Word and Image

Archive for October, 2012


Well, I’ve been to the Village Halloween Parade in NYC for the past seven years. Not this year… I didn’t realize it had become a tradition for me. The first couple times I went as pure spectator without a clue as to what to do. Then one year I wandered into the staging area. The NYC police keep everyone out. But it’s hard to tell the participants from the organizers. It’s chaos and therein lies opportunity. By the good grace of the organizer, Jeanne Flemming, I have been granted a press pass in recent years. It finally made me legal to wander. One of the unique things that happens in the staging area is Andy Golub and his entourage who engage in body painting. He never fails to draw a crowd. Naked women tend to do that. His work goes by so quickly during the parade, that it’s hard to believe the fuss. It’s dark and I would guess that many of the parade audience never notice that the costumes are just paint. In the staging area, the entertainment is the prep work that goes into high gear hours before sunset. The latest: It turns out that 2012 Superstorm Sandy has caused the cancellation of this year’s parade. So it looks like i didn’t miss it after all. You can’t have a parade if no one can get there to march and there’s no one to watch.

Scarborough, Maine


Secretly I disagree with everyone who says that the best shots of fall foliage are on cloudy days. There is supposedly more saturation of the colors. I like a bright sunny blue sky day. And if need be, give me a good polarizing filter. I also like white picket fences. So with the brilliant fall colors, I tried to get the fence and leaves but had to compromise with civilization. As I conclude this fall series, I look back and remember that 2008 was a magical fall season for me.




Wandering around the area I have some memories. The town was first on my radar when some dear friends’ daughter was married closeby some autumns ago. Second, the road past town leads to a lighthouse, that I like to visit. And third, this particular year was the second annual pumpkin boat festival. Don’t ask. But they take the championship prize winning 500 pound pumpkins that no one knows what to do with,  they hollow them, and then race them around in the bay. The first year everyone fell into the water. The pumpkins were too unsteady. The second year, everyone caught on and stabilized their rigs. I’d have liked to have seen the sinkings. I would have to say that this vehicle is serviceable unlike many that I pass on the backroads. It’s just quintessential fall for this Maine scene.



For the lack of better identification, I shall call this heather. I left Camden and headed west toward home. The car pretty much ran into this field. It’s more or less classical – horizontal rows of pastel colors fading to the horizon. I wonder why I didn’t see it when I was driving west to east. You can miss a lot of things looking in only one direction.

Rockport, Maine


There’s Rockland, which has lighthouse, and Rockport, which has a photo school. They are not far from one another. As I wandered the Camden area, I traveled through both. I parked the car to visit a craft show. And at my feet was this farmhouse tableau waiting for me. There was just enough color to avoid being black and white. It was faded enough that I didn’t have to think of using Photoshop to make it so. Julia thought enough of the image to make me enlarge it for her to frame and hang.



On a lot of levels this is a thoughtful emotional shot. I’ve got a bunch of shots in cemeteries at this time of year. It’s a gut thing that struck me when I took this shot. I have often said that there is a fine line between taste and tasteless. For me this was never more true here.

Gone Fishin’


Yes I know he doesn’t have a pole. It’s why the title says ‘gone.’ The grandkids were racing around with poles. No one was catching anything. I sat to the right and was trying to read. The glare degraded the image. The kids are missing. The pipes in the background intrude. For me it’s still an image of serenity during a lazy fall afternoon at the pond with a book in hand. It’s a bright memory recalled in an instant by looking back at this picture.



Fall leaves are so quintessential autumn. Fall colors are so easy to recognize. So why do we need to focus up on the leaves to convey the message. I would say that this was probably Runaround Pond again. I liked to sit around and read a book on a warm autumn afternoon. With camera close by, I got this shot as the duck glided by. He scarcely noticed me as I just picked up the camera and got the image. Remember, I have that soft spot for water and reflection.




So I just got done a few posts ago and said that one color images tend to be boring. And to break my own rule, I keep coming back to this shot. I did it by the roadside while I was shooting something else. Looking down I noticed the fern. And I still keep coming back to this image whenever I edit. So here it is.



When you see an image, you shoot. Many times I don’t know what I have captured until I edit. But there are times when you click and know it’s a good shot right then and there. I mostly don’t peek at the LCD screen. It’s especially gratifying to get to Lightroom and see the image you shot look the way you had imagined when you pressed the shutter. I’ve been disappointed sometimes, but not on this occasion. This is another favorite shot Julia mentioned when she first saw this.



There are different ways to get the message across. I’m still seeking that vast panoramic view of brilliant fall colors stretching side to side and foreground to background. Meanwhile, it’s not that easy to find a good detail shot either. It can’t all be one color. That would get boring. Well, I follow the idea that I’ll know it when I see it. I got this in a parking lot behind a store at the roadside.



I’ve a soft spot for haystacks. Nowadays it’s all done mechanically. So the stacks are neat and tidy. But add a little fall color and I think it works alright. I don’t quite know the difference. Some stacks are feed and some are bedding. It all looks the same on my images.

Crooked Farmer


There’s a crazy farm I pass on the road to and from my travels. I was going to call this ‘farmer from Hell’ but thought better of it. Things just aren’t quite right. I have never stopped nor have I really seen the owners. It’s just that as you take a glance things aren’t quite normal. I have seen wild turkeys here. The fence is an oddity. It looks slapped together. Even with poor carpentry skill, it seems to me that you could put together a better looking thing. It works. There are no cows on the road. For the purposes of a fall shot, the fence is a keeper.

Runaround Pond

You barely notice this place on a good map if you look hard. It’s in the middle of nowhere and I was not headed there but I was coming back from somewhere else. Ahh! Fog! Reflection! Water! Fall! All the elements were in place. The light was quickly fading to evening. There were a few other photographers lurking already. Don’t blow the shot! This is one in which there are so many ways in which to shoot a bad image. Clicking away as everyone cleared from the scene, I got a bunch of good images. You have to pick one… just one.

Somewhere south of Portland

Carol made a request to leave the fishes and do autumn. After all it is that time of year. Ok, for a couple weeks, fall color. I fall back on a good year (2008) in which I shot a number of splendid images. I would wander with the car and go back and forth through Maine that year. I’m pretty sure it was some place around Portland where I passed this tree. It’s been an effort for me to zoom in on details. Too much and it’s micro and to little and there’s clutter in the image. And then the leaves need to be colorful without being past prime. Sunny day or rainy day for better color…hmmm, I’ve read all the theories. In the end, point the camera and shoot the picture. How do you know? You just do.

Fat Fish Faster Than Me

I love this guy. I see one on just about every dive. They look so utterly ungainly. And they all swim faster than me. Hey, I’ve got big fins. I got long legs. I can go fast (not). Those little fins get cranking and this guy swims away like I’m floating. It’s good that they tell me there are no sharks. At least that’s what they tell me….


I’m told that this is a snail. We happened upon two of them. I went to macro setting. I shot and shot. I got one image… not a very good one. Hey, it’s a snail and it wasn’t moving. But my dive buddy wasn’t staying, and I can’t ‘leave my wingman.’ You can’t exactly return to a random spot in the sea. So who knows if I’ll ever see this again. It’s not like a walk in the park. We’ve been on this reef back and forth many times now. Each dive is unique. Come to think of it, my dive buddy is like my wife, they never stop or look back. It’s entirely up to me to keep up or be lost. It’s amazing how I got the skill to shoot and scoot.


I thought it was spelled with two “o’s.” But that would be the dam named after the President. As I said this type of fish likes to just hover on the coral. Now that I know, it’s a matter of sneaking up and catching the shot. Believe me it’s not as easy as it looks… as in fisheye lens. The fish is skittish. And I don’t exactly present a small image in full dive gear. ‘Salting the tail’ is easy once you’re there.

Expats Blog Award Nomination


The New York Times listed 10 travel sites to bookmark. At the bottom was the Expats Blog that lists 393 blogs by destination. They invite contributors. So all you folks who’ve been traveling and blogging, here’s your chance to link up. It’s cool. It takes a minute. And even better I’m the first blog on the site blogging Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


Clam Up

It’s another clam. I am really pleased that the white balance was so good. It’s not a brilliant blue clam. There are different colors. And, yes, they do ‘clam up.’ When they do, there’s not much to see. I don’t know and can’t say whether, they are good eating, although I’m sure that my Dad probably wouldn’t have minded trying to eat this specimen.

Shoot and Shoot

You shoot and shoot. You miss…plenty. Then you get this. Ahhhh! Color is good, white balance is natural, shutter speed was acceptable, and on and on. I have to go to an acquarium some time and see the fish again. Meanwhile I am really enjoying chasing down these fish. So far there are none chasing me. I did a night dive and that spooked me even though we did not see anything alarming. It’s a big sea and there are big fish. And big fish eat bigger fish….

Out Of The Water

When I visited Jeddah in the winter of 2011, just before I spent the rest of the day with the Coast Guard officers (another story), I saw these crabs on the rocks. Today they were present at our dive site sunning themselves. The eyes are sharp. They know they are someone’s dinner. I couldn’t get close. Their legs can be brilliant red. I just got this guy for the photo record and in remembrance of the very nice folks in the Coast Guard station who hosted us for all those many boring hours.


One darned hard skill to learn is to actually point and shoot. Pointing is easy. It’s actually having a fish in the image, there’s the trick. And to zoom and really get the fish… The farther away the more the particles in the water degrade the image. So everything is a compromise. I’m practicing zooming. I make lots of mistakes. But sometimes you catch a fish without bait. Or as Kermit the Frog says, “Here fishy, fishy….”

Two Toned

The very nice thing about this fish shot is that this guy posed. Around the reef they sit atop coral and just hover there. So I took advantage and floated in close and got this shot. No panning, no chasing,… just following the behavior pattern. Gotcha!