I shot that?
I came across some images in a catalog in a place I have not looked in a very long time. Are you following me? We were in Washington DC during the cherry blossoms and wandered into an orchid exhibit. Nice! I am frankly pleased at the detail I captured in the orchid. Technology continues to improve. I can now easily mask and enhance subject or sky. Too technical? It doesn’t matter. Amazing things can be done now in editing. It’s simple enough for someone as lazy as me. The edits are hardly noticeable. I’m better than I was and didn’t even know it. Hint: you do need a good image to start with. Oh, bother.
We(in the USA) would often joke about the hospital as “Mecca” or a “Taj Mahal.” It was purely derisive as a term of imperfection in our condition as virtual slave labor while employed as interns and residents. Here’s another non sequitur. I received a model of my hospital in Jeddah – a commemoration of what? It was in a case and the elaborate model was laser cut glass?? I don’t know. The object has disappeared. Maybe it will surface once again. Who knows? Who cares? It was a model of ego demonstrating the opulent architecture of the owner, the son of a wealthy jewelery fortune family, who built this hospital as a tribute to their wealth and ego. Unfortunately, he was imprisoned and tortured during the recent turnover of kings. Mecca? Yes, and, no, on many levels. And, my cats, Lulu and Cassie, were feral cats that I befriended and then had to abandon as I left Jeddah. Sad! Leaving? Not sad at all to leave. But, once upon a time I worked in “Mecca.” I wonder what became of the cats?
Ansel Adams could photograph stunning black and white photos of clouds. I do not think in black and white since I started using (and developing my own) color slides. Sunrise, sunset, these are colors that are simply not seen the rest of the day. It is ephemeral often lasting only a few minutes. Some days I am fortunate to witness the display. I am thankful for the show just outside my window. Purists among you would mount the camera to a tripod and carefully document the moment capturing the peak color. Me? I pick up whatever camera is at hand – I have four or five (cameras) in the rotation – and shoot away thru the dirty glass of any window (car or home). Cringe! Yes, I said dirty glass. The spots are hardly noticeable. It’s all about the subtle shades of color.
Dance and chew gum
The very good news is that despite a very messy kitchen, we are very good cooks. And, we eat very well. Looking at the gallery: savory fruit salad (we had watermelon sitting around); stuffin’ en slow cooker; dry turkey (done too soon); roasty toasty peanuts (a non sequitur); butternut squash soup (a la Silver Palate cookbook); brown sugar and butter (what doesn’t go good with that?); and, an empty table waiting to be laden. When I opened the oven to baste the turkey, I discovered the done sensor had already popped. Darn? I guess it was the roasting pan that cooked the turkey faster. The breast was still moist despite the wings and drumsticks overly done and dry. (We don’t eat them, anyway.) The brown sugar and butter turned into candied sweet potatoes. There is always extra stuffing. The crock pot was brilliant. (Colleen’s idea!) We can not only clear space, but, we can cook! (Well!) The downside? No one else was there to enjoy the meal with us. Dinner alone with your wife, priceless! As I wrote elsewhere, she hummed the whole meal through. Mmmmmm!
I’m reaching here. Uninspired, lazy, I am in a writing drought after the past month of a plethora of subjects and photographs. So, spin the photo catalog. This series was all nearby one another and disparate in subject. It turns out we don’t see Dave very often at all. This was a visit to Jessop’s Tavern close to the train station where we pick him up when he comes to Delaware. Unfortunately, we got a round of bad service there on our last recent visit and it will be a long time before we ever return. Alas! Ida is not imprisoned. She was running a Memorial Day fundraiser and we saw her behind the fence as we walked up to the event. (That’s my story – to protect the innocent!) Flowers? Gee, I was so much (less) better a few years back. Nature! The rose managed to grow thru the fence and bloom. I am, indeed, heartened to see that I (photographer) am getting better as time passes.
… uninspired. I have not added to the posts for a few days. After the Maine trip I have been lax. I think this is Maine too, but, I am too lazy to search the database. Another outing in a restaurant. We were searching for a suitable place and ended up in a hotel. No! We never do hotels unless absolutely pushed. But this was a restaurant hidden in a hotel posing as a stand alone joint. It was ok. But then it was a hotel. There is something about institutional food like a cafeteria is always different than a free-standing restaurant. The food was forgettable. Take no chances, get something familiar. You can’t go too wrong. On this occasion we ate and fortified ourselves for the trip back to the place we were staying.
Just a moment
Dawn – the unmistakable morning glow – lasts just a moment. I have more luck at sunset where the glow develops and tends to linger. Time is precious. Moments pass so quickly.
We are officially full – in this house. Carol makes fun how much “stuff” we accumulate. We are gonna need a bigger car – this thought occurred to me more than once during our trip. So, I/we shipped home three big boxes. Fleece and fiber compress. You can’t keep it compressed forever. Like a fart, it expands to fill the room it is released into. And the beer! It rode in the car. I don’t drink. Ha ha. The cats were happy to see us once again. Nutley settled into a basket of yarn. Spice got into a bin, too small, next to the beer. The living room shows a partial series of spinning wheels. How many does one spinner need? Another fleece(s)? Bags and bags covered the table. OMG. Good and rare one and all, we have a collection of fiber you don’t go and find easily, if at all. I suppose I will have to start spinning again… and drinking beer…. for the team.
Thanksgiving is about family. Sure, the eating part plays a big role. But, having family near is important. We have family scattered across the USA from New York to California and many points in between. Scattered would be the word. I have one child who has no permanent address. Hey, cats are family too! The good news is that I don’t have to go far to chase down a picture of them all. Did I tell you we have eight (cats)?
Long tailed cat
… in a room full of rocking chairs. Ha ha. Equipment sale – euphemistic. It was about the auction of a lot of spinning wheels and a couple looms. Complete with a “real” old style auctioneer. Spinner’s paradise.The kicker? I was amonst a group of knitters. Great wheels were going for $50. Spinning wheels were a song. Oh my! It was a heartbreaking nightmare. So cheap! And, my car was already full!! Needless to say, I bid, Colleen cringed, and we won a cute “old” wheel. Who could resist? There is a certain amount of educated gambler in me. I had a value (in my head) and bid up to that limit. One wheel I bid on went for $500. Wow! Near the end, I just kept bidding to raise the buyer’s price. Why not? It seemed obvious that the bidder was just buying an antique toy for his kids. We could tell he was clueless and with a deep wallet (and a long tail).
Do over… again
We have been on an extended road trip. I chased fall color and cover bridges. Colleen chased fiber. Fiber? As in wool and fleece from sheep. Sheep? Yes, there are a myriad of rare sheep with fleeces she covets. ?? Polworth? Teeswater? It’s an endangered breed in the US. TMI!! We made it to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Fair. It went on as scheduled despite Covid. Yes, we got big rain. There were prizes at the auction – another spinning wheel! Ha ha. (I/Colleen won one.) There was the fleece barn, Colleen’s candy store. Llama, pajama, an interloper! Yarn?! Tons. It was more knitter’s fair than weaver/spinner. There was a line (out the door!!!) to purchase this year’s (yarn) color. There was the one room school (revisited). We – Colleen and I – almost went to one. We did sit in this style school desk in elementary school. So, why not – recreate the image of where we met. Again. And, yes, it is my regret – I wish she’d have grabbed on and held me close those many years ago. What a difference fate could have dealt. Such a good time, too many pictures, wistful, and hoping for a do over – life.
I have been seeking the quintessential fall color image of the year. In the parking lot behind a bank this scene snuck up on me. There are many other shots and many other candidates all over and around Maine from our trip. All worthy images, but, this one jumped out at this point, right now. Yes, it was tweaked a bit to focus on the richness of color in the scene. It reaches an emotional level beyond prose. Ok!
There is one convenience that can’t be beat with the iPhone. Panorama. It’s dead simple. Ha! I can Photoshop. It’s easy enough. But…. So, I ask? Dave advised me to tap on the mountain to adjust the exposure so there would not be overexposure. When did he get so smart? Meanwhile pano is a neat trick I pull out of the pocket on occasion.
You simply cannot not stop at every potential photo-op. Even while I drove alone, I did not do it. Traveling with your wife is enough to try her patience many times over. Colleen is such a good sport. I am careful not to overdo things? Ha! Have I been known to be moderate? You can see some of the results of stopping by the roadside. And, you may ascertain some of the image shot thru the windshield on the go. Actually, Colleen has acquired some skill shooting on the go. She thinks she’s better than if I try to drive and shoot. Stop, go, hey! It’s all the same when I edit the images. Good, or, bad? Keep it, or, discard it? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell. I will readily admit that I tend to draw a crowd while I am stopped by the roadside.
My point? During leaf peeping season in Acadia, Maine, it’s hard to find a place off the beaten track. In fact, parking around Acadia – Bar Harbor – was at a premium. I actually cruised for a while before locating a parking spot. The same can be said for Jordan Pond, an extremely popular site. My map reading skill took me off the path. Ignore Siri and GPS. Voila! Serenity, peace, solitude. It was Colleen and I, no one else in sight or hearing. A downy woodpecker came to rest nearby. Yes, Sommesville had a hoard of tourists hovering over the requisite shot. And, Jordan Pond found a photographer with a tripod who lingered long after the evening sunset glow was gone. ??? I am not them. We moved on to more peace and definite serenity. Remember, you are never lost as long as you do not put the car in reverse.
We usually do our selfies without assistance. That’s me, my modus operandi. I take a shot of Colleen. Then Colleen takes one of me in the same spot while I sit in the next chair over. It works well. A helpful wife urged her photographer husband to shoot the two of us. Oddly, I could not reciprocate. Ok! There was an old lady in black who was in the background in all the shots. That was a pain. I simply blotted her out. More work? Which method was better? Hey! We got a selfie. Do I need help? … more than you know.
Wildlife. Animals (or insects) pop up during our travels. Some wild, some domesticated, I get the shot as the opportunity presents. We chanced upon a photographer doing a full on shoot of this dog on the ratty couch. Dog? Couch? The poor pup was totally bored and uncooperative. No posing, no looking at the camera, no interest in the least. Food! A treat! Distraction! Nope, none, nada. It was about as dismal as the couch. I kept my mouth shut and we quietly left. Photographer? She had the gear; she was mounted on a tripod… Um, close, but that ain’t how I’d do it. (See: I kept my mouth shut.)
A day later in a different area of the state, we found fall color. Location, location, location. I should be satisfied. I was vaguely unrequited. No matter. We did get color. I do believe it was more user (photographer) dissatisfaction than it was nature. I like to think of myself as always changing and improving. It also helps to be in the right place at the right time.
Shot of the day
I got a series of three for this scene. None are more informative. Amish family, three kids, the dad drives from the right seat. The kids sit on folding chairs in the back. They wear distinctive traditional garb that marks them. I had seen horse shit by the side of the road. This now closed the information loop on how it got there. There is a lot to be learned passing a two horse cart on the side of the road.
Shot of the day? We finally saw color. This is one of many on a successful day finding fall color.
Regret? I’ve had a few. This one time I had an opportunity to go back and shoot one more time. Did I do better? Well, it’s different. It was a scene full of possibility and opportunity. We love all of our children… and cats… some better than others? No. Sometimes, you just cannot choose. Can you? Oh boy. We spent time with a psychiatrist (chance acquaintance) between shoots. Subtle, sublimation, transference? Do over? It’s different. Better? It’s in our mind. Confused? You bet! Me too!
New England, Maine, in the fall (every family relative asked) – have you seen the leaves change? Yet? Climate change, it’s been whacky. When we arrived, we were definitely too early. There was barely a hint of color change. As the weeks passed (yes, we were here for a few weeks) colors changed subtly. And, then, suddenly they were here/changed, only to fade quickly. Within the span of the few times we passed by, a tree in Rockland faded drastically losing its leaves. I shot individual trees; I shot individual leaves; I shot scenes; I shot reflections; I shot fog. Quintessential?! Sort of. I feel vaguely unrequited. I did get color. For sure. I’ve done better. And, I’ve done worse. I hate the randomness of my finding a suitable scene. Mostly, we were on the way to somewhere else and I shot out the from the car window or we stopped, paused, shot, and then quickly drove onward. I cannot say that I ever got that “Ah!!” shot. Otherwise, if I were chasing wool (fiber), I would say we were successful. Priorities! Keep priority straight and it’s a completely different picture. (pun intended)
Odds and …
I kept passing this charming cottage and failed to take a picture… till this time. I missed a picture of the “pot” T shirt we got the kids. Pop up books? Frank Lloyd Wright? Yup, I found it in the library’s second-hand book section. Really?! They bought this for the library? And, it remained intact? Poor Frank must be rolling in his… I will admit to taking photos of carved signs. Sometimes they stack up.
Somewhere between then and now…
The Dad is the last to know. So, that is how I got the call. The beans were spilled to her brother. So, it was “news.” I say “boy.” An old obstetrician once told me he would proclaim the sex of the child to the mother and write the opposite sex in his book. Therefore, if confronted that his guess was wrong, he would take out his book and point to his entry. Of course, that is so 20th century now. But, the news! Noa will have a sibling. I still say “boy.” It’s funny how old your “young” child looks at the moment another is on the way. We are thrilled. And, this is the first day we know the happy news. Well, it’s early October (5th) though this post will schedule in November. At least we can start looking at newborn clothes again! We’re in Maine as I write. Jules hesitated to tell me lest we grab up all new stuff for the “kid.” Ha! We would never do that?! And so, these pics were the last time I saw Noa in August…
I do not purport to be good. I just want to fool the average viewer. There are Photoshop gurus who can make this all look too real. I’m a bit more casual. You can call me lazy. But, I do have some skill. Anyway, it’s all in fun. My model is cooperative. Everyone has a good time. Luckily, we do not require the help of strangers to stage our antics.
This was about catching the reflection of the lighthouse. Once again, people walked by and never looked down. There were a few savvy photographers. Yes! A few trips ago, I found out Colleen was a tree hugger. It has not affected our relationship. She has told me white birch is one of her favorites. Imagine?! Competing with a tree! But then, I have always been beside myself.