Word and Image


Photography: The story behind the image


Carnival Lights

I love the bright lights of the carnival at night. Before digital photography these were very hard shots to get. Now it’s pretty easy. And even for moving objects, you have sufficient speed to stop the action. Ferris wheels are fun. They are assembled on site. I like getting the view.

Comedy – Not!

Each night during Forest Festival they staged a free show at 7PM. Have you ever been to a show where the comedian was laughing at his own jokes? The audience wasn’t – laughing. He wasn’t cursing. He was an ex-cop. And just as you’d expect, cops don’t have much sense of humor. Ever get a ticket(“traffic” – it would have been a crime to buy one for this show)? And he made fun of everything and everyone including his wife. Hey! Move on over Donald. Yes, he was lame. I kept waiting for the second act. The announcer never made a move with the hook. Too bad. Nope. He was it. We walked out. I’m not sorry, except that we stayed too long. Sometimes you are just not that funny. Tag, you’re it!


Forest Festival

It’s an annual event in Elkins. There’s a carnival and a parade and a celebration of mountain living. I have not attended in a very long time. I remember it being very cold at that time of year. Nope. Global warming, the leaves are still all green. I don’t remember the rides much. They are $4 a ride now. And there are the ducks. They sit in the water. You turn one over and everyone wins. That was my favorite. I liked to be winner. Nope, I still don’t gamble. And, you gotta love rides that spin your brains.

New Reality

I walked on the beach. It was a balmy 78 degrees. It’s not what you get in the Red Sea in Jeddah. There, it is 100 and scorching about anytime you stand in the sun. Of course the water is warm and fish are waiting. Not so here, it’s about 70 at its warmest. That is toe dipping water for me. And the beach is typically like the desert. No coral no fish – fish need coral mutually. So, no diving. Surfing is a possibility. For now my dive gear is in storage. I like warm water. I was spoiled by the Red Sea. So I will find other things to photograph. Finally!

Big and Ugly


Hey! A spider on its web! Big and ugly, did I tell you I don’t like bugs? It was hard to shoot. The darn web was moving in the wind. It was just like underwater where everything is moving too. I’d have tried for better detail but I was not too committed to the shot. After all it’s big and ugly. But, spiders gotta eat too. This web looked functional more than artistic.

Praying Mantis


It’s a bit scary and intimidating. I don’t care for bugs much at all. This one was sitting on the car. It moved up the window and perched on the roof. Well, why not? I got a great shot. The technique comes from my time with underwater macro photography. No big housing needed, I got a riveting shot. I like fish better. But what it is is what it is. Can you believe this?

Fish Hatchery

Bowden Fish Hatchery. I haven’t been here in a long time. Yes, it’s been decades. I’m surprised it’s still going. They raise trout for release into local streams to stock and replenish. It’s a nice program. People follow the trucks with fishing poles to catch the fish as they are released. I guess trout are good eating too. They grow the fish in large runways filled with juvenile fish. The fish grow until quite large.

As an aside I am the worst fisherman ever. I could drop my hook next to a fish (I have) and fail to catch it. It’s neat to see that some things have not changed from my childhood.



I lived in Elkins, West Virginia more than 50 years ago. Everyone has gone and moved away. The town is so small. I remember it larger. Maybe my legs were shorter. Surprisingly buildings remain and I can remember the people who once lived there.


My third grade school, Elkins First Ward, is now an apartment building. Repurposed and re-tasked, the town has changed so that the number of students has dropped and shifted. The high school nearby is gone too. Third grade to sixth grade. I had a split class in fourth grade. Half were fourth grade students (us) and the other half of the class was fifth grade. We still got educated “good.”


My house – back then – my mom built it. Well, at least she directed the construction. Three bedrooms, we lived there for five years. I lay in the side yard looking up at the clouds and thinking my parents were so old. The summers were endless. Kids in the neighborhood would surround the house and we’d play steal the flag. It’s fifty years later and no tall trees overhang the house. It hasn’t changed too much.


Anne Leyen lived here. She moved to Ohio shortly after I moved back to New York. I tried to reach her. I just wanted to know if she has had a nice life. Her sister eventually replied that Anne does not do reunions and does not do email. Oh boy, I guess she’s older than I thought. Twitter? Her dog Taffy shit in the front yard. We stepped gingerly around her yard.


The Nestors lived here. The youngest daughter painted my brother Eric completely with white house paint. Eric took a bath in turpentine. I can’t imagine it was healthy. The paint eventually came off.


Ricky Solow lived here. He was bigger than me so that put me behind him in the pecking order of kids. Eventually I triumphed – brains over brawn. But the chips you have as a kid you  never leave completely behind. We watched Kennedy debate Nixon. I was annoyed because cartoon programming was suspended.


The Trimble house, they lived here a while. It was right across from the school. Colleen invited me to play one day. All I remember is the three speed English racer her brother had in the hallway. Yes, back then it was forward to invite a boy over to play. It’s a nice memory that sat with me more than fifty years. The house changed a lot, but it’s still there. And my memory has mellowed quite a bit too. I rode a Roadmaster Sears one speed. The English racer was so exotic. I ride a Specialized Tricross nowadays. And Colleen remembered that I nearly fell out of the back seat of my father’s car when we were kids. Someone else pulled me back inside and my father drove on without ever checking. No harm, no foul.

Dressage – but I call it horse riding

I missed the jumping. We wandered into a college competition late. It’s a sport with which I’m unfamiliar. Seriously, there are folks who dress the part and then participate. I’m afraid I’m not sympathetic. Certainly the competitors are serious. I’m struggling to make sense of it myself. Sorry, I suppose there is beauty in training a horse to perform on command. It’s called training and art for the sake of mastery. Oh boy. I’m just poking fun at their expense. Not fair. I was an intruder in a foreign culture. There are purists and elitists out there who will defend the sport. I’m not one. One more pound and you don’t button that last one. Watch out!

Kettle Corn

_dsc9108Imagine, all these years and I’ve never had any. At this point in life I hardly need a new sin. Kettle corn has not been on my radar. Those in the know recommend it. I’m hooked now. It’s hot and when the popping begins be sure to wear a helmet and gloves for protection. Sugar caramelizes on the bottom of a heated kettle. The coated corn is reminiscent of Cracker Jacks but less cloying. Add a little salt to finish and the product is hard to resist. May I have some more please?