Word and Image


Photography: The story behind the image




I get ‘hayfever.’ Spring and late summer. There are two seasons for it. Some folks get one or both. My eyes have been bothering me. Spring fever. This was pine pollen. There was even an alert about it. Go figure. The pollen covered the solar panels. It got all over the carnation so much so that it is an unmistakable detail of the flower. I bet you would never have guessed pine pollen could be so much in abundance. That’s a lot of pollen to make some little pine trees.


Look what I planted

I did container gardening in Manhattan for many years. A very nice flaky flute playing gardener planted our deck one year. He played ‘happy birthday’ on his flute for Dave. It was just before his birthday April 30. I never saw him again but the lesson took. The main thing I remember is, “Plants like to be crowded in containers.” So, I do it with whatever is available. What grows? From place to place and year to year it varies. Begonias were my bugaboo last year. All summer long I lamented that they were scrawny. But, this year is a whole new year. Too many fine shots, too little space. If you look closely the detail is good. Otherwise enjoy the color. I expect the containers will be the best ever this year.

What to plant? Whatever you like. Annuals are just one and done.. But they are showy. Perennials? They come back year after year. The cold may be too much for them to survive containers. And in the lawn beds, the rabbits and deer may find them to be a banquet. It’s a balance. Fox urine is overrated.

It’s always a guessing game. Plants don’t winter over. Or they fail to thrive. Roses: Ugh! Mine have been sickly. I tried fairy roses. They are ever blooming and get to be very large bushes. Nope. Lily? The rabbits loved them. Wisteria? They are a work in progress. I’ve got a balcony in the front of the house that only a mother could love. F-ugly. It’s always fun to experiment. You go to Lowe’s – (we don’t Home Depot (Republican) any more) – you pick your palette, and then you plant away.

That gardener so many years back – he planted a rhododendron that blooms every year on Dave’s birthday. As far as I know it survived the container for more than thirty years and is now living a fine life of retirement in the ground on Long Island…. I hope.

Cow Cats

I plant tall ornamental grass in containers. The cats think it’s just for them. They eat it. I guess they need roughage. Chomp! They can’t seem to get enough. I’ve got newly mown grass. Ha! They won’t eat the chives. There is catnip. Nope. It’s the tall grass or nothin’

Red grass, green grass, no matter. They make me laugh. I shall depend upon something else to be the focal point in my containers. I’m so pleased they like my garden.

Focus – II

Okay! So, read your manual. Or my manual. Duh! Don’t laugh. I neglected to do so. I was lazy and haven’t refreshed myself since I got the camera. Digital is like a computer. You can unlock a lot of secrets by reading the built-in tricks in the software. Geez! I did some hand wringing recently. My images were not in sharp focus. So, after some adjustment I think I’ve got the problem less worse. I shot a bunch of tests. There were still a high percentage of duds. But I was trying to test the camera. Nikon D610. It’s spiffy and I am supposed to be able to make it do what I want. To that degree, it does. I’ve been shooting way more with my point and shoot Canon G7 so I got out of the habit of looking in a viewfinder.

I have an array of cameras at hand. The iPhone is always in my pocket. A point and shoot G7 goes with me wherever. The big Nikon and it’s big glass is available. The happy medium? I don’t like the tiny iPhone lens. Yes, it’s good but not as much as my Canon point and shoot. I have a smaller Canon S100 too. And a Canon G12. But I prefer the larger lens and image size on the G7. Underwater photography convinced me of the merit of a point and shoot over the potential for heart breaking loss of a big rig DSLR. Bottom line: My point and shoot Canon G7 is about 90% of my shooting these days. TMI!


Food photography eludes me. I take lots of images. But styling ain’t my deal. Here’s one more attempt. I’m not touting recipes. There isn’t any that I particularly follow. Instead I’m more Food Channel. Make it up on the fly. This is a casserole? What’s not to like? I layered potatoes, tomato, mushrooms, cheese, and spinach. Maybe there was more… oh and lots of pepper and salt. Yeah. If it tastes good, it’s bad for you. Add butter or cream and even some eggs, you got a whole ‘nother dish. Meanwhile, I got these shots. We ate it. It tastes way better than it looks. And, that! That’s what counts. Mmmm, the smell and taste. Yeah, it was good. You can’t take a picture of taste. For that you use your own experience.

Today’s news


It was a split second. Maybe it will be longer for you. It sank in and then joy! Oh happy day! I guess everyone knows now. I was the last in the family to know. It’s ok. I’m the dad. Jules called today to tell me she had sent me a Father’s Day gift. And it was delivered at about the same moment she rang up. She told me to wait till later to open it. She was traveling. Hours later she called, told me to Face Time her, and then to open it. Glass/Fragile stickers were on the box. “Grandpa Victor.” Hey, I’m old but….. oh! I’m gonna be a grandpa! Well, I was wondering if it would ever be the day? Wow! Elation! Worries! Cool! I guess you  could agree it’s the nicest Father’s Day present I’m ever gonna get. If not, it ranks right up there! Hmmm …I can’t think of anything better.

Glass Blowing

Glassblowing. Scientific glass blowing. I didn’t know that this was an occupation. Two. Two in a row. Yup. Two in one day. Only yards apart and neither seemed to notice each other. Scientific? Well, that’s an Erlenmeyer flask getting an attachment. Why? Industrial manufacturing technique should be way more efficient. But this custom guy does repairs and specialty work. It’s a living. Notice: I was told to wear violet glasses. They work! The yellow color is removed. It helps to see the glass better while he’s working on it. To me it’s just a neat trick since I’m photographing. How? Just put the violet glass over my camera lens. Ha! I’ve done this before. Jules taught me the trick. We held a pair of binoculars up to the camera lens. Would you believe that?

New Castle

We come to New Castle (est 1651) because it retains its colonial charm in its old homes and cobblestone streets. I shouldn’t say too much. It’s been our secret. Our favorite restaurant was mentioned in Delaware magazine. Fortunately, it didn’t work and we can still get a reservation with relative ease. And all of this explanation is just an excuse to show off more flower photos. It’s kind of like hiding the peas in the mashed potatoes.

I gave you the name of the town, not the restaurant. That’s for you to investigate. It’s still charming. We don’t have to try hard for a reservation.

Yellow Magnolias

Yellow magnolias. This time of the year we all see the pink ones. Yellow is definitely in the minority. Do you actually notice? I didn’t. Then, our guide pointed it out. Oh. Well, okay! And blues flowers are rare too. Why? They just are. …even though they look blue to me too?

The wise and wonderful internet says: There is no true blue pigment in plants, so plants don’t have a direct way of making a blue color. Blue is even more rare in foliage than it is in flowers.


I realize that I’m overstaying my welcome. And less is more. However, I’m also lazy. I can edit and cull the duds. After that there are still a lot of good images that are in danger of staying hidden on my hard drive forever. So…

Jules hated my early digital work. Well, she hated that the prints were distinct and she could tell what was computer printed and what got printed in the darkroom. My neighbor who hated the water running kind of put an end to running the water all night. Meanwhile digital got better. Ironically, both she and Dave now shoot mostly on their iPhone. Film is dead. Kodak’s gone. Real movies for commercial release are being shot with iPhone. Why? … ’cause they can. That tiny little lens does good. I like my “real” camera. It does good too. Better?