Poetry. I found myself in Norway for a colleague’s birthday. I was hijacked into attending. First I enthusiastically agreed to attend and then he told me where. Can you beat that? He held me to my promise. Then my supposed roommate was another neurosurgery colleague. Except John was very smooth with the ladies and he picked up his own roommate, a rather good looking blonde at the airport in Oslo. Harald had to scramble to find me a place to stay and I was consigned to the loom room in a shack behind a farmhouse. I would add that he was compulsive and needed to guarantee enough rooms for guests coming in from around the world. So he bought a hotel for the weekend. The farmer had remorse about selling it to him, so Harald sold it right back at a profit. The room I had was view to the cows passing back and forth to the barn several times a day. It’s a bit of a different view from the Manhattan skyline.
Scotland again. Before they were called selfies, here’s one we did. I was not shy to use a mirror. The only thing was that the result wouldn’t be known for quite some time. There were no retakes. At most I might shoot two frames. This was the better of the two and barely passable on technical merit. But it reflects the time and place. Another shot from the archives that I bet Lisa hasn’t seen or remembers. I look back at the early work. Film was pretty restrictive and unforgiving. But there were enough shots that came out to make for some great memories.
It’s formidable. High on a hill it has been besieged unsuccessfully and successfully throughout history. I’m sure there are better shots than the one I have. But the point is that I took this. I was there and this is my 1/125 second slice of time and place. These days with no limit on my memory card I’d have many shots as I approached and the view changed as I got closer. This trip I took two. I laugh at how sure I was that I had what I wanted and only clicked the shutter twice.
I’ve been there and you could guess it was many years ago. There are restrictions and tickets necessary to visit now. Somebody made a pile of rocks. Yes, it’s a mystery. And of my shots, the ones (2) that counted had Lisa in them. As I have said there are many images one can find of monuments. What makes them different is the people in the image. You go places. And you take a picture and that picture is mine. It makes all the difference that I took it. But I’d do things differently now.
Once upon a time we did road trips in Europe. We’d rent a car and drive from one place to another with a general plan but no reservations. We would pull into a city and hit the tourist info center for a hotel reservation. It worked pretty well. There was a place in Antwerp where a number of roaches marched around the twelve foot high ceilings. I received a can of bug spray by way of my complaint to the manager. We never unpacked and he graciously handed back our money. In Belgium (no names to protect the innocent) we had secured a reservation and were headed across town to find the place. Stopped at a railroad crossing, I idly noticed this hotel. At my urging Lisa entered and asked about rooms and prices. She came back with a price of about $20 when the currency was converted. I said, impossible and sent her back to be sure. She not only confirmed but had also looked at a couple rooms. It seems the rooms were mostly open and available to view. Well, it couldn’t have been nicer than the one we were headed. The price was too good to be true. I remember mirrored ceiling but maybe it was the bathroom. The next morning we asked about staying for an extra night. The desk clerk ascertained that we would be out all day touring and then she agreed. Later that day Lisa had a small issue and needed a change of clothes. When we entered the lobby, the startled clerk explained we couldn’t enter the room. It was in use. Because of the train station next door folks used the rooms during the days to rest before continuing their journey. Lisa used the restroom and I noticed a beaded curtain and a couple emerged holding cocktails. My suspicion was reinforced by the parking lot full of cars. The lot was empty again in the evening. You do the math. And for the second night it appeared that we were the only guests again. Years later and armed with my story and picture, grandma and grandpa tried to get a room. No dice. I figure, they figured we were just a couple poor Americans kids and they took pity and let us stay a couple nights.
Well that’s what Lisa and I called them. We traveled without a plan. And in Brussels we chanced upon a fair or festival. These guys were dressed in head wear that reminded me of craniotomy dressings. It was quite an elaborate affair and in my inexperience I wandered around getting some random shots. I would do it all differently knowing what I know now. But that was then. And these guys make me smile every time I run across the image.
We were in Brussels. I take pictures of silly things like mailboxes. The first shot was devoid of people. Then to my surprise a kid came and posed. In those days I just took a single shot. Today it would have been a series of clicks. But this was it, the one and only. Cute. Spontaneous. Memorable.
Guilty! There are folks who have expensive cameras, (not too many any longer), who have them stored in that camera bag or camera case until the moment comes for taking that ‘picture.’ Not so many bags any more, but I do see people walking around with lens caps on their camera lenses. In the time it takes to get the camera ready, the ‘moment’ is often gone. Digital has freed us. We don’t have to sparingly conserve film. And the smartphone, iPhone, has made it pretty convenient to shoot an image, and video too. I don’t shoot much video. With all the video I’ve shot, it’s now on DVD’s and no one much looks at them. So I’m comfortably sticking to images.
But my point, Grandpa Bill had some pretty nice camera stuff. And he kept it in pristine condition. The used camera market would list the stuff 9+, almost new condition. And Uncle Pete (Bill’s brother), was the same way. He kept a lot of treasures in pristine condition and well protected. Pete’s old Exakta was given to me in a large leather case along with its accessories. Nowadays film is dead and these old cameras are ‘art.’ It doesn’t make sense to have art and not be able to see it. So they are out now rather than wait for the kids or grand kids to discover the dusty cases. And my old Nikon SLR bodies are out on the shelf collecting dust. I look at them and realize that as I moved up through the Nikon line with better and better camera bodies, I never went back much and shot again with the old bodies. The kids did a few times. It’s kind of like feeling guilty about old girl friends I never stayed in touch with. I do have regrets but the future and history shows I was pushed forward. As for my cameras, DSLR, point and shoots, iTouch, and now iPhone, all are in readiness for action at the ‘drop of the hat.’ I carry one in my pants pocket. I hang a camera on my neck riding a bicycle. I went to Iguazu waterfalls in the pouring rain (umbrella blowing) and soaked myself and my Nikon DSLR. We both survived. I have not been bulletproof and I did fry a couple of Nikons (one film, one digital). Hey, it’s ‘living.’ You can live sheltered and never take a chance, or, you can ‘go for it.’ Everyone has a line where they think they won’t cross, a risk benefit continuum so to speak. Meanwhile all my cameras sit out getting dusty and ready to shoot.
Red Bull. San Diego. The series. They happened to be staging the air races, a series, in San Diego. Lucky me. Looking at the series of images, this was a documented event but I didn’t really have the eye to catch a signature image. If I did it over again, I’d try some different things. I certainly keep evolving my photographic eye. It’s what’s fun. You’re always changing things.
It’s world famous! Until I had been to Africa, this was pretty good. Now that I’ve had a completely different experience in the wild, this zoo is and interesting series of images in retrospect. If you isolate the animal and the background, you might convince yourself you are in the African veldt. It’s like going to the aquarium. You can get a shot but you know it was from behind the glass in a tank.
If you’re in San Diego, you can easily enter Tijuana, Mexico. David joined me traveling from Los Angeles, USC. There’s a train that takes you to the border. You can then walk over without ever being stopped. Getting back into the USA is more complicated. The customs service will definitely want to see a passport. But walking is pretty easy since there’s not much place to put contraband. So you pass through with minimum waiting.
The native folks headed to Mexico all seemed to be carrying large bundles of toilet paper. Really! And once you are in Mexico, everyone seems to be bringing back prescription medication. There are big signs and many (hundreds) of pharmacies close-by to the border crossing.
We just wanted to say we were in Mexico. We wandered around and had tacos. That’s it. No need for drugs, legal or illegal. I would have brought some toilet paper if I had known it was in demand.You also have to be impressed by the traffic jam back into the USA.
If I had my choice of home styles this home would be right up there. it’s in Harrison Maine nearby to the Camp Pinecliffe that J attended. We passed the house on a backroad and then I never saw it again until I passed by in my random wandering one day. It was unexpected that I would find it again. But then again there aren’t too many ways in and out of the area. I like the roofline. At this point I think that there aren’t enough windows and sunlight. The stone wall is a great touch. Overall it’s a memorable home architecturally.
As time has gone by there have been many homes I have admired. I suppose there are the memories of the car ride to Maine and the bittersweet goodbye to your kid for the summer. Lisa explained sending the kids to camp would make it easier when it was time for them to leave home for college. It worked too well. They left and lived in Africa and South America for a while. I missed them then and did when they were a continent away.
This reminds me that traveling with a pregnant woman and a toddler from island to island can be a story by itself. We were in Honolulu transferring to an airplane for Kauai. I expected a twin-engine passenger jet, you know, the big one. As we pulled up to the airport they asked for our weight, which should have been the big clue. I told them mine and thought nothing more until we boarded a small twin engine airplane (12 passengers). Lisa was sweating profusely and clearly agitated. I thought that this was the pregnancy and corralling J. No, she tearfully cried as the doors closed, “I lied about my weight!” “So what it’s only a few pounds,” I said reassuringly. She wailed it was wrong by a whole lot more than …. Well, we weren’t done. The plane taxied behind a big ass regular passenger jet on the take off line. I could look out the forward window along with the pilots. They were conferring and then taxied back to the gate for some repair. I thought we would switch planes (bigger) and the weight thing would be solved. Nope. We got on board the same plane, this time without the co-pilot (what did he know and why did he leave? maybe Lisa’s weight?). Oh great! I was sitting close enough to see the gauges – including gas, the only one I could understand. We were at 1/8 in one tank and less in the other. It’s ok in a car but I thought it was a bit reckless in a plane. We took off into a rain storm, struggled to maintain heading and altitude, and landed by diving out of the clouds descending abruptly to the tarmac. The pilot waited till the luggage was off and then took off again without refueling. I’m glad I wasn’t on the return flight and out of gas. At the car rental counter I asked for directions to the hotel and was told to go out and turn right. Ha ha! The hotel was steps to the right of the airport entrance.
Yvonne Chang. Lisa saw her work on Kauai. Then we tracked her down as we went from island to island and finally met her in Honolulu where we had started. She introduced me to Asian pears. Lisa commissioned her to do a batick. We haven’t purchased many original art works. But this was one time. It was kind of an interesting adventure to go from place to place and eventually find and meet the artist. Most other occasions you buy the work or a print but never meet the artist. It’s not the same to get a little printed bio. Sometimes I’m amazed by my own stupidity. I never did take a picture of her or her studio.We have an ink and a batick, just not these, which I took as a reference for what Lisa liked and wanted. Note to self: it would have been nice if you had a picture of the artist. Duh?For purity, I found this photo on the internet. I’m glad she’s still in the news.
Here’s what not to do to your family. Kauai – the Napali coast is famous for it’s cliffs. It is really a sight to see from water or from a helicopter. Lisa’s pregnant with David on this trip. And J suffers from being car sick, as in throwing up. She’s good about it, we get a warning, “Mommy!” and in less than a second she “hurls.” Well, at least she warns you. (Please note: no big fat! pregnant belly in the picture – Politically Correct – but David [no name yet] is there.)
We’d been camped at the hotel on the beach and I got the itch to drive over to the Napali overlook which was clear for a few minutes about everyday at noon. Then it would cloud over again. Into the car, raining, twisting road, and driving a little fast to get there. J is in her car seat in the back. Lisa is riding shotgun. I pull into the foggy parking lot, no parking spots, until I see one just as I went past it. Stop short, back up, stop again and start to park. The sudden change in directions resulted in pregnant wife (with morning sickness, it’s a boy – worse) and car sick prone daughter both throwing up simultaneously. They did not get out to see the view (there wasn’t one – foggy). I drove home with the windows open and no one would talk to me.
This lasted just one trip. Lisa’s fortieth, we were in London. I took her (and kids) – surprise. David brought a stuffed pig. He talked to it and showed it around the town. After we got back I never saw him talk to the pig again. Hey? It’s cool!
I’ve mentioned the Tyler Place. It was idyllic. At least my pictures say so. I hope that the memory my kids have is similar to the photos. As J told me when she was old enough for me to query. “I have seen the photos and the videos. So I know I was there. I just don’t know if it is my memory or whether it is the media show I remember. Sometimes I think that Photoshop and some generic background pasting would have cost me less. But a kid with a stick… priceless.
Since early memories are sketchy until around four years of age, maybe I should have kept them hidden away. Ah, but they did learn to ski before that. So even if you don’t remember how you learned, isn’t it wonderful to feel like you’ve been doing it all your life?
Down in Argentina you can visit Iguazu Falls. It’s sure to be wet. There is a boat ride to the falls. They give you a ‘wetbag’ to store valuables, that would be expensive cameras. Take the picture or not, it’s your choice. We did. And it was raining all day. I mean umbrellas couldn’t save you. David, Lisa, and I did the best we could. Dry was not possible. At lunch it was quite an experience to enter an air-conditioned dining room and to see condensation inside the lens of all the cameras (3). Fortunately the water evaporated and nothing more could be seen of any water damage. But it was scary for a moment. No waterproof diving camera in those days.
Yes, this is not a special effect. This is condensation in the camera at lunch when the A/C caused the vapor to fog. It cleared in less than an hour. Dumb luck or crazy!
Shortly after Lisa and I met, we traveled to Barcelona, across the French coast and Riviera, to Italy and then Rome. It was eventful. Before we left Lisa’s grandfather died. I lost my wallet in Barcelona. I left it in a restaurant on a table. American Express “Don’t Leave Home Without It” doesn’t have offices to replace the card. So we had to wait until Rome, the end of the trip, to get a new card. And!! I proposed marriage at the Trevi fountain (Three Coins in the Fountain). It seemed pretty romantic. We almost broke up because, marriage yes, but after I finished residency, that would be in about three years… too long. I just wanted the proposal to happen in the most romantic place I could think of. We’re still married…
We arrived in Rome, down to the last traveler’s check, late at night and booked a room in the Hotel “…” no names please. They still might be looking for us. We took a room “sans bathroom,” cheaper. In the morning Lisa didn’t bother to go down the hall to wash up or shower. I was sitting on the bed. Yes, I remember exactly where I was. She was leaning on the sink.
And… crack!… followed by a torrent of water shooting into the room. The sink was tiled into the wall without any support beneath except for the plumbing. And there were no shutoff valves below the sink. Who thinks of this stuff? The room was rapidly flooding. The carpet was soaked. And I, in my birthday suit, quickly jumped up and did what anyone would do under the circumstances. I stuck a finger into each pipe and stopped the flood. Lisa was screaming in fear (arrest) and pain (sink fell on toe). I was thinking, I’d like to be dressed when the hotel maid arrived. So first, put on my pants. Lisa stopped hopping and screaming; helped with the pants. Remember, hands not free to act. Good! Get a chambermaid. Maid looks in with an inquisitive look. Eyes open wide! Classic! She throws her apron over her head and runs. (You can’t make this stuff up.) Get someone else. The porter comes. He’s clueless. He looks. He doesn’t help. He doesn’t advance into the room. I need him to find and close the shutoff valves. I don’t plan on being the ‘Little Dutch Boy.” No luck naturally, he doesn’t speak English, and I’m don’t speak Italian. We’re in Rome, duh!! The porter finally advances close enough to this half dressed nut (me, remember, only pants) so that I can pull out one finger and squirt him in the face. He runs off… I’m thinking to call the police.
Get me some wine. What! That would be Lisa still screaming… and she knows I don’t drink. I’m frankly amazed that I can think through this emergency that I have never encountered. Two corks from the trays lying in the hallway, thank goodness for room service last night. Corks into the pipes and the water is stopped. The floor is flooded and the carpet is soggy. What now!? We do not have the money for this disaster. Quickly packing… I mean just throw your stuff into the bags… and we’re out of the room and down the elevator. News of our mishap has just made it to the lobby. Lisa stops at the desk, screams out in English (Italian speaking hotel, remember?), “What kind of hotel do you have here?!! My toe is injured! I’ve been damaged by your hotel!” And it appears the desk manager misinterprets Lisa and thinks she is going to blame the hotel, so he yells back in Italian (translation unknown, I don’t speak Italian, I told you already).
With that Lisa picks up the two suitcases (heavy for me, but fear will do amazing things) and stomps out the door saying that we’ll never stay here again. Really? I follow with all the early morning guest staring at the two noisy Americans. All I can say to this is that I took one photo before we evacuated the room. Yeah, priceless. Someday, I’ll find the photo of when we stayed two nights in a working brothel. Oh, to be young, on a budget, and so innocent.
It’s an inside story. He’s not a regular reader here. But I had a discussion with him as to whether there was any picture taking in Mecca, spelled Makkah in Saudi Arabia. To be honest I can watch the Mecca channel 24/7. I don’t see any cameras or photos being taken. They always walk counter clockwise. From all the smart phone pictures I see being taken at the Corniche (beach) there are plenty of photos there at the beach. But the number of serious cameras. DSLR or advanced point and shoot, are pretty limited anywhere I have visited. I put this image in for David as an indication that Nikon thinks the visitors use Nikon cameras when they visit Mecca. I still haven’t noticed a DSLR in Mecca. But Dave, I think pictures are ok. Wink! What happens in Mecca stays in Mecca. Non Muslims, that would be us are directed to take the road around Mecca. No Christians allowed…. This image was a throw away that I took in the Balad with him. I didn’t know it would have more meaning to us after he completed his trip.
David found this listed on his internet search of places to visit. So off we went and drove north to visit an ancient fishing village. It turns out to be a modern marina and there’s nothing quaint. In fact this is the same marina where I get the dive boat (see way below) and we leave for our ‘boat trips.’ I never associated the name David found with the marina location.
There is a habit, Farid told me, in which it is customary to build the wall before you build the house. And there is some effort underway to be energy conscious, hence the light posts with solar panels. Just when I think I see something I can agree with, I realize that these lights are in the middle of nowhere with nothing significant to light up.
We did look and look for that fishing village. It could have been a good photo op. It was my first realization that everything you see on the internet is not true. Maps are not well marked and what you find may not match expectation. We had that happen a lot in the next few days we wandered in the car. Dhahban was an adventure in non adventure hunting.
I have a bunch of non sequiturs. Actually I uploaded some shots from the Balud and they appear to be orphans at the moment. There always seem to be a few men bundling sticks cut precisely the same length. The bundles sell and I must remember to ask why they sell?Digital is a lot smarter than me. I shoot and the camera makes me look good. Mixed lighting and high contrast scene… no problem. It’s dates.This is as close as we came to actually buying anything. It was an old jewelry store, which is to say that the jewelry looked old. Nope, made in Pakistan, recently. Neither J nor David bought. Dave could have used something for his girlfriend….Shadows are a great subject. We’ve done some strange shapes. But the kids would have none of it as we walked at night. Patterns, I like patterns and especially when you have willing/unwilling subjects at hand.
Online the name is spelled Al Wahbah. At the site it’s spelled Al Waba. I surmise it’s phonetic differences. But no matter how you pronounce it there’s not much chance you’ll get good directions. We kept missing turns and ending up on the wrong roads. There were roads that were not on the map. Google earth can’t save you. There were cell towers in the middle of nowhere. And we had a wireless modem. It couldn’t save us. But we persevered throughout a day of solid rain. It was only dry for the two hours we spent at the crater. We debated about telling J. She had left for home a day earlier. Sorry. Wish you were/had been here.
If your timing is right it looks like you’re jumping in the crater itself. Well, that’s what David says.
It has rained twice in a year and a half since I’ve been here. It rained twice in ten days that David was here. On his last day going to/from the crater, it rained/poured all day. So the storm clouds we saw over the crater are probably not a common sight.
Lisa would never let me take a picture of her naked… We’re at the Ventana Inn in Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway in May 1984. Anyway that’s how I remember it. Lisa had been told by her friend, Eileen, to be sure to stay there. No one told us that a reservation was absolutely a must. So Lisa pleaded (by telephone from Los Angeles two days earlier) that we were coming on this once in a lifetime trip and couldn’t they please make some room. She didn’t even tell them she was pregnant. Yup, right beneath the water is her gravid belly holding Julia who would arrive in August. I couldn’t help wonder whether Julia was getting cooked. Well, the Inn was full! But….! There was a cabin in the mountain and the hot tub was broken, so we could stay there since no one was staying there until repairs were complete. It was up on the mountain, completely secluded, with a view of the Pacific (and the sunset). It had the hot tub, which, mysteriously, was working just fine. Idyllic! And lucky! You just have to assume that the Gods were smiling. And Julia was there too. But I’m not sure if that counts.