Did I tell you? Poppies! The news from California has been about the superbloom – again. We saw it once before. It’s rare. It’s special. We’ve been fortunate to see it twice. It comes about because of the rains that stimulate growth and flowers. Ordinarily it is dry and no bloom is more the norm. We saw it! To be sure, we took advantage with Noa. Great! She’s already seen one and not even a year old. No matter. I will always be impressed by nature’s power.
The sheer size and scope of the bloom is indescribable. Miles! It went for miles.
Add baby… she was there. She won’t remember it specifically. I asked Jules about Disney once. She replied, “I’ve seen the slides and video. I was there. But it is the video and images that are what I can recall.”
Oh well, we were all there on a glorious spring day. Nature! It’s pretty grand when it makes up its mind to put on a show.
Cross country – coast to coast – DE to CA – it’s a long ride! But how far? Most folks wouldn’t even think of it. It’s too long a drive. Boring! And you can fly and be there in hours. Well, TSA, airport parking, delayed flights, cancelled flights, baggage restrictions, and the new nickel and dime policies whereby you might even have to pay for seating and carry-on bags. No food or worse, terrible food. Yup, I love to fly. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a veteran flier by now. Drive? It’s long! And it’s boring, you go blind and fall asleep. Nope, there is the option of stopping when you want and doing side trips as you like. Besides, we are in no hurry. Meander. Stop on a whim. See things. Find things. Discover things you never saw before. Or, find yourselves in a place you’d rather not have found. Hey! It’s an adventure.
6000 miles at 61 mph for 101 hours. It’s doesn’t seem quite right. But that was the number. The speed was pretty good. It means all that stop and go in LA was balanced against 85mph in UT and AZ. And we have done more miles >8000 but we spent some time in other cars. By the way, this was a rental. I decided not too go overboard with my own car.
I took a bunch of pictures. It increased the odds that I would obtain a “keeper.” And there was a single seed blowin’ in the wind. The seeds were a bit stuck and didn’t go with the first effort. Shhh. We didn’t put dandelions in the neighbor’s yard. I have a long ago shot of Jules doing this. Easy. Recreate what worked once upon a time…
Put kids together with a water hose and there is sure to be fun. My mission was to get a photo. And the secondary concern was to avoid any situation in which the hose was pointed at my camera. Joy! Pure joy! Yup, it was chilly early spring. The kids got wet. Poor Rory was an ice cube when we dried her. She didn’t mind. And I got the shot I sought. Lucky me!
My kids taught me this trick. Jump. If you frame it correctly it appears you are jumping over the canyon. It’s a nice trick. It scares Colleen – a lot! She doesn’t care for heights and won’t venture near the edge. I do it and she will at least take the picture – sometimes. Sometimes she refuses. Those times you will never see what I tried/wanted to do. Grand Canyon – silly trick in progress. Then someone told me that people fall into the canyon every year. No, you say?! Yes? They do! And someone fell the very day we visited. We did not see nor hear of the accident. The South rim is very long and one cannot put up barriers at every possible point. You are on a cliff and can indeed fall. If you are lucky you will survive. And if you are smart you will not fall. Me? I’m careful. I take an occasional risk. I have not fallen. I hope I never will.
This was the punchline. “I’m all that and dim sum.” I craved dim sum since we arrived in LA. We made it. And Noa had the perfect outfit to attend. We all wonder if she will enjoy it once she has her teeth. Meanwhile I whispered that it was good for her. I suppose that will take care of that. No doubt Noa will have to live down that fact that her parents held her up for humor before she knew. But that’s what parents do to their kids. Embarrass them. Mine own (children) bear the pictures of many an outing like this.
Try humming the Frank Sinatra version as you look at this picture. “The way you wear your hat. The memory of all that. No, no, they can’t take that away from me.” You know how it goes. It just fits. All askew. Cool! Some people are just cool without trying. And some of us try and seem to have missed the bus. Baleful: “No! They can’t take that away from me…”
…’cause jelly don’t shake. I know. I know. I got it backwards. … don’t care. It ain’t easy photographing them. They are translucent transparent. And the last time I tried I was being buffeted in the Red Sea. Alas, I am in the aquarium and the conditions are different. Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean you can’t.
Sometimes a picture strikes you. Smile laugh whatever! Happy! We were in the aquarium at the end of the pier in Manhattan Beach. It’s about the last place I expected to find and aquarium or fish. I’m taking pictures of fish! It’s not the Red Sea…
Iconic! We saw it! Andy Warhol, remember him? He painted a soup can and gained fame for it. He was the first to think of it. At the very least he was the first to execute the work and call it art. We were there. It’s about as iconic as standing before the Mona Lisa. Not the same, but nonetheless, it’s famous. I did not expect to see it nor to find it. But there! This was not on my bucket list. But we stumbled upon it. No one else in the museum was the least bit excited. It’s kind of like meeting the Beatles. Who?
Truthfully, we got these gifts right after Xmas. Sale! It will fit in December. Smart? The stuffed animal is hideous, as in ugly. That’s exactly why I got it. Jules had so many stuffed animals as a child, she finally said, enough! And I got her one more….yup, the ugliest stuffed animal ever. Noa should have one too. Don’t you think?
I’ve been talking about wide angle distortion. Here’s an example. See my forehead? It’s way wider. Too wide! My head is distorted. Not literally, though there are some who would dispute my statement. This comes about when you put the camera too close to your subject. It’s something I try to remember. Unfortunately, I look like a fun house character. Noa is just cute. She was within the frame of normal. Or, as they might otherwise say, she’s not warped like grandpa.
Just in case, I have had an adjustment… way better. Really, I am.
Money laundering. To get a laugh, I’m reduced to this now. We did the laundry on the road trip. It was long due. Colleen’s jeans never go more than a day without a wash. She was positively overjoyed to do the wash. And lo! There! Right on the rack! Fresh out of the wash. There was our bankroll. I could add a religious adjective and probably get objections that I was not PC. You figure. And we got a lot of laughs that we were laundering money. I’m no Russian oligarch… far from it.
We reserved a dinner table overlooking the greenery and garden. It was touristy. We snagged a table about an hour before the restaurant opened. Yup, they let us reserve that late in the afternoon. By the time we showed for dinner there was a line waiting out the door and around… we waltzed in. Great! And there in the garden they were set for a wedding. Oh boy! A floor show! Colleen watched the latest styles. I watched guys show up in blue suits and brown shoes… and the kiss!! We got ringside seats to the kiss!! Dinner was superb. We lingered for dessert. By the time we were gone, so was the bridal party and so were the flowers. All in all it was an unexpected dinner and a show.
Here’s a technical concern. The wedding photographer had evening blue light. She shot digital and video. It does not appear she color corrected as she went. So, there would be a lot of post processing? The light’s not bad. But, it is blue. You may not have noticed. It’s why you pay big bucks to an expert.
How do you plan for this? Serendipity, fortuitous, right place right time. You bet!!! I was taking pictures of the snap dragons when this bumble bee flew into my picture. Yes! He flew in. I shot and shot. This is what I got. Rhymes? Can you believe this? It was completely by luck. I would tell you not. I have lots of bees on flowers. But, no bees in mid-flight. That’s hard to do. Trust me. I got all excited…still am.
Here’s another secret. Look into her eyes. It works with romance? But in baby photography there are so many times you get a picture and the subject is not looking at the lens. Easy. Just put your lens in front of her eyes. Duh! Anyway, it’s a fairly straightforward. If the kid won’t look at you, it doesn’t matter. Just hold the camera and lens in front of the eyes. Did I say that Auto-focus will do the job for you. So, look in her eyes.
Not the kid… but sometimes the shot is so disappointing. And I took so many (almost 2000). But the auto focus does you in sometimes. Many decades ago, I used manual focus till the auto focus system was invented. Focus on the eyes. Unless you are focused dead on to the eyes, it’s a failure. So, I should not be posting this image. It’s just so close. It’s a cute image to be sure. Just focus on cute!
These new generation of bridges use a different looking suspension system. Some architect made it work and it is the only new type of bridge built that I see nowadays. I first saw one in Maine. It was so picturesque and impressive. Then there are a few when I drive north in Delaware. New York builds bridges and has been engaged in some major bridge projects. This created monumental traffic jams. The Kosciusko bridge jam is legendary. Before and during, there’s never been a time we passed that we didn’t sit in traffic. But I have digressed. These new style bridges, they are just the best photo ops!
Jules had two favorite stuff animals. They survived her childhood. As far as I know they were only washed once. And that was the only two times I saw Maxie white. Bear Bear was given to her by my brother John. At least that’s the story and I prefer to stick to the version Jules provided. No babies were harmed in the making of these images. Can you imagine the nostalgia? Mom’s very own childhood stuffed animals. Eventually there were too many to count. No more! And, so I gave Jules one more. It was an aye aye, so hideously ugly it was lovable. Poor Jules! What a dilemma. Love it or leave it. I don’t know what happened to it. I wonder if that aye aye made it?
If you take as many images as I did, you get silly after a while. We got a keeper. Now have some fun.
Okay! Now for something completely different. There was a magical Thanksgiving dinner when I was working in Maine. We had just sat down to dinner when a group of wild turkeys strolled past our window in plain view. Ummm, that would be a fitting argument to become vegetarian. However, I have only seen male turkeys rarely and never fanning their tails. Wow! Do you believe this? … in the back yard. … just for me!
When Jules was born I marveled at how small she was. At that time her arm to her elbow would fit into my mouth. Ok! Disgusting! But it’s true. No gross stuff this time around. But Noa’s arm was about the size of my index finger… ok ok, not quite. But, this isn’t horseshoes? Or, was it the other way ‘round? … must be jam ‘cause jelly don’t shake.
They let me out of school! I saw Noa for the first time. Finally! Well, you know me. It was embarrassing. And Jules knows me. She was giggling the whole time I was shooting. … close to 2000 images. Hey! It’s digital. I never could’ve done this when my kids were infants. So many shots in so little time. But, for sure, I got a few in focus… Pick one? Yeah, right!
So, pick one? Random. It’s a potpourri of great images. One image randomly spun out. (See above. Duh!) And the very last image of the visit… how telling!!. … and to think we are going to visit Noa for a week soon. …Susan would be proud.
Soph and Claire are the dynamic pair of dancers who’ve been at it since about the time… they were knee high to … could walk. Claire is in her adolescent growth spurt. She’s destined to be taller than any of the rest of us. I’ve been looking at a lot of iPhone pics over the years, as you may imagine. Priceless! Jess, you outdid yourself this time! Outstanding!