Bigg’s Museum ran a photo contest and I was seduced into entering. Like everything else I did not spend too much time in selecting three images for submission. You got to enter three images for $35. I think it was a fundraiser for the museum. I was persuaded to do this. Flattered into doing it. You know the drill. So I collected about twenty shots and they were passed around and around. The jury of my close admirers picked and debated. I submitted these images. I am perfectly happy to have lost. Someone better than me won. The images make me happy. In the end I have so many images that are good. Some are technically good. And others are artistically sound. There’s a difference.
The best example I could give was in painting figures. Dave and I painted detailed figures for a game we played. Jules did for a while but then lost interest. Dave kept me at it. I was technically sound. After all I was a surgeon and good with fine detail. So I could paint tiny detail and get it just so. Dave painted too. He was a kid. Mistakes and all. But his finished product was better than mine. Forget detail. We had both painted the same figures and his were better. Art. He had that “je ne sais quoi” (I don’t know what) that cannot be translated by technical excellence. That’s the difference in knowing and winning. I’m just happy that there are some folks who like what I’ve done.
By the way, the fish kissing was real and not post processed. Yes, they came together for a second, long enough for me to get the shot. I imagine it wasn’t kissing but then again, what else?
Hey! A new trick. Multiple photos are place in a mosaic. Where have I been WordPress?
I know I talking macro photography like it’s a new discovery. And for me the fascination is in the learning. Technique is half the battle. Not that you might care too much, and besides, why do they call it macro? I think that micro would be a better way to describe something close up. You know, like micro-scope? Or microscopic slide. But nope, they call it macro photography. Which is, get in close, get very close. A zoom lens does not cut it. Underwater the more distance the more dust in your way to ruin the sharpness of your image. So I got the first part ok. The next trick is composition. Background matters. And the detail – oo la la! The fish has horns. Don’t ask. I’m just taking the picture. I got a profile. It’s what I could get. Right and left side. And his mouth is open and you see reflections off the lens of the eye. When you consider that the camera takes care of itself I feel fortunate to have the capability to utilize its potential. There is some skill involved. You have to know when to press the shutter. Otherwise it’s pretty simple.
So red, the background, it’s coral – you know – it’s why they call it the Red Sea. And my fish posed perfectly. And if he had not, the image would not have been nearly as striking. I am just getting beyond where I happy to just have a macro image. Now I can go for composition and background. Yay! I’m still not giving up my day job.
The chicken or the egg? Clownfish reproduce. Cool! They laid their eggs on the wall of coral beside their protector, the anemone. Mama, papa, they look the same to me. That’s a nice thing. Eggs need protection. We were a few days early. I showed you the embryos with eyes not too long ago. Now, I got a few really nice images close-up. The eggs in fact look pretty detailed. I have no complaint. It’s not easy to spot the eggs. And then the fish nip at you as you move in to take a picture. Alas, by the time we return in a week the eggs will have hatched. Not many will survive to maturity. I’d come back to photograph the developing eggs but I have a day job.
Look, I admit to being a certain age. And it’s beyond middle. Who lives to 100? That’s all I will say. I discovered I needed glasses when I was lost in Puerto Rico and tried but failed to read a map in a rental car’s interior dome light. That’s another story. But suffice to say when I visited my good buddy ophthalmologist he said, “You need glasses. Go to K Mart (yup, K Mart!!) and get a pair of 1.50 reading glasses.” Darn if that didn’t work for almost twenty years. I’m pretty lucky. My vision without glasses is good mostly. Dim light is bad for me. In the operating room, well, that’s different. I used strong headlight illumination – halogen then xenon. It worked till recently. Then I succumbed and got proper prescription glasses which I promptly crushed in my pocket. So now they are always on my head to avoid crush injury.
Back to my post… I dive with a guy who would be supernatural. He must have another sense. Maybe he sees infrared. But no, that won’t work in an ocean full of marine life. Who knows?! The son of a gun can spot things that mere mortals, even with good vision, cannot possibly see. This nudibranch is tiny. How small? Smaller that 1/16 inch. Who knows. It was so small that he took my close up lens and piggybacked it to his and then shot with +20 diopter. I hovered. It looked like dust, maybe a piece of stray debris. I mean I was looking now that he was all over the subject. Yeah. Really! And when I took my turn and got my shot, I could only see this in retrospect on the screen of my computer. Yes, it ain’t fair that some people can spot stuff I would have no ordinary hope of seeing. Hey! Look close, the rhinopores have striations. That’s really fine detail. Do I sound impressed? Well, I am unabashedly happy to have been there to get this shot.
The site of the watchtowers had gun batteries of all sorts. This site gu.arded Cape May and it required guns capable of throwing a projectile more than ten miles. This would guard the harbor in case of invasion by ship. In other words it could hurl a shell from Delaware across the water to New Jersey. As near as I can estimate this took a 16 inch artillery shell.
And of course, this required a very large gun. So we had an opportunity to look at the gun and shell up close. It’s a very large canon. And it shoots a big shell. And the armor it will pierce is quite thick. How thick? As much as David’s forearm thick.
Are you impressed? I am. And to think this all started from a Chinese invention for fireworks and progressed to mass destruction from miles away with truly massive armament. And all of this is antiquated and way out of fashion. I do not believe such a shell or gun would ever be of use nowadays.
I’m down in Delaware with the boy. Dave was the first male born to Lisa’s side of the family. Two sisters married to guys who were three brothers and the first grandkids were three daughters. Everyone kindly kidded me and said the fourth would surely be a girl. Nope. Ha! Fooled ‘em all. Dave was a surprise so much that whenever Lisa’s family would call they would ask, “How’s the boy?” Naturally. He’s left handed like his dad. Now that he’s bigger but not older, he abuses the old man when he can.
Or should I say tease? I reference an old Dylan song from the ‘60’s. There really were watchtowers in Delaware during World War II to watch for German naval boats.
These towers were associated with gun batteries and guarded key harbors against invasion. Many towers are still preserved. We took a ride to a site and got to climb the tower and see what the Army saw. I do not think they ever had to fire a shot but the site is still eerie and impressive. The tower is not to photogenic. It’s a curiosity sticking up in the skyline from the road. Warfare has changed such that they will never be relevant. And so a park has sprung up from the site. The military presence seems to have discouraged development of prime beach front. It works for me.
Remember the wall? The nine foot one from yesterday? Hey! Sometimes the posts link. Jumping is an art. To do it the lazy way needs no real leap of height. It’s an illusion. Just bend your knees as you go. Then you will look high without hurting yourself. It also helps if the photographer (you know who you are) presses the shutter while you are in the air. Otherwise it looks like you are holding up your hands at a stick up. Hmmmm? That begs the question, do you know what, “Meet you at the pass” means? It’s an old west term from the movies, when the bandits split up to escape the posse. They would say, “Split up. We’ll meet again at the pass.” It seems they don’t say that in the movies any more. And you need to be a certain age (old) to know the term.
So there was this metal bridge in the park that cut over and across the highway.
Neat. It made for a photo op. I did not have time to plan. It was cold and slightly rainy. Windy. Hey, it was Chicago! No standing around in the rain.
I thought cats hated water. I thought they hated to be wet. I thought they hated baths. And mostly I think they do – not like water. And there’s always the exception. His name is Willow. He’s fat. You would need side by side comparison. But trust me, he’s fat. Well, relative to Lulu, he is. Funny! I was never ever a cat person. The felines are not friendly and don’t do as you please. They don’t roll over and they never fetch. Cats train humans to do their bidding. How? It’s like being subservient to your spouse. You live longer. So. Willow stands by the sink. He jumps to the counter from a standing position. That would be like me leaping a nine foot wall in a single bound. Nope, not me, not on a good day and never ever on a bad day. Then he waits. Lurks. Just sits patiently until I notice him. Then he gets all excited. I let the water trickle and he might jump into the sink or not. He will let the water run over his cheeks. And he will lap at it. This goes on for several minutes. Then he’s done. Meanwhile I watch. He gets soaked. He soaks the counter and the floor. He splashes and frolics. I get to clean up. It’s kind of like cleaning up after my kids. Oh joy!
Yup. That’s me with Mike. Who? Mike Singletary of the Chicago Bears, Super Bowl Champs of 1985. Yeah, it’s like when were there four Beatles? Who? Who were the Beatles? Old. Me. Yup. The Bears won that year with a marvelous defense. The Giants – my beloved NY team won the following year. The Bears wupped their butts (Giants) on the way to their championship. Too much history? Mike came to speak at our national meeting. Last year it was Peyton Manning. Is there a theme? At least it wasn’t Ben Carson again. Get it? I’m a neurosurgeon and he came out during our last meeting. Not Mike, Ben. Too confusing?
Well, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons meets once a year. And there are invited speakers. We are a very conservative lot. Not me. Them. Maybe there are a few progressives and even some Democrats among us. I, for one, don’t care to have my politics mixed with business. And, no, I don’t wear striped underwear or boxers. Bet you wanted to know that too.
We had Bush – you know – GW – give the Cushing oration. Cushing, he was the modern godfather of neurosurgery. In fact, Cushing trained Davidoff; Davidoff trained Ransahoff; and Ransahoff tranined me. So I am pedigreed. I digress. Mike was invited to speak and the NFL came. Everyone did a little PC dance and no one said, “Don’t do it!” And we heard a discussion about chronic traumatic encephalopathy CTE. Mama, don’t let your kids grow up to be Cowboys (Dallas) and don’t let them play football. Mike claims he only had a concussion twice. Lucky! He’s still sharp. Once was William “Refrigerator” Perry. I bet that was a boatload of fun. Meanwhile I got a picture at our opening reception. He’s a sports hero of sorts. I have many. But boy was it fun! Yes! Mike and me.
Oh! Bush? The security was so tight that they did not announce he was coming until the meeting started. There was no obvious secret service presence. However, bags were checked and it was strictly no photographs. Some secretly used their cellphones. I’m way too cool for that! W actually spoke coherently. To listen to him one could understand that his TV demeanor was hardly like his real life thinking. Nice guy?! Hey, don’t tell. I voted for him once.
The second election was scheduled just after our fall meeting. Gorbachev was the speaker. Remember him? The room was packed. A member of our national leadership rose and spoke – I thought to introduce Gorbachev. Nope. He said, “Bush will sign medical malpractice reform if it passes congress. Kerry and Edwards will not.” He sat. The room was silent. And the implication was clear. Though I knew there was not a snowball’s chance in hell medmal reform would pass I voted special interest. It was the one and only time I have ever voted for a presidential winner. Yeah, twice I voted for anarchy and Ross Perot. Don’t shoot me, ma? Please.
For fun. There are a group of divers at the resort who freedive. It’s a sport and a famous champion woman died in the Mediterranean recently. You dive with long fins in a camou dive suit. And there is no tank. And you train. And it is dangerous. And you don’t see much fish. And there’s not much to photograph. Well, to me it is about as sexy as eating broccoli. Yes, they do this for fun. I watched an instructor pour a tea cup of water through his nose to clear his sinuses. That was pretty sexy too – about as much so as a second helping of that broccoli. Remember? I never finished it. Every once in a while we see them frolicking – ok ok – training. It makes for a nice picture. I have a new dive computer. It’s a Suunto – made in Finland. It’s a great computer used by most of the serious divers around here and recommended highly to me. The computer cable to my Mac does not work. The dive watch does not connect. The Finns made a piece of crap cable and software connection that is a complete opaque piece of junk to connect. There, I ranted against this great watch. But what good is it that I paid an extra $100 for the cable and can’t get the benefit? (I hope you see this Suunto company. So far you have not solved my problem.) Anyway the dive watch has settings: Air, freedive, nitrox, and off. You set the watch before your dive. Duh? So one day I messed up. I hit the tiny buttons and the dive watch set itself for freedive. And when I was underwater I was locked in. So for 78 minutes I was underwater on a scuba dive and the watch was calculating a freedive. Oh my! I set a new world record.
I’m friends with the instructor who pours tea through his nose. (Don’t ask.) I showed him my watch and he laughed and laughed. These characters take pictures of their dive watches after a successful freedive. He declined a photo of my watch. Not famous enough I guess.