanging out with separation anxiety (mom). And wouldn’t you know it, there is my layered mountain scenic. It’s never the same shot I remember from childhood. That shot will be ever romantically embellished. But here’s a close second.
And if you look, there are houses on the mountain. What beauty. With a good internet connection, you could let the world come to you. Otherwise you are a long way from civilization.
Fiords are what make Norway famous. I imagined deep glacial valleys with high cliffs on either side. This is not too bad. I can’t say that this is what I had imagined but it’s a pretty special view.
I imagine Norway to be a hardy land in the winter. The houses along the water and nestled against the mountain is like a contest of nature versus man. Yup, that’s snow up there, and it’s only September.
You drive and drive and look constantly for photo ops. With a little more time I could have seen so much more. But I didn’t have time. The map though small did not reflect the narrow roads and time it took to get from one point to another. I was too ambitious. Still I spent a lot of hours in the car passing from one memorable landscape to another.
So after the party… I’m on my own. I didn’t want to impose upon Harald with so many guests and family still about. My traveling companion south was Kristina (that blonde) and she filled me in on some of the Scandinavian life… like how to tell if a woman was Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish. I was wrong every guess. But I think she set me up. I dropped her in the airport in Oslo and continued west to Bergan. Without accurately knowing the km conversion from mph, I was driving way to fast on the narrow roads. Arriving late into Bergan, I took a likely room. My view to the water and early morning fog was priceless.
Norway is stupendously beautiful. Was that convincing enough to make you want to visit? For the birthday party, which was biggest thing in the valley, Harald purchased a hotel. The owner had been reluctant to guarantee all his rooms for the guests. Afterward, Harald casually mentioned that he was selling a (this) hotel. The owner had gotten second thoughts and wanted it back. So Harald made a small profit on the side to cover expenses for the party.
I caught this picture of Norwegian farm life somewhere north of Oslo on the road to Unset. Remember that town with the entering/leaving sign on the same post? The directions to Unset are easy. You leave the airport and drive due north on a two lane road. It’s not divided as I learned quickly swerving back to my side of the road when I found myself facing oncoming traffic. Arriving in Unset, I saw no town (stores, gas station, restaurant) but followed a bus figuring it would lead me there. The bus turned into a driveway, the bus driver having parked in his home driveway. I asked for directions in English and a nice man who didn’t speak English motioned me to follow him. We drove up the road two houses further on and I was at Harald’s place. Meanwhile, back at the haystacks, I saw the covering on the stacks, but never quite got an explanation of their meaning. It’s not something I have seen in the United States.
On this evening January 1, 2000, looking across the bay from the Liberty ferry, we had a sunset that I have never seen repeated. It all came together as the ferry headed back to Manhattan. Perfect timing, perfect vantage, I took so many pictures knowing how special the moment was even as the light constantly changed. I’ve seen my share of memorable sunsets. This is up there with the all time best. And I can tell you exactly where I was that evening.
Sometimes I can’t figure Lisa. She decided that we would head to Ellis Island to see the immigrant wall with names on January 1, 2000. No plan, no warning, just, “Let’s go.” She had put my parents, her grandparents, and other assorted relatives’ names there by making the appropriate donations. I have not returned since then. One visit. Who knew what history would tell? So much has changed in those years since past.