Word and Image

Archive for February, 2022

Tryptych

Seriously. This museum was unexpected. There was a retrospective look at a 94 year old woman’s work. She had done nude self portraits of herself for many years.

We had our usual fun. I was once told by a (unnamed) family member that we had not been to museums like she had; she implied we were unenlightened. I took her seriously. We have had fun in each and every museum since that comment. See? How does one respond to snobbish notions? I think one should always take a naked woman seriously. Eh?

Ooops! It got away from me. The website has been balky about publish dates, hence, three posts on the same day within hours of each other. Hey! Another form of tryptych. But… it was a silly error. TMI. A post per day allows the viewer to savor. Unhurried. Me? 60 miles a minute, or, is it a mile a minute?

Nothing happens without a reason: Today! It’s my/our 3rd anniversary. Officially. Hey! I wish it could be forever. But, I will settle for three. What would life be if it had taken a different turn?


Wait a moment

A heavy night rain, with wind, was followed by a cloudy morning sunrise, the moments changed as the sun rose. Can you see the glow of sunrise on the storm pond? I shot and shot; the images piled up. Yes, this was a different morning than my usual. I am lucky to witness such beauty. Thanks.


Sunset is my favorite color

Deep orange, red, violet, blue, the combination is unlike anything else I photograph. We switched drivers right before sunset. We are driving into the west. It was splendid, superb to just sit back and shoot out the window. There were interesting obstacles in my images. A cross? Smoke stacks on the horizon? I got the grey clouds after the orange glow departed, and, there was the evening star. How nice! The colors of the sunset are my favorite by far.


Last supper

It’s nothing so dramatic as the title suggests. But, it is the last supper we will have with Dave for a while. He’s off. He visited for about as long as he had been here since we moved to this location. He’s working remotely and needed time to reorganize and regroup. He ate healthy – cereal, oatmeal, and salad. He ran about seven miles a day. He decimated my inventory of junk food – several boxes of Cheese-Its, M&M bags (several more), roasted cashews (by the pound), cookies, chocolate (dark) chips, Milk Duds, and whatever else temptations I had around. Healthy is relative, I guess. I offered to take him for a “healthy” salad on his evening with us. Nope, he never orders salad out in a restaurant. Funny! We ordered the Caesar salad and shared it with each other. And then, just like that, we dropped him at the airport where he began his next adventure. He’s a good house guest. He hardly left a trace of his presence. … there is a lot of missing junk food. That’s good for me? Yeah, we will miss “the boy.”


Speaking of … still tryn’

I tried to illustrate wide angle distortion in an iPhone  portrait of a child the other day. Everyone liked how cute she was and ignored the forehead distortion. Ok!? So, here is a loaf of challah right out of the oven. Smells great, butter glazed, good enough to eat!! Colleen made a braided proportional loaf. That is to say, it was a parallel loaf!? I intentionally moved in close and distorted the lines. Do you see? It doesn’t matter when it comes to bread. But a child?

Ok. I didn’t want to do a formal portrait of my son. Shy?! I don’t mind sticking my camera into Colleen’s face. She is used to me by now. But, “the boy?” So, I sneak/snuck a few grab shots. The lighting was not helpful. It would help if we got the right situation before he is on the road again. Yes, they (the images) are a good representation. But it’s not what I am trying to achieve. … another day, another opportunity.  


Almost… just about

Cats dependably never do anything you ask. Really? They always show up for mealtime…. mostly. I had mentioned my black and my white cat never pose together. Tillie and Willow never seem to orbit in the same frame of my camera. This is about as close as they get. The lighting is not ideal, the exposure poor, but, you take what you can get. I’m still trying.


More lessons

I fear I may have lost family after correcting angle distortion the other day. No angle distortion here. Secret: get the camera down at the level of your (cat) subject. Hence, use the angled screen to take the picture at the subject’s eye level. Pretty easy. Most people don’t do it.

Flash has never been my forte. I use it very sparingly. The more recent cameras I use have better exposure than ever before. Flash will certainly help to brighten hooded eyes. Portraits? It is the eyes. Focus on the eyes. And, to be more effective, I think the subject should be looking right at you. … my opinion. After that, breaking the rules is what gives you something different. Better, worse, “keepers” are pretty easy to spot. There are so many bad shots….


Familiarity

When you are with someone every minute of every day… well, I got to take some candid shots of Colleen. She needed a shot for a web profile… I had to look back a long way. Ha! And, Dave? I still do not have a quintessential shot during this visit. Once in a while we get a selfie in which my hands never touch the camera. It would be nice if Dave were better (this time around). But, in a pinch, any (vaguely decent) shot is a keeper. And, as Frank Sinatra sang, I love my wife.


Distorted

The original image transmitted was #4. I used ‘transform’ in Lightroom to make some quick changes.

1. Transform and crop – it’s better. But, see the sleeve and arm? They are disproportionately large.

2. Another try – crop and elongate the face, slightly. Without any other reference the distortion from the first pic is hidden.

3. Once more – I rounded the face slightly. Subtly. This is hard. Because of Covid I have not seen the child in person in more than two years. So the shape of her face is not quite known to me.

4. Angle distortion – it occurs when you stand above the subject and aim down with your spiffy iphone. The head is disproportionately larger than the feet. Can you see this? (My hydrocephalic patients had overly large foreheads.)

Of course, the easiest solution is for dad to get lower, more or less eye level with his kid. Because dad is tall, the distortion is more noticeable. Alas, I have lost many a friend due to constructive comments about their photographic technique. This is family. There’s nowhere to go or hide. I like the kid and think she deserves better preserved memories.

Epilogue: Since I texted the image corrections, not a peep from the parents. I guess I am/will refrain from further comment about their perfect child.


Best friend

Got one? This is my high school buddy. We look a bit different. At least I have hair. No names please, to protect the innocent. Ethiopian food? (There’s a joke in this somewhere.) A good time was had by all. Go to Chicago, meet up with friends and relatives. Eat, drink, be merry. How good (best friend)? We were at Woodstock together. Most of you would have to look up this historic event. It was a blip in our lives too. But, we can say we were there.


Black and white

I got one black cat and one white cat. They are completely opposite in not only color but personality as well. And, I have yet to get a picture of them together. They orbit in the same house but their paths do not cross. Some of our cats are just plain cute.. Pictures are easy. They (images) almost jump into the camera. And, Tillie? It’s like pulling teeth. I had a black dog, Reggie,  that was not too photogenic either. Tillie growls, yes, like a dog. Cute? Relative to others of our cats….? No. But, yes, she’s a cutie. Biased opinion? Nah! A buddy picture, black and white? Not hardly likely, either.


Picker

Picker? It’s something I was told we needed. Ok. Ok? Huh? It’s something I won at auction later (that day) some years back. It went for hundreds of $. Yeah, me, I paid hundreds!?? Don’t ask. Look! It is so simple, simply made from nails. Sharp nails. Super sharp! Yes, stay away; those nails can DO serious damage. The device swings like a pendulum pulling the fiber apart. My imagination runs, and, I laugh. Women, I would guess, are mostly at risk? Picker? It is part of the process of going sheep to fleece to roving to yarn. Yeah, easy.


Prodigal

Lately, I have wondered: Photography or Story? By the time this post is live, Dave will be away. He wanders. Who’d have thought he had such wanderlust. Whither? I cannot say, because I do not know. It is mostly on a whim. I/we have had him for a couple weeks. Games, yes. Meals, no – salad, please. Roasted cashews. Ah! More please. We simply did not realize how much he’s changed since I last saw him. It’s all good. Candids? It’s hit or miss. The key is fatigue. The subject gets tired of you clicking and forgets you are there. Me? I was self-conscious, too. Hey! … a post without cats, for a change.

Post – conclusion: He went warm and sunny from cold and chilly (here).


Redeemed

Finished!! Finally! It’s a sheepskin rug woven from the locks of the sheep. It’s been a labor of love. It has been on the loom forever – at least a couple years. Lately, Nutley lounges across the near finished rug. It was his spot… until now. Now that the rug is off the loom, what’s Nutley to do? Lost, he’s simply lost. Colleen rigged an interim solution. Peace reigns. Few enough people understand wool, fiber, and felting. No, my cats lounging on the drying fiber did not felt it. Pfewf!


Gotcha!

Someone (cat) has been making “mistakes” outside the litter box. Who? I was unable to catch the culprit. And, with eight cats, who’s to say, “Who’s guilty?” Ha ha, to catch one in the act? Impossible! Until now. Enter – Blink video camera system. It was recommended by our tech nut son in law. He did not tell me it is a subscription service. Ah! The fine print! Success? … Success! Within minutes after installation, I captured video of the guilty cat (culprit)!! It took but a few minutes! Amazingly effective, but, which Maine coon cat was it? Twins, they look enough alike to make positive ID difficult. Ha ha, a ribbon around their neck? Nope, Feather chewed the ribbon off in minutes. But, I got a guilty party on video! It’s my story, now what? Why couldn’t it be a cat that is easy to distinguish?

Epilogue: The guilty (cats) are identified. The cameras go back. Watching an endless loop of cat crimes repeated is of no further interest.


Oooo… ahhh!

This was way back… in the summer Ray and Nutley arrived. Who would guess they would grow to be such “porkers.” – as in fat cats!? So cute! … slim and tiny. It is simply amazing how large the other cats seem in comparison. No longer! They are the “big” cats. Still cute, still shy, still entertaining. But, larger. I like them (cats) when they are kittens. I have been banned from the pet store (rescue cats for adoption center)!! The pet ladies know me on sight. Banned! Colleen said/says. Ah, well…


Oh, no!

Saved. I almost passed Valentine’s Day without a post for my beloved. Colleen would be my present and most favorite wife. I got a favorite cat… Silly! Yes, she is above all my cats. I was able to put something together from… gee, it’s been a long pandemic. And, honey, I brung you flowers! Flowers! In a few scant weeks we can start planting again. And, yes, I will be with my one and only Valentine. Sorry, I just gotta smile to myself. Life is full of unexpected blessing some days.


Snow day

It’s still winter. It snowed. The cats – some – have never seen snow. They gathered around the door as I opened it. Nuh-uh. Nope, nada, not going… out there. A paw… extended and withdrew. Excuse me! That was just quite enough. I guess my cats are not snow cats. No cats were harmed in the making of this post. I admit they do amuse me sometimes.


One day

One day, newsworthy, photo worthy? TMI? Will it fit in one post? Have I lost my way? … or purpose. It’s pictures, right? Backstory!

The prodigal son arrived. … favorite son. Well, mine. (Colleen has one too.) Gifts you got that were white elephants? We all got some – one or more – for Xmas. (Shhh… no names please.) Chuckle, ha ha. It snowed! The weatherman was right – on this very rare occasion. (It was merely 60 degrees the evening before!) A clean house – for the visitor? Nah! Sort of, kind of, well, just one project going on…. Snow?! Do you believe how it accumulated? Have a jolly, holly …. Sheep? Insidiously, they snuck into the house to perch on the cross beam of our barn loom. Oh boy! Distortion? Wide-angle distortion? (Oh no! Lessons?!) Nope. Ray is just to large for the basket he has “squoze” into. Yes!! “Squoze” is a word. Honest! And the other (cat)? It ain’t easy to weave with a cat in amonst the middle of everything. Shhh… goofy gifts came from Colleen’s family. Mine (family) already knows there is nothing you can get for me (I already got everything, including Colleen).


Lemons

Our house is a home, cozy and warm. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it. Crowded with stuff and full of projects, it has ‘stuff’ all over. This is not a showplace. We use our space! There is no plan and most folk would cringe with the dusting that must be required. Fun? The table is covered by towels which cover a puzzle in progress. The cats lie on screens covered by washed fleece. Your house got that? Messy? Nah!

Lemons – you got ‘em? Lemonade! Dave was coming to visit, hence, the relative picture-worthy cleanliness of the living room. Ha! Late! It seems all the flights cancelled over the holidays spread to mass transit and the trains too. Trains fly? So, instead of going straight to the train station… we stopped and ate. Hey, things close early around here! He did ok. I got him an order of scallion pancakes – one of his favorites. And, trains don’t fly – though his was way late!

Note: Pfewf! Looking back, this was quite a series of non sequiturs. I have often been admonished for having runonthoughts.


On the road

It could be anywhere. I could check. Need I? Scary? Umm… not really. Colorful? Sure! We must be traveling west? Great sunsets! And religion is where you find it. We are on the road. It happens periodically. I/we have kids and grandkids in states from New York to California and in between. Colleen does not like to fly. I don’t mind the drive. We rent a car. It saves 8000 miles of wear on mine/ours/hers. It’s a plan.


It was a good year

I’m a ‘datahead’ a nerd of sorts. It was but a moment ago, Noa was a baby; Colleen and I were in Scotland; my cats doubled in numbers. I have been keeping track of my slides and later digital images from nearly the beginning. First it was index cards and later on a computer. I now use an independent redundant array of external hard drives. It ain’t perfect. About once a year now, I update my yearly database summary. Do you care? … wanna hear?

Digital for me began in 2003. I number 701, 000 digital images in storage now. (Typing “701k” does not look nearly as impressive.) 2021 saw a high of 102k images shot– for the ‘freakin’ year! This spans (over the years) about 15 or more devices (cameras) including iPhone. As I asked, “Who cares?” Well, I do keep track. So, now you know. I shudder to think of how it might be without some “order” to the madness.

Life’s journey has taken me high and low – figuratively as well as literally – from love (lost to found) and to the depths of the Red Sea. Along the way I even took up basket making (#27) – See! Data! Gee!


Celebrate… muted

Celebrate, loudly, in a crowd, make a spectacle, whoop and holler? Why do folks feel the necessity? New Year’s. Maybe age has mellowed me. We did do some of the pomp. I tuned into Dick Clark’s Times Sq. Dick is long departed… TV – mute, definitely mute. A few macaroons, I scrounged in the pantry, a bit exotic and not every day fare. A bit of sparkling cider, not Martinelli, another find in an off-beat store. And, the magical kiss, at midnight… what more can one ask for? I am glad to be here another year. Bittersweet. Bittersweet? You bet. How many more do we have… together? I cherish each and every one. Yes, we celebrated! As usual, the room was crowded … with cats.


I listen

At times, it is very noisy in the operating room. I have become accustomed to getting into the “zone.” Nothing distracts me as everything else fades into the background. At home, it works until Colleen says, “Did you hear what I just said?!!” I have also become adept at repeating the last ten or so words of the conversation. The words are in RAM – random access memory – and can be recalled on demand. (Shhh… they have never ( present and former wives) quite figured out my trick. Of course, any more detailed questions and I am caught “out.”

Resolved: “Do you want to know my (Colleen’s) new year resolution?” Oh boy! I don’t, but (she)… It is to acquire less stuff in 2022. Oh boy! That’s worth listening to. She wants to move to Maine. That’s off the table? … joy! It was the year of the gnome last year. Soon after these pictures were taken, we got one, Cat? Nice cat masks. I need another (cat)… please. No!! Aside: the present wife is just fine. Fine! Very!!